All of Running is Single Leg Balance
Running is a single leg activity. Unlike walking where a portion of the time is spent on two feet, running consists of hopping from one leg to the other without any time stabilizing through both legs. This means single leg strength, balance, and stability are vital for efficient and effective running form.
Many of us know that this is important for running, but what does that look like in practice?
Perform a few quick assessments on yourself:
- Can you stand on one leg and balance for 30 sec without putting your other foot down?
- Can you hop 10x on one foot in place, without traveling around?
- Can you hop on one foot in all three planes of motion (forward/backward, side to side, rotate/twist to both sides) and end up back balancing in on one foot where you started?
- Can you perform 10-20 slow single leg squats without putting your other foot down? How about fast?
All of these give you an indication of how you function on one foot. If any of these are hard for you, imagine what your body is dealing with when you perform thousands of single leg jumps when you’re out for an hour run. When your body doesn’t have the integrity to hold itself up against gravity on one foot, eventually something is going to break down.
If you struggled with any of the above challenges, try to incorporate more single leg exercises to your training. Difficulty with these exercises can be due to a variety of reasons, including the inability to stabilize at the hip, knee, ankle, or foot so it’s best to seek out a Physical Therapist who can help tailor your individual program to give you the best results.