Monthly Archives: December 2011

When the Big Man in Red calls, you have to be ready

Thought I’d share this with you guys, because it’s a bit different than most of the cases I see here in the lab on a daily basis. So the phone rang on today. The caller ID just said “North Pole” – not knowing what to expect, I picked up and surprisingly spoke to Ms Claus! She spoke very frantically. Santa was overheard in the background, and did not sound jolly. One of their athletes was down for the count less than one week before the big day, and they were in serious need of our services. ASAP. Rudolph is suffering from Achilles pain, and can’t fly at race pace. At his current speeds, they’ll be about 8.5 hrs behind Christmas-Eve night delivery schedule. Kids on all sides of the world should all be able to wake up to their loot. Running late is not an option.

Seems like all this global warming has taken its toll on a number of fronts. Yes, its hotter, and more of you are driving Prius’s (or is that Priui???), and sea level is rising – but folks, reality is now staring you in the face…. and its taking your Christmas presents with it. Typically, the reindeer wind up their training volume when the snow starts to fall in the end of October. This year, October saw record high temperatures. Instead of training, the reindeer were sunning themselves at the lake. A typical week in October looks like this:

  • Sunday: light 6 hr hike through the woods
  • Monday: 8-mile Hill repeats (about 4,000 ft per climb) x 12 reps
  • Tuesday: AM Speed work: 10 x 1.5 miles, all negative split. PM workout: easy 5-mile flight
  • Wednesday: Flight training: Circumnavigation of Arctic circle x 3. 1st and 3rd easy, middle rep at tempo pace.
  • Thursday: Weighted sled training: 3.5 metric tons for 6 miles, 2.5 tons for 4 miles, 1.5 miles for 2 miles at 90% VO2
  • Friday: easy run to Canada and back, with 1 hr of fartlek
  • Saturday: Tempo intensity, all flight – equator and back. Goal time is around 2 hrs.

The Elves in the training room had to be pulled out to help with some last minute Xbox orders, and they are understaffed. So Donner and Blitzen volunteered to get Rudolph down here within 2.5 hours The made it in 2:10. For starters, Rudolph is super nice – a bit too much on the Type-A sometimes, but I guess its that kind of work mentality that gets you to lead the sleigh year after year. He said this is the first time he has been injured. He even did weekly jogs sans horseshoes in the early summer after reading “Born to Run”, but he thought it was the sudden ramp up in volume that really got him.

Head Elf stretches Rudolph after last week

So, we did what we normally do. Got some markers on Rudolph and threw him on the treadmill. Results? Well, Rudolph has some serious imbalances going on. Pretty weak stabilization of his right rear ankle, and some inflammation of his bursae seem to be the culprit here. But the real issue was his weak right hip. Failure to drive off with his hip was actually increasing the stress on the achilles. Using data on our force-measuring treadmill, we cued him to use more of his glutes to stabilize his hip. We fit him for some minimal horseshoes to reduce the lever arm on his ankle. Lastly, we gave him some self-mobilizations he could do on the rooftops to keep him supple throughout the night. So how’d it go? Well, here’s hoping that all of you have something special under the tree on Christmas morning…..on time. Happy Holidaze!!!!

one leg under the mistletoe

My good friend, Dr Mark Cucuzzella, did a nice write up from some of our work on the Natural Running Center site here (of which I am an advisory board member).

Why? Well – you can’t change your arch height -and don’t need to. There is no evidence to show that static arch height really makes a difference since passive structural joint position gets throw out the window when doing something active like running. My friend Pete Larson sums this up nicely here on his infamous runblogger.com (which just make Outside magazines list of Top 10 Sports blogs – nice Pete!

Its high time to dismiss the notion that shoes can “stop” pronation don’t you think? Because there is no evidence to show that they do. This entire concept should go the way of pet rocks, stonewashed jeans, and shoulder pads. What’s important are the muscles, and they can be trained to keep your foot position in check as you run.

Maybe you should practice standing on one foot under the mistletoe this weekend? Or maybe just binge on eggnog. Merry christmas everyone !!!

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Behind the Scenes

If you’ve read our blog in the past, you’ve seen our findings on successful transitions to minimal and barefoot running. Running Times magazine approached myself and Dr Mark Cucuzzella to write a piece for the upcoming April edition. Lots of good wisdom, pics, and video to come……. But that has nothing to do with why this post is cool.

Do you ever wonder what it takes to get those cool cover shots you see on all the mags? Perfect lighting, perfect smiles, perfectly trained runner’s bodies lightless treading through the viewfinder…. Likely with a full hair and make-up team, and a full catered spread for lunch….. Well, I’m here to tell you otherwise. All you need is:

1 fast career runner ( something like 25 years of marathons under 2:45, PR of 2:24)

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A subaru with a pilot, flash operator, One closed downhill subdivision road, and our fearless cameraman, Joel Wolpert. Here’s Joel at almost 20 mph downhill on my longboard. It’s rain/misting and slick as anything. Notice he’s focused on the shot, not the road. That my friends, is zen.

Here’s to all of you and your inner paparazzi !

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