Have you ever wondered if your running gait is causing more harm than good?
I just love the mental and emotional release that running brings. Feeling the air against my face, smelling the fresh air outside, and feeling free. However, does the repetitive impact of running cause harm to your body? Do you experience shin splints? Groin strain? Back pain? Leaking urine? So many symptoms can come from running….Too many to mention here!!
And, get this. There’s not ONE perfect running gait that fits all bodies! Each of us has a movement preference, a direction that our body naturally deviates to. And we all have a movement direction that is restricted. This natural flow of movement can become restricted at any joint in our body due to injury, repeated stress or load, and many other reasons. What I’m trying to convey here is this: Each body is unique and making changes to your running gait can change the force distribution within your body, and hence, reduce your pain! But it takes a skilled PT (enter me!) to help assess your body and movement patterns…. But now, onto the reason you’re reading this blog entry……
News Flash : You shouldn’t strike your heel when running! This is probably the piece of advice that I give to runners MOST OFTEN! When jumping rope or skipping, do you land on your heels? Please don’t try this at home! 😊 The impact will jolt throughout your body! OUCH!! And the same happens when you land toward the rear-foot (AKA the heel) when running. Instead, try this…..
Stand with the open pavement ahead of you, hands down by your side, setting “good posture” (that’s a whole ‘nuther blog post!). Allow yourself to fall forward until you feel as though you’ll fall, and naturally, your body will begin to step. This is when you “Fall” into the run, allowing your body to take off. This forward fall should mimic one of those fun “trust falls” we used to do as a kid. In other words, don’t bend at the hips but allow your whole body to fall as a plank. Whatever angle your body is in as you take your first step, that’s the angle you should try to maintain as you’re running. Enter the Title of this Blog : Falling through space without Landing on your face. This angle allows gravity to assist your forward momentum, making your running gait more efficient. Also, upon understanding a deeper level of physiology, this forward lean advances the rib cage forward over the pelvis which allows the deep transverse abdominals and pelvic floor muscles to be more active during the run which will help with holding urine on impact (landing on the ground) and supporting the lower back and pelvis to reduce pain. If you’re normally a rear-foot striker on first contact with the ground, you’ll notice this trust fall will also change how your foot contacts the ground.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: This blog series is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute diagnosis, treatment, or advice from your medical professionals.