How should we run?

Once all but ignored, running technique is now the topic of countless magazine and Web site articles, is taught by a growing number of running coaches, and is intensively discussed on Internet chat forums and actual training runs.

These days, the way we run is covered by one catch-all phrase.."form". But the major question to be asked and answered is:  

can a correct style of running, in fact be effectively taught—or, is there is an identifiably correct way to run that every runner can learn and use to run faster and with fewer injuries?

And the even bigger question may well be,

"does changing form decrease or increase the risk of injury?"

Historically, the belief has been that good running style was God-given, a part of one's gene pool, or something one was lucky enough to end up with, and that the only way to improve running technique was to simply run and let the process happen naturally.

This was reinforced by coaches like Arthur Lydiard who exhorted his charges to cover monumental weekly mileages in search of perfect form through perseverance!

However, new research suggests there is no such thing as an ideal running form for all runners and the very worst way to improve your own stride is to consciously emulate some universal ideal.

Recent findings in running biomechanics have shown that the development of better running form in each individual runner appears to happen on an entirely subconscious level.

In other words, according to the latest science, if you want to ruin your running form, try to make it better. If you want to make it better, stop thinking about it and just run.

Well, it’s not quite that simple, but pretty close. Read on..

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical