Monday, May 30. 2011
Running Chick in Dreadmill, Injury, Insanity, Travel
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Alternate titles I came up with for this post:
In other words, it’s the results of my UW Health Runner’s Clinic evaluation. The nitty gritty details can be found in the detailed (and pretty awesome) notes that Josh took while I was being bent, twisted, flexed and put through my paces on the most bizarre and potentially unsafe treadmill I’ve ever seen.
Long story short, there is nothing wrong with my foot strike. I am not a over-pronator as I’ve been told by the majority of the running store people and the podiatrist. Nor am I a supinator, as the last running store person told me. I’m completely normal. All the different shoes I’ve purchased over the years to correct this or that have actually done absolutely, positively nothing. I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent trying to fix a problem that didn’t exist.
What I do have is a problem with overstriding and heel striking. Badly. I knew I was always a bit of a heel striker, the soles of my shoes easily proved that, but until I saw myself on the video, I never really knew how much. I should have asked for a copy of the video taken from the side because I could have posted that instead of wasting the last 20 minutes of my day scouring the intertubes for an appropriate image to demonstrate. This was the best I could come up with..
…heel strike, knee locked. So, basically, what’s happening is my heel is acting like a brake and all the impact force is traveling up my leg and manifesting itself in the smaller, weaker muscles. My quads, hamstrings and hips passed all the strength tests with flying colors and they’re absorbing some of the impact, but it’s those lower leg muscles that are sucking the majority of the impact. That’s an overly simplified explanation certainly, but the official analysis was pretty scientific. The PT drew force vector diagrams, talked about Newton’s Third Law and other physics-related stuff which caused Josh’s eyes to turn to hearts and mine to glaze over.
The good news is that if I change to more of a mid-foot strike, I should be able to get rid of my chronic shin pain. The bad news is that changing my stride is going to be hard, it’s going to take months and I have to start out on the treadmill so I can set a constant speed and focus on the strides. Currently, I’m running at a stride rate of 164 (foot to ground contacts per minute) and I have to bring it up to 174. I get to run three times per week – two runs must be on the treadmill at 174 and the last run I can do outside at any pace just to keep me sane. I’ll start out doing intervals for 3 minutes of strides and 2 minutes stride-free for a couple of weeks, then move to 4:1, then 5:1, etc. Josh used his geek skillz to make me a 45 minute long mp3 that has the proper intervals, so while everybody else is jamming out to Lady Gaga, Pink and whoever else the kids listen to nowadays, I’ll be listening 3 minutes of “tick-tick-tick-tick-tick” at a tempo of 174 and then 2 minute snippets of songs from the latest Lady Gaga album.
Tomorrow, I’m signing up for a gym membership and it’ll also be my first stride session. My only hope is that for the next month, it either rains or is super hot & humid on my running days so I’m not so miserable slogging away on the treadmill. Think that’ll happen? Doubtful!
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