Running: Gordon Piries’s Laws of Running
Gordon Pirie (10 February 1931 – 7 December 1991) was an English long-distance runner. He competed in the 5000 m and 10,000 m events at the 1952, 1956 and 1960 Olympics and won a silver medal in the 5000 m in 1956, placing fourth in 1952. Pirie broke five world records in the course of his career, and was was an exceptional at cross-country, winning the English Championship three times. In his book Running Fast and Injury Free, Pirie advocates running with initially making ground contact with the midfoot (as opposed to the usual style of long steps with landing on heels), 3–5 steps per second to reduce fatigue, damage to feet, and wasting of energy on vertical movement of body. Here are Gordon Piries’s 12 laws of running:
- Running with correct technique (even in prepared bare feet), on any surface, is injury free.
- Running equals springing through the air, landing, elastically on the forefoot with a flexed knee (thus producing quiet feet). On landing, the foot should be directly below your body. (Walking is landing on the heels with a straight leg).
- Any and all additions to the body damage running skill.
- Quality beats quantity; the speed at which you practice the most will be your best speed.
- Walking damages running.
- The correct tempo for human beings is between three and five steps per second.
- Arm power is directly proportional to leg power.
- Good posture is critical (Don’t lean forwards).
- Speed skills; endurance kills speed.
- Each individual can only execute one “Program” at any one time; an individual can be identified by his or her idiosyncrasies (i.e. “Program”). An individual can change his or her “Program” only by determined, educational effort; each individual “Program” degenerates unless It is controlled constantly.
- Static stretching exercises causes injuries.
- Running equals being out of breath, so breathing through the mouth is obligatory (hence the nickname “Puff Puff Pirie”).
If you found this article of use, you may also enjoy Chris Wardlaw’s 12 Training Principles, Darn Well Jogging Around, and Training Characteristics of Elite versus Non-elite Athletes.