Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Maybe you shouldn't change your stride (Part 1)

Something I get asked a lot about is how to improve running form to enhance performance. I figured the best way too approach this very complicated issue is to do a series of posts over the next 2-3 months. This first post will simply be an introduction into the concept of what exactly a “perfect stride” is and to try to challenge some of the conventional tips that have been engrained into us.

The fact of the matter is that there definitely are key (and somewhat obvious) movement patterns that can have a clear detrimental impact on running performance and/or running economy. For example, we know that excessive arm motion will decrease running economy (for example, read more here). We also know that a crazy amount of vertical oscillation (bouncing too much up and down) will also decrease running economy (as shown, for instance, here).

However, I think in popular running culture, there is definitely an overemphasis on achieving the perfect stride. I also think there is low level of appreciation for how trying to fight your natural rhythm can often do more harm than good. What looks pretty and symmetrical is not always what is best for your individual anatomy.

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