Back in the north country on crowned roads, I thought this post was worth a repeat….
Imagine you’ve found the perfect place to run! You are training for the Marathon or the Half Marathon and have discovered a network of roads and streets with great scenery. There are just enough hills to be a challenge. Although the shoulders are not paved, traffic is very light.
Perfect! Are you ready for the BUT?
Many streets and roads are crowned so that rainwater will run off. They are built higher in the center, sloping away toward the shoulder ever so slightly. Even if you notice this, you can’t imagine what it has to do with you. Nothing, in fact, if you are doing maintenance runs, a few miles a day. But when you begin to stretch it out, putting on a lot more miles, take care!
Your legs are amazing in their ability to adapt to different and uneven surfaces. Fit runners wearing good shoes are able to take full advantage of the human body’s adaptability. When you start adding miles, however, you begin to tax the ability of those muscles and tendons to keep up the good work.
Of course, you’ll think it’s just the extra miles when the aches and pains begin. Or you might blame your shoes. Consider the possibility that it’s a combination of the extra miles and a slanted running surface.
Think of it this way. If you run against the traffic on the left side of a crowned roadway, your right foot may be striking the pavement an eighth or more of an inch higher and a microsecond sooner. Not a problem on maintenance runs, but now you’re putting on the miles! It may not bother your at first. But the last thing you need, preparing for an event, is to develop an ankle or foot problem late in your training program.
During long runs on crowned streets and roads, switching sides gives your feet and ankles equal opportunity to experience the different slant. So when traffic permits, change up and run with the traffic. Naturally, you will have to stay alert to the possibility of a car sneaking up behind you. Be safe! Pull the ear buds out for this part of the run!
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