This secret may stop you from ever having a running injury again!
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
I used to be a big time runner in college. I wasn't on a team, I just had a suspended drivers license, therefore, I ran everywhere. Running fast forever, that was my motto. I could get up from a big meal and go run somewhere. I could run on very little sleep. I could run during a three day fast... nothing slowed me down and I never seemed to get hurt.
That was a long time ago. In my current middle aged; often ache filled life, every time I tried to get myself back into the running game, I ended up getting hurt some how. I could go out and push myself and run a long way, my mind was strong, but then a day or two later, I couldn't walk up the stairs. I could go for a short run and my achilles tendon would rebel or my shins would splinter all up on me. My knees would swell up for days or my heel would go all tender on me or my arch would quit arching. Running was ruining me.
I was ready to call it quits! In fact, I did call it quits. Convinced I could never run again, I started walking instead. Walking is great. While walking, you can think about the whole worlds problems and you can take in the sites and the smells and you can dictate notes to yourself and you can day dream and check out the neighbors and you can can even eat a snack if you want to, but- you also end up eating up a lot of very valuable time trying to get your work out.
I would walk fast. Super fast. Just short of those really goofy looking people who flail their arms all over the place and wiggle their butts a lot. If I really focused on it I could walk around a 13 minute mile and still look fairly normal. I have very long legs and this is about as fast as any one can possibly walk without actually breaking into a jog. It cracks me up that on the SP fitness tracking, they actually list a 10 minute mile under the "walking" category. Riiiiight. I'm here to tell you, even those goofy looking dudes can't walk that fast!
Anyway, I walked a lot and if I wanted to get a good workout in I'd have to walk like 13 to 15 miles, it would take me over 3-1/2 hours. While I was walking, I never got hurt, I never ached, nothing ever got sore and while I did get stronger and more fit and also lose weight, I just had to try jogging again to bumb up the cardio and bump down the very long time commitment that walking required of me.
Now finally, I'm onto the secret. What I learned is that if I walked one full mile as fast as I possibly could (without scaring anyone) and kept good form (see below) and focused on stretching all the muscles while still standing straight and all that, I could then break into a jog, with warm, stretched muscles; and never have any of the aforementioned ailments when I was done. I also walk one full mile as fast as I can when my run is over and this acts as both my cool down and my after stretching.
So the next time you want to start running or jogging, don't bother stretching (modern experts say save it for after anyway) first turn around and walk a half mile as fast as you can, then turn around and walk back as fast as you can to where you wanted to start; and then take off on your pain free run. Be sure to walk that extra one mile when your done as well and then after a few weeks, let me know if this works for you as well as it does for me!
Proper technique for walking: "I know, you've been doing it forever".
1) Stand tall, with your shoulders back, head and neck aligned with your spine, and abs pulled in. In other words- stand straight.
2) Push off with the big toe of your rear foot, and land squarely on the heel of your lead foot.
3) Roll through the entire foot, from heel strike to the ball of your foot to the final push off with your toes, allowing your ankle to more through its full range of motion. Your foot should never leave the ground as when jogging.
4) Avoid over-striding. Increase the number of steps per minute to increase speed. Over striding can injure the joints and muscles which is what we are trying to avoid.
5) Bend elbows at a right angle, and swing your arms from the shoulder, keeping elbows close to your sides. Pumping arms is good if your not self concise like me.
6) Avoid clenching hands or over-swinging your arms. Pretend there is an egg in your hand.
7) Minimize leaning on hills, both up and down.
8) Visualize yourself stretching and rotating and warming- every muscle necessary to move.