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Author Topic: How to Avoid Injury Guide + My Stress Fracture Horror Story!  (Read 3205 times)
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JustinB
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« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2012, 10:03:36 AM »

I think it's funny (and quite arbitrary) that people think there is a way ALL of us "should" run.  I'll agree that if you're running barefoot or in very ultraminimalist shoes then yes, you probably need to be as efficient as possible to avoid injury. 

Just go to any running event anywhere and you'll find folks with all kinds of crazy form, all types of shoes (or no shoes) and by and large everybody gets by.  I know injuries occur but that's running; it's tough on the body no matter how you run; the effects are cumulative.  Depending on how you run you'll be more susceptible to one type of injury over another which is why all this talk about "good form" makes me sort of chuckle. 

I think our form changes depending on the terrain, duration of the run, etc...  and our amazing human body has the ability to adapt to these changes.  It's for this reason why, really, we can wear just about anything we want on our feet and not get injured as long as our bodies adapt. 

I think it's more about how many miles you've put in your legs than what's on your feet that really makes all the difference.

This statement is both true and false.  I tend to think of it like a baseball swign and stance.  If you look around the MLB there are 200 different stances and swing styles but at the core of every good swing there are a few key points... load, foot down, level head, level bat through the zone, palm up/palm down and at the moment of impact every swing is nearly identical.

Running is much the same.  There are three or four well publicized bareoot running style, but the truth is, the most effective runners are all near identical in certain aspects.  landing, cadence, stride, and body lean.

Yes you run differently based on different terrains, but (in sticking with the baseball analogy) thats the difference between fastball and curveball.  But as far as running any way we want and letting our bodies adapt, that's not really true.  Muscles adapt, bones and joints don't.  You may be able to tolerate heel striking for a while, but it is not sustainable.  You can't say all running styles work based on what you see at the local park or local race.  Look to the elite's and you will see they all run similar if not identical.  I've witnessed a little leaguer take a huge step, lunge at the ball, and swing with his hands in the wrong position (bottom hand on top and vice versa).  Just because he got a hit does not mean it is an effective style or sustainable when competition becomes better.

I agree with your last statement except that the core basics of form is far more important than how many miles you have logged or what you have on your feet.
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« Reply #15 on: February 29, 2012, 10:03:36 AM »

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munisano
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« Reply #16 on: February 29, 2012, 10:22:07 AM »

The thing is, current shoe technologies LET us adapt to an extent.  I know plenty of career heel strikers that are still going strong.  Obviously the outliers; huge breaks in form, will be more injury prone and that isn't just heel strikers; it could be forefoot strikers, excessive pronators, etc...  But just to say heel striking = bad, midfoot striking = good is deceptive at best.  I think that as long as you're not excessively overstriding then it doesn't matter too much where the first point of contact underfoot is. 

Sure it's easy to maintain "good form" on a short run and for perhaps 90% of folks that's enough.  But the longer you go the more likely your form is going to drift and you'll end up overstriding, heel striking etc... (I know I do!)  Just watch people in a marathon to witness this.  This is why I refuse to believe there is any particular one "good form" or that just because your form changes it's necessarily a bad thing or that you WILL get injured.  That's total BS.  I've been running long enough, a lot of long miles to know that the human body can sustain a lot of abuse and punishment and still persevere. 

It's been too easy these days since the publishing of "the book" to criticize the traditional shoe companies for promoting "poor form" and unnecessary shoe technology.  However, the thing is while "the book" might have made a splash with a lot of new runners (and perhaps a few vets), for the most part, the vast majority, continue to run in what they've always run in and had the problems they've always had or have continued to run blissfully unaware that here is some ideal "good form".  That's the power of the shoe technology.  I'm not saying it's necessarily a good or bad thing.  I'm just saying breaking down running into simple analogies such as baseball or others is far too simplistic. 
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JustinB
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« Reply #17 on: February 29, 2012, 10:33:26 AM »

I suppose we agree to disagree.  I don't see coincidence in rising injury rate since shoes started promoting heel striking.  But I will give in that more recreational runners means the more probability of injury.  I watched the marathoners competing for their spot in the olympics last month and I can tell you that watching them over the course of an hour and a half, all that led both the men's and women's group had the "proper" form we all speak about and I never once witnessed a misstep or a heel strike.

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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2012, 10:46:23 AM »

Right, but those are the "best of the best".  These folks have probably run 40k miles over the past 8 years (something I heard in the pre-race commentary); they were primed, trained and peaked for that day; that race!  But I promise you that if they'd showed some of the rest of the field at the Trials, not just the front runners, you'd see plenty of breaks in form and they're still running super fast.  I don't have the references, but I thought I read some study that videoed the finishers at some big, elite marathon somewhere and found that a lot of the elite guys were heel striking at the end.

I think it's only natural.  When you're racing and tire you have two options to maintain your pace: Either quicken your cadence (very tough) or you overstride (easier). So what you see is folks starting to overstride in order to maintain pace or accelerate at the end.  I know I do this too, it's natural and I don't believe it's a bad thing.  Maybe it it's not what our ancestors did barefoot or in moccasins or huaraches but who cares?  Sometimes going back to "our roots" isn't the way forward for all things; all approaches.

I do agree with more recreational runners we see the rise in more injuries but that's true in anything; the larger the crowd the more likely somebody there is going to die of a heart attack; it's just statistics.  For every runner who's getting injured by running in a traditional running shoe I'm sure you could find somebody else who's injured from TMTS syndrome wearing VFFs or other super minimal shoes (perhaps more).
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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2012, 10:46:23 AM »

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JustinB
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« Reply #19 on: February 29, 2012, 10:55:17 AM »

That was my point about the professional baseball players and hitting.  Yes there are other methods of getting the job done, but you shouldn't try to emulate that style or try and go out to prove you can be the exception.  If the best of the best get things done a certain way and they ALL do it, well that is waht you want to emulate.

Like the saying goes.  The exception proves the rule.
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« Reply #20 on: February 29, 2012, 11:19:13 AM »

I agree that "good form" is important and probably in the long run (no pun intended) will lead to fewer injuries and set backs that say the "outliers" in the sport.  However what is meant by "good form" I don't necessarily 100% agree with; seen far too much variety to say "this is absolutely the way you MUST try to run."  Thankfully we do have a lot of shoe technology out there to cover everybody; those with good form and those who need some help; the "outliers".
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2012, 07:11:28 AM »

Not quite sure I follow your logic in this thread. I think it is a difference of reference points. You see what is generally considered 'good form' as something you have to learn or force to do. Where I come from it is more common to leave shoes at the door and be barefoot at home. My kids usually wear sandals (like Crocs) until they are of school age where they start wearing shoes consistently. My toddler just started school so he hasn't been in shoes for an extended period of time. I look at him (and in fact most kids) run and I am amazed how much they are following what is taught by the Evolution, Chi and Pose method. They obviously have not been taught those methods or even know anything about it. So why do they seem to know how to do things like lean, forefoot striking, short stride and cadence (well that one could just be that they have really short legs)?
I realized looking at them that we actually had to "learn" what is generally considered "bad form" .. ie heel striking, overstriding etc. I am basically trying to unlearn bad form and relearn good form again but I would much rather not have learnt the unnatural form in the first place.
I agree that technology is there to assist us to accomplish some task but we can run with good form regardless of what shoes (or none) we are in. I don't think we should go round tabooing technology .. they are of immense help to us. But I would like not to have to depend on technology to be the ONLY way I can accomplish a task. I could get from A to B in a car or roller blades (adding wheels to shoes is technology right?) but that sort of defeats the purpose of running doesn't it. This brings to mind the movie Wall-E .. where humans escaped a polluted Earth into spaceships where there are floating chairs that let people lounge in them and they bring you everywhere. But after generations of depending on these floating chairs .. the people have pretty much forgotten how to even walk.
In any case, I have had more fun running the right way than before. I am not struggling to run by running with midfoot strike and bent knees etc. In fact I frequently forget myself and do TOO much having just started. I was struggling to finish 1.5 miles before and now I routinely do twice that amount .. because I don't even realize I have gone that far.
I follow the guidelines of good running and it seems to help me be more efficient and consequently allow me to do more of something I enjoy .. running.

I agree that "good form" is important and probably in the long run (no pun intended) will lead to fewer injuries and set backs that say the "outliers" in the sport.  However what is meant by "good form" I don't necessarily 100% agree with; seen far too much variety to say "this is absolutely the way you MUST try to run."  Thankfully we do have a lot of shoe technology out there to cover everybody; those with good form and those who need some help; the "outliers".
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2012, 07:52:54 AM »

It is true that everyone has their own style of running. What I wrote is not different than what the original poster wrote in regards to specifying a particular form to everyone. Where what I wrote differs is in my description there are irrefutable facts based in physics and human anatomy.

1.) It is a fact that it takes more time for a limb to swing through a longer range of motion than a short range of motion given the same muscular effort. Thus my warning about long kick backs making it much more difficult to obtain a high cadence. In addition, it takes fewer resources (oxygen, ATP, etc.) to move a limb a short distance than a long distance so efficiency is higher.

2.) It is a fact that an extended and elongated limb position has a leverage disadvantage compared to a compact and shortened limb position. Long and extended is weak and slow, short and compact is quick and powerful. Tell anybody to get into an athletic position and they will instinctly position their selves into a slightly recoiled stance. Hold a 15 pound weight extended out in front of your chest and see how long it takes for your arm to fatigue. Next hold the same weight only 1 inch away from your chest. The leverage advantage of the compacted arm position will instantly be obvious. Not only is there less of a leverage disadvantage, more muscle groups can get involved to spread the load.

It took me over a year to unlearn bad running form from years in ďnormalĒ running shoes. Going to minimalist shoes was not enough to bring forth good running form. I got professionally trained in Pose Method. Iím not here to pimp for the Pose Method, but once you take into account the obviousness of the truth in the two facts above, you do end up with something that looks a lot like Pose Method. Iím all for people having their own personal style and form. However, advocating a long back kick is just wrong.
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« Reply #23 on: March 01, 2012, 10:23:00 AM »

1.) It is a fact that it takes more time for a limb to swing through a longer range of motion than a short range of motion given the same muscular effort.

2.) It is a fact that an extended and elongated limb position has a leverage disadvantage compared to a compact and shortened limb position.

You've just described the "ultra shuffle".  Watch just about any ultra distance runners; eventually this is the running mechanics that you see.  Why? Because, as you say it is the most efficient over the long haul.  However, not every run or race may be run the most efficient way possible.  I can think of numerous situations where you trade a bit of inefficiency for increased speed at a cost of excess energy expenditure.  In particular I know from running fast on trails that this is quite often the case.  Another reason why I still say that there is more than one way to run and sometimes the most efficient isn't necessarily the "best". 

I also agree that you can't just learn good form by going to minimalist shoes.  While I never took any formal classes, I did have awesome Highschool and Collegiate track/XC coaches who had us do barefoot "striders" on our grass football field after every practice.  Doing these taught us good form that we then used to mimic (at first) while running shod. After a while we didn't even have to think about form except late in tough races when our form would start to go.

I'm just saying there isn't as much education or incentive out there these days. Folks just go out and buy some running shoes and go out and run; often with wicked form; a lot of them never learn good form or make any attempt to.  Why should they? They have beefy, over structured shoes that pretty much lets them run with their goofy form!  I'm not saying this is good, I'm just saying it's what I see.  I know, I know the incentive to learn good form may come eventually after series of injuries but then again it may not; they may just quit!

Huge kudos to those of you who've taken the time to learn; we need to pass the knowledge on!

Rob
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« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2012, 03:47:24 AM »

Your feet should kick back quite a bit while you run, not all the way up to your butt, but they should form about a 90 degree angle behind you at their maximum height while you are running.


Nope. You should not be back kicking, or allowing your foot trail way behind. The more you allow your foot to trail behind, the more out of balance your form will be. This is because the trailing foot will cause a imbalance that requires you to over lean your upper body to compensate. In addition, if your foot is trailing behind, then this means your foot pull is late. A late foot pull means you are on support for too long and lose a lot of efficiency. A late pull also results in the complete loss of the energy returning mechanism of ground force reaction. Lastly, if you allow your leg to kick back far enough to form 90 degrees, you'll never be able to hit your cadence of 180. It's simply too much range of motion to cover in a short amount of time.


Actually, you're wrong. It is considered better form to have a kickback of around 90 degrees. It doesn't throw you off balance, and your upper body actually should be leaning forward while you run so this wouldn't be an issue. When you make an effort to kickback your feet, not only does it help force you to be light on your feet, but it creates a springy pendulum like momentum in your legs which actually increases your efficiency. I can easily kickback to 90 degrees and maintain a 200 cadence.

If you don't want to take my word for it, here's a clip of Usain Bolt running in slow motion during his world record setting sprint, notice how during sprints the kickback is nearly 180 degrees:
100m USAIN BOLT SLOW MOTION ART OF SPRINTING FASTEST MAN


And here's a clip of elite marathon runners at the 2010 Boston marathon running in slow motion, notice how all of them have a kickback of at least 90 degrees, why? Because it's the most efficient way to run:
Elite Male Runners in Slow-Motion from the 2010 Boston Marathon


I'm not sure, but maybe you just felt like nit picking? You didn't say anything about my rather lengthy post besides an attempt to point out some little thing that you thought was a flaw, but in reality was good information which I researched before I made this post.
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« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2012, 11:13:45 AM »

I still don't think it's all as simple as this.  These examples are for relatively high speed (sprint) and fast running.  I think the amount of kick back is probably more relative to pace than anything else.  Probably has everything to do with body lean and balance.  I think it would be difficult to get the kick back like Usain Bolt while running an 8:00 mile! Smiley 

At the same time there may be a "most efficient" way to run but that way may not always be the fastest over a given distance.  Sort of like how your car is theoretically most efficient going 55 mph down the highway but you'll still be left far behind somebody driving 65-70 mph (or faster).  Sure you'll get to your destination (eventually) and probably had the best fuel economy compared to the speeders but is it always the best trade off in all situations?  I don't think so.  If you desire to race fast you've got to run fast and that can mean breaking out of the "most efficient" form and so that probably does mean running shod with enough protection to do it.  But I understand running doesn't always mean racing so there are different tools for different reasons.
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« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2012, 12:43:42 PM »

I still don't think it's all as simple as this.  These examples are for relatively high speed (sprint) and fast running.  I think the amount of kick back is probably more relative to pace than anything else.  Probably has everything to do with body lean and balance.  I think it would be difficult to get the kick back like Usain Bolt while running an 8:00 mile! Smiley 

At the same time there may be a "most efficient" way to run but that way may not always be the fastest over a given distance.  Sort of like how your car is theoretically most efficient going 55 mph down the highway but you'll still be left far behind somebody driving 65-70 mph (or faster).  Sure you'll get to your destination (eventually) and probably had the best fuel economy compared to the speeders but is it always the best trade off in all situations?  I don't think so.  If you desire to race fast you've got to run fast and that can mean breaking out of the "most efficient" form and so that probably does mean running shod with enough protection to do it.  But I understand running doesn't always mean racing so there are different tools for different reasons.

I understand what you're saying. I'm not necessarily trying to force everyone to run a certain way. However, Jeepman posted on my thread  that what I was saying was 100% incorrect so I felt that I needed to defend my opinion. Obviously Usain Bolt's running form isn't ideal for a distance runner, and I never said it was, I just recommend having a kickback of around 90 degrees if you are running at a moderate pace. I am just trying to show people an example of a way to run with good form that will help you run efficiently while staying light on your feet in order to prevent injuries, that's all.
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