Running is our human birthright—a fundamental gait we evolved to do with grace and skill.
The reasons it may not feel good to you right now most likely stem from how you’re moving your body—your running form or technique.
What’s more, even runners who work on their technique may still find their experience falls far short of how they know in their hearts running should feel. Here’s why.
The whole idea that you should work on your running technique is wrong. Running correctly takes neither more strength nor more discipline than running poorly—in fact, just the opposite. Most of the other popular ideas about good running form or technique are also mistaken, including:
- Good technique requires maintaining good posture, stabilizing your core, and/or “holding” certain muscles
- Good technique is a fixed set of rules that apply all the time
- Your technique tends to get worse when you get a bit tired
- Fixing your footstrike = having good technique
- Your footwear (or lack thereof) determines how good your technique is
To understand why all these ideas are wrong, let’s go back to the basic idea of what good running technique is.
Good technique means using your body the way it really works rather than fighting your structure to move some other way. That’s why it saves you energy and keeps you healthier—because fighting your body takes extra energy and creates stresses you didn’t evolve to handle, slowing you down, increasing the odds of injury, and robbing you of joy.
To boil it down, good running technique is easier than bad technique. Right away. Not later once you’ve gotten “strong enough.” Because if you have to build up strength to make it feel easy, it’s not really easy, it’s hard.
Improving your running technique never, ever involves adding effort to your movement. Instead it involves learning to feel the extra effort you’re so used to making you don’t even notice it, and then discovering how to shift what you’re doing so that effort drops away.
As you learn how to feel what you’re doing and shift your movement to shed extra effort, you’ll become more versatile and skillful, responding to different terrain, distances, conditions, and even footwear with the necessary adjustments.
So it’s time to stop working so hard when you run, stop trying to force your body to run “correctly” and instead learn to find, feel, and access the movements that make running feel natural, smooth, and flowing.
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