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.

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.

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.

Running Posture Checklist

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By Nikki Reiter

This is what your body should be doing from head to toe when running:

Head

  • Staying stable, face relaxed
  • Staring at the horizon

Is Energy Stored ‘Intendoned?’

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Image by Dr. James Stoxen

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

The long tendons of the lower leg are often compared to springs, thought to store and release mechanical energy during running. Tendons, unlike muscles, do not consume energy during running. So, it is widely accepted that tendons will ‘save energy’ by reducing the metabolic work of the muscles during running.

Science On The Run: Explaining the Kenyan Advantage In A Moment (Arm)

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Image by Huei-Ming Chai, National Taiwan University School of Physical Therapy

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

It is believed that at the highest level of running performance, running economy is the most crucial factor dictating performance. So, who better than a homogenous sample of some of the best distance runners in the world to challenge this idea? An international team of researchers published an article in the January issue of Journal of Sports Sciences, investigating the relationship between running economy and running performance in elite Kenyan distance runners. [PubMed abstract]

Science on the Run: To Sit Or Stand, Is That Really The Question?

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Image by Mike Licht, courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

We have all heard it, sitting is the new smoking, right? Yes, the stats are alarming for how much time we spend in a sedentary state, but is simply standing enough? Before you rush out to buy your standing desk, consider that ‘be less inactive’ may be a more appropriate message than ‘stand more.’

Science on the Run: Milk Better Calves From Your Marathon Training

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Science on the Run
Linking current research to running

By Nikki Reiter

Runners have long been admired for their well-sculpted calves, which is perhaps why a group of researchers from James Madison University investigated the effect of marathon training on the calf musculature of recreational runners. All fun aside, they found that running really can modify the architecture of the calf muscle.