My Guest Post Extraordinaire!!
My post today is actually a guest post from a several time “visitor” to OrthoWell. He is an avid runner as well as an avid reader of the running literature. In response to my post on the evolution of running and running technique, he offers some insightful comment and a vivid analogy of being mindful of your weak links. Our biomechanical and evidence-based approach at OrthoWell enables our therapists to find your weak links faster and more effectively than the competition. Don’t be fooled by imitations! Without further adieux, I would like to introduce Matthew Demers!
“After reading your post on running technique, I have come to most, if not all, of the same conclusions you arrived at. I feel like I could have co-authored the piece. There is one more item that I would have included. It would read something like this:
We run with the body that our environment and habits have created. Just as wearing shoes creates a dependency on shoes, other aspects of our lifestyles generate limiting factors. Take sitting down all day as part of a desk job; the hip flexors take on a different form over time (http://www.yogajournal.com/practice/588). This biomechanical limiting factor impacts running as it changes the gait by restricting the backward swing of the leg through the stance and propulsion phases. The net result (and I can attest to this one) is a very chopped stride. No heels-to-the-ass running for this plodder. Similarly, other facets of the lifestyle I have embraced have created associated limiting factors – and by limiting factors, I mean those things that stand between me and the ideal running form. An educated runner looks for these and addresses them. Hope, as in “I hope I don’t hurt anything,” is a lousy strategy.
To address these limiting factors, I give you my NASCAR solution. Barring accidents, the pit crew of any successful racecar driver has to anticipate what is going to break – and fix it – before the driver finds it. This begs the question, how do they know what is going to break? Odds are it is the weak link in whatever chain it belongs to. Driving 500 miles at full throttle is a perfect technique for finding the weak links. Sometimes the driver can give the pit crew feedback about a failing weak link before actual failure, at which point the pit crew can fix it and the race continues; ignore it or fail to fix it and the race is over. In running we are both driver and pit crew; driver while on the road and pit crew the rest of the time. The maddeningly repetitive nature of running makes it the perfect activity for identifying weak links. Every single running injury is the failure of a weak link (which is more than likely linked to a limiting factor of some sort). Changing your running dynamics by introducing speed work (higher revs) or hill work (higher torque) speeds up the weak link-identification process. So the solution is simple, you need to be a smart driver and a fastidious pit crew. You need to acknowledge that regardless of how well trained you are, there are still weak links – there has to be by definition. Live within your limiting factors, while acting to reduce or correct them, and you will be a happier runner. Finally, make sure your driver is talking to your pit crew.”