Updates on my physical therapy process, as promised.
I’m on my third week, and things seem to be going really well. Last week I had my running analysis, which was way more involved than I thought it might be. I needed a shower when I was done! I started with walking on a treadmill barefoot, then added shoes. Then I ran at an 8:30 pace at a 2% incline for 2 minute intervals, and then we reviewed all the footage – from the side and from the rear. (Nothing like watching your butt move in slow motion while someone draws lines and angles all over it!)
Observations: I’m a loud walker. (I know this.) I have to work on leaning forward at about 10 degrees and using my glutes to lift legs, while also keeping my headlights (two sides of my pelvis) pointing forward, level, and slightly down. I’ve been doing this religiously everywhere I walk, especially in the park Sunday when I walked for about 40 minutes, plus just walking between meetings and around the office.
I also need this forward angle when running, and that’s a hard adjustment. The way I was told to remember this was to think of the Road Runner – angling forward, and knees, legs, and feet creating a circle when sped up to high speed. My profile view was more of an oval near the ground – not enough knee lift and not enough kick back. My legs angle in from my hips, so I look like I’m running on a tightrope. Increasing my “knee window” is critical, but that will come with changing my running profile from an oval to a circle.
My assignment last week was to run / walk in 2:00 intervals for 40 minutes, focusing on my form in both. Running with that slight lean forward, and kicking back at a rate of 174 beats a minute on a metronome, and raising my knees more. This is really exhausting work, so the intervals were welcome. It also takes a whole lot of concentration and adjustments as I go…. BUT NO PAIN. I was ecstatic. My PT was also ecstatic at the progress and changes this week, which was really exciting, and makes the hassle worth it.
Other things: I’m continuing exercises for strengthening, and have a few modifications to make in my current power yoga, Piyo and Body Pump classes to fire glutes over quads. My PT added bands in to make my home exercises more challenging, for quicker progress.
My ankle angles are already improving, just with two weeks of work. My heels graze the ground in down dog, which is really amazing to me.
I have some new stair work which is great for my house, because I do stairs all the time, so why not make them beneficial?
My PT doesn’t want me to switch shoes. The Hokas have a pretty low heel drop, and lots of cushion, so I do have to be careful that the force of my feet hitting the ground isn’t transferred up my body because of the cushion at my feet. But I also was filmed today in my last pair of Brooks, and my running form wasn’t nearly as good. The next shoes I get will need to be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but she wants me to continue in the Hokas for now.
Working on a new standing posture as well, knees forward, not inward. Worked on form for lunges – I do a lot of those weekly in classes, and want to maximize my efforts there.
Last interesting note: I’ve wrongly assumed that the faster I run, the worse my form is. But my PT said that’s not true. Run fast, walk slow – not the opposite. The messy form happens in the middle somewhere, so commit to one or the other. This is really interesting, and also makes sense. When I was experiencing pain in November – January, I kept trying to ease up and knock my pace down, but the pain just continued or increased – it felt like I was just shuffling along because I was. She said running at an 8:00 pace is excellent, and not to speed walk (which I tend to do, and which makes my pelvis sway more side to side, versus staying level and forward), but take it easier and focus on form. I can up the run/walk intervals to 3:00/2:00 this week, 4:00/2:00 next week, 4:00/1:00 the following week, then running as normal, as long as I continue to progress. Run up hills, walk down hills, when running outdoors in March to further promote this new form.
I’ve got a couple more visits, and then I might be turned loose. I’ll give you another update at that point. Thanks for the interest, and for the encouraging words on IG.