Sunday, August 24, 2008

Is technique important?

Anyone who has talked to Eric or me about running, knows that we emphasize the importance of running technique to prevent injuries and improve efficiency.

When we watched the men's and women's Olympic marathon, we observed the wide range of styles that these elite runners have. Some of them heel strike, others run on their toes, some have a head-bob, others swing their arms laterally, others have very long strides, etc. However, they are all very accomplished and incredibly fast. Does this mean that technique doesn't matter?

Well, I think that the answer is, like for many other things in life, somewhere in the middle. In my view, concentrating on technique is important, but, we should also recognize that our biomechanics determine to a large extent how we move. Additionally, I think that while working on technique may not significantly improve speed, it does reduce the risk of injury.

However, it is telling that generally speaking, the smoother, more graceful runners lead the pack.

The NYT has an interesting article about this.

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