Form = Everything

If you know me at all, or have been reading this blog for a little while, you know I’m obsessed with form. OBSESSED. I can’t help it. It was burned into my brain from a very young age to be militant about my form when I exercise.

Awesome form on the monkey bars. Clearly, I was meant to be a gymnast. *snort*

Awesome form on the monkey bars. Clearly, I was meant to be a gymnast. *snort*

But my form was never, ever, ever very good when I ran. Like, ever. I slouched and hung my head back for the longest time. Not sure how coaches let me run with crappy form (probably cuz I wasn’t exactly a promising athlete…), but there we are.

And it was ugly. And not helpful.

You know what changed that? Moving to New York and seeing the pros run.

Keflezighi_MebM-NYC09.JPG-280x421

Meb is one of those runners that just looks strong when he runs.
(Image courtesy of running.competitor.com)

Here in NYC, we see the pros and semi-pros training in Central Park pretty regularly. I’ve shouted out to Meb, Desi, and Kara (all very graciously acknowledged my embarrassing fan-girling) and marveled at how effortless they looked.

Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan, Amy Hastings, Desiree Davila

No one in this group is slouching, so I shouldn’t either.
(Image courtesy of http://www.brushnewstribune.com/ci_19742283)

Ok, so Kara kinda hangs her head back. Clearly, we are kindred spirits. But other than that, these athletes work hard on their form, knowing that in order to engage the strongest muscles in the best way, they must too be militant about their form.

So how did looking at pictures of other runners and watching the pros pass me like I was standing still help my form?

Confession: I envision myself running like them when I’m out for a run. Boobs up, belly in, legs long, arms pumping.

look-like-when-im-runningI may look more like the latter picture vs. the former, but my form has actually improved by leaps and bounds.

So tall at the end of the half! This was NOT me a decade ago...and even sometimes now.

So tall at the end of the half! This was NOT me a decade ago…and even sometimes now.

Yes, I strength train. Yes, I pay attention to my posture on the treadmill. But most of all, I picture myself running like Meb and Kara and Shalane. I’m not always successful…

Thumbs up at mile 20...but looking a little slouchy.

Thumbs up at mile 20…but looking a little slouchy.

Anyway, sometimes it’s not about strengthening and obsessing. Sometimes it’s about just standing up straight. And sometimes it’s about finding out just what the heck your form looks like, which is why you get an evaluation at Finish Line Physical Therapy.

And the winners of Peak Performance Analysis are…

Who wants to be a winner?

Who wants to be a winner?

EVERYONE!

Seriously. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who commented on the post will receive an email from me today so I can get your addresses and send you the cards so you can visit the fine people at Finish Line.

Thank you to the fine folks at Finish Line for your generosity!

Now go out and run (tall).

ALL CAPS WEDNESDAY!!!!!

FINALLY!!!!

I TOLD YOU SO!!!!

A GIVEAWAY!!!!

I am usually only this excited when there are cupcakes involved. Not today!

Delicious post-Refine cupcake, courtesy of Birdie.

Delicious post-Refine cupcake, courtesy of Birdie. I was obviously very excited about this.

Because today is the day when Runner’s World Magazine has FINALLY gotten it right. And you know what, Runner’s World? I TOLD YOU SO!

One of their editors finally had it with being injured all the freaking time so she went to NYU Langone Center for Musculoskeletal Care’s RunSmart team for a biomechanical assessment.

Her story is basically the same as every other runner’s story. She runs and other stuff and thinks she’s all strong but can’t figure out why she’s always injured. She assumes she knows what she’s doing and that she’s been treating her repetitive injuries properly by getting massages, ART, and seeing a chiropractor.

Stark wasn't ready. Are you?

Stark wasn’t ready. Are you?

What she learned is what every athlete must learn: you must play an ACTIVE role in treating and preventing your injuries. Massaging and stretching tissue isn’t enough. Someone else manipulating your body will not keep you strong, stable, and symmetrical.

You know what will?

Getting a biomechanical, gait, strength, and stability assessment from a trained medical professional.

You know who’s trained to do that?

A physical therapist.

Yup. That's me!

No seriously. I actually study the way you move. I obsess it about, really.

There is so much that goes into the way you move and the trained eye can take one look at your gait and know where to start with your deficits. It’s not a party trick. It’s our job.

You know what’s awesome? There are clinics like this one all over the country where you can get some answers and a routine put together to treat whatever’s ailing you. It’s not a quick fix and you’ll have to stay on top of your treatment (or it won’t work), but I promise you will Run Stronger Every Day because of it.

(Image courtesy of Runner's World)

(Image courtesy of Runner’s World)

The bummer? It’s a little pricey off the bat. But think of what you’ll save in copays.

AND NOW THE GIVEAWAY!!!!

You all know how I love Finish Line Physical Therapy here in NYC. And you know how I love biomechanical assessments of athletes. Well, THEY DO EXACTLY THIS!!!

And I have 4 Peak Performance Analysis sessions to give to you for FREE!!!

Who wants to be a winner?

Who wants to be a winner?

You can enter in 3 ways:

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me why you need to get this analysis done ASAP.
  2. Re-tweet this post (& tag me so I know you did) on Twitter.
  3. Share this post in your blog (and give me a pingback so I know you did).

Each share earns you an entry. Enter all 3 ways! Contest closes this Monday (3/10) at midnight.

If you’re itching to try Finish Line’s Alter-G but don’t want to shell out the big bucks to do it, today there is a Groupon for $49 FOR 5 30-MINUTE SESSIONS. I just bought mine cuz mama’s gettin’ kinda heavy and needs some help running these days.

Check me out on their Alter-G.

So fast that I'm blurry.

So fast that I’m blurry.

Don’t take it from me, I’m an interested party. Take it from one of the {routinely injured} editors at Runner’s World. Physical Therapy is where it’s at.

Get into it, runners.

Now go out and run!…and enter the giveaway!!