A while ago I wrote a popular article on a contentious topic: I posed the question of whether “being a slow runner” was a protective measure against having bad running form—in other words, whether people are artificially lowering their injury risk by semipermanently limiting their athletic horizons.
I wrote this as an answer to the many experiments out there that find no link between incidence of injury and running form (or type of footstrike, etc). An underlying claim of my article is that perhaps the reason that experiments find no connection is that the incidence of injury caused by “bad form” has been artificially reduced by runners slowing down in order to reduce the force dished to their bodies. The implication being, of course, that if they had good form, they would be in a position—literally, an alignment—that would allow their body to correctly, and therefore efficiently, interact with those forces. In that sense, good form may not reduce injury risk itself, but it will create faster runners.
In other words, I think it will reduce injury risk—at a given speed X or given distance Y.
I’ve made no secret of what I believe “good alignment” or “good form” to be.
I bring this topic up again because of a comment made by Gray Cook, movement expert and founder of Functional Movement Systems (FMS), on the topic of exercise, alignment, and injury risk:
“What you’re going to do inherently to manage your injury risk . . . you’re going to find yourself limited, and you’re going to migrate to those abilities that don’t cause you a problem. And you’re going to lower your injury risk by narrowing your life.”
The full video is 9 minutes long, and the quote is from the beginning of minute 8.