Biomechanics of running is to understand the structure, function, and capabilities of your lower extremities. It takes a look at the overall kinetic chain that examines what allows a person to run. The study of biomechanics is more looked at in the case of an injury or professional runners. Biomechanics can be further looked at in any scenario to help you improve.
Today we will be doing a brief introduction into running biomechanics that can be implemented at running school.
The Gait Cycle
The Gait Cycle is the motion of running. It starts when one foot makes contact with the ground, and the cycle ends with that same foot touching the ground again. The cycle is divided into two phases which are, known as the stance and swing. We are going to look further into the stages of both phases.
The stance phase is when the foot is in contact with the ground. This phase is then divided into 4 stages: initial contact, braking, midstance, and propulsion.
This stage is the first contact your foot makes when you run. For example, when you start to run, your left foot is lifted off the ground while the right is making contact with the ground. This stage marks the beginning of the stance phase.
This stage is also referred to as the absorption stage. From the previous example – when your left foot lands, your body is performing a controlled landing. Think of when you are running down a hill, and your feet almost feel out of control. When you are reaching the bottom, your body doesn’t automatically stop.
To stop safely, your body needs to take a few more steps and that step to slow down is absorbing the impact. Your tendons and connective tissue within your muscles are now storing elastic energy.
The braking stage continues until the left leg is directly under the hip. The impact is not being easily absorbed, and it faces the maximum load from your body weight. This stage is the maximum risk of injury.
This stage is when your leg is ready to propel you forward for the next step. When your left leg makes a controlled landing, it is ready to extend and pushing your body forward. The energy comes from the braking stage. The more elastic energy, the less your body uses its muscles.
This stage ends when the toes of your left foot leave the ground. You then enter the float stage, and both feet are off the ground.
The swing phase is anytime when your foot is lifted off the ground from the stance phase. The end of the swing phase is when the knee is past the hips and prepares for the initial contact.
How to Improve your Mechanics
First, we can start by furthering your education not only about biomechanics but about your own body. If you have any injuries, you might want to check that out to help you prevent them from worsening.
Next, you want to be conscious of your movements. This is a challenge because running is fast movements, and you don’t want to overthink. Practice first with jogging and seek help. Running school is a great option to help you throughout the process because you don’t want to get any injuries.
Overall, it is a lot to take in and can be overwhelming. Once you understand and continue to learn, it’s a great start to help you improve. Be careful and always ask for help.