Case Study: Fix The Cause, Not The Symptom

I recently worked with someone who is training for the Boston Marathon, but was sidelined due to knee pain. We met for 2 (TWO) sessions and she's back to full-on training!

5 Common Workout Mistakes That Make Philly Fitness Trainers Cringe

Nothing kills an exercise high quite like injury — especially when it’s an injury you could have prevented. Here, at Be Well, we want you all to be as healthy as can be. So, to learn about common workout mistakes that can cause injury (and how to avoid that mess), we went to the professionals, asking Philly fitness trainers and running coaches what the top injury-inducing mistakes they see their clients making are. Because no one wants to be benched after just getting into the groove. Follow this wisdom and you’ll be movin’ and groovin’ through your workouts — safely.

Case Study: Mysterious Hip Pain

Today I had an amazing professional experience. A client, who back in September suffered a hip injury, is now able to run again after a single session. Here's what happened...

The Most Common Injury That Haunts You To This Day

Just like lots of other injuries, surgeries, impacts, traumas, and sometimes just garden variety dings that we sustain over the years, an ankle sprain leaves an imprint on the brain. And it is likely you're still paying a price today.

No, It Is Not Normal To 'Leak' While Running

Sadly most just accept this as normal, thinking it's either "just part of aging" or, in the case of women who've given birth, that it comes with the territory. The point I'd like to make today is that if this sounds like you, there are absolutely solutions to this problem and there's no reason to continue suffering.

Quick and Easy Test For Proper Shoe Fit

In my last post, I discussed the tapered toe box and why its so problematic. Then it occurred to me you may want a simple way to discern if the shoe you're considering buying makes the grade. Here ya go!

Runner's Cat 5 Marks (a.k.a. Dirt on Inner Calf)

Recently, I wrapped up a group run with Fairmount Park Conservancy (join us!!) and noticed a friend had dirty scuff marks all over the inner aspect of her calf. The scuff marks are a result of your swing leg foot swiping the stance leg calf as it...

How, When, and Why To Do Steep Uphill Walking (and Running)

Last Monday was two days after the Rothman 8k, my first race in 5 months, and my legs were still sore. While I'm sure I could have gone for a run, I am coming back from injury and didn't want to take any chances.

While typically I enjoy cycling as my preferred mode of cross training, a quick scan of my in-laws retirement village gym revealed a couple of recumbent bikes and these super motivating pictures:









I really wanted to minimize stress on my body yet get my heart rate up into the aerobic training zone.  Enter the steep uphill treadmill walk.

These sessions are great for runners returning from impact related injury and, since you're walking, are fairly task specific.  PS: If you've got the green light to run and you want to get in a hard session, but you're prone to impact injuries (stress fractures, knee and hip pain), running uphill is fantastic.

Setting the Treadmill

Obviously it depends on what you want to get out of the workout.  Normally, I'm looking to achieve the same cardiovascular benefit to a regular training run.

I had my heart rate in the 140s (equivalent to an easy run for me) with the speed at 4.2mph and the incline at 11.5.

Your settings will most likely be different, but I'd recommend bringing the speed up first - likely between 3.5 and 4.5. Walk briskly yet confidently, let your torso rotate (most people do not do this, but should), and arms swing naturally. My client Jerry calls it the drunken sailor walk :-)

(The more injured you are, the slower and steeper you should go.)

Next, bring that incline up until you feel like you're working hard but at a sustainable effort.  Check your form - still good?  You're not holding on to those handlebars, now, are you?

You should feel like you're leaning into it and that the console is a few inches from your face, and that's ok!

Now, to really dial it in, check your heart rate. It's ok to hold the handlebars at this point if you don't have a HR monitor - just don't grip tightly and lean back.  If it's at the desired level, great. If not, adjust the incline up or down.

Who Should NOT Do This?

Anyone with Achilles' tendon problems, plantar fasciosis, ankle or big toe flexibility issues might want to avoid this type of session unless they speak with a qualified professional first. Seriously, a LOT of people have ankle restrictions, so assess yourself first.


Finally, a quick personal anecdote....

One of the craziest races I've run was the 2005 Mt Washington Auto Road Race in New Hampshire. It's only 7.6 miles and there's only one hill. But it's a 7.5 mile hill and average incline of 11.5%!  Take your half marathon time and that's about how long it will take you to run those 7+ miles.

Once a week I'd hop on the treadmill and crank it up to 11.5% and run progressively farther. I built up to 45 min because that's about all I could take. The sweat I generated was insane, the friggin console was in my face so I couldn't see anything, but I was IN SHAPE.

So give "steep uphilling" a shot if you want to try something different, but effective! You'll find it interesting that you won't even be sore after these sessions because there's very little impact with uphill running.

Have you tried this before? Got any tips you'd like to share?

Strength Basics pt 1: The Hip Hinge

One of my go-to bulletproofing exercises is the deadlift. With so many benefits from posture to hip mobility to force production (makes ya faster) to total body strength, it's a no-brainer if you're gonna spend any time in the weight room. But, before lifting anything, she had to demonstrate the “hip hinge” movement pattern.

Improve Your Warm-Up With The Lunge Matrix

Think about your current method (if you can call it that) of warming up. Perhaps you bend over and strrrrrretch to tie those shoes and then off you go? I think we can do better. This week I want to share a very simple warm up that carries with it several benefits like better muscle activation, range of motion, and potential injury prevention.

Nose Breathing For ALL Runs?

I was recently asked for some clarification regarding my nose breathing post. In it, I detail all of the benefits of breathing solely through the nose. (There are a lot) The question I received was essentially: should one breathe that way all the time if one is running “easy pace”? In other words, if you're running easily, are you better off breathing solely through the nose?

Middle Back Mobility: Why You Need It and How To Get It

Restriction in the upper/middle back, or thoracic spine (T-Spine), is one of the most common areas of the body to tighten up. And it's insidious, too. That is, the tightness evolves slowly month by month and yet you may not even realize you're tight there. Instead, you'll feel your shoulders get cranky, your neck get stiff, your elbows become prone to tendonitis, and even your wrists can pay a price. Carpal tunnel anyone? And we didn't even talk about the lower body yet!

Don't Run On Crack!

I think we can all agree that generally the goal in racing is to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. To that end, the less sideways movement, the better. With crossover gait, you've got a bit of lateral motion in not only the feet, but also the entire center of mass. This is NOT GOOD!