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Do you need to fix your running technique?

Posted by Nicholas Dang on
Do you need to fix your running technique?

‘Incorrect’ technique is a common concern for many people. Part of this concern stems from well-intentioned health and fitness professionals claiming that there’s an optimal way to move to treat or prevent pain/injury.

While biomechanical ‘faults’—like foot overpronation and knee valgus—don’t fit the typical mould of ‘optimal’ running technique, several runners exhibit such faults without issue. In fact, some of these ‘suboptimal’ runners are extraordinary runners.

Just look up Priscah Jeptoo, a long-distance runner and Olympic medallist, and how she runs! Her personal best in running a marathon is 2:20:14 (average speed of 18.053 km/h or average pace of 3′19″). She’s an exemplar of the human body’s remarkable ability to adapt. She’s not an outlier too: also look up Paralympic runners.

With what we know currently, the relationship between biomechanics and pain/injury is contentious. There’s no compelling evidence to support that everyone needs to run one specific way. There are also many other factors besides running technique that can contribute to pain and injury (e.g., load management and recovery).

Changing running technique may be helpful for some people in some situations. For instance, if you’ve got a pain or injury, modifying your running technique and load can be one way to allow your body to calm down; however, you might be able to go back to running how you were before.

So, do you need to fix your running technique? … Maybe not?



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