Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Muscle Strength, Heel and Toe Running, Knee Pain

Slow pace, using your whole foot and run up the slopes. This helps build up more strength in your muscle. Once you are comfortable with this, then only you train for your speed. And one more caution, runners don’t go to gym to build up more “leg” muscles. They can only work on their upper parts of their body in gym but not their leg. If you build more muscle in your leg, you need to train more on the roads to strengthen it. And it is muscles aches that pulls us down and make us ‘puncture’ and it needs more oxygen to releaves to aches on our muscles. So, theoretically, the less muscles, you won’t get pulled-down so easily during runs.

Toe running is normally used when you want to pick up your speed. So, if you use it on slow pacing, I would say, it's rather wasting more energy as it bears more pressure on your toe. Heel running (not use using heel, but the whole palm of your foot), is rather the best to be when training for normal pacing. To use only your toe (the front side of the palm of your foot), it takes a lot to train especially if you want to maintain your speed on ascending slopes as what you are doing on flat ground. And for fast runners, I would say, almost 80% of them are using the front palm of their foot in all their runs whether it's on flat ground or ascending slopes.

Slope runs whether it is going ascending or descending puts a lot of pressure on your knee. Therefore, try not to push yourself too hard on this. You should do it bit by bit to build up the muscle strength above your knee. Once the muscle above your knee is strong, you will be able to do a long run on ascending slopes then. Never force your body to work. If it feels like resting, put it at rest. Muscles can be torn if overstretched. And that will make you stop for few months with no choice.

About the knee pain when runned down a descending slopes, it really depends on individuals. And I am one of the person that was affected by the same effect. It depends on individuals’ knee cartilage condition to cushion the impact. When running down a slope, our knee needs to support three times our body weight. So, to reduce the pain, try to reduce the pacing. And try to run with with his foot in “V” shape….This is one of my major wekanesses in my running. But the question comes again, how can I make this weakness into my advantage? When you reduce your pacing, try to make up the energy and recover ‘ASAP” so that when you reaches the flat ground or ascending slopes, you can make it up back to where you are. And never use knee bracing or knee guard. Using this type of assistance will make your muscle flex lesser and thus, making your muscle “lazy”.

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