Tuesday, March 29, 2011

If you read any of my posts, read this one: Part 2

Well I didn't want to wait a week for my new post which has been the recent past. When I started this blog the focus was different than what it is now. Right now I am a bit confused about what I want out of this blog. I feel like the information about running I have for people is very valuable. I dont feel like I am getting the information across the way it is intended. I never wanted to rustle feathers or make anyone angry but I think it is important to think about things critically. The difference is when runners hear about me and meet me then make an appointment its because they are seeking information. I cannot force someone to want this information. I hoped for people to read, comment, discuss, think, disagree?, anything. Some discussion happened and I am grateful for that. Whew off my chest....anyone with some thoughts?

Perhaps my last post wasn't complete. Lets think about the topics I discussed. As a physical therapist who is really excited to treat hundreds of runners in the last few years I am always challenged by new and interesting people. Different runners with different bodies and different goals. Never the same day twice. Here is a real world break down of the topics from last post:

-Hamstrings are a funny muscle. They tend to be tricky to train. Why do they give people such grief? Why do they get a reputation for being permanent? It is because they function in an unorthodox way compared to our other muscles. They slow down the knee. If you "work" then in the gym traditionally it is concentric. Pushing not slowing down. So they can be strong concentric but very weak eccentrically and function poorly. Very common problem, with a very specific strategy to aid the situation. They require help from the hips and core to work appropriately. If those muscles are not educated as well the hamstring continues to strain. If they keep getting the same force without help, they keep straining.

-Stretching remains the most asked question in the clinic. The answer does not satisfy people. People who stretch want people to say to keep stretching. People genuinely like to stretch. Study after study continues to demonstrate NO EFFECT, may be worse. That translates to not beneficial. It can hurt if done at the wrong time (pre-competition), but ultimately it does not do any good. What does work? Tendon priming. The nervous system needs to have a wake-up call. Controlled, ramped up speed type activities like butt-kickers "prime" quadriceps to let them know they are going to get some work. They move in full motion, so a stretch occurs but not holding. The holding turns the nervous system off. If the nervous system is off it does not respond fast enough causing injury that otherwise could have been prevented. Stability is much more functional than stretching.

-Gait modification. (heidersheit et al) This in 2 days has been a unbelievable tool. Makes complete sense. Afterall, if you are running and trying to heal strike, or midfoot strike, or forefoot strike, you are missing it. We cannot measure any changes with those particular strategies. What we can say is if your foot strike is way out in front of your center of gravity you will "claw." That is reach and grab the ground, stall, then pull your body over the ground. Extremely energy consuming. By increasing stride rate (the number of strides in a minute) you decrease the energy cost of running. You move that foot strike closer to under your base of support and closer to your center of gravity. This is why people enjoy barefoot/5 finger running. The lack of shoes isnt where the gravy is, the biomechanical change that occurs with no shoes is what helps. This is also why the shape-up concept is not going to fix it. 40% less ground reaction force is huge.

-These guys who run this course are pioneers in medicine. This is truly cutting edge stuff. UVA and University of Wisconsin-Madison are neck and neck for best running brains in the country may be even the world. Asking and answering questions that are shaping clinicians decision making. In 2 days using this stuff it is already changing peoples lives. One woman 8/10 heal pain with walking to 2/10 pain IN 5 MIN. Simply amazing. Here is another article about these guys. Now about me.

First, I am excited to announce I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Kona. Definitely not the Ironman world championship but uses some the same bike course. I love the big island and a good buddy with his son moved back home. We are going to make it a vacation and race a new course. Second, The Charlottesville 10 miler. When I arrived in cville I went for 4 mile run. Immediately I missed by buddy sully. Then I remembered the hills around there. I thought I am running hills by the house so I can handle it. Then the calf pain started. It was short lasting and not intense so it wasnt a big deal. Just made me worried. Enter friday gait modification lecture. Then I developed a new race strategy. Its hilly lets see what I do with my stride rate on the hills and see if that is related to my calf pain. Sure enough. Downhill hurts my calf big time. long strides on the downhill is the thing that hurts. Roadrunner like foot action does not hurt. I realized that in the first mile. New goal on the fly during the race. Run the rest of the race with this light feeling and see how long I can last this way. 6 miles. Then my quads, glutes, and deep rotators were shot. Praying for downhills when only uphills came was funny. The muscles I teach exercises to get people to use and I havent felt them on a run either. Here I am laughing at myself because my legs are trashed. Hmmm is this important? I think so. So I did not PR. But I learned something very valuable, what it feels like to run and feel effortless. I NEVER felt that before. Here is my week so far.

Monday-Work late, dinner with family pushed swim
Tuesday-Easy 4 mile run and 30 min swim. Didnt realized until I looked at my watch at the second mile that I was under 17:30 with no effort. Wow. Sully was loving it. Then the uphill came and I slowed down but still felt very good. My swim was also very good. I did not have a plan in place. I wanted something longish and something fastish. So I went 30 min and tossed in some speed play, fartlek style. Went awesome. Long strides face down. Quote:

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Sunday, March 27, 2011

If you read any of my posts, read this one: Part 1

My yearly pilgrimage to Charlottesville, VA has concluded with another professional growth spurt waiting in the wings. The university of Virginia seems to be building a reputation as one of, if not the, leader in running research. There is not a more evidence based group of professionals and boy let me tell you they are impressive. You may have heard of the speed clinic. Here is a link to the running times article. This is the tip of the iceberg. I am so proud to be engulfed in the things they are studying. I benefit, YOU benefit, (I would like to take the time to say thank you to my loyal readers) and most importantly, my patients benefit.

They invite researchers from around the country who are studying running and as groups try to help each other gain more knowledge and experience trying to make this world a more healthy place. A really special network of learning. We are identifying problems and testing possible solutions to be accurate in what we prescribe to our patients. There was a lot jammed into 2 days of learning but here is the real world applicable stuff:

-one of the 3 hamstring muscles (biceps femoris) is injured 80% of the time. It is injured in runners right before the foot is about to contact the ground (terminal swing). With the hip in the position it is and the knee at it's respective place the biceps femurs is asked to work really hard and fast at the same time. Once injured you are more likely to have more strains. A scar forms around the injury and without appropriate strengthening the hamstring will learn to fire poorly. It stops firing the way it's designed to fire. The treatment is interesting. Stretching does not help or hurt. Strengthening the hamstring only is not beneficial but strengthening

the gluteals and core will prove beneficial. The way these muscles work together require a running expert physical therapist to provide a skilled progression of activities to remedy the situation.

-stretching remains a problem child. It sure feels good but there are no measurable benefits. The literature does state that stretching takes away from running. Stiff muscles perform better. Even in studies where researchers went to the stretchers house 2 times a week, called the stretcher 2 times a week to make sure they were stretching and there was no change in running injuries, pain, or performance. There was only a slight change in range of motion.

-gait modification. Once we identify a flaw or injury should we change the gait? What's the best way to do that? Well one way of modifying gate that has been shown to be very very effective is stopping the " vertical displacement" of running. That is how much up and down motion you make while running. This brings a ton of extra force that can injure any joint or muscle from the foot up. Here is how we test it: run on a treadmill for about 5 min or so. You want what you would consider your comfortable pace. Then count your left foot hitting the ground for 30 sec. Multiply that times 4. That is your stride rate. If you increase stride rate by 5% you can reduce the amount of force by 20%. That means you can produce and tolerate less force. If you increase it by 10% you can reduce force by 38%. You can go from pain to no pain with a faster stride rate. The change you make is you move your feet under your body and prevent over- striding. Work this up slow, you can get trouble if you don't. Example: 30 eft foot strikes in 30 sec X 4=120 strides per minute. 120 X 0.05=6, so try a new stride rate of 126. How? Try a metronome. How about music at that rate? Step to the beat! For 10%, 132 strides per minute. How does this translate to performance? Healthy running= harder, healthier training=PRs

-most likely the best thing is how these clinicians think. When athletes are hurt they are afraid of what the docs or the pts are going to say. They might make me stop! Well that is not beneficial. Why can't we as health professionals make running an activity that we can work on. When you go to pt, you better be running. Go ready to run. If they do not have a real good reason to keep you from running (

something big), you should run.

The course is always around the charlottesville 10 miler. I ran and will describe that in part 2.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Discipline is a nice change

Funny how this see saw battle goes. I have made incredible changes to my life and I have been pleased with the results. Sometimes we sit back and look at the changes and get complacent. I think I was stuck there again. I say again because I have been down this road before. It is definitely a challenge when it seems I am the only one in close proximity who is striving for these goals. I had another week completely dairy free and complex carbohydrate free. I feel absolutely amazing. I am getting leaner and leaner and my training feels so much more real. Real? Well I am feeling different things now. My muscle burn if very different. My taste buds are so different. IS what I am tasting and feeling the "right" way? If my whole life has been a smoke screen am I feeling my body for the first time? It is crazy. Here is how my week went:

Monday-Interval swim. 5 Laps easy warm-up pace in 6:03, 3 laps fast (about 80% of all out) in 3:18, recovery 3 laps in 4:01, 3 on 3:19, 3 off 4:14, 3 on 3:16, and 5 laps recovery in 6:54. 25 laps or 1,250 m. I felt strong. It was nice to speed up a bit. The last interval I had trouble keeping my form but went well.
Tuesday-Easy run and strength training. 3 mile remedy loop. KDs core, general strength. Sully is enjoying this running thing.
Thursday-Training run. 5 miles. Sully's longest run to date. The more we change routes the better he gets at staying right next to me. He once in a while gets bored or curious but gets back on track.
Saturday-Long Run. 8 miles. The longest run since the calf. It was a very windy day, we chose a very hilly course (AGAIN, lol) and it was a hard run. Felt the fatigue and twinge in the calf that recovered very quickly. 4 miles up and 4 miles down. I even had a 8:30 mile in there. Hmm...wondering how my 10 miler will go. Can I keep that pace that long? Will the calf hold up? My legs were very fatigued and sore.
Sunday (today)-Training run. Since the wind and rain was kicked up and my bike had a series of unfortunate mechanical errors, I did not ride. I was really looking forward to a long ride. Given how sore I am may be it was a good thing. Then I decided to swim. POOL CLOSED. Hmm nothing long in my cards today. The plan was to have a long ride or swim and short run. Sully needed to run. I ran the 3 mile rmlt loop and for the first time did it with no walking or stopping. Sully cooperated. It is hilly. The strength is coming. Absolutely no sign of the calf today. Miserable weather on this first day of spring.
Sully-He was pooped after the 5 miler. He hasnt reacted like that in a while. He is building up slow and seems to really enjoy himself out there. He was heart broken on saturday when he realized we werent running. He seems to be taking notes on days we run. Each run he gets more and more well-behaved. Sometimes he seems like he wants me to go faster. He is an excellent partner. Quote:

"Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it."
Braveheart movie line

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Dairy Allergy?

Over the past few years, I have been back and forth on how I feel when I have dairy. I will keep my symptoms to myself but never in my reading/research did I come across low level dairy allergy suggestions. Fast forward to conversation with a "very accomplished runner and coach." He has employed his runners to use a basic meal/nutrition plan. No rice, pasta, or bread. Lots of vegetables and NO DAIRY. By dairy he means no milk, cheese, or yogurt. In the last few years the complex carb thing has been a life changer for me so I get that, but the DAIRY? I didnt understand that. He explained that low level amounts of allergy produce extra mucous. The lack of mucous will obviously help breathing and the lungs but he feels the lack of mucous also helps with lean muscle mass. He feels that "ripped" or "hard" look comes from this style of eating. I definitely need to research it. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a whirl.

Today marks 7 days dairy free and I feel amazing. Is it lactose? What is it in the milk that reacts with my body? It was not that drastic of a change so I thought it would be an interesting experiment. Since tuesday (3 days in) I have not had the previously mentioned symptoms. Usually for every 2-3 mile of running I am good for a snot rocket or two, cycling every 5-10 miles. NO MORE. Usually I have to constantly monitor my "boogers." NONE. I feel great. A very clean week of nutrition (totally metabolicly efficient) and a solid effort in training. I felt awesome during training, slept better, and generally not so stuffy in the sinuses. It feels like I have taken off right where silverman left off. I would prefer not to have a months like December or January again. Here is how my week went:

Monday-Training swim, 1000 meters. Not too fast, not too slow. Long strokes, no rest, get a good feel of the water.
Tuesday-Easy run. 3 miles easy. Sully is becoming such a good partner. He is getting his loose leash position when we run and he is getting less interested in distractions. More on him later.
Thursday-Training Run. 4 miles. Sully and my wife ran with me and it was awesome. We went out a little fast but it was really good. Sully is ready to go longer. Next week I think I am going to add a day or start to add some speed. I feel no (knock on wood) musculoskeletal issues besides DOMS.
Saturday-BRICK. Bike/Run. My first brick since October. I picked a flat-ish bike course. The ish refers to the sisters. Now that they are in my back yard I am going to sprinkle them in until I can repeat them. That is when I know I have arrived, lol. 18 miles, 16 mph with 12-16 on the silverman/sister portion of the river mountain loop trail. With out that section I would have been over 20 mph. T1 was spend wrangling Sully and chit chat with the group. Run was the "sully" loop. 3 miles with the first mile up. My goal was to maintain 9:30 up the big hill then hang on the rest. actual: 9:38. Legs were thrashed. Have to get them giraffe legs out. More Bricks to come. I would grade this one a B-. It took me a long time to recover off the sisters. Once I reached the RMLT on the run my legs were gone. I am faster but not in shape. It is coming though.
Sunday-Long run. The 6 tunnels route by the lake to Hoover dam. It was awesome. Gorgeous morning, incredible scenery. Definitely, a run I will do again. 7.16 miles, 9:33 pace. It is an out and back route. The first quarter of the back is a challenge. I can feel my hill work around here getting better. This run makes me remember why I run.
Sully-Graduated from puppy class. He is ready to go longer and more often. I am happy with his training too. Quote:

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity, answered "Man, he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."

I love that.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

picking up steam....

The offseason didnt go my way. So what. In this phase of my year I want to build some endurance and strength. I want to make this year the fastest one yet. I have the Charlottesville 10 miler and Olympic distance RAGE. PR's are on the way. I felt very strong this week. The best week I can recall in a long time. What is nice, is I am not concentrating on speed and I have not done any time trialing and I am faster. I dont know what is different but I feel different. Here is how the week went:

Monday-Training ride. High cadence, short duration. I stayed a gear or two down and just tried to get my legs going faster. I got a hot spot on the lateral aspect of the Right foot, and my feet were very uncomfortable. I need new shoes. I ran out of light too. I am ready for the time to change. Cardio was very good legs were pooped. 17 miles in 1:04. 15.4 mph average.
Tuesday-3 mile run. Finally training run. Not worried about calf, just running. Me and sully out and about. His loose leash running is getting to be pretty good. He is not as well behaved on different routes but he gets it together. He has a tendency to drag ass when he is curious. Sometimes he pushes me, sometimes I pull him. He is a good partner.
Wednesday-Core. I have incorporated the UNLV track team core program by Khadevis Robinson. He is a big proponent of training fast to run fast and believes that you must have the strength to do so. It is challenging.
Thursday-Training Run. 4 miles. Sully's longest run to date. He was pooped the last 1/2 mile. I felt awesome. I ran my regular 4 mile loop prior to the marathon and I couldnt keep the pace I kept today. I am able to get to the top of these hills, recover, and then pick it up down. After looking at the splits it turned out to me a progression run. With the last mile in 8:50. That even includes the 1/4 mile up to my house that is quite a finish. A kick builder of a hill on the way home.
Saturday-Long Run. 6 miles. 3.5 with sully and 2.5 without him. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I havent had that good of a run in a long time. Sully wasnt feeling it and he kept me slow. Once I dropped him off I was able to take off. I felt strong. Not terribly faster although that might not be fair. The courses are very different out here so I cannot compare times. I did find a rather flat road. I did have a second of calf fatigue that was eery familiar but recovered very quickly. I had slight leg soreness and It was amazing to have some quad soreness. Seems like a long time since I ran hard enough to get some muscle work.
Sunday-Long ride. The entire olympic bike course. My goal was to attack the downs and pace the ups. Not too fast, not too slow on the ups. I put my new shoes to work. Last years race time was 1:38:26. Today I did the same course in 1:38:52. I wasnt even pushing it. I am amazed by that. My legs are tired and sore but I didnt even mash. I am happy with that. 26 miles at 15.6 mph. Quote:

“A cookbook must have recipes, but it shouldn't be a blueprint. It should be more inspirational; it should be a guide.”
Thomas Keller

No schedule, no plan just get out there and go. Feels good.