Can you change running technique?

running Feb 09, 2024

“The way you run, is the way you run” is a common statement we hear when it comes to running technique, inferring that you can not change the way you run. So can you change how you run?

Running is a complex skill, represented as such in the brain alongside other complex movement skills like swinging a golf club, or throwing a ball. Just like these movements can be changed (as witnessed by anyone learning to swing a club or throw a ball), so can the way you run be changed.

Anecdotally, we see changes in running gait frequently in our patients, but what does the research say?

There have been a number of studies that have looked at the long term effects of gait retraining, here are some of them:

  • Subjects with patellofemoral pain maintained their changes in running mechanics, pain & function at 1-month follow-up (Crowell and Davis 2011, Noehren, Scholz et al. 2011, Roper, Harding et al. 2016) and 3 months post intervention (Cheung and Davis 2011, Willy, Scholz et al. 2012, Willy and Davis 2013)

  • Improvements in dynamic knee movement sustained at 1 month follow up (Barrios, Crossley et al. 2010)

  • Increases in cadence persisting 1 month in 10/16 subjects after intervention period (Willy et al. 2016)

  • Increase in cadence after 6 weeks of gait retraining in those with chronic exertional compartment syndrome (Diebal et al. 2012)

So clearly you CAN change the way you run, so the next question is: SHOULD you change your running technique? Read here 


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