Episode Summary

Dr. Matt Minard is the host of the Learn to Run podcast. He’s a Physical Therapist and owner of Learn 2 Run who enjoys both the physical and mental benefits of running but is also passionate about helping others run safely.

In today’s episode, Dr. Minard describes how to maximize the use of gravity to run more efficiently through proper body alignment called “leaning.” He explains how to use “controlled falling” to improve the safety of running.

Learn to Run | Season 1, Episode 2 | Run more efficiently using gravity

Top Takeaways

  • “Gravity can give us ‘Frenergy’; free energy.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Everything in life is about balance; it’s about control.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Learn to lean.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Tuck your Tush under your shoulders to maintain that ‘hankle’ and not hinge at the hips.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Before learning to run, we’ve got to learn to walk.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]
  • “Safety first, performance second.”
    – [Dr. Matt Minard]

Episode Highlights

  • [01:30] Question of the week; Should you fall while running?
  • [01:41] What is a fall?
  • [06:05] The Controlled Fall.
  • [10:35] Incorporating ‘Leaning’ into running.
  • [13:05] How to learn more about Leaning and Controlled Fall.

Episode Notes

One of the most valuable lessons Dr. Minard learned was how much his job was his identity. He learned this during the pandemic because he felt helpless when he couldn’t help people run. This inspired his idea to start this podcast and share his knowledge on running safer.

What is a fall?

Woman falling down

A fall is a state where we’re grounded and we unintentionally become horizontal. It is an unintentional transition from being vertical to horizontal. There are 2 ways we can propel our bodies forward when we run; muscles or gravity.

We can use gravity to our advantage because it gives free energy, “Frenergy.”

The Controlled Fall

Person running while leaning forward to utilize free energy aka frenergy

Dr. Minard defines “controlled fall” as allowing gravity to propel the body forward without losing control and crashing to the ground. It involves tapping into that free energy by leaning. Leaning involves hinging at the ankle aka hankle.

Learning to lean

Learn to lean at the ankle graphic

Start by standing up and looking straight ahead. Try to lean forward.

We often would move our hips backward when doing this, because we’re hinging at the hips. However, when trying to move the body forward, we should hinge at the ankles.

When done correctly, you will feel pressure move from your heels to your arch and the ball of your foot, alongside a burning sensation in the calf muscles.

We recommend you try this first and then confirm with a mirror positioned to the side.

Remember that the buttocks should not be pushed back!

To incorporate this leaning technique into running, we must first learn to walk, as both actions describe moving forward. The first step is to try out leaning as previously described, with the goal to move forward using gravity only, initially moving slowly and effortlessly. Having gained mastery of this movement, then the muscles can be involved.

“Use gravity to your advantage; make it your friend and not your foe.”

To learn more, take a 7-Day Course on Mechanics by Dr. Minard. “What I’ve learned the hard way, personally and professionally, is without safety we don’t have performance. If you get injured, it’s all for nothing.”


Find | Dr. Matt Minard’s LEARN 2 RUN