Running has been a popular sport for many years, and it’s likely that you’ve done it or at least considered doing it sometime in your life. There’s no doubt that running is beneficial for anyone, but the question is whether it’s right for you. Running is an easy way of locomotion enabling us to move fast on foot. Although many people can run well, many cannot. Running is also a form of gait characterized by a lateral phase in which only the forefeet are over the ground whilst the hind feet remain on the ground. The direction of the running motion is usually forward but runners can also choose to run in the reverse to work on their speed.
The stride is the important aspect of the running gait. The stride length is the distance between the heel strike and the first step in each stride. It’s important to be as efficient as possible, as a long stride with little in the way of energy loss makes the runner less effective. There are three common running gaits: the flat, the limber and the reverse. The flat and the normal gaits, both with a range of 4.5 degrees of angle from the heel to the toe, are considered to be the most efficient running gaits. This means that they are good for beginners who have a lot of trouble achieving a good balance.
The second step of the running gait, the lunge, is characterized by a short shift of weight from the outside to the inside of the leg. This means that runners who take this step well will generally be able to absorb shocks better than those who don’t. When this lunge stage is correctly executed, there should be very little or no energy lost, making this gait the ideal for endurance running. Because of this aspect of the swing, runners with lower extremity injuries are often advised to practice the lunge and build their endurance.
The third step of the gait cycle, the transition phase, occurs when the runner is almost at rest. At this time the entire body weight has been shifted to the toes and the hips. Because of this movement of the feet and legs and the body weight on the front foot, the force that was pulling on the body back before the transition has greatly diminished. At this time runners can feel more relaxed and balanced.
Finally, the last phase of the running motion, the high-low or outside in transition, occurs when the runner may be in a running position for only a matter of seconds or not at all. As this movement occurs, there will be a significant change in the angles of the feet and legs. At this point, runners may feel the effort that they are putting on their feet as their body weight shifts from one foot to another. This type of exercise is best suited for people who are experienced, but who are at a lower level of fitness, since a greater degree of efficiency can be maintained.
The footstrike is the foundation for a smooth, efficient, and balanced running motion. A strong footstroke allows for greater propulsion and absorption of energy. A well-perstructed foot strike also leads to less wind resistance and a transfer of kinetic energy into the foot and into the ground. These benefits lead to an overall efficiency of movement and a reduction in injury.