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The Non-Running Running Injury

We have probably all heard the statistics which suggest running is hard on the body. The numbers you hear range, but they indicate a high % of runners get injured every year in some way that inhibits their running program.

But of course it does not have to be that way; a focus on technique can go a long way to reduce this *hardness* and bring running back to a place where it is enjoyable, supportive of consistent mobility and of overall health.

Here are my three categories of running (and walking, “living”) injuries:


This is the unfortunate twist or fall that creates a high stress event. Whether you get injured from the event depends on a number of factors. Some of them can be learned to minimize risk. An example is relaxation, such as when a drunk driver has limited injury after a crash.

Stress Injury:

This is the all-to-common injury most associated with the statistics and is caused by the repetitive high stress due to motion, effort, tension or impact … to name just a few. A focus on technique principles can of course reduce/eliminate the additive effect of this stress.

The Non-Running Running Injury:

This is probably a new concept for many people. This is the injury that occurs “randomly” that we blame on old age or bad luck, when it is likely predictable and caused by repetitive high stress and imbalance of some kind.

The most memorable example of this was a long time runner who was explaining a prior knee surgery. When I asked what happened, she said “I was sitting in a lounge chair and I must have gotten up *funny* and my knee popped.” The injury was blamed completely on the chair and misfortune. My first thought was “Well, the knee is designed to do what you asked it to do; but it couldn’t, so what was the condition/position of the knee and how did it get that way?” I kept this thought to myself of course. The cause was more likely the years of living, sitting … standing … walking … running, in a way that loosened ligaments and compromised joint structure, balance and strength. Or maybe it was living in a way that over developed certain muscles, reduce flexibility and tightened the joint. Or more likely it is some combination of the two creating a significant imbalance.

And what controls how we “live”? … how we think. And how we think affects all aspects of our life. See related blog post: Running as a Metaphor for Life. The point here is that *it* is all connected. Any let down in one area affects the others. A let down, repeated, increases how traumatic the effects might someday be. The smallest action is important. Any straw can someday break the camels back.

The body is an amazing machine being directed by an amazing computer, but it needs what it needs. It needs stimulus consistent with design, on average, in balance. Otherwise the risk in high that at some point you will get knocked off balance.


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David Stretanski is a holistic health, fitness and wellness coach and Certified ChiRunning®/ChiWalking® Instructor. For more information on David, please see his About MeContact page or his website at

ChiRunning® and ChiWalking® are registered trademarks of ChiLiving, Inc.


Posted on Monday, Dec. 19th 2011 9:11 AM | by echifitness | in All, ChiRunning | No Comments »

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