How can RSI be prevented among urban runners?

An in-depth look into running and the quantified self

Time
10 weeks, 2016

Category
Bachelor thesis

Collaborating partner

Nike Freeknit+ was my bachelor’s thesis at UID. Together with Nike Digital Innovation I explored how to turn running data into something actionable, rather than a visualization of metrics. The result is a running shoe that adapts to your feet, while giving you in-depth knowledge of your runs and suggestions on how to improve via an app.
 
Scientists claim that the human race’s survival is thanks to running. As a species we are slow, but in combination with our exceptional endurance and ability to sweat we can run longer than any other animal. Today running has developed into a sport and a way to improve one’s health. Running is the most common form of exercise in Sweden and accounts for 35% of all workouts. Swedes spend about €5 billion on exercise and health per year.
 
Process can be found at the bottom of this page.

In collaboration with

Nike Digital Innovation

OrthoPedium

IFK Umeå

IF YOU DIDN’T QUANTIFY A RUN, DID IT EVEN HAPPEN?”

– Kari Paul, Motherboard

The shoe pod is a small device that measures the athlete’s progress and sends it to the phone.

 How might we make collected data more valuable for the user? 

Making the trackable actionable.

Nike Freeknit+ is a new type of running shoe that actively adapts to your feet, while retroactively giving you in-depth knowledge into your runs and suggestions on how to improve.


Process

If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”

– Bill Bowerman, Nike co-founder

Background on running

Scientists claim that the human race’s survival is thanks to running. As a species we are relatively slow, but in combination with our exceptional endurance and ability to sweat we can run longer than any other animal.

Today running has developed into a sport and a way to improve one’s health. Running is the most common form of exercise in Sweden and accounts for 35% of all workouts. Swedes annually spend about €5 billion on exercise and health.

Running and its effect on the body

Running boosts physical well-being by improving the immune system, maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of cancer & diabetes. It also boosts mental health by increasing self-confidence, reducing stress-levels, increasing productivity and improving memory.

While running has a strong positive effect on the body and mind, there are some common side effects. About 70% of all runners get injured within a twelve month period.

Unlike a sport such as cycling, where crashes are common,
most running injuries aren’t sudden, they slowly develop.”

– Tim Clarke, RunScribe

User survey

To get a better understanding of my user I created a survey about running. 86 people answered. The average respondent was a young- to middle-aged adult who prefers to run outside three times a week.

0%
Run to get healthier
0%
Prefer to run outside
0%
Track their run
0%
Has gotten injured from running

Expert interviews

IFK UMEÅ RUNNING CLUB

• Each in the group has gotten injuried at least once
• Most of them track their runs in some way
• They mainly run for social and health reasons
• Spends €150 to €650 per year on running equipment

PETER WEDMAN, ORTHOPAEDIC TECHNICIAN

• Foot arch height is divided into low, mid and high
• Pressure, flexibility and shape is important
• Generic insoles are cheap but don’t work
• Custom insoles work, but are expensive

CATHARINA HENJE, ERGONOMY TEACHER

• The heel should have a tight fit
• Laces should be flat to remove pressure
• Ample cushioning is crucial
• Heel-to-toe drop affects posture and footstrike
• The shoe should be flexible, but stabile in the middle
• Ankle support provides extra stability

Running equipment

When looking at the equipment used by runners today, it clearly reflects the results of my research. The quantified self and keeping track of one’s health is very big, but where is the actual injury prevention?

There’s a lot of development within the running market. Swedes alone spend 50 billion SEK annualy on exercise equipment and a serious runner spend approximately 6000 SEK per year on equipment. Running has gone from being a simple sport that everyone could partake in as long as they had a pair of shoes to something of a material sport like fishing and golf.

Formboards

Selected sketches

Model building

UID16 Exhibition

Final poster

Run forever.

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