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Runners Are A Funny Bunch

Only July 4th, I spent my morning down at a 5K race in Peoria. I set up a massage table and performed post event sports massage and stretching at the AZ Tech training tent. I was there from about 6am until 8:45. I don’t know exactly how many people I saw, but it was a lot.

Some things I noticed:

- Before the event started, there weren’t a whole lot of people performing an adequate warm up. Rather, opting to just go out there and run once the race got underway.

- After the race, there weren’t a whole lot of people performing an adequate cool down (aside from those who where in line to get on my table that is); stretching or using the foam rollers (that were available there) to take care of soft tissue problems.

- I would say the majority of people I got to work on had some sort of problem that was chronic. This wasn’t, “I my calf cramped up today” or “My hips were just really tight this morning. It was more like “My Achilles tendon has been hurting for the past 3 months” or “My lower back always hurts and it has been this way for a few years.”

- When asked what these people do for their problems, aside from maybe a half-hearted stretching program, there was not much else! No soft tissue work, no specific stretching or mobility protocol and no specific strength training program to help correct some of the issue they may be having. Rather, most of them just opted to “run through it”, in the hopes that it just goes away.

Some thoughts:

This type of behavior is very typical of runners. Most of them only look at one aspect of their training program…running! In all honesty, I more comprehensive and well-rounded program would serve them better as it would (a) prevent over training and (b) work along with their running program to prevent injury and increase performance by fixing problems (weakness, compensation patterns, etc) and helping to keep them healthy.

Something that the AZ Tech training group does that really sets them apart from other running groups in the valley is they look at the athletes posture and running technique and come up with some stretching and strengthening program that can help develop the athlete (be it an elite or recreational athlete). This is in-line with my beliefs, as these problems don’t just go away! You need to be proactive about taking care of them, before they manifest into something potentially worse.

Being proactive is all about going through a proper assessment and then taking the time through out the week to work on the weak links in your chain. Wouldn’t you like to know what it feels like to run without pain? Don’t you want to have a healthy running career, free of injury?
Stop pushing through the problems, and start looking for solutions!

PS, this week I will be out of town, In Las Vegas for the National Strength and Conditioning Associations National Convention. It should be a great time and I hope to learn a lot from the lectures. Next week I will be back with some more Q&A’s. If you have any questions, please leave them in the ‘comments’ link at the bottom of each blog entry.

Patrick
Optimum Sports Performance

I've brought this up before, but resources for designing an adequate stretching program just don't exist, at least not good ones anyway (from what I've found)

For example, I can stretch as much as I want but I still seem to have tightness in those areas. Maybe that's indicative of another problem, or maybe I'm just doing the "wrong" stretch. I really don't know, and short of going to a PT it seems like it will stay that way.

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