Principles for Pain-Free Running

Lunge Before You Run
Most running injuries come from a lack of strength/stability, not an issue with endurance.
We benchmark the ability to do a strong, stable, front-loaded, forward-walking lunge as a prerequisite for beginning a running program. Our standards for this movement can be found in the video below:

Faster is Better for your Joints
Slow pace running (11 min/mile pace or slower) results in a change of the force distribution through your joints. Slower running creates increased vertical compression through your feet, knees, hips, and spine in a way that faster running does not. This is an important consideration when determining your training strategy. It will benefit you to understand the trade off between a pace that’s easier on the lungs but harder on the joints and vice versa.

Visualize a boat in the water moving extremely slow– think about how far it’s sunken down into the water as it moves. Alternatively, picture a speedboat cutting quickly through the water, and note that it’s more on top of the water as it moves. The difference in speed creates a difference in vertical pressure on top of the water. In the same way, faster running speeds allow for less vertical compression throughout your body.

Build your Aerobic Capacity
You are 18x more efficient in your energy pathways when ample oxygen is available.
So, the obvious but necessary conclusion here is that performance is better when you have ample oxygen available.

The best way to ensure you have ample oxygen is to build your breathing capacity which involves diaphragm strengthening, practicing nose-only breathing during segments of your training, and understanding how your body feels within your training so you don’t pop your anaerobic bubble during a race.

Believe in your toes
Your toes should not look like rigid eagle claws during running. Instead, they should gracefully be gripping the ground to support your foot, allowing your ankle to rock through its interaction with the ground during gait.

A large portion of running injuries occur when force distribution is choppy. If you land with a firm heel strike and never get to your toes, it’s like throwing on the brakes during each gait stride. If your toes are rigid, weak, or inactive during running, your risk for injury goes up.

Train faster running with longer strides
No matter the race you are training for, weekly sprint training at a faster pace will be of great benefit to your strength and stamina when running. Faster running stimulates different muscle fiber types than slower running, and this well-rounded muscle building is critical for injury prevention.