When we run, we tend to focus on our breath, our heart, body temperature sweat and drip, the breeze on our face, which is important and enjoyable. While our heart and lungs are running our body engine while running, we forget how much stress and impact our body frame goes through. Our body has to deal with 2 ½-3 times the impact of its weight for every stride. When you’re standing on both legs, each leg supports half your weight. Standing on one leg, that’s 100% of your bodyweight on one leg. Now add 150% of your weight on one leg, this is how much stress and impact your bones, tendons, muscles, cartilage, ligaments support every stride while running. The longer the distance, the more intense training, the more impact our body has to handle. Accelerating, breaking, running on technical terrain, all these add even more impact on the body frame. Our body isn’t passive, when the foot lands on the ground, our body, a complex system of parts with a neuromuscular system that actively moves, adjusts and coordinates to the mechanical forces of running.
When you run, especially once your speed increases, more and more power needs to come from the muscles that extend the hips. For most runners, after years of running and not focusing on running form, years of overstriding, heel striking, have trained your muscle memory to use the quadriceps and neglect the glutes. Most runners have heavy quads and weak glutes. Most runners over stride, with the foot landing in front of the hip, not under. Most runners form is out of balance, this occurs when the hip flexors, quads and lower back are overused, and the core and glutes are weak and asleep.
The solution to solve this running form and body frame stress and impact is to fix your posture, strengthen your glutes and core. Another issue affecting the running form is the tightness of the hips. If those muscles are tight, your hips won’t have enough flexibility to allow a full extension on both sides of your pelvis. If this issue is not fixed, you will not be able to correct your stride and avoid injuries. When it comes to hip flexibility, 80% of runners have issues with hip flexor tightness that affect their running form. Our quads are big, super strong muscles that can produce a large amount of force. When your glutes are weak or not activated, your quads and other muscles will take over. Especially when running uphill and downhill, if your core and glutes are not activated and strong, your will overuse your quads, your hips will get tighter, which will affect your IT band and knees.
Quadriceps overuse symptoms:
Knee injuries- The patella (kneecap) is like a wheel for your quad. When you over stride, the quad has to work harder, creating more impact on the knee, and damage on the surface of the patella, which eventually will cause more damage to the cartilage under it.
Affect the running performance– The quads have a greater percentage of fast-twitch fibers. This type of muscle is efficient for peak performance and speed, but when it is overused, it will enter into fatigue mode or acidic state sooner. When the muscle gets too acidic, the PH level drops and the muscle can’t contract or relax as well, that’s when you feel your body crashing. The glutes have more slow-twitch fibers which produces lower amounts of acidic waste products and can last longer. This means runners can maintain a harder pace for longer distance without crashing.
The quads can’t control the body’s biomechanics– The quads can’t match the total body control like the glutes are capable and made for. The glute maximus has three primary functions:
– This is the super powerful, fatigue-resistant muscle that drives the hip from the front of the body to the back. The quads do the opposite. – Glute maximus is the primary hip external rotator; it prevents the knee from crashing in when you run! – Glute maximus plays a major role in body posture control. If the glutes are weak and not engaged properly, the torso will lean forward and cause you to overstride, which increases the impact and pressure on the body.
Runners should include some core and strength workouts in their training plan to make sure they can run for many years without major injuries, better running form and performance .
Train Hard, Eat Right, Feel Great!