So You Think You Can Run?..
Running; we all learn how to do it as kids’ right? It’s not that tricky once you’ve mastered the whole standing on 2 feet thing.
That’s what I thought and probably what we all think, turns out we’re wrong and that training errors actually account for over 60% of all running injuries, and technique equates to a pretty big chunk of this!
So finding out you have a pretty poor running technique, when you’re trying to run for 26.2 miles is probably not the best start! I kid, it is fine, I hope! Like with everything it is fixable, I’ve learned is that the way I was running could account for a whole wealth of injuries down the road, enter common running injury here ________!
Don’t believe me, check it!
On the left hand side you can see pretty clearly that my knees drop in, this is not such a good thing. Turns out I have some pretty bad ‘habits’; overpronation, weak hips, calves and anything else you care to add to the list. I’m basically working against my own body to kill my shin bones/muscles in the lower leg, one step at a time! These areas of my body have to work super hard to correct or rectify everything I am doing wrong.
The good news is however that as you can see by the video on the right, I’ve been working really hard to improve my technique; even to the point of tackling that pretty hefty heel strike.
I’m not cured of bad running technique by any means these videos are clips of about 30 seconds. By the time my legs start to tire I will slip back into bad form. The important thing right now though is the awareness, I’m aware of what I’m doing wrong and aware of what I need to do to put it right! And that’s largely strengthening, EVERYTHING!
I’ve been doing some simple exercises and also building in a full strengthening routine into my workout with my personal trainer Sophie (more on her later). But for now here are 3 very simple and easy exercises you can do to improve your strength. Please note I am not a physio, this is just some basic examples.
This can be done on a step or can be done on the floor.
Basically your lifting up onto your tiptoes and then back down again, without pushing your hips forward or bending the knee (that would be cheating). Runners should be aiming to do between 30 – 50 Reps.
To stop my knees dropping in I’ve been working with a resistance band at home, doing 5×5 reps of squats. This is to improve my technique.
Then in the gym I’m working with kettlebells and increasing the weight loading in order to build my strength.
This is just a great all round core building exercise. Don’t lift your hips or bum, and really try to engage all your muscles. Whether you’re on your hands, forearms or even side planking, it doesn’t really matter. They are all great for conditioning your core. In yoga we’ve been looking at how engaging the inner thigh muscles really helps your technique in plank position.
These are just a few examples of a whole load of exercises I’m integrating in to my routine.
If your getting injured or even if you’re just curious it could be worth going and seeing a PT to find out what you can do to improve your technique and ultimately your performance. If you’re happy running and feeling good then just stick to doing that. That’s the thing about exercise, like everything else, what you need is totally unique to you and what makes you feel healthy and happy!