Runner's "Parts"

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!

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.

Shoe Flaw #2: The Elevated Heel

One of my mentors, Charlie Weingroff, put it best when he said, “the elevated heel is the bane of all human movement.” Ouch! Pretty harsh words, right? What's so bad about an elevated heel? And what exactly do I mean by an 'elevated heel'?

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!

The Form Flaw You're Not Seeing

There's been a ton of focus in recent years on running form. Yet certain aspects of form have gotten WAY more 'press' than others. I'm thinking specifically of footstrike. Forefoot? Mid-foot? Heel strike? Barefoot? Definitely useful to consider, but let's not miss the forest for the trees or overstate it's importance. Today I'd like to draw your attention to all of the various ways rotation is present throughout our body as we walk and run. Or, it's supposed to be.

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!

Core Confusion

At the conclusion of the weekly Lululemon Run Club run I lead everyone through a brief series of simple core exercises.  I'm pretty sure most of you know that training your core is important, but I just want you to know WHY you're doing it and WHAT the "core" actually is. Let's focus on what the core actually is.  I recently read a great post on visualizing the core and the author likened the core to a balloon.  You can read the post here.  The take home point is that just like a balloon, your core is more complex than a 6-pack, low back, and obliques.  You aren't a series of parts.  What you do to one part of your core will affect what happens to another part.

Press into a balloon and the rest of the balloon expands.  Hollow out the front of your abdomen and the lower back starts to bulge outward and/or your diaphragm can't function properly...

So, since you aren't a series of parts, it's time to start training that way.  This means choosing exercises that train your core in the same way that you rely on your core during movement.  And since we run, I'd like to pose a question:

When, during the running movement pattern, do we round our spine and 'crunch'?  I mean, besides running to the sink to hurl or something, you shouldn't be running while looking like a hunchback!

So no more crunches, K?

Now we use exercises that challenge us to PREVENT spinal movement.

In other words, we want to choose appropriate plank exercises that challenge us to maintain a neutral spine position -despite gravity trying its best to pull us out of that position.  Don't be tempted to try a more intense version of an exercise unless you OWN the beginner version.  Can you keep your head/shoulders/tailbone in alignment?  Or are you sagging at the low back?  Has your head begun to sink?

A strong core means you can transfer power from your arms to your legs efficiently.  Jog in place.  Now pump your arms really fast.  What happens?  Yep, your legs move faster.  They have no choice because you are not a series of parts.  Everything is connected and if your core is strong then you'll use less energy to run the same pace.  Cool, huh?

And hopefully in the final 100m of your next race, you'll be the one who is maintaining form all the way to the finish, pumping those arms furiously and transferring all of that power to your legs.

You won't be injured due to form breakdown and you'll pass that annoying guy that was threatening to take your glory for the last 1/2 mile.

Although, I gotta give it to the girl in the video. Never Give Up!