Like most occasional runners I pick up the odd injury here and there. Twinges in my ankles, sore shins, aching knees and even lower back ache. Thankfully not all together but at least once or twice in a year I would suffer from all of them at some point. I assumed it was just a hazard of running that you had to accept. Change your trainers often, rest, stretch and don’t over exert yourself and hopefully you keep the injuries to a minimum.
But why can some people run a 100 miles week on week and seem as if they never suffer from injuries? Has luck would have it, I stumbled on a book about running. When I finished reading all I could think about was a scene from the Matrix:
“You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
I felt like I had taken the red pill and my eyes opened. But let’s not get carried away here, this could just be a load of codswallop! (Love that word). Even if it were true it might not be for everyone.
Let’s do a little experiment.
First I needed to look at my own running style. That didn’t go well! It seems like I am a heavy heel striker, I have long strides, slow cadence, I lean forward and my shoulders wobble! The good news is that I keep my head still!
What do I need to change? Pretty much everything!
- First I need to concentrate on a forefoot or mid foot strike. A heel strike sends shockwaves from your heel bone and up through your shins and knees. Your toes and the arch of your foot are able to absorb the impact of running so that the shock wave doesn’t reverberate up your leg.
- Next I need to shorten my stride. By over reaching your stride you are putting an incredible strain on your knee. Instead I need to shorten my stride so that my knee is directly above my foot when my foot hits the floor.
- Because I am 6ft my stride has always been long and slow. The ideal cadence is around 180 steps per minute. To achieve anywhere near this you have to shorten your stride. This helps maintain a good posture, reduces impact levels and makes you a faster runner!
- My posture must improve. I need to keep a straight back as this puts less pressure on the lower spine. I often get lower back pain after a long run, which I now know could be a result of me leaning forward far too much. A straight back should also stop my shoulders from wobbling.
- The last thing I need to work on is the butt! This rather large muscle, especially in my case, needs to be utilised more during running. It will help me keep my posture and also pull my legs back like an elastic band.
So, not much to do then. Not sure how I am going to remember to do all that as well as run and breathe.
This was 2 weeks ago, so how am I getting on….