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!!

Stressed Out

Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m hyper-aware or I know more runners who are tackling the great distance of a marathon, but man oh man, I’ve never known SO many runners with stress fractures.

stress-cartoon

It feels something like this, actually.

I don’t know what the hay-ho is going on out there (I have a guess but I’m not sure people would like my educated guess…) but I’ve never known so many runners who are sidelined with stress fractures.

Let’s be clear about what stress fractures are and why they happen.

Stress fractures are incomplete, often hairline, fractures that occur commonly in the femur, tibia, or any of the bones of the foot. Stress fractures happen over a prolonged period of time due to excessive repetitive stress placed on the body.

(Image courtesy of Radiology Assistant)

(Image courtesy of Radiology Assistant)

They do not, DO NOT, happen overnight.

Reasons why stress fractures happen:

  1. Overtraining. Too many miles. Too many weeks of training. Too too much.
  2. Undertraining/improper training. Think only doing 3-5 miles 2x/week and then blasting out massive long runs on the weekend.
  3. Diet. Lack of nutrients (like in exercise anorexia or compulsive exercise disorder) make your bones brittle and go *snap*.
  4. Improper footwear. Think Vibram (my least favorite).
  5. Bad body mechanics. Imbalances in the body get amplified in repetitive sports.

And guess what? Every single one of these is preventable.

Every. Single. One.

  • Hire an educated, experienced coach (ahem, more than a weekend course).
A GOOD coach, that is.

A GOOD coach, that is.

  • Do not start your training 16 weeks before the race. Training begins in the off season with strength training and speed workouts.
  • If your diet stinks or you think you might be at risk for developing the Female Athlete Triad, seek the guidance of a Registered Dietician or a Licensed Nutritionist.
No good. (Image courtesy of FemaleAthleteTriad.org)

No good.
(Image courtesy of FemaleAthleteTriad.org)

  • Please, please, please get your body mechanics checked by a physical therapist. We are trained to do this and more outpatient orthopedic facilities (like Finish Line PT) are starting pre-hab programs to do just this for athletes.
  • PTs can also evaluate your feet, knees, and hips for which shoe would be best for you. Seriously.

If you think you might be developing a stress fracture, get to your orthopedist for some imaging immediately. An incomplete fracture (stress fracture) can lead to a complete fracture and surgery with one run.

That’s right. You’ve been ignoring that nagging pain and one day it just goes bananas.

Pain in the same spot that doesn’t let up and hurts every time you run, walk, put pressure on it is a glaring sign that something is wrong. Guys, if it hurts, don’t do it.

Simple, right?

If you’re sidelined from your race this year because of a stress fracture, I’m really sorry. But there’s hope! Treatments are amazing, PTs make it their job to fix runners like you, and you can be back on the road in a few weeks/months.

Don’t despair!

Be smart. Hire someone smarter. Work hard.

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Not Racing

Happy Tuesday and welcome to Taper Town, NYC Marathoners! Now that you’ve made it through the vast majority of your long training runs, that 26.2 behemoth is looking much more do-able, isn’t it?

(Image courtesy of RunnersConnect.com)

(Image courtesy of RunnersConnect.com)

You beast.

Congratulations to all of you.

But there are the other runners out there now, aren’t there? The ones who trained, ran far, worked hard, set their sites for the start line and now have to DNS for some reason or another.

That sucks.

Surgery instead of Marine Corps Marathon last Fall. Womp, womp.

Surgery instead of Marine Corps Marathon last Fall. Womp, womp.

There’s no way around it, not racing when you’ve trained your heart out sucks. I’m sorry.

But, as someone who has both trained for the full and only run the half AND had to DNS another marathon in the past, I wonder if I can’t encourage you to look at it in a different way.

Yes, it’s hard to accept that you won’t toe the line at your race. Yes, it’s frustrating to send in your deferral paperwork. Yes, it’s depressing to tell your friends (the ones you bragged to all through training) that you’re not running.

But then there’s the other side.

Just because you’re not racing doesn’t mean you’re not in awesome shape.

Just because you’re not racing NOW doesn’t mean you won’t race EVER.

Just because you’re not racing doesn’t mean you can’t go and cheer your friends who are still racing.

Cheering at marathons is SUPER FUN!

Cheering at marathons is SUPER FUN!

Just because you’re not racing this race doesn’t mean you can’t look for another one in a few weeks or months.

Just because you’re not racing doesn’t mean it was all worth nothing. It was a goal you set out to achieve. You pushed your mind and your body to the edges of physical sanity–and found out it’s kinda fun.

Running a mile uphill was fun...sort of.

Running a mile uphill was fun…sort of.

Allow yourself the time to grieve over your loss. It’s ok. But then look forward. What do you need to do to achieve your goal next time? Get a coach? Get a better coach? Start training earlier? Strength train in the off season? Not get pregnant mid-season (can’t tell you how many lady runner friends I have in this position :))?

Onward, friends. Onward.

If you are a life-long runner, not racing here and there is going to be something that happens again. It’s life. But it also teaches you that there’s another opportunity in the future for you to tackle.

And isn’t that way Better Than the Alternative?

Yup.

Now go out and run!

 

Things to Do When You’re Injured

At any point in time, approximately 1/3 of my runner friends are sidelined by injury. By and large, running injuries are overuse and not acute, and the unpredictable nature of these type of injuries can make rehab frustratingly long.

IMG_0511

Tendonosis/tendonitis, stress fractures, bursitis, inflammation, muscle strains, malalignment of joints, and mystery pain are among the top ailments we see in PT clinics during high season (late Summer/Fall). It stands to reason that distance runners, as a psychological test group, are stubborn and plow through pain fairly regularly to achieve their goals. Have you ever tried to get a runner to stop running?

Yeah…it’s, ummmmm, impossible difficult.

What’s the injured runner to do when running isn’t an option?

  1. Swim: most injuries are water-friendly and swimming is good for you anyway.
  2. Lift: likely your injury is due to weakness and you’ll be hitting the weights with your PT anyway so you may as well make the most of your time and get strong.
  3. Finally download all the necessary software to actually use all the tracking stuff on your Garmin.
  4. Organize and display your race memorabilia.
  5. Try pilates and/or yoga: strengthening your range of motion is always a good idea.
  6. Bike: if your hip/glutes aren’t involved, grab 2 wheels and pedal away!
  7. Volunteer and/or cheer: support your friends and fellow runners and ring that cowbell!
  8. Stay on top of your PT exercises: you have the time, make sure you’re putting in the work to get back on the road.
I promise you, we're here to help!

I promise you, we’re here to help…and do paperwork up the ying-yang.

Being injured is the absolute pits. But, if you get professional help early from a physical therapist and stay on top of your exercises, you’ll be back on the road to health sooner than you think.

Have you been injured recently? What have you been doing in the mean time?

On a separate note, I’m looking forward to seeing all my fellow runners in Central Park on Monday, April 22nd at 6:30pm for a gathering to show our support for the city of Boston and all the families, runners, and spectators who were affected by the tragic events of this past week. Details for the NYC meet-up here.

Thank you to Well + Good and the Twittersphere/Facebook world for spreading the word.

483464_10151431066633742_112198855_n

Meet-ups are happening all over the country. Find one in your city.

If you’re looking for a way to donate to the families, the Mayor of Boston has set up the One Fund. You can also purchase a t-shirt from Adidas, proceeds go 100% to the One Fund.

Now go out and run!