Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bad running form= pain

Ugggh.  Today has been both good and bad.  Mainly good with a bad end.

I'll start with the bad first because that's how I'm feeling after another night of needless eating.  Not the same as last night- mainly my choices were good and they were because I was actually hungry.  Then I wasted 10 points on 3 little desserts. STUPID! But....delicious.  So as Joan suggested to me earlier (thanks Joan) you need to forgive yourself.  It happened, now I need to move on.  And not do it again tomorrow!!

The big deal that happened today was I had another physical therapy appointment.  On Monday I met with Mark and had my initial evaluation.  He was nice and gave me lots of hip rotator stretches, hamstring, and even some lower leg stretches.  He suggested trying some more elliptical to gauge how I felt and asked me to bring in my running shoes to my next appointment.  Mark's a triathlete (cool!) and was excited about all the activities I was doing and that I was a swimmer- which he said is the best workout I can get right now.  Given my goal of being able to run with no pain- he suggested I spend some time with Barb as well, who is a long distance runner and works a lot with runners and improving form.

Which was today, with Barb.  She was AWESOME.  Plain and simple, she was simply fantastic.  After a quick review with me and my chart- she immediately wanted to see my running shoes and already was telling me what my form was like and how my food landed before she even saw me stand.  She eventually had me run on the treadmill since I was having no pain.  She recorded me from behind and from the side on her iPad while I ran (slowly) on the treadmill.  Initially running wasn't painful but it quickly became more and more uncomfortable so I was glad when she asked me to stop after only a couple minutes.  Then we sat down and she explained what she saw.

Bad heel striker!
 All in all....I am a complete running disaster.  I do pretty much everything wrong.  I heel strike, I have very hard and loud foot falls, slow cadence, I don't pick up my feet enough....and that's the initial impression.  My posture is too rigid and I have such side dominance that I turn my torso more on one side than the other. My right shoulder rotates more than my left- looking like I'm trying to pull my left side along behind me.  And my left hip is too tight which isn't allowing me to get a fast enough turnover on that side, making my right side work twice as hard.  In fact, my whole left side of my body is just plain stiff and not as flexible as my right.  Also I overpronate- which looks even worse in slow motion.  Heck, I overpronate when I walk so this is nothing new.  O yeah, and I have zero forward lean.

As I sat next to her listening to her massacre my form (in a nice way, explaining along the way what it should look and feel like) I felt this odd combination of relief and embarrassment.  Relief because this is something concrete we could work on.  Embarrassment because here I thought my form was good- or so I've been told by others (until Rick Meyers' clinic that is.  Apparently he knows what he's talking about lol) and apparently this whole time I've been a complete running disaster.

She said we have two paths we could go down:
1. Work towards a goal race and get me pain free- basically fix the immediate problem and send me on my way.  She said if we do this it is very likely the problem will reoccur if I continue to run long distances- but I could keep at running less that 6 miles or so with this form long term with minimal repeats of the same type of injury.  But add in building up to half and full marathons and the injury WILL return.
2.  Take significantly more time NOW to rewire my entire running form from top to bottom.  It will take longer, but once my form is good, I shouldn't have issues running much longer distances giving my overall fitness level if I train properly.

DUH, option 2!!  There really is no option 1 is what I told her.  She replied with a "that's exactly what I was hoping to hear."

So, I have a very long and tedious road ahead of me that she said will be very challenging and frustrating, but Mark and her will be there every uncomfortable step along the way.  It WILL be worth it, for sure!  The immediate plan is lots of stretching and strengthening of my hips- especially my left hip.  After much manipulating and prodding of my hamstrings, glutes, and hips- the left hip really leaped out as the main problem.  Interesting how these things happen!  She seems concerned about possible bursitis- so she is confirming with my doctor that the hip x-rays showed the left hip clearly enough to rule it out in my left hip.  My doctor was initially focusing on the right hip, so I'm really not sure...

We will see.....but I feel more optimistic


  1. Dear God! I'd love to hear what they think of MY form! (not.)

  2. It's so good you have an explanation for the pain. Definitely a relief :-)