Runners are addicted to running for good reason. There is nothing like it! No exercise offers so much in such little time. For example, the caloric expenditure while running is higher than for most other exercises, including biking. Also, it allows for fresh air and beautiful scenery with a minimal investment in clothing or equipment. It requires little skill and time to learn. Runners suffer from less depression, colds and flu symptoms, and experience less pain due to an endorphine release (natural chemical in the brain associated with euphoria and pain control) that is greater than found in other sports and activities. These are some of the motives that cause people to run every day, in spite of the constant loading and wear and tear on the joints.
To be a competitive runner and have longevity in the sport, optimal form is necessary. Moreover, a recent study shows that a runner can decrease the stresses on the lower body and reduce the incidence of stress fractures when trained to run with proper form using visual feedback while on a treadmill. The application of this information has significant implications for training programs for runners for the prevention and recovery from injury. One such low impact method is called the “Pose Running Technique,” by Dr. Nicholas Romanov. It is a “soft landing” method which promotes; an S-like body position with slightly bent knees, a slightly forward lean at the ankles to employ gravity and momentum, lifting the feet up under the hips, and landing on the ball of the foot under the body to absorb the center of mass.
It is my opinion, that the best runners, with the least injuries, such as Jordan Hoyt, speedster from Abington Heights, employ these techniques naturally. Additionally, many of the world’s best runners use coaches and trainers to assist them in their quest for success and injury prevention by using perfect form. However, for the rest of us, we must learn to maximize the efficient use of the body as it works with, not against gravity. We must learn to run “soft” to prevent injuries.
SOURCES: Runner’s World, Pose Running Technique (www.posetech.com), Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.