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January 28, 2013

BehindTheMedspeak: "Anatomy for Runners"


My new homies at Two Rivers Treads threw this book (published last year) in with my shoes when I visited them a couple weeks ago; took my first look at it yesterday.

Long story short: It's excellent — well worth twice the $9.38 Amazon sells it for.

Tons of really useful, new information presented without cant or stridency.

Anyone who runs will benefit from this book.

Detailed review here.

For me, the single most profound page of the book was 290, the second of two pages comprising Appendix A — "Gait Vocabulary."

What got my attention was the following:

Typically a walker spends 60% of her time in stance and 40% in swing during comfortable paces. These percentages can shift as walking speed increases; however, the key distinction of walking is that the person maintains one foot in contact with the ground at all times. Given that the world record for race walking a 10K is under 40 minutes, it is possible to move quite fast while subscribing to these guidelines. When walking, the body's center of mass oscillates slightly up and down such that the maximum forces experienced on one leg are never higher than 1.1 times the body weight. The long stance times and low forces during walking likely explain why we don't see catastrophic walking injuries.

By definition, running exists when the individual has periods of single leg support or flight. [Unlike walking], no double support can be seen in running. Runners spend 30-40% of their time in stance and 60-70% in swing (flight). During the flight phase, the body follows a parabolic curve similar to any projectile moving through the air. The increased rise and fall of the center of mass in distance running produces vertical forces 2.2-2.7 times body weight. Sprinters generate forces as high as 3-3.1 times body weight. The combination of short contact times, high forces, and repetition place great demands on the runner's tissues. 

You want to know why over 80% of runners get hurt?

Read the two paragraphs above carefully.

You don't have to be a rocket surgeon....

January 28, 2013 at 08:01 AM | Permalink


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Glad you like the book Joe! True, you don't have to be a rocket surgeon to figure it out. Decrease the time that you're in stance phase and propertly increase the strength of the tissue by slowly increasing the amount of stress placed on it and you vastly improve your chances of staying injury free.

Posted by: Paul | Jan 28, 2013 12:44:32 PM

There is walking, and there is running, and there is sprinting, and then there is running talus. http://wednesdaysrocks.blogspot.com/2010/01/talus-running.html

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jan 28, 2013 11:55:54 AM

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