Compliance vs Stiffness

Photo by Brett Sayles on

I geeked out bit this weekend. Saturday I had a bunch of volunteers to do gait analysis. I used my new RunScribe pods to gather some data and help me compare it to my typical running analysis. I could write a whole book on this stuff, but just to pull out some data points and give you a sample.

  1. Stiffness vs. Compliance – Stiff runners run with less overall degrees of movement. They tend to be your heavier, taller, older guys. There is some evidence so show they have higher rates of certain injuries like PF pain. Compliant runners tend to have more bounce and more motion in their knees and hips. These are the runners that look like lab puppies, just legs and hips everywhere. These are the runners I recommend more core work, strengthening work. Observationally you can see this with a high bounce in their pony tail. I would typically mark 5cm and 10cm on a treadmill and based on their trajectory on the video analysis, I could estimate what their bounce or vertical oscillation looks like. With the sacral pod, I was able to clearly see a 12 cm vertical oscillation on one patient and be able to graph it out.
  2. Stiff Runner – Increase cadence. Fast turnover and more steps per minute will help reduce overall joint reaction force. Sometimes I do coach these runners to bounce more, develop more calf strength to get some height to improve their turnover and efficiency.
  3. Compliant runner – Running form, strengthening, hills and sprints. You want to develop their skill as a runner: rhythm, timing and coordination. Loading it up is the best way to do this.

Sunday – I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I volunteer when I can to be a medical runner. While there were a few runners who stopped and slowed down with some concerns there was nothing like last year where a runner went into cardiac arrest at mile 9. For me, It was a test since my training wasn’t ideal. See – post about sacral fracture. I did it in good time as well!

Steady-State Cardio

What is it? It’s your easy to moderate run/walk. I use it for my long runs to help build cardiovascular endurance, bone and tendon strength. It’s a 6 out of 10 feel. It’s about a 65-70% of max heart rate

Here is chart to help you estimate your 50% to max heart rate from the American Heart Association:

What are the benefits?

  1. Endurance. It’s great to help build up your base endurance. It’s beginner friendly and super easy on your body.
  2. Recovery. Too many runs and too many workouts at a high intensity leaves you in a fatigued state which means high cortisol and limited resources for your body to recover. This puts you at risk for injury, especially overuse injuries – stress fractures, tendonitis,
  3. Builds your engine. Lower intensity, steady-state workouts helps build your cardiovascular gains. It’s the work that helps build up your body’s aerobic capacity, mitochondrial efficiency, bone and tendon capacity.
  4. Brain health. It’s great for sleep and boost your mental health. It’s a mood booster which can help your immune system, skin and digestive health.
  5. It can be social!

I did 90 mins on the treadmill yesterday at 130-140 bpm. Caught up on my (Nerd alert) Star Trek – Picard series and then pushed a stroller around DC for 5 miles with about 130 lbs of resistance. I’d say 70% of my runs are in this steady state. I enjoy the meditative aspect of it. Keeps my mood up which is so important for me these days.

Getting back at it

Consistency is better than perfection.

It’s been about a month since I slipped at the ice skating rink and fell hard. I mean HARD. Like felt it in my guts type of hard. Well, it took me out of running for about 3 weeks. I wasn’t very smart about it, because I tried doing a 5K the week after, which just made it worse.

This is not good, since I am training for the 50th running of the Cherry Blossom 10-miler. My 1st! Also, I am doing it as a medical runner. This should be the time I am ramping up my mileage.

Most likely, I fractured my sacrum. But it was stable. Able to walk okay. And there is nothing you can do about it except don’t fall again.

How I optimize my recovery: 1. Stress management, 2. Good nutrition, 3. Prioritize sleep. 4. Keep moving.

Bone/ Tendon/Muscle/ Ligament – all respond to stimulation. Not bed rest. Now, too much stimulation can be detrimental, but active movement, stretching, massage can all be beneficial to optimize recovery.

I did 6 miles yesterday. No pain. Hit my target mileage and felt good. I’ll do some short runs this week and shoot for 8 next Sat/Sun.

Photo by Brett Sayles on

Happy Monday

Treadmill running: I don’t hate it. I did a 5K on our treadmill this Sunday and was able to catch up on some TV. I admit – I am a Trekkie. I grew up watching the Next Generation. Huge Picard fan. I also tried the new Halo show. I never really played the video game, but I love some sci-fi, monsters, space travel.

Kept the pace low – 4.5 – 5.5 MPH

40 mins

KB swings at 40 lbs.

6 hours of yard work.

Working on making good habits: Drink more water, work out daily,

Congrats to all the Cherry Blossom 10 mile runners. I love seeing all the pictures and also envious.

DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon

DC Rock and Roll half marathon!

This was a well organized race with an excellent crowd and bands everywhere! I finished slower then what I planned, but those hills hit me hard. What I should have been doing: 1. More frequent weekday runs 2. MET strengthening to prepare for all those hills 3. not to cossack squats 2 days before the event. Lessons noted.

What next? Not sure. Thoughts? My deferrment from Marine Corp Marathon should go live tomorrow for October 2022.