Bridge Run Foot Injury Prevention Series, Body Flow
If you are training for the upcoming bridge run and have suffered a foot injury or lower extremity strain Our foot specialists recommend incorporating some variety in your training specifically a workout called, “BodyFlow.” Bodyflow is mixture of yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. The benefits to runners include improvements in balance which leads to better running form; increased flexibility and strength which can reduce your risk of injury; the workout also strengthens your core which also helps to improve balance.
Pilates is the perfect compliment to running. Where running is high impact, Pilates is low impact; where running creates muscle imbalance, Pilates promotes balance; and where running creates tightness, Pilates promotes mobility. Performed correctly, Pilates will strengthen muscles, ligaments, and tendons to guard against impact, improve form, and create a consistent gait. This strong and efficient running body will allow you to run faster for longer while minimizing the chance of injury.
Yoga increases flexibility (misaligned muscles are stiffer and less efficient) and reduces injury risk. As for strength, many people think yoga amounts to a lot of sitting around and meditating. Not so. It's more like modern dance. You're continuously striking poses that resemble leg lunges, squats, pushups, handstands, and the like. After 30 minutes of these movements, you know you've gone through a total-body strength workout. And better overall strength can only help your running.Mentally, yoga is a lot like running in that it requires you focus on the present Like a beautiful trail run, yoga is great at silencing the endless chatter in your brain.
Tai Chi (From Danny Dreyer/Running coach/Author of ChiRunning)
ChiRunning focuses on posture, leg swing, the position of the pelvis and a forward lean. It's not a fluffy, hippie theory--it's based on the physics of body mechanics. Here are the basics:
Run Tall. Think about this: When you're standing straight, your joints are in alignment and your skeleton is supporting your weight. When you run, you want to keep this alignment so your skeleton continues to be involved.
It's common, however, for runners to slump the shoulders or bend at the waist, which then requires the leg muscles to support most of the body weight, instead of the stronger skeleton. By maintaining good posture, you lessen the amount of work your legs have to do and move more efficiently.
Lean Forward. By adding a slight forward lean when you run, your body falls forward and you use gravity for your propulsion instead of your legs. This lean also helps keep your body in alignment, with your foot landing under you. To do this, lean from your ankles, not your waist, and keep your spine straight. The lean is subtle; don't lean so far forward you are out of control or actually falling.
Land on the Mid-Foot. To keep your posture in alignment--which helps reduce injuries--while you're leaning forward, land with a mid-foot strike when you run. You want your foot to land underneath or slightly behind you, in line with your hips and shoulders.
Run from Your Core. To reduce injuries, it's vital to keep your pelvis level. You do this by engaging your core muscles while you run. To level your pelvis, try this simple exercise: Stand against the wall and try to press your lower back into the wall. Watch what happens to your pelvis. You have to engage your lower abdominal muscles in a vertical crunch movement. Remember that feeling in your body and try to maintain it as you run.
Relax, Relax, Relax. It's common for runners to tighten up their shoulders or other muscles as they get tired. But all that stiffness and tension wastes energy and makes you less efficient. Sense and respond with the correct adjustments, which might be as simple as straightening your arms and shaking them out or reminding yourself to lower your shoulders.
How hard is it to change your running technique?
Some coaches say you can't change your running form, but I don't believe that for a second. But it does take time to break inefficient habits. So, you'll need to slow down your pace at first to focus on the basics. Practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the quicker you'll learn it. For the average person, it takes one to three months for his or her muscles to learn something new.
Devote at least one run a week to technique. Don't listen to music or talk to a friend; instead, think about your body position and alignment and make adjustments throughout your run to stay relaxed and move efficiently.
Learning ChiRunning is like learning to ride a bike, once you get it, your muscles remember the movement, and it becomes intuitive. You'll feel a difference in your body once you get it. Many women have told me they suffer less hip, back and knee pain once they switch to this technique, in addition to increasing their endurance and speed. Hopefully, you'll be able to run for years to come.
In conclusion I have personally adopted the “Chi Running” style of running which truly has helped to reduce injury to my Lower Extremity and has helped to increase speed and distance over the years with respect to running. For more information on Chi Running check out Danny Dreyer’s book, “A revolutionary approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.”