I was sent the link above by my friend Matt Hester, who is running the Goofy Challenge with me this year. The link contains four videos presented by former Olympic marathoner Jeff Galloway. I have followed and believed in Mr. Galloway’s methods for years, and I was very impressed and excited when I heard this past September that he was signed on as the official running adviser for Disney race events.
I wanted to post these videos to illustrate a few things I have preached on this site and just about as long as I’ve been helping people find a better running form. Mr. Galloway demonstrates an ideal stride form, and he’s doing it in shoes. I have said all along that I am not opposed to people running in shoes if they do it correctly, and if you can do what he instructs then you can probably be a successful shod runner. If, however, you find that you cannot run this way then you may be like a lot of people I come across and need a change.
Barefoot/minimal running is not going to magically give you perfect form. In fact many converts spend a lot of months finding the form that works best for them. Form is something that is generally developed over time instead of being given to you at birth. When you first learn to walk you start developing neurological paths that will dictate your biomechanical function. This then turns into pathways for running, jumping, and all other movements you learn as you grow. So at some point in your development you created a running form. For some, that form works fine and they have few or no problems through their life in terms of joint issues from exercise. The rest of us develop a form that has glitches in it, and we wind up injured either in a major way or with nagging issues that won’t go away no matter what we do. For all of us, a change is needed, and the truth is that the change is not a hard one to make.
I’ve written a few articles you can find in the training section of this site about proper form and how to make the transition to barefoot running. The same changes in form that I talk about in those articles apply to running in shoes as well. For me this is not just about running without shoes or in thinner shoes. Yes, I believe the conventional shoe inhibits foot function, but it is still not just about that. It’s about finding a way to run and run without injuries. The answer to the riddle lies mostly in form, and Mr. Galloway demonstrates a great form in these videos. His premise over the years centers on showing people how to run injury free, and that is the same goal I have always had with my clients so I deeply respect Mr. Galloway.
Watch the videos and look closely at the form. His knees are always bent, never extended; he lands lightly on his mid foot, maintains a great erect posture, and is smooth with little excess motion. His knees have a little more inward fall than I would recommend, but he ran in the Olympics so who am I to judge? You also might take note of the parallels between his form and a good barefoot/minimal form as they are basically identical.
That’s the point, isn’t it? To find the answers to this great running debate that’s taking place. It’s right there, and it’s been there all along. Run light with short strides and stay off your heels. Pretty simple, right?