Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Anatomy of Running

I had my best victory of the year last night at the Gate City Strider's indoor track workout. I was curious as to how my achilles would handle some speed-work. It was a bit tight on either side above the heel during the warm-up so I wasn't sure what would happen if I tried the workout. Once I started running intervals, the achilles did not hurt. I did 5 800 meter intervals at about a 3:00-3:05 pace. The middle one was supposed to be a mile, but I stopped at 3/4 of a mile because I couldn't fake the lack of mileage at the pace. The last 800 felt the best because my hips had the best alignment. Unfortunately my left glute medius tightened right up from overuse (probably why it was best one) and I couldn't run any more. All last year at track workouts I would get the same thing and would be sore for a day or more. It mostly went away after a couple of hours last night and the best thing is there was no achilles pain today and it feels the best it has in over a month.

Today I had another postural restoration physical therapy session and it went great as I am learning which moves affect which muscles and which muscles need activation. Twice the therapist has done some joint mobility work on my left foot. The inner half has no mobility and the outside of that foot has too much. That helped pull my left toe's metatarsal down and has given me more stability (what I was after here). That big toe however is now learning to connect with the ground. I then have to stop relying on my constantly activated  TRL and learn to activate my left psoas muscle instead. I also have a lot of work to do in order to keep strengthening my very weak left glute medius. Furthermore my right shoulder is behind my left shoulder so I have to learn to strengthen and use my left upper obliques and right lower obliques. I have only three more sessions of postural restoration and I trying to learn all I can to continue strengthening and activating the correct muscles to bring me back into alignment. I can only say that this is great stuff!

I saw a new book on running, so I ordered it from Amazon tonight. It is called Running Anatomy and looks like a good source to really see these muscles that I am working on.

I was over on Coach Jay Johnson's site checking out a video and I saw a link to a post of his on coach Dan Pfaff. It is a good post, but it also has a video on a book I have been hesitant to buy for over a year. I keep hearing good reviews on Anatomy Trains: Myofascial Meridians for Manual and Movement Therapists
from multiple sources, but I keep thinking that it would be way over my head. However I saw a link to a view on that page that is an introduction to the book. Here it is:

One of the fascial "trains" is shown in a model at about 30 second in. It shows how distant parts of the body are linked together. If you follow the yellow line from the toe, up the hip, across the obliques and to the opposite shoulder you will see it pass every single muscle that I mentioned above that I am working on through postural restoration (except this shows it on the opposite side of the body). Everything is connected. One of these days I will get brave and buy this book to see if I can figure it out.

Here is the Jay Johnson video I was originally looking at. It is for using medicine ball routines to strengthen your running. It goes along with an article in this month's Running Times magazine. Here is the page on Jay's site.

I am doing a "single leg haybales" without the medicine ball for my therapy, but will be adding the medicine ball later. I am also doing rotational  lunges with a medicine ball (not in this video) so it was interesting seeing some other routines.

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