Are all elites running the wrong way?

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Believe it or not, these people know how to run

Someone sent me this earlier this week. I was writing up a response to it for a blog post when I saw that Alex Hutchinson beat me to the punch.

As for what I was going to write, it was going to cover all that he stated but probably not as well. The simple fact is that gravity pulls you down, not forward. If you use it to pull you forward, it’s going to also pull you down in the process and you’ll have to expend energy to push yourself back up. In short, there is no free lunch.

One other point, though. People keep looking for what all of the elites are doing wrong and what will make all of them look foolish. I remember over a decade ago someone came up with the idea that the elites were all simply more talented than everyone else (there’s some truth to that, of course, but they also train more effectively – it’s the combination of the two that makes them elite) and that he had the training philosophy that was going to revolutionize the sport. Once it caught on with the elites, they would be demolishing all the world records.

The fact is the elites have things mostly right. If they had it all wrong, are we really to believe that someone wouldn’t come along doing things right and blow them away. We’d have a new crop of elites? Let’s get real. Maybe they don’t have everything right but all the low hanging fruit has been picked. There’s no one thing that’s going to make them suddenly get 20%, 10% or even 5% faster instantly. If there was something that significant, it would have been discovered already. What is left to find are the things that will make them fractions of a percent faster.

So let’s stop paying homage to these snake oil salesmen who make these fantastical claims about how they can make elites 10% faster overnight. Let’s take a dose of reality and realize that what the elites are doing is mostly right. Then, let’s learn all we can from them and maybe find ways that things can be improved around the edges.

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