Stride Rate

By Dr. Jack Daniels

When I am teaching a new group of runners the first thing I have them do is count their stride frequencies while running around the track. I can’t remember ever having one of these beginners who turned over as fast as 180 steps per minute. However, when my wife and I sacrificed some enjoyable race-watching moments at the 1984 Olympics to time and count stride rates among male and female runners in their important Olympic events, we found only one of about 47 athletes whom we observed, who took less than 180 steps per minute. Some of these “subjects” we were able to study on several days because they were involved in preliminary and final rounds in their event, so the observations involved more than just 47 incidents.

Stride Rate: A Step In The Right Direction

[Editor’s NoteMany runners and coaches have heard that 180 steps per minute is a proper cadence and that comes from Dr. Daniels’ observing/counting the steps of elite runners in the 1984 Olympics. Some get fixated on hitting a rate of 180 but there are so many variables in terms of speed, goals, and the running background of the individual. The main point gets lost and that’s reducing landing shock to help prevent injuries and avoid overstriding. If you read Jack’s book, Daniels’ Running Formula, the section title in Chapter 5 illustrates this point, “Stride Rate:  A Step In The Right Direction”]

Science on the Run: Bad Posture = Bad Runner

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

As a fidgety-runner-type-who-hates-sitting-at-her-desk and worries about maintaining good posture, I’ve been incorporating stretching a few times a day, in addition to multiple walks to fill up my cup at the water station and my mid-day run (with all these breaks, you probably wonder how I ever get any work done!) Personally, I’m more productive this way as it allows me to work in concentrated time slots with a clear mind.

Science on the Run: Drills, What Are They Good For?

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

It’s likely you’ve heard that running drills will improve your technique to make you a more efficient runner. Some coaches claim that running drills are effective by way of simulating individual running phases, seeking to correct technique. However, research has shown that the method of performing those classic ‘As, Bs and Cs’ do not mimic the same muscular activation patterns as in running.

Personally, I see a lot of value in performing drills that gets the athlete practicing quick feet, explosiveness and maintaining good posture. They’re also a great way to warm up for a speed workout after a light jog – along with strides they prepare the body for quick movement and increase dynamic range of motion that would not be achievable through static stretching.

Science on the Run: Get Up and Glute!

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Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

We all know we could work more on our glutes. But who actually commits to it? While I know its importance, I’ve easily lost motivation in my attempts at prehab for many self-proclaimed ‘good’ reasons – change in schedule, fatigue, sickness, or no longer being injured! A physio-runner-friend of mine even setup a three-week challenge, complete with filmed exercises posted on Facebook to make it convenient for her and her peers to stay on track. I think 90% of us failed to do the exercises every day.

Science on the Run: Pesky Ankle or Knee Issues? Consider Your Midsole.

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By Nikki Reiter

With all the different types of running shoes on the market, have you ever stopped to wonder whether a softer or harder shoe truly affects how you run? Do they prevent injuries? I’ve previously discussed the importance of perceived comfort when choosing a shoe. Here I present how the qualities of the shoe midsole can relate to injury potential.

Science on the Run: The Maximal Footwear Debate

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By Nikki Reiter

I couldn’t figure out how to respond in only 140 characters to a Run SMART reader’s tweet, ‘Say no to Hokas?’ in response to my last post about the ‘foot core system’. While I’m not an expert on Hoka shoes, I do have some reservations about it’s thick midsole. Thanks to @SaltyRuns for the tweet!

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?