From the time we were children, bicycles have been a fun, pure and healthy way to engage in physical activity and commute from point A to point B. Most everyone remembers their very first “big kid” bike, and that feeling of flying down a hill with not a single care in the world – at least not in that moment. Bicycles are a symbol of our childhoods, and increasingly for many of us, our adulthoods.
Harbingers of spring in Cincinnati include the usual—temperatures in the 50’s, flowers making their way up from the ground, St. Patrick’s Day, and sunlight when driving home from work. Another sign of spring, specifically for me, revolves around this coming Sunday. This weekend is the unofficial start to road running race season with the city’s first big race, the beloved Heart Mini races. This Sunday morning, along with the smell of spring in the cool air, we will feel the collective breaths of hundreds of runners tackling the oft-underestimated course that is the Heart Mini Marathon and Half-Marathon. This is a hilly course, and time and time again we see a swath of injuries that proliferate from this weekend. For those using this race as preparation for the Flying Pig, an injury or start of a nagging ache after this race can derail your training plans.
“Why don’t you accept insurance?” This is a common question directed to my business in response to our policy of not billing health insurance for our physical therapy (PT) services. Rather, we provide a bill to the client for them to send off to their insurance. This puts the responsibility of getting reimbursed onto the client. Yes, this saves us money because we are not paying a staff member to handle the insurance reimbursement side of the business, but to fully understand why BE doesn’t hassle with billing your health insurance requires you to know a little more about my PT story.
During the average training cycle running injuries begin to pop up during the later stages of training more so than at any other point. By this time in the training program, your body has already endured through hundreds of thousands of steps, and if you have any movement faults, strength deficits, motor sequencing issues, running pattern faults, or issues in your training program your body is likely to react to them.
Common symptoms of these deficiencies (small or large) include gradual build-up of aches and pains. These symptoms do not feel the same as general post-workout fatigue or discomfort resulting from the activity. These are the “this doesn’t feel right” kind of soreness, achiness, burning, jolts, zings, and sharp pains. Many times these pains don’t gradually build-up, though. Rather they can come out of nowhere, piercing at your muscle or joint like a hot knife. In either case, both scenarios will bring your training to a halt or at the least a snails pace.
While you may be entitled to reimbursement from your health insurance provider, they may not make it easy to gain access to those funds. Check out these tips on how to make that process less stressful!
Pain in the Iliotibial band (ITB) is a very common, and oftentimes, recurrent complaint of runners, cyclists, and triathletes. The afflicted athlete will experience pain, sometimes sharp, anywhere along the ITB, which originates on the lateral aspect of the hip, traverses the length of the femur and inserts just below the knee on the outside. Various muscles along the thigh blend into this thick connective tissue, adding to the complexity of this structure.
Perhaps the second most common complaint in cycling is lower back pain. Many of our daily habits, such as sitting for eight or more hours a day, can compromise the correct position of the lumbar spine. Similarly, cycling places the lumbar spine in a forwardly—or flexed posture—and therefore can add stress to the ligaments, discs, muscles and vertebrae that encompass the lumbar spine.
While the sport of cycling may not account for as many injuries as football, running, or gymnastics, riding a bike can still be guilty of causing some nagging aches and pains. Sometimes these can be frustrating enough to cause an athlete to reconsider cycling at all!
Because cycling is primarily a non-impact, non weight-bearing sport, overuse injuries - in the absence of trauma - tend to be less frequent. However, due to the repetitive nature of the sport, cyclists are prone to experience some form of injury at any given time. As intensity, frequency and duration increase, so do the chances of sustaining an overuse (non-traumatic) injury.
It’s that time of year again. In Cincinnati, the Heart Mini Marathon opens the running season in mid-March challenging the local winter marathon and half-marathon training groups’ athletes to their first official race of the year’s season. This race is used as a practice race that helps to propel the runner into the final six weeks of training in which many will see their biggest running distances of the training cycle. It’s an exciting time because runners get the sense that they are nearing their the big day—Flying Pig day. In my experience as a physical therapist in Cincinnati, this race has also proved to be a harbinger to the annual ramp-up of pre-Flying Pig injuries. In light of this year’s rash of injuries coming through our facility, I want to shed some light onto this year’s trainees as they make the last push for the remainder of the training season.
Sticking to goals, especially overly ambitious new year’s resolutions, can be difficult. So, how do we achieve these health and fitness goals that we have set for ourselves? I’ve identified five major reasons why we stand in the way of achieving our own goals. Avoid these common pitfalls and keep those goals alive!
So how do you make an already fast runner, faster and more resilient to injury? This was the question with which I was posed earlier this summer when I first met Amy Robillard, the Flying Pig Marathon winner of the past two years. Amy had already come off a successful spring race season with a female course record at the Run the Bluegrass Half-Marathon in April and a win at the Flying Pig Marathon in May. When Amy and I first talked she was looking for help with improving her run speed as well as finding answers to her nagging aches and pains.
Anyone can run, but not everyone knows how to run efficiently and fast. Learning optimal running mechanics will not only improve your efficiency and speed, but will also make you more resilient to injury. Below is a good video from The Natural Running Center that explains the basics of optimal running mechanics. Although this video is being demonstrated by a barefoot runner, I am not a big proponent of 'barefoot running' except for when you are learning to feel the ground during form drills.
Every obstacle, setback, and challenge in your life is always a blessing in disguise! These blessings in disguise are what make you who you are today. Acknowledge your blessings, and keep moving forward :)
Today was an emotional day for me. Last year, I was 2.5 weeks out from Ironman Louisville. I was ready to go, and I knew in my heart and was VERY confident in my training that Louisville had my KONA slot. I purposely took a job that pays barely enough to live on but gave me summers off so I could train, train, TRAIN. It was my time to go after my dream of qulaifying for Kona. I was ready!
It was nothing of what I expected, but everything that I needed. . . .
In the week leading up to The Boston Marathon I had been a mess of nerves. Following the Carmel ½ Marathon I had been experiencing a cranky nagging discomfort in my inside left ankle.
I was religiously going to see Eric at Beyond Exercise (one of my sponsors) to speed along my recovery and make sure I was ready. Active release therapy was followed by sessions with the Deep Muscle Stimulator and myofascial release. I grit my teeth and embraced the taper that Eric and the Russians prescribed with hopes that my body would be ready.
On race morning, I walked up to the start line with thousands of other wide-open sets of eyes, the chill of morning air crawling into my race kit.
I was pretty shocked when “The Russians” told me they wanted me to race the Carmel Half Marathon (in Carmel, Indiana) nine days before the Boston Marathon …
Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. 2014 has been my first season/year racing in the “Elite” category for road races. I am not sure that I actually qualify as an “elite runner,” but I am having the time of my life racing alongside professional runners and dreaming of someday getting to that status. At the end of 2013, I began training with “The Russians”, a husband and wife who manage, coach and act as agents for the L.M. Elite Running Club. I am the only amateur athlete among a rotating group of professional runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, Morocco, Russia and Ukraine. I honestly do not know why they took me on, but I am overjoyed they did. I am learning so much; we have become close and fast friends, and they treat me just like one of their own.