Running is instinctual, but do we do it correctly? The desire to run is not enough; proper training, shoes and technique are also essential.
Medical Advisor Mauricio Aguirre
Doctor and specialist in sports medicine,
Practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
With the popularity of 2K, 5K, 10K and even longer races, many people are determined to get out and run in the next competition, at all costs. Before they start training, they buy running shoes and one or two accessories that were recommended to them or that they saw being used by runners at big marathons. When the time comes to start training, they go out to run, and after five or ten blocks their bodies cannot go anymore. The worst pain is not immediate, however. It becomes unbearable the day after, yet in most cases, can be avoided.
When people first begin a physical activity, they tend to make mistakes that the body later pays for. These can range from not running the right distance or selecting the wrong route or shoes, to having poor technique with how the foot lands on the ground.
According to Dr. Mauricio Aguirre a specialist in sports medicine, an expert on chronic conditions and a competitive triathlete many people begin running without proper training just to lose weight, especially individuals with a history of physical inactivity or who spend long periods of time being inactive. This is how chronic bone and muscle conditions can occur.
Before going down the path of becoming a runner, Aguirre explains that we first must learn to walk and that it is best to take it step by step. Dr. Aguirre suggests going on slow walks at first and later increasing your pace gradually. Walking will not help you lose the calories or weight that you want, however this comes with time.
Once you have regulated your pace, it is important to pay attention to how you support your feet when you run. This leads to the question: when you run, does your heel or toe hit the ground first?
If you chose heel, you are making a mistake. “When the weight of your body lands on your heel, you lose all of the foot’s ability to absorb your weight. The idea is to land on the front of your foot, where the base of your toes is the first third of your foot starting from your toes and working towards your heel,” he explains.
One way to find out if you have the proper technique is to run in place: if you land on your heel, try to correct your step to land on the front part of your foot. Dr. Aguirre recommends doing this little by little until achieving the proper technique, and beginning your running routine. Slow and steady.
The PERFECT shoe
Do not fall into the trap of buying running shoes with air bubbles. They can actually cause the most damage.
This is because shoes with more cushion in their soles damage the muscles in the sole of the foot. Mauricio Aguirre cites studies that demonstrate that these types of shoes have been tied to an increase in plantar fasciitis.
The modern technology of big athletic shoe companies helps to create shoe lines with less cushion. This helps prevent vibrations from reaching the heel, which can later affect ankle, knee and hip joints and even the lumbar region.
Injuries caused by the poor selection of running shoes include conditions such as plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the tissues in the soles of the feet); osteoarthritis in the kneecap, joint degeneration in the hips, degenerative disc disease (which can cause back pain), periostitis in the tibia (a muscle injury), and even fractures (due to the wear on the bones), cramps and inflammation in the tendons of the knees or ankles.
It is also important to not go out running just because you want to. Running requires strengthening your muscles and following a training plan that is not only specific to an individual’s needs, but also to their skills, helping runners to use their instincts more and experience less injuries.
The way you step when you walk, run and jump directly influences your physical health, especially your ankles, knees, hips and back.
Choose the running shoes that fit how you step
Supination, neutral y overpronation: to find out what type of step you have, notice what the wear is like on your shoes. If the greatest wear is on the inner part of your shoes, then you are a supinator and you will need a shoe that provides more cushion. When you put your shoes on a flat surface and there is no incline, you have a neutral step and should seek shoes that provide cushion and arch support. If the inner side of both your heel and metatarsals (where your big toe is) show more wear, this is evidence of overpronation and you should find shoes with the most arch support possible, which is why shoes with cushioning and stability are recommended.