The adjustment of the leg during running was addressed using a spring-mass model with a fixed landing angle of attack. The objective was to obtain periodic movement patterns. Spring-like running was monitored by a one-dimensional stride-to-stride mapping of the apex height to identify mechanically stable fixed points. We found that for certain angles of attack, the system becomes self-stabilized if the leg stiffness was properly adjusted and a minimum running speed was exceeded. At a given speed, running techniques fulfilling a stable movement pattern are characterized by an almost constant maximum leg force. With increasing speed, the leg adjustment becomes less critical. The techniques predicted for stable running are in agreement with experimental studies. Mechanically self-stabilized running requires a spring-like leg operation, a minimum running speed and a proper adjustment of leg stiffness and angle of attack. These conditions can be considered as a movement criterion for running.