“When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without,” wrote Haruki Murakami in his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Indeed, running is something we can’t do without either. It’s healthy, it’s refreshing and it’s fun.
Unfortunately, it can cause some injuries too. We spoke to Daniel Vaz, Mumbai Head Coach, Nike+ Run Club about some things that you should be mindful about the next time you hit the ground running.
Taking long strides
“It is better to take shorter strides but keep the ‘stride rate’ high because this will ensure that you do not land on your heel. Landing on the heel will send extremely high forces up the lower extremities that will eventually lead to musculoskeletal injury,” says Vaz.
Not aligning your body correctly
“The right body alignment should be such that you are ‘running tall’. This essentially means you stay upright with your head looking straight ahead, the elbows tucked in, swing the arms in rhythm to your strides, not swinging across the torso and keep the shoulders back without slouching. Make sure that your foot lands below the hips on every stride. Also ensure you don’t strike with the heel when you stride,” says Vaz.
Running on a concrete road
“The best surface or rather the most optimum surface is asphalt. It has enough cushioning and does not send shock waves like concrete does nor does the surface ‘give’ as in a mud trail which puts more pressure on the ankles at ‘push off’ on every stride,” says Vaz.
Striking the ground incorrectly
“It is better to eventually strike the ground with the fore foot although this is not so easily done by recreational runners. The first phase of learning this is to do what is called as a ‘mid-foot’ strike. This essentially means you avoid landing on your heel but instead land somewhere mid foot. Once this is learned, the runner can make the transition to fore foot strike. It is important to note that the fore foot strike will increase pressure on the calf muscles but they will get stronger as you train. The fore foot strike helps in cushioning the impact of every step,” says Vaz
Like everything else, excess running is bad for you. Adequate time needs to be given to your body to rest and recover, and that’s not possible if you go for long runs on a daily basis. Take at least two days rest in a week.