Why is running so hard?

March 23, 2022

“I like running, ” says no one ever (unless you’re Forrest Gump). Running is often viewed as a way to get “cardio” training but is often dreaded by the user. But is running a natural skill and requisite for all humans to be able to perform?  This is a very controversial topic.  I think the better question to ask is, are you ready to run?

Why preparation is important

Yes, it’s possible to improve your running. Yes, all humans SHOULD be able to run. However, if we don’t have the proper skill, proper tissue preparation, and requisite strength, running can do more harm than good.   

If you are a runner, you probably have experienced pain at some point.  Maybe your MD said “running is bad for your knees” or to “take a break and work your way back up.” Although your MD has good intentions this is not always the best advice.  Decreasing miles may work for a while. However, it’s likely that when you increase your mileage again the pain will come back.  

Training Considerations

When we are working with runners with pain it is important to consider all things: volume changes, their strength program, and their technique. 

In regards to strength training, we want to consider how many days a week they are training, if it’s a balanced program, and whether it includes tempo and plyometrics.  

Tissue preparation is important to consider as well. Has this runner skipped, hopped, and jumped to prepare their muscles and tendons for the rigors of running?

When we look at skill or technique we want to focus on:

  • How your foot strikes the ground
  • The sounds it makes
  • How your joints are positioned
  • Where your pull-through is happening. 

Although there is nuance to individuals and how they move, there are still basics that need to be checked off.  

Why we care

Our clients often choose to run not just for fitness, but the social benefits as well.  Most runners are involved in local running groups and run races with friends.  This is the real reason why we do what we do.  We want our local community to be able to participate in activities that they love not just for fitness goals, but for their community surrounding them. 

Here at South Jersey Physical Therapy, we can create a comprehensive plan that includes both in-person and digital options to keep you healthy while you hit the pavement and live an active lifestyle.  

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