Why running is so unique

Nowadays runners have access to so much information about running, that it can be both amazing, and confusing with many opposing viewpoints.

Running is such a unique movement. It is very different to the movement of walking or the movement of cycling.  While this difference in movement sounds so obvious, it is often overlooked. This is because it appears to look like a similar movement, as your ankles and knees go through a similar movement. But the key difference is that running is highly dynamic. Dynamic movement is what running is, it is the movement that makes running so amazing.

So what does this mean? How does this information help you? 

Firstly, from a rehab point of view, we need to take this unique property into account. Has your rehabilitation from a running injury used dynamic movements? 

Secondly, if you’re not injured, does your training take this same unique property into account? Do you prepare your body for dynamic movement? Are you ready for dynamic movements?

There is definitely a time and place for strengthening that is not dynamic. But to prepare our runners for running, we need to put some of these specific movements into these programs.


A nice place to start is focusing on the foot and ankle. We want the foot and ankle to dynamically propel us forward in the running motion. For this to occur there needs to be some basic strength in the muscles surrounding the ankle.

So, always start with calf raise. If you can complete calf raise, we next go into calf raise walk (Trying to keep ankle around 90-100 degrees). Check out Calf Raise Walk from Auckland Physiotherapy on Vimeo. From there we progress into jumping and then into Hopping Forward.

Hopping is quite close to the running motion, however, is not the same. And, one of my rules is that if you can hop, then you are strong enough to run. Can you hop? Does your hop look like the video? 

We want to help people run better, and prevent running injuries. Across all the runners we see in the clinic, the one recurring theme is that people need to be stronger, not just in basic strength, but in the idea that you need dynamic strength to run. Try the above exercises, start at calf raise, if you find it really easy then move onto the calf raise walk. Do it for a week or two, and then add in the jumping and the hopping. Go slow to start, and don't overload the hopping too much to start with. This starts the process of developing the specific strength that is so unique to running.

We like to see people enjoy running more, by preventing injuries and helping you move more efficently and faster. We see countless running injuries that could have been easily avoided. The more you understand about your body and how it moves, the easier it is to manage and improve your running. If you can maximise your our own body systems, you can run more efficiently and decrease your chances of injury, while running faster and with greater ease. 

Reasons to see a running coach: 

- run more efficiently

- to run faster

- decrease the likelihood of injury

- to increase your enjoyment of running

Whatever your personal goal is, Paul White can help you achieve it. He has worked with a variety of people ranging from beginner runners with no running experience, all the way to elite multisport endurance athletes. With the right coaching you can achieve results, no matter what your goals may be.

Common injuries

Common runners injuries include calf or hamstring strains, groin injuries, knee pain, achilles injuries, stress fractures and foot and ankle injuries. Click on the links to read our blogs for more information related to each injury. 

Also check out our blogs on improving your running, increasing resilience and common running myths debunked.

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