There have been many debates, theories and methods of running developed to improve your running form. Thinking of changing? Over the last few years we have seen a surge followed by a decline in forefoot running shoes being sold. Runners would suddenly change from rear foot strike to forefoot striking, in an attempt to try to improve their running times or reduce injury. unfortunately, some runners soon found out that injuries still occurred and that changing force patterns through the feet caused different loading effects on the body and different stresses which had to be adapted to.
Some of the reasons given by runners, for changing running form would be 1. To try and reduce time being injured, 2. To run a faster time, or 3. My running friend said that i’ve got a weird way of running it must be slowing you down. The big problem with an injured runner is that they don’t want to be told by anyone to “Stop Running” and so you often see a runner with a strapped knee, still putting in some miles.
New running shoes are always an option, having treated many runners owning between 30 to one hundred pairs of trainers. Yes that’s correct and quite often these shoes are hidden in the house so a partner doesn’t find out. And every year, the running shoe that fits well, goes through some modifications and so any subsequent pairs purchased don’t feel the same. The different support in shoes can also affect your gait.
If you are new to running it could be cardio fitness that is letting you down affecting running form, trying to run the same course faster each week may work only for a short time. Stride length and stride rate have both influenced a faster time or maybe an injury if you get it wrong.
A previous injury may be affecting your running form or a medical condition, which could be a good reason not to change form.
How you land on your foot could be another consideration, are you a heel runner or forefoot runner?. Do your mechanics restrict your running style? Do you struggle with mobility around your joints? Do you need more strength?
Posture – trying to hold yourself in a good posture doesn’t usually last for long and poor posture could affect breathing and your running or walking gait. Different methods of analysis are now available to assess posture, movement and breathing.
And changing your running form can take a little time for it to feel natural. Practice and more practice, changing running form near a competition could actually slow you down at first, so give yourself time to adjust and adapt.
So the good news is that the latest research shows that running technique can have a positive effect on running economy and therefore benefit performance. A change in running technique could also help with running injuries. But consider the parameters above before making any changes..