Running injuries are skyrocketing and here are the main causes
– mechanical overload
– training format
– running shoes
Today will focus on mechanical overload and shoes.
Shoes are a big topics, I teach masterclasses on the subject to sport orthopedic specialists, professional running coaches and foot surgeons. All trying to understand why the new technology has such an impact on injury. In the 70’s and 80’s runners injury rate was low compared to now
Why ? basic technology and good running fitness. That’s what it comes down to.
The new generation is not training the same either, they are not focusing as much on drills and quality of strides, more on simply volume.
Running is all about impact and rebound, the way we move forward.
Lighter on the feet less the mechanical load, no mater your body weight.
Running is good for the body, running injuries are not caused by running.
It’s all about mechanics, economy and training !
Mechanical overload is the stress of the ground force and the impact on the kinetic chain starting at the foot, forces move up !
The mechanical overload depends on musculoskeletal imbalances, stride length, cadence, upper body gait posture, balance between anterior and posterior kinetic chain, recoil energy properties, eccentric strength, foot intrinsic muscle strength… just to name a few :))
Run economy comes from optimizing mechanics and running fitness, not the other way around.
We can’t have shoes that will do the job like an electric bike can !
Optimizing mechanics does not = buying a new shoe with cool technology
Running shoes can’t prevent injuries but they can cause injury
Innovation is important, without we would no progress. But it does not replace the fundamentals of training : working on improving technique and fitness. Like we do for climbing, skiing and swimming, it’s the same for running. The ski doesn’t prevent injury, you still risk ACL tear !
Now the road bikes are super light but very rigid, so they are harder to handle on wet or slippery grounds, some pro riders crash more than others due to the challenge of handling the bikes. The best riders are the one that are the fittest at the end- and can handle the technology.
Nike is being accused of the new running ‘drug’ with world records dropping right and left, and suddenly very fast runners on the scene all wearing the carbon plate shoes. That’s ignorance.
A carbon plate can’t replace foot muscle power, proper mechanics and stored recoil energy
To benefit from this new technology a runner needs to be able to run the shoe. Quick, light, fast stride. The shoe doesn’t make the runner, more the opposite. An elite runner with a heavy stride, moving more vertically then forward with lower economy won’t benefit the same.
They wear out extremely quickly, very little longevity. Elites race once on them.
We have some of the best athletes breaking world records without the new technology.
Usain Bolt 100m world record still holds even with the new technology with twice the thickness 20mm versus 10mm and twice the carbon plates. Bolt is the best example of a perfect relax stride, driven by human recoil energy coming from very hard work and a sublime coach.
Eliud Kipchode is the marathon version of Bolt !
Both Bolt and Eliud suffered injuries. Don’t get impress, this new technology won’t stop injury. What will reduce the rate of injury is when we start prioritizing good mechanics with quality training programs.
My objective with this article is to make it clear that to reduce your chance of injury there is no quick fix.
Economy, economy, economy is key- and the most well trained athlete will win.
The only way you can reduce ground force impact is by optimizing proper run mechanics, reducing musculoskeletal imbalances through functional exercises and run specific drills and learn how to run!!!
I can’t wait for this to be the new trail running trend :)))
Like Jessy Owen said so well,
“Running is spending as little time on the ground as possible.”
Be a stride forward, train hard and be smart
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