While I lack specific data to justify this belief, a condition that I suspect is more common than realized among runners is hip alignment issues. Given the role of the pelvis as a fulcrum in each of the three planes of motion of the body (frontal, sagittal, transverse), there are numerous potential drivers of alignment issues, as problems tend to propagate to the hips.
The symptoms of pelvic misalignment can take quite some time to show up (and can be quite broad in nature), and the condition is often first recognized as a leg length discrepancy. Such discrepancies can be mistakenly attributed to permanent biomechanical issues when in fact they are often a temporary condition brought on by poor pelvis alignment. Thus the tendency is to leap quickly to orthotics in such a situation, when in fact appropriate corrective and preventative exercises may address the true issue.
Goals and purpose are topics I write about frequently. Running is a perfect environment for experimenting with motivational tools. A recent post on Lifehack emphasizing the distinction between goals and purposes got me wondering if sometimes we, as runners, don’t end up making the same mistake.
First, it’s probably beneficial to distinguish between goals and purpose. The latter is the reason you exist, or pursue a given hobby. In fact, it’s often the desire to exist for a long time – in other words, to stay or become healthy, the provides the purpose most of us have when we first take up running. Or maybe it’s do enhance the way we exist by discovering more about ourselves and using running to build our character.
Goals are the more concrete objectives – both long- and short-term, that you set for yourself. This may be quantitative like breaking 3:00 in the marathon, or losing 20 pounds in a year. Or it may be more qualitative, like continuously improving as a runner.
This post has been a long time in the building. Not so much in the writing (though, as you’ll see, that certainly took some time), but in the learning, in the progression. Some things you just can’t rush. This is true of many things in running, but especially form changes. Oh sure, you can read the books, attend the clinics, and buy the shoes, but forcing things often leads to injury. Yes, there are the occasional runners gifted with the right balance of strength and good natural form. But whatever it is – being raised in elevated shoes, or spending a lot of time sitting at desks, running the “wrong way” for years, whatever explanation you may believe – most of us have to invest significant time if we want to become more injury resistant via improved running form. This is the summary of one such journey, and I don’t think it’s a unique trip.
Note: This will likely be the last post of top running content, as I’m migrating it to an email newsletter starting in February, 2013. So if you enjoy this content, please subscribe to this email using the form at the upper right. This biweekly (or so) email will highlight content like this as well as announcements and new posts from Predawn Runner.
Two posts this month focus on goal-setting. On Competitor, Jeff Gaudette discusses how to set realistic goals and, as I’ve mentioned before, emphasizes enjoying and focusing on the process as opposed to worrying too much about the results. The latter follows the former, and by keeping focused on the process you maintain patience and build your strength appropriately, as opposed to being in a hurry and risking injury. And Jay Dicharry makes an interesting argument that we don’t think general enough when we are in our base-building mode. Unicycling, anyone? Read the rest of Ten Top Running Posts for January 2013 »
Note: I have not read Danny Dreyer’s ChiRunning, nor do I intend to. Many of the thoughts in this post may mirror his teachings, but, based on some of the reviews I have read, there are enough differences to make this a unique perspective on the use of Eastern principles to improve our running. In fact, the most thorough review (a criticism) of his book indicates that he may have missed the mark on a few ideas, so this post may, in fact, provide better guidance, specifically in the area of using core strength.