Running season is sprinting towards us, and what better time to improve efficiency, technique and personal best’s.
Running is a versatile activity that is enjoyed across a lifespan by many individuals, whether it be for general fitness, to compliment other sporting pursuits, or for competition.
Current research suggests that 30-75% of runners are injured annually, where a variety of factors such as fatigue, deficits in strength, biomechanics and inappropriate training load have been found to be strongly related. It is important to note that every runner is an individual, and that one ‘size fits all’ does not apply, so seek guidance from your Physiotherapist for management for your own specific needs.
Avoid over striding and increase step rate
Over striding, where a runner increases their step length to reduce their step rate, has been found to be less energy efficient than shorter, more frequent steps. Longer strides have been shown to have greater ground reaction forces, which has been linked to knee joint stress and injury. Increased step rate actually reduces the forces.
Take wider steps
A smaller step width when running, or a ‘crossover’ pattern, where one leg crosses midline has been associated with common runners specific overuse injuries such as shin splints and knee pain.
Aim for shoes with a heel height of approximately 10-12 mm
Traditional running shoes may range from 8-12 mm, whereby the higher the heel the lesser the demands on the calf complex. As shoes deform with wear over time, the height of the cushioning will reduce in response to imposed stresses and may become more worn through one side compared to another.
Stand tall and push backward through hips to drive knees up
Forward motion should be driven from the hips rather than arm swing or excessively high knees, where the runner pushes the ground away behind them. The upper body should remain tall, with shoulders back and chest open, in a slight ‘falling forward’ movement to encourage forward momentum.
For more information about running technique, please contact one of our clinics to talk to one of our Physiotherapists