Here at Runkeeper, there are so many wonderful things we love about running, like the sense of freedom that comes with hitting the open road on your own two feet, the rush of endorphins after a great workout, or the great night’s sleep you get at the end of an active day. However, there’s one thing we don’t love: running injuries. Nothing can sour your relationship with running more quickly than a persistent ache in your leg or pain in your foot that soon has you Googling terms like “plantar fasciitis” or “IT-band syndrome.”
If you’ve been hurt by running before, you’re not alone. In a recent survey, more than 60% of Runkeeper users said they have had a running-related injury, and multiple academic studies have found that as many as 79% of runners are expected to sustain overuse injuries in any given year. Moreover, it’s not just super-intense, high-mileage runners who get injured—every runner is at risk, and novice and returning runners can be particularly susceptible.
At Runkeeper we dream of a world where anyone can make running a rich and rewarding part of their daily lives without having to worry about getting hurt. That’s why for the past year we’ve been collaborating with I Measure U, a New Zealand company that specializes high-fidelity sensing and modeling of body movement, to study the impact of running on the human body and to explore ways to help runners mitigate their risk of injury with monitoring and feedback.
When I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon in April, I wore one of I Measure U’s motion sensors on my ankle during the race. Afterwards, I was able to see how changes in the course and in my own running form affected the amount of impact my body endured—especially during the final, knee-pounding 5 miles of downhill between the famous “Heartbreak Hill” and the finish line. Although it was worth a bit of joint pain to finish the marathon, if this had been a training run, the I Measure U sensor would have helped me know when to ease up so I could avoid getting injured.
Runkeeper’s first project with I Measure U was a technical demo at our last Hack-a-Thon, working along with researchers from Spaulding National Running Center (SNRC) and Queen’s University, leading experts in understanding the causes of running-related musculoskeletal injuries. Recently we’ve been supporting a clinical research study at West Point (through a collaboration between SNRC and researchers the U.S. Military–Baylor University Physical Therapy Clinic), the goal of which is to study whether real-time feedback about running impact can help reduce injury rates.
Throughout our work together, we have been continually amazed by the deep technical and biomechanical expertise that I Measure U has to offer, and by the incredible things their technology can do. That’s why we’re thrilled that I Measure U has launched an Indiegogo campaign for “IMU-Run”, to help give runners around the world the power to avoid the risk of injury.
Follow the link and check out the IMeasureU Indiegogo if you want to support a great company in their quest to help runners find new and better ways to enjoy running and avoid injury!