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Riders Who Run

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  • Riders Who Run

    How much do you run? (eg, distance per week)

    How long have you been running?

    Doing you take any precautions for your knees?

    Really curious to hear from riders who run. You read the articles about running doing damage long term... and then about running doing good. It seems like there's a happy medium - to preserve your joints, don't run too much, but run just enough to "stress" them a good amount and keep them mobile.

    I would really like to hear from riders though, as knee joint health is very important, and might be utilized in a way not covered by aforementioned articles/research. I know several (equestrian) trainers who say not to stress your knees by running but to instead opt for something a little lower impact such as biking or swimming.

  • #2
    I used to run, about an hour a day, not sure of distance, mostly outdoors on pavement, on a treadmill on really yucky days. I stopped for other reasons, but I have chronic tendinitis in both ankles, and am prone to shin splints. Running never seemed to bother my knees, but I have a knee injury unrelated to running.
    I started biking, but I do feel the urge to run now and then

    Comment


    • #3
      I used to run, used the iphone interval run app and would run 3-4 times per week. Unfortunately, I am predisposed to having runners knee (my patela is offset and my ankle/knee conformation makes it almost impossible to correct with PT), so I was forced to stop once I worked up to jogging for 5 minutes at a time (whole interval run would last 35min+) and I would get shooting pain up from my knee (no fun!). My mother had no problems with it though and it actually helped her a lot.

      I would run with both an ankle brace and a knee brace (ankle was crooked, so I had a tendency to roll it as I ran, keeping it stable helped my poor knee).

      I may start running again once spring comes around but I will be doing much less than before.
      "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

      Comment


      • #4
        I run marathons quite seriously - I've BQed - and have found that it's done nothing but good things for my riding. I thought I was pretty fit before, but running gave me a whole new degree of core strength and fitness. I enjoy the effects on my riding too much to ever stop running!

        Comment


        • #5
          I run 30-40+ miles a week, and have run at least 20 miles per week for the last 4 years. I have had issues with my right knee since I was a kid (soccer injury) and have to build up mileage slowly but it actually seems better this last year or so when I have run more on it. Even when I had runner's knee when I first started, it didn't really effect my riding though. I'm pretty sure that despite what non running horse people say, doing barn work, eventing, breaking babies, and riding naughty horses are probably all tougher on my body than running.

          Comment


          • #6
            I've run off and on since I was in high school (I'm 29 now). I currently run 3 miles, 4-5x/week, but I'm 25 weeks pregnant and as a result I've cut my distance and speed WAY down. In fact sometimes, as I'm crawling up a hill, I swear I would be going faster even if I were travelling backwards these days!

            Anyway, my 2 cents.. I'm a huge believer in natural running. This means NOT running in the traditional heel-strike method, but instead landing on your mid foot and settling in your heel. You take much shorter, softer, and faster strides. You also abandon traditional footwear.. no more running shoes which have a ton of padding, specifically more padding under the heel than the forefoot. Some folks go totally barefoot. I run in a "barefoot" shoe - my favorite being the Merrell Barefoot Dash. This type of running, I feel, protects your body.. especially your knees. The basic concept is that you keep angles in all of your joints and use your muscles and tendons and ligaments to support your skeletal frame and joints. I personally went from having chronic knee and lower back problems to being pain free when I changed the way I ran. In addition to natural running, I think a good training program that is SLOW is important. It allows you to condition your tendons and ligaments, which most runners hardly do. As funny as it sounds, I use a lot of my horse knowledge in how I approach running.. I would never condition my horse the way I used to run or the way I see a lot of others attempt running.

            Before getting pregnant I averaged about 25-30 miles/week with long runs in the 8-10 mile range. I expect I will stop running for about a month before and after the baby comes, but I plan on starting back with a half marathon training program.

            If you'd like to learn more about natural running you can check out the book "Natural Running", "Born to Run", and "Chi Running". If you want to start running I highly recommend the Couch to 5K Plan available on CoolRunning.com - this same site has a ton of other running plans that I think are very safe in terms of conditioning your joints.

            I hope this helps!
            Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Hawks Nest View Post
              Unfortunately, I am predisposed to having runners knee (my patela is offset and my ankle/knee conformation makes it almost impossible to correct with PT),
              That's me! I have this problem in both knees!! I feel your pain.. for real! See my earlier post though.. I now run tons and pain free, without PT, through natural running
              Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

              Comment


              • #8
                I run most days- short runs, usually 4-5 miles. I am by no means a serious runner, but I find it does good things for my riding and particularly my cardiovascular fitness. It has been a practice for about a year (used to run and stopped for quite a while) and I hope to keep it up. I do have a maltracking patella in one knee and brace or tape it when I run, but I don't think running stresses it much more than many other types of exercise and I have no problems with the other knee.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I run...next to my horses when I'm teaching riders how to canter. and when I'm panicked if a horse is cast next to a fence, or stuck with a leg through the fence, or if a kid falls off....

                  but otherwise, I loathe running. I wish I didn't, cuz it's great exercise and I love walking. but....no running for me.
                  Teaching Horseback Riding Lessons: A Practical Training Manual for Instructors

                  Stop Wasting Hay and Extend Consumption Time With Round Bale Hay Nets!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Fractious Fox View Post
                    I've run off and on since I was in high school (I'm 29 now).
                    Anyway, my 2 cents.. I'm a huge believer in natural running. This means NOT running in the traditional heel-strike method, but instead landing on your mid foot and settling in your heel. You take much shorter, softer, and faster strides. You also abandon traditional footwear.. no more running shoes which have a ton of padding, specifically more padding under the heel than the forefoot. Some folks go totally barefoot. I run in a "barefoot" shoe - my favorite being the Merrell Barefoot Dash. This type of running, I feel, protects your body.. especially your knees. The basic concept is that you keep angles in all of your joints and use your muscles and tendons and ligaments to support your skeletal frame and joints. I personally went from having chronic knee and lower back problems to being pain free when I changed the way I ran. In addition to natural running, I think a good training program that is SLOW is important. It allows you to condition your tendons and ligaments, which most runners hardly do. As funny as it sounds, I use a lot of my horse knowledge in how I approach running.. I would never condition my horse the way I used to run or the way I see a lot of others attempt running.
                    This. I don't run in barefoot shoes, but I do run in very lightweight sneakers and this is the type of foot strike that I trained myself to use. I found that I got so much more tired using the traditional heel strike first pattern. I'm also kind of like Equisis in that when I'm regularly running, I only run a few miles per day, but wow, is it beneficial in so many ways. Better core strength, no more back pain, etc. I did think that I might have more back and knee pain since I have patellafemoral syndrome in one knee and also have lower back issues, but I have no problems at all, really, or at least nothing that isn't managable.. If I was sore afterwards, it was a "good" kind of sore. But definitely start slow, work your way up, and make sure to stretch (especially AFTER the run).
                    Last edited by see u at x; Feb. 1, 2013, 09:31 AM.
                    "I was not expecting the park rangers to lead the resistance, none of the dystopian novels I read prepared me for this but cool."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Running has been FANTASTIC for my riding form. Might be surprising but it's more because of improved core strength, though the leg strength doesn't hurt. No matter what the silliness my mare offers, or even a real hard spook, I feel just glued to her back. It's like No worries, let's carry on (why do I feel like I just thumbed my nose at Fate? LOL I better knock on wood).

                      Unfortunately it's so common for people to get injured when first starting out running due to improper training, and then unfortunately they give up. Cardio improves quickly, muscles get strong, you drop weight, etc, but the joints and connective tissues take a loooong time to get really strong. Like, years.

                      Normally it's easy to balance both sports, no problem to run and ride on the same day. But there are sections of any marathon training plan that are really grueling (for me anyway, when I'm at 45-55 mi per week, I'm pretty damn tired a lot of the time). But it's not like I'm some ultramarathoner, I only run one or two a year. --Partly because I want to ride also, so I wouldn't be happy if running squeezed out all my other fun stuff I like to do.

                      JustJumpIt-- fellow marathoner here! and I just got my first BQ this season. So thrilled The race was in October, so it was too late to register for Bos 2013, but I hope 2014. What race(s) are you doing this year, maybe we will cross paths. I think we're doing Chicago.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Fractious- thanks for providing such a detailed post!

                        I plan to buy that book and read up, I am starting c25k again and I want to do it right.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hungarianhippo, I'm really glad to see you and others commenting on the need to support connective tissues - so many people don't say this and you are right, it results in a lot of people who hate running or believe they can't run, all because they damaged themselves every time they started. I'm kind of a fanatic about this, because I was one of those people for years and I finally figured it out, and running has helped me literally.. run from pain. I kind of loathe running right now because I've gained about 24 pounds with pregnancy so far and it's like I'm wearing cement boots on each foot, but I swear it has prevented my lower back pain from even starting - something I know would have happened with this rapid growth and change of shape.

                          Kudos to you and the other marathoners. My mom and husband do marathons, and before getting pregnant I was working on a slow marathon training schedule, but I'm not sure if one is in my near future, especially with baby to take up the time and the time sucked up from getting out to see my horse. Why aren't there enough hours in the day? That's ok though; I actually get a lot of satisfaction out of helping my husband with his training programs - he is pushing for his first ultra distance run this year. It is amazing to me how much energy goes into just maintaining someone for a marathon (however he does have the metabolism of a hummingbird on crack) and now for these long distances... geez! 25+miles requires serious commitment!
                          Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm interested in this natural running approach you guys are talking about, but I'm not sure I'm understanding how to implement it. I have run for fitness on and off, there is absolutely no other exercises that gets the weight off for me like it and improves my overall fitness level...but...I hate it. Wondering if changing my stride might make me more comfortable.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by see u at x View Post
                              This. I don't run in barefoot shoes, but I do run in very lightweight sneakers and this is the type of foot strike that I trained myself to use. I found that I got so much more tired using the traditional heel strike first pattern. I'm also kind of like Equisis in that when I'm regularly running, I only run a few miles per day, but wow, is it beneficial in so many ways. Better core strength, no more back pain, etc. I did think that I might have more back and knee pain since I have patellafemoral syndrome in one need, but I have no issues at all. If I was sore afterwards, it was a "good" kind of sore. But definitely start slow, work your way up, and make sure to stretch (especially AFTER the run).
                              This is exactly me as well. Very lightweight sneakers, about 5-6k per day, same foot strike. Running 3 miles used to be a really big deal and I was usually paying for it with shin splints, but once I changed my running style my endurance improved tremendously and it doesn't hurt anymore ! I also noticed my breathing became more regulated and even too.

                              If you're just starting out, I would recommend pacing yourself with intervals. Just take it slow and steady.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by KarenC View Post
                                I'm interested in this natural running approach you guys are talking about, but I'm not sure I'm understanding how to implement it. I have run for fitness on and off, there is absolutely no other exercises that gets the weight off for me like it and improves my overall fitness level...but...I hate it. Wondering if changing my stride might make me more comfortable.
                                It totally would! Check out the books I mentioned (they aren't boring, I promise!) - those are the ones that I chose to really follow. As with horses, there are a million different takes on one concept.. most of them are equal to each other, but some are pitched in a way that will work best for you. You can also google "natural running" or "minimalist running"; you will see tons of information that needs to be sorted through. Some folks are extreme - they run ultra marathons barefoot. Others are into the form but not the shoe - like Danny Abshire, the author of the book I suggested "Natural Running". He believes in his product which is a more traditionally padded "zero drop" (that's the lingo for no heel wedge, your foot is parallel to the ground) shoe that has a lug across the ball of the foot. His theory is that his shoe (called Newtons) are the only shoe which truly makes you run with that middle-foot strike pattern. I started with Newtons and yes, they helped a lot initially. Then I hit a wall and started getting plantar fascitis. I stopped and reassessed for a while and realized that the shoe had become the problem - I was fine when I walked barefoot. I then took a big step "into" minimalist running and began adopting minimalist footwear which would allow my tendons and ligaments within my foot to flex and do their job, thereby getting stronger. I cut my miles way back and started doing 3 mile intervals on trails only, so that every step was different and my foot learned to be strong. It took about 6 months of trail work with max distances not exceeding 7 miles - but 7 miles on the trail out here I swear was harder than my longest road distances!

                                My feet felt great, so I started working on roads... 1/4 mile on road, step off and run in the grass for about 500 feet. Another slow process, but I'm now mostly a road runner who hops in the grass when I see a nice stretch, and takes a trail once every 10-14 days. As soon as I feel a twinge of pain in my feet (or anywhere) I either hop in grass or walk for about 20 steps. I believe this is the tail end of my "strength training" for connective tissues. No joint pain. EVER. Just connective tissues getting stronger in my feet.

                                Like I said - this stuff gets me really excited because my quality of life is a million times better, and I'm a more balanced rider with a much stronger core (huge, because I have a long torso and ride an enormous youngster). I love helping people find their way to healthy running! If you have any more questions just ask!!!

                                ETA: this is the shoe I run in... see the zero drop foot bed? The sole is tough, to protect you from really hard things, but you feel a rock if you step on it. The whole thing can bend back on itself and you can twist it in half, so it is really flexible. http://www.zappos.com/merrell-barefo...130201144548:s
                                Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I ran cross country and track for a top division I college. We would run various workouts twice a day for a total of about 20hrs per week plus another 10hours a week of lifting, and another 3-4hours of cross training. My weekly mileage varied greatly but since I was mid distance runner, I never got above 50 or 60 miles per week (whereas some of our guys would run 110+ per week- they have also been national champs!).

                                  Now at that crazy level, I actually felt like the running was a bit counter productive. My balance changed slightly and I couldn't keep my riding muscles strong (inner thigh especially). Running that much was creating longer leaner type muscles where before my riding muscles were more "bulky". However, a little bit of running (like up to 40ish miles per week) is great.

                                  As a side note, it's funny that you guys call that running form "natural running". That is what I consider normal PROPER running. Anytime you extend your foot beyond your knee (over stride), you lose efficiency and speed. So for me, that way of running was normal and at the higher levels, you will not see poor technique like you do out on a jogging trail.

                                  Now about the knee issues, yes high mileage will damage your joints but if you use good technique, proper footwear and avoid hard surfaces you will conserve your joint life. Ironically I can't run much anymore due to surgery on my knee after a riding accident. I'm in my mid twenties and they are already talking about completely replacing my knee because the previous surgery might be ruining what is left of my joint! I guess I'm glad that I got to really compete in college- I'll just have to stick with riding now!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    ^Well yes, natural running IS proper running. It is running the way your body was intended to run. It became UNnatural when shoes available on the mass market started changing the way we ran. I don't know for sure, but I think this happened somewhere in the early 70s/80s. Obviously those at the competitive level, either through universities or those aiming for large scale competition have access to trainers/physiotherapists/etc. who prevented this shift from really occurring at that level.
                                    Final Furlong Racehorse Retirement

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by over the moon View Post
                                      How long have you been running?
                                      I'm 23 (24 on the 18th), and I've been running since summer of 2011. Before that, the only way you could get me to run anywhere was chasing me with an ax . I started running because I saw my sister finish a half marathon, and for some reason I immediately wanted to do it. I ran a 1/2 in May 2012, and then another one in October 2012 and improved my time by 10 minutes (with a somewhat pulled high hamstring). Then I finished the year with a small 10k in November.

                                      Originally posted by over the moon View Post
                                      How much do you run? (eg, distance per week)
                                      I actually have not run since my November 10k because I'm trying to get my hamstring back on board, but it's not going very well. Sports doctor is somewhat useless, I didn't like the PT for various reasons, but I'm so itchy to get started again that I'll probably break out my shoes and hit the pavement this Monday, and just tell my hamstring to get with the program.

                                      When I'm in between training for 1/2's, I usually run 3-4 times a week, averaging anything from 2-3 miles weekdays, and 4-5 miles on weekends. When I'm actually in training, I use an 8 week program where I total 8 miles on week 1 and finish at about 23 miles the week before the race, then the race itself.

                                      Originally posted by over the moon View Post
                                      Doing you take any precautions for your knees?
                                      Thankfully my knees have never given me any problems, but I attribute that to REALLY GOOD SHOES, and icing my knees and shins after runs that are 5+ miles. Preemptive cautions

                                      I've got a 1/2 on May 4th, the day before my master's graduation, and I'm hoping to continually decrease my time.
                                      Lucy (Precious Star) - 1994 TB mare; happily reunited with her colt Touch the Stars

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                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Very interesting conversation going on so far. I am very uneducated on running in general, so proper form, natural running, etc are things I don't know much about.

                                        I'm currently a little heavier than I'd like to be to starting running a lot for fear of the stress on my joints. I'm opting instead for lower impact cardio at the gym. I would like to get into running (and I've done C25K in the past) because I feel like it's EASY - not physically easy, but if I can work out by throwing on a pair of sneakers and heading outside, not many excuses cut it.

                                        The only thing I was concerned about was the warning from equestrians to stay away from it to preserve my knees/joints. I do have a knee that cracks a lot, not generally painful, but enough that it makes me a little iffy sometimes (now that I think about it, my knee caused me some pain when I last did C25K and my family doc said, from feeling it, something along the lines of my kneecap being slightly off and needing to develop the muscles around it to "keep it in place"). I am happy to take up running once I get down a few sizes, I just want to make sure that running long term won't do me more damage than good.

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