I get a lot of questions about gait, especially if I’m coaching in-person. People will ask if I’m going to watch them run, tell them what they are doing wrong, and tell them how to run “correctly”. My short answer is always no. Of course, I can check their form to ensure their head is up, shoulders are relaxed, they aren’t bent forward, etc. Checking footstrike and turnover? That’s messing with Mother Nature. Changing up simple things can have a disastrous domino effect.
So when people ask me my first question is “are you having problems”? If yes, there is usually another cause of the problem (improper shoes, overtraining, increasing mileage too quickly) but if there’s no problem? Follow these wise words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
Case and point: me and my heel striking self.
I’m a classic heel striker. Always have been. Am I going to change? Probably not…because I’ve been running this way for almost 11 years injury-free. But, I have been making a conscious effort when I race or do speed work to use more of a midfoot strike to avoid overstriding. Also, heel striking will slow you down.
Until I read Born to Run I thought barefoot running was a little nutso. But that book really opened my eyes to the science behind it. Will I ever go sans shoes? Probably not because….if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it 🙂 And I love my Brooks Adrenalines too much. But if I was runner with chronic injuries (much like the author Chris McDougall), I would definitely give it a go.
Are you a heel, midfoot, or forefoot striker? Have you ever permanently altered your gait?
Ever tried barefoot running or running in Vibrams?