Sports: order, rules and orderliness

The meaning of order, rules and orderliness can be better understood by comparing sports similar to one another, such as running on the long track and speed walking.

Injuries that athletes get when running are common and expected. Runners finish their careers way to early and commonly suffer from pain even when they aren’t running. The condition of a speed walker is usually better.

Rules of running do not require good control over the execution of movements, but the movement is regulated by the route from start to finish, correct start, effort, endurance and strength. Most believe that running doesn’t even require special training. The runner spends most of his time and attention to speed and endurance. This increases primarily by consolidating better pain tolerance as an integral part of training and matches. There is not enough conscious improvement of skills and increase of knowledge. Professionalism is limited to blood and urine control.

But when we observe speed walking we notice a different approach: there is more rules regarding the athlete’s movement, learning how to move and constant control over walking. It takes years to master speed walking, with a constant awareness of the importance of movement quality. A speed walker is aware that, the more he knows, the more he can do, that’s why he doesn’t feel any negative impact of speed walking on his well-being, unlike how runners do. The rules of speed walking are precisely defined and speed walking is the only athletic discipline where the judges check the adequacy of the competitor’s movement. The athlete must focus on his movement and consciously control it. One heel must always be in contact with the ground and one knee has to knee extended. The foundation of speed walking are controlled, accurate and conscious moves. The leg that goes forward must be extended and remain so all the way back; it can be bent and lifted off the ground only when the weight is transferred to the opposite leg. This orderliness and respect for the orderliness of movement help to make injuries unusually small compared to running, and smoothness, rhythm and awareness are the rule. Such movement is so rare that it is even strange and unnatural to us.

The rules of speed walking are as follows: the center of motion moves from the thighs and calves, and feet to the center of the body, pelvis, and chest. Such movement is much more in tune with body structure.

After analyzing 682 speed walkers in San Diego there was only one serious injury sustained per athlete, most of them use gear intended for running and walk on paved surface. Research on the frequency of injuries in long-distance runners shows us the following state of the frequency of injuries in 1 year:

  • STRESS FRACTURE: 6% of runners
  • IT BAND SYNDROME: 14% of runners
  • SHIN SPLITS: 15% of runners
  • PLANTAR FASCIITIS: 15% of runners
  • ACHILLES TENDON: 11% of runners
  • RUNNERS KNEE: 13% of runners

Injury is more common in a group of recreational runners than in a group of recreational speed walkers. We can see that despite the use of mostly the same equipment and that both perform the movement on the same surfaces and in the same conditions, that most of the injuries to the legs, which indicates the primary source of energy for movement while running.

You can find records online in which injured runners recommend learning how to speed walk as an effective rehabilitation after an injury and an alternative to running.

The comparison is good at pointing out the main differences and connects them with the actual cause of their creation, which helps us understand the importance of order and consciousness at movement, sports and work.

The point of running is to beat yourself up within loosely set rules and at the primary center in your legs. There is less learning and the need to increase order than would be necessary. The runner’s thinking is defined as “I can do it!” The runner tries to ignore, overcome, or cheat on the pain that points to clutter and a lack of knowledge of muscle and movement control. Awareness is usually focused on achieving a goal at all costs, rather than moving faster toward a goal while consciously learning and training feelings.

In speed walking, however, despite the fact that we all learn to walk before we know how to run, there is a great emphasis on learning technique and moving the whole body. This movement is the synchronicity of the skeleton and the muscles. We illustrate the thinking of a fast walker with “I know and I can!”

A more correct attitude towards the importance of knowledge of muscle control and orderly movement in any sport leads to a reduction in injuries and pain. Conscious control, rules that support learning and hard work are a necessity. An athlete’s relationship should be: coordinated use of the whole body, mind and muscles with the best possible self-control and conscientiousness to increase abilities. “I know I could do more!”

I recommend this approach to all top and recreational athletes, especially those that suffer from recurring injuries without a specifically defined reason. For anyone who takes the time to gradually implement the above, this results in a significant reduction in entropy, better conversion of energy into work and movement, and a drastic reduction in injuries. At the same time, motivation increases.


Aleš Ernst, author of the AEQ method and AEQ breathing

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