The technique known as “natural running” encourages runners to mimic barefoot running (even while wearing shoes) by landing on the mid-foot or forefoot, rather than the heel. Natural running helps runners decrease the excessive stress to joints that results from the typical heel strike of normal running.
Recently, RockTape teamed up with Diaz Human Performance Labs (DHP) to develop “passive engagement techniques” that help increase kinesthetic awareness among runners, helping them keep their necks and backs in proper alignment while running to prevent pain and injury. DHP explains the following in its article, Natural Running, which can be downloaded from the RockTape website:
“Evidence in the scientiﬁc community has borne out some compelling evidence that heel strikers (runners who lead with their heels) set themselves up for a great deal of stress to the joints from what is coined the ‘impact transient effect.’ In essence, what this term relates to is the amount of impact shock that is created upon impacting the heel with each foot contact with the ground.
”According to the DHP RockTape article, this impact generates a shock that can range from 1.5 to 3 times the runner’s weight with each footfall – an impact that, according to 26.2: The Marathon Website “sends a shock from the heel up to the knee, hip, and spine” despite the cushioned heel of the running shoe. The 26.2 piece concludes, “This can be a prime cause of running injuries from overuse.”
This fact strongly indicates that retraining, such as the type developed by RockTape and DHP, would benefit most runners, making it easier for them to develop and maintain a more natural and bio-mechanically correct gait while running. The new RockTape retraining method is designed to increase awareness of postural issues as they arise, reminding the runner to restore correct spinal alignment and thus minimize the potentially negative effects of the “shear forces that potentiate injuries to (the) lower back.”
The DHP article explains the process for using RockTape for this purpose:
“We have employed what we like to refer to as ‘passive engagement techniques’ using Rocktape to encourage Kinesthetic awareness. By positioning our client into a functional posture, we simply tape the area we hope to train in such a way that it is not overly restrictive but allows a constant awareness. The tape should only seem (taut) if the client begins falling out of the desired postural alignment. Aside from the teaching effect the tape provides, a host of other beneﬁts are gained, such as the reduction (of potential) inﬂammation and muscular facilitation, which too are clearly beneﬁcial.”
The above web page describes and illustrates two ways runners can use RockTape to facilitate this kinesthetic awareness: the “postural taping technique for the thoracic region” (upper back) and the “postural taping technique for the lumbar region” (lower back). Because both are intended to provide bio-mechanical training, these techniques may require several RockTape applications over a period of time to show results.
For a demonstration of how runners can use RockTape to improve posture, watch RockTape – how to tape for postural control:
You’ll also find an informative explanation of the benefits of natural running, in the Stop! Look! Listen! — Running Tutorial video found at the 26.2 website link provided earlier in this post.