Ask Martin – Questions and Answers

This page is dedicated to answering your questions about anything to do with running.

Simply e-mail your question to: Martin

Your question and answer will appear on this page.


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Here are some typical Q&A’s

Q1. My knees hurt when I run. Why?

Answer: The fact that you can still run probably means there is no significant trauma to deal with and corrective rehab exercises may improve the situation. There is potential for pain from immune system responses such as  arthritis.

A typical reason for knee pain is stride length too long with significant heel strike. This will send a shock load up your legs and the weakest link will start to deteriorate. Pain is the first response when you realize that something is wrong.

Another common cause of knee pain is running with a compensatory pattern caused by some other part of the kinetic chain of events in your body. A compensatory pattern could develop unequal pulls of muscles around a joint which eventually leads to joint discomfort. A typical example might be a flat footed, over-pronator runner using neutral, unsupported shoes. In this case the runner might get significant relief by using “support +” shoes specifically for over-pronators and including arch support inserts.

There are many, many reasons why knees or other joints might hurt but if they are not sudden onset such as trauma then it’s highly likely they are affected by compensatory patterns. Check out your running form, or have a friend watch or video you running. The center-line of your patella, knee cap, should be in alignment with the space between your big and second toe for your knee joint to act stress-free, like a well oiled door hinge. Also your feet should be pointing predominantly forwards and not be turned out or “duck footed”.

Q2. Is there a serious difference between running on a treadmill and running outside? Which is better?

Answer: There is a difference but I wouldn’t describe it as serious. I’ve known many athletes including myself who use treadmills but none of them use treadmills exclusively. There is simply no way of creating the outside running experience on a treadmill.

Treadmills are useful for specific training or keeping you out of inclement weather, but they don’t require the same physical effort, challenging terrain or scenic vistas that running outside does. The belt is always moving underneath you at a set rate whether on the flat or inclines or steady pace or intervals, and you don’t have to put as much effort into “pushing” yourself forward as you do running outside.

Q3. What is the point of this underwear lining thing in my running shorts? It’s uncomfortable and I hate it.

Answer: The lining simulates gently supportive underwear, is breathable, wicks moisture away and makes it unnecessary to wear other underwear. If it doesn’t suit you simply trim it away using a pair of sharp scissors.