Should You Change Your Running Form?

It’s a little bit time passed now and then when you’re watching this, who knows how long it’s been, but the Olympics were this summer. And maybe you watch the Olympics and you saw all these pro runners and they all run this particularly same way, basically.

It’s a little bit time passed now and then when you’re watching this, who knows how long it’s been, but the Olympics were this summer. And maybe you watch the Olympics and you saw all these pro runners and they all run this particularly same way, basically. And you look at yourself and you go, man, I just don’t -- I don’t seem to run like them, should I try to run like them? Well, that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Running form can be a pretty hotly debated topic. Whether you’re thinking about the book, Born to Run, came out from Chris McDougall back in, I don’t know, 2011 or so. Or you’re thinking about all the running shoes that inspired, these minimal shoes from Vibram, to New Balance to whoever’s making shoes nowadays, there’s a lot of, yes, you should wear these and adjust your stride and be like a natural runner, you shouldn’t do this, you shouldn’t do that.

There is some efficacy to these things, and I believe in them in a large part. But there are some reasons that maybe you shouldn’t change your running form. And I want to cover those today. Of course, if you’re interested in changing your running form, you should stick around with me, hit subscribe over here. It’s somewhere in here, and the bell and all that stuff. You see it on all the YouTube channels that you watch. I do have videos on how to do that and that kind of thing.

But it’s important to figure out, should you change your running form? And the big question is, are you often injured? One of the things that can lead to injury is really poor form and then the repetition of that form over and over again, leading to injuries. This is something that maybe you can self-diagnose, but you might need somebody else’s help to figure this out. The other thing you have to figure out is, do I have somebody to guide me? One of the big downsides of trying to change your running form on your own is that you’re likely to overcompensate, and then still have a weird running form because you’re trying to change something so much. It can be subtle, some of the adjustments can feel weird, and then if you can’t see yourself while you’re running, you can make wrong adjustments. Ask me how I know.

I lost my senior year of college basically trying to change my running form to be more like the faster runners. You know, I was already running high 15-minute kind of 5K and I was trying to get down to 15:30 that year. And I ended up with a stress fracture, or pre-stress fracture that actually lasted even longer than a regular stress fracture, and basically tore up my entire indoor and outdoor track seasons. So, I lost the year that would have been probably the peak fitness and running for my entire life because I was trying to change my running form. My coaches, albeit very good athletes themselves and good coaches in terms of knowing how to structure performance kind of workouts, didn’t really know how to help me run more economically.

It wasn’t until later when I met Barb Lindquist, former pro triathlete, 2004 Olympian, that she helped me actually change my form for the better under her guidance. So, if you don’t have somebody to guide you, it can be a little more tricky. That’s why it’s good to find a coach. Or if you want to do some gait analysis, I’d be happy to do that. You know, leave them in the comments below, let me know, maybe we can get hooked up, you can send me some videos, and I can help you out. In either case, you have to think about those things first, before you decide, am I going to change my running form?

Now that being said, I don’t think that I should have not changed my running form. I think it was inhibiting me. And that’s another case where I think the answer is yes or maybe is if you’re trying to perform at a high level and some kind of tweaks to how your running can enhance your performance, then it’s a maybe two maybe yes. The big examples of why not to do it are some people who perform at a high level and run crazy, like run really weird.

And the person that comes to mind to me always is Tim Don. If you can find any videos of him running, he runs just odd, but he’s super fast. He’s won plenty of professional races at the world class level and you’re just not going to screw with that, like you just let him run. If he’s not getting injured, he’s performing at a high level, you just leave him alone. But I think he’s probably the exception to the rule, rather than the rule itself.

So, those are the things you need to think about if you want to figure out should you change your running form. If you have any questions for me about should you change your running form, your particular situation, if you want to talk about doing a gait analysis, that kind of thing, leave them down the comments below. Hopefully we can get together, help you figure out what direction you should go. In any case, I hope I see you here on this channel on the next episode of Runner’s High. Hit subscribe, comes out every Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ll see you around.


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