Should an injured runner work on running form? Well, that depends and that’s what we’re going to talk about today on The Doc on the Run podcast.
Before we get started in this episode I just want to let you know I created something for you that I think you might find really useful. It’s a presentation sharing the three main secrets I have discovered that are used by injured runners so they can maintain their running fitness and still recover from any over-training injury. Even if it’s a stress fracture, a plantar plate tear, a partial rupture of the plantar facia or Achilles Tendinitis.. this will help you get up and get moving!
So if you’ve been told you have to sit on the couch and wait for an x-ray or for something to change, you need to check this out.
I was recently doing a webcam visit with an injured runner and he wanted to know whether or not he should try to work on his running form. The story was that he got injured. He started to get better. He wasn’t really completely better. He did a big race and then he got a lot worse and then he saw a doctor, did some treatment, started to get better and then got worse again.
He is now had literally months of getting better, getting worse. He knows his fitness is deteriorating. He’s had pains that shifted from one area of his foot to another, which sort of suggests he’s had a couple of different injuries. But in his case, I really think that the pain from one area caused him to shift his pressures in the way that he was running to a different area and that led to sort of a secondary injury that wouldn’t have been happening if he didn’t have the first injury in the first place.
Whether or not you should assess your running form if you have a history of injuries is a really simple thing. If you want to run faster and more efficiently, I would say yes. If you want to try to run in a way that leads you to not get the same kind of over training injury again, I would say yes for sure.
You have to think about this. If you have recurring injuries, if you have injuries that shift from one place to another, and you get a running form assessment, or you do it yourself and you look at your running form, you look at the way you’re running and you think about adjusting that in a way that should decrease peak forces to your body. It should decrease your risk of getting another over training injury.
Now I get lots of idiotic comments from people who say, “You can’t change the force of gravity.” Well, yeah, I know you can’t change the force of gravity unless you go to a different planet, but you can change the way your body reacts to it. Now think about an analogy. If you’re driving in a car and you’re going 60 miles an hour, and you hit a concrete wall that does not break and does not move out of your way, then the car stops very, very suddenly. The forces of that impact are all based on the speed, the weight of the vehicle, and the sudden stop.
The way that your body reacts inside that vehicle depends on whether or not you’re wearing a restraint device like a seatbelt, or if you have an airbag in the car that actually changes the distance over which you decelerate, which would be longer than the deceleration of the car itself. That is what actually cushions and protects you. Now, your running form can do a similar thing. The way that you land on the ground if you’re strong, if your muscles actually absorb those forces dynamically, if they actually absorb the force over a longer period of time because your running form is better and adapts more to the surface as you land, that actually protects you in the same way.
If you run with a very rigid foot type where you land as a heel striker, and you’re just slamming in, you get very big shock waves of force that go through your body and can put you at risk of injury. That is different than changing the force of gravity. But working on your running form to change those peak forces really can make a huge difference and so the three things that happen when you really work on your running form are pretty simple.
The first thing is that if you’re running in a way that is more efficient because your running form is actually more efficient than just being a pure heel striker or whatever. Well, you get less exhausted. When you get less exhausted, your form stays better longer. If you look at professional runners, if you look at Olympic athletes, they all look great mid race.
But at the end of the race, they predictably should be completely and totally exhausted when they cross the finish lines. So their form starts to degenerate and they don’t look quite so pretty when they’re approaching the finish line. That’s the first thing. When you get exhausted, you simply cannot maintain that form as much.
When you can’t do that, the second thing happens. You start to wobble, you start to weave, you start to load things in a way that shock load them, and that puts you at more risk. So the stronger the body, the better your running form, the more able you are to maintain that strong body longer, the better that protects you.
The third thing is that when you are loading things asymmetrically, when you become exhausted and you start to wobble, you actually load things asymmetrically or unevenly. And so when you get a fifth metatarsal stress fracture, it’s because you’re loading the outside of your foot too much. When you get sesamoiditis it’s because you’re loading the sesamoid bones on the other side of your foot too much. All of these things are related to uneven loading of those structures.
In short, yes. I think that if you have a history of running injuries and you’re actually able to run now in a way that actually would permit you to actually have some sort of assessment or assess your running form yourself. Yes, I think it can make a big difference and there can be a huge payoff if you’ve been injured and you want to make sure that you don’t get re-injured as you return to running.
So check it out. Look at some books, look at some videos on running form. See what you can do. See if you can identify any key areas where you can have big improvements and that is where the big payoff will be for you.
At the beginning this episode I told you that I have created a presentation that you really need to see if you are injured and are trying to figure out what to do next. You’re going to find really useful if you have an overtraining injury and you are told that the key is to sit still, rest, recover and, in short…do nothing other than watch your fitness evaporate.
It doesn’t have to be that way. I will show you 3 Secrets to Overtraining Recovery that injured runners use to maintain their running fitness and still recover from any overtraining injury. You can use the presentation get moving, maintain your hard-earned running fitness and get past any overtraining injury.
Registration is free just go to docontherun.com/overtrainingsecrets and sign up there.
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