Tag Archives: rehab

Learn how to run (better) from your couch!

Yes, I’m suggesting you actually spend about an hour on your bottom if you want to learn to run better. Join me on Tuesday, Feb 26th, I’ll be hosting a webinar for USA Triathlon. A quick summary and a registration link is right here.

Topic: Building the Perfect Runner: How Strength and Form Can Improve Your Performance (with Jay Dicharry)

What’s the best way to run? While often polarizing headlines read “everyone must land on their forefoot”, there is a lot more to efficient running form than a foot strike. In this webinar presentation, Jay Dicharry will use both scientific data and simple analogies to discuss what good running form is. Then, it’s on to the naked truth: There are things you can do outside of running that will improve your running economy. By the end of this presentation, you will understand:

•What defines proper running form, and how it plays a role in injury and performance.

•How to ensure that you are putting the best ingredients (your body!) into your running form.

•The mobility requirements for proper running

•How to optimize your strength training to ensure it directly transfers into better running.

•How to optimize posture and effectively integrate it into your daily activities and training.

Join Jay as he looks past the hype and shares the information you need to perform at your peak.

UVA Running Medicine 2013 – join us!

Calling all MD’s, PT’s, ATC’s – the premier Clinical Education event for Running-specific education is coming around again. Come celebrate our 10th year at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, this March 8th and 9th.

Although we’ve had many coaches and guru’s attend this event in the past, the aim is to enrich the minds of the clinicians who will be guiding your care as a runner. Dr Robert Wilder, Eric Magrum, and myself have been hard at work over the past ten – yes 10 years! – to assemble the brightest and most relevant content to help you perform.

This year’s keynote presentation features Dr. Rodger Kram from UC-Boulder. Dr Kram’s research, presentation style, and findings have made him a true authority. It’s tough to find a journal article on running that doesn’t cite his work. After seeing him speak many years ago, I had a paradigm shift in the way I thought about running injury and performance. And we’ve got a host of other excellent presentations from leaders in the field. You’ll be in for an exceptional treat. Brochure link is below – Hope to see you there!

RunMed2013

 

Christmas gifts for the athlete you love (or yourself!)

So we are officially past one of the coolest days ever (12-12-12) and now 11 days away from when the man in the red suit flops down your chimney to bring joy to all the good little boys and girls. Those of you much better than I are likely done your Christmas shopping. But if you are like me, and still haven’t picked out any presents for your wife (or other person you care about), I’d like to offer a few suggestions. If someone you love is looking for an edge, wants to improve their skills, and is looking to blow their inner athlete wide open – then look no further……

#1 – Rocker Board.
20121214-101308.jpgYou’ll notice a common theme here. All of the tools (toys) listed here are designed to help you improve balance and proprioception. These skills carry over in spades to all your athletic persuits: running, cycling, skiing, surfing, climbing, kiteboarding, football, basketball, tennis,  and possibly even bowling. Rocker boards are a great tool to teach you how to stabilize your foot and ankle. Hard unstable surfaces provide an optimal training environment to improve you. You should look for a board that only rocks in one direction (thus the name rocker board). Many folks also make boards that wobble and spin in all directions (called wobble boards). Both have their place, but when it comes to training the foot and lower leg, I’m a big fan of the former. These are sold in many places. If you are looking for suggestions, I typically direct people over to sportssmith.net because they have the cheapest one I’ve found: $29.99.

#2: Surfing in your living room – meet the Si-Board.

20121214-101324.jpgSo you’ve mastered basic balance skills, and are looking to quite possibly have as much fun as possible while under your roof? Look no further than the Si-Board. Sure the Indo Board is cool, but this thing is in a class by itself. I have one and absolutely love it. Its so much fun! Its not one of those things you’ll say “oh I have to make time to work on my balance……” Its so engaging that you may find yourself taking time away from other things! Your feet and hip stabilizers will get a workout like nothing else. They are pretty $$$$. I bought the DIY creator kit for cheap, and in 45 min was “surfing” in my living room.  In my mind, if you are an athlete, you should have one of these. Period.

#3: Surfing down the pavement –> Longboard.

20121214-101339.jpgPresents are all about fun right? Buying a long board was one of the best decisions I made. Its not like hucking off the loading docks like we all did when we were 12. This is all about the flow. It’s great to carve slalom turns down the hill – almost as much fun as skiing or snowboarding. And once you learn to “pump it” you can fly. I can roll miles down the road without pushing at all. I guess some people might say its a great workout, but its so much fun I’d do it even if balance skills didn’t translate into other sports. What board to get? wow – there are hundreds of options out there. Personally, I’ve got a Original Pintail 40. I bought it because it has springs instead of bushings. This makes it easy to rail turns at low speed and a bit tougher to control at high speeds, but lets’ face it: Most of us aren’t looking to hit 50 mph down a mountain while slamming a RedBull.  Only warning I’d offer is this: you may find yourself longboarding more and doing your typical sport a bit less!

#4: a book? Maybe a book called Anatomy for Runners! Its by far the cheapest thing on this list, and quite possibly the most valuable. I’ve spent many years of my life teaching. I’ve taught at UVA and continue to teach around the US. You’ll be surprised what people are capable of when you give them the knowledge to succeed. That was the goal behind my book. Its a way to give you information to help you hit your goals this season and beyond. Sure its slanted towards runners, but about 80% of the information in there applies to other endurance and strength and power sports as well.

If you are looking at the equipment above and thinking “that’s a bit high level for me-  no way”……let’s put something out there. Blowing past your comfort zone is the only way you’ll ever make jumps to the next level in your performance. And yes, I’ve put “old folks” on these with tons of success. Sure you should be careful when you are learning, but I will caution you that liberal use of #2 and 3 above just might result in fun!

Disclaimer for the people who think I’m funding my retirement with these recommendations. I personally bought the Si-board starter kit and my Original Longboard (in fact I bought a second one too!), and my clinic purchased the rocker board form Sports Smith. These folks have no idea that I am writing this, and I’m getting absolutely nothing in return.

Well, with the legal mumbo jumbo out of the way, Happy Shopping, and Happy Holidaze!!!

And if you’d like to re-live a little Christmas story from last year, check out how Climate change is impacting reindeer training. 

I did your exercises, and now my pants don’t fit!

One of my former clients paid me a visit today for a check-up. While talking to him, he offered music to my ears.

“I did all those glut max exercises you told me about, and now my pants don’t fit!”

When muscles get stronger, the muscle fibers actually increase in size. Bigger muscle fibers can produce more force…..A positive thing for you as an athlete. This is a good way to “outgrow your clothes.”

Drinking too much egg nogg at your holiday party this week is a less preferable way to outgrow your clothes.

This video is only partially disturbing

Class in session! Upcoming Talks for Runners, Coaches, and Clinicians

20121129-171808.jpgOne of my favorite things is teaching. Sure I like the human body and what its capable of, but more importantly, I like the challenge of trying to teach average-Joe runner, their college coach, and their physicians and therapists. Each of these groups has a different education, different background, and different expectations, but they all want to learn to be better. Its my hope that I can offer some specific help to all of them.

I went to a class on teaching once, and learned a thing or 5000 about how we absorb and interpret information. To really enable someone to learn, you had to challenge the student to the point that their previous thought process is shattered. By poking holes in what we think, and replacing them with what we know, your and frame of understanding is shifted forever. Its my job to get you to think critically, so that you can think for yourself.

Since I get lots of people asking when my next talk is, I thought I’d share a few upcoming events in case folks were interested. Always good to cram more stuff in you brain.

Wed Dec 5th, 2013: The Running Event in Austin, TX – the annual conference for the Independent Running Retailer Association. Saucony is gracious enough to bring me in to discuss the mechanics of running. The more your local running retail staff knows about running the more they’ll be able to help you. I’ll also be doing book signings if anyone needs stocking stuffer.

Jan 20-21st, 2013: The Speed Summit in Morristown, NJ, an official USATF Level 3 Coaching Education Seminar. Want to save a few bucks? During checkout, type in “Dicharry” in the code box and you’ll save $10. Also if you print out the form and mail it in, you’ll also save an extra $9 dollar processing fee. I’ll be giving two talks: “How to prepare the body for optimal speed and strength training” and “How to screen for zebras in a field of horses.” But enough about me though….there are some major heavy hitters speaking. I’m really looking forward to this event.

Feb 23rd-24th, 2013: The Running Summit in Costa Mesa, CA, an official USATF Level 3 Coaching Education Seminar. And if you decide to attend, type in “Jay” in the code box during your checkout and you’ll save $10 dollars. An impressive weekend of discussion from some of the country’s most prominent coaches. As for me, I’ll be giving two talks: “Stretching, Strengthening, and Screening: Answers to questions to help your runners run” and “How shoes impact your form and how your form impact your shoes”

March 8-9th, 2013: The 10th Annual UVA Running Medicine Conference: From the Lab to the Clinic. This one really is near and dear to me. This started as a vision a decade ago when Founding-board members Dr. Robert Wilder, Eric Magrum, and myself came together to see what would happen if we had the first running-only medical education conference. Well, what began with 50 people mushroomed to over 240 of the most passionate running-specific healthcare providers in North America gathering to discuss better care for their patients. Its our 10th year! Thanks to all of you for your support over the years as we aim to give you the best experience possible. I’ll present “What to expect when you’re expecting: how clinical lab measures translate to gait.” But don’t come just for my talk! We’ve got a host of talented presenters, including the one and only Dr. Rodger Kram from CU-Boulder. Whenever I get some great brainwave creep into my head that I think is new, I’ll research it and sure enough, Dr Kram already found it out years ago. He’s brilliant and an amazing presenter that we are luck to have. And yes -there is a lab session yet again on Saturday and space is limited. Check out the link for full content.

April 19th and 20th: Care for the Injured Cyclist in Ann Arbor, MI. Yes, time to switch gears – literally. We’ll delve into the finer points of bike fit from both the performance and injury aspect, discuss how cycling contributes to chronic problems, and cover novel ways to improve on-the-bike stabilization and technique drills for efficiency. Don’t have the reg link for this one yet, but I’ll post it when I do.

Whew. that’s a lot for now. And somewhere in here, I need to fit in a ski trip!

Hope to see you in class.

Want a free copy of my book? School’s in session at a local running retailer.

There is a store called “Daddy Ultra Runs” down in Cocoa Beach, FL, and the owner, Hernan Garcia, is giving away my book with every shoe purchase from October through December…..at his own expense. Is this crazy? I don’t even know this guy. Why would a shop owner do something like this?

Let’s look at the reality here. 82% of runners sustain a running injury during their lifetime. Stats show that 42-62% of runners get hurt each and every year. Those numbers aren’t good! In fact some people would look at those numbers and say “running is dangerous – stay away!”

However, my experience treating runners daily for over a decade, and collecting objective information on their running stride in my lab has shown me that running isn’t really the problem. The problem has more to do with a) your body, or b) the way in which you run. While I spend my “day job” doing individual running assessments in my lab, I realize that I can’t see everyone, which is why I wrote the book, Anatomy for Runners. While its no substitute for a full one-on-one evaluation, its the best I can do until I’m able to successfully clone myself.

Let’s be honest, Your local running retailer is the first point of contact for runners. They see way more runners in a day than any local clinician does, and can take advantage of their exposure as educators. They can spread better information to both new and experienced runners, and together, we can work collectively to change those injury stats, and keep you running healthy into the future.

Thanks Hernan, and thanks to all of you who are spreading the word on the book!

Do runners with a ball “get it” more than runners?

The media at large has done a dis-service to you, the consumer. They love polarizing images. They love the battle between overly built-up clodd-hopper motion control shoes vs. naked feet. They try to instantly declare one “better” than the other. The reality is that the barefooot buzz has been incredible for ALL athletes. No matter which side of this polarizing topic you stand on, it has directed attention on form. And that’s one of the main things really.

Let’s clear out the sewer lines folks. Barefoot is very DIFFERENT from running in shoes. Sure a good number of folks switch their contact style from rearfoot to forefoot when going barefoot, but a lot DON’T. And while the media loves to harp on this one single factor, its like saying only one tree in the entire forrest is important. And that’s just not true.

Its not so much forefooot vs rearfoot here, its more about where the foot is in relation to the body that counts. Striding too far in front of the body results in bad things. Your feet were meant to be beneath you – not flying out in front. Imagine running over ice. Anyone feel safe over-striding on ice? Didn’t think so……But its not just “runners” who are beginning to take notice. Other “running athletes” are asking question too.

Recently, I had a conversation with basketball journalist Steve McPherson. He was asking me about the apparent rise of injuries in basketball, and wanted to know if anything from all this barefoot hoopla translates over to the hoop. Steve did an excellent job with this piece, “What can the NBA learn from barefoot running?” I recommend you take a look, whether you run with barefeet, wrapped feet, or a ball.

20120531-174049.jpg

South by SouthWest Festival: When Biomechanics Attack

Check out the report WIRED magazine did of my talk with ESPN writer Henry Abbott at SXSW music festival. Likely the only time I’ll get to say I presented at the same conference as Al Gore, Bruce Springsteen, Seth MacFarlane, Jay-Z, and Jeffery Tambor (unfortunately not on the same stage at the same time!)

Nice summary, except they didn’t really get one critical point across. You CAN improve your hip flexibility and your hip strength!

Check out the WIRED article here and check out this link I did for Runner’s World a while ago on improving hip mobility

 

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 !!!

20111216-004506.jpg