Throughout the last few months, my articles have been focused on how we ought (or ought not to) alter our stride to enhance running economy. Last month, for instance, I looked at stride length, and how deviating from a naturally selected length will likely make you slower.
This month, I will address one aspect that I have mentioned in my previous posts: vertical oscillation (i.e. bouncing up and down as we run).
Vertical oscillation has always been one of the features of a stride that I think should be corrected if the vertical translation is excessive. The research is clear, and logically it makes sense: if you waste energy shooting your body up into the air, you will have less energy to propel you forward. The idea of a seemingly relaxed and tranquil upper body floating over spinning legs is the image we see amongst the best in the world, and something we should strive for. BUT, is cutting vertical oscillation out entirely needed, or even beneficial? Let's see what the research says: