Running: The most brutal sport in the world
More brutal than rugby? Absolutely! Elite rugby players train up to 10 times each week – to improve strength, power, agility, mobility, speed, technique, skills, patterns – all with the intention of making them a better rugby player. But underpinning all of this training is one important factor, efficiency!
Any skill-set or training method is futile without efficiency. Efficiency decreases muscle and joint fatigue, which not only improves performance but also decreases the risk of injury. So all of this training, when performed efficiently, makes an elite level rugby player less likely to get injured.
Now, to running: Who teaches people to run? Who implements drills into their running? Running is considered a birthright; we should not have to be taught to run. This is both right and wrong. It is right in that most 2 to 5 year olds run with better technique than most adults – they never heel strike! But from the time we become slaves to unnatural, big, chunky, heel-raised shoes (causing Western World Foot Disease* – a topic for another time), and victims of Sitting Degenerate Syndrome* (think chronically short hip flexors, hamstrings, atrocious trunk stability, etc.), the likelihood of running efficiently is almost non-existent.
Most runners make a conscious decision that they want to run. Or, they want to lose weight and therefore need to run. Whatever the reason for taking up running, at this point most will put on their running shoes and run! Inevitably, many will be struck down with common running injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, or achilles tendonitis, to name a few. At this point some runners purchase more expensive, equally clumpy shoes to try to fix the problem. Other runners book in with their physiotherapist, podiatrist, osteopath, or doctor, to find out what hideously painful running disease they have being struck down with.
But what if you actually learned to run with good technique?
Running puts up to 5 times your body-weight in force through your feet. When performed with poor efficiency this is a recipe for disaster!
For many years I thought it was too hard to reinvent the wheel for a lot of runners and went along my merry way treating and alleviating their running injuries. Now, after 10 years treating these running diseases it is time to reinvent the wheel. It is time to stop letting pain dictate when we need help.