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Trail Running Tidbits

Sports Science Basics for Runners

By Dr. David Cosman in Hong Kong

Trail Running Tidbits

Off road shoes are most often built for neutral stability. They don’t provide much pronation wedging as do road shoes. This is because on sloping or unpredictable surfaces, angulation built into the shoe might contribute to stress at the ankle and other joints.

For runners and hikers who need arch contour and pronation control, I strongly recommend custom made foot orthotics that are intimate with your foot rather than using road shoes that have outer sole angulations and strategic densities of shock absorbing materials in different regions of the outsole in effort to control or dampen over-pronation.

Cross country runners must adopt a well-conditioned core with balance training and utilize GMax technique that provides stability to the entire body. Good technique uses your conditioned core in a practical fashion and creates a strong center of gravity with balance and coordination. This allows you to better conquer technical challenges that include slopes, wet boulders and holes hidden under leaves! Apparently, it doesn't hurt to have a gymnastics background.

For those who are coming back to the sport following an injury, stay off the trails to start. Professional therapists would design your rehabilitation program around re-education of the neuromusclular system, then after you pass functional tests, you could perform simple short stride track or flat field training to get you conditioned before you jump to the more challenging trails.

If you can't catch a ball while balancing on one foot, then you are not ready for the trails.

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