Getting Our Socks Dirty – Trail Running by Dr. Bryan Ales
I have worked with all the wellness professionals you see on the right hand column of this blog. They are all fantastic. In fact, I drive down from Pasadena to Long Beach for their services.
Below is an article written by Dr Bryan Ales. He has taken ChiRunning Workshops with me and Gary Smith. This article is especially important to me because I believe so strongly in taking some of your running off road. Really, the more the better since it takes away much of the repetitiveness of running, forcing your body to engage muscles differently each step in context to the uneven terrain. Plus the dirt is softer and softens some of the impact.
That’s why the Sole Runners train in San Pedro and Palos Verdes half the year. It will make you stronger runner while reducing potential repetitive stress injuries. Just take it slow and allow your body strengthen on the trails.
Getting Our Socks Dirty
by Dr. Bryan Ales, OPR Chiropractic
Why we should be spending 50% of our running mileage off the pavement.
The reason you should get those socks dirty is for a few very important facts relating to balance, proprioception, injury and aging. The first reason for trail running, is to challenge your ability to know where you are in space. Conscience and unconscious signals – “using the cotton around your needle” in the words of Danny Dreyer — are responding to the terrain. As you triplet your way through the coastal mountains in your latest and greatest minimalist running shoes, receptors in the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and fascia fire off messages to your brain. This process is critical for improving your balance and ability to react to an unexpected event that can lead to injury.
The truth about getting to that paleolithic level of minimalistic running form, is only validated for the long term, if you limit running time on the cement and spend at least 50% of your mileage on the trails. In short, the cement is damaging to our anatomy even if you’re the wisest 4th degree Tai Chi Black Belt. Lastly and coming full circle, running on the pavement does very little to improve proprioception as compared to the benefits of a random and obstacle laden river trail.
To finish, let us focus on the long term importance of challenging our proprioception — not using these receptors is a sure way to lose them. As we age, it becomes imperative to maintain and continually improve our abilities so we don’t have to scream the dreaded “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
Train Focused, Steve Mackel – Trail Runner