NO

says Stephen McGre­gor, direc­tor of the Run­ning Science Lab at Eastern Michi­gan Uni­ver­sity and con­sul­tant to ma­jor run­ning de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers

Men's Fitness - - Experts -

Is form im­por­tant for run­ning econ­omy, speed and a low­ered in­jury risk ? That’s a hot area of de­bate. Our lab, among oth­ers, has been in­ves­ti­gat­ing this ques­tion for years with no clear ev­i­dence that any one run­ning style is best for speed and econ­omy. For most recre­ational run­ners, run­ning style is low on the list of items that could help them go faster – a po­si­tion seem­ingly jus­ti­fied by a study con­ducted by USA Triathlon, which showed that when sub-elite triath­letes fo­cused on chang­ing their run­ning tech­nique to­ward a par­tic­u­lar style for 12 weeks, their run­ning econ­omy ac­tu­ally got worse.

That said, there can be value in mod­i­fy­ing run­ning form. In our lab­o­ra­tory we’re cur­rently work­ing with triath­letes who hope to com­pete in the Rio Olympics in 2016, help-

ing them ‘tweak’ their run­ning form to hope­fully make the 1-2% im­prove­ment in per­for­mance that can be the dif­fer­ence at elite level. We as­sess changes over time to en­sure things are go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. We’re not rec­om­mend­ing fast or whole­sale changes that would put them into a ‘ form box’, but small changes to weak­nesses we see from our mea­sure­ments.

But in most healthy in­di­vid­u­als, the im­prove­ments that can come from the changes are over­stated and, with­out an in­di­vid­u­ally tai­lored ap­proach, can even be counter-pro­duc­tive. Most run­ners just don’t need to learn a spe­cific form. For most peo­ple, run­ning im­prove­ments come from con­sis­tent train­ing with ra­tio­nal in­cre­men­tal in­creases in vol­ume and in­ten­sity.

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‘NO ONE STYLE IS BEST FOR SPEED AND ECON­OMY’

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