Friday, June 8, 2018

Learning How to Run Again

My progress has continued albeit slower than I would have expected. I fully expected that March was the beginning of the end for my injury. It turns out it was just the end of the beginning. What I found was that I was still aggravating my knee on runs and even in swims.

Despite all the physical therapy and injections, running and swimming was simply not getting any better. So I created a new plan:
1. Increase Leg strengthening and stretching.
2. Change my running technique aka learn how to run for real
3. Get new zero profile running sneakers
4. Adjust my orthodics to also be zero profile
5. Really make a special effort with hamstring and hip flexor stretching. Like 14 minutes a day each level of effort.
6. Continue doing things like yoga
7. Try to understand what is going on with my knee
8. Learn how to swim for real

1. Starting in March, I started to do all my PT exercises....every day. I also paid close attention to what may be aggravating my injury and dropped them. Every morning, I do:
A) 2 minute wall sit
B) 100 calf raises each side
C) Place strap above knees, get on back, get in bridge position and then open knees as i thrust upward (this is good for part of the glutes)
D) 3 sets of different lunges dynamic stretching
E) 1 leg balance dynamic stretching

2. Change running technique: I was a heel striker. This was a large portion of my issue. My running technique was crap. I always knew it. So I went ahead and decided to learn how to run. I got a running coach and he helped with my cadence (160-165 bbm), my foot strike (forefoot), and my lean. This takes a great deal of stress of my knees (and places them on my calves).

3. Altra sneakers. Zero lift from heel to toe means less stress on your knees.

4. Orthodics were adjusted because i used to have a lift on them. Not anymore.

5. Every morning, I do 7 minutes of hamstring stretches. I'll do 7 more in the evening or before a run.
I also do monkey pose from yoga and heel to put stretches for hip flexor.

6. Yoga. Every Wednesday. No exception.

7. There are 2 pains I was experiencing. The first pain is in what i call the "bad zone". This is the bone on bone section of the medial knee. If you feel pain here, that is very bad. I very rarely ever feel sore or have any discomfort let alone pain in this region anymore. That is good.

The second zone is either on the left edge of the kneecap or down from there. This apparently (according to my PT and Doctor) are a different, soft tissue area. I have had less and less discomfort in this area to the point now where I don't have much at all. It was in this area that swimming was causing issues. I think my old swim form aggravated this. Also, if I flutter kick too much, it can exacerbate the issue. This leads to....

8. New swimming technique! I researched the proper triathlon style. That is, the 2 beat kick. Well, I made an adjustment to that, I'm just doing a 1 beat kick. But this is a big change for me because I am doing it opposite my hand stroke. That is, I don't ever use my right foot to kick (big change for me), i only use my left foot. And I only kick with my left when my right hand goes into the water. Ideally, I would kick with my right when my left hand hits the water, but i'm not there yet. AND i'm not sure I need to be. My swim times are as good as they've ever been at the half mile distance so far.

This week is a big milestone for me. This is my 8th week back to running (7 technically since i was sick 1 week). But I have decided to take it VERY slow coming back. And also only using proper running technique. This week will be the first time I do 4 miles 3 times. That is 1 lap at Shelly lake 3 separate times in a week. I've been building up to it and I am happy to report that lately i have been feeling at a 10 on my spreadsheet on race days and no less than a 9 or 9.5 the next day. I've even tried to vary speed and get some good intensity on some of the middle week runs (which is what my running coach suggested).

Anyway, after I finish my 4,4,4 this week, I'll feel comfortable enough to sign up for a small sprint triathlon. I am currently targeting The Carolina Double Sprint in 2 weeks! We'll see!