Old forum > Possible to change your running style?

My daft question of the day - is it possible to alter your running style? And if so, where would one (I) go for advice on how to do this?

My reason for asking is that I've been laid up for the last 3 weeks with a suspected prolapsed disc in my lower spine. I'm hoping for about a 6 week recovery period, and I've been advised that this is likely to happen again in the future. Boo.

Whilst running is completely out of the question at the moment (walking for half an hour is an effort!) I'm trying to be positive and look longer term. I haven't been advised not to run, if you see what I mean. Whilst running is not necessarily to blame for the injury (I'll put my money on the start of my back problems being the 10lb baby I had 10 yrs ago), there is no doubt that my less than sylph like figure and my elephantine approach to 'running' (thud thud thud on my heels I think), combined with my preference for longer distances (half, full marathon) have not done, and will not do, my lower back any good whatsoever.

So yes, I'm going to have to shift some lbs (not so easy when you're bored, laid on the sofa and not able to exercise), I'm going to have to consider training for shorter distances, and I'm also wondering whether I can change my approach/style to minimise impact on my lower spine. But how?

July 4, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chadwell

Hi Karen.
Sorry to hear that you're laid up.

You can definitely change your running style but I'm not in the slightest bit qualified to give you advice on that. Just to say, a friend of mine had problems with a prolapsed disc and, once given the all-clear by the quacks (sorry, medical professionals), found swimming to be a great way to get exercising again, long before he could walk even medium distances and certainly long before he could jog/run.

The benefits were as much mental as physical as he'd been very active before his back problems and found it very positive to be 'doing something'. It was also good to strengthen his back and therefore provide additional support to the injured area.

July 4, 2013 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Hitchen

Hi Karen.
Sorry to hear that you're laid up.

You can definitely change your running style but I'm not in the slightest bit qualified to give you advice on that. Just to say, a friend of mine had problems with a prolapsed disc and, once given the all-clear by the quacks (sorry, medical professionals), found swimming to be a great way to get exercising again, long before he could walk even medium distances and certainly long before he could jog/run.

The benefits were as much mental as physical as he'd been very active before his back problems and found it very positive to be 'doing something'. It was also good to strengthen his back and therefore provide additional support to the injured area.

July 4, 2013 at 4:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Hitchen

The only advice I can give is DO NOT lengthen your stride.

July 4, 2013 at 6:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterDerek Williams

It could be to do with your posture. Possibly a solution would be to do some core strengthening exercises or even pilates or yoga.

July 4, 2013 at 7:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterLiz Kirwan

Have a look at this website. It might help.

http://www.chirunning.com/

July 4, 2013 at 8:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ellis

Hi Karen, that's bad news. Ever the optimist though, having had a nasty injury myself, I can only share with you what i found helpful to walk again. Swimming and pilates was vital in my recovery, I got a pilates DVD from the library, basics, but concentrated on technique. Then the cross trainer, an ostepoath and a physio. Small, frequent goals to achieve, little and often. good luck in your rehab x

July 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSarah Thompson

you can also look at 'Pose' running.

July 13, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Unregistered Commenteralan s mann

Yes, you can change your running style.

Certainly, look at yoga and pilates. I think both can do a lot for injury prevention. I do both, off and on, and while I think the teachers are full of airy-fairy ideas which I can hardly not laugh at, the physical practice feels greatly beneficial.

Julian Goater's book is also very good. http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0736095500

While I'm sure that having a 10lb baby may not have helped, I run sometimes with Danielle Sanderson, who had twins (they're finished their A-levels, so do the maths) and ran while carrying them (and pushing her eldest in a pushchair). When she turned 50 last year, she got the best Parkrun time for a vet 50 woman (in St Albans, fact checkers), so it's not always bad.

July 14, 2013 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Weeden

Also, consider orthotics. I used to think that putting bits of plastic or foam in your shoes made as much sense as the rules of Quidditch, but they seem to work.

July 14, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Weeden

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July 14, 2013 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ellis

Many thanks for all the input, it's very much appreciated. Goodness I've missed Les Croups these last few weeks. Hampered in getting out even 'just to be social' on a Thurs eve.

I do a fair amount of core strength stuff - weekly fitball classes. Should definitely have another whirl with pilates though.

And have been given permission to get on the dreadmill for short gentle spurts. Air conditioning in gym yay!

On a practical note John, I looked at the chi running website when you posted 10 days ago.. however closest 'coach' appears to be in SW England, and I couldn't see a way of ordering book & DVD from UK distributor. Having never ordered something from outside the UK I have no idea what sort of charges I'd incur in ordering from a US website (and whether the DVD would be playable? Aren't there different regions?) so am somewhat nervous about stumping up cash through the website.

July 14, 2013 at 10:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterKaren Chadwell