Importance of order, rules, precision and the form of movement for sports results and sports injuries
The importance of order, rules, form and control of respect for order, when we want to reduce inefficiency, can be better understood by comparing two very similar sports, long-distance running and speed walking, which differ in how methodically one needs to reach the goal.
While researching the shares and frequency of injuries, I found that running injuries are widespread and have become a normal part of the run. As a rule, runners end their careers prematurely, have frequent injuries, and often suffer pain during their active careers even when they are not running. For speed walkers, however, the situation is much better.
Analyzing the running rules, we notice that they do not require good control over how the movements are performed, but movements are governed by the route from start to finish, proper start, and the impact of effort, endurance and strength on the end time. Most people believe that they do not even need specialized learning for running. The runner devotes most of his time to increase endurance and speed, both are mainly enhanced, or improved, through effort and better tolerance of pain, which is becoming increasingly integral component of both training and running. There is very little or no intentional learning, improvement of skills, or expansion of knowledge. A professional athlete check is limited to blood and urine control.
However, when looking at speed walking, we see a different approach: several rules that define the movement of a runner, learning to move, and strong and constant control of walking. Speed walking is learnt over many years of training, and the speed walker is always aware of the importance of the movement quality and the constant improvement of the technique by practice. Speed walker is mindful that the more he knows, the more he can do, so he is not familiar with the negative impact of speed walking on his well-being, unlike the runners. Speed walking rules are well-defined, and it is the only athletic discipline where judges check the suitability (correctness) of a competitor's movement. The speed walker must be very focused on the action and control it consciously. One heel is always in contact with the ground, and at least one knee is extended. The basis of the speed walking technique is controlled precise, conscious movement. The leg moving forward must be stretched out and remain stretched all the way back too; it bends and lifts from the ground only when the weight is transferred to the opposite leg. This form (movement pattern) and respect for the form help keeping the injuries in relatively low numbers compared to running, and smoothness, rhythm and awareness are the law. We barely see such movement pattern that it even seems strange and unnatural to us. What's more, it is also rare to see a speed walker with in-ear headphones.
Speed walking rules require the walker to move the centre of movement from the thighs, calves and feet to the centre of the body, the pelvis and the chest. Such action is much more in tune with the structure of the human body; it is a correctly organized and coordinated movement of the human body. According to the differences described above, we can observe their impact on the frequency and severity of injuries in speed walkers and long-distance runners.
According to a study in San Diego, an analysis of 682-speed walkers found out that the average speed walker experiences one serious injury every 51.7 years, though most of them use the equipment for runners and walk on the paved surfaces.
Research on the frequency of injuries in long-distance runners shows us the following status of injury frequency in 1 year:
STRESS FRACTURES: 6 % of runners
IT BAND SYNDROME: 14 % of runners
SHIN SPLINTS: 15 % of runners
PLANTAR FASCITIS: 15 % of runners
HAMSTRING MUSCLE: 7 % of runners
ACHILLES TENDON: 11 % of runners
RUNNER'S KNEE: 13 % of runners
The frequency of injuries in a recreational group of runners is much higher than in a recreational group of speed walkers. And as we can see, it is despite the use of predominantly the same equipment, and despite the fact that both groups practice and train on the same surfaces and in the same conditions. It is also evident that runners tend to have the majority of their injuries in the leg area, which is the primary source of energy for movement when running. There are many records to be found where frequently injured runners recommend speed walking training as an effective rehabilitation after injury and compensation for running.
The comparison highlights the main differences well and connects them to the actual cause of their origin, which helps us understand the importance of order and awareness in movement, sports and work.
The point of running is to beat yourself within loosely laid rules and with the primary center in your feet. There are less learning and the need to increase orderliness than it is needed. Runner thinking is defined as "I can do it!". Runner tries to ignore, overcome or cheat the pain that warns about the disorder and lack of knowledge of muscle control and movement. Consciousness is usually focused on reaching the goal at any cost, rather than going faster towards the goal using conscious learning, better feeling, and consciously enhanced movement.
In speed walking, though we all learn to walk before we know how to run, there is a great emphasis on learning the technique (increasing order), using the body as a whole, and all in harmony with the proper democratic alignment of the skeleton and muscles. Control over the precise movement in competitions is consistent, and preparations for competitions are a combination of exercise, learning and training. The thinking of a speed walker can be defined as "I know and I can!"
AEQ method teaches correct attitude to the importance of knowledge of muscle control and organized movement in any sport leads to a decrease of injuries and pain. Conscious control, rules that encourage learning as well as hard work are a must. The athlete's attitude should be: coordinated use of the whole body, mind and muscles, with the best possible self-control, and a meticulousness to increase one's ability. "I know I could do more!"
I recommend this approach to all top and recreational athletes, and especially to those who are afflicted by recurring injuries for no apparent reason. For anyone who takes the time to implement all written above into their sport gradually, the result is a significant decrease of entropy, a better conversion of energy into work and movement, and a drastic drop in injuries while increasing motivation for exercise and training.
Aleš Ernst, teacher of the AEQ method Level 5.