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?