Running is an excellent form of exercise that is easy to get into, is affordable, and has numerous health benefits.
However, like any sport, it takes technique, time, and patience to master. Running injuries are also very common and can affect any runner from the elite athlete to the beginner to the weekend warrior. But don't worry, preventing running injuries and unlocking your running potential is possible by analysing your running biomechanics. In this blog post, we will guide you through the importance of analysing your running biomechanics, how to do it, and how it can improve your performance and prevent injuries.
Check your running technique with a physiotherapist to prevent injury
What are Running Biomechanics?
Running biomechanics refers to all the movements that happen during running, including:
- Stride length
- Step frequency
- Foot stride
By analysing these biomechanics, you can identify potential errors and weaknesses in your running form that could be causing you pain or injury and could be impairing your performance.
Factors to look at when analysing your biomechanics.
The most important factor to focus on is stride length – the distance between each step taken during a run. A long stride will naturally give you more power and speed but can increase the risk of injury if done incorrectly.
Step frequency is also important; having too many steps per minute may cause fatigue or reduce efficiency. Lastly, making sure you have correct foot strike mechanics when landing each step will reduce the strain on muscles and joints while helping maintain proper posture and technique throughout your run.
Visit a Physiotherapist who is trained in all things body biometrics. When assessing someone’s natural gait there are many factors to take in. The Physiotherapists at Inspire Physiotherapy and Pilates start by looking at where your foot is being loaded. Is it central to the heel or off at an angle, does your whole foot make contact with the ground, or maybe just the outside of your foot is hitting the ground.
Make it easier for yourself and have a professional analyse your running biometrics
How much movement occurs through your ankle and up to your knee and hip.
We will have a careful look at how you move from right to left foot, as the transfer of forces needs to be equally absorbed and shifted in a balanced way to ensure no joint or muscle is overloaded or unequal to the other side.
We make sure you are not favouring one side over the other and that your step length and step cadence is appropriate for your height. To find out more about your cadence and stride length visit a professional practice or book in here to visit one of our practitioners.
Once you have identified any imbalances or weaknesses in your biomechanics, you can then start implementing specialised exercises to strengthen and correct these flaws.</p>
Common exercises include:
- Hip strengthening
- Ankle stability drills
- Single leg balance drills
- Core activation exercises
Other things you can introduce to make your running experience more enjoyable
Make sure that you are wearing the correct running shoe for your body type and running style. A good pair of shoes should provide cushioning, support, breathability and flexibility - all of which will help reduce the risk of injury while improving performance. We recommend a visit to Mike Pawleys in Dee Why for a personal touch and professional fitting. Alternatively visit one of the Athlete Foot stores on the Northern Beaches for a weight bearing assessment
If you are so inclined, you can invest in wearable technology that can help you monitor your biomechanics while you are running. For example, a running watch or a smartphone app can utilise accelerometers and gyroscopes to detect your foot strike, step frequency, and other metrics.
By analysing your running biomechanics, you can determine how you run and identify areas for improvement. With that information, you can work on your form to prevent injuries and improve your running efficiency, speed, and endurance.
It will happen but not overnight.
It is important to note that improving your running biomechanics requires patience and practice. Identify one area for improvement and then work on it over a few runs at a time. Resist the urge to change everything at once. Instead, focus on making small changes until they become second nature.
Happy injury free running!!