How Are You Running?

 

long_distance_running

First of all I think running is great and a excellent way to keep fit, push yourself and when the weathers good it’s a great change of scenery from the wall or mirror in the gym. How are you running though? For a lot of us this is a strange question and pretty hard to answer.

Running is something we’ve being able to do since we were children, running is something that follows after learning how to walk. Years upon years of playing after school taking part in sports and even running for the train or bus. Most adults should be pretty accomplished In running right? I do think well yeah of course and some people seem quite natural in their running styles and some are a lot more graceful then others.  In many other ways I totally disagree, making improvements to my own technique has made me more in tune to analysing the way someone moves when running. You may think yes that all good and well for an athlete but I’m just trying to keep fit not trying to run a 10k or marathon. Whether running for recreation or an up coming event there are a lot of issues we need to consider. All of which you may find helpful, whether you are just starting out or have been running for a long time.

Running Toward Injury

When up to 50% of runners each year get injured, we can really gain perspective on why looking at technique is really important when there is a 50/50 chance you could be injured in the process. When doing my research to write this even i was surprised with this incredibly high number but if we break it down we can see how this happens to so many people. If we’re talking about the average jogger then when your foot strikes the ground nearly 3 times your own body weight in force travels through your body and this puts a lot of stress through the joints ligaments and tendons. You may say at this point well I jog quite a bit and so far I feel perfectly fine, this is because the damage isn’t enough to cause injury straight away . The damage occurs over a period of time. If you are a regular runner does this sound familiar; after weeks of being fine suddenly knee, ankle, hip or lower back pain would seemingly come out of nowhere then this would somewhat explain where it has come from. Obviously there are many more injuries which occur but these four tend to be most common:

  • Runners knee– Tenderness or inflammation behind the knee can be caused by running on uneven surfaces and uphill and down hill.
  • Jumpers knee– This pain is on the opposite side from runners knee more common in jumpers but people who run long distances can get similar pain just under the front of the knee cap can be caused by running downhill because of the stopping forces involved in slowing you down.
  • Shin Splints– This is one of the most uncomfortable ones for runners and can have a major effect on performance. Inflamed lower leg muscles is caused by the constant pounding of a hard surface and can be worsened by running uphill
  • Plantar fasciitis– This one is to do with inflammation to the tissues on the bottom of the foot this is most common in people who are flat footed and unsupported footwear can also be a major cause.

They say prevention is the better than a cure so avoiding these conditions all together is the best. A few tips are;

  • Replace your running footwear every 6 months- Try to do this within less time if you run a lot. Also use different pairs of trainers for the gym then to run in, your body will thank you for the investment.
  • Proper warm up and cool down– This is one of the most neglected part of most peoples routine and this is common through recreational runners all the way up to elite athletes, time is always a factor in the reason why, yet less time spent out with injuries is surely worth it for an extra 10-15 minutes at the start and end of a workout.
  • Strength Training– If you are more of a runner and less of a lifter this is for you. Regular strength training will help your body deal with the forces better and building stronger muscles and a more stable core will help you run further and faster and waste less energy at the same time.

It’s Not Just What You Do, I’ts The Way You Do It

When most people think of running, including me at one point, It’s not like learning how to drive a car or play a violin is it. We already presume that we just put one foot in front of the other and off we go, often thinking more about what distance, what route were taking, how fit we are now or how much better we’re going to be and even the best footwear to use. All those things we do need to consider,  but what about the running itself.

Most things that we learn we consider having some kind of tuition on, why not running. Sure we can read books and watch videos on YouTube, they’re some amazing examples and great tips on there for running better. We must be careful with this approach for the reason that in training before I believe in my head I’m doing the correct technique and being told that it’s all wrong and vice versa feels wrong and looks right. This is because of our old habits, since we’re are used to them feel right, yet the correct technique may feel odd or weird until we get used to it.

Head position, body angle, arm swing, foot plant, and hips is a hell of a lot to think about when your running along. The best way to get around this issue if you are a recreational runner is to contact your local running club you’ll be able to pick up way more tips then you could possibly imagine and get some feedback in real time instead of guessing your way through it. Another useful way and this is something that has being valuable to me is to record yourself running and get a coach to have a look. Therefore not having the time to go to a running club or to go and see a coach can’t be an excuse. Even when purchasing running footwear you can try them out in store and have a member of staff look and assess your running this can give you a unique insight into how you move.

To conclude i think that running should be a fun and enjoyable way to get yourself moving and can be done with little equipment and can be an awarding endeavour and challenge for people to take on. I hope that you find this information useful and it should keep you off the injury list.

Happy Running!

Thanks for Reading

-J