with Performance Specialist Mike Simon CSCS, CPT, FMS, USAW

You run 4 days a week for 3 weeks. Your knees start to hurt after one of your runs and then during one of your runs. You get concerned, go to the doctor and they tell you “stop running.” You get more concerned and seek a second opinion. This doctor tells you to take a few days off and then restart. You talk to friends and relatives and they all tell you different things. Thus the question: is running bad for you?

The answer is no, running isn’t bad for you. Running is bad for you when your body is not conditioned enough to handle the force of landing and pushing off, over and over and over again in a repetitive motion. A common issue with runners is bad running form. Bad running form includes bad stride mechanics and can be caused by the wrong running shoes or overly used running shoes. Generally the shoes can handle 300 miles and then be replaced (for the average runner this could be 18-20 weeks). If you aren’t keeping track you’ll notice a decrease in “spring” or “life” of a shoe. There are also all types of running shoes to consider. Some shoes have more stability and some have less stability. Some have more motion control and some with less motion control. We recommend going to a running shoe store that deals primarily with runners.

To prevent injuries that relate to running a runner must have a base of strength. The lower leg muscles and the upper leg muscles must be strong enough to handle these repetitive motions. If they aren’t the joints will break down and hence you get your knee injuries, hip issues and muscle strains. A strong core (abs and lower back strength) will also help prevent many of these injuries. Also the knowledge of increasing mileage over time and not too soon is recommended to avoid too much strain on the body.

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