By Sgt. Liane Hatch
3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division
U.S. Army Capt. Anthony Williams, physical therapist for the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3ABCT), 4th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, delivered a lecture on proper running technique to a group of soldiers, new recruits, and physical trainers from the Kuwait National Guard (KNG) at the guard’s headquarters on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.
Williams, who holds weekly running workshops for 3ABCT Soldiers at Camp Buehring, taught the Kuwaiti audience about proper running mechanics in order to help KNG soldiers prevent injury and train more efficiently.
“Readiness is a key focus in the Army, and healthcare providers play a huge role in ensuring the fighting force is ready to give 100 percent,” Williams said. “With the culture of running and being a Soldier being so tightly intertwined, the precedent is on military physical therapists to evaluate the risk factors associated with running and implement methods to increase production while reduce injury risk.”
Williams said the content he delivered to the KNG audience was essentially the same as what he teaches U.S. Soldiers.
“By simply making this information available to the KNG, we have the potential to improve quality of life by promoting running and physical activity, as well as maintaining the readiness of the fighting force,” he said.
The lecture came about as part of an ongoing partnership between the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team and Kuwait military forces, said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Julie Maxwell, commander of the 64th Brigade Support Battalion, and a key player in coordinating the event. Maxwell said these types of key leader engagements build trust and enable interoperability as U.S. and Kuwaiti soldiers learn together.
During the lecture, Williams asked four volunteers – two U.S. Soldiers and two Kuwaiti volunteers – to run on a treadmill at a quick but comfortable speed. Williams analyzed each runner’s form and cadence in hopes that the runners and the audience would be able to identify the runners’ deficiencies.
The way a runner’s foot hits the ground affects the amount of impact on his or her joints, Williams explained to his audience. In order to reduce risk of running-related injuries, Williams recommends Soldiers run with a mid-foot strike (as opposed to a heel strike) at a cadence of 180 beats per minute.
“When we decrease the length of our stride and increase the number of steps we take, we reduce the impact on our joints,” Williams explained. One way to improve running cadence, he said, was to run to a metronome set to 180 beats per minute.
U.S. Army Pfc. Michael Radice, one of the Soldiers who demonstrated running form during the lecture, said that he learned lot from the experience.
“When I got on the treadmill and started running, I learned that I’m a novice runner even though I’ve been in the Army for a year now,” Radice said. “I thought I knew how to run, just like anyone else in the Army, but Capt. Williams was able to show me some of my issues.”
Radice said he intends to practice running with a metronome to improve his form.
“It’s important for all of us as Soldiers to have a better idea of what we should be doing to protect ourselves from injury,” he said.
Overall, Williams said the event seemed to be a success.
“We crushed it!” he said. “Visual presentation, on-stage treadmill and live graphics made for an excellent interactive experience that was able to bridge the language barrier, and afterwards, several junior officers approached me to help clarify some points for their own edification, as well as being better able to teach their junior soldiers.”
After the event, KNG leaders recognized Williams, Maxwell, and leaders from 64th BSB who coordinated the event and made it possible.
U.S. ARMY RESERVE
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND
DEPT. OF HOMELAND SECURITY
BEST WARRIOR COMPETITION