Runners: Fall Like a Soap Actress

More than a month after falling on a run and busting up my knee on a rock, I was happy to go on my 3rd run this week.  Along the 4 mile jaunt, I was thinking about what I know about falling.  Here’s what I came up with.

Runners fall.  I’ve seen it a hundred times (exactly, I guess).  When you take thousands of steps at a time, you’re bound to trip up every so often (Hopefully not too often, klultz).  So be ready for it.

I have some tips for falling.  Now keep in mind that I’m not a stuntman, but I was a college cheerleader.  And believe it or not, we had to practice falling in practice (coincidentally).

At nationals.

At nationals.

Cheerleaders occasionally fall.  That’s what happens when you’re making a difficult human pyramid.  So here’s what we practiced.

Don't worry, I didn't drop her.

Don’t worry, I didn’t drop her.

We’d climb up on a big box and then jump off it, falling to the ground.  Sounds silly, right?  But it helped.  We were trained to try and roll down – one body part at a time.  Kind of like soap opera actresses who roll to the ground when they faint at some shocking revelation – ankles, lower leg, upper leg, hips, torso, shoulder, then head.

Also, NEVER put your hands down to break your fall.  I’ve seen many a person over the year break an arm by trying to stop their fall with their hands.  I understand it’s difficult mentally to allow your body to hit the floor first, but here’s why you do:  If you ever watch pro-wrasslin’ then watch how they land – perfectly flat back with arms outstretched.  That’s so the impact is spread out, and not just one small area is absorbing the blow.

Here’s a super sweet video I found showing how-to do a wrasslin fall:

It’s kind of like how they say when running you should land more flat footed than with a heel strike – to spread out the force of impact over a larger area, instead of it all come through a concentrated point, thus reducing the shock and chance of injury.

Now you may be saying, “Dude, you jacked up your knee falling, why should we listen?”  Here’s why, smart-arse.  When I fell, my legs got tangled in some kind of metal wire – like a coat hanger.  Unfortunately, there was a large rock that my knee hit on the way down.  My other knee took a bump, but was ok.  I can’t help that there was a rock.  But peep this.  Even though it was hard, I didn’t put my hands down to stop my fall.  I stretched out my arms and allowed my torso, ribs, and arms to absorb the shock at once.  It hurt like a muther, and I got all scraped up, yes, but it’s better than breaking a forearm.

So there ya go, them’s my tips for falling during a run.  Good luck to you, and watch out for those rocks!

Do you have anything to add?  How do you fall?  Do you believe that pro wrestling is really just a soap for males?


Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 49 Comments

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49 thoughts on “Runners: Fall Like a Soap Actress

  1. Confession: I was OBSESSED with wrestling growing up and went to several live matches. I mean, my brother and I would rent old wrestling videos just to watch. I stopped watching right after the Stone Cold Steve Austin era…

    Anyway, I’ve tripped but never actually fallen during a run. These are good tips for I know it will inevitably happen 🙂

  2. I have to add that I watched it when it was super legit during the Andre the Giant, Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Mr. Perfect, Tatanka era…oh, those were the days…

  3. I must have missed a pretty gnarly fall while I was all European. I’ve seen you mention it but man it musta sucked.

  4. Oh and Mr. Perfect went to the high school where I teach. Okay, I’m done now 🙂

    • Hahaha, you’re a nut! I also watched those guys growing up, loved it. Now I keep reading that Iron Shiek is making a comeback on twitter and whatnot.
      I actually got back into it when the Rock and Stone Cold were there, and I even went to see the two of them wrestle each other when WWE came to Dallas. It’s been several years since then though. I did make the mistake the other day of showing a few minutes of it to the boy, and know he keeps asking when it will be on again. Haha!

      • Yeah I was still into it with The Rock and Stone Cold but not after…oh those were the days!!

  5. You know I trained to be a pro wrestler in my early 20’s, right? Anyway, YES-we fell flat on our backs to absorb the most of the impact. Took 100’s of falls with no damage.

  6. Wrestling… Ooph… I kind of tuck and roll if I can. Otherwise I just eat it and get back up as best I can.

  7. When I fall I have my arms out like Superman/Superwoman in my case. Not by choice but that is just what my body seems to do. It typically all happens so fast is unexpected that even if I didn’t want to put my arms in a particular way I don’t think I could help it.

    As for wrestling I have always thought it was fake and not sure why people do it. But everyone has something I am sure that people don’t get why they do it. A few of my friends don’t get why I love to run…

    Oh and impressive you could hold that girl up by one arm. WOW.

    Happy Friday!

    • Haha, I can just picture you flying through the air after tripping.
      The wrestling is fake in a sense that it’s mostly scripted. But it is very real the pounding that they take. I used to watch it and it was crazy the stuff they did. There were several sever injuries, even when it’s ‘fake’.
      Thanks! It was mainly about technique 😉
      Happy weekend!

      • Glad I could give you a laugh. 🙂

        I have never seen wrestling in person so I may think of it differently if it was live.

  8. I try not to fall while running for the most part, maybe I should practice more, just in case. I do fall a lot when I ski and thanks to the poles tied to my wrists I tend to go down with arms wide (as I don’t want to break my poles or stab anyone around me).

    • There you go. Ski falling is great practice! I bit it once going down a hill in Colorado. It was a really bad fall. I don’t know how I didn’t seriously hurt myself. But the rest of the ski trip my friends called me “snow plow” cause that’s how it looked when I was falling down the mountain!

  9. Ha ha are you kidding? There is an art to falling. The breakfalls my boy learned in MMA helped him fall right when he was learning the two-wheeler. My hubby saw kids crying at the park, falling off their bikes, and our boy knew how to protect himself on the landing.

    There is an art to everything. =)

    Did the Traumeel help? (‘S ok if it didn’t. Don’t have to be polite.)

    • Nice! Good for your boy. I’ve tried to teach ours how to fall, but he hasn’t picked it up too well. Luckily toddlers are made of rubber, so he’s ok so far.
      Tere is an art to everything!
      I’m embarassed to say that I never got it. I looked for it, without success. Then the knee got better and better and I figured I could go without. I’m going to keep looking for it though!

  10. I wish I had had this post to read before my first major running fall last year. Which of course I broke with my hands like an idiot. Luckily I didn’t snap my wrist, but I did tear a nice big chunk out of my hand.

    That cheerleading picture is AWESOME! Holy strong!!

    • Well luckily you didn’t do any major damage! I still was all scratched up, but nothing broke!

      Thank you! I was about 15 pounds heavier then (with muscle). Took a lot of eating and a lot of working out with the strength coach to keep it up though.

  11. I have no pre-fall advice, but as always, I recommend copious amounts of wine post-fall…for medicinal and healing purposes. And btw, you staring up that gal’s skirt with your left arm in total cheerleader mode really makes me laugh!

    • Ha, don’t worry, your wine prescription was followed. But last night I found a new love – Moscow Mule. SInce it has ginger beer, that makes it medicinal, right?
      BTW, I had to look up there to make sure she didn’t fall. Things got really interesting during freshmen tryouts when all the gals who had never ‘stunted’ before came to practice wearing loose shorts and thongy undies. They would soon learn to wear more conservative bottoms. Haha!

      • Are you serious? I just bought the ingredients and made that this week for the first time ever. Scary coincidence! My husband didn’t like it, but I did. I think the ginger beer freaked him out, but I was all over it! 🙂

      • For realz?!?! I did the same! I found it quite refreshing! It seems like everyone is gaga for those things right now. I’ve been to 4 stores and everyone is out of copper mugs.

      • Got mine at Sur la Table and love them! They will be good for all kinds of drinks…once we are out of the polar vortex, that is!

      • I’ve been looking online now. And yes, I think they’ll be great for all sorts of summery drinkies!

  12. Oh I tripped on some pavement – it wasn’t even! – I went flying, but didn’t hit the floor. I sprained something real bad. Wasn’t happy! :/
    As for the wrestling, I grew up watching WWF / WCW (now WWE) I thought it was mint, Kane was like, the best! As I grew up I realised it was just an act (with help from the parents.) So I stopped watching…

    • That’s a bummer about your spain! You gotta watch out for those tricky sidewalks! 😉
      I also grew up watching it, then forgot about it, then got back into it, now I’ve forgotten about it again. Goldberg was a beast too! I’m sorry about your realizations, I hope your parents haven’t ruined Santa for you yet!

  13. Glad you are doing better. Teaching skating I always get nervous with adults that they will either fall straight back and hit their heads or right onto their wrist. Having worked at the biggest rink in the US I can safely say I saw it all!

    Great advice. Going to have to look up this Moscow Mule.

    • Oh wow, I bet you have seen some pretty majestic flops on the ice! I can see why they make you start out wearing a helmet!

      Yes, the Moscow Mule is all the rage now a days. Vodka, ginger beer, lime, ice. In a copper mug if you can find one.

  14. Wrestling is way out of control in my opinion. I can’t believe how many of my little elementary students watch it! It is just a giant spectacle of pure craziness!

  15. Thanks for all of the pointers! I love all the supporting videos, I feel like I learned a lot 😉 I’ve fallen 3 times running and I always land arms first, makes sense this is not the safest way!

    Pro-wrestling is totally a male soap opera! My boyfriend watches it, but I’m OK with that because I don’t feel so bad watching a few of my bad TV shows 🙂

    • Ha, you’re welcome! Glad to help. 3 times? Be careful you!

      It is! When I got back into it a few years ago, I realized it’s less about fighting and more about all the talking and story lines. It eventually bored me and I got out.

  16. I’m very impressed you could hold someone up with one hand. I cannot imagine the strength and balance involved by both parties. I hope I never need to use your fall advice but it makes sense!

  17. I’ve been lucky as I’ve not fallen while running. Came close a few times during races. (stepping awkwardly over a pothole or divot in the ground etc). I hope I learned NOT to fall, while using my hands as I broke my wrist playing basketball back in high school doing just that. With all the ice we’ve had in my parts this past winter, I’ve been extremely cautious walking outside. Might as well be on an ice rink.

    • Ouch! I hope that doesn’t happen again! I know this weather has been crazy. Part of the reason I live in Texas is to avoid all that cold and ice, but guess what happened over the weekend – it went from 82 degrees to 22 degrees over night and then the ice came. It’s a mess.

  18. Lol when I was little, my dad used to make my sister and I practice falling. #dorkfamily My dad took judo for many years (he’s actually a black belt), and he wanted us to know how to fall if we were shoved or fell backwards without cracking our heads open. I need to learn how to fall forward since I seem to trip over everything and nothing.

    • You guys are weird. Haha! And yes, it sounds like your clumsy butt needs to practice forward falls!
      Funny, when I was a kid my uncle came to visit after his first kung fu lesson. He told us the teacher could “ground” himself like a tree using his mind so that nobody could pick him up. He thought he could do the same, but we had little trouble moving him. He kept making us do it over and over and got very upset that he couldn’t ground himself. Yes, we have a weird family too.

  19. I am the biggest runner klutz EVER! I have fallen running more times than I care to admit, but having been a gymnast I also learned the correct way to fall and thankfully (knock on wood!) have escaped any real klutz related injuries!

    • Hahaha, sorry about your klutziness! Since you were a gymnast, can your turn your falls into some sort of diving forward roll, or funky cartwheel, or something? I would like to see that!

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