Do you speak RUNNING?

July 28, 2009


Are pronate, stride and supination a part of your vocabulary? As a runner I regularly use these words. Ok, I lied. These are words I learned once I started getting serious about running and blogging about my running experiences. Here are a few words to add to your running vocabulary. You can think of them as the SAT words of running; if you know and use them, you will effectively improve your running and post better times.

1. Gait is a person's running cycle; essentially the events that occur when one foot first makes initial contact with the ground until it touches down again. The gait cycle can be broken down into four phases: stance, swing, second stance, and the second swing.
Why it's important: Well, analyzing your gait helps you make minor adjustments to your posture that make you more relaxed during running as well as prevent injuries. You can have your gait analyzed at most running stores. I highly recommend this if you have any pain during running.

2. Pronate - "Do you pronate?" This question just sounds like the beginning of a dirty joke. Runners who have a normal pronation roll their feet from the outside of their heels to the inside of their arches while running. Over pronaters, those with flat feet, roll more than they need to. This results in them placing unneeded pressure on their big and second toes as they push off of the ground. Conversely, under pronators, those with high arches, roll off of the outside of their feet. All of the pressure is placed on their outside toes.
Why it's important: Shock Absorbancy! For those of you who are over or under pronaters, your feet are not absorbing shock properly. This is easily corrected with the proper running shoes.

3. Supination - Supination occurs as the foot is placed on the ground and prepares to push off. In this movement, the foot rolls out and underpronates. You can tell that you supinate if your shoes are worn on the outer edges.
Why it's Important: Supination can result in pain on the outside of your knee, heel pain and tendinitis in your achilles. Believe me, these are all very painful. Again, this can be corrected with proper running shoes and small adjustments to your posture.

4. Stride is the distance covered during a gait. We measure stride in rate (number of steps per minute) and length. Honestly, I've never analyzed my stride, and from what I've read, most experts think you should run with your natural stride. I will say that when I "hit my stride", I'm pushing off of the ground rather powerfully, but not over extending myself.

These are just a few technical words to get you started. Later this week, I will break down more running jargon to help your become fluent in Running!

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