This is a piece I’ve wanted to write for a while; I apparently started it in 2011 and then got distracted by other things. But for lack of anything to write about, I’m getting back to it.
A recent (note: 2011) article in Runner’s World magazine spurred what will invariably be an article that takes far more parts to cover than I’m initially planning; in brief it looked at some of the recent debates over running form (and of course the shoe issue) in terms of the whole heel strike vs. midfoot strike vs. forefoot strike. More generally it looked at the issue of running form/technique, if there is an ‘ideal’ form or technique and, if so, whether it’s worth it for runners to attempt to change their technique.
Unfortunately, in the absence of much real data on optimal running technique or what have you (and anecdote is not data no matter how much people try to make it so), their only real answer to the question of “Should runners change technique?” was “It depends.” At least they were honest and that’s certainly an answer I can get behind.
Now I have no intention of addressing the running technique debate per se here, rather I want to talk more generally since the issue of technique, learning technique, optimal technique and changing technique comes up quite a bit in the training world. Many forums, including my support forum have a thread or forum dedicated to exercise technique and lifters often post videos of themselves lifting looking for feedback.
And then depending on the nature of the forum and who comments, advice can range from ‘You need to go back to using the bar and start all over’ to ‘That’s fine’ to ‘Just shut up and lift’ and pretty much everything in-between. This can often lead to your typical internet arguments where folks are more or less arguing across one another (basically talking about completely different or unrelated issues) or simply not acknowledging that many questions such as ‘Should I change my technique?’ have to be answered with ‘It depends.’