Saturday, February 23, 2013

Strengthening the hip girdle

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know what is necessarily wrong with the muscle(s) posterior lateral side of my right hip. And of course that's not stopping me from self-diagnosing the issue.

I have a soreness in a muscle or muscles on the posterior lateral (basically 4 o'clock position if you were looking at me straight down and I'm facing toward 12) side of my right hip. I don't think this has affected my stride, but I don't want it to.

I think I caused it my playing disc golf, basically a result of pulling something in the twisting motion of the throw. What's wrong with my throw? My best guess is that it's a form issue in the twisting motion, starting from the fact that I twist on my ball of my plant (right) foot instead of the heal of that foot, and that I played a round or so in my hiking boots, which have a more elevated heal (my MT10s are about the perfect disc golf shoe, and Will Schusterick wears them when he plays).

Anywho, I felt like the stars aligned when in the span of about three days, I read about Tony Krupicka's injury issues and that they were related to weak hips/glute muscles, learned about Jay Johnsons Mrytl Routine, watched videos related to hip weakness from the therapist who keeps America's top marathoners healthy at the Oregon Project, and recalled meeting Eric Orton - Chris McDougall's coach - who again repeated the line that many running issues are related to weak hips.

So what am I doing about this? I'm doing Johnson's Mrytl (rhymes with "hip girdle") after almost every run, and adding two things to it. First, adding a set of 10 reverse clams after the initial set of clams, and adding Orton's one-legged-stand (for as long I can hold the form each time) at the end of the session. I can already tell my hips are not used to the exercises and are responding positively to them, although there is some pain still there. It's only been a week and I know I can't expect miracles, but I've been very pleased with the work thus far. I'm going to carry it into the season and see where it takes me. If it helps me stay injury-free and reduces core and hip fatigue in face, it'll be well worth the 10 or so minutes after each run it takes to complete the circuit.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Back at it for 2013

I've neglected this blog, as my last post was eight or so months ago post-2012 Zumbro 100.

Since then, I finished the 2012 Afton 50K, was graciously permitted to run the 50 mile at Superior Fall Races after my runner missed a time cut off at mile 42.8 during the Superior/Sawtooth 100, returned to disc golf when I wasn't/couldn't run, and oh yeah, had my first child. Running all-but disappeared post-Zumbro for all of those legitimate reasons, but I'm rededicating myself to running.

For 2013, I'm trying to stay as focused as possible toward my goal of Sawtooth 100 in the fall. I'll likely not race until then - my wife is finishing law school and taking the bar at the end of July - but I purchased a jogging stroller (BOB Ironman) so I can run with the little guy in the summer and give my wife a break whilst she studies.

Right now, I'm only able to run about four days a week, up to six runs per week (doubles on Saturday and Sunday, but that rarely happens). I'm focused on getting a solid base down of 30-40 miles per week, with 2+ hour runs on Saturday and 5-10 on Sunday. When May comes, and I can run in the morning again, I'll be back in my usual six to seven days of running per week, with the occasional double.

I am also newly inspired for 2013. I discovered Coach Jay Johnson's blog and the Mrytl routine, a hip-strengthening progression workout designed to be done in a build-up/injury-prevention (Phase 1) stage. I'm going to add a few things to it, two of which are stability exercises from the Oregon Project's physical therapy routine - again, to strength runners' hip girdles - and the one-legged stand that I learned from Chris McDougall and his coach, Eric Orton. From the OP's work, I'm adding reverse clams and the hip/leg orientations from their description of clams, reverse clams, and Jane Fonda's. The OP give more thorough description of the technique and potential pitfalls of the exercises for those two exercises. I'm also going to try and do Johnson's lunge matrix - something I already do with regularity, especially on cold days - before every run.

Finally, I am inspired to run some speedwork and perhaps a road half- or full marathon or two - likely Twin Cities in October. Devon Yanko, fka Crosby-Helms, wrote a great initial column on regarding lessons she learned from running fast road marathons (she qualified for and ran in the women's 2012 Olympic Trials for the marathon) as those lessons are applied to ultras.

I know what works for me is variations on Jack Daniels' Running Formula. I'm going to try and follow his recommendations to the best I can, because if you want to run fast [in a race], you need to run fast [in training].

EDIT: one more thing, I'm currently running in New Balance 110's, the next generation (not really an upgrade) from the MT10's. They're thinner in the sole/last, have a dedicated rock plate, and more tread for trail running. It really is a mountain shoe, but I was sick of the balls of my feet being hammered by the rocks on the trail and thus switched from the MT10's. I'm not sure I'm completely happy with them right now, they are markedly stiffer on first impression and for a while until they warm up in the winter. They are great on snowy, icy trails and roads but less so on snow-free roads. I'm probably going to get a dedicated road shoe, something like the Minimus Road Zero, 10, or 20. I think my perfect trail shoe is the sole of the 110's and the upper, last and everything else of the MT10.