The Run Smarter Series

How to become a smarter runner: Quiz results

I have been blown away with the volume of runners testing out their knowledge with the Run Smarter Quiz. Currently I have 300 runners complete the 30 question quiz covering pain science, injury management and running technique. So in addition I decided to create blog to debunk misconceptions and reveal the population’s understanding of certain topics.

Weaker runners get injured more often (true or false)

That some time to think about this. If you answered true you would agree with 65.8% of runners. This is a tricky one because based on studies, it seems all runners get injured at relatively the same rate without common traits. For instance weekly mileage, shoes type, amount of experience, running form and of course strength.

“Evidence is skimpy for strength training contributing to ‘injury prevention’ but is gold standard for injury management and recovery”.

There is some emerging evidence that particular running technique traits may increase the likelihood of injury. For example over-reaching and hip drop, but injury prevention studies are very hard to conduct so we cannot currently draw any conclusions. It makes sense that strengthening will build up your capacity to tolerate the high loads required for running, but the bio-psycho-social realm of injuries are so multi-factorial, it is proving tough to predict.

Most runners should transition from a heel strike to a forefoot strike

I wanted to acknowledge this response because 71.7% identified this question as false. You are correct! I have seen a growing belief that running on your toes will help performance and reduce risk of injury. Particularly after the release of the book ‘Born to Run’. But, studies show 80% of ALL distance runners, from recreational to elite, are heel strikers. Additionally, research shows no difference in injury rates or performance when comparing toe running to heel striking. As mentioned above what may matter is how far forward to are initially making contact. In other words, if you are over-reaching when you contact the ground you may want to bring your foot closer in.

A chronic tendinopathy will most likely revert back to a normal tendon if treated well

With the pathology continuum model presented by Jill Cook & Ebony Rio, a ‘degenerative tendon’ (poorly managed for >6 months) begins irreversible structure changes. With 62% identifying the statement as true, the answer is in fact false. However this often discourages runners but in reality you shouldn’t have much to worry about. When a tendinopathy reaches this stage, therapy is still aimed toward pain-free running. And yes, you can still run pain free and have a full functioning tendon. This is created by strengthening the ‘healthy’ portion of the tendon with a well-structured strength and conditioning program.

There is an increased risk of injury if you reduce your sleep from 8 to 6 hours per night

A massive gold star for 90% of you who answered true! There hasn’t been a lot of adult studies focused purely on runners, but there has been plenty of team sports & adolescent running populations tested. For more information on this topic, you can head to my blog Will sleeping improve my running? This illustrates the multi-factorial point in question 1 with adolescents increasing likelihood of injury by 70% with reduced sleep. If you like hearing these quiz explanations I have recording 3 podcast episodes addressing more running misconceptions.

Relevant Blog posts

Relevant Podcast episode

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