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What happened to just running? | Boddicker Performance

Filed under: Program Design, strength training

What happened to just running?

by on Mar 16th, 2010

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I hear this question often, and it perplexes me every time.

When you look at the sport of distance running, the average high school cross country runner has an injury risk of 33-47% over the course of the season.  There is evidence showing that military recruits have up to a 75% likelihood of injury in the first ten weeks of basic training, which includes a great deal of running.  The majority of these injuries are the result of repetitive stress, and, in my mind are largely PREVENTABLE.

These numbers are INSANE.  If a football team had this level of injury, people would be calling for the coach’s head, but in running this is simply viewed as “part of the game.”

Just running is clearly not working for the world’s population of “runners.”  If it were, we wouldn’t have such a large amount of injured athletes and likely more athletes who continue to enjoy the sport because they weren’t “chewed up and spit out” by the system.

As I noted in a recent post, resistance training does far more than improve strength.  That said, improved strength improves resilience via the law of repetitive motion.  Accessory training can also help develop resilient soft tissues by improving cross sectional area of tissues and the ability to tolerate increased loading in many directions.  Additionally, accessory training allows us to address movement dysfunction in a number of ways, all of which running cannot do.  Simply running on top of dysfunctional movement patterns is ASKING to get injured.  Sure, it doesn’t hurt now, but it is STILL an issue to be addressed.  Just because having high cholesterol doesn’t “hurt,” it needs to be taken care of before it leads to atherosclerosis.

Remember, an injured athlete is useless.

Best regards,

Carson Boddicker

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Leave a Comment »2 Comments
  • SnippetPhysTher March 16, 2010

    Interesting topic, Carson. Depending on your definition of “injury,” your 75% figure might be off. It is highly likely that 75% recruits WILL have a sick call. Sick calls are for a huge variety of reasons besides injuries. If 75% of recruits were seriously injured, there would be too high of an attrition rate.
    What I do know that might interest you involves stress fractures with military recruits in the Army. Stress fractures are one type of injury that has a huge impact on recruits in the Army. To be able to predict stress fracture would be a very good thing. A physical therapist I know who did some work on attempting to predict stress fractures found something quite interesting. (His work is not published because he was trying to create a prediction rule for stress fracture occurrence and the statistical aspect of the prediction rule had problems.) What he did find that was that push up performance was a definite factor in what predicted a stress fracture. He said the way the Army does the push up performance test requires both strong tricep and core strength. (I don’t remember the cutoff for the number of repetitions in a defined amount of time, but if the recruit didn’t meet the cutoff the probability for a stress fracture was greater.)
    Interesting, huh?


  • Frank Neuman March 16, 2010

    Running is one of those sports where “off-season” can be a true gray area, especially for the casual runner. In fact it seems that for many runners, the only true off-season (or off-season-like break) tends to come when they end up on the shelf by letting things build to threshold. But thanks to people like you, Carson, the tide is slowly but steadily turning, and that can only mean great things for the future health and performance of runners everywhere.

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