After only 3 months following my injury free running technique protocol (that includes perfecting my Squat-Scoot style along with gradually increasing barefoot running prowess and wearing the Barefoot-Science inserts in all of her footwear), my client, Susan, is now regularly running 5 kilometres PAIN-FREE. This after struggling with a plethora of avoidable running-related injuries for over 15 years!
When we started, Susan had trouble with her balance, she was asymmetrical (her right leg presented shorter than her left, indicating extreme tightness through the muscles, tendons and ligaments of her right hip and pelvic areas) and had no idea how to run tight, light, compact and forward – in other words, working against gravity to eliminate excessive major joint pounding. As you can see from the following pictures, she can now balance easily on 1 leg with eyes open or closed.You will notice in the following photos that Susan is more centered and balanced running barefoot versus in her minimalist coffins with the Barefoot-Science inserts. This once again shows that the sensory feedback running barefoot is far superior to any other mode. If you do NOT run barefoot, you had better put the Barefoot Science inserts in place to protect yourself from needless running ‘itis’ injuries. There are NO other ways to do so.To unlock Susan and get her symmetrical before doing intense drills and power work, we worked through Extensor Chain activation with the Functional Chain Trainer action, the Health Bridges Levels 2 and 3 back muscle, ligament, tendon release process, supine knee rolls and 1-legged leg swings.Our focus then shifted to strengthening the hip adductors and abductors along with all 4 major gluteal (buttocks) muscles. The latter activation process has been a challenge for Susan when in the running action. It is the most important component to ensure a quiet, light landing against gravity. By the end of the drills, Susan was better able to keep her butt muscles firing, thus improving her balance and forward running efficiency.
Most runners assume the prone plank is rather easy to master once you get used to tightening your mid section area. As you will see from the following pictures, it is more important to fire from ALL for your butt muscles to hold a proper plank and maximize the benefits for running of an activated TOTAL core (from mid chest to mid thighs). In the first shot, Susan’s butt muscles are flaccid. In the second and third photos, she has them fully activated, thus keeping her in perfect balance.The following series of pictures featuring Susan doing drills on the Bosu Ball show her ability to balance on 1 leg with eyes open and closed and on rounded versus flat surfaces. She is also now able to run rapidly on & off the ball and has perfected the arm swing whilst on the uneven surface – both skills essential for safe barefoot running.To improve Susan’s power endurance and fatigue tolerance when running further and faster, she completed a series of power endurance exercises specific to running. These were done in 60 second segments followed by 100 metres of forward and backward running on flats and hills. Needless to say, this was the ultimate test to assess Susan’s progress in barefoot running. She handled the held squat jumps, high lunge jumps, crossover strides and rabbit hops uphill well – even though these were new to her.The overall effect has been a dramatic shift in Susan’s ability to run safely and efficiently over gradually increasing distances. This has led to her entering a few 5 kilometre runs and finishing them injury-free for the first time in years. She has not needed therapeutic treatment on a regular basis since starting with me 3 short months ago.
Any of you suffering from needless ‘itis’ running injuries, take note. You need not suffer any longer!!