Post 88: 7 Surprising Sources of Running Injuries

A good article on the 7 Surprising Sources of Running Injuries.

One of my clients sent me this article last week. Here is the original link. What I wanted to do is reprint the article here and add my comments in red. Enjoy

7 Surprising Sources of Running Injuries

And how to keep them from cutting into your mileage.


June 19, 2013
The main reason runners get injured is “the toos”: too much, too soon, too quick, or some combination of the three. But running injuries sometimes have deeper, harder-to-identify causes. These are often things that happen in the rest of your life that, over time, take a toll on the body you use to run. Here are seven non-running factors to consider when trying to figure out an injury.
1. Your Parents
You’ve blamed them for everything else, so why not your running injuries?
The construction of what we might call your running chassis–the length of your limbs, the width of your hips, your bone structure, your muscle-fiber type–is largely inherited. These underlying features of your body play a huge role in your running form, and can predispose you to being at greater risk for certain injuries.
For example, if you were born a rigid, high-arched foot and lower-leg bones that curve outward, you’ll probably land hard on the outside of your feet when you run, and may be susceptible to stress fractures in your feet or shins, or strains of the tendons that run along the outside of the foot.
Less visibly, despite your preference for long runs, you may have been born with a high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers, which make you more of a natural sprinter. You might therefore struggle more with marathon training and racing than someone who was born with a high percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers, because your body won’t be as adept at storing muscle glycogen and burning fat.
What To Do About It: Take a look around at the next family reunion and note structural commonalities. Learn what you can about your relatives’ bodily woes, even if your relatives aren’t athletes. Be honest with yourself about inherited conditions that might predispose you to injury. Once you’ve identified them, do regular strength and/or flexibility work that addresses these potential weak spots in your make-up.
Not too much to comment on this one. They always say the best way to be a great runner is to pick the right parents. No surprise here. The best runners are small and slight of frame. A 200 pounder will never win the Boston marathon. You can still enjoy running but please factor in genetic limitations and adjust.
2. Your Past
There’s logic behind jokes about old football injuries and other past trauma to the body. A childhood fall, a broken bone that wasn’t reset properly, a car accident, even how you came out of the womb can permanently alter how you carry yourself. Any subtle but seemingly locked-in change in your posture can introduce inefficiencies to your running form that can increase your risk of developing repetitive-strain injuries.
More obviously, if you lived a typical sedentary Western lifestyle for many years before you started running, the body you bring to running could increase your injury risk. Excess weight places tremendous strain on joints, tendons, and ligaments. Inactivity reduces muscular strength and efficiency.
What To Do About It: As with your inherited physical traits, take as complete an inventory as possible of past insults to your body. Look at photos for patterns of holding one shoulder higher, or one hip lower. When you’ve identified imbalances from past trauma, work to correct them with targeted strengthening. If you’re carrying excess weight, take a long-term approach togetting to a good running weight that will lower your impact forces.
This is where a good personal trainer who is versed in functional training can help. We are trained to spot imbalances and over corrections. When a client has knee or back pain, the issue is rarely the knee or back. The analogy I always use is that of a car. If the steering wheel shakes, you don’t buy another steering wheel, you get the tires aligned. I help clients in two ways.
1. Strengthen the muscles, especially the stabilizer muscles.
2. Enforce correct alignment and movement patterns.
3. Your Commute
You probably know a long-time runner who starts squirming after 15 minutes in the car. You might even be that runner, whose hips and hamstrings seize up behind the wheel.
What’s painfully obvious in that runner is an exaggerated version of what happens to everyone’s butt and upper-leg muscles after too much time in the fixed position of driving. The muscles become shortened and weakened, with restricted blood flow. As a result, they not only hamper you on individual runs, especially when you want to go fast, but also become more easily injured, because they’re in a near-constant state of low-level tension. And as these key running muscles become more compromised, they shift some of the load of running to smaller muscles, potentially setting off an endless cycle of injury.
The effect of driving is even more pronounced if you get in the car soon before or after your daily run, as many runners do.
What To Do About It: If you drive more than 30 minutes a day, hamstring,hip, and glute strengthening and flexibility exercises have to be a regular part of your life. While you’re driving, activate the muscles as best you can, such as by squeezing your butt cheeks for 10 seconds every five minutes. This will increase blood flow to and lower tension in the muscles.
I have also had success with getting clients in a stable pelvic position whether they are standing in line, driving, sitting, working out or running. This involves.
1. Feet flat on floor, toes parallel.
2. Squeezing the glutes hard to put the pelvis in a neutral position.
3. Tightening the ab wall.
4. Your Job
So if driving 30 minutes a day is bad for your running, what about sitting at a desk for hours upon hours?
You’ve probably heard how bad too much sitting is for overall health. In terms of running injuries, it’s bad for all the reasons driving is, and then some, given how hard maintaining good sitting posture can be. A tightened, shortened lower back can lock up your pelvis and significantly hamper good running form. Sitting at odd angles and with your head thrust forward toward a monitor can also throw you out of alignment enough to carry over to your running.
What To Do About It: If you work at a desk, set up your monitor or other work station so that it’s at eye level. Move your monitor close enough so that you’re not straining to see it. Position your keyboard so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees to minimize strain on your shoulders. Sit with your center of gravity over your hips and your feet flat on the floor. Angle your chair so that your knees are slightly lower than your hips. No matter how good your sitting posture is, get up and move around at least once an hour. Bonus: A recent studyfound 10 minutes of workplace stretching reduced anxiety and increased vitality.
I find that when I think about it, I almost always find myself slouching when I sit. Try and extend your torso and try and stack your vertebrae as tall as possible. Sitting for extended periods will make the hamstrings tight. This can lead to the hamstrings getting involved in glute function which is bad. 
Make sure when you do a glute exercise you feel it in the butt and when you do a hamstring exercise you feel it in the hamstrings. 
5. Your Everyday Shoes
Kevin Kirby, a sport podiatrist and marathoner, believes some runners’ views on shoes need perspective.
“They are so worried about everyone’s extra 8 millimeters of heel height during their 30- to 60-minute runs, but are saying nothing about the health effects that wearing shoes with 75 millimeters of heel height and overly tight toe boxes for eight hours per day have on a woman’s feet, knees, and lower back,” Kirby says.
One study found that women who regularly wear high heels had calf muscles that were about 12 percent shorter and Achilles tendons that were about 10 percent more rigid than women who regularly wear flat shoes. A different study showed that basic walking mechanics were different (in a bad way) in women who wore heels at least 40 hours a week compared to women who wore heels less than 10 hours a week. Note to men: The heels in this study were only 5 millimeters high, so this might apply to you as well.
What To Do About It: Walk around the house barefoot. As much as possible, wear flat shoes with a toe box that allows your toes to spread. If heels are unavoidable in your profession, do the best you can to minimize the time you spend in time, such as wearing other shoes when commuting. Also be diligent about calf and Achilles flexibility exercises if you have to wear heels for work.
Great advice.
6. Your Phone
Physiotherapist Phil Wharton tells the story of a struggling high school runner whose problems he ultimately traced to her frequent texting. Being bent in classic texting stance so often and using her thumbs so much had thrown the girl’s shoulders out of alignment, which then affected her core, hips, and leg alignment. (Remember, the hip bone’s connected to the…)
You might think you’re not as much of a texting fiend as the typical high school girl, but there’s little good to be said for any amount of time spent hunched over in front of a phone or other screen. Cocking your head into your phone can also throw your body out of balance. Over time, if your head is permanently thrust forward, or your neck and shoulders stooped, you’ll lose the ability to line up your head, shoulders, hips, and ankles when you run. The hit to your running form can cause compensatory injuries in areas that have to take up more slack than they’re meant to.
What To Do About It: Be mindful of your posture when texting and otherwise using your phone. If heavy phone use is an unavoidable part of your life, be diligent about neck and shoulder stretches. (Wharton recommends these exercises to reset your neck.) If you already run with hunched shoulders, consider occasionally wearing a shoulder brace. Hey, if it’s good enough for Galen Rupp and Mary Cain, isn’t it good enough for you?
I wouldn’t recommend wearing a shoulder brace because that won’t strengthen the opposing muscles. Work on reverse flyes, shrugs and other upper back exercises that will strengthen the posterior should muscles. This will naturally have the effect of pulling the shoulders back into their normal position.
7. Your Nightcap?
We’ll go with a question mark rather than a definitive statement here, but consider: In a study that followed more than 80,000 military personnel for one year, researchers said they found an association between moderate weekly alcohol consumption and increased risk of developing Achilles tendon injuries.
It’s possible that alcohol can slow tendon healing. That appeared to be the case in a study involving rats. Some of the rats became gradually accustomed to small amounts of alcohol in their drinking water, while the rest of the rats in the study remained teetotalers. Then researchers purposefully injured the rats’ Achilles tendons. A few weeks later, the rats were euthanized, and their Achilles tendons were examined. Those of the drinking rats had healed significantly less than those of the nondrinking rats.
What To Do About It: If you’re susceptible to injuries in areas that have a poor blood supply, such as the Achilles tendon, see if reducing your alcohol intake makes a difference over time. Many sports medicine professionals recommend reduced alcohol intake when you’re dealing with the acute phase of an injury, to better let the body’s natural inflammation and healing cycles to occur.


This is interesting. I had not heard of this. All in all a great article. I can see if a runner followed the advice, you will significantly cut down in injuries and lost running time.

Visit me at Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |

Post 53: How Many Calories Should You Be Eating?

How many calories should you be eating?
If you are not losing fat as fast as you would like or if you have trouble gaining muscle, then chances you are not eating enough. This is the number one issue I deal with as a trainer. Most people have an idea of what it means to eat “clean” but they also don’t really know how much they should be eating. So that is what we are going to tackle today.
Counting calories is a chore. There are a number of free apps you can put on your phone that can make this easier. I am thinking of My Fitness Pal and Calorie Counter as two that work well. I am not saying you will have to count every meal the rest of your life. I am saying it would be well worth your time to
 1. Figure out how many calories you should be eating.
 2. Record what you are eating until you get a feel for how many calories you are eating.
Make sense? Here is today’s math. REE + AEE= TEE
Resting energy expenditure plus activity energy expenditure = Total energy expenditure.
Resting energy expenditure is how many calories your body needs at rest. This is pretty easy to figure out.
Males: REE calories = 11 x body weight in pounds
Females: REE calories = 10 x body weight in pounds
So say you are a female and weight 180 pounds. 180*10 = 1800 calories. 
This means you have to consume 1800 calories to maintain your current weight if all you did was sleep all day. No other activities. 
Important Note: These formulas are just an estimate of calories. There are a number of different formulas but the idea is to give you a ballpark estimate of how much you should be eating.
Activity energy expenditure is how many additional calories you should be eating to maintain your weight. Find the Activity level below to find your AEE.
Activity level                                                                                                              Male Female
Sleeping, reclining                                                                                                        1.0    1.0
Minimal movement, mainly sitting/lying
Activities include watching television and reading                                                    1.3    1.3
Office work, sitting, day consists of sleeping 8 hrs
with 16 hrs of walking or standing
Activities include walking, laundry, golf, ping pong,
walking on level ground at 2.5-3 mph
*Usually includes 1 hr of moderate activity                                                                  1.6    1.5
Light manual labor
Activities include walking 3.5-4 mph, carrying a
load, cycling, tennis, dancing, weeding, and hoeing                                                  1.7    1.6
Very active:
Full-time athletes, agricultural laborers, active
military duty, hard laborers (mine and steel workers)
Activities include walking with a load uphill, team
sports, climbing                                                                                                               2.1    1.9
Extremely active:
Lumberjacks, construction workers, coal miners,
some full-time athletes with daily strenuous training                                                    2.4    2.2
 So let’s say our test subject is sedentary. Her AEE would be 1.3.
1800 ( REE) x 1.3 ( AEE) = 2340 calories. ( TEE )
This may seem like a lot of calories to you but this is also the reason people have trouble losing fat. Their metabolism has been beaten down after years of low calorie dieting. This represents a normal metabolism.
So what do you do with this?
Well, to lose weight eat less than your TEE ( 2340 calories ) but more than your REE ( 1800 ).
It is really as simple as that. Eat less than 1800 calories and you are not providing your body with enough calories to perform all the functions it needs to. This will lead to a slowing of your metabolism to hoard calories. 
Really this makes sense.
1. The more you weigh, the more calories your body needs each day.
2. The more active you are, the more calories your body needs.
The last key here to take in is please give your body calories it can use. The more nutrient dense the food you eat, the better you will feel.
 I took the above info from a course I took called Winning Sports Nutrition form DSW fitness.
I hope this helps.
Visit me at Michael Medvig is a personal trainer and owner of M Factor Fitness Inc., an in home personal training company in Parker Colorado. This blog represents opinions on fitness. Do your own research and draw your own conclusions. All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Copyright 2001-2010 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. |

Post 6: Can you Be Healthy and Still Eat Fast Food?

Here is an interesting article I ran across.
Just another reminder that nutrition and fitness is not a black and white issue. Actually I enjoy fast food as a cheat meal. It is a great guilty pleasure but I don’t overlook the damage it causes and I try to keep it to a minimum.

The one thing I would argue is the old calorie versus energy argument. Most clients who are unsuccessful in dropping fat have internal issues they need to fix and you can blame most of those issues on a poor diet and lifestyle. Until they fix those issues, they are just not going to lose weight. Period. 

If this is you, click on this link for a short presentation on “leaky gut syndrome” and what you can do about it. In my opinion, this is the most overlook cause of obesity and illness in modern life.

I advocate 3 things.
1. Find a way to exercise that you like.
2. Learn how to eat.
3. Learn how to fix the damage you have done to your body.
4. Enjoy life.

 This is very simple and effective. The end result is that you will gradually adopt a healthier lifestyle, one which will be much easier to maintain the rest of your life.

Here is the article.

Can You Diet And Still Eat Fast Food?

Exclusive MNS Library Article

You’d imagine the answer to that would be ‘no’, but the cold hard facts about dieting show us that we *can* still enjoy fast food – read on to see why…

It’s important to point out from the start that putting dieting and fast food together is not one of those ‘eat and get thin’ plans. It has nothing to do with Atkins, or anything like that.

No, it comes from 2 angles – firstly the facts about dieting, and secondly some facts about self improvement and goal achievement.

When most people go on a diet, they have a mindset of hardship and deprivation – after all, they are fat because of the way they eat, so losing weight must been cutting out all the goodies, right?


Any diet that promotes cutting out entire foodgroups should be given an immediate red flag in my view. The only sensible way to diet that is healthy, workable, and sustainable is to combine a reduction of your calorie intake combined with an increase in your calorie burning. Bear those 2 in mind and you’ll never have to buy another diet book again!

The main reason that diets don’t work for people is that they are too rigid, too much of a lifestyle change, so people don’t stick to them. Also, people get the idea that they can lose the weight they target, then go back to how they ate before and the weight won’t go back on!

It’s amazing that people convince themselves of this kind of nonsense, but great for the diet industry that continues to make huge sums from it!

I’m a firm believer in life of ‘everything in moderation’. If you follow that mantra you can follow a diet which is less a diet, but more a way of life. This means it will have permanent effect.

Fast food contains saturated fats and loads of calories, we all know that. If you have 3 fast food meals a week, you will put on weight more than likely.

However, you don’t have to cut them out totally to maintain a lower weight – all you need to do is be aware of the calorie count of a fast food meal, and work it into your eating plan. That doesn’t mean you have 2 fast food meals and call that your daily allowance!

What it means is that if you have say 1 fast food meal a week, you have to factor in those extra calories – they will have to be countered elsewhere, either by extra calorie burning, or missing some other calorie packed treat.

As you carry on down this path, your brain will get used to the idea of recognising fast food as full of calories, and apart from the odd treat, you’ll end up seeing it as more trouble than it’s worth!

So that’s how you can diet and still eat fast food – simple logic and quality of life lessons.

All information and materials on this site are provided as is and without warranty of any kind. These materials (including all text, images, logos, compilation, and design, unless otherwise noted) are copyright  2001 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved.

These materials may not be copied or redistributed for commercial purposes or for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from M Factor Fitness Inc. If you have questions about these terms please email us.

Copyright 2001 M Factor Fitness Inc. All rights reserved.