There appears to be discrepancy when people think of technique in running and in other areas of life. When we think of running we tell ourselves something like the following: “You just go out for a run.” “I’ve been running ever since I was a kid.” “It has always worked for me.” When it no longer works (in other words, there is an injury), the answer quickly becomes “I need the right kind of shoes.” or “I need orthotics.” Rarely, if ever, do we ask ourselves if we are running correctly. Proper technique is prevalent in other areas. If you don’t do it, it is clear that it will lead to injury. There are ergonomics classes to train you in the proper posture when sitting, the proper technique for lifting objects, even for lifting a fellow human being (ask nurses and caregivers). This is for daily life. In sports there is also a correct way to lift. For example, performing a deadlift in the Olympics or optimal form when rowing to get that extra bit of speed with the least amount of effort. It is good for performance. It is good to prevent injury.
Let’s consider animals for a moment. Watching a handful of documentaries on animals, whether it be squirrels or cheetahs, something subtle is going on that we usually miss it if it is not pointed out. Within a species, all animals appear to run in the same way. And it all looks natural. It seems they instinctively know how to run in a way that is optimal for the way their bodies are made. Observing recreational runners in the street or at a finish line of an event, it doesn’t take long to notice an individual style. One foot is moving sideways a bit more. One leg is stretched more while another is bending the knee. If we are told anything it is that everyone just needs to find their own form, and does so by running a lot.
Research into the way the human body moves has shown that certain ways of running are better than others, whether it be speed or injury prevention. Differences between a population that wears cushioned shoes almost as soon as they are born and a population that goes barefoot a lot (or with minimal sandals) are profound. Just as with lifting objects, just like other animals, there is a correct form and technique for running. It will make running easier, faster, injury free and more enjoyable.