Don’t break stride: runners, go with what feels natural

When it comes to running efficiency, there are hundreds of different opinions as to what is “best”. Full shoes or no shoes? Pavement or grass? Heel or toe? But here’s one thing science has confirmed: when it comes to your stride, do what feels natural.

The research comes out of Brigham Young University and is led by USA Track and Field consultant Ian Hunter and US Olympic long distance runner Jared Ward. They found that altering the natural stride of distance runners decreased their performance — whether they made their strides longer or shorter.

Interestingly, the research came to the same conclusion regardless if the runner was experienced or inexperienced, leading the researchers to conclude that your body will naturally produce the running stride most efficient for you.

“Just let it happen; it doesn’t need to be coached. Your body is your best coach for stride length,” said Hunter.

“Many people are advocating for various ‘optimal’ running forms, but this study shows even novice runners shouldn’t try to run any different than their body naturally does. Enjoy running and worry less about what things look like.”