Dark side to pounding the pavement

23 Jun, 2015
 
KelllySheerinoped
Running is typically viewed as a healthy pursuit, but there is a dark side to the sport.

By Kelly Sheerin – Manager of the Running and Cycling Clinic, an AUT Sports Performance Clinic based at AUT Millennium.

Running is typically viewed as a healthy pursuit, but there is a dark side to the sport.

Participation in running events is at an all-time high, with the likes of the Auckland marathon frequently selling out, and new events such as the Queenstown marathon emerging each year. But in any one year, up to two thirds of runners will sustain a running-related injury of some description – an astounding statistic for a sport often viewed as being one of the most natural.

With running a fundamental movement pattern that we all acquire at a young age, many people believe we need no further training to master the sport. However this couldn’t be further from the truth; poor running technique is one of the leading causes of the high injury rate.

Each year I am faced with a barrage of injured runners, weeks out from their target events. Unfortunately at this point in time it is often too late to get them back on their feet and in prime shape for their race. Runners should start working on their technique before they enter into a structured training programme for their big race.

For runners planning to compete in events later in the year, June - July is a really important time for this critical element of training. I recommend putting some focus on your technique now – revisiting what you might have already learned, working on technique with your coach, or seeing a professional to help you refine your technique and keep your training on track.

But be wary of self-diagnosing your injuries or trying to overhaul your running technique on your own. Although there is a lot of information on the web these days, without an appropriately guided plan it is very easy for runners to negatively impact their running efficiency – or worse still, to end up with more serious injuries than they started out with.

Kelly will be speaking on the topic of running gait retraining at the AUT Endurance Performance Summit (27 June, at AUT Millennium). The Summit is aimed at athletes, coaches, scientists, and health & fitness professionals interested in enhancing their knowledge of the science and medicine of endurance sport, and will feature a range of top speakers – including Ironman athlete Dylan McNeice, Bevan McKinnon – former ITU Long Distance Worlds Champ, Kaytee Boyd – Human Nutrition and Sport Scientist, and Dr Trent Lawton – Rowing New Zealand’s Senior Strength and Conditioning Coach.

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