One of the many mantras that I recite in working with runners is that “Running is about rhythm and timing.” Along these lines, If there was only one exercise that I could give to a runner following a running related injury (RRI) to safely return them to training, it would most likely be metronome marching. Having spent considerable time practicing this drill, I can say that it is arguably the ultimate form of graded exposure while taking advantage of the use of an external auditory cue (silent in the vid).
The slower beat frequencies effectively serve to mitigate threat and demand the runner to load through each leg while forcing them to audit their motion. As the speed of movement increases so do the coordination requirements. Additionally, as you start to work above 100+ bpm, the runner must also naturally contact the ground with greater force. Lastly, and most importantly, every runner will hit a point at which they invariably start to adopt a float phase, which is what differentiates running from walking. So, have a practice and let me know what you think. Also, take note of the fact that when I go to contact the ground I do so with the forefoot before gently kissing the heel to the floor. This is not because I think forefoot striking is superior, but rather because it automatically reduces one’s step length, which has been shown to yield distinct benefits in addressing common RRIs. In retrospect, this drill blends pain science fundamentals, gait retraining, and cueing with the performance demands of running.
If you are looking to enjoy improved outcomes in working with runners, remember that I will also be launching “The Runner’s Zone on Tues, November 15th. I am determined to make this the premier online learning platform related to running. Click HERE to reserve your spot now!