Yes, from the view of physics and biomechanics. No, from the actual “physiological” experience.
As an expression through languaging, the act of running has long been described as “falling forward.” While this is technically correct, it is from the brain’s (neurosomatic) perception not at all functionally meaningful.
Firstly, “falling forward” is virtual language, an attempt to use language approximations to describe reality, but is discordant with the brain’s sense of gravitational forces in movement and body balance. In short, the brain seeks to maintain the entire body in functional equilibrium.
Secondly, the language description, if it were communicated to the runner, would render a runner anywhere immediately cautionary and inhibited. Any runner told that running is “falling forward,” and that running faster would require even more of falling forward, would generate a biologically automatic response to be cautious, careful, watch out, slow down
The proof? Set up an experiment with one control group being told to run and think of falling forward (virtual reality); then an experimental group told that running is a dynamic action requiring control of motion, balance, breathing and a sense of being in the “zone” (dynamic active movement with millisecond pauses of polyvagal-parasympathetic ‘relaxation’). Add to the training—and a better use of wording—that using vectors of force in the best controlled and optimized way can provide not only a sense of confidence, body balance and efficiency, but also a far better chance of running better and enjoying the experience.
We do not yet know the potential benefits and usefulness of this approach in a basic research experiment and of course, must be open to whatever the results. (From my own experience as a former runner, and having worked professionally with many, plus knowing how running coaches use varieties of psycho-physical strategies, I would predict a positive “statistical outcome.”)
~Josef DellaGrotte, Ph.D, Psych., LMT, CFP-physio