Seems like only yesterday we got back from our trip….but really, it was, as we only got back on Saturday early morning, but today we are off to Michigan for the week to spend some time with Steve’s family and go to my good friend Bree’s wedding at the end of the week.
Last week, after we went to UVA, we drove to Morgantown, WV to attend the Healthy Running Clinic with Dr Mark Cucuzzella.
Steve and I both learned a lot, Mark is a wonderful human being, and just wants people to be happy and healthy! If you are looking for a running camp or clinic to attend, I cannot recommend these Healthy Running Clinics Mark puts on enough. I learned so much in just 2 days.
Now, lets get to the main part of this post.
Last Wednesday, Steve and I BOTH were analyzed at the UVA Speed Clinic.
For those of you who do not know, this is my 3rd visit to the clinic (yep, you did read that right!).
Rather than explain what the UVA Speed Clinic is, if you do not know, I am going to encourage you to read my first visit to the UVA speed clinic, and then second visit.
By now you can tell that I put a lot of value on the feedback of these experts, and they are a big part of Team Ice Cream, and a HUGE part of the reason I had so much success earlier this year.
This time, we traveled up earlier the day before, so we could visit Dr Todd Nieder in his clinic in Harrisburg, VA.
Dr Todd is incredibly knowledgeable, and completed a full assessment of me, unlocking some mysteries about why my body acts the way it does, and why some areas tend to get sore or tight when I run.
It also helped because then when Todd came to the UVA speed clinic the next day, my movement patterns and weaknesses were fresh in his mind (he does not work at UVA, just gave up his time to come help me!).
The speed clinic had moved to a new facility, but it still involved using same equipment as before and 5 hours of their time to learn more about making improvements for both Steve and I.
My first two visits left me leaving the clinic feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and on the edge of tears with all the work I had coming my way.
The first time it was a real reality check that I had basically been doing everything (okay, so not everything, but you know what I mean) wrong, and I had a LOT to to do correct my overstriding.
The second time was overwhelming as Drew (strength coach) came with us, and we were told to add more heavy lifting, sled pushes, plyos, and of course, breathing exercises.
It seemed like I had improved, but was nowhere near where we wanted to be.
But this time was different.
Maybe it was because I felt so much more comfortable around Todd and Max, or most likely, all the hard work I have put in over the last few years to work on this, really has paid off.
Don’t get me wrong.
I didn’t leave with them saying, “Great job! You are fixed and have perfect running form”.
I definitely do not, and there is still a long way to go…..
BUT it just proved to me that all those hours focusing on it while running and doing the little tweaks with Steve, the hours in the gym with Drew, and the therapy (both preventative and rehab) with Dr Mike have all been worthwhile!
So what did we find?
On my first visit, when I would run, my leg would be so straight my knee was almost locked out when I landed. By the second, we had pulled it closer to my mid line, and on this visit, it was clear it had moved even closer to the center line. We had the numbers in analysis data to prove that.
This is about as close as I am going to get it with a heel strike……and before anyone starts telling me not to heel strike, I am quite happy with my foot landing (for the time being), so this is something we do not intend on changing at the moment as it has worked for me so far.
My left arm still “pokes” (as Max calls it) outward, but it is significantly better than the first two visits.
This is due to my internal hip structure and slight hip drop, which is again, something that has significantly improved (and Drew is still working on), but genetically, my knees point in, and they believe that is “normal” (yes, my knees have a mind of their own!), this means that my glutes are susceptible to weakness, and will mean we have to work extra hard on these….pretty much for life.
The hip extension that we have been working on since the second visit was also much improved as I move further across the ground with each step without losing my cadence. The more I can increase my hip extension, the further I will be able to propel myself with every step, which will lead to faster running.
What changes are we making next?
My peroneal has been bothering me for well over a year, and this was actually the reason I had the Runners Connect writer research and create an injury guide for peroneal tendinitis hoping it would give me something new to help it….which is did not.
We have tried just about every form of treatment, but they all seem to just make it more angry. It actually feels the best when I just leave it alone for a few weeks and make sure I keep my calves loose.
I have also had some hamstring tightness, and just other stuff going on, all on my left side.
Todd gave me some exercises for this, and Max recommended we double up with an extra insole on my left leg as it is right on the borderline of where most recommend a heel lift.
We tried a heel lift last year, which I did not like at all, but I have been trying the extra insole on the left since we left, and actually, I think it feels better.
Note: This was a recommendation from Max, he said to try it and see how I felt. This was not forced in any way!
Ready for the fun part?
This was the part that blew my mind, and the exciting part for me to work on next.
As he explains it better than I could, here is exactly what Max said with regards to this:
“You’ve done a ton of resisted training: weights, hills, sleds, etc. Great! Now it’s time for some assisted work (aka overspeed).”
What is overspeed you may ask?
I wondered the same thing.
Well, here is a great example or how about this. He even told me to do this, which scares the crap out of me! But another way we can do this is fast downhill running.
I tried some downhill strides the other day, SO much fun!
How cool is that for an exercise prescription!!!!!
Finally, there is one more, very important thing they want me to work on, which I am embarrassed to admit has been my biggest weakness in my entire training life, even though it is the part of my running that holds me back more than anything else; my breathing.
I need to train my body to diaphragmatically breathe. Once again, Max explains this better than I can:
“The main goal is use the slight but deep belly pressure to allow the limbs to relax, absorb energy and then recoil with power. Relaxation at the face and neck allow you to devote full energy to what needs it most. “
This involves me practicing throughout the day, and some exercises Todd showed me to do every day also.
As if I haven’t already made it clear. I am a HUGE fan of going to the UVA Speed Clinic, and I KNOW without it, I would NEVER be running as well as I am now.
I trust in my team, and you can have access to this life changing assessment too! We drove 6 hours to get here, and for $350 it is an absolute steal.
If you are constantly hampered by injuries, or in Steve’s case, finding that running is just not comfortable anymore, this really could be what you have been waiting for. Book yourself in to the UVA Speed Clinic, and if you work hard, you will barely be able to believe how much better you feel….I know I do!
I will certainly be reporting how my assisted training goes, Drew and I are gonna have some fun in the gym!!
Have you ever done any assisted training?
This is all such great stuff and I’m so happy you have this whole team behind you – although it’s so much work! You can definitely see the great changes you have made, especially with the hip drop!! Nice work Tina and thank you for sharing with all of us – so helpful!!
Always interesting to read this. I’m just sad I’m in the UK!
I’d love to hear more about the strength training you do if you ever get time to post about it… I’m always looking for ways to improve my running through gym work!
Hi Anna, did you listen to the podcast episode with my strength coach? http://runnersconnect.net/rc108 🙂
This is all so fascinating! I love how you have a whole team supporting you- and this clinic looks amazing. It really does take a village- so many people can each add a little piece of the puzzle. As for overspeed training, that does look fun! The only experience I had with that was on the AlterG treadmill. So fun!
This is so interesting, especially the prescription for assisted stuff! I am so happy for you how you have the support and knowledge of such a wonderful team. Your form has improved so much already.
Also, I just want to let you know how great your podcast with Drew was on strength training! It motivated me to finally start picking up some heavier weights, starting slow of course but making progress.
I wish I had done this while I still lived in Baltimore but I think it would be worth the trip one day to get some more information about why I get injured so frequently and what measures I can take to prevent it. It’s cool to see the progress you’ve made since your last trip!
Curious to hear about the breathing work you’ll be doing–I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately!
Tina, I am a HUGE hip dropper! I am interested in how you improved yours!!!! it is not easy to correct and I am trying to focus on lateral moments. I can tell a major improvement in yours!
I have ongoing peroneal issues. Make sure your lateral heel counter is solid or you replace your kinvara’s a lot as i have to! Also i find that soft tissue work on my medial calcaneus helps keep me in neutral otherwise if you are consistently running on an inverted heel you are going to be over stretching the lateral muscles. The tendon sheath is incredibly finicky so ya, don’t dig in too deep. KEep up the good work!