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Optimum Stride Length

There has been much said about over striding but what does this mean? What is the best stride length? These are questions which have many answers all of which come down to the individual runner. Let’s have a look at some points here so that you can decide for yourself.

Much, of course, will depend upon the build of the runner. If you are very tall you will probably have a long stride and if you are very short then you will have a short stride. This would seem to be reasonable but I have seen quite tall people with a short stride so this is obviously not a cut and dried answer.

Then comes the variation that depends upon how the runner lands. The majority of long distance runners land with a heel strike and the whole foot rolls towards the toe and then push off. There are others who naturally land on the fore foot. These are mainly sprinters and other short distance runners although there are quite a number of longer distance runners. There is a theory that landing on the fore foot lessens the chances of knee injury (this is a subject for another time)

How far the runner travels in each stride depends upon how much push off is employed. Then it is no good just landing on the other foot because you need to be in a position to paw back in order to push off again. So think: push off, land and paw back, push off. If the landing foot comes down too far in front it takes much effort to bring the body across in order to push off again.

Now you need to think about the way you are tackling your running. If you land on your heel you are possibly stretching out too far. If you can land on the mid foot you will be able to paw back and follow through with the push off in a fluid movement.

The best way to illustrate this is to watch the great runners and watch the way they are moving.

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