Always Learning

You might know that I’ve started running again. I used to do quite a bit of running – I ran through-out university and then when I was training for taekwon-do I spent a lot of time running. I even ran a marathon a long time ago. I thought that since I’ll be here for the winter and since I’m not uber-focused on cycling training right now, it is the perfect time to start running again.

I went out and bought some shoes. Eagerly went out for my first run. Hobbled around the house and office for a week due to ridiculously tight calf muscles. I started running again one week later but my calf muscles were still sore. So I changed my running gait to land on my heel. I built up to three runs a week. Then I felt the pain. Stabbing pain in my right knee (right where the ITB is)… I and most others assumed it was my new shoes (that are almost minimalist but not quite). So I bought new shoes – but had never worn them until today… and then I returned them….

Thanks to a recommendation from a good friend, I made an appointment with a physiotherapist who specializes in running and running gait. Wow – what an amazing two hours. I learned that I have some severe muscle imbalances. I have become so “quad dominant” that my calf muscles, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes and even my feet are very weak and for the most part only along for the “ride”. In other words – I use my quads for everything – from balancing on one foot to holding side plank to simply walking around.

These muscle imbalances explain why my calf muscles were so sore after the first run and also the reason for this ITB pain. The good news is that I can fix these imbalances. I’ve got a sheet full of exercises and some hard work ahead of me but this will pay off huge. This way I’ll be able to run, ski, snowshoe and even improve my cyclo-cross racing.

Interesting – I’ve always found it challenging to “float” over the barriers – struggling to lift my feet high enough. Well after watching myself run on the video, it is obvious why… My hamstrings and glutes are so weak and not “firing” that it is hard for me to lift my feet very high off the ground. When I run, my feet barely come off the ground. Very interesting.

I found the session to be amazing. Amazed that I could have such crazy imbalances. But I’m excited to see how I’ll feel and move once we get things sorted. This won’t be an overnight transformation but if I stick to my exercises and do them properly I could be running in two weeks. The other interesting aspect to this is it explains why I have always had such a hard time balancing on my skate skis – I tend to edge all the time and my hamstrings and glutes would ache all the time…. Kind of need these muscles to be working to keep that ski flat on the snow.

Fascinating how the body is connected and how it works to compensate for imbalances.

With all this being said – I best be off to to work on my As, Bs, and Ds with some skipping and calf raises thrown in as well!

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