We Can Rebuild Him (Phase Three in which Doris up-chucks her oats while skipping…)

Posted: October 3, 2013 in Run, The Plan
Tags: , ,

It’s been nearly a month (27 days to be exact) since I’ve started my ‘We Can Rebuild Him’ strategy for becoming a lean, mean, triathlon machine come 2014.  The primary focus of this plan is to require my run fitness and transition into becoming an efficient and confident runner once again.  Hey, ‘train to your weaknesses and race to your strengths’, right?

To this regard, I have undergone an extensive rehabilitation plan with the good people at ‘Legacy Health & Performance’ (Phase One), and even switched to a gluten free diet to eliminate all the unnecessary evils of wheat from my system (Phase Two).  Also this month, I’ve begun to reestablish a base on which to build into long distances and a regular running program in the near future.  I now run 4-5 times a week, accumulating approximately 20k a week in total.  It’s not much, but it’s absolutely eons from where I’ve been all year so far given the troubles I’ve been having with my left foot.  Thus far, things have been going pretty well, so this past weekend I initiated Phase Three of the plan…subjecting myself to a bio-mechanics running analysis conducted with Dr. Burr and then have a run specific program designed around targeting those determined weaknesses and inefficiencies.  Sounds like fun, right?  After all, who doesn’t like being told they resemble a transvestite running from a stalker?


At least that’s what I expected to hear anyway.

But as it turns out, my currently form may not be so terrible after all.  That’s not to say, however, that I am without opportunity for improvement; far from actually.  In fact, after the initial visual inspection the observed results were as follows:


What the nuts and bolts of this analysis is saying it that these deficiencies in my current body functionality may stem from an underlying weakness in my glutes (primarily my right) and abdominal area, as well as an overall poor range of motion through my shoulders and pelvis area.  I do however, have an ‘excellent’ push-up posture – I just thought that I’d throw that in.

So as a result of this initial physical analysis, which was determined on performing a series of activities in the playground of a local school and being filmed running with new ‘Dartfish’ technology,  I have now been prescribed an action plan (on top of my current ‘Phase One’ strengthening program) to address these specific running inefficiencies.

"Sloppy"?  Just how every guy likes to have his lower torso referred to as.

“Sloppy”? Just how every guy likes to have his lower torso referred to as.

Geez!  Sounds serious, right?  I’m trying not to freak out, but, DAA-YUM!  But, hey, at least I know.  So given this particular feedback, Dr. Burr has now offered the following recommendations to improve these general weaknesses in my current form:

Say wha?

Say wha?

I know, I know…‘amoronsayswhat?‘  Let me spell this out in English.  Basically, what this all entails is that I now have to perform a series of functional exercises that to the uneducated eye might seem like I was reenacting the ‘Ministry of Funny Walks  from Monty Python.  Now, I confess, they might make me feel a bit self-conscious at first, and I don’t really want to give the neighbors anything more to snicker at than they already have, which is enough; believe me.   Don’t get me wrong, I understand the ultimate purpose of these drills but, still, they do make me feel silly so I am going to resign myself to doing them either in the back yard away from prying eyes or along the Friendship Trail when it’s quiet.  But, hey, when it comes down to it, if suffering through a little silliness to come out at the other end as an effortless gazelle of a runner, then so be it; suffer I will dammit!

So without further ado, I give you the ensuing new strengthening routine in all its illustrious silliness:

1.  Walking A’, and B’s – The purpose of these drills is to break the natural running gait into its three separate segments.  The A motion is propelled by the hip flexors and quadriceps as I take tiny steps marching forward, on the toes, while raising my knees to 90 degrees to slightly higher than waist level, alternating opposite arms with opposite legs.  The B’s are dominated by the hamstrings.  Upon impact, the hamstrings continue to contract, not to limit the extension of the leg but to pull the foot upward, under the glutes, to begin another cycle. The emphasis of this exercise is to pull the foot up, directly under the buttocks, shortening the arc and the length of time performing the phase so that another stride can be commenced.

2.  Ninja Kicks – How awesome does that sound, right?  Alas, no, I am not performing roundhouse kicks a la Jean-Claude, but they’re still pretty cool and, as it turned out, exhausting.  While keeping my ‘chest up/eyes up’ and my hands high overhead, I attempt to bring alternating legs to my hands, being careful not to crunch too much at the torso.  This motions fires up the ‘ol hamstrings and hips.  This exercise sure invites some curious stares from dog walkers, that’s for sure.

3.  Lateral Shuffle – Originally an exercise for football linebackers, this drill primarily works my butt muscles, hips flexors, hip abductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, the calf and shin muscles as well as the ‘erector spinae’ muscles in my lower back running alongside my spine. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart and point your toes forward. To perform these, I bend my hips and knees, sit my butt back, lower my body into an ‘aggressive’ squat while keeping my knees over my ankles. To help with balance, I bend and hold your arms/hands in front of my body. From this position, I take a sideways step with my left leg and then shuffle with my right to return to the original stance, keeping my back straight, chest up and your eyes looking straight ahead throughout the exercise.  I shuffle in this position for 10 steps in one direction, and then back in the reverse direction three times.

4.  Grapevines – Similar to the Lateral Shuffle posture, I move so that I cross my feet over one another as I move laterally. This particular drill, while still working all the same muscles as the Lateral Shuffle, also works all those minute stabilizing muscles that play a secondary, yet vital role in running.  Clearly I am no ballerina because I find the coordination needed to do this extremely challenging.

5.  Walking Arm Circles Bilateral – This is easy enough (or so I thought anyway), make wide circles with my arms at the shoulder both forward and backward.  However, as it turns out, given the number of forward stroke I perform in the pool on a weekly basis, I have a very limited range of motion in my shoulders.  Forward rotations I can do, backwards, well, not so much…like, at all.  Obviously, this is aimed at giving me a more relaxed and natural (read that as ‘effortless’) shoulder rotation while running.

6.  Arm Rotations (w/ strap) – Ditto as above, except that I am attempting to rotate my shoulders nearly 360 degrees around their access.  Breathing in on the way up, exhaling down.  Going backwards, this actually feels like my arms are being ripped from their shoulder sockets.

7.  Shoulder Flossing – Same as above again, this is aimed at loosening up my shoulders.  You will just have to YouTube this one for yourself as it is hard to explain but, take my word for it, it’s also not easy.  Hopefully, the end result will be a smoother and more relaxed arm swing at the shoulder (not to mention stroking in the pool) while running and not expending unnecessary energy.

So, yeah, now I have things to do while out running other than just taking those necessary steps forward.  Luckily, the weather is nice and the leaves are turning color and it’s actually pleasant to be outside and being active without the pressure of intensity, pace, distance, or what have you.  In other words, it’s the perfect time to focus on getting strong and efficient in my form with the goal being that when the time comes to begin that serious training and all that it entails (tempo, hills, speed workouts, et al.) that my run will be more smooth and effortless allowing me to run better while harnessing my bodily strength into that forward momentum.  Remember:

We Can Rebuild Him

Another upside is that by running with a better form I can, hopefully, alleviate any future injuries or issues in the future that I am currently getting over and not end up back at square one in my comfy chair feeling miserable.  Oh, and to make sure I don’t run like that transvestite, or any of these guys for that matter (click HERE).


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