Why the Surface You Run on Matters

June 23, 2020 Categories: Uncategorized

Mature man wearing shorts jogging past water fountainHave you noticed that running indoors seems so much easier than running outdoors? Even if you’ve stretched and had mentally prepared for a run outside, it always ends up feeling longer and more challenging than a run of the same length indoors on a treadmill or indoor track. Do you just run better indoors or is there another explanation?

Running Surface Makes a Difference

In truth, the surface is the key factor, not whether you are indoors or outdoors for a run. By design, treadmills and indoor tracks provide extra cushioning to absorb fatigue causing impact when your feet hit the surface during a run.

Most treadmills have an elevated conveyor belt that provides some cushioning to the runner. This explains why runners can run harder, faster and longer on the treadmill as compared to the open road.

This is often true for indoor tracks as well. Tracks made from rubberized material help to absorb the shock of repetitious heel strike during a run. But the cushioning is not working in the way that most people assume.

Why Outdoor Runs Seem Harder

Outdoor surfaces do not provide much cushioning, but that’s not the reason an outdoor run feels longer and harder than an indoor run. It is the energy that is generated with every step.

Let’s break it down. The energy generated during a run starts in the legs, travels down to the feet, and then out to the pavement. However, since the pavement is a solid mass, there is nowhere for the energy to be absorbed, so it is displaced back into the legs of the runner. This causes the runner to experience the jolting, exhausting and heavy feeling that makes the run more difficult than an indoor run.

Running on a hard, outdoor surface also leaves a runner open for injury. Not because they aren’t using proper form but because they are feeling all of their generated energy coming directly back at them. The best way to explain this is to compare the experience with a bouncing ball vs. a thrown ball.

If someone throws a ball directly at your face, you know that it will hurt worse than if a ball is bounced and then hits you. This is because the thrown ball still has all the energy that was used to throw it. On the other hand, the bounced ball displaces some of the energy, resulting in less force when it hits. That is how the energy absorbing materials help you – by displacing the energy before it gets to you.

Energy Absorbing Solutions for Outdoor Runs

To recap, it is not your legs that are failing you, but the surface you are running on. To combat that problem, some runners choose to stick to grass, sand or even gravel which are all excellent energy absorbing materials. However, this isn’t always an option, especially during a race.

To feel less fatigue and prevent injury, a runner must use an energy absorbing material that protects the impact to their body while running on hard surfaces. This is where athletic insoles make the most sense.

Insoles for running shoes are key in absorbing the energy generated when a runner’s shoe strikes the ground. As mentioned in a previous blog, the impact of running on hard surfaces can do damage to your feet, ankles, knees and even back. Being proactive and wearing shock absorbing insoles can help to reduce the harmful impact of running and other activities, especially on hard outdoor surfaces.

Whether you are searching for foot protection during sports or leisure, you will find that Sorbothane performance insoles provide the ultimate comfort, performance, and protection.

Sorbothane Insoles are built with long-lasting materials and can be beneficial to your feet and personal health in a variety of ways. From the Ultra Plus Stability Insole for athletics to the Maximum Duty Insole for those who are on their feet all day at work, there is a Sorbothane Insole to meet your lifestyle. Find your perfect insole today!

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