How To Beat Injuries By Changing Pace, Footstrike, Or Terrain

Plus, Ultra Star's Bizarre Condition Forces Her To Do OPPOSITE Of Blood Doping, and How Would You Feel About Finishing Last In The Olympic Marathon Trials?

How To Beat Injuries By Changing Pace, Footstrike, Or Terrain 1

Here’s the free but abridged version of the Run Long, Run Healthy newsletter. See the links below to subscribe to the full-text edition with more articles and deeper, more specific running advice. – Amby

How To Beat Injuries By Changing Pace, Footstrike, Or Terrain 2

Today’s newsletter is presented by The New Hyperion Elite 4 by Brooks. Push limits, break tape, and make noise.

How to Change Your Pace, Stride, Or Hill Training To Reduce Injuries

All running is not the same. For example, you’ve got fast running and slow running. You’ve got uphill running and downhill running. You’ve got short strides and long strides.

And all of these make a difference, particularly in terms of tissue-loading forces across three main parts of the leg: the knee, the shin (tibia), and the Achilles tendon. If you knew how to change damaging forces at these key areas, you could minimize injuries, or enhance recovery.

And now, thanks to this new study, you do know. For the past year, I’ve been impressed by the research efforts of a young Dutch sports scientist named Bas van Hooren. He’s a top 10K runner himself. As a result, he thinks like a runner, and organizes studies designed to resolve important runner-related issues.

In this case, he investigated what he calls “cumulative damage” (tissue-loading forces) at three common runner injury locations–the knee, shin, and Achilles. And he assessed this damage according to speed, incline/decline, and stride frequency.

Van Hooren did this with 19 runners who were tested on a lab treadmill at 5 different running speeds (9:40 pace/mile to 5:20), four gradients (-6 to + 6 degrees), and three different stride frequencies (normal, and plus or minus 10 percent). The standard damage condition was set at 8:00 pace on a level treadmill.


  1. A high stride frequency reduced damage at all three locations.
  2. A faster pace increased damage at the knee primarily, and also to a lesser degree at the shin and Achilles.
  3. Uphill running increased shin and Achilles damage, but decreased knee damage.
  4. Downhill running increased knee damage, but decreased shin and Achilles damage.


It seems smart to maintain a relatively short stride at all times to keep cumulative damage low. If you have shin or Achilles pain, avoid uphill running. If you have knee pain, avoid downhill running and speedwork. More at Scandinavian J of Medicine & Science in Sports with free full text.

RELATED ARTICLE: How To Increase Cadence While Running: 6 Pro Tips

How To Beat Injuries By Changing Pace, Footstrike, Or Terrain 3

Today’s newsletter is presented by The New Hyperion Elite 4 by Brooks. Push limits, break tape, and make noise.

Bizarre Condition Forces Ultra Star To Do OPPOSITE Of Blood Doping

How To Beat Injuries By Changing Pace, Footstrike, Or Terrain 4Screengrab: Camille Herron’s Instagram

I knew that men could suffer from too much iron (hemochromatosis). But before a recent Instagram post from ultra running world record holder Camille Herron, I didn’t realize that women could suffer from the same condition. This usually happens for hereditary reasons, and after menopause, when the women are no longer losing iron through their menstrual periods.

It’s a rare condition. Men suffer from hemochromatosis at a rate of less than 0.5% of the total male population, and women far less frequently than that.

Herron’s situation, which she only learned about in the last several years, is noteworthy for a reason. In a week or so, she’s going to take part in a unique ultra race organized by Lululemon. While full details aren’t available yet, the race, titled “Further”, will begin on International Women’s Day, March 8.

It’s designed to promote women’s endurance abilities in a 6-day race for females only. A key goal: For one of the women to set a new world record. (In that regard, it reminds me of Eliud Kipchoge’s two exhibition efforts to break 2 hours in the marathon, the second of which succeeded.)

It appears that the current record, 549 miles, was set in 1990. That’s according to Wikipedia.

A year ago, Herron covered 270.5 miles in 48 hours to set the women’s world record for that event. I would guess she’s hoping for 600+ miles in 6 days in the Lululemon event. Because, you know, it’s a nice round number

Due to her condition, Herron now has to get regular blood-draws every couple of months, especially before a major competition like the one coming her way. More at Instagram/Camille Herron.

RELATED: What’s A Good Iron Level? Average Iron Levels By Age, Sex + Dietary Intake

And The Last Shall Be First

How To Beat Injuries By Changing Pace, Footstrike, Or Terrain 5

Serious coverage of running has nearly disappeared from former media mainstays like the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, etc. That’s arguably a good thing for many internet running companies with their quick posts and podcasts, but it’s bad for those who used to enjoy long, balanced, journalistic stories about top runners, events, and controversies in the sport.

Then along came an amazing story at Defector. It’s a site I don’t even know, because I don’t closely follow other sports. But I heard about this story because so many runners were discussing it. Also, it’s long, it’s journalistic, it interviews dozens of almost-well known runners, and it’s about one of our most cherished events–the Olympic Marathon Trials.

Indeed, it’s about runners who finished “Dead F___ing Last” in an Olympic Marathon Trials. Which is a fantastic angle for an emotional tale, because no one gets into the Trials unless they’re in the upper one-tenth of 1 percent of the running population. And yet someone in the super-elite pack has to finish DFL in every Trials competition every four years. This is their story.

It’s tethered by two concurrent themes. First, the Trials “is a quadrennial massacre,” to use author Dennis Young’s cut-to-the-core-phrase. A big percent of the field drops out every time. Yet deep in the fields over the last 4 decades have been a handful of individuals who “all found the idea of quitting abhorrent. They all chose to DFL.”

Thank you Dennis Young for taking the time to dig into this one. You hit it out of the park.

More at Defector.

SHORT STUFF You Don’t Want To Miss

The gift that keeps on giving: High teen fitness linked to low heart problems 40 years later

HERE’S WHAT ELSE YOU WOULD HAVE RECEIVED this week if you were a subscriber to the complete, full-text edition of “Run Long, Run Healthy.” Why not give it a try? SUBSCRIBE HERE.

  • Can running resolve your hangover symptoms?
  • 5 workouts that will boost your VO2 max
  • No more bonking! How to achieve maximal fuel loading
  • What next? Once you’re in good shape, should you continue with steady, consistent running? Or switch to speedwork?
  • How taurine beats caffeine as a supplement before running in high heat & humidity
  • Does caffeine gum improve your 5K time? (Yes!)
  • Why Dr. Peter Attia considers the Netflix series on twins trying a vegan vs omnivore diet lacking an important scientific principle
  • An inspirational quote pointing out that failure is not a mistake; only quitting is a mistake.

DON’T FORGET: I spend hours searching the Internet for the best, most authoritative new running articles, so you can review them in minutes.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading. See you again next week. Amby

Photo of author
Amby Burfoot stands as a titan in the running world. Crowned the Boston Marathon champion in 1968, he became the first collegian to win this prestigious event and the first American to claim the title since John Kelley in 1957. As well as a stellar racing career, Amby channeled his passion for running into journalism. He joined Runner’s World magazine in 1978, rising to the position of Editor-in-Chief and then serving as its Editor-at-Large. As well as being the author of several books on running, he regularly contributes articles to the major publications, and curates his weekly Run Long, Run Healthy Newsletter.

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