Run Pain Free (With a Little Support)

How many of us pledged that starting January 1st we’d recommit to our run training?  Whether runner, walker, triathlete, or other, some of us that started pounding the pavement after a holiday hiatus (or longer) found that our joints were aching. (Want to get right to the video? It’s right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1owbBgtpDqI)

Enter Megan Seafross of Ridgefield Running Company (Voted Among The Best Running Stores in 2019!).  Megan invited me to try out the shop’s Fit Station.  With 3D analysis of running mechanics, along with pressure mapping, their software allows for a custom insole to be created to support YOUR body.  While many find support with SmartFeet or other off the shelf insoles, some of us need a bit more personalized support. While all runners can benefit from the FIT process regardless if you purchase insoles or not, if you’re over the age of 40 or have had an injury, there’s a strong chance your left and right leg work differently when you run. This leads to compensations in your kinetic chain which can lead to joint pain.

The fit process involves a sizing of each of foot the old school way, then a 3D scan of each of foot, and then pressure mapping of the gait.  From there, it’s on to the treadmill to track your run form at a comfy pace.  As coaches, Megan and I know what signals to look for in run patterns that may indicate an issue.  It is common to find runners that hit their calves with the inside of their heel of the shoes, or see knees diving in on foot strike, or even excessive vertical oscillation (major bouncing).  While it’s my job to address biomechanic issues within the body, Megan and her team aim to provide the right insole and shoe for runners to support their current gait and to allow them to work towards a better one.  Note: it’s common to need more than one shoe in your arsenal.

It’s estimated that up to 92.4% of long distance runners will at some point have a lower-extremity injury, most likely at the knee joint.**    Joint pain when running should not happen.  Always contact your medical professional to get a diagnosis to make sure you aren’t doing more damage.  Note though, that is very common for runners to underestimate the mileage in their running shoes and insoles, and they try to eek out a few more months in them.  Spend the money on a new pair of shoes. Err on the side of caution.  You only get one spine and one pair of feet. Don’t skimp or you could not only run in pain, but do more damage.

Folks of my generation and older were taught to run through the pain. Well, that’s great until you can’t run anymore, and then you have to get smarter or stop running.  As we mature and reach our 40s or higher, we learn we must train our spine, our hips and shoulders, and then work down the line in the gym to support our running.  While our strong piston legs just want to run (after all it worked for the last 10, 20 or 30 years), our bodies no longer support the legs without specific training.  Therefore, a combination of strength training and the right gear allow us to keep running well into our 80s and beyond.  To schedule your running fit with Ridgefield Running Co. click here: https://www.ridgefieldrunning.com/

Have questions about this article? Please shoot me a note here: headcoach@clarezechercoaching.com

* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2465455/

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