3 reasons you hate running: part three - you don’t have to hate it
Your potential “hate” for running (apologies for all those that actually enjoy running, we’re trying the click bait title thing) is most likely not mutual.
Running doesn’t hate you.
The good news is, moving better (particularly regarding a running gait) is not actually that hard. Just like any other skill, it takes time and practice, but it certainly is possible.
Here are a few key principles that contribute to moving and running better:
It sounds like a simple concept, but a lack of control in the pelvis is grossly abundant in the western world.
Tight hips, ‘out of alignment’, poor posture are all labels associated with a lack of control of your pelvis and if you can’t control your pelvic positioning, your ability to generate force with your hips (or the rest of your legs for that matter) will be compromised.
So what do you do?
Pilates is a good start.
Simple as that, find a GOOD pilates instructor, one with a physio degree or clinical pilates qualification and spend the money and the time to learn how to recruit the deep muscles of your abdominals, your glutes and all the other little muscles that allow for pelvic stability. Once you have your head around this, you can begin to consider its contribution to strengthening your leg muscles.
Having strong legs, attached to a stable pelvis (direct result of a strong core you’ll develop during pilates) is again disappointingly rare. Our modern sedentary lifestyles and a lack of strength specific training is one of the major contributors to the niggling joint injuries associated with running.
As you have seen in part one and two, the mechanical load that goes through the joints of the legs during running is massive. Your leg muscles help manage this load.
It is logical that if your leg muscles are lacking in strength, there is a good chance that the joint will wear the brunt of the force.
Again, with a wee bit of time and work it’s an easy fix.
Focus on the following muscle groups:
Glute & hamstring.
They are the major force generators in the hip and are often the most compromised (particularly if you sit a lot) when it comes to strength and the contributing to movements they are typically responsible for.
Taking the intricate details learned during pilates and apply them to more compound (multi joint) types of strength movements.
They play a crucial role on both bilateral (two leg) movements and unilateral (single leg) movements.
Think deadlifts, lunges and split squats.
Along with your hips, your quads are probably lacking in strength.
Quads play an important role in facilitating knee flexion and extension which is a crucial part of every stride in your running gait.
Similar to your hips, movements such as squatting, lunging and split squatting are great for improving quad strength.
Important cues to help increase exposure to the knee joint and thus the quad, is to transfer your weight to the front of your foot (without lifting your heels).
Calf & ankle.
Strength and range in the ankle influence not only the ankle joint, but the distribution of forces back up the leg through the knee and the hip during a running gait.
Return to running protocol post any leg injury generally requires around 30 single leg pain free full range calf raises.
So take a moment, check your calf strength and if you need to get it up to scratch do so!
Linking the patterns & the chain.
The final piece of the puzzle involves actually learning how to run again.
Linking the “pattern” refers to the application of your now strong and supple muscles to the force generating process of running. As much as you might think you are good at it, the mechanics involved in running require the aforementioned strength as well as an effective amount of patterning.
Linking the “chain” is a by-product of effectively producing force (running patterns). Our body has a wonderful amount of “free” energy within our connective tissue (tendons, ligaments and muscle/fascial tissue).
The use of this stretch reflex energy is most effective when we absorb and produce force effectively through the linking “chains” of the body. Appropriate distribution of said forces allows this free energy to come into play.
Learning effective running mechanics from a running coach or strength and conditioning specialist will give you a head start when it comes to effective running training.
Simplifying the process by breaking down running efforts into 50/100m intervals is an easy place to start. Like learning any new skill, repetition and managing load is crucial.
If you’re short of a place to start, click here and let us take care of you.
We promise you won’t hate running for much longer.