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Road Training 101

Sports Science Basics for Runners

By Dr. David Cosman in Hong Kong

Road Training

Roads are commonly sloped to allow the rain to fall into the gutters.

So it is nice to run in the middle of a road where the slope is neutral and flat.

Otherwise, running back and forth on the same side might be best for your legs and hips to get a balanced run without your pelvis and spine adopting an alignment issue. The problem with this is the safety concern - you need to run facing traffic.

Technique on roads is very important, because a strong strike on pavement is undesirable…. Too much shock causes sudden torque on soft tissues and joints, so be propulsive and smooth and your contact can be ninja or cat-like.

If you have never done road running in racing flats, don’t try it for a race. I advise runners to road-run mainly with training shoes that are heavy yet protective, and to do some runs with racing flats to get used to them.

Racing flats are not durable, but it is nice to race with light shoes. Gradual break-in is the general rule, but it’s up to you to figure out your comfort level and your balance of shoe weight verses protection.

The theory that various shoe designs will change your technique for the better is a risky proposition to rely on. The wisdom in acquiring technique is learned, understood, practiced and perfected. Even the best runners must refresh and relearn their technique and timing when they feel their rhythm is off. It’s more effective to learn running technique from a reliable running coach than to hope that certain shoes alone will somehow produce efficient running form.

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