Can I win races just by focusing on my running technique?

Here’s the short answer: Maybe – but most probably not. On the other hand it is hard to be a successful runner with longevity if your running technique is poor.

The running “performance chain” and the role of running technique

Here’s the long answer: Running performance is determined by a chain of connected performance drivers such as

  • a runner’s diet,
  • mindset and motivation,
  • genetic potential,
  • strength,
  • flexibility,
  • recovery,
  • equipment,
  • training regime, and – last but not least –
  • running technique a.ka. run form.

As runners we typically prefer to spend as much time as possible running while neglecting other “chain links” of the running performance chain.

This is not a great recipe for long term success: it leaves critical performance gains on the table. It’s the sign of a high level of professionalism to ensure all aspects of running performance are maintained.

To illustrate this “performance chain” metaphor a runner that shows poor running technique is likely to get injured when ramping up training volume. An athlete will not be able to hold good running form if they neglect strength or flexibility training. Finally any time spent on training might not be as productive as it could be if the runner fails to rest or fuel properly. 

If any of the chain’s links is neglected in the long run this chain will break under stress.

So what’s the key take away for runners?

Running technique is an important and often-overlooked part of a runners regime, that keeps runners performing their best.

Identifying issues in running form has been shown to dramatically reduce injury risk, which in itself will lead to higher performance due to less time off training.(1) . This effect is in addition to the direct impact of gait modifications to running performance. (2)

So while running technique training alone won’t turn you overnight into a sub-2-hours marathoner, it is an essential part of a complete, professional training program.

Curious about your run form? Upload your videos to today to get a full running technique analysis with targeted exercises you can incorporate into your training routine.