Exercise! - Running form question

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07-24-2008, 10:55 PM
Hello everyone! :)

I have a quick question. I am a relative beginner with running (or, rather, with jogging). Pretty much what I do is get out there and jog what I can, and walk the rest. I have seen great strides in my progress over the last month or two since I started jogging regularly, and that is wonderful. I love it and I want to keep moving forward!

However, the past couple of weeks I have noticed that while I am running, my upper abdominal muscles feel crampy and sore. Not enough to make me want to stop running, but just enough to be uncomfortable. When I get home to stretch, I realize my lower back is equally sore/tight. Everything is generally okay again after some time and stretching.

Now, I'm wondering if this is kind of normal as my core strengthens, or if this sounds like I'm doing something wrong. I have looked at a couple of sites regarding proper running form and from what I can tell, I'm running properly (good posture, slightly leaning forward, shoulders relaxed, etc), but wanted to toss this out to the collective consciousness out there to see what you guys think.


07-24-2008, 11:15 PM
Just some thoughts...I'm a "re-beginner" runner on this sight, however I used to be an avid runner and I can tell you from things from my experience. If you are top heavy...the ladies are large...you need a very supportive sports bar. I actually have to wear 2 at a time because my twins are out of control. Any ways, tie those ladies down as tight as you can stand it.

Also, they say to lean forward slightly...just make sure you aren't hunched over. It is very easy to move past a "slight lean" and all out horrible posture. This will not only pull on your lower back but it will crunch up your ab muscles.

I find that if I got at a pretty good pace with LONG strides...no chopping steps...LONG strides....it will stretch out your core and your legs. Make sure that you aren't throwing your arms from side to side across your body. (if you don't know what I mean, stand up and do the twist and watch your upper body and arms)...you want your arms to go pretty straight in front of you. Your arms actually determine your speed, the faster your arms move, the faster your legs will move. (at least that what my track coach said, and you know what, it made sense) Keep your head up and just stride it out. Stretch before and after....

I hope there are a couple things that help you out!

Running is the best exercise out there...keep up the great work!!!

BTW CONGRATS on your 10%. WAY TO GO SISTER!!!! I'm in WW too, but I just started counting at home. So I hope to be 10% down by my birthday.

Happy Running Jaime!!!!

07-25-2008, 06:09 AM
Running definite uses some core muscles to keep you stable and balanced. When I first started running (and re-started, and re-re-started :o ) my core muscles would feel tight after I was done running. Now that I've been regularly working my abdominal and lower back muscles during my strength training, they've been much less tight. I guess they're strong enough to handle it now.

So keep stretching well... and if/when you feel up to it, work on increasing your core strength outside of running.

07-25-2008, 06:27 AM
Based on my experience, this is normal.

07-25-2008, 07:54 AM
Good question. I sometimes have lower backaches after running, but my problem is mostly with my upper arms and shoulders and neck being sore. I run on the treadmill right now. I am not ready for outside.

07-25-2008, 09:30 AM
Thanks for the thoughts, guys. I'm pretty sure I am not hunching forward. I have noticed myself twisting with my arms when I get tired, but I usually notice it right away and correct myself.

One thing that might seriously be the case is that I need a new sports bra. I have been saying to myself for a few weeks now that my old one just isn't doing the job it used to. So perhaps that's the reason for the change - when I started running this abdominal/back pain didn't happen, and my sports bra wasn't as worn out.

I think my next stop is the sports bra comparison thread :)

And cassangelidy, you'll be at your 10% before you know it! :D


07-25-2008, 09:43 PM
Running, especially outdoors but even on a treadmill, is hard on your body. It's great exercise and it's a regular part of my cardio routine, but there's no two ways about it, running is going to be hard on your body. It's hard on your ankles, your knees, your leg muscles, your hips, your back, your abs...

Because of this, it's super important to use proper gear (running shoes, sports bra, etc.) and to stretch really well afterwards. I always spend at least 15 minutes stretching my lower back and legs after running on the TM; if I run outdoors, I spend more like 20 to 25 min stretching. I find that it's important that I really concentrate on getting a good stretch; I need to focus on what I'm doing and not let my mind wander all over the place (or I start to slack off on the stretching). If I don't stretch well, I will be sore, especially in my lower back, for the rest of the day. Even with the stretching, I'm sometimes still sore. Ibuprofen is my friend.

So what you are experiencing may just be normal soreness that goes with running. Even with good form, I think you can still expect to experience some occasional soreness after running. If you make sure you get in a good stretch after all your runs, that should help.

Pink Geranium
08-06-2008, 09:17 PM
I've recently started running more seriously (OK, from never doing it to 3x a week, up to 5 miles a session now!) I have noticed a sore back and abs as well at times. I read in a running book that strong core muscles are not the first thing a runner thinks of needing, but they actually are very important to how the whole body works while running. So I've been paying even more attention to the ab exercises at the gym and I think it has helped me even in the short time I've been running. Including obliques as well.

Also, I found that running on a treadmill caused my back to hurt if I had the incline too steep. I don't run much on a treadmill since my balance is not the greatest (another reason for me to develop my abs a bit, to help my stability) and I've had to be careful with this. Hills do not cause this same effect for me.

I also try to pay attention to whether I'm letting my shoulders rise as I get tired. Consciously relaxing them seems to help with the back issue as well.