Race day for this year’s Tar Heel 10 Miler is just around the corner on April 26th! Matthew Harwood, PT, DPT, OCS from Advance Physical Therapy shares his thoughts about efficient running form and running Laurel Hill!
The Tar Heel 10 Miler is a fun and challenging race for runners. I have noticed a trend in seeing runners who suffered either a new injury or made an injury worse when running on the last 4 miles of the course, which includes Laurel Hill.
This particular section of the course features a lot of running down and up hills. Running hills is challenging because the demand on our muscles and joints in our legs, ankles and feet increases. Also, when we run uphill especially, the tendency will be to arch your back more and loose position in your mid-trunk around your ribcage and pelvis. The ability to efficiently use the gluteal and hip muscles becomes less, and the runner will push off more from their legs and feet. These types of compensations will affect how a runner uses their legs and feet when they run. When you combine inefficient running form with the physical demands of running up and down hills and also being fatigued at miles 8 through 9 of the race, then the risk for injury and delayed recovery for healing afterwards becomes greater.
To help reduce risk for injury in your legs and feet, Matthew advocates including hills as part of your training preparation. “Achilles tendon, lower leg muscle strains and plantar-fascia pain are the more common injuries I have treated for participants who have completed this race. In order to finish the race strong and recover afterwards it is important to prepare well and seek injury management and runner specific physical therapy early before race day.
Learn tips for running Laurel Hill by watching an instructional video by Matthew:
Follow this link to learn more about Advance Physical Therapy’s running program: