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EMMANYC's Photo EMMANYC Posts: 1,702
7/13/12 4:27 P

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There are different theories out there about what constitutes a good running gait - in terms of efficiency and reduction in the risk of injury. I found the book "Tread Lightly" to be quite helpful, although it is quite a detailed read. You can also google Tread Lightly to find some free information from the authors of the book.

You also might want to think about strength exercises focusing in particular on the muscles, joints and ligaments that support running - especially around ankles, feet, knees and hip flexors. I have a blog entry from last summer (A Few Simple Exercises for Runners) that includes suggested exercises from my trainer.

A really simple one to consider that I think will help with trail running is simply balancing on one foot while barefoot. You can fit this easily into your daily routine, e.g., while brushing your teeth, waiting for the coffee to perk, waiting for your kids to do something, etc. Start by trying to balance on one foot, arms relaxed at your sides, for 30 seconds, while barefoot. Build up to a minute, then try it with your eyes closed. When you're starting out, or when you start the eyes-closed version, it's helpful to stand near something (like a wall or a counter) so that you can grab it if you lose your balance. You can also build this one-footed balancing routine into upper body strength exercises with dumbbells. I do my bicep curls and lateral raises while standing first on one foot, then the other. I get more of a workout (more muscles engaged, so the workout is more efficient), too.

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7/13/12 1:36 P

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What is a good incline to start with?

Kelly


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SCHOOLNURSE86's Photo SCHOOLNURSE86 Posts: 870
7/13/12 9:56 A

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I personally find asphalt to be a pretty good surface. It is obviously less forgiving then dirt or a treadmill, but a little softer than concrete. It tends to be a stable surface.

I agree completely that running carefully, advancing distance slowly, and switching surfaces wisely is not harmful to the knees.

Have you been running with incline on the treadmill? If not, start doing so, if your outdoor running will involve hills. A sudden severe increase in hill running can really tick your IT band off! Take it from a Colorado runner!

Mary


"I just felt like running." Forrest Gump
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7/13/12 7:27 A

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How your knees, or any other part of your body, reacts to going from treadmill to asphalt, will also depend on how long you have been running. It's possible that your knees will be fine. If you want to start running on asphlalt, however, you may want to ease into it.

Running in and of itself doesn't hurt your knees. I had a knee injury when I was 15 and throughout most of my life every time I ran my knee would hurt for days afterward. Then when I was in my mid 40s a friend suggested I go a running store to get fitted for shoes, and that's all it took. The knee gives me less problems today than it did before I started running.

-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
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7/12/12 8:46 P

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Thanks for the input! Guess it's time to track down a good shoe store and start there. I'll also cut back to one trail run a week so my body can adjust.

How is the transition from treadmill to asphalt? Is it going to pound on my knees more than the trail? My knees were fine on the trail-just trying to get an idea on what to expect.

Kelly


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SCHOOLNURSE86's Photo SCHOOLNURSE86 Posts: 870
7/12/12 7:00 P

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While my preferred running surface is dirt trails, they are far less 'stable' than a treadmill or concrete, with a lot of minor (and not so minor) unevenness (especially if cyclists use the trail too, lots of tire groves). This can really crank on your ankles if you aren't used to it.

I agree, get the shoes checked. And I am a big believer in gradual change. If you have mostly been on your treadmill, start by doing one run per week on the new surface, and if your legs are in agreement, gradually keep transitioning a run every week or two.

Edited by: SCHOOLNURSE86 at: 7/13/2012 (09:57)
Mary


"I just felt like running." Forrest Gump
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7/12/12 2:47 P

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I am thinking you might want to start with your shoes. As you said, treadmills are a very forgiving surface to run on because they are flat, plus they have some give to them. If you have not already done so, go to a mom & pop type running store (NOT a big box sporting goods store), or a Fit2Run if you have one in your area. The folks in true running stores have people who are trained to fit you to the proper shoe for your gait.

You can work on adjusting your gait, but if you do so, you should do it by slowly working up to it. In the meantime, you'd still be dealing with ankle and shin issues, so you need to address the immediate problem, which may be the shoes. Once you have changed your gait, then return to the running store to make sure you're still in the right shoe.

If the running store says you are in the correct shoe, consider how many miles you have put on those shoes. Most shoes start breaking down somewhere around 200-300 miles, depending on what shoes you're running in and how hard you are running.

Good luck. I hope you find the answer to your problem. Let us know what you find out.

-Carolyn

"God gave you your body as a gift, so you should take care of it." - My Mom
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7/12/12 10:19 A

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I've always been a treadmill person, but have recently started going outside to get used to it. I'm using a bike trail by my house which runs along an old railroad track. It's mainly crushed limestone, but in some areas it's more like packed dirt. Some is gravel, and I've run into some sandy areas (but very few of those)

My ankles and one shin are getting sore/tired when I am outside. I'm thinking it's the uneven terrain. The trail for the most part is flat, but it's not like a treadmill where it's even all the time. My ankles don't bother me at all on the treadmill. What can I do to help this out? Or is it just a matter of getting out there and getting my body used to it?

One thing I have noticed is I tend to not "roll" my foot when I am running. I come down on the back of my foot, my ankle bends so the bottom of my foot is on the ground and from there I tend to just pick my feet up. I feel like I should be pushing off from my toes more?? Could this be causing it? Not bending my ankles enough? When I remind myself to "roll" my foot more I can feel my ankle stretching out, so this is what leads me to think this might also be a culprit.

Anyone have this problem? Any suggestions?

Kelly


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