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Injury

PT #2: Sucky Running Form

Last night was my first real PT session, and overall it was very informative.

The key takeaway? My running form is not awesome.

My initial appointment several weeks back was just an assessment that gave Brian a chance to learn about my history and do a basic evaluation. I got some stretches to take home and was introduced to the foam roller.

Last night was much more comprehensive. We started with a little run on the treadmill, which Brian videotaped from several directions. He then uploaded them into this awesome analysis program that evaluates body angles and alignment, and we watched me pound away. I wish I had screen shots to share. Initial reaction — I look awkward/dumb when I run.

More important, however, is that I do not have the great form I thought I did. My core/upper body are stable and strong, my hips don’t rock and I have very little bounce in my stride, but my legs are a different story. I overpronate — I mean, everyone does — but my knees also collapse in and my feet kick out as I push off the ground. No wonder I look like I’m sinking in all those race photos.

The culprit, if I understand correctly,  is weakness in the hips, along with a slightly curved tibia and possibly some other minor issues. If I can add strength and adjust my stride so it doesn’t put unnecessary strain on my lower legs — and in the future, my knees — I should be back to normal.

Easier said than done.

During the session we focused on some stretching and massage, as right now we’re too close to Boston (12 days) to make any changes in my strength or form without compromising the race. After that, however, all bets are off. We’ll work on building up some of those muscles and adjusting my stride and my abnormally low cadence.

[Bonus — not only will a higher cadence take pressure off the legs, it’ll make me faster…]

I ran this morning and was hyperaware of my bad form, which I then tried to compensate for, which hurt. The goal for the next two weeks is to run like always, because clearly it’s worked so far, and then fix the problem when I’m between races.

So, here’s to a very pricey series of fixes that hopefully will lower my susceptibility to injury and boost my performance!

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “PT #2: Sucky Running Form

  1. That PT analysis sounds pretty awesome. I can’t even imagine how fast you will be once you’ve worked on your trouble areas!

    Posted by Beth | April 6, 2011, 2:26 PM
  2. guh. this would seriously mess with my head, but it sounds like you are approaching it the right way leading up to boston. i’ve never had my gait looked at, but i do some of the same things – my knee collapse inwards, feet kick out. le sigh.

    Posted by katie | April 6, 2011, 2:28 PM
  3. I am a really neutral runner but I totally look like I’m sinking in my race photos too! I definitely have hip weakness, and work on that a lot, but I also think I run with my shoulders rolled forward. I’ve had my running analyzed but never with such specificity. Now I totally want to do this.

    I’m excited to see how things change for you as you work on this!

    Posted by amy | April 6, 2011, 2:59 PM
  4. oh man, I could talk to you for hours for everything that is wrong with how I run…including my flat feet, my left leg being 7 mm longer then my right, my damn knee surgeries. ugh. PT will totally help you though and after you re-learn how to run you are going to be a super speed monster!

    I am so pumped that you are doing boston! I am very impressed…especially because I get excited when I run a sub nine minute mile. heh 🙂

    Posted by Lauren | April 6, 2011, 3:10 PM

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