I was recently asked to choose 3 problems many runners face and to offer a solution to those issues. Of course, I could go much more in-depth on any one of these topics, so if you want to learn more, just ask! Overstriding
Before reading any further, quick, get someone to shoot a side view video of your running form.
Is your front knee nearly locked-out straight or flexed?
Is your foot more than 6 inches in front of your torso?
The answer to all of those questions should be “no”. Thanks to shoes that have an overly elevated heel cushion, overstriding is easy to do and probably the most common running form problem in existence.
Besides creating a braking effect, you're exposing yourself to very high initial impact forces despite the “well cushioned” shoe you're wearing. Check out this great video for some great running form pointers!
Ever wonder why your knees hurt from running? There can be many reasons, but a very common issue - especially with women - is weakness in the external rotators of the hip. The knees are often the victim, not the cause!
When your foot hits the ground, the leg internally rotates. This is normal. A problem arises when you don't have enough strength to control the amount of rotation. The key is to strengthen the muscles that externally rotate your leg, thus they'll be better at limiting excessive internal rotation. The clamshell with a mini-band is a great place to start.
Next, stand on one leg, push those hips back, perform a squat and check that your knee doesn't cave inward. I like to use a mini-band strapped just above the knees to remind the correct muscles to fire. Keep a few inches between your knees. Video demonstration here.
I just want to give you a fresh perspective on why that knee might be bothering you, but absolutely check with your doctor or physical therapist if you're dealing with pain.
So, You Want To Run a Long Race?
Participating in a long distance race is awesome. It's super fun to be running with your friends and it feels incredible to accomplish something previously considered far-fetched. MY favorite part is going to brunch afterwards, but anyway...
The thing is, when you sign up for a long distance race, you are actually signing up for much more than a bunch of miles on race day. You're signing up for a lifestyle. Give the race and, more importantly, your body, the respect it deserves.
You are an athlete. Take care of yourself that way. Eat clean, hydrate often, sleep consistently, and of course train smart. Strive to balance all the sources of stress in your life and be mindful to reduce one source if another flares up.
Consider hiring a coach if you're new to this sport to help you avoid so many of the mistakes (even experienced) runners make. We're here to help!