Running form analysis and injury

February 27, 2009

Last week I had Carmen video tape my running form. Today we got  a chance to look at the video footage and found some interesting things. My left leg (the one I’ve been having a little trouble with injury wise) does a few things differently from my right:

  • It tends to spend more time on the ground than the right foot.
  • On the toe off the left foot doesn’t flex as much, so there isn’t as much push off as just a lifting of the foot off the ground.
  • On push off my left leg doesn’t really straighten out much whereas the right does.
  • The kick back does not go as high in the back as the right.
  • When the leg comes forward it kind of just plops down under my hip instead of having a motion where it goes out forward and then pressing back into the ground to push me forward.

My right foot leg on the other hand comes up more in front and then the foot comes down and back when it hits the ground to propel me forward. The entire time through contact and push off the right side of body is upright (pretty much completely straight). As I move forward my foot flexes and my toes push off the ground where my leg almost becomes straight. So I end up having more forward thurst with the right leg, then the left leg just plops down and that’s putting more strain on the left leg. Instead of propelling me forward it’s kind of slowing me down and battling those forces.

I’ll try and get the video recording and post it soon but here you can see an elite runner (who I’m nowhere close to in speed, ability or form). Notice the extension on the foot that just pushed off, and the foot in front ready to come down in a backwards motion to propel the body forward.

Paula Radcliffe

As I try and get back into my running I’ll need to start focusing on this difference between my feet, trying to ensure I get my left leg back up and pushing backward when it lands and having good push off. Let’s see how it goes.


Not a 100% but on the road to recovery

February 22, 2009

Over the course of the last three weeks I think most parts of my lower left leg have had an issue. Everytime somebody asks me what’s wrong with my leg I kind of have to say stuff all over. Anterior Tibialis is where it started, then I had inflammation in the Tendon Sheath, now the Anterior Tib and a little in the calf. Overall, it means I’m not 100% and it looks unlikely that I’ll be in shape to run the Texas Independence Relay next weekend. That’ll be the first weekend I may have a chance of being in long run shape but I can’t really push it and doing the logistic prep with the group from work I’m running with is something we should get figured out now.

On a positive side, the leg is getting better, just need to be patient. Today I tried a new taping method to give some support to my Posterior Tib which helped quite a bit. The taping seems to be giving enough support so I can get a short run in without inflaming things so I can keep working on strengthening the muscles for the long term. You can read the instructions for this and taping the Anteior and Posterior parts of the leg here.

Current wins: Breakfast with team at Steve and Ruth’s, Nutella and whipped cream with waffles, leisure reading

Current losses: TIR out from running plans,

This is what you’re supposed to look like when you’re running

February 20, 2009

This is a great picture of our Rogue coach (and founder of Rogue), Steve (on the left) during the Austin Marathon this weekend. This was Steve’s first Road Marathon. I know I never look like this in pictures, ok maybe one. Both Steve and Larry have that great push off phase of their stride captured.

Developing the race plan for the Boston Marathon

February 18, 2009

The starting point for me is my race in Boston in 2006 where I was trying to get under 3:00 hours. Click on the image below to see the details.

2006 Goal versus Actual Results

2006 Goal versus Actual Results

The plan wasn’t too far off. Going into it I assumed the race would mean whatever shape I was in for a flat course + 2ish minutes and that’s what the paces targets were set on. Until the hills try and stick around marathon goal pace (for a flat course) even though it is downhill. Then loose some time in the hills and try and get back to slower than MGP in the finish.

The biggest problem was the first mile which was a minute slow, that was nearly impossible for me to make up. I was also a little slower in the hills than planned and then the motivation wasn’t there since sub 3 seemed out of reach. I haven’t decided on my plan for 2009 yet, it’ll come in early April but I am starting to form a general idea on how to run the race … not the specific paces yet. I do want this to be a negative split race from an effort standpoint, I’m not sure if that means a negative split based on pace yet but we’ll see.

Time for a little patience and keeping the real prize in mind

February 12, 2009

This is always the hardest thing. My last few posts have been about an injury I’ve been dealing with for a while. In the past as soon as something crops up I’ll generally go cold turkey (running wise) and stop running, then slowly build up. Since I hurt my leg this time I’ve still been running 45 to 50 miles a week (down from 80 to 90) instead of 0 to 20 miles and my leg hasn’t healed completely. I’ve taken 2 days off at a time but things haven’t gotten better. It’s a tough thing to deal with mentally because it seems like my off cycle seems to coincide with everybody else’s on cycle. In the last season I had side stitch issues around a Soul Buster that the crew nailed and I almost bailed (how’s that for a little rhyme). This Sunday we’re supposed to run the Austin Marathon and I had a goal of 12 to 18 miles at my marathon goal pace and next weekend is the first Soul Buster.

Somebody wrote the following in a message to me:

“Just be careful and keep your eye on Boston – that’s the real, prize, right?! “

YES. My goal (I like prize better so I’m going to start calling it a prize from now on) … my real prize is Boston on April 20th so it’s time for a little patience on my part. I’m taking a complete week off from running. I was going to do that this week but got greedy. The marathon on Sunday is a no go for sure and it looks like the Soul Buster next weekend is at risk too … the price of impatience but not the end of the world.

Current Wins: Time with family, Seinfeld and Springsteen tickets, my job

Current Losses: Readjustment to running plans

New medical term for an injury

February 11, 2009

We’ve heard of shin splints, Achilles tendonitis, knots … my word for the day is peretendenitis thanks to a message on facebook. That is the issues I have with my Tibialis Anterior that I mentioned in my last post.

Recovering from injury can be a slow and meandering process

February 8, 2009

I posted at the beginning of the month about the issues I’ve had with my Tibialis Anterior muscle. This week came with some highs and lows on my recovery. One of the major issues I had were two to three knots in the muscle, mid way down on my leg and a quarter of the way up. Those have luckily been worked out and the muscle is much looser.

I now have remaining inflammation of the Tibialis Anterior Tendon sheath. The muscle is on the outside of the foot and the tendon wraps around in front of the foot and then down. Today’s run gave me some time to pay attention to my leg. I was sore from the get go.

Tibalis Anterior Tendon Sheath

Tibalis Anterior Tendon Sheath

I’ve gotten a few runs in this week to keep the legs going, less than 50 miles though which is well below my goal but that’s life. I’ve been trying to run slower and doing that tends to change running form. I have a much flatter foot strike instead of landing on my mid-foot to fore-foot when I’m running at slower paces. The way the foot lands there seems to force a greater degree of motion on my foot, reducing the angle between it and my leg. At this speed and with this form I can feel discomfort on every foot strike. By changing my running form to land on my mid-foot the discomfort would go away. The strain was of course still being applied so this isn’t a “cure” but it’s given me a little better insight into the specific issues I’m having so when I’m back at the doctors on Tuesday to get release word done this information can hopefully help focus the effort.

Next weekend is the Austin Marathon, I’m supposed to try and run 16 to 18 miles of the marathon at my 2 hours and 50 minute marathon goal pace which is 6:30 minutes per mile. Given how my leg is feeling I may decide to run it easy and not push it or maybe even not run the whole 26.2 miles. The “A” race is Boston so it’s more important to recover and get healed up, not worry about an individual workout.

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