Are running techniques important? How do they relate to you? As a clinic that has a reputation for fast and lasting pain relief, we inevitably see a high flow of athletes in our offices. Over the years we have seen overwhelming numbers of runners among the athletes, from recreational to elite, from beginners to the seasoned, from sprinters to ultra-marathoners.
One commonality of these injuries is that you rely too heavily on the lower end of your body’s kinematic chain to execute your steps. Think of your body movement as moving a soft chain or a whip– where you grip the chain is where your core is (your center of gravity), whereas the end of your limbs is the end of the chain that meets the ground force. The end of the chain does not have the massive power necessary to move your full body weight effectively. When you mistakenly rely heavily on it, it inevitably over-works and breaks down eventually- it may take a while if you are well conditioned, but sooner or later it happens no matter what.
Think of it– we all believe our calves are the major push-off force for us to run forward, but do you know that your Quads and Gluteal muscles are even better suited for that? The sheer size difference (quads + glutes vs. calves) and the scientifically measured forces generated by these muscles can easily prove the point.
The function of calves is to follow through what was initiated with your Quads and Gluts, and to complete the push off – the last part of the job. If you force it to take over the entire the job, something in that department will break down – knees, shins, calves or heels. Therefore you need to know how to turn on the Quads and Gluteal muscles more efficiently to lead the calf muscles. Let me give you one simple trick to help this: Move your hips and thighs more than legs. Use your hips and thighs to lead the leg movements, as if the legs and feet were end portion of a whip.
This little information will get you started on your journey. If you are interested in finding out more about running techniques and to practice with our feedback, please join our meet up group and come to practice and have fun with like-minded runners.
If you have questions or injuries, call our office (858) 481-1438 for a free checkup and personalized advice!
-Dr. Dawn X. Liu, Ph. D., D.C., L.Ac.