The big debate currently going on in my family is whether or not there is a standard running form. To me it has always seemed that running is just second nature to all of us, one foot in front of the other. We learn how to crawl and then walk on our own, so why wouldn't running be the same way? With my ever constant knee pain and me searching and searching for answers and different solutions, running form is a topic that seems to keep popping up. Most of the time I have paid little attention to it, because like I said, Isn't running second nature to us?
In my family we always do a Secret Santa drawing between the siblings since there are so many of us. My little brother Nick, who is 8 years old, picked my name and was trying to think of something I'd really like. Normally it seems that my Mom and Dad just pick something out and just say that it came from the younger siblings. This year, apparently, Nick woke up one morning and told my Dad that he wanted to get me a book about running for the rest of your life. He and my Dad did a google search to only discover that yes in fact there is a book by that exact name! Run for Life by Roy M. Wallack. So they bought it for me along with Bike for Life also by Roy M. Wallack. He was beyond excited and stood at my feet as I opened the present so that he could see my reaction!
Now, I'm only about 60 pages into the book but am already rethinking my running form! Roy presents some good arguments about running form and how it should be learned just like someone would learn to golf or play baseball. One thing I know for sure... I am a heel striker! Now, if you are anything like me you are probably thinking, "So, What's the big deal about being a heel striker?" Roy breaks it down into 2 simple explanations. Heel Striking causing braking and breaking. Umm... What? Surprisingly enough when you heel strike it is actually braking your momentum causing you to go slower! The second part is that heel striking literally breaks you down! Heel Striking doubles the shock on your body!!! HOLY COW! Bad running form creates shock that goes up your entire body with as much as 5 times your body weight on each stride! Our body absorbs the shock in our knees, lower back, hips, tendons, ligaments, etc.
You can imagine that I am totally blown away at this point. Now, I knew that our body takes a mighty beating from running, its why people say that you are running your body into the ground. I had just accepted it as a fact and was mentally preparing myself for a knee replacement down the line. But not only do I have knee pain but also lower back pain that is sometimes so severe I can't even bend enough to touch my knees! So this concept of a standard running form is truly intriguing.
In his book, Roy talks about two types of running forms, Soft Running and the Pose Method. Basically they both have the same concept and goal in mind, to reduce the injury and shock that is absorbed by our body everytime we land.
So the question is... Is there a standard running form? Is running something, like golf and baseball, that to do properly has to be learned? What do you think?
Personally, I think I'm going to try and change my running form and see what that does for me as far as injuries go!