Running Form – Could it Cause Injury?


RunningForm
Running Form is not something I have given a lot of thought to up until now.  Sure I have tried to relax and pay attention to my stride, but it has always been a passing thought and something I convinced myself was other runners problems, and not mine.

Previously, when thinking about running form, it was always with how it related to my speed and premature fatigue during long runs, and yet I rarely questioned if it had anything to do with any of my recent injuries.  In my mind, injury has always been associated with overtraining or shoe choice.  The only time I ever have related injury with form has been with extreme form issues, which I have always convinced myself I do not suffer from.


West-StrideThis all changed this past Thursday when I attended the first of four sessions of a Running Form clinic put on by West Stride in Atlanta.  Kyle O’Day from Continuum Sports brought his 11 years of experience working with both elite and recreational athletes as he walked us through videos and demonstrations of both bad form and good form.  Kyle explained that all too often we try to “fix” our running with different kinds of shoes, or by changing obvious things like stride length and terrain, all the while ignoring the most fundamental reason for premature fatigue and injury – our form.

continuum_sports_solutionsThe first session was very informative as we discussed form and what we would be doing in the coming sessions to fix any form issues we have.  Tonight is our second session, the first one that will have us doing what we all love to do – run.  I just am not sure how I feel about all the others seeing how bad my form truly is. :)

I am excited to find out what I can do to improve my form, and ultimately my running.  Stay tuned and make sure you visit the 26.2 Quest Fanpage, @262quest and also subscribe to the RSS Feed to make sure you don’t miss any of the upcoming experiences I have with fixing my form.

11 comments:

  1. LAUREN MIERTSCHINOct 16, 2011, 4:59:00 PM

    Good for you.  A lot of people don't want to change their form.  I have not had a single repetitive-use injury this entire year (& I believe it was my change of form and strengthening that gets the credit).

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  2. Good for you! I keep thinking I need to look at my form as I'm sure it's not good or as efficient as I could be....just so intimidating to start. I look forward to reading more!

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  3. After getting injured last fall, I spent the first couple of months in my comeback focusing on my form -- mainly on shorter strides, which helps with less heel-striking. I can see in pictures that I still have some heel strikes going on, but my shoes wear differently before. I'm determined in the next year to work my way down in the heel drop with my shoes too -- neutral and "minimalist" shoes will actually help with those form issues. 

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  4. Looking forward to hearing how the next session goes. I must admit I'm quick to blame shoes or overtraining rather than my form, maybe I need to have a rethink.

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  5. Good luck. I'm skeptical of the so-called "experts" in running form. If they try to shoe horn (no pun intended) everyone into one specific type of "perfect" form, then I think that is incorrect. Everyone is built differently and I believe this causes each person to have a different ideal running form. That being said, I also believe that heel striking is bad, but just because that one thing is bad, there isn't necessarily one single perfect running form.

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  6. Ben, I understand your skepticism, and to be honest I think that is exactly what everyone that is touting a specific foot strike is doing.  

    In the first session Kyle did mention that specifically - that everyone is a bit different, however there are some basic fundamentals in form that can help get each person to their own specific best form.... which may or may not be like mine.  He did hesitate when responding to some questions specifically and answered it with maybe, because it could differ from person to person.

    I may be misinterpreting him a touch and if I am I hope he corrects me here in these comments as I know he is reading these posts.

    I personally am always skeptical of anyone that says they have the one true answer to everyone's problem, whether that be for running form, shoes (or no shoes), and even down to specific types of training or the best mileage to put in.  If our body's all responded identically we would have already broken that 2 hour barrier in the marathon because we would have been able to perfect what works or doesn't work - so much so that our elite runners would be running at near perfection by now.

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  7. you're not excited about others seeing your stinky form at a place where they're going to help you? what about all those people on the streets who see it every day! they don't bother you?! ;) hope you get the help you're looking for. sounds like a great opportunity.

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  8. That is a funny twist.  Yea, I would much prefer them see me, there is just that angst about someone pointing out the faults.  At least the people that see me on the street just point and laugh without me knowing.... unless of course they honk the horn while they are pointing or laughing, or much worse slow down and follow me to get an even better laugh :) 

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  9. Ben... I agree with you 100%. There is no perfect form for everyone. We're definitely teaching the class and looking for people to be in appropriate ranges, angles, tempos, foot strikes, etc. The "one size fits all" approach is usually a flawed strategy.

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  10. Wow, that's awesome, Tim.  Good luck with this.

    I try so hard to avoid heel striking yet almost every race picture tells another story.

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  11. Soooo fascinating...I'm currently in the middle of about a 9 month project to improve my form because I was constantly getting injured.  It's a slow process but it has been so interesting!  GOod luck!

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