Monday, June 27, 2016

Poli Poli trails and doubts

Following my running program - establishing a 'base' - I slowly built up back to 2:45 of running. You want those long runs to be low effort - relatively - in Heart Rate zone 2. Therefore I authorized myself to walk during steep slopes - following the advice of the book.
It actually makes the long run more enjoyable. You feel tired, but not exhausted. And skipping huge burst of effort early give you the juice to go through the 3 hours of running.

Another beautiful day on the slopes of the volcano

The good news is that I can take those almost 3 hours trail running almost without pain, if not without soreness and tiredness. Last time I attempted this run I ended up in a pretty bad shape, limping almost half of it,the knee and hip crying. It was not that far too, maybe 3 months ?

It is sunny, but not that hot. We are pretty high.

The bad news is that today - the recovery day - my hip flexors were punishing me again, to the point I was limping most of the day. It was actually not that bad, massage and stretching helped quite a bit. But injury free - not just yet.

fir trees makes it almost like it was a real mountain.

I have mix feelings.  Happy to be able to do those long runs again, without too much worries and pain. Unhappy that I called for victory too soon, and my hip flexors - psoas - are not yet healthy. I do think that my running form is correct nowadays, but I need to continue to be extra vigilant.
This week will be interesting. How fast will I recover ? Is it only light symptoms, or still signs of a deep injury- weakness ?

One thing is for sure.
If France keep playing and winning through the Euro 2016, I have plenty of time to stretch in front of the TV. The couch stretch becomes a one time favorite at this point.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

If you are hurt (3) ...

Strength and flexibility goes together.
From being a robot made of sticks and rocks, I built some kind of  almost humane body - I won't say flexible yet- still, it is amazing the progress I made those last couple of years, to the point I am not that awkward anymore in a yoga class - or at least, I like to think so.
Of course, when you do not know where I started from, it is hard to realize.

This is war !

We often compare with Christelle her "Yoga's way" - from a body perspective, not the spiritual aspect of it -  and traditional western therapies, like your typical 'PT' approach. Of course, there is good and bad ways to do it, but it is surprising that "breakthrough" like active stretching have actually existed for hundreds of years in the Yoga practice. Ancestral therapeutic yoga seems way more beneficial to me than its modern derivatives, that have more in common with Zumba or gymnastic than anything else I could think of.   As expected, they were spot on. And it just takes us years to put a western twist on it.

If you stretch, do it properly. 

Some fundamentals of Wharton's method, slow, short efforts, breathing synchronized, isolated stretches, active and leveraging muscle antagonism remind me a lot of our Ayengar weekly practice. I cannot deny the impact of Yoga on the progress I made those last years and allowed me to be back on the road.
Practice often, daily if possible, don't desperate, the body is a wonderful machine and it might takes months or years, but you will see progress.
Just have to make sure you practice the right way, the meaningful way.
It is not glorious or advertised, but it is out there, you just have to pay attention and find the right people, or the right books.
As always.
And that will take time. But there are no shortcuts.
And as always, it's the journey that matters the most anyway.

Monday, June 20, 2016

If you are hurt (2) ...

Apart from the magic potion, 3 majors elements can help your recovery.

The new Divinity : The Roller.

You can actually roll everything and no position is ridiculous enough to not justify it.

Dynamic stretches.

Reading Runners'World is optional. Hawaii is optional. Shorts are not optional.

Strengthening. Feet. Hips. Core. You name it.

Hair is optional. Of course, pick the exercise that matches with your pain. Here, I am still working on my Turf Toe.

Totally unrelated, and as a bonus. It is obvious - specially after you learned it - or realized it - but to extend your stride - i..e run faster, with a proper form, you do not reach further ahead. That would cause imbalance, heel striking, and 'reaching' instead of 'pushing'.
Pushing from the butt is the best way I can describe proper form, propelled by your glutes.
Until today, I vaguely understood that to run faster you had to push harder, fly longer, and still not overreach - i.e. your foot - somehow - would still land under your hip when making contact with the ground.

Meb leg extension. Yeah. He is fast.

Well, Thanks to Nate explanation (see previous post, annoyingly always spot on), the secret to stride length is in back leg extension, or hip extension.
Not Quads. Glutes. Not forward. Backward.
And the role of the arms? compensate the rotation of the pelvis during the push, and helping stabilize your core and hips.

Push, Extend. Fly.
Like Meb.
Or Not. Doesn't really matter, if you look like how you should be looking.
A bit.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

If you are hurt (1) ...

... Look  ABOVE.

Unfortunately, where you are hurt might not be where the issue is. Compensation, imbalance results of an actual tightness or injury might trigger the pain, but might not be the root cause.

Typically, if your knee hurt, it is likely because you IT Band is tight, or your quads.
If you have Achilles tendinitis, look at your calf.

Tendons, Joints are usually symptoms of muscle and motion imbalance.

Go on the web, and look for PT rehabilitation exercises.
Don't R.I.C.E. It is proven ineffective. (At least when the pain is no more acute).
R.I.C.E. has been cancelled.

Move it.
Stretch it.
Massage it.
Yoga it.

Muscle and Joint Home-made massage magic lotion.(Yothera)
Not a partial opinion by any mean.

I am still working on my big toe, Turf Toe ?, nowadays, and I have seen good improvement lately.
(I was immobilized after the Honolulu Marathon for two weeks because of it.)

The key point is to favor the blood flow. Blood, oxygen is the key for a quick recovery.
Move it.
Stretch it.
Massage it.
Yoga it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

I did it again

Been a while I did not update this blog. It will be a long one then.

I was waiting to confirm it was not a fad. I am on the road (and the trails) again. No official goal yet, but it seems that the post marathon trauma ( 6 months already ?) seems to be over.
My mood -unsurprisingly - matches roughly the number of miles I can run every week.
Family life, work quality, focus, energy level is now tied to my running.
Swimming - my injury backup solution- helps a bit, but it is not the same.

Travelling. stinky running gear all overt the place.

The specific of running, sort-of middle effort, in-between cycling and swimming, hard enough to trigger the runner high, or meditative trance, but not that hard that it let you down, exhausted.
It helps clear my mind, swing ideas, increase creativity and overall, zen. Sore muscles and light aches are quite a low price to pay considering the benefits.
While you can run.
Injury Free running.
The next million dollar mobile App.

Last months of running
I naively thought that I improved my form enough to be - finally - injury free - the saint Grail of all runners. But it has been few years now, and it never really went better. Those damn psoas were always there to stop me at any time, specially when the mileage raise before a race, or after the race, when I go beyond my limits.

This time I decided to try to change something new.
I went back to the basics. Dusted off my favorite 'Cool impossible book' and finally decided to follow the advises in it . Building a base, following the program. A 5 month program.
That's a commitment.
Step back to jump further.

Eric's wisdom
And exercising.
Doing hip and leg exercises everyday, focusing on triggering the glutes.
Strengthening the hips. Stabilizing the core.
Found in the book an interesting remark about the 'benders', usually coming from the barefoot/minimalist world, using such a high pace that they actually skip the back leg extension. Hip flexors and quads compensate - to some extent - boom - sounds familiar.
Obviously, while trying to correct previous running forms mistakes, I developed new ones.
Here comes my favorite saying : "Won't do the same mistake twice, will do new ones".
Back to the basics.
Extend that leg. Lift that knee.

At the same time, I tumbled on this 'Running Experience' program. Beware, that's the modern way of socializing experiences, bombing you with emails and marketing offers, but.......
You hate or not Nate. And the full power - made US-  marketing business machine of the program.
The guy is spot on. 
This annoying to admit - because the program is super-hyped - crossfit anyone ? - but that works. And the fundamentals are just ... right.

You re gonna see a ton of Nate's.

Dig into a couple of click on the website and you should get offer like 80% off the original price.
(PERFECTPROMO code give you the video set for 7$, etc...). Facebook is the meat of the community. You get the idea, welcome to 21th century. YouTube & Facebook. Usually, that's a triggering all sort of red lights.
The actual content is spot on.

Flash back.
Let's go into the seventies. Just kidding. This interview is only a few years back. You want the same content, in a more 'new age' way. From a Physical Therapist perspective.
Not that different, just the other side of the same story.
All good. All very interesting.
Compare this one hour in depth old-school interview with one 3 min video from Nate&co.
Pick your style.

Phil Wharton's show

If you just can get the content, not just read or fly through, but digest the message, you have 3 ways to get there. And if you can actually really dig into it, and apply their methods, and make it yours, you will be flying over there.
We are not talking about running anymore.
Miles and miles passing by.
Running like Flying.
I did it again.