Running is a skill that humans are supremely adapted for, there are more than 20 physiological and biomechanical qualities and adaptations that make us one of the most efficient running animals on earth. While we are far from the fastest or the strongest animal on earth, we, however, have the ability to outrun many other animals over long distances.
Elite human runners, while slow over the short course, will beat almost any other animal including elite horses due to the unique advantages of the body heat regulation and breathing.
Despite the high injury rate reported at between 20-80% per year, it is, however, one of the most practised sports amongst working adults in Singapore. Running is also associated with various significant health benefits such as 40-76% lower risk of certain types of cancer, and running 10-15min per day reduces the risk of death from all-cause mortality by 29%. So if we are born runners, why are we getting injured so often?
One of the most common reasons people run is to get fit. However, the old adage that says, “you need to get fit to play golf, not play golf to get fit” is also applicable to running. Running like any physically demanding activity requires the body to be prepared for it, to prevent any form of injuries and to reap the benefits.
Running places many physical demands on our bodies and if we do not have the right conditioning of the pelvis, legs, feet and spine when we run, chances of you getting injured are high. Certainly not betting odds!
There are also several factors that influence our running efficiency such as running style and technique, which are surprisingly easy to modify. An example of which is our running cadence (number of steps taken per minute), by adjusting your cadence by as little as 5%, we can significantly reduce loading through the hip knee and ankle joint. In fact, it can reduce the amount of force passing through your heel by 565 times your body weight per mile.
So for a 60kg runner over 5km, that is over 100,000 tonnes (the weight of 70 cars!). If you want to fully reap the benefits of running, which are not just physiological but also psychological, it is worth putting the time into getting your body conditioned to run.