Posted by Steve Magness
Now I know a lot of distance coaches will say things like "oh with more training it will fix it self" or runners form is natural and shouldn't be changed. I think these are just excuses given because it's hard to change form and takes a ton of knowledge and work. And as for runners mechanics are natural. Well that's true to a sense, but as we grow up other outside forces influence it and change it for the worse. You don't hear pitching coaches say that arm mechanics are entirely natural and they won't mess with anyones arm do you? Also, try this experiment, go film a really young kid , look how he runs he'll run pretty good although probably with too much of a forward lean. Watch as he grows. His form (if he's american) will probably get worse as he sees old joggers slamming their heel into the ground or the bad mechanics of some baseball player running to first. Add that with the addition of our shoes with our high heels and you get a big change in that natural running form. Of course this is a long experiment. So you'll have to take my word for it. I have video of my sister running when she was young (she's 10 yrs younger than me). She runs pretty much correctly, getting her feet down underneath her. Kids run right before they get an outside influence.
I think more focus needs to be put on form development especially in the younger years.
Most Americans assume that more miles/more training will your running mechanics..
However, after observing tons of HS kids, and lots of college kids, I think this assumption is totally incorrect. In HS your lucky to find 1 or 2 guys in a distance event on the track (at pretty dang good meets) who run relatively correct. After watching just about every Olympic final/world championship 800/1500m on tape, and every WR in the 800/1500 or near WR, I've come to the conclusion that more time needs to be spent on this. Almost all the greats run correctly. maybe there are one or two slight things wrong but thats individuality and to be expected. In the US, even at college meets I've taped where there are 10 or so guys whove run sub 405, a ton of them run pretty bad.
I think this happens because:
1. our shoes
2. the image in americans heads (i.e. they never grow up seeing a role model who runs greatly like all the kenyans do. Plus the market and commercials portray horrible running mechanics.)
3. Lack of knowledge on what correct form is.
4. Lack of knowledge on how to safely and correctly change someones running mechanics.
5. A reluctance to do so because it takes a lot of work and you don't see the major progress for years sometimes.
6. A feeling that it's just not important.
As I said earlier if you compare most americans to most kenyans or even most guys in the olympics or world class athletes, the majority of Americans have pretty poor running form. It's just another piece of the puzzle to add to why we aren't competing at that level.