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


Tri-James said...

Lots of good information, And these are not the only posts of yours that I read - I read them all.

Karl Stutelberg said...

Thanks for all the info. Here is my commentary.
I train hamstrings much like I train gluts mostly because they assist with hip extension. Lunges or reverse lunges (even better) work great!
Stretching is a strange bird. Not going to prevent injury but neither do prescribed running shoes. Dynamic stretching is a great warm up as well as drills that take you through full ROM.
The gait modification is the real deal. The 5-10% increase in stride rate does work but does also need to be practiced for a long time. These changes in running form can be reinforced with specific running drills with emphasis on technique (especially foot strike position and turnover).

Good luck at Kona, man bummer you have to go all the way to Hawaii for that race!