Screen Yourself for Running
Running is defined as only placing one foot on the ground at a time as you propel yourself forward. If only one foot can be on the ground at a time, you spend a tremendous amount of time in single leg stance, also termed single limb support phase.
Here are 2 simple screens to see how well you tolerate standing on one leg. We use these screens to assess runners use it as part of the process to identify deficits. If you struggle on these movement screens, there is a good chance it will hurt you. It will either hurt your performance or be the cause of pain and injury down the road.
As we train elite runners and Olympians, such as the Norcal Distance Project, these 2 screens are part of a larger evaluation process that dives deeper into the athletes strengths and weaknesses.
If you must stand on one leg for thousands of steps as you run, lets make sure you can own that position.
Single Leg Stance
Stand in front of a mirror so you can see your entire body. Stand feet together and raise one knee up to hip height.
As you raise your knee, notice if you shift your hips to one side or if you lose your balance. Also note if you elevate one side of your pelvis compared to the other.
Observe the photo below showing the pelvis tilt and the runner shift weight to outside the foot base of support.
If you observe a movement compensation as we discussed, then seek an evaluation from a medical professional to determine the origin of that dysfunction.
Single Leg Squat
The next step in the screen would be the single leg squat. Stand on one leg in front of a mirror and lower yourself into a squat. Note your knee position. Does your knee stay in line with your foot and hip.
Observe how the pelvis and shoulders stay level as the athlete drops into a squat. The hip, knee, and ankle all stay stacked on top of each other. This is ideal alignment.
The image below demonstrates a runner that loses this alignment.
Observe the knee collapse inwards, and how far the hip shifts outside the foot on the ground. The shoulders also dip and the pelvis tips to one side. This all suggests a weakness in the trunk and lower extremity. Running on a condition like this will no doubt lead to overuse injuries and future problems. Seek an evaluation of a Physical Therapist to provide a specific plan to correct the problem.
If you passed these basic tests then you are one step closer having success running! Get out there and enjoy! If you struggled, get checked out by a medical pro or give us a call and we will help you remotely or in person.
If you are in Sacramento for California International Marathon this week, come see us Rocktape booth at the EXPO.
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