Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Medicine in Running Part 1 and a 24 Hour Race

I have learned a lot about running in the past year. One of the most imporant things I have gotten out of my new training plan and the copious reading (and training) I have done is how much running is really about self-discovery and meditation and how little it is about arbitrary goals of distance and time.

I always knew there was something about those American bumper stickers that said 13.1 and 26.2, etc. that didn't sit right with me.

I want to write this post in a way that doesn't make me seem like a know it all. As always, this blog is a collection of stories and not a manual or textbook. When I gave my talk at Marathon Sport a few weeks ago about research, medicine and training in running, I realized that I am not very good a following templates or formulae. A lot of people strive to "think outside of the box" and I find myself asking "what the hell box are they talking about and how do I think inside of it?"

However, it is really hard to talk about medicine in a Jack Kerouac free-association, "I write to the beat of the contrabass" style. (as much as I would like to)

So let me at least attempt to organize my thoughts.(I have to point out that I was conceiving of this blog post while practicing free-diving today, so there may have been less oxygen getting to my brain)

Rule number 1: Running should heal you, not break you down.
12km with the NMTC at Bagley Nature Area
Listen to your body. I have run very few miles in the last week. My hardest run was 5km + 3km at 6:25/mile pace with 2 min break.
Longest was 12km with the Northern Minnesota Track Club.

Some weeks are harder for running and some easier. I love incorporating strength training into my weekly routine and lately have been more into this than running. I think my body needs a break after the 6 hour run and before the Desert Solstice 24 hour run.
This is the picture I like to call "I can kick your ass but choose not to"

My favorite move lately (not me) is getting into this position then putting my knees on my elbows, going up into a head and then handstand. Then if I am along the wall I do handstand pushups. It seems much less injurious than pull-ups (which Ole had on my training plan- and I couldn't do!). 
As mentioned above, I've also recently gotten into swimming under water for as long as I can without coming up for air. I am so fascinated with the sport of free diving (ever since reading about the tragic death of Nicholas Mervoli). It really keeps the lifeguards at the YMCA on edge.

2. If you learn proper running technique, you can run forever.

One of the biggest advantages of being able to read Scandinavian languages is I can read all of the discussions about running theory that never get translated into English. There is so much talk about the importance of running technique. Pose, chi, natural. If you shorten your step, quicken your cadence and actively lift your legs so you land on flat feet/mid foot, you will take the pressure off your hips and knees and shift the stress to your muscles. You'll avoid serious injuries. Why this is not catching on more in the US, I'm not sure, but no doubt the money involved in surgeries for runners has something to do with it. Running technique is a skill, just like in swimming or piano, that needs to be learned if you want to turn running into a life long sport. I'm so glad I learned better tecnique this from Ole. I had been hearing about it for years but didn't understand the importance of it or how to do it.

Want to see the runner with my favorite technique? Here is Haile Gebreselassie being analyzed by Dr. Romanov (father or the pose method):

If we have another son, his name will be Haile.

3. The most important rule about surgery for runners is there is no good surgery for runners.

See number 2. Just don't get into the situation where you need surgery. And if someone tells you you need surgery, try to change your running technique.

4. Few joys in life can be compared to running (or doing kick-ass exercises) while pregnant, but after the baby is born, you are an injury waiting to happen.

I was totally amazed at the workout Jessie HP took us through (note the sweat). She wore me out and she is in her second trimester. She had initially been told to stop teaching her yoga shape class by her Ob-Gyn, but went for a second opinion. During her first trimester, she was told to monitor her temperature. (She never got over 99 in the heated room --- vasodilation in pregnancy keeps women from experiencing a rise in temperature while exercizing. I was happy she did this experiment, though). Now she is supposed to monitor her pulse. There is no reason for this, as far as I have read. Much better to listen to the body and if you get Braxton Hicks contractions to just back off. But nothing dangerous here. Just cool.
After pregnancy, the hips and pelvis are moving back into place and it is such a set-up for injury. Look at me with all of my post-partum hip problems. Well, again, see number 2. Running technique. And develop a smart training plan, with a good balance of distance, strength, speed, cross-training and rest.

Gotta have it! :)  CoreFX Black "Running for Two" Racerback Tank
I love this shirt. But is she wearing a bra?
So, yeah, I'm running the Desert Solstice 24 hour with Pam Smith. She is seriously the coolest. She just offered to go shopping for me! And she talked me into this. This is the equivalent of Usain Bolt convincing pathetic 200 meter runner buddy to toe the line with him. How could I say no? :-)

Pam Smith: Will she set the AR in the 200k or even the 24 hour race at Desert Solstice?
Alright you guys, even though I know music tends to slow me down in races, I think I might enjoy it during those 24 hours. Any suggestions?

Here's a fun Danish song and video:

And a fun picture of Kenneth Andersen at the Winforce 100k by Martin Paldan


Chris at Barefoot beginner said...

I agree with everything you have written. My own running is completely linked to my wellbeing. I have known that deep down for a long time but have only just realised it properly. Running keeps me loose and it keeps me emotionally level. I run the Barefoot Beginner blog and have made your post a December post not to be missed at

Chris at Barefoot beginner said...

I agree with everything you say. My own wellbeing is attached to my ability to run. It keeps me loose and emotionally level. I run the Barefoot Beginner blog and have listed your post as one from December not to be missed at