MarathonMaiden's Blog

June 12, 2009

To Be or Not To Be

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — marathonmaiden @ 16:47

A runner that is.  I was at the gym the other day (getting in some good for you strength training) when I overheard one of the trainers talking to her client about genetically being a runner or not. Since I took a rest day today (well aside from doing day 2 of the one hundred pushup challenge and man am I still sore from day 1!) I figured I’d write about it instead of just putting up a boring post about how I hate rest days and the only thing I’m doing today is study and research.  There, out of my system and ready to go.

Now, this trainer is knowledgeable and I enjoy eavesdropping on what she’s telling her clients (shhhhh!).  She was talking about a conference / lecture / course (clearly I’m not paying 100% attention to her — I’ve got some strength to build when I’m at the gym ha) she was at and the speaker was talking about being “born to run”.

The basic gist of it was that if your hips are wider than your knees, then its biomechanically not good for you to be running or at least distance running. Similarly, a recent RWDaily post addressed this too.

This is really interesting to me as most women have hip that are wider than the knees.  Makes sense as it’s good to have babies when you have wide hips! It got me thinking about body type and strengths.  Even within the running world, distance peeps are built differently than sprinters.  It seems that the sprinting body type is more muscular than a cross country runner.  My speculation (and I don’t really have lots of time to look further into this right now) is that to go fast for a short period of time (very high velocities) more muscle = more power whereas to go the distance,  lots of muscle = extra weight.  I should do a cost-benefits analysis on muscle and biomechanics for my senior physics project this year!

So now what does this say about runners and whether you or I should run? Clearly if you look around at the finish line there are all types of bodies present.  Sure, maybe the top finishers have no hips whatsoever but does that mean the rest of us are doomed to kill our knees?  Are we genetically designed to excell in one sport and fail at others?

Prolly not, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore how our bodies are built.  With a little planning / thinking lots of us could prevent and rehab injuries better by knowing our bodies biomechanics (ie how our knees move, feet strike the ground etc).

I haven’t looked at my knees to hip ratio lately (was too embarrassed to do it with that trainer still in close proximity to me.  Basically an admittance that I listen in!) but I’m not going to stop running even if my hips are wide.  Running is so great and most injuries arise because the person isn’t listening in to their body.  The way I figure, as long as I’m taking care of my body, my body will take care of the rest 🙂



  1. Interesting. I haven’t researched this at all, but it makes some sense. However, I know a lot of runners who seem more injury prone than others even though they are “built” more like runners. I think every body is different and you can’t just categorize them that easily.

    Besides, I have pretty wide hips and I am not going to stop running!

    Comment by Runeatrepeat — June 12, 2009 @ 17:10

  2. I’m not about to check out my hips!

    I think that some people are built for running and some are built for other sports. Even if your not built for your sport, you shouldn’t stop doing something that you love.

    Comment by Matt — June 12, 2009 @ 21:21

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