The Key to Running Pain Free


The sun is shining, the temperatures are climbing, and marathon season is beginning to ramp up! If you’re a running, there is no doubt that this is your favorite time of year. Actually, I’m sure if you really wanted to, you could find a race to participate in every week, and there’s no doubt some of you have! Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, whether you’re gunning for the podium or the “Finisher” medal, runners are, by and large, willing to do whatever it takes to keep running.

I love when runners come into our clinics, because I know they will be incredibly dedicated to improving their posture and function in order to eliminate their pain. In fact, they are SO dedicated to improving their health that if I told them they needed to play in traffic in order to get better, I’d have a few folks take me up on it and bolt out of my door, headed for the nearest intersection.

That’s their mindset.

And I love it.

When runners come in our door, they are desperately wanting to hear that running isn’t the cause of their pain or injury, because they want to keep doing what they love for as long as they can possibly do it. Many times they hear from other health practitioners that they’re in pain because the pounding is bad on their knees, or we humans aren’t designed to run long distances, or because they need new shoes, or because they upped their mileage too quickly. Or…or…or…the list goes on and on.

But, the reason we see so many runners in our clinic isn’t because running is bad for you. It’s not bad for you at all, actually. The “pounding,” when placed on a functional body, can actually promote bone health. That’s why your physician recommends walking to combat osteoporosis. The body needs gravity, pounding, work, stress, etc.

The reason we see so many runners in our clinics is a simple one: They’re out of balance. They’re asking their bodies to do an activity that they aren’t functionally capable of doing. If we stop and think about it like we would a high-performance car, they are essentially driving a Ferrari on a bent frame. When the alignment is off, the car, even one as well-built as a Ferrari, simply won’t perform correctly. Our bodies are no different. The vast majority of folks go from being sedentary throughout the day to then springing into action. In other words, they take their bent, compromised frame and then ask it to run down the street at speeds they aren’t ready to handle!

So, what’s the solution? What’s the answer?

The key is in the alignment. Just like you wouldn’t ignore the alignment in your car, you can’t afford to ignore the alignment in your body. Let’s do a self-test to see how you’re lined up, more accurately, not lined up. Take a look at this photo, then take a look in the mirror. Do you look like Freddy Function?

Freddy Front View

If you don’t, which most of us don’t, that’s the answer to the question Why does it hurt to run? And in that posture also lies the solution to your pain. We have to return your body back to as close to that design blueprint as we possibly can. What’s true with the body is that muscles tells your bones what to do. If you wave at someone across the street, stand up out of a chair, or squat down to plant something in your garden, all those actions happen because muscles move bones. It’s not different with your posture. If you don’t look like Freddy, it’s because your muscles have moved your bones into a dysfunctional, compromised position, and pain is your body’s way of alerting you to that fact. All you need to do is remind your muscles what they need to be doing in order to return your posture back to a balanced state! It’s simple, really.

Ready to get to work? In the videos below, you will find some simple things you can do for those of you struggling with either back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain. Keep in mind that these exercises can be done even if you aren’t a runner!

Check out what Pete Egoscue has to say to those of you struggling with back pain:

If you’re experiencing pain in one or both knees when you run, watch this video:

And, finally, if you’re experiencing neck or shoulder pain when running, watch this video:

As you can see, Pete talks about the symptoms but doesn’t cater to the symptoms. He shows you how to get the total body functioning better so your pain is eliminated. Remember, running isn’t bad for you! Pain is simply a signal alerting you that something is “off,” something isn’t quite right. It’s crucial we listen to our bodies and remind our muscles that they have a functional job to do!

Remember to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, and don’t forget, if you’re looking for specific help or have questions you would like answered, you can request a consult by clicking below!

Consult Updated

QUESTION: What have you been told is the cause of your pain?