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BodyFitness

5 Running Myths Busted

If you want to start running but have some doubts on your ability, then you need to read these five running myths from Platinum Pilates

Running is bad for your knees

This is the equivalent of, a bird saying, flying is bad for his wings. If running hurts your knees it’s more likely that you have a awed movement pattern. Or that your biomechanics and kinetic transfer of forces and energy are dysfunctional. Or put simply, the way you absorb ground force reaction into your feet and transfer it upwards is out of sync with your original make up. Maybe, it’s time to look at your movement patterns and your dynamic posture.

Walking is better for your joints than running

The biomechanics and kinematic rules of walking and running are completely different. Running is not a fast version of walking. In fact when you compare energy output, ground force reaction, foot strike and breaking force you will see they are as different as night and day. Simply put, this means that walking is a form of controlled falling or an inverted pendulum. So to walk means you are constantly decelerating to control the ground force reaction with the knee mainly extended.

In the case of running, which is an elastic system, we strike the ground with the forefoot or heel or even both. This means the force of gravity is absorbed in our tendons in the form of elastic energy. The tendons release the energy back into potential energy to propel us forward onto the next leg, almost like a recycling system. This makes it more efficient in terms of force absorption.

You need an expensive running shoe to reduce injury

This is a big misconception. Whilst yes, we are seeing many ‘running’ related injuries, a major reason is not the shoe you wear but the overuse of your tissues. If you are poorly conditioned your tissues will overload. Which will in turn most likely lead your body to develop a faulty running pattern leading to injury. The truth is you’ll have to search very hard to find solid scientific studies showing the use of footwear and the reduction of injuries.

Multiple studies showing that cushioned shoes had NO reduction in running injuries. The key here is to find a balance between cushioning and minimalist shoe selection. Remember that the shoe should not influence the running technique. Your aim should be to restore the movement pattern that is close to your original design and not rely on a shoe.

Lifting weights will make you a better runner

We have to start thinking differently with the practice of running. Most people think they have to run to get into shape. However, what science tells us is that to run properly, you need to be in sufficient physical shape. More specifically, be able to cover the fundamental demands running places on the body. Without them our risk of injury increases and our chances of reaching our goals diminishes.

Pain-free running has postural and functional needs

  • Our sagittal stability is so crucial as is our lateral stability.
  • Running is an activity performed on one foot so our ability to control motion in the frontal plane is crucial.
  • Our body’s ability to control rotation again since we are on one foot and our body is a system of spirals is important.
  • The fourth is our ability to maintain the correct thoracic extension.
  • Finally we have to have good hip condition to generate force and good feet condition with both stability and mobility to be able to send information to the brain about terrain and to execute good technique.

If you don’t possess these qualities your chances of pain free running become limited. But of course when you have finely tuned motor controls then, maybe consider hitting the weights rack!

We were not designed to run long distance

If your physical condition doesn’t tick the boxes required, the thoughts of running long distance might seem alien to you. But the characteristics of our genetic make-up would have us believe that we are designed for long distance. The structure and complex dynamics of our plantar facia and Achilles Tendon, which is able to recycle 30% of the energy created, shows that we can be really efficient for long distance.

Will Byrne, Co-Founder & Runity Coach, Platinum Pilates & Ben Doyle, Specialised Chartered Physiotherapist

Read: Platinum Pilates, what to expect from a class