Physiologist and coach Jack Daniels once filmed a group of runners in stride. He then showed the footage to coaches and biomechanists to see if they could identify who was the most efficient.
“They couldn’t tell,” Daniels later recalled. “No way at all.” Famously awkward-looking runners like Paula Radcliffe and Alberto Salazar sometimes turn out to be extraordinarily efficient. Smooth-striding beauties sometimes finish at the back of the pack.
The act of running, it turns out, is a complicated subject. There are many factors that need to be considered, and these factors have endless variations.
So it’s a more or less hopeless task to simply watch someone run past and diagnose problems with their stride, whether it’s inefficiencies or vulnerabilities to certain types of injury. Amid the endless variables, we can’t possibly zero in on the ones that matter in real time.
More details about this over at Outside.
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