3 Secrets To Improving Running Efficiency and Decrease Injury Risk

It’s the start of a new year and if you’re like most, you’ve made a resolution to be healthier.  Running is a popular choice for people who want to lose weight, join a community, and achieve their fitness goals.  With all the benefits running can provide, there’s often a misconception that anyone can do it.  Sure, you may be able to run but are you running efficiently so that you minimizes the risk for injury?  Running injuries can be frustrating but avoidable if you understand the biomechanics and the areas to focus on. Here are a few tips that can improve your performance to set that new PR.

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1). Ankle mobility:  If you have tight calves, you probably have poor ankle mobility which can lead to plantar fasciitis or shin splints.  The popular solution is roll those areas out but sometimes it’s necessary to address the limitation at the joint.  And believe it or not, plantar fasciitis may best be treated at the hip to control what happens at the foot. 

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2). Hip extension:  As a society, it’s a given that we sit… a lot.  Because we sit, our hips are often in flexed position which shortens certain muscles and limits extensions of the hip.  If your hips are unable to extend properly, eventually you’ll develop low back pain because that’s where compensations usually occur.  It’s important to work on hip mobility and core stability in order to minimize injuries.

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3).  Hip strength:  Next time you walk up stairs, think about where you feel tired when you reach the top.  Do you feel the fatigue mostly in your quads or your glutes?  If you’re like most, you feel it in your quads but as a runner, the power should be coming from your hips to propel you forward.  If you’re quad dominant, more pressure transfers to the knees which increases the likelihood of knee pain when you run.

The difference between struggling to get to the finish line and finishing strong is not only about training runs, but how you’ve been able to maintain your mobility and strength.

Dr. Raymond Shing