Our Achilles tendons don’t often get the praise they deserve. These large tendons on the back of our lower leg are surprisingly strong, and vitally important, especially for runners. The Achilles connects the muscles in our calves to our heel bones. Specifically, they connect the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles to the back of our calcaneus bone. Because of their attachment point, the Achilles tendons help propel us forward when we walk, run, or jump. Through this attachment, our Achilles tendons can withstand up to ten times our normal body weight when we run or jump. Just think about how many strides you took during your last run, and how many times up to ten times your body weight was placed on your Achilles tendon! Luckily you had a tough Achilles tendon to absorb all that force.
Stamina and endurance are often used as interchangeable descriptors in the world of endurance sports. ‘Runners are known for impressive stamina’ or ‘Triathletes train their bodies for maximal endurance’ are synonymous on the surface. However, stamina and endurance do not have the same technical meaning. Stamina relates to an individual’s ability to sustain peak energy output. Endurance relates to the length of time an individual can sustain moderate level activity.
For those that don’t know me, I am nothing like your typical marathon runner. I have the build more so of an offensive lineman, nothing like the marathoners you see in the media. But I am always up for a good challenge. I signed up through a charity in late-2021 for the 2022 Chicago Marathon.
I knew running a marathon wouldn’t be easy. But there are so many unexpected challenges that arise along the way.
Runners are known to push into pain in pursuit of their goals. Setting a new 5k PR or training for a marathon involves an unavoidable degree of discomfort. However, some nagging aches and pains are our body’s way of telling us something needs fixing. Whether you are a rearfoot or forefoot runner, a large amount of force goes through your ankle when you run1. While knee or ankle pain could be normal delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from running, it could also be related to ankle mobility2.
Running can place up to 3 times your body weight of force on the body. Because of this extremely high demand, having a strong core is important. The core muscles include the diaphragm, transverse abdominus, rectus abdominus, obliques, pelvic floor, and multifidus. These muscles provide stability to the trunk when the arms and legs are being used, as well as through an axial load (which occurs during running). A strong core to absorb all of the force described above with running is critical to prevent injuries. Below you will find a complete core workout to help encourage core strength to help prevent injuries.
With the fall weather and cooler temperatures here, running has become a more popular form of exercise. With increased running also commonly comes an increase in injuries, specifically hip pain. Hip pain can have a variety of causes, and it can be structural, overuse, weakness, etc. Most commonly in runners, hip pain is caused by increasing mileage too quickly and muscular imbalances/weaknesses. Hip pain can be prevented in runners by increasing mileage at an appropriate rate, performing a dynamic warm-up and cool-down, and performing hip strengthening exercises. Below you will find strategies to help prevent hip pain while running.
Generally speaking, exercise should not be painful. Pain is an alarm system within the body telling you something is not working properly. So, should you keep running when your knee hurts? When do you go to the doctor? Will they ask you to stop running? Can you ignore it? Stop right there.
According to the 2020 Sports & Fitness Industry Association report, approximately 50 million Americans participate in some variation of running or jogging. That’s 15 percent of the United States population. With the recent pandemic and gyms being temporarily closed, even more, people took up running to get in their daily exercise. Whether a weekend warrior runner or a competitive athlete, a video running analysis can benefit you.