I have added a new goal to my ultramarathon quest--to learn how to run injury-free!
I have been taking a break from running to heal from my most recent calf muscle injury (specifically, the top of my Achilles tendon). I don't particularly like sitting on the sidelines waiting for my body to heal. But I have used the time to research injury recovery and prevention.
Through my research I've identified a couple of areas that might be a root cause of my calf muscle injuries.
First, I have been trying to move from a heel strike to a forward-foot strike. My intent was to reduce the impact on my knees. Although I believe this change has helped my knees, I think it has added unnecessary pressure on my calf muscles.
Second, I have been pushing my pace during inclines. I was using inclines as a form of speed work. However, once again, I think this has added unnecessary pressure on my calf muscles.
Third, I don't think I have been properly warming up before settling into my runs. This also places unnecessary pressure on my calf muscles.
With that said, I have been reading about different running techniques intended to reduce running-related injuries. Two popular techniques are the POSE method and ChiRunning . Both claim to improve efficiency while reducing injuries. I've read numerous comparisons of the two techniques, but most are biased in one way or another to the technique they are trying to promote.
If I look at just the differences, one area stands out for me. ChiRunning promotes a mid-foot strike as opposed to the forward foot strike of the POSE method. Since I believe the forward foot strike is a potential cause of my calf problems, I am going to start with learning the ChiRunning method. If this method does not resolve my calf muscle problems, I will switch to POSE and give it a try. I downloaded a copy of the ChiRunning book and am now ready to start working on the technique. I will keep you updated on my progress!
Before you go, check out this excellent video by David Stretanski explaining the ChiRunning method.
Do you have experience with either POSE or ChiRunning (or another technique)? If so, please leave me a comment and let me know how the technique is helping you to run injury-free.