Whether a long-time runner or a beginner, each stride forward is one that your body chooses, and it is chosen for a reason. Studies have been done on the subject to prove that the natural length of one’s stride is the right one for that person. Our bodies know when something is okay to do and when it is not. It is important for us to listen.
Through a study conducted by USA Track and Field Consultant Iain Hunter and U.S. Olympian Jared Ward, it was determined that the most efficient runners, whether experienced or not, were those who used their preferred stride. This showed the researchers that coaches and athletes should not try to alter their natural strides in the case that economy is the main concern. More on the study can be found at https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170727083147.htm .
Economy in the running world is important and can be described as a measure of physical demand. According to a New York Times article written about Hunter and Ward’s study, “If one form of moving requires less oxygen than another, it is more economical, less strenuous and will be easier to maintain. So, if one way of running is more economical than another, a runner employing that style will run longer and with greater ease than if he or she runs differently.” This statement shows the everyday application of this study: natural stride helps runners to run longer and decreases the risk of injury related to running. Impact from running is not as hard on the body when the natural stride is used.
Any runner knows that the sport creates risk for the body. This study, however, shows that our bodies know what is best for their overall health, and the best part about this innate stride, according to Dr. Hunter, is that the most efficient stride for running does not have to be learned from a coach. Anyone can do it.