Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Recruit the Glutes, Part Two

So 6 weeks ago, I dragged my sorry butt to Pivot Sports Medicine to see the Gait Man, Babs Aiyede for a gait analysis.  You can read all about that here.  You can also see just how horribly I ran.  Babs gave me a lot of information that day but I chose to focus on two main things.  1) What I was doing with my arms and 2) what was happening with my pelvis.   Those were simple enough things to pay attention to while I was running because I understood what I was doing wrong and knew how to correct it.  I also continued with my strengthening routine that Peter had given me and added one more exercise to it.  It was one of the exercises I did when I had my first ever running injury, ironically enough also related to my glutes.  I've been doing these exercises diligently twice, sometimes three times a week.  I also had my massage therapist dig out the knots in my glutes and upper quads.  I stretched after every workout and even on days that I didn't work out.  I foam rolled before and after my weight workouts.  This has all become routine for me now and will continue to be.   You could say I've been working really hard at fixing things.

Amazingly my knee pain is starting to subside as well, despite maintaining a decent level of activity.  I still have some days where I over do it and they get sore but those days are few and far between and when they do happen, I back off and break out the ice.  I've also gone back to the gym and I feel like that is helping.  But let's get down to the nitty gritty.  What's my form like now after 5 weeks of of work?

Well.  Let's start at the top.  Once again, am looking down at the ground.  Not surprising as that's what I do on a treadmill.  My shoulders are still slightly rolled but not as bad as before.  My arms are where the change has started.  They are lower and the angle is more in line with where it should be.  This is a change that I have to actually think about every time I run.  It is getting better though, I find that more often than not, this is just where my arms go when I start running.  It's once I start to get tired that they drift back to their old ways.   I've gotten a lot better at correcting that when it happens instead of letting the bad form take over.  You'll also note that my back isn't as arched as it was the first time around. 
Look at that!  An 18 degree improvement!  Woohoo!
Let's move to the area that all of these problems stem from shall we?  I still have a bit of the Trendelenberg gait happening but there has been some improvement.  I think that is going to take a long time to correct and I'm not sure I'll get rid of it 100%.

The big surprise was when we looked at my leg extension.  Yes, I'm still heel striking and probably always will BUT...I've managed to start to reign in my over striding!
A three degree improvement!  It's not much but I'll take it!
I still have a fair bit of work to do but Babs said that this was solid improvement for 5 weeks of work.  What I have discovered over the last several weeks is that my right glute really seems to be the issue.  It takes a whole lot more work to get it to fire and when it does, it does so sporadically.  My left one doesn't seem to have that problem.   As a result, when I'm working on my right side I have to be very cognizant of what's happening (or not happening).  Sometimes it means I'm working on that side a bit longer. 

Gone are the days of me zipping into the gym for a quick weight workout.  If I want to continue to race at my current level, I need to invest the time in making sure that things are working the way they're supposed to and that means paying attention to running form in addition to strength and mobility.  Which means I'm spending longer in the gym.  I also think that I'm definitely going to have to give my body a good solid rest at the end of the season and that will mean no running for a little while.  If it means that I can come back to running 100% pain free then I'll do it.


misszippy said...

I can completely relate to this post. I had/have several if the same issues and like you, through hard work, am seeing improvement. And yes, it takes a lot of daily time. But it pays off and if we can run healthy into the future, all worth it!

Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home said...

I think it's great that you are putting in more time in the gym. I'm not anywhere near the level you are at, but I have seen great results from the work I'm doing with weights. I feel like I'm reversing the aging process a little bit. Let's see how this all translates to my marathon in 5 weeks.

~Wendy at Taking the Long Way Home

Phaedra Kennedy said...

Amanda - I've resigned myself to the fact that as I get older, this is just going to be what I HAVE to do. It's no longer optional. Oh the joys of aging! :(
Wendy - I've been lifting seriously for the last 3 years but my coach took me out of the gym in January to focus more on cycling. I was still doing body weight work but it's not the same as actually lifting weights. At least not in my opinion. So, needless to say, I'm happy to be back in the gym. I think all your cross fit work will pay off big time in your marathon training! I can't believe you only have 5 weeks left! WHOA!

RunToTheFinish said...

ohh i am so in love with gait analysis and wish everyone would do it!! It definitely helped me work on a few things and like you I know I have some natural tendencies that as long as I'm uninjured I'm not going to worry about, but try to focus on strengthening the weak areas