The Inside Run – 2017 vol. 6

Front Runner Sports are pleased to present a practical, monthly summary of recent research relevant to distance runners. Our expert team will pick their highlights from the previous month to give YOU The Inside Run on how new and practical research can assist you to beat YOUR best. Please see our summary below!

 

  1. Elite Foot Strike Postures

Whilst the topic of foot strike has been well covered in the scientific literature, it remains a point of interest for a lot of runners. How your foot lands on impact is a spectrum and can vary from the heaviest of heel strikes to a really prominent fore foot landing. How your foot lands will be a function of speed (as you run faster, you are more likely to move towards a mid or fore foot strike) as well as your individual biomechanics (strength & ROM) and external variables (surface, footwear, elevation etc.).

Every year, the foot strikes of the USA National 10000m championships (M & F) are analysed to assess the postures displayed. As expected, there is variation but given their speed of movement (~3min/km) on an elastic surface in light & responsive footwear (spikes), most reflect a mid to fore foot strike. Check out the pictures of each participant as well as a great summary from the BYU research team HERE

 

  1. Running Technique and Performance

Running technique is a reflection of an individual’s biomechanics and no two runners will exhibit exactly the same movement patterns (look at any Olympic or WC final and there will be subtle differences between the elite athletes). However, common themes prevail and this research highlights how different biomechanical variables can affect a runner’s economy. It was found that 39% of the variability in runner’s energy cost was due to hip (vertical and horizontal) and knee (flexion) movement during stance – i.e. the collective “stiffness” of the lower limb during ground contact.

To improve this, our go to saying for runners of any age and ability is that the single best thing you can do for your running other than running itself, is to have appropriately prescribed strength work. Specifically, employing reactive strength work to improve muscle capacity and timing during the running gait can significantly improve a runner’s lower limb stiffness.

Read the paper HERE as well as a great summary from leading running specialty Physio, Tom Goom HERE

 

  1. The Effect of Fatigue on Novice vs. Competitive Runners

Have you wondered what the influence of fatigue is on your running technique? Whilst there are individual considerations, this research highlights how a few key movement variables change with fatigue in novice vs. competitive runners and how it can affect a runner’s performance and injury profile. An increase in trunk lean (forward) and hip abduction (loss of stability) were the biggest difference found between the novice and competitive runners. So how can novice runners improve their running? As below, having a tailored strength program to complement you running will best assist in allowing novice runners to maintain posture and stability for longer into their run.

Read the paper HERE

 

  1. Listen to your Run!

Runners are typically very poor at self-identifying and self-correcting variables of their running technique. The most prominent example of this is the famous foot-strike study by Martyn Shorten (read our summary HERE). There are many reasons for this, including our own biases, our inability to see ourselves in the 3rd person and a lack of objective feedback. But one thing that runners can get feedback on is the noise that they make on the ground. This has been researched regularly over the past few years and there is mounting evidence that runners can adjust their biomechanics via listening to the foot strike.

The general consensus is that a softer landing is associated with an increase in cadence and reduction in ground contact time and therefore can reduce peak impact forces with each step.

Read the article HERE and have a listen to your feet on your next run!

 

  1. Running Injuries Podcast

 For those of you who checked in last month, we featured a great podcast from the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) that summarised some of the information covered at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) annual meeting earlier this year. Part 2 of this talk has just been released and dives into the all-important topic of running injuries! The topics covered include footwear, core & nutrition – enjoy!

Listen HERE

 

Running Regards,

Team Front Runner