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Wednesday, March 6

Happy Girls Half Marathon Training, Week 2

This May I'm running the Happy Girls Half Marathon in Bend, OR. While this isn't my first half marathon event, this time I'm trying something different and I'm working with a Physical Therapist (Jay) and Coach (Stephanie) at Rebound Physical Therapy to keep injury free and improve my performance. 

Today I was excited for my first follow up visit with Jay. I was less anxious because I knew a little bit more about what to expect from my visit. I had been pretty good about doing my daily exercises - those clamshells are painful! On Sunday I did my planned "long run" of 7.5 miles and my glutes were really sore afterwards. Aside from that, I was interested to see what progress I'd made - if any.

Since I was traveling to Portland in the afternoon, I went for my regular training run before my appointment. The weather was terrible - it was very windy and as I finished up big, wet snowflakes started to fall heavily around me. For once I was glad that the rest of my running for the day would be indoors. Brr!

Because I was already warmed up, Jay had me start right away on his treadmill. After a brief walk he sped me up to my "comfortable" page (10:45). Soon he asked me if I thought I could run "harder" and I agreed. As I ran, he told me he wanted me to watch the graph on the screen in front of me and tell him what I thought. What I saw looked like nice, smooth bumps - my "cone" was gone!

This told us that I was engaging my core properly and I was no longer "braking" so severely during the first part of my stride. All those exercises I'd been working on, along with tightening my "seat belt" muscles and glutes as I ran was paying off. While I ran, if I released my core and slouched I could immediately tell the difference based on the lines on the screen - the "cone" came back every time.

Jay slowed things down and I stepped off so we could talk about other things going on. He showed me that by making small changes not only is my stride better - I am actually running more efficiently too. He compared this to changing cars from a Hummer to a Prius. I am now using less energy and effort while I run. On the other hand I have a lot of lateral movement and my stance is too wide (I "waddle"). These will get better by improving hip flexibility and strength.

Next we reviewed my week one exercises: Bent knee pelvic tilts, Bridge lifts, and Clam shells. Jay confirmed that I am doing them correctly, and then he gave me a grueling new regimen for the next two weeks.
  1. Bent knee pelvic tilts - same as before: with one knee bent under, and the other bent in front of me, tilt pelvis up and hold for 3 minutes on each side.
  2. Clam shells - same as before: lie on side with spine straight, knees bent, core engaged. Squeeze glutes. Keeping feet together lift and lower knee. Release glutes but keep core engaged. Repeat 100 times on each side.
  3. Marching bridges - lift up to bridge like last week, then alternately raise each leg while keeping my hips even. Repeat 40-60 times.
  4. Hip hikes - stand with one foot on a slightly raised surface. Slowly raise and lower "free" hip. Repeat 10 times on each side, for three reps.
I commented at one point about my difficulty with the Clam shells. Jay reassured me that this is normal, and it's okay to spread them out during the day if I want. Awesome.

Finally it was time to meet with Stephanie to talk about my new workout plan. We talked about my goals, schedule, strengths, and weaknesses. She noted the fitness classes I'm already attending (abs, yoga), and chatted about our favorite instructors. Stephanie stressed it was important to her that we build my plan and schedule around everything else in my life. I felt a little relieved and I'm looking forward to seeing what she sends me.

I am receiving free services from Rebound's Biomechanics Lab in exchange for writing my experiences and feedback. There are no strings attached and I am not required to write positive posts. The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not screened. For those who know me, that's all you get!

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