We all know how to run. We’ve been doing it all our lives. Why then, are 79.6% of runners forced to stop due to injury? (BJSM). Over training, lack of strength and flexibility, muscle imbalances, dysfunctional physiological systems all play a part but what’s missing?
The still little known fact is technique is a main cause of injuries in runners. Perhaps you’ve had your gait analysed before? The focus was on over pronation and shoe prescriptions. As much as shoes are important, is a new pair of shoes the best solution? The science emphatically says no. “Gait analysis and the way shoes are prescribed are oversimplified and potentially injurious to the consumer.” (Valiant 2011). At The Running Coaches we believe total body evaluations are most beneficial.
Improving technique dramatically reduces injury potential and lays the foundation for increased performance. Analysis of the whole body from head to toe is crucial to improve technique.
Technique is concerned with our posture and elasticity. Technique describes our skill in handling gravity. Technique, posture and movement skill are all habits. Once we have developed dysfunctional movement patterns we require multifaceted therapy to return our bodies to skilful pain free movement. Osteopathy positively affects the nervous, circulatory, lymphatic systems as well as muscles, bones and fascia. When we are pain free we have an opportunity to increase our strength and flexibility and to improve our technique and training methods to avoid a recurrence of issues.
Injury free runners consistently work on technique, rhythm and their training plan, whilst addressing any physiological issues, muscle imbalances and weakness.
If Tolstoy described running he would have said all happy runners are alike, all unhappy runners are unhappy in their own way. Happy translates to healthy, injury free, efficient. Contrary to the media’s continual reinforcement of the concept of there is no ‘one way’ to run, there is a perennial philosophy of running. Whilst many coaches choose to argue over differences there are key attributes all great coaches agree on. The goal is to work through all your unique and varied deviations from the agreed upon attributes of skilful running, both in technique and training.
It is my belief with sufficient dedication all runners can run injury free and improve performance. Step 1 is addressing Technique and this includes Osteopathic care and Strength and Conditioning. Step 2 is to run short distances a few times per week. Step 3 is to be mindful of your body and gradually increase frequency then distance. Many months of focus on these areas preclude Step 4 speed work.
Consistently working on our physiological systems, strength, technique and training leads to increased performance and minimal injury potential.