Talking about an ideal stride makes little sense in running. It would be like talking about an ideal forehand in tennis: which one? Nadal’s? Federer’s ? Or a perfect golf swing? We can see that among the best athletes, each one develops a particular style. This style will depend mainly on physique, experience, learning, material and practice.
However, the vast majority of champions respect certains technical cues and principles common to their own sport (for example in tennis: centering the ball, advancing into the ball, having a good positioning, etc.). This is the reason why in each sport a technical training has developed which includes widely common and recognized pieces of advice by the whole community of coaches. These basics can eventually evolve over time – taking into account fashions or changes in technical knowledge or equipment. The example of Fosbury in the high jump, for example, shows that in some sports there can even be real technical gestural revolutions. In running, the shoe, the coating and the practice have a significant impact over technique.
Running is therefore as any other sports from that point of view: as there is no such thing as an ideal stride, there is a common base of technical advice to be followed by runners to optimize their technique; unfortunately, the vast majority of runners just have no idea of these pieces of advice and most often make a lot of mistakes or missteps in their running technique due to an evident lack of technical education. It is therefore surprising that the technical aspect of running is so neglected (for example in magazines or even in clubs). Because there are many technical misinterpretations practiced by amateur runners in running. We can cite bad arm gestures in relation to the movement of the legs, bad posture, a pace unsuited to the style of running, inefficient footing, an unsuitable shoe or even contrary to the intrinsic qualities of a runner, etc.
Although the link is not absolutely proven between technique and injury in running, a certain common sense (and of course the pragmatic feedback from runners’ practice) indicates to us with a very high level of probability that a more adapted technique cannot ony contribute to better performance, a better feeling, more pleasure to run and also of course a greater longevity in running.
To use a « scientism » approach (*) as far as running technique is concerned is inept; after all, just because something has not been proven by a scientific study does not mean that it is false. We cannot therefore object to advice on the sole pretext that its validity has not been scientifically proven. On the other hand, one can object to advice if scientific studies prove it to be false. So, for billions of years, the Earth revolved around the Sun without it being proven by a scientist (so that was a lie for a scientist!). But since this has been scientifically proven, no one can argue – as we did before – that the Sun could revolve around the Earth.
The approach that we have developed at COURIR LEGER – LIGHT FEET RUNNING corresponds exactly to what has just been written: we take into account the practice, scientific data and the current state of knowledge and material to provide runners advice on how to optimize their running technique, without ever claiming an ideal or universal stride. And very logically our technical recommendations are not fixed and may evolve over time if necessary.
(*) scientism consists in taking into account only scientific knowledge effectively proven according to an established and recognized scientific method.