Three conversations...as they happened last Thursday at the track.
#1: A hop, skip, and a jump to...a better transition??
During my movement preparation before the workout, I was integrating a couple of reps of lateral bounds with a mind-band around my knees. The starting position for this movement is: balanced on one leg in a slightly squatted position. From there I jump off of that leg and land as quiet and controlled as I can on my opposite leg, finishing the movement in a slightly squatted position, then holding that end position for a moment. A gentleman was watching and after a couple reps said, "What are you training for?" I said, as I usually do, "Life...and running." "Really? Running? I've never seen that before." [No surprise...I've been hearing that for seven years now.] "Seems like that would be good for transitions." "Transitions?" I said, not sure if I'd heard it right." "Yeah, transitions. Like when you have to balance and pull off the wetsuit or put your shoes on one at a time. I have to hold on to something when I do that." "But what about in running?" I said, and pointed to a runner running around the track, and then said something along the lines about the very definition of running (vs walking) means that only one foot is on the ground at a time." He wasn't phased. "Well I ran 2:16," he said. "In the marathon?" He continued, "Yeah. Didn't seem to hurt me much [then.] Well, that was a long time ago." We then said goodbyes and he gingerly took off for his jogging cool down and I put the finishing touches on my warm-up before joining the group for some intervals.
Performance POV // At some instant in your running stride you are on one foot. What happens in the next instant? You can, and should be in control of that. The ability to balance on one leg strongly, sturdily, relaxed, is PARAMOUNT to injury-resistant and powerful running. The ability to hop, or bound, on one leg strongly, sturdily, with confidence and coordination is also PARAMOUNT to injury-resistant and powerful running.
So often its the number of minutes or miles that are considered milestones in running, but ultimately it is muscles that make up movements and multiple movements make up running. Can you balance on one leg? Effortlessly? How about squat jump from one leg to the next? Coordinated? Stable? Strong? Powerfully? Let me ask you one more question. Do you want to have control over whether you get injured or not? How about eliminate chronic pain? Insure yourself. Train to achieve milestones that matter most, not with more time, but as a priority within the time you've already got.
#2: Learn how to run? I can't, I have 80 miles to ride.
Just after finishing the final interval, another gentleman came by me and said, "I could watch you run all day long. I wish I could run like you." After thanking him I said, "What are you doing on Feb 13th?" "I'm running the half-marathon on the 14th," he said. I mentioned that I'll be teaching a workshop about running and performance that day. "I have to ride 80 miles that day. I'm training for California 70.3." He said as he jogged away.
Performance POV // I don't think he believed he COULD, ever, run like me and so he didn't entertain the thought or the impact that learning how to run, could have. I know he could. I've seen it 100 times now at MovementU and so have the participants. I'm not the fastest, or the most graceful runner, like those I love to watch: Haile Gebrselassie and Deena Kastor, for example. But I know what makes them run that efficiently and fast and I work toward that, piece by piece. What I believe he saw was my symmetry, coordination, strength and power. THAT'S what makes up my running. I don't run a lot to run the way I do, I use my time to work on many things that add up to running. I work on symmetry, coordination, stability and strength in order to HAVE symmetry, coordination, stability and strength. I want him and others to know that I learned how to run in 2004 and since then I continue to take actionable steps to achieve proper, efficient running form. EVERY day. I'm not the fastest, but I'm fast for the amount of time I have to spend on it, and I've been free of chronic pain and injury for seven years because of it. Sure there was a time when I ran very fast and efficiently without knowing much about running or the body, but as time went on little asymmetries got bigger, muscle weaknesses got weaker and I got injured. If I hadn't learned how the body, or more precisely, the muscles of the body, were "born to run," I would've been one of those defeated 27 year-olds going around saying, "No, I can't run anymore...my knees." I want everyone to know that it is possible to learn and create the change you wish to see in YOU.
#3: Of course I'm OK! [But thanks for asking...]
After the workout I went back to my area where my towel was still laid out with my gear. I laid down, grabbed my stretch rope with a smile, and I heard, "Are you ok?" I think I heard him right, but I just wanted to make sure. I asked, "Sorry, what?" He repeated, "Everything ok?" and then gestured to my rope wrapped around my foot as I was doing my usual AIS stretching on my legs. "Yes, thanks."
Performance POV // I'm not sure if I said the next bit out loud or not but I was thinking, "I do this so I'm NEVER not ok!!" I'm on a mission to get more people understanding the body and being proactive with their time and achieving their best performances, instead of reactive once injuries occur.
If you'd like to learn more about you and your body's role in your running efficiency and injury resistance, come join us at MovementU!!