Research shows that up to 80% of runners will experience an injury annually, whether you are new to running or have been running for years. Regardless of the injury, no two runners are alike. Injuries can be caused by training error, poor form, mobility deficits or strength deficits. Did you know that reducing the stress of each stride by just 10% can allow you to run twice as far without injury?
One of the largest predictors of run performance is Running Economy. Running economy consists of metabolic, neuromuscular, cardiorespiratory, and biomechanical factors in running. Many will be aware of the importance of having a high VO2Max (maximal oxygen consumption druing exercise) and contribute this to more efficient running, but a more efficient running economy can vary by 30% between two runners with the same VO2Max. Your biomechanics (running form) is a great factor in running economy. Your ability to run efficiently might not directly correlate with your level of effort, but rather with inappropriate form, weakness, or mobility deficits. The quickest way to maximize your full running potential is via 2D or 3D running analysis and an assessment of your overall mobility and stability. There’s no need to wait until you are injured to correct your running form!
No matter what distance you run, a running gait analysis can help you become a healthier and faster runner. There is no perfect formula, but running with improved form can reduce pain, increase speed with reduced effort, run more miles without shoe breakdown, and improve how your strength connects to your run. At Specialized Physical Therapy, we can help you break down your running form into the 3 main phases: initial foot contact, mid stance, and take off. Then we can offer specific coaching and cues for appropriate corrections in order to minimize pain and improve overall performance.
We will work with you to create a custom running plan, along with a strength training plan in order to prepare your body for the impacts running has on your body. As you run, your legs become more efficient, not stronger. Our body naturally uses the smallest/weakest muscle fibers first and then gradually increases the number and size of muscle fibers it needs to accomplish a task as it progressively gets harder. Running is a low load, high impact sport. It does not create enough load to require the body to recruit more fibers and therefore does not increase strength. Lifting heavy weights progressively, and with low reps, builds up your force production capacity to recruit more muscle fiber and run harder, longer. We will help you establish an effective strength training plan to maximize your running performance, with expert coaching of the main barbell lifts plus additional accessory exercise to get the results you want!
Let us help you reach your goals, rehab an injury, and prevent future injuries as you embark on your running journey!