This week I went on a little road trip…to the UVA Speed Clinic in Charlottesville, VA!
I first heard about the clinic last year on Tina’s blog and was immediately intrigued. I was held back by the cost and the time it would require. However, after thinking about it for a long, long time I finally decided it was something I really wanted to experience. I told Rob that there wasn’t anything I really wanted for Christmas so he agreed that this could be my “gift”.
I tacked an extra vacation day onto my Florida trip, and made the drive to and from Virginia on Wednesday. I thought it would take 3 hours, but it was more like 4+ with traffic.
My appointment lasted a little over 2.5 hours, and by the time I got back to Baltimore it was almost 8pm and was snowing. I had pretty much gone crazy being in the car by myself for 8 hours in one day!
So, what exactly is the Speed Clinic and why was I willing to go through with all of this?
(Taken from the UVA Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation website)
- Musculoskeletal screen – (an exam on how movement in simple tasks can impact gait)
- Kinematic Data – (reflects the movement of your joints throughout your stride). A very sophisticated system of cameras which collect your gait movements at 500 frames per second is used. There are inefficiencies and asymmetries that the human eye might miss in a simple video analysis, but these cameras pick them up every single time.
- Kinetic Data – (the forces that act on joints).
By combining musculoskeletal, kinetic and kinematic observations, you are provided with a detailed assessment of deficient biomechanical variables that may limit training and make you more vulnerable to overuse injuries.
Although assessments provide a comprehensive analysis of forces and joint mobility during running or walking, each individual possesses a unique combination of physiological attributes including joint mobility/flexibility, dynamic muscle control, and motor recruitment patterns. Therefore, ample time is spent reviewing training history and chronology of previous injuries. The training program, exercise selection, and propensity for injury must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Following each assessment session, the singular goal is to educate you. We take ample time to review your session on the same day, explain the numerous data numbers and graphs, and discuss variables that are important for you to incorporate in your training program. Based on your unique biomechanical limitations, you are then provided with a detailed written plan for functional strengthening exercises, stretches, and drills that can help you increase biomechanical efficiency and reduce the chance of injury. Additionally, each exercise can be demonstrated to ensure that you perform them correctly.
So why did I go and what did I hope to get out of my visit?
I have a lengthy injury history and I have been concerned that I was missing something. Looking back on the past few years it seems like I recover from an injury and then something similar happens or the same injury comes back.
I wanted to really identify specific imbalances and understand WHY my injuries were happening. I was also concerned that my previous injuries may have affected my form making me more vulnerable to future problems.
Some of the problems I have had over the years are: ongoing piriformis issues on my right side (this has been mostly better for awhile now but I do notice it once in a while and my chiropractor says it’s always really tight whenever he works on it), left hip labrum tear (I had surgery in 2010), and achilles tendonitis/plantar fasciitis on my left side back in 2007/2008. I’ve also had random aches and tightness which is relatively normal for a runner but I always wondered why the same areas always give me problems.
I felt like I didn’t want to have to rely on chiropractors and wanted to be able to be more specific in my strength training approach.
So, how did it go?
Well, I will say that as of right now I feel like it was beyond worth it. I learned a TON (more than I have even had time to process yet) and was given lots of information to look at and read over so I can have a better understanding of it all. I have a few exercises and drills that I learned (which are simple, but I learned to do them with proper form).
I will write another post about what I learned and of course I will keep you updated on my progress with this!
We are expecting a blizzard this weekend, so I am sure I will have plenty of time to review all of the information I was given and hopefully start another post about it:)
What are some crazy things you have done in order to become a better runner?
Who else is in the path of this blizzard? What will you be doing while you are snowed in?