Sometimes injuries give us a chance to step back, breath, and think abut what we are doing. Too often we are caught up in training plans and race commitments that we rarely think about what we are really doing when we exercise. Most activities require a certain bodily awareness in order to maintain your health and performance in that sport.
A recent achilles soreness has given me a chance to go back to the drawing board and assess my running form. All I had to do was conquer my fears on the scariest piece of equipment in the gym…the stair master. Until two days ago I had never stepped (pun-intended) on this behemoth for the obvious fear that I will somehow manage to fall off, get caught in, or trip while elevated high above the general gym population.
After mustering the courage to try and setting a medicre climb pace, I was immediately inspired by the running gains that could be achieved from this device. The step action directly mimics the running foot strike, while the lunging surge upward corresponds to the power of your stride. It is the simplification and repetition of these two actions that will directly influence running technique. It is here, off the road and in a cntrolled environment, that we can think about our mechanics and how we might be susceptible to injuries. Think about where your foot is striking the stair. Is the ball of your foot the first contact? Is your ankle rolling or pronating? Does one foot land farther from center than the other How about your upward stride? Are you knees buckling in or out? Is one leg doing more work than the other? Are your hamstrings and glutes carrying the load (you) effectively and efficiently?
Economy of motion is the name of the game. And by eliminating repetitive rolls, muscle inconsistencies, and strains on our joints will ensure our longevity in the sports we love.