What is the Best Stride for Running?
If you read Born to Run, you may have concluded that barefoot running with a landing on the forefoot is the best stride for everyone. Though you may have noticed that Five Fingers have vanished from the realm of trendy footwear. Runners want to make sure their gait reduces injury risk and increases running efficiency. Well. What’s the best stride for you when you run?
A new study points to evidence that the best stride is whatever you happen to be doing.
Researchers in Utah wanted to find out what kind of stride people should be focusing on so they hired 33 runners, over half of them who have run competitively, with the others people who are active but in other sports. They put them on treadmills and made them run at whatever the subjects felt was a good, solid run speed. Treadmills?
The researchers measured the efficiency of each runner’s stride. Then they asked runners to vary their stride; more quickly, more slowly. And what they found was that whether they were experienced or not, the strides the runners had initially chosen were the most efficient and slowing them or speeding them up make everything less efficient.
Now, this was not a giant study, and maybe some people run with gaits that will lead to injury. But this study leads us to believe that each person should start with a stride that feels comfortable versus trying to imitate other people.
At Cardio High we work on varying strides and gaits. We want people to experience different ways of moving. Some clients choose to run our mini obstacle courses that force people into a more natural running style of landing on the forefoot and taking slightly shorter strides (so they don’t trip while going over obstacles).