Coaches all agree: overstriding slows you down! On page 39 you saw that overstriding caused the foot to momentarily suspend in the air after the leg straightened; the extra length in stride was inefficient. But isn’t lengthening your stride good?
The answer is relatively simple, and highlights the difference between lengthening and overstriding. Yes, a longer stride is good, but only when it’s achieved by using the hips. Let’s start with a working definition of overstriding.
Overstriding is when a walker takes too long a stride, either in front of or behind the body, such that the extra length actually slows the forward progress.
Let’s look a little closer at what happens when you use your hips properly. Observe the angle the front leg makes with the ground. The greater the angle, the more the ground pushes you back when you strike it. This phenomenon is known as braking force and will impede your progress. When you reduce the angle the foot makes with the ground, you reduce the braking force. Conversely, the longer stride caused by extending the hips allows your foot to strike the ground with a minimum of braking force. So use those hips!