Holy cow! I didn’t realize how long it had been since I had composed a blog. With 26 runners following a plan I am laying out for each of them, I haven’t made time to do what I equally enjoy, sharing info for all of you to learn.
A lot of my runners come to me because they have hit a plateau or injury that is stopping them from becoming the aerobic monster he/she can become. Before a runner can live up to their ability, we need to make sure everything is in good working order. A good example is the runner in the photo for this blog. Are those some nice-looking legs or what?
The more important question would be, is everything in good working order? This man is a workout monster. He runs half and full marathons, is a Half Ironman finisher, and resistance trains consistently. Historically, his training hits a big speed bump when his left knee starts to become painful and sidelines his efforts.
Knee pain!?! What? How can that be? Despite popular belief, we are made to take the pounding of running. Our bodies are engineered to take the force of the ground. But not this guy, at least not on the left leg. Look closely at the picture and remember his left leg is on the right side as you look at the picture. His left tibia has genu varum or bowing of the lower leg bone.
More than likely, he will always have some repetitive issues with that leg, but how do we get around this structural issue? He’s training for a marathon, so we still need to keep building his engine, so we do that with other cardiovascular activities and minimize the number of consecutive days he runs while still getting his heart rate up. You can’t tell in the picture, but this guy is a taller guy, which means his limbs are longer, which also means he may end up over striding just because his levers are longer. A longer lever that is over striding means the ground reaction force will not be equally absorbed by the joint segments; ankle, knee, and hip. The poor knee being stuck in the middle, frequently takes most of that shock. This fella’s bowed tibia does not help the situation. When his knee became symptomatic during his training, we realized that his average steps per minute were always under 170. He shortened his stride and is now normally around 180 steps per minute and has been dealing with less knee pain. How does this happen? By shortening his stride, he is landing so that his foot is closer to under his center of mass and the joint segments are better lined up to receive the load all together.
I am very excited to see how he will do in his marathon. I cross my fingers and say a little prayer every day what we have going will get him through training and to a monster personal best in his marathon in October. This is all part of my virtual, custom training. I could easily apply a one size fits all plan to all my runners as the path of least resistance on my part. If I did that, their needs would not be met. People don’t pay for training, they pay for the coach. How well does your coach know your body and your engine?
How about those happy looking people in the photo!?! Meet Doreen and Henry, 70 and 71 years young, respectively. They both ran the Jack and Jill Downhill Marathon yesterday in Washington state and as you can see, they had favorable results. They have a few other things in common. They came to me a week apart, referred by people that read my blog posts. They both started with me later than I like in relation to when the marathon is. They both have run with various running groups in town and coincidently with the same group but unbeknownst to them, came to me basically at the same time. They both have been running consistent the last two years, including running marathons, but ran into some problems in their last training season and race. Doreen had GI issues at her last race that sabotaged her BQ efforts and Henry came to me with an irritated hamstring that sabotaged him getting back to Boston.
As part of my runner interview, I helped Doreen figure out how to get around her GI issue and I did a movement assessment on Henry and prescribed exercises to rehab his hamstring injury, while he continued to run train. I looked at what both had been doing previously in training before coming to me. I determined one was running too much and the other, not enough and regressed and progressed them from that point and now both will have their opportunity to go back to the Boston Marathon. I have had people in the past refer to my runners as my students. That always sounds silly to me because I know I am the student. I study the runner and must learn their body, what they can handle if they can handle more, and what is too much and if they have had too much, how to bring them back on track for just enough. There is a fine line between too much, not enough, and just enough and it is my job to figure that out.
Now that the race is over, Henry gets to rest his angry gluteus medius and Doreen, well, Doreen is probably already wondering how much she may be able to improve. Has she reached her inherent ability? Has anyone reached their inherent ability? Run too many miles, you won’t reach it. Don’t run enough miles, you won’t reach it. Run just enough, you will reach it.
Please do me a favor and take the time to hit the share button for Doreen and Henry’s story! Soon I will be composing a blog about exercise and the aging human being!