Science on the Run: What Are We Without Our Feet?

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Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Being injured sucks. I recently hit a setback to my post-maternity training due to some ‘stop-me-dead-in-my-tracks’ arch pain. From this stems a reminder for ‘prehab, prehab, prehab!’ This personal incident comes along with an aptly timed publication about a new paradigm concerning foot health – the ‘foot core system.’

While we traditionally associate our ‘core’ with our pelvic region (and all the muscles that insert into it), this new publication highlights that the foot also has its own core, comprising of ‘intrinsic muscles’ (meaning the muscles fully contained within the foot) that are largely ignored when it comes to the typical muscles we associate with running.

Science on the Run: All Is Good In Moderation

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By Nikki Reiter

You often hear that it’s important to warm up for a variety of reasons surrounding injury prevention and optimal performance. Have you ever wondered if your warmup is helping or hindering your performance?  Are you doing too much that you’re wasting valuable energy? Or too little that you haven’t warmed up enough?

Proper Form Reminders While Running With A Stroller

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Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

I’ve been doing daily runs lately with my baby in the jogging stroller. I can say that these runs sure do make me appreciate the days when I get to go solo. Don’t get me wrong, I love hearing my baby sing and chat along in her very own language with the rumbling of the stroller. However, as a biomechanist, I’m plagued with always thinking about my form – and subsequently how it changes with the stroller.

Science on the Run: Whip Those Glutes Into Shape!

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Image credit Colorado Physical Therapy Specialists (Medial Heel Whip)

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Glute weakness is often considered one of the main culprits of running injuries. Run too much without the muscular support of the pelvis and core, and BAM! – IT band issues, patellofemoral pain, shin splints, foot pain, etc. Statistically, it has probably happened to each of us at some point in our running careers.

How do you know if you have weak glutes? Chances are if you are a member of today’s society, you are affected to some degree. Prolonged sitting is typically credited with being the reason. How do you know if your glutes are really weak? Well, one gait pattern you can look at is how your foot moves from behind your body at push-off, or whether you experience ‘heel whip.’

Science on the Run: Running Shoes And The Law Of Diminishing Returns

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Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Every once and a while, a wonderful little thing happens. A researcher decides to do a systematic review of a topic and then presents their findings in a paper. I get a little excited when the topic pertains to running.

Recently, a team of researchers reviewed how footwear could affect running performance and economy. Since running economy (RE) is a commonly accepted way to discuss distance running performance, it would be great to know the general consensus amongst publications about the effect of footwear selection on running performance and RE.

Running While Breastfeeding: Helpful Tips For Competitive Mamas

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Recently, running mothers have gained attention because of elites like Kara Goucher, Paula Radcliffe, and Deena Kastor. Goucher has written several articles on how she balances running and motherhood as an elite athlete. However, none of these women mention or discuss the challenges of breastfeeding while trying to maintain a rigorous training/racing routine.

Science on the Run: If it Feels Good, Wear It!

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Image courtesy of The Athlete’s Foot Australia

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

I have often held the belief that you will run your best in the shoe that feels most comfortable on your foot. I used to work in a specialty running store and, anecdotally, I was proven correct by observing that customers selected the shoe they think feels best – and that trying to force oneself into a shoe that was not quite ‘right’ never prevailed. To my amusement, this hypothesis was confirmed nearly five years ago when at a conference I asked world-renowned biomechanist and shoe expert, Dr. Benno Nigg, how to select a running shoe. His response was concurrent with the concept of choosing the shoe that is most comfortable.

Science On The Run: Tortoise (Women) And The Hare (Men)?

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Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Most marathoners tend to run faster in the first half of their race. To explore this further, a recent article suggests that non-elite men are more likely to slow their pace in the marathon, as compared to non-elite women.

Preparing For Downhill Races

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By Heidi Peoples

When registering for races always look closely at the course maps and elevation changes. Most people incorporate hills into their training to build strength. However, often overlooked are the downhills in races. Most runners assume races that descend more than they ascend will be easier but oftentimes fail to prepare properly. In order to take advantage of a net downhill course your body must be trained for it. 

Science on the Run: Our Body’s Wise Approach to Running

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Multiple World-Record Holder Ed Whitlock, Canada.com

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Like younger runners, many older runners are greatly concerned with suffering an injury. As we age, our bodies are susceptible to more running injuries, perhaps due to other existing injuries, reduced flexibility or reduced muscle strength. A recently published article investigated whether ‘coordination variability’ in running mechanics is lower in older runners.