The only common running technique flaw that exists at the level of gross motor coordination is that of overstriding, which is caused by the wearing of shoes and is best corrected primarily by addressing footwear, not by learning an entirely new way to run. Indeed, I believe that if all runners ran barefoot, the various running technique systems would not exist. Yet another problem with the technique systems is that they force every runner to try running the same way, whereas it is rather obviousas Ross Tucker pointed outthat our very different bodies do not allow us to run the same way. A glance at the lead pack of runners in any major marathon will reveal all kinds of variety even among the best of the best. Some runners have a pronounced forward lean, while others are perfectly upright. Some carry their arms high; others, low. Some runners are forefoot strikers, while others are midfoot strikers. Some have loose, loping strides, while others exhibit compact strides with very high turnover rates. Each runner, through years of practice, has solved the problem of running fast over long distances by working out the optimal stride for his or her unique body. Yes, there are many characteristics that are common to the strides of all elite runners, but the rest of us cannot become elite runnersor even measurably better runners than we are todayby consciously aping these characteristics. For example, faster runners typically have higher natural stride rates than slower runners. If two runners of different ability levels run together at the same pace, the more gifted of the two will take smaller, more frequent strides than the other. When I ran with Haile Gebrselassie, I observed that he took approximately 9 strides for every 8 I took. The natural stride rate of the typical elite runner is 90 strides per minute. The average stride rate of the typical midpack runner is closer to 80 strides per minute. Now, you might think that consciously increasing your stride rate from 80 to 90 strides per minute would be an effective way to gain a more efficient, elitelike stride. However, research has shown that runners become less efficient, not more efficient, when they force themselves to run at any stride rate other than their natural one.7 Indeed, I felt extremely awkward when I tried to match Geb’s stride rate while running with him.