The Optimization of Running Technique: What Should Runners Change and How Should They Accomplish it?

Vincent Gouttebarge, Julitta Boschman



To gather knowledge about interventions (i.e., training programs, running technique methods) aimed to enhance or optimise the running technique in recreational runners by means of reviewing the scientific literature and (2) to identify the barriers and facilitators that are related to learning and applying a natural running technique.


A systematic search of the scientific literature (Medline and SPORTDiscus) was conducted to identify relevant original studies. Subsequently, a qualitative research was conducted focusing on a specific and widely available natural running technique (Chi Running). Information was gathered from recreational runners who followed a Chi Running course by means of interviews and from Chi Running instructors participating in a focus group discussion.


Based on 7 original studies identified, step frequency, in combination with other running technique elements (step length and foot strike pattern), the Pose method, and visual feedback about tibial acceleration were found to have a positive effect on ground reaction force, contact time foot-ground, compartment pressures, mechanical power-consumption and self-reported pain. None of the retrieved studies investigated the sustainability of the learned technique aspects. From the interviews and focus group discussion, several barriers in learning and applying a new running technique emerged. The barriers were related to the individual runner (such as a lack of patience), the running technique method itself (such as being too extensive to learn), and the environment (such as adverse reactions from coaches).


This study presents technique elements which could be beneficial for runners. Facilitators and barriers in learning and applying a running technique method were explored. This information is valuable in designing evidence-based interventions aimed at optimising running technique in recreational runners.


Running; Running technique; Review; Qualitative research;

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