Natural stride is best stride for runners, experts say

Two experts in the field of running are urging runners that the best stride for them should be their preferred, natural running stride.

The study by Iain Hunter, a USA Track and Field consultant, and U.S. Olympian Jared Ward, who are also both professors at Brigham YoungUniversity, measured the energy use of 33 runners using five different strides during a 20-minute run.

The researchers found that the stride length runners naturally choose is the best stride for them.

“Many people are advocating for various ‘optimal’ running forms, but this study shows even novice runners shouldn’t try to run any different than their body naturally does,” Ward said in a press release. “Enjoy running and worry less about what things look like.”

The study, published in the July edition of the International Journal of Exercise Science, measured the strides of the 19 experienced and 14 inexperienced runners on a treadmill using a computer-based metronome to measure their energy output.

Researchers found that both experienced and inexperienced runners were the most efficient when using their natural, preferred stride.

“Just let it happen; it doesn’t need to be coached,” Hunter said. “Your body is your best coach for stride length.”


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