Never underestimate the power of unicorns. Not only have they taken over the world of breakfast food in the form of blue algae lattes, rainbow toast and more, they’ve also hit the world of running — in a figurative way, anyway.
A new study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine tackled the mythical mystery of why some people are more prone to running injuries, and they found it has to do with style, much like the way a horse runs in comparison to a unicorn.
The scientists tracked the progress of 249 female runners who all struck the ground with their heels while running (meaning they all had increased chances of hurting themselves due to their heavy landing). Over the two year study period, 100 of the runners sustained serious injuries, another 40 or so reported minor injuries, and the remaining managed to fly without any pain. However, 21 were truly special due to one simple running detail.
Running Free: The Unicorn Factor
Just like rainbow-strewn mythical beasts, the 21 runners who ran injury-free were special. According to The New York Times, they were “long-term running-injury virgins, the athletic equivalent of unicorns.” The reason? The injury-free runners “landed far more lightly than those who had been seriously hurt.”
Simply put, if you want to avoid running injuries, you need to start learning how to pound the pavement in a much softer fashion. One trick that might help, according to Irene Davis, a Harvard professor who led the study, is to try adding more steps per minute during your runs to help lighten the pressure you put on each foot. And if you find yourself having trouble getting those quick extra steps in, try pretending you’re running toward a nice, vibrant piece of unicorn toast. It worked for us!
Chances are, you're not one of those rare unicorns that wakes up feeling ready to run every day. These 20 inspirational reasons to start running now might help get you motivated. Just be sure you're not wearing super cushioned running shoes, as studies show they also increase your chance of developing a running injury.