Does your Achilles Tendon pack a punch when it comes to bettering your running economy?

Posted by Ray Bing on

 When it comes to running, most of us don't think of the Achilles Tendon (calcaneal tendon) as something that empowers our running economy. If you take a glance at well trained Kenyan athletes, you'll notice that the majority of them have an elongated achilles tendons. This long stretch of muscle helps them spring through every stride and enables them to absorb a great bit of impact through the tendon. The soleus and the gastrocnemius work along with the achilles to evenly disperse the impact, making the foot drive way more powerful and lessening the impact done to the hips and knees. Landing towards the middle of the foot or directly on the forefoot ensures that you get what you need out of every drive which makes you faster and betters running economy. One perfect exercise for strengthening the achilles tendons are simple fully flexed dorsi to plantar flexions of the feet (calf raises by raising all the way up on your forefeet), to get the most benefit out of the move.


 One must also massage stretch the tendons properly after training them specifically to avoid injuries or minor tears. Our Achilles's are a very important part of the way that we walk and run so having them as strong and flexible as possible are key for ensuring optimal performance when it comes to running and various other sports. A great way to really stretch out our tendons is to simply grab a resistance band and loop it around the bottom of the forefoot. Genly pull the band allowing for your foot to raise towards your thigh. This can be done by holding it there for 30-40 secs, or by repping the pulls to 20 reps each foot before or after a workout. These are best utilized while sitting down (illustration below).



 Many of the common running injuries and one in particular such as plantar fasciatis can be prevented by practicing this movement and keeping it as a staple. When you find different exercises that incorporate this movement, as a runner, you want to keep them in your daily workout rotations. Happy running!


Let's run like gel!



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