Avoid the Seven Deadly sins of Running Technique: Running Expert Explains how to stay Injury free

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Dedicated runners have come to expect running-related injuries. In any given year, up to 70 percent of runners sustain an injury serious enough to stop them from running. According to running expert Sam Murphy, those problems are often caused by errors in training and technique and can be avoided. Simple mistakes, including wearing the wrong shoes, increasing mileage too quickly, or not varying sessions enough, are responsible for 60 percent of running injuries.

Running Well

By learning the difference between training and straining and honing your technique, you can minimize the risk of injury and the training setbacks it inevitably brings

Dedicated runners have come to expect running-related injuries. In any given year, up to 70 percent of runners sustain an injury serious enough to stop them from running. According to running expert Sam Murphy, those problems are often caused by errors in training and technique and can be avoided. Simple mistakes, including wearing the wrong shoes, increasing mileage too quickly, or not varying sessions enough, are responsible for 60 percent of running injuries.

"By learning the difference between training and straining and honing your technique, you can minimize the risk of injury and the training setbacks it inevitably brings," Murphy says.

In Running Well (Human Kinetics, 2009), Murphy teams up with physiotherapist Sarah Connors to explain what she calls the seven deadly sins of running technique. To prevent injury, Murphy says runners should avoid these practices:

  • Overstriding. Trying to make a stride too big puts the muscles in an inefficient lengthened position, causing the foot to land in front of the knee and creating a braking effect. "Overstriding usually happens when you are trying too hard to run faster," Murphy explains.
  • Wasteful movement. Runners waste energy by incorporating too much up-and-down movement instead of focusing on forward motion. "A common cause of a bobbing action is lifting the knees too high up in front and pushing off the toes," Murphy says. A very short stride can also be to blame.
  • Overpronation. Overpronation results from pushing off on a foot with a collapsed arch. This foot position puts extra stress on the muscles supporting the arch, which in turn pull on their attachments to the inside of the shin bone.
  • Sitting in the bucket. Also referred to as sitting on the hips, this happens when the pelvis tilts forward and the hips push back. "This posture reduces the power of the hip extensors, stresses the lower back, and shortens your stride," Murphy says. "This posture is responsible for a lot of runners' back and hip problems."
  • Excessive supination. Oversupination occurs when the foot doesn't roll in enough and remains on the outside edge. This action reduces the foot's ability to absorb the shock of impact and increases the risk of stress fractures, especially along the outside edge of the foot and shin.
  • Poor hip drive. Relying too much on the quads and hip flexors rather than using the hamstrings and gluteals to extend the hips reduces the power and length of the stride. Strengthening glutes and hamstrings can improve running technique.
  • Hip drop (Trendelenburg gait). A Trendelenburg gait occurs when the pelvis shifts too far from side to side. "As a result of weak adductors and abductors, the hip of the swing leg drops and the hip of the stance leg pops out to the side because the muscles aren't able to hold the pelvis level," Murphy explains.

The color-illustrated Running Well offers a comprehensive plan for maximizing training without injury and includes a guide to more than 30 specific running injuries. For more information on Running Well or other running books, visit http://www.HumanKinetics.com or call 1-800-747-4457.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Sam Murphy is one of the United Kingdom's leading fitness and health experts, contributing to Health and Fitness, Healthy Living, and Financial Times. She is the author of five books, including Run for Life, which has been published in 10 languages.

Murphy is a training consultant to the London Marathon, Nike, and Adidas. She is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences on fitness and health. With over 17 years of experience as a runner, Murphy has raced distances from 3,000 meters to 100 miles and is a 14-time marathon runner.

Sarah Connors is a physiotherapist who specializes in running injuries. She is the physiotherapist for the British athletics team. Connors has worked with British athletes since 1993 and attended two Olympic Games. She has been a competitive runner since the age of 11.

CONTENTS

Part 1: How to Run

Chapter 1     Top Form--How to Assess and Improve Your Running Technique
Chapter 2     Gearing Up And Winding Down--How to Warm Up and Cool Down Effectively
Chapter 3     Freedom of Movement--The Lowdown on Flexibility and Stretching
Chapter 4     Down to Earth--The Importance of What's on Your Feet and Under Them

Part 2: Smarter Training

Chapter 5     Balancing Act--The Art and Science of Training
Chapter 6     Smart Sessions--How to Vary Your Training Sessions
Chapter 7     Inner Strength--A Guide to Core Stability for Runners
Chapter 8     Cross Purposes--Making Cross-Training Work for You
Chapter 9     Food and Drink--The Role of Good Nutrition and Hydration

Part 3: Damage Limitation

Chapter 10     Injury Time--What to Do if You Get Hurt
Chapter 11     Back on Track--Returning to Running After Injury, Illness, Pregnancy--or Just a little Time Off
Chapter 12     First Aid--Prevention and Treatment of Common Running Ailments and Annoyances

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