24 Jul 2006 19:16:14
Xi Yin
Knee bending?

Hi,

I have a question about the proper running form, in particular how much
one should bend his knees. I have run a marathon two years ago, and have
been running inconsistently since then but I'm picking it back up. However
I've been often bothered by injuries, especially shin splints, when I run
consistently at relative high mileage. I feel that I run with a lot of
impact - when I run on the treadmill I'm louder than everyone else. In my
easy run today I intentionally bent my knees more than usual, and reduced
the impact on my lower leg. It feels quite comfortable, but also less
relaxed in a way. I'm not sure if this is the way to go. Can anyone give
me some advice?

Thanks,
Xi


25 Jul 2006 06:21:48
Al Bundy
Re: Knee bending?


Xi Yin wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I have a question about the proper running form, in particular how much
> one should bend his knees. I have run a marathon two years ago, and have
> been running inconsistently since then but I'm picking it back up. However
> I've been often bothered by injuries, especially shin splints, when I run
> consistently at relative high mileage. I feel that I run with a lot of
> impact - when I run on the treadmill I'm louder than everyone else. In my
> easy run today I intentionally bent my knees more than usual, and reduced
> the impact on my lower leg. It feels quite comfortable, but also less
> relaxed in a way. I'm not sure if this is the way to go. Can anyone give
> me some advice?
>
> Thanks,
> Xi

First, experiment with your style gradually to avoid injury. If you
consciously try to pull your leg up as you run you will pull a calf
muscle after a few days in many cases.
A bent leg is easier to move forward then a straight leg. You are
moving a longer lever with a straight leg and that takes more effort-
and it's slower.
If you picture your leg as two pieces with the knee joint and you
accelerate the knee-hip section with the knee loose, the bottom part
(knee-ankle) will want to pull up automatically with very little
effort. I think that's the key-accelerate the leg and let the bottom
flex up naturally.
It takes a long time to find the best form. When you experiment with
most things, they seem to work because you are concentrating more on
them. You need to keep checking the clock versus the form day after day
until you click on something.
Finally, you need to have different running styles at your command.
Some days your legs are just too tired for the high lift. There are
different ways to run with various injuries or pains. And ultimately,
there is what I call survival mode for really bad times.