Wellfie Wednesday Tip #126: The Art of Running

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week’s post is brought to you by Aaron (@FreestylePhysio). 

I wanted to write a short and sweet post this week about something I’ve been enjoying lately, RUNNING. I’ve ran recreationally for a long time but have never really had a strong desire to do it competitively. However, since working for Pro-Activity and hanging around with the BaseCamp crew, I’ve become more intrigued by the sport. It’s a sport that seems to be very heavily involved with science. Most of the people I know who race competitively diligently track their mileage and other training variables. At the highest level of the sport, sport scientists have been trying to determine who is most likely to break the sub 2-hour marathon and are eager to help these gifted athletes redefine what is possible. I think all that nerdy stuff is truly fascinating. But personally, I’m much more drawn to what I perceive to be the art of running. 

The reason I love running is because I can let my mind wander as my body does the work. I’ve found that some of my most creative moments occur when I’m running. I’m able to think differently about problems and goals. The rhythmic nature of running seems to help my mind drift off into a dream state where internal judgements and rules are minimized.  It sounds spiritual and I guess it is. It’s definitely therapeutic. It feels more like art than science. 

Now I’m not opposed to science and data. I love both, and recently just bought a Garmin watch that tracks stress, sleep, and workloads from my training sessions. But, as I get more into the sport and science of running, I hope I never lose the feeling that draws me towards it the most. In my opinion, that’s the art of running. 

Wow, quite the heady post about running haha. Hope you enjoyed it! I’m curious, what’s your favorite form of movement and why do you love it? 

Thanks for all of the support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@TheFuelPhysio@Eric_in_AmERICa@FreestylePhysio@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

Wellfie Wednesday Tip #66: Lets Talk Running Surfaces

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This is brought to you by Diana (@DianaKlatt).

     Running is one of the easiest sports that you can get into. You can run anywhere and anytime you’d like (as long as there are no signs forbidding you to do so) - road, dirt, grass, treadmill, track, gravel, sand, or any other terrain you can imagine! So how do you decide what surface is best for you?

     Before we get into the different surfaces and I try to convince you to be a trail runner (personal preference), let’s get down to the physics behind running. Running is a high impact sport with multiple factors at work. There is a horizontal force and a vertical force that occurs when your foot hits the ground. And then there’s gravity! During a run, the vertical force must be greater than the force of gravity in order to stay upright and with proper propulsion. The horizontal force is what causes forward motion. This horizontal force also dictates speed; the average runner applies 500 - 600 lbs of peak force during a run. Isn’t that WILD? 500 - 600 lbs! You’re putting that much force through your feet at each. (And for reference, Usain Bolt has about 1000 lbs of force coursing through his feet at each impact.)

So how can we reduce that impact and make running a “softer” sport? One simple option is to change the surface you’re running on. Let me break down the 4 most common terrains for you: cement, dirt, grass, and the dreaded treadmill.


Cement: Running on cement, such as sidewalk or in the park, is easily the most convenient running surface. This is also one of the hardest surfaces that you can run on, which could cause you to be putting excessive force onto your joints. I personally end up spending a lot of time running on this surface out of convenience but always get off it as soon as I possibly can (I will literally hop onto any dirt path I see, even if it’s only for half a block). But if this is the only option you have then what do I suggest to make this a little less damaging and less stressful on your body? Proper footwear! I wrote a while back on how to pick the right running shoe for you and the type of surface you run on should 100% be taken into consideration when picking your running shoe. You can help counter the impact force by having a shoe that has a high shock absorption capability. But I digress, you can go read about shoes at your leisure, you’re here to read about surfaces.


Dirt: My one true running love. I may cycle through shoe companies and shoes but I will always forever love dirt like any true cross country raised runner. Dirt offers the hardness that concrete/asphalt has but at a lesser impact because it has more give since it is not a true solid surface. Running on dirt is prime for those that suffer from shin splints, ITBS, or other impact related injuries. HOWEVER, you must be extremely careful to watch where you’re running as running on dirt frequently leads to ankle injuries. I run looking at a slight downward angle so that I can assess the ground ahead of me and pay extra attention to the ground when I am trail running. Having a shoe with a bit more support around the ankles can help with this.

Grass: Grass is very springy and is the lowest impact surface you can easily find (unless you live near a beach and have access to sand but that has a whole slew of other issues since it is not solid at all). Grass gives you that extra spring while still providing a flat surface to run on. This is easily the best surface for you if you have joint problems (ie. knee or ankle issues). As I mentioned with trail running, you must watch where you are running and it’s a bit harder to fully see the surface since there can be rocks or holes hidden under the grass.


And last and also least… the Treadmill: Treadmills are no one favorite piece of equipment at the gym, I think we can all agree on that. But what you may not realize is that it is a relatively low impact surface in comparison to concrete/asphalt and dirt! You also don’t have to worry about tripping over anything or landing incorrectly while running on a treadmill (unless you’re like me and literally fall over while standing still…).

     So what’s the best surface for you? Honestly, it really depends on what you’re looking for and what kind of injuries you may already have or are prone to. If you’re training for a race you need to make sure that you are training specific. I don’t mean that you need to run 100% of all training runs on the same surface but you should definitely be running half of your runs on the same surface you’re planning on racing on. But if you’ve been hesitant to start running because you’re afraid of the impact of running on cement, try out one of the other surfaces! Join me in this love-hate relationship that we distance runners have found ourselves in.

     And thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures this week and tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- WW Crew








Wellness Wednesday Tip #55: Choose the Proper Footwear for Running

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back!

     With summer comes longer hours of sunlight and shorter work days, allowing for more down time. In addition to this, many people are choosing to spend more time outside and pausing/canceling their gym memberships to workout outdoors. One of the most common hobbies to pick up during warmer weather is running. However, many people are not equipped to handle the change of running on a treadmill to running on a concrete surface. In the gym, it’s easy to get away with low support/high fashion athletic shoes. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype of the newest Nikes and Asics, after all, those are the athletic shoe standards, the cream of the crop… right? Wrong. There is so much more involved in picking a shoe for your needs!

     Choosing the wrong shoe can lead to injury (think IT band syndrome, shin splints, etc.) There are plenty of running stores with staff that are well trained to help you pick out your perfect shoe. For example, in Brooklyn, NY there is a store that has a treadmill inside, and you can discuss your fitness goals and demands with a staff member. They will look at your foot shape and bring out shoes they think would be best suited for you and then you can test them out by running on the treadmill. Brooklyn is not the only place that has this option! The Fleet Feet I frequent in California has a half track for you to test your shoes on. In fact, there are a lot of stores with these types of options. Check out the Top 50 Running Stores in America. 

     So, what factors are important to mention and consider when choosing the proper shoe?

  1. Type of surface you will be running on.
  2. Gait pattern and foot strike. Are you a supinator, pronator, or neutral? Do you tend to run on your toes? (Unsure? Take a look: http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/pronation)
  3. Arch height and shape of your foot.
  4. Material.

     1. The type of surface you are running on makes a huge difference in the kind of shoe you choose. There is major variation in the options available to you. If you are running on cement, it is more likely that you would benefit from a shoe with greater shock absorption to help absorb some of the impact of hitting a hard surface versus running in barefoot/Vibram shoes.

     2 & 3. The way your foot lands on the ground changes the type of support you need in your shoe. If you hit the ground more on either the inside or outside of your foot and do not accommodate to create a neutral pattern, you may cause yourself injury (i.e., ITBS, shin splints). An excellent way to check for this is to have your running assessed. You may also need to put different insoles in your shoes once you’ve chosen the proper shoe. For example, I run in a neutral shoe and opt to put in the green SuperFeet insoles for better arch support, rather than the ones that come with the shoe. It is also important to recognize that not everyone has the same foot shape. Some people have feet that are wider at the toes that require a wider toe box, some people have narrow ankles and need something that won’t slip off your heel as your run. Occasionally higher arches will cause the top of your foot to rub against the tongue of the shoe uncomfortably and require a different type of lacing than is typical for the shoe (http://running.competitor.com/2015/05/photos/3-ways-to-lace-up-your-running-shoes_128380).

     4. A lot of people seem to neglect material of the shoe. This may be the primary culprit of opting for a fashion athletic shoe versus the practical shoe. Up until recently, I was one of those people that were blindly loyal to Asics based on the appearance of the shoe and recognition of the brand name. I ran in them despite the fact that my feet would constantly overheat because they looked good. I have since learned better and now run in a shoe that is more breathable. 

     Overall, there are so many factors involved in making sure you’re in the right pair of shoes! I know we all want to look good, who doesn’t want to impress the strangers you see in the park with a sleek pair of shoes? But the most important thing is for you to feel good in your shoes! By feeling good, I mean feeling comfortable, not feeling fly because your shoes light up each time you take a step.

     Need help? Shoot us a message. Always happy to give out store recommendations or help direct you on the right path. We can also hook you up with some pretty knowledgeable Physical Therapists, who can help with choosing the proper footwear for running. 

     As always, thanks for reading. Be well. And be sure to tag the WW crew members in your post (@PBernerSPT@Eric_in_AmERICa@AaronPerezPT@DianaKlatt) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

-WW Crew 

Wellness Wednesday Tip #7: Sign Up for a Race or Event in Your Area

     Happy #WellfieWednesday friends!

     First off a huge THANK YOU to everyone for keeping this wave rolling and congratulations for choosing to participate and improve your health each week! 

     This week’s tip is to sign up for a race or fitness event in your area! Signing up for an event is a great way to provide yourself with accountability for setting and sticking to a fitness goal. Most communities have 5k races around holidays and offer run/walk options if you are nervous about taking on too much at once. In many cases, you can also find a training group to help you stay consistent with your workouts leading up to the race! If you prefer to train on your own, there are free programs available online like the Couch to 5k Training Guide (http://www.c25k.com/) that take the guesswork out of preparing for your event. 

     Ask anyone who has participated in one of these events and they’ll tell you – it’s easy to get hooked! The buzz of the crowd on race day, the anticipation, the excitement leading up to the event, and the sense of accomplishment you gain from setting and meeting your goal… it’s a pretty incredible experience! Not to mention that following most races are big parties with music, food, and vendors giving out free products (like beer!). Check out some of the race finders below and challenge yourself to sign up today!

     Popular race finders: 

     More adventurous races: 

     So give it a shot, and let us know how it goes! Thanks again for all of the #WellfieWednesday support, be sure to post your pictures again this week and tag Patrick (@PBernerSPT) or myself (@Eric_in_AmERICa) and keep the wave of healthy change going!

- Dr. Eric Uveges, PT, DPT

- Dr. Patrick Berner, PT, DPT