It’s been a ho-hum kind of week of running. With the kids off school on Monday and a sick kid on Tuesday, the week got away from me with less than the miles I intended to run. On the positive side of things, I attended an informative Injury Prevention Clinic.
Movin Shoes, one of the local San Diego running stores (fun fact: it’s co-owned by Meb!) hosted an Injury Prevention Clinic with the owner and physical therapist of Catalyst Physical Therapy and Wellness, Brian Wilson. At least ten people were in attendance and when he asked if anyone had or currently have issues while pointing out parts of the body where runners usually have problems, most of us raised our hands.
Not a big surprise, since it’s commonplace for runners to become injured. According to a New York Times Wellness article, some statistics have shown as much as 90% of runners will have an injury in a year of training. I hate to be part of a statistic, but unfortunately I am. The right lower backside of my body seems to take a lot more beating than the left side.
What gives? Brian explained why injuries are common with runners through an interactive session where he showed a few techniques to target weak/tight muscles when doing mobility exercises.
It’s in the Way We Move
Basically, it all boils down to mechanics. The way our bodies move in space. Not just with running but in our daily activities. It’s also the way we hold our bodies in a static position – our postures while sitting or standing.
Great mechanics=less injuries
Bryan asked for a volunteer to demonstrate how he would initially assess a patient. First he had the volunteer close her eyes and stand naturally without shoes to observe her posture, her hips, her knees and feet. Then he had her do a series of squats to observe which side her body favored. She tended to place more weight on her right side. The last test was a series of single-legged squats. More of her weaknesses were revealed as she struggled to stay balanced on her left leg.
Running is a series of single-legged squats
Before my first visit to a physical therapist, I avoided single-legged squats because they were uncomfortable. However if you think about it, the stance phase of a running gait cycle is similar to a single-legged squat.
The single legged squat assessment also reveals weaknesses in your lower extremities. One observation is the knee tracking inward, a condition termed ‘valgus’. This was the case with the girl who volunteered for the demonstration. I read an article from Runner’s World that a cause of this condition is due to weak hip stabilizing muscles particularly the gluteus medius.
Train in 3-D
Our bodies are designed to move in three dimensional planes: Sagittal, Frontal, and Transverse. But we seem to spend most of the time training in the sagittal plane, forward and back motion. When the focus is only in one plane, small stabilizing muscles are ignored therefore increasing injury risk. In your strength training routine, make sure to include side to side exercises (lateral lunges, side-lying leg lifts, side-side banded walks) as well as rotational exercises (reverse lunge and rotate, diagonal chops).
It’s also important to address all three planes during a dynamic mobility warm up and static stretching. Brian demonstrated mobility exercises targeting the hamstrings, hip flexors and calves with movement in every plane.
Release the Fascia
At the end of Bryan’s lecture, we had the opportunity to try out tools designed to release fascial restrictions in the body. It’s a system called Technica Gavilan, the first I’ve heard of it. From their site, “Technica Gavilán is a soft tissue protocol that utilizes instruments to improve the restoration and healing of soft tissue pathologies. These instruments, which can detect soft tissue restrictions altering the musculo skeletal system, will decrease pain, increase range of motion and enhance Athletic Performance.”
Paul who is certified in the technique worked on several of us for at least five minutes. I had him focus on my problematic hamstring. Unfortunately , I was wearing tights and while he made it work, I probably didn’t get the full experience of it. He could tell that I had a lot of tension on my hamstring though.
At last night’s Injury Prevention Clinic by @catalystptandwellness at @movinshoes – Biggest takeaway: Train in 3D! As runners, we are constantly moving in one plane (sagittal – forward and back) so it’s important to include other modes of training that focuses on side-to-side (frontal) and rotational (transverse) movements. And yes that’s me trying out a new fascial tool on my troublesome hamstring! Thanks for an awesome clinic! #catalystptandwellness #movinshoes #injuryprevention #runnersclinic #manualtherapy
My Training Week
And speaking of my troublesome hamstring, I somehow tweaked it again this past week. Part of it was on Tuesday when I did strides and drills in place of an easy run. I ran with my sick daughter in a stroller and after 6 yrs of great runs with the Bob, it got a flat tire a mile out on my run. So I parked the stroller on a big grassy area to do strides and drills while my daughter slept. My hamstring felt fine until later that day.
Wednesday, I ran again despite a bit of hamstring tightness. I focused on running easy and made the mistake of only basing it on heart rate (trying Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 – subject for a later post). I should have also paid attention to perceived effort and pace. My heart rate was higher than I preferred so I slowed my pace to the point where I must have changed my form. I haven’t had any foot pain in a long time and by the end of this run I could feel a little soreness in my right foot. The slight pain lasted until Friday so I didn’t run again until Saturday morning.
Saturday morning turned out to be a good running day! No pain but still some hamstring tightness. I ended up running a pace faster than intended but I felt great the entire time. My heart rate monitor wasn’t strapped on correctly and I had a hard time adjusting it around my chest. No idea what my heart rate was, but as long as I could talk, I was happy with my effort.
Do you train in 3-D? Any fascial work done that used the Gavilan tools? Do you follow Matt Fitzgerald’s 80/20 training approach?
I am linking with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap. I encourage you to visit their blogs as well as those who linked up in support of active women. Thanks!