A discussion on all things running: Part 1

I am intrigued and at times tormented by the effect of fatigue on the running athlete and its potential to influence injury.

Similarly, like most of you I suspect, I am driven to try to understand the role of biomechanics in injury, especially things like plantar heel pain and shin pain.

So, I thought it appropriate to delve into some of the very latest research to see if we are any closer to getting answers. In this the first of 2 discussions, we will look at 2 very recent papers, and the first is a beauty, showing some clear mechanical changes in the gait patterns of novice runners who are fatigued, compared to more expert athletes.

This gives us some really clear pointers to how we advise and train novice runners, and although only a relatively small cohort in the study, it is well designed and the information is good.

Novice runners show greater changes in kinematics with fatigue compared with competitive runners
Maas E et al.
Sports Biomechanics. (2017) Early View

The often quoted injury risk for running is somewhere between 20 and 80%, which is a fair spread, but no matter what way you look at it, the risk of injury is substantial for runners. 

And, this risk is particularly high for novice runners, which leads to disillusionment and withdrawal from the sport which is less than ideal. Why is it that novice runners, in particular, carry this high risk of injury?

Well, there are many reasons, the most commonly trotted out are that:

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical