As a runner, you’ve probably heard the advice to shorten your stride for faster and more efficient running. Coaches and trainers warn that overstriding can tire you out faster and increase the risk of injury. But what exactly is overstriding, and how can you avoid it? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at this common mistake and how to correct it.
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At its simplest, overstriding means taking longer steps than necessary. This interferes with your running mechanics and can make it feel like you’re leaping rather than running. However, there’s some debate over what exactly constitutes overstriding. Some coaches say it occurs whenever you land on your heel, but this may not be accurate. What’s more important is the length of your stride, not how you make contact with the ground.
Finding Your Optimal Stride Length
Determining your optimal stride length can be challenging. Many factors, such as leg length, body height, and running speed, can affect it. Unfortunately, there are no studies that definitively identify the ideal stride length for individual runners. However, studies have shown that stride length is a key component in running speed. Elite runners often have longer strides, but they’re not overstriding because their stride length is optimal for them.
How to Avoid Overstriding
One way to determine if you’re overstriding is to compare your running times with your normal stride length versus a shorter stride length. If you’re running faster with your normal stride length, then you’re not overstriding. If your times improve with a shorter stride, then adjusting your stride length could help improve your running speed.
To avoid overstriding, focus on maintaining a constant running speed and using proper form. Keep your stride length comfortable and natural, and avoid overreaching with your feet. It’s also essential to strengthen your leg muscles, which can help you maintain proper form and reduce the risk of injury.
Overstriding is a common mistake among runners, but it’s often misunderstood. Instead of focusing on landing on your heel or the position of your feet, focus on maintaining a comfortable and natural stride length. Strengthening your leg muscles and using proper form can also help you avoid overstriding and run more efficiently. By understanding and correcting this common mistake, you can become a more efficient and injury-free runner.
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