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I almost deleted this photo...

May 02, 2018

…but then decided you NEED to see it!

As a running coach and a physical therapist, I hope to be a positive example to my clients…and this photo is DEFINITELY NOT the way to do that!! …at least that was my first impression when I saw it but then I decided this could be my best teaching point EVER!

My perspective on keeping your body moving is that you don’t have to be perfect to have a body that can do everything you want and need it to do…you just have to be a little smarter about how you use this amazing, fine-tuned machine that you live in.

This past weekend I completed my third triathlon.

Considering there was a very real chance I’d drown and I was using a bike I’d spent a total of 5 minutes “breaking in”, I’m thrilled to say that I didn’t die and I now have a new medal for my wall!

Other than not dying, getting good race photos is probably my second priority! Throughout the race course, I’m always scouting the sidelines in search of the cameraman to flash my most effortless smile. I truly love the entire race experience. Meeting up with friends before the sun rises, the excitement mixed with fear that I forgot something important at home like my bike or running shoes, the nervous energy as the start time nears and my mind fills with images of tripping over my feet, face planting on the concrete as racers run around me and the unanticipated cameraman capturing the moment for all eternity! What’s not to love about racing!!

Yesterday as I scoured the race photos to see if I’d successfully hidden the REAL struggle of getting THIS body across the finish line of a triathlon, I found a photo that made me cringe! it is...

At first I pretended like this cringy photo didn’t exist as I proceeded to save every other photo I could find of myself and my friends. Then I decided that I liked the top half of the ignored photo but would absolutely HAVE to crop out those legs (which I cropped initially and that photo became the first photo on this post)  The lower half of this cringy photo provides concrete evidence that I have one of the most common running form deviations that can completely destroy someone’s hopes of running without pain.

Almost every one of my running clients also has this running form deviation….the difference is that I have found a way to cheat the system!!! (that sounds so terrible but is so TRUE!)

My hips are weak. My run clients’ hips are weak. The difference is that I can run WITHOUT PAIN because I learned how to change my running form so I don’t need as much hip strength.

It takes consistency and months of time to build up strength and I’m impatient. It’s easy to see the gains in cadence, distance and speed on the app that tracks my running form but there’s no immediate feedback or gratification for getting my hips stronger. It just sucks. That simple loop of red stretchy band looks so unassuming as it sits crumpled at the bottom of my gym bag mocking me because it knows it can kick my butt in a way that no kettlebell or barbell can.

So instead of dedicating myself to using that $5 loop of stretchy band to get my hip stabilizers stronger, I paid thousands of dollars and spent weeks at conferences to learn how to run with weak hips…who’s the smart one now?!? I am completely joking because ignoring a weak muscle group is absolutely NOT what I would ever advocate for my clients but the reality is that it takes time to build strength in your hips, which IS IMPORTANT….aaaaannnnnd at the same time you can start making some of the changes in your running form that require less hip strength, allowing you to run farther without pain while you’re building up the strength in your hips.

This photo is concrete evidence that my hip stabilizers are weak. My left hip and knee are dropped FAR below my right because my right hip stabilizers are not strong enough to hold my pelvis level against gravity after swimming, biking and running to the finish line where this photo was taken.

…AND…I can do all this WITHOUT PAIN!

You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be smarter and learn the simple solutions to keep your body moving!

Happy running!

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