How an Energy Absorber Can Help You

February 02, 2015

Imagine that you are a runner. You set off onto the open road, your shoes laced up, water bottle in hand and dedication in your heart. You stretched out, you know you are ready for this. But, not long into the run, your legs feel stiff and heavy, like they were suddenly made of pure lead and there is a shooting pain running up the shin. Every step becomes plodding, torturous. Your distance is half that of what you can handle on a treadmill. So, what gives? Do you just run better indoors or is there another explanation?

Actually, it has nothing to do with indoors or outdoors, but rather the surface that you are running on. Most treadmills have an elevated conveyor belt that actually provides some cushioning to the runner which is why they can run harder, faster and longer on the treadmill than they can on the open road. But, the cushioning is not working in the way that most people assume. While the surface feel is different, it is the energy created that causes the runner to feel more fatigued on the road. And, the treadmill’s design allows it to act as an energy absorber, hence the improved performance.

The runner generates energy with every step he takes. That energy starts in the legs, travels down to the feet and then out to the pavement. The pavement, being a solid mass, displaces that energy back into the legs of the runner which is felt as the jolting, exhausting and heavy feeling. It is not your legs that are failing you, it is the material you are running on. To combat that problem, some runners choose to stick to grass or sand which are both excellent at absorbing energy but that is not always a possibility. For a runner to compete in many of the prominent races and events, there has to be an energy absorbing material that can be used.

Thankfully for the runner, there are several Sorbothane options that they can use. First, there is an insole that is placed inside of the running shoe just like any other. Because it is laid inside of the shoe, it can be removed and switched to other shoes, even those that are non-athletic in nature. The second energy absorbing option is the running socks, which are like wearable Sorbothane liners that absorbs the impact of any activity that you might engage in.  The less impact, the less fatigue you will feel and the less chance of injury.

For some runners, switching from the treadmill to the open road leaves them open for injury, not because they are not using proper form but because they are actually feeling all of their generated energy coming directly back at them. The best example of why it feels different is 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. The thrown ball still has all of the energy that was used to throw it. The bounced ball displaces some of the energy and has less force. That is how the energy absorbing materials helps you – by displacing the energy before it gets to you.

Want to learn more about Sorbothane's solutions? Contact us today to learn more.