This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend time with Jay Dicharry, Mark Cucuzzella, and Ian Adamson for their Healthy Running, Continuing Medical Education (CME) course. The course was held in lovely Laguna Niguel, California at Rausch Physical Therapy.
The weekend started with an 8 mile run through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which featured sweeping ocean and mountain views. After the run came dinner in Laguna Beach and very inspired conversations. The amount of running knowledge and passion in the room was even more amazing than the food. It was great to hear a variety of opinions on various topics and to get each other to challenge the status quo in running, endurance sports, and life.
Saturday and Sunday were class days focusing on: Anthropologic Basis of Running Training Principles, Footwear, Efficient Running Workshop, Assessing the Injured Runner, Medical Issues in Endurance Sports, and Assessing the Injured Runner Workshop. I won’t go too deep into the material in this post as I’ll be dedicating posts to the material. Instead, I’ll simply talk about the best, high-level takeaways I got from each speaker.
Jay Dicharry comes with a Master’s in Physical Therapy and is also a Sports Certified Specialist. He runs the REP Biomechanics Lab and works at Rebound Physical Therapy in Bend, Oregon. Before the event, I had read Jay’s book Anatomy for Runners and was a big fan of it. Jay has a way of crafting his ideas and arguments in forms that are easy to understand and undogmatic. My favorite takeaway from Jay was the phrase: “Not bad, just different”. What was meant by this phrase is that every aspect of running cannot be categorized into neat, tiny, little boxes with rules that apply for every person, every time. There is a range of strides, musculature, and body types. It’s not bad, it’s just different. For a while, I thought there was one ideal way to run and everyone should subscribe to that. However, I now look at it more as a spectrum of better ways to run that are healthier and more efficient. I also learned that when working with a runner it should be very holistic in nature. It’s important to get as many pieces of the puzzle as you can.
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella is a professor of family medicine at WVU, Lt Col in the US Air Force Reserves, owner of Two Rivers Tread in Shepherdstown, WV, and an elite master’s runner. Dr. Mark has proven himself to be one of the leader’s in the Natural Running movement as well as running science in general. He comes with a very rational, logical approach and he makes sure to enlist all resources available to him. One thing I noticed he has used a lot is studies from the past 100 years such as this one from Phil Hoffman, M.D.. The study makes a lot of great points, even 100 years ago. Many of these points we have gone against with common footwear for the sake of aesthetics. It is almost amusing to see how many times these researchers were correct and how it was skewed or ignored over the past 30 years. Dr. Mark is also a big fan of Steve Jobs’ quote “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards”. This for sure rings true for runners and injuries and we should work to use all resources available to us to connect the dots.
Ian Adamson is a M.S. in Sports Medicine, Director of Research & Education at Newton Running Company, 7x World Champion, 3x World Record Holder, and X-Games Gold Medalist. In short, he’s an athletic badass. Ian also has a great way of presenting that really pushes the envelope of learning. He prefaces his teaching by saying “challenge everything I have to say and find out for yourself”. He doesn’t want you to take everything he, Jay, or Dr. Mark say as truth. He wants you to take the information, do your own tests, and confirm it as truth in your own mind. It is thinking like this that helps all of humanity to learn more and evolve. We are constantly proving ourselves wrong every day and will continue to do so moving forward.
All in all, it was most likely the best weekend of my career thus far. I learned more than I could have imagined and was given a great list of further reading to immerse myself in. I was very impressed with the course, especially how the presenters carried themselves and presented their information. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on a lot of the topics with all of you in the coming weeks and months. If you have a chance to attend one of these courses, definitely do it! It is more than worth it and you get the opportunity to spend some quality time with the industry experts and all around great guys.
Always in Stride,