Reducing the risk of a twisting-type running injury: * Don’t hold the arms up too high. Run relaxed with a natural style. Push the arms straight back to decrease shoulder roll and twisting and strain on the back. * Avoid fast running on sections of path with ruts or tree roots, for example, in fartlek sessions. * Wear appropriate shoes for the surface...shoes with sufficient grip. Use studs or dimples, or whatever this year’s term for a cross-country sole is. They should get you through most dirt. Spikes are a great aid if you like to do speedwork through mud or on wet grass. Unless you’re going sub 16 for 5 k, or racing shorter stuff, don’t use them on the track. * Beware of excessive cambers and poor road surfaces. * In particular, don’t run across a hill if the slope is more than a couple of degrees. If a beach is minimally sloped at the low tide bar, or the flat area at high tide, running in both directions will equalize the wear and tear on the ankles, knees and hips.” “Then there’s the pernicious overstriding problem.” “Is overstriding that wicked?” I asked. “To get the best out of yourself, you aim to run fast for the entire race. To do this, you need to run with the longest stride compatible with your body type, height, joint ranges, muscle flexi¬ bility, footgear and running surface. Yet you must have control over unnecessary movements, and keep good leg speed for the duration of the event. To quote the ‘Chariots of Fire’ coach, you must avoid the slap in the face which occurs on overstriding. “Your stride length should not put you at a stretch on each revolution of the legs or stride cycle. Adjust your stride length and leg speed according to the distance you’re running. When com¬ mencing a ten mile or half marathon race, runners automatically (if after blowing up a few times), start at a slower speed than in a five mile race. They can’t hope to run at the same speed for twice the distance--though some of your readers will run ten miles next year at a similar speed to which they ran five miles last year or the year before. This improvement only comes from the progressive training outlined in previous chapters. “A long stride is inefficient. Even 400 and 800 meter runners aim to avoid overstriding, because it gives them an increased injury potential while slowing their race times.
Poor planning “The warm up and warm down, including stretching and strides as explained in Parts One to Three of Running Dialogue must be sufficient to prepare the body for its task, and to relax afterwards. They are of equal impor¬ tance. “The training schedule must progress in a logical fashion--just as this book does. While you could start with Part Two and build endurance with 20 or more striders each day...then add the steady runs of part one...it would be dangerous for most people. “Most people commencing a running program do so from a poor fitness base--sprinting for a bus while out of shape is an invitation to the emergency room--so ease into things as Part One encourages. “Never make a sudden increase in mileage or pace; a ten percent increase for two or three weeks may be alright--but consolidate for a few weeks at this level before moving on.” “What you’re looking for is a manageable level of fatigue; three weeks after an increase you should have adapted to it...and returned to homeostasis. Then it may be time to increase the load again, going faster or further--or you can simply enjoy your new level of fitness.” For the more advanced runner he had this to say. “Olympic medalists run at 3,000 to 5,000 race pace at least one session a week in winter. So should you. This will help you maintain good form, thus decreasing injury potential. Move gradually to track work in the spring, keeping at least a couple of steady runs to maintain strength in the summer and acting as a base for the mileage build up in the autumn. “Running is more productive as it gets more efficient. Straight lines, rhythmic movement, proper alignments make you faster and less injury prone.”
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