Why This Running Advice Helps You To Improve Your Running
As runners, we are usually open to any kind of running advice in the hopes of becoming better achievers and improving our performances in the sport of ultrarunning.
The list is endless as to which running advice actually helps us to strive further and become more knowledgable. There is plenty of advice available online, for example on this website, in magazines and from other people that we talk to and meet in the local clubs and at races.
After all, there is always a certain desperation involved when we try to seek help and I found that advice for a specific problem helps in the long run.
As I have mentioned in the blog, I have had to deal with my left heel for quite some time now until it turned into an acute injury. Taking off for two weeks after my last race didn't really help and I doubt that two months of rest would do it any better. The feet are constantly exposed to stress day in, day out.
So instead of nurturing the injury even more than I had done anyway, I decided to get running advice from someone that really knows his business. I was at the point of feeling stuck and needed professional help - quickly and efficiently.
Andre, a very experienced young man who deals with long distance runners on a daily basis, came over as very competent and passionate about his job. I felt in really good hands and turned up in his modern practice at the rehabilitation centre in Stuttgart, Germany.
I'm aware that most of you don't live nearby his office yet I'd like to give an example of someone who does an excellent job and takes (ultra) runners very seriously. And if you do happen to live in or around Stuttgart, I strongly advise you to get a thorough running analysis with Andre or seek help from a professional near you.
The analysis basically divides into six parts:
First, the soles of my feet were scanned in order to determine whether I have an arched foot, splayfoot or flatfoot.
Next, I stood on the treadmill with bare feet to take a closer look at my posture. Then, I ran on the treadmill at 12 km/h for about a minute to record the running style. It felt so natural to run without shoes and not surprisingly, my style changes when I wear running shoes.
During barefoot running, I touch the ground with the forefoot first and my stride looks and feels efficiently, even though my left leg has been compensating for a while. The body does this for protection which isn't a bad mechanism at all.
The downside is that this has led to a slight decline of my hips. Compensation has an effect on the overall posture and therefore running style.
What's the lesson learnt?
1. Statics - I have a splayfoot with a normal pronounced arch and a straight mechanical axis; the flexibility of the upper ankle joint is good
2. Dynamics - a light hip instability leads to a decline toward the right side of the body caused by a weakness in the hip stability muscles; consequently the muscular system of the gluteus muscle must be strengthened; both feet touch the ground first on the outside of the foot
3. Final conclusion - when running bare-footed, I'm a forefoot runner whereas with running shoes my style is considered neutral meaning that the metatarsus (middle of the foot) touches the ground first; I'm recommended to wear orthotics with an extra heel buffer; I need shoes with maximum motion and should avoid ones with too many additional cushioning elements
4. Shoe recommendations - New Balance WR 1906, Asics GEL KINSEI 3 or NIMBUS, Saucony PROGRID Triumph 7, Mizuno WAVE CREATION 11
5. Exercise program - In order to break the self-mechanism better, I was given a core and strengthening exercise program which I'm supposed to follow for a few weeks/months on top of starting to run with orthotics. They're made from corc and the left one has an extra buffer so that the heel isn't effected by the pounding as much.
The program includes seven stretches and seven core exercises similar to the ones I've already been doing on a regular basis. The completion of the routine takes about forty minutes. At the moment I can fit it into my daily routine five times a week and I'll persevere until I'm healthy again.
As usual, patience is the key!
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