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Running backwards

While trying to endure a tedious spinning session last night I was reading Runner's World. I got as far as them recommending that we all start running backwards to increase our cardiac function. I think they're mental!


  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    I undertook a series of rehab sessions at Sports Dimensions in Chiswick using a Frappier acceleration treadmill where I was strapped in so I could run backwards.

  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    With a torn hip cartilage and no running for two months before the event, I felt like I was running backwards in the London Tri. Does this count? [:D]
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    Might have got you round quicker if you had[:D]
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    Beat me to it Bop.

    That said I do sometimes add a short (20m) backward sprint into my warm ups, for variety, not cardiac output, improved by cardio work...of any type.Your heart has no brain, it does not know if you are running (forward or back), rowing etc etc, however each will stress you system differently so a change of modality might provoke a response, but with running backward I would suggst that most of would not indulge long enough to ellicit a response &/or the risk of injury would outweigh any benefits.
  • julesojuleso Posts: 279
    I would definitely run the risk of falling off a kerb or running backwards into a lamp post.....

    Thanks for the info, Britspin - the magazine forgot to mention quite how running backwards would help improve my cardiac output. So I therefore decided that they're mental.
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    stun tib a sdous ti !
  • treefrogtreefrog Posts: 1,242
    yrros - stun tib a sdnuos ti !!
  • I would also put in a bit of backwards running during a run, simply for variety and to stretch/work different muscles.

    If you want to take it a few steps further...

    I recall reading the world record for running backwards in the marathon is sub 4 hours!

  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    is that with some kind of mirror system?
  • Bit of fun here...Germans, I think...


    and some serious records here on running backwards!


    mirrors, not sure to be honest.

  • WilkoWilko Posts: 23
    I have heard somewhere that running backwards can help to provide more balance in your legs and muscle structure - can therefore help prevent some injuries.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    running backwards puts no/less stress on the knee joints, therefore a good variation( not full time replacement though)..
  • BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I can cycle by sitting on the handlebars of my bike, facing backwards - a trick I learned at school where it seemed like a good idea at the time....

    Now if I were to throw in some feet-first sculling we could do the full backwards triathlon.
  • TommiTriTommiTri Posts: 879
    dude that is a brilliant idea! I was also thinking of fixed gear bikes and pedaling in reverse!
  • JonhinioJonhinio Posts: 289
    Just do back stroke[:)]
  • BritspinBritspin Posts: 1,655
    I would say that backward running puts a different stress on joints, not one the body is 'designed' to cope with. Normal running is a matter of losing & recovering balance to propel oneself forward, the quads, hip flexors & other (many other) muscles arrest/slow forward movement on foot strike converting forward momentum to a downward force allowing the hips to swing over the planted foot to continue the next step (this is hugely simplified BTW), by running backward those forces are not encountered, but shifted to your calf & hamstrings preventing your knee from locking out & levering you straight back over your planted foot onto your back..knees do not like forces from the rear particularly, the joint does not bend that way, then you push off to the rear for the next step. Try this now on your desk with your fingers as your legs, see the difference, similar forces different direction, we are built to primarily go forward, or else we would have eyes in the back of our heads & kneecaps at the back.
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