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Is Running Complicated or Simple?

287666827 016dc60fe5 m Is Running Complicated or Simple? The Olympics has a lot of people absolutely psyched about beginning some sort of training program of their own. One of the most popular sports is undoubtedly those which involve running. People love running because it’s so basic, most people can run and it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of skill or strength to get started. There are many different types of events that center on running; basically it breaks down two kinds of running- running for speed (sprint) and running for endurance (distance). Most people are really good at either going fast or keeping a steady pace, either way, there are a few things that people need to keep in mind when running, read about the basic theory of running below.

Watch this video on running below…


The do’s and don’ts of running

Are modern men and women born to run, or must our 21st century bodies be carefully cross-trained to stay fit and healthy?

When it comes to care and training of the modern distance runner, expert opinions are mixed.

Jay Dicharry, author of the new book “Anatomy for Runners,” believes that to be a better runner, running is not enough.

“Running is typically a one-dimensional sport,” said Dicharry, a physical therapist and the director of Biomechanics at Rebound Physical Therapy in Bend, Ore.

“You’re basically just moving forward. You’re not really developing as a true athlete.”

As a consequence, he said, studies have shown that one third of runners are hurt every single year.


What we gather from this first part is that some experts believe that to ‘become’ a runner, it takes more than just running itself- it takes being in shape, healthy, and able. Something we know from personal experience is that many successful ‘runners’ are actually more focused on strength training than running laps around a track.


“So many runners just run,” he said. “So many people look at a magazine and say ‘I can do that.’ Then they get hurt and wonder why,” he said. “If we prepare ourselves we’ll do a better job.”

His book focuses on identifying weaknesses, with detailed tools for gait analysis, tips for injury prevention and corrective and complementary exercises that range from yoga-like toe strengtheners to core and stability work.

“What are your problems? Do you over stride? Do you have posture issues? Poor foot control?” he said. “Find out what you biggest problem is and fix it. That will improve where you are.”

Dicharry said that, while many books focus on the runner’s cardiovascular system, or engine, he zeros in on the biomechanical body, or chassis.

“Coaches get lots of information on how to train the heart and lungs. But we don’t get enough on how to keep the body healthy,” he said. “The more stable the chassis, the more efficient you can be. The book focuses on what’s wrong and how to fix it.”

Economy of motion
In the 30 years Robert Forster has practiced sports physical therapy in Santa Monica, Calif., he has treated world record holders, injured athletes and grandmothers recovering from hip surgery.

“Our bodies have evolved to run,” said Forster by telephone from London, where he was working with the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team. “Our tree-dwelling ancestors had shorter legs, longer arms and shorter feet. The body actually changed to be effective at running. But we lost our ability to co-opt that economy of motion.”

Forster said the current physical capacity of the average Western civilian is about 10 percent of what is possible.

“Some people can run 100 miles in a day,” he said.

The most common running mistake he sees involves stride length, or the distance of the foot on the ground.

“Everyone is over striding,” he explained. “You want to land under your center of gravity, or as close to it as possible. We tend to take too few steps per minute. Less time on the ground would take care of a lot of problems.”

For the runner seeking greater efficiency, Forster prefers a series of running-related drills — among them arm swings that target the pendulum-like motion and knee-high drills, which he described as prancing “like a Clydesdale horse.”


The point here is that our body is structured for running as an evolutionary trait- our ancestors did after all have to catch their own food before the days of grocery stores and restaurants (gives a new meaning to the term ‘fast food’!). What we do wrong is letting our condition go to the wayside and we also don’t perfect our form- some people are capable of running very long distances, other’s don’t have the capacity- but training can easily change that.


‘Best sport there is’
Dr. Lewis Maharam, medical director of the New York City Marathon and author of “Running Doc’s Guide to Healthy Running,” said that, while many exercises can make you more efficient, the beauty of running is that you don’t need to do them.

“Running is the best sport there is. All you need is a good pair of running shoes and shorts, and out you go,” Maharam said. “Cross training isn’t really necessary. Professional athletes do it because it makes you faster, but the best people will tell you that a nice warm-up and a good flexibility program for your lower extremities is basically all you need.”

Maharam said running is probably among the safest of sports, as long as you train smart.

“Probably a walk/run program to start,” he said. “And never increase your mileage by more than 10 percent per week.”

But the most important thing is the preparation.

“People get injured when they do stupid things,” he said. “If you try to run a marathon without training you’re going to get hurt.”

In training, people might have ligament problems or little chronic issues, he added, but they are usually resolved.

“The most common injury we see at the marathon is a blister,” he added.


Another perspective is that running is just that- putting your feet to the ground and going. Of course, you do have to build up gradually if you want to gain speed and endurance- most people can’t jump out of bed one day and win a road race.


Are you a runner? Do you think it’s as complicated as taking on an entire regimen to prepare, or is it as simple as lacing up your shoes and going for it?

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