Should You Change Your Running Technique?

by Shena Dale - Physiotherapist | Feb 10, 2015

Running legs - Should you change your running technique? By Lime Physical Therapy.

If you have been running for a while, you’ve had recurring injuries or you want to increase your pace, you have probably spent a bit of time thinking about how to fine tune your technique. If you are new to running, you may wonder if a change in technique could make it a little easier.

While there are some general guidelines for good running technique, it is important to note that we are all individuals and our running technique reflects that. A few years ago I met a running biomechanist who said there was only one runner he could describe as having ‘close to perfect running biomechanics’. Sadly, it wasn’t me!

If you are thinking of changing your running technique, I believe there are a few important things to consider beforehand:

  1. Technique is not ‘one size fits all’. Whilst there are some things that runners do that are more likely to lead injury, changing them does not necessarily mean you won’t get injured or that they are right for you.
  2. Whenever you change something in the kinetic chain, you will unknowingly change other things in the chain. This can lead to injury in other areas.
  3. It is important to change things gradually in order to allow the body to adapt. If changes are made too quickly, you may put new pressures on other muscles or joints which are not ready for this.
  4. If you are running without injury, you are comfortable with the pace you are achieving and you are enjoying your running, there may be no need to change your technique!

Most importantly, if you have recurring injuries, have tried unsuccessfully to change your technique or you are just unsure where to start, it is well worth seeing a physiotherapist who does running technique assessments.  They will be able to provide personalised advice on your running technique and assist you with additional strengthening or stretching you may need to make these changes.

Shena Dale is a consulting physiotherapist At Lime Physical Therapy.  She has over 20 years of experience in running and triathlon and is also a Level 2 Athletics Australia Recreational Running Coach.

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