As promised, I am finally back with some more information about what I learned at the UVA Speed Clinic. A few weeks ago I shared what the Speed Clinic is and why I went. Today I will talk about what happened while I was there and what I learned about my running.
The first part of the session was my actual run on their fancy 3D treadmill. Anything I was wearing that was reflective had to be covered up with tape. As you all know, I don’t really run well on a treadmill, but this one was different! It looks like you are just running on the floor which happens to be moving. I ran for a few minutes to get comfortable, and then I ran again for a few more minutes while I was recorded. In total I probably ran for about 8-10 minutes.
Next we went through an assessment– you know, the kind when you go to PT or to get a typical running assessment.
After that part of the session, we went over the results. (I think by this point I had already been there well over an hour). After everything was explained to me, I learned several new exercises and drills. I practiced everything for a while so I would know what I was doing when I did them at home (and was given lots of cues that I tried to remember). I left with a USB drive of all the reports from my analysis to take home with me, along with video demonstrations of the exercises (as well as level 2 exercises for when I am ready to progress.) Unfortunately, I can’t view some of the videos on my Mac, so I had to look at them on my work computer, and didn’t take pictures of that stuff.
I would also like to warn you that what I am about to share with you is my interpretation of what was told to me- hopefully it makes sense! So this is what I learned:
One of the biggest things I learned was that I am extremely mobile and have plenty of flexibility, to the point where I don’t even need to stretch! Sure, if something in particular feels unusually tight I could stretch it, and I can still do yoga, but I don’t need to be forcing my body to be any more flexible than it already is.
I also learned that the way my hips are naturally positioned is not ideal (if they were lined up properly in the sockets my feet would face inward) and that likely contributed to my labral tear a few years ago. I asked about the impact of this on running, and was told that it’s not a problem. It’s more likely that all my dancing and field hockey were big contributing factors to that.
When I run I arch my back. My body moves in a way that seems like my torso and lower body are not connected. Without my back being in proper positioning, my glutes can’t fire. I get my legs to do what they need to do in whatever way I can, even if it’s by overusing smaller muscles or my hip flexors. I also don’t breathe into my diaphragm, even when I’m not running!
I also learned something about my right toe push-off not being efficient. This likely contributes to the piriformis on that side getting overworked. In general I land harder on my right side (maybe to protect my left hip which was the one that had surgery?)
I wish I could have done a better job describing all of that, but some of the takeaways are: I need more core stability (which I have been working on, but it’s still not where it needs to be), running drills to focus on proper form and foot placement, and I also need to learn to breathe using my diaphragm. I can stop stretching (even though I wasn’t doing a whole lot of that to begin with) and spend that time focusing on other things.
At this point, it’s been over two weeks, and I have been diligent about my exercises. It’s hard to gauge improvement until I start increasing my mileage and the intensity of my workouts, and it’s also challenging because I don’t have anyone watching my form on my exercises (as I would if I were going to a PT). However, I did notice that my vertical oscillation has dropped significantly since I started my new routine!
I think that’s enough for now! I’ll write more about what I am doing and how it’s going another day.
Have you ever made changes to your running form?
Do you know of any issues with the way you prone (or the way your body is built) that makes you more prone to injuries?