Running videos explained
Over the last few weeks, I have been in collaboration with Roman Mica, Brandon Del Campo and Robin Galaskewicz (whose last name I always have to look up how to spell, even though I have written it countless times), to put out some videos on stretching and strengthening geared toward runners but useful to any athlete.
The particular exercises we have carefully chosen often look simplistic, but when executed properly they are deceptively difficult. You may find that you suck at them. They may even cause some discomfort. If you follow the exercises, you may in fact experience shoulder soreness, or a pinch in the hip, your hamstrings may feel like an overstretched guitar string. This may cause some worry or thoughts that you are doing things completely wrong or that you might hurt yourself.
All of these strange feelings are totally normal and are to be expected. Doing any type of movements that are meant to realign, stretch and/or strengthen the body will be uncomfortable. They have to be. You are trying to take a body part that is often stuck in the wrong position and re-position it. It cannot and will not feel good!
I know from experience. I do these exercises as well as others we will post in the near future. They make my muscles burn, I ache, I don’t always enjoy doing them. But, they have helped me immensely in recovering from years of a rib injury and doing them will allow me to run fast even as I get older.
I would estimate that 99.99999999% of runners and triathletes have muscle imbalances and one or both hips that are rotated or misaligned in some manner. Muscle imbalance is inevitable; everyone has a dominant side and nobody is completely symmetrical. Hence, every athlete has their “Achilles heel”, an injury or pre-injury that continually crops up over the years. These types of issues can cause over-striding, low foot turnover, problems with shoulder carriage and when things are really awry it causes pain.
Athletes look for a magic bullet to undo these issues and often turn to massage, PT and yoga to alleviate the symptoms of their running ailments. I am an aficionado of massage and PT (I just cannot get on board with yoga; I truly despise it, especially the part at the end when you have to lie still. Sorry if I offend anyone.), but they are often band-aids that are covering up larger issues.
The videos that we are putting out are meant to help undo the endless array of problems that are common to runners and triathletes. But, I want to offer the caveat that they will hurt. And that is okay. It is truly surprises me that people will not stick to a strength and stretching routine because it makes them feel some discomfort. You mean to tell me that you can spend 15-20 hours a week flogging yourself daily training for a marathon or Ironman, but a little gym work “hurts too much”?
Now is the time to distinguish between good pain and bad pain. Feeling a muscles stretch and hopefully release = good pain. Running through a knee injury that causes you to limp = bad pain. Yet, I see athletes go run when they can barely walk but will not lift a weight because it makes them sore. What?
The exercises on these videos, if done correctly and continued over time, might help you get rid of the running pain you are experiencing and ultimately make you a more efficient runner. It is not convenient, perhaps, to fit in the exercises. And, even after reading this you may still decide you hate the way it feels when shins burn from foot circles. Just remember, though, if you decide to forgo doing the little things that make big differences, you will assuredly curse yourself at the end of your next big race when your run form falls apart due to weakness or even worse, you miss your next big race due to an injury.
Now, I am not saying that following our little videos to the T will make you impervious to injury. Nothing makes anyone impermeable to injury, not even doing nothing, because couch potatoes often throw out their backs. What I am trying to express is this: take a little bit of time, embrace the discomfort and let the exercises help you become a better runner.
Stay tuned, we have more videos coming out over the next few weeks.