Runners, do you find your knee or hip is giving you bother during long runs?
Try decreasing your stride length (increasing your step rate) to take the pressure of your joints!
A study in 2011 by Heiderscheit et al found that by increasing your step rate by 10% (at a consistent speed), the amount of mechanical energy absorbed at the knee was significantly reduced by an amazing 34% decrease as well as the hip! Even a 5% increase in step rate decreased load at the knee by 20%!
When you increase your step rate you have no choice but to decrease your stride length to maintain the same speed, and this reduction on stride length keeps your heel closer to your centre of mass which reduces the amount of force on your (ankle, knee and hip) joints.
“We conclude that subtle increases in step rate can substantially reduce the loading to the hip and knee joints during running and may prove beneficial in the prevention and treatment of common running-related injuries.” Heiderscheit et al (2011)
While this is not a solution for faulty mechanics, weakness or muscle length, it can be an easy fix if you are noticing gradually worsening knee or hip pain during your long runs!