Whether you’ve just started to run or you’re a marathoner from way back, there’s something we can probs all agree on: running is an art. Heck, some would say it’s a science. Between buying the right pair of socks to plotting out your hill sprints, running can be hella confusing – especially when it comes to choosing your stride.

While a lot of runners and coaches place serious emphasis on nailing the perfect form (should you take bigger steps, or shorter steps? How about faster steps?), scientists from Brigham Young University reckon we’re thinking about it way too much. According to their study, published in the International Journal of Exercise Science, the best type of stride is (*insert drum roll here*) the one you naturally use.

“Don’t worry about changing your stride length,” said the study lead, Iain Hunter. “You should just leave it alone or you’re going to use more energy in the end.”

During the study, researchers asked a group of experienced and inexperienced runners to pound the treddy for 20 minutes. Throughout their run, each volunteer was asked to change their stride five times. After reviewing the results, Hunter and his team found that people were significantly more efficient when using their natural stride.

Conclusion? It makes no sense to waste all of your energy trying to perfect something that doesn’t feel right, so if you’ve just signed up for your first 5K (or second marathon), don’t think about it too much. Just lace up those kicks, press play on some tunes and go for it.

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