Run Into Your Grave: Stanislaw Kowalski

If you’re a runner and you’ve been on Facebook in the last week, you’ve more than likely seen the viral video about the 104-year-old Stanislaw Kowalski breaking a record in the 100m dash as the oldest to do so. Rather remarkable if you compare it to the general 90+ population and what they do on a regular basis (Jeopardy anyone?). It makes one question what makes this possible? How can you defy old age and continue doing what you love?

http://gfx.dlastudenta.pl/photos/warto_przeczytac/warto_przeczytac_2010b/stanislaw_kowalski.jpg

http://gfx.dlastudenta.pl/photos/warto_przeczytac/warto_przeczytac_2010b/stanislaw_kowalski.jpg

Now, if you type in to google age-defying, or how to beat old age, etc there are plenty of so-called miracle cures, tips, and advice. Some have merit, others are most likely snake oil. I personally believe it comes from mentality and patterns.

Let’s look at the first aspect, mentality. Abraham Lincoln once said “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” I think this is pretty spot on in happiness and in a lot of cases, physical ability. Timothy Noakes has done a lot on the topic of  the central governor and the brain being able to control how long we can go at what speeds for endurance running. I believe that the central governor translates over to aging as well. You can be as active as you make your mind up to be. Yes, there are limitations and medical issues do come up, but in general, the responsibility is on each individual to keep themselves moving. The CEO of a company I used to work for said he “wants to run into his grave”. This is the perfect mentality for any runner and leads to entering old age in good physical shape with a quick mind. If you don’t use it you lose it to atrophy, which makes getting active again that much harder. It’s a slippery slope.

Pattern also plays a major role in how we age. It is pretty easy to fall off the wagon once you stop your healthy patterns. Recently, I took 3 weeks off after a year straight of training and racing to recover and rebuild. The first few days were a struggle and I missed my routines of working out but after 3 weeks I had grown comfortable having extra time in my day, not working out, and letting the diet slip a bit for holidays. The past two weeks have been a struggle getting back on the wagon and getting motivated to work out, however, I’ve started to hit the addiction stage again where I look forward to every run.

Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do”. Keep a strong, confident mind and maintain the patterns that are leading you towards health, vitality, and running into your grave one day;)

Cheers Stanislaw Kowalski!

Always in Stride,

Jack

Running Exoskeletons: Future of Sport or Rehab?

On my morning drive up the coast to work, I was listening to the Joe Rogan Experience with guest Zoltan Istvan. Zoltan is a transhumanist advocate and is intending on running for President on the platform. Interesting idea, but not quite sure it translates to an entire political platform. The part of the podcast that really caught my attention was that of exoskeletons. Recently, there has been increased development and buzz around exoskeletons crafted for the human body.

So what exactly is an exoskeleton? If you’ve ever seen the movie “Ironman”, then this is a good example of an exoskeleton and what it can do. The uses and features vary depending on the application, but I’m most interested in it as it applies to running. Exoskeletons are being developed that will aid a runner in recovery, endurance, and strength. This link from MIT shows an exoskeleton that acts as an artificial knee, increasing the endurance and power of the runner.

http://biomech.media.mit.edu/portfolio_page/load-bearing-exoskeleton-for-augmentation-of-human-running/

http://biomech.media.mit.edu/portfolio_page/load-bearing-exoskeleton-for-augmentation-of-human-running/

DARPA also is developing exoskeletons for the military in order to enable soldiers to carry more, run faster, and fatigue less. Essentially, human robots.

http://www.eteknix.com/soldiers-running-4-minute-miles-thanks-to-darpas-exoskeleton/

http://www.eteknix.com/soldiers-running-4-minute-miles-thanks-to-darpas-exoskeleton/

While this technology is rather rad, I think it brings up some interesting questions, potential problems, and a rethinking of the sport.

I see exoskeletons being really good for the following:

1. Physical Therapy – These devices can help patients relearn how to walk/run safely by allowing the body weight felt to be decreased all the way up to 80% off (similar to Alter-G Treadmill). This allows a patient to rebuild strength and the exoskeleton could also be used to relearn gait. It is my understanding that the exoskeleton can be programmed to help walk or run which could be extremely beneficial for someone who has decreased motor control as well as to teach proper running biomechanics.

2. Lifting Ability – There are a lot of back breaking jobs out there that can potentially put people at risk such as firemen, movers, construction, military, etc. The exoskeleton can help by taking the brunt of the weight so as to allow the moving of heavy objects more safely by less people.

3. Weight Transfer – The exoskeleton by DARPA has the ability to detect injury and weakness in the body and shift the weight accordingly. This allows for continued running despite fatigue and injury over long distances making for a safer sport.

I see exoskeletons posing a dilemma in the following areas:

1. Atrophy – We all know that if you don’t use it, you lose it. Example being astronauts who are not able to stress their tissues, muscles, and bones in space the same way they are able to on earth. As a result, they return to earth with atrophied muscles and bones that can very quickly lead to injury under the standard loading of gravity. If people become too dependent on running exoskeletons for movement, they may be unable to move themselves under their own power.

2. Running Records Dilemma – Lately, I have had a difficult time deciding what is “evolution of sport” and which is unfair advantage. It is something I think the endurance industry is struggling with in general whether it be EPO, Altitude Training, Supplements, or other types of performance enhancement. However, anything that increases performance, is indeed a performance enhancer by definition. It is a blurry line determining which advancements are evolution of sport, accepted as the new landscape and which should be illegal. Example carbon fiber bikes are far superior to steel bikes and are accepted as part of cycling now. On the other hand, EPO is illegal (which I agree with as I see the potential dangers). So who is to decide which is evolution and which should be banned? Where should running exoskeletons fall or will it be a new category? With the DARPA running exoskeleton, soldiers can run a 4 minute mile with a pack on. With those types of abilities the 2 hour marathon would be a joke.

3. Safety – With super-humans running around on their exoskeletons, there comes the issue of safety. Exoskeleton humans would have a huge advantage over non exoskeleton humans in fights, competitions, daily life, and many more areas. There would be a lot of responsibility with having a running exoskeleton and there would also need to be a regulation on the technology and how it is used.

I think the evolution of human movement is very exciting and there is a lot to look forward to in the future. As with anything we need to be cautious about how it is used and regulated. What are your thoughts on running exoskeletons?

Always in Stride,

Jack

I Think I Can: Jump On The Placebo Train

The mind is a very powerful thing as we have all learned by now. If you set you mind to achieve or believe something, then that will become your reality. I recently read a Steve Magness article titled “The Placebo Response- belief, expectations, and why it matters in the world of sport” that goes into the science behind the placebo effect, how it applies to running, and how we see it show up in modern medicine.

One of the areas that I see this most applicable is into training the brain into what we believe we are capable of. One of my co-workers from an old job talked about how he would do workouts at paces faster than he thought he could handle in order to “train his brain” to realize that these speeds were possible too. Magness calls out how coaches will lead their athletes to believe they are running faster than they really are on the track in order to convince them that they can indeed run faster than what they originally may have believed. This leads to confidence that they can now run these new times.

 

FreeDigitalPhotos.net Tom Curtis

FreeDigitalPhotos.net Tom Curtis

This coaching/training philosophy can be a dangerous road, especially if an athlete catches on. Then it can be confusing to know what to think/trust. However, in small doses I am a fan. My high school coach would play head games with me all the time and it led to my best times on the track, I loved it. However, for others it might lead to frustration and disappointment. The key is knowing your athlete and what they respond best to.

The main focus of the article is that if you believe in something, then that in fact is reality to a point. Whether it be injections, pills, copper infused garments, or any myriad of other methods or products, then to a certain extent it does in fact work. A positive mindset can make a big impact on your workouts and performances. Set your expectations such that it will lead you to your ultimate goals.

Always in Stride,

Jack

Retrain The Brain: Breaking Bad Motor Patterns

When it comes down to it, our brains can be just plain lazy. The brain will always seek the path of least resistance which works both to our benefit and disadvantage. It works to our advantage by allowing us to quickly recognize patterns and act accordingly. This is very helpful in split-second decisions and also whenever we need to go on autopilot. However, it can be a road block when we are trying to break a pattern or bad habit.

At the Rausch Physical Therapy & Sports Performance Lab that I work at, I see many people come through the doors with poor movement patterns that they adopted at a very formative age in life. The brain has become so accustomed to these poor movement patterns, that it is now all that it knows.

Breaking these patterns can prove quite difficult as the brain is not one to embrace change for something it has done for so long. I see this come up a lot in running gaits where people were taught how to run a certain way many years ago and have just kept with it. However, recent research has shown us that there are more efficient ways to run that can also lead to less injuries.

So this begs the question on how to break these bad motor patterns and establish new motor pathways in the brain? One of the best ways I have found is thanks to Podcast #59 by the Gait Guys talking about the motor pathways as it applies to running. Their suggestion was to change the run gait drastically in order to “wake up the brain” to a new pattern. When something is drastically changed, it becomes a new task that the brain must learn, so it pays attention.

One way that we get the brain to pay attention is by cutting the upper body out of the running equation in order to retrain the lower body. When the upper body is restricted by crossing the arms or running with your arms above your head, the brain recognizes this as a new pattern that it must work to learn. This allows the opportunity to retrain the lower body into healthier, more efficient motor patterns.

When using a technique like this, I recommend doing it in a controlled environment such as in an Alter-G treadmill where you will not have to worry as much about balance and coordination.

http://www.alterg.com/

http://www.alterg.com/

Always in Stride,

Jack

Before You Blame the Running Shoe

bomb24n-6-webImagine this scene. It’s a dark alley in New York City with the fog billowing up from the sewers. A city cop is talking to a distraught woman in running gear. She is in a lot of pain and appears to have been the victim of a vicious crime. The officer asks her “What’s wrong, what happened?!? It’s difficult for her to summon words and all she can stammer out is “injured…it was the shoes!!!” She then collapses to the ground in agony and the officer shakes his head in disbelief. It’s quite a stretch for him to imagine an inanimate object could do so much harm.

While the story above is a bit dramatic, it’s surprisingly not that far off from what one can see from a typical runner. They limp into a running store with their aches/pains with a shoe box and receipt in hand. They place the shoes down on the counter and say “I’d like to return these shoes please, they injured me.” When I witness this, I do an internal chuckle. While I do think some shoes are better than others (and some shoes can encourage injuries such as 12mm shoes;)), I find it hard to believe that a shoe, an inanimate object, is the sole cause of an injury. I find it far more likely that the person is injured because of their own shortcomings. With that being said, before you decide to blame an injury on your shoe, run through this checklist of other things that may have led to your injury.

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1. The Law of Toos

Did you break the Law of Too? Too much, too fast, too soon? If you do too much mileage, or go too fast, or do more than your body is capable of too soon, it will most likely lead to an injury. This can be semi-shoe related as there is an adaptation to all shoes, but it still is a user error.

2. Do You Have the Range of Motion?

Running requires a decent amount of range of motion to run efficiently and relatively injury free. The key areas to focus on are dorsiflexion and extension of the hip. Consult with a physical therapist to see how much range of motion you have and for ways to improve it.

3. What Is Your Injury History?

Most runners get injured several times of year for various reasons. However, when they switch shoes and encounter an injury, it all of a sudden becomes the fault of the new shoe. Seems a bit unfair, don’t you think?

4. Do You Strength Train?

Running isn’t just a sport where you lace up your shoes and go as many would like to think. It requires skill and drills to perfect the motion and decrease injury potential. Having a stronger kinetic chain will give you far more stability than any so-called “stability shoe”.

5. Do You Perform Your Running Drills?

Drills are an exaggerated motion to get to a desired motion. Practicing good running form can help to ensure you are running with a form that maximizes efficiency and decreases injury potential for your personal profile. Drills should be incorporated into workouts several times a week.

Drills-e1355724874560

6. Think Logically

What is it about the shoe that could have possibly “caused the injury”? It is a bit of a stretch to blame a piece of rubber, foam, and canvas for your injury. Think long and hard as to what exactly this shoe “did” to injure you. (I stay away from shoes above 8mm for heel-toe-offset.)

7. Look at Your Training Plan

If you don’t have a good sound training plan for your running, there is a good chance of getting injured. If your plan is to do a 25 miler everyday for the rest of your life, you’re most likely going to encounter an injury (unless you take many proper steps of build up). Make sure you allow to the body to recover and work in rest days.

8. The Big Picture 

Look at your life holistically and consider your sleep, nutrition, daily life, stress levels, medical conditions, genetics, and cross training. All of these play a part in your running and health whether you like it or not.

9. What Else is in the Shoe?

Some stores like to sell custom-made or over-the-counter insoles. With the exception of limited cases, I’m not a fan of these as long-term solutions. These devices could potentially alter your biomechanics and lead to injury.

10. Do You Have the Correct Size?

While the running population has gotten better at this, there are still a good many runners who refuse to change their shoe size, regardless of recommendations. A shoe that is too small can lead to injuries such as bunions, hammer toes, arthritis, and more. Make sure you have about a thumbs width in-between your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

FWRUNCOBLOG5

11. The Universe of Possibilities

This list could go on, but we’ll leave it at 11. The takeaway being that the running shoe is most likely not the cause for your injury. Be diligent about massage, strength training, range of motion, and drills and you will be able to eliminate a host of injuries.

Always in Stride,

Jack

P.S. Maybe it’s the shoe;)

10k-trail-fun-run-shoe-guide-300x192

 

Runners: Kings of the Hypochondriacs

I work with runners every day of my life and I love it. Runners are amazing people with great stories, amazing drive, and lovely personalities. However, runners can also drive me up a wall.

_ Hypochondriac Convention

Runners are some of the biggest hypochondriacs I have met in my life. They are very quick to self-diagnose their running ailments and limitations. Hang out on the floor of a running shop for a day and you’ll be amazed at the number of runners who come in saying they have flat feet, fallen arches, broken feet, bad arches, and that they need every ounce of stability they can buy. The amusing thing is that very few of them know what they are saying or if these “conditions” are even issues.

flat_feet_toon

However, I can sympathize with them. The running shoe industry, running shops, and running magazines have done a lovely job at feeding the neurosis of the runner. In college, I suffered a few injuries and thought to myself maybe “motion control” would be the answer. It seemed logical enough at the time, stop the foot from moving, stop injuries. This couldn’t be further from the truth (and luckily I never picked up a pair). Motion control shoes have actually been shown to cause injuries as opposed to preventing them. However, this doesn’t stop people from buying them and running stores from recommending them.

brooks-beast-anthracite_black_white

The neurosis is easy to play on and runners are über susceptible to marketing and nonsense. It sounds lovely to have a shoe that provides you with “cushion and support”, yet a lot of shoes that meet that description can cause more harm than good. In addition to shoes, profit margins can further be increased with the sale of insoles and injury prevention devices.

It is tough for the neurotic runner and runners in general to get the truth. There are research studies supporting anything you want them to support, media outlets pulling your attention in every direction, and so-called experts seeking to get you in that “perfect shoe”. At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you. For me, I go with the simple approach of what feels good and has the least amount of junk in it or attached to it.

My advice for the running hypochondriacs:

1. Stop using WebMD for every tweak.

2. Stop reading Runner’s World.

3. Avoid stores that think an insole is right for every customer.

4. Don’t take your best friend’s advice on shoes.

5. Keep it Simple.

 

Always in Stride,

Jack

Summits of California: Feeding the Soul

Since graduating college, I have not competed in any one event consistently. I have chased adrenaline rushes and just followed what makes me excited and happy. This has taken me to the 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ironman, and Ultra Marathon. So what’s next in my adrenaline chasing life?

I’m going to take a page out of the book of one of my favorite athletes of all time: Kilian Jornet. He is the only professional runner I admire these days. By age 25, he had won every major event that he had set out to. These events included top ultra marathons like Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Western States 100, and many more. He is one of the most decorated trail runners ever. So after he won every race he set out to, people asked: “are you going to stay on the circuit and keep winning?” His answer was simple: “Why?”

It is said that the core of man’s spirit comes from new experience. Kilian understands this well. After all these accomplishments he set off on a project called “Summits of My Life”. The point of the project being to summit and descend major mountains around the world at world record times. This year, I’m planning on doing something similar in California (most likely not at world record pace).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwusaZX6ofs]

 

My project is a spin-off, Summits of California. By this point, we all know how obsessed and in love with California I am. This project will give me the opportunity to further explore this majestic state and see her beauty in many forms. I have picked 5 major mountains in the state of California to ascend and descend as quickly as I can. There will be a YouTube Series, Blog Series, and book tied to this as well.

The five mountains are:

1. Mt. Shasta (14,179 ft)

Mount Shasta

2. Mt. San Jacinto (10,834 ft)

San_Jacinto_Peak_0675

3. Mt. Whitney (14,505 ft)

Mount-Whitney-at-Dawn-Sierra-Nevada-California

4. Mammoth Mountain (11,059 ft)

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5. Matterhorn Peak (12,285 ft)

matterhorn0029

These peaks range from the highest peaks in California to some more mild peaks. I have reasons for each of these choices that I will detail in later blog posts.

Happy 26th Birthday to me, 26 will be the best year ever, yet again.

“I am not afraid to fail, to get lost, to dream, to be myself, to find. I am not afraid to live.” – Kilian Jornet

Always in Stride,

Jack

What Do Your Actions Say About You?

Everyday is a Vote

Every second of the day, you have the opportunity to vote. You get to vote for what you want your life to be, how you want to spend your time, and who you are with. Think about it. When you get home at the end of a long work day, you have a plethora of choices before you. All of them say something about what really matters to you and how much willpower you have.

tony-robbins-quote

Simple Patterns or Goal Chasing, You Choose

Let’s look at the choice to watch reality TV. By making that choice, you are saying to yourself that reality TV is more important than any of your goals. More important than working on a six-pack, a Boston Qualifier, writing a book, catching up with an old friend, working towards financial independence, or being adventurous. Yes, it may seem dramatic, but how you choose to spend your time will determine your future. You can’t write a book by watching reality TV all night, every night. It requires you to sit down, write, and hammer out that book.

Remaining Conscious

This isn’t to say that every time you watch reality TV you’re an awful person and that you don’t care about any of your goals. It’s more to call attention to the importance of each decision and how it determines the trajectory of your life. We all could be more conscious during the day, thinking of how our decisions are shaping our lives.

It is difficult to be conscious of our decisions, but there are ways to hack our programming. Most humans have a tendency to fall into repeated patterns of action that are simple such as: watching TV, playing on a cellphone, or browsing the web. These activities are mindless and familiar.

japanese_commuters460-415x260

 

Hack Your Mind

To hack these patterns, write down what you want to accomplish each day in a notebook and keep to it. Plan out your day the night before, detailing what you want to do, hour by hour and stick to it. Writing something down is a promise to yourself, always keep those.

So what are your actions saying about you and your goals? Are you taking steps each day to achieve your goals or are you just fooling yourself and repeating patterns? Check out this YouTube video for some great motivation on the topic:)

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfLamzgWPf4″]

Quote – “Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.” – Tony Robbins

Always in Stride,

Jack

Top 10 Running Books & Novels for Inspiration

After 14 years of running, you could say I’m a bit of a running junkie. To add to it, I’m also a big motivation junkie if you couldn’t tell by the name of this website. I don’t care if it’s cheesy, I’m a bit of a cheese ball myself. In my spare time, I enjoy reading books on running that inspire me and motivate me. This list is my top 10 favorite motivational books. Feel free to comment with your own personal favorites as this is obviously not an exhaustive list.

1. Once a Runner – John L. Parker

There is no book out there that spoke to me the way that Once a Runner by John L. Parker did. The book is phenomenal. It is a fiction piece that focuses on the protagonist, Quenton Cassidy and his struggles with training, school, girls, and life. I first read this book in college and felt as if the story was about me (as I’m sure most guys my age did). Quenton puts himself through the “Trial of Miles, Miles of Trials” via grueling 400m repeats and a host of other tortuous workouts. Following Quenton is inspiring and exhilarating. Once a Runner will always have a special place in my heart as my favorite running novel.

once-a-runner

2. To Be A Runner – Martin Dugard

To Be A Runner is a very close second to Once A Runner. Martin Dugard’s book is a personal account of his relationship with running over the years. Dugard is very honest about his experience and delves into personal details that every runner can relate to. He highlights the high highs and the low lows. He lets you know that it is okay to have those off days, but gives you the motivation to get back out there. When reading To Be A Runner, I could hardly set it down it was so good. I highly recommend that you pick it up.

To Be A Runner

3. PRE America’s Greatest Running Legend – Tom Jordan

No running book list would be complete without a book that looks at the beautiful life of Steve Prefontaine. As the title says it, “America’s greatest running legend” taken too early from us, before his full potential could be realized. Cross country and track runners grow up on the lore of Prefontaine and strive to emulate that powerful passion and drive. Even many years after his death, Pre continues to inspire us to see our sport as an art form.

PRE

4. Run or Die – Kilian Jornet

In the steroid-era of sports, so many heroes have come and gone. They reach the pinnacle of the sport, only for us to find out it was a farce and that we have been duped. At this point, I only have one athlete I look up to: Kilian Jornet. In my opinion he is the most pure, amazing athlete that has walked the earth. Period. I love his spirit, enthusiasm, and passion. He simply loves trail running, mountaineering, exploring, and living life to the fullest. He has inspired me to embark on many of my own journeys because of what he has accomplished. Run or Die is a phenomenal read, especially the Skyrunner’s Motto which now hangs in my apartment. Pick this book up ASAP.

Kilian-Jornet-Run-or-Die1-280x421

5. Running with the Buffaloes – Chris Lear

Ever hear of Kara Goucher? Well, she has a ridiculously fast husband by the name of Adam Goucher who ran for the University of Colorado at Boulder not too long ago. Running with the Buffaloes is the story of his team’s championship season and the trials they endured to emerge as champions. If you have ever run on a cross-country team before, this book is a must. The bond developed between teammates is hard to explain, but Lear does a pretty good job at capturing that magical season for the Buffaloes. Read Running with the Buffaloes before your XC season and you’ll be rearing and ready to go.

Runningwiththebuffaloes

6. Bowerman and the Men of Oregon – Kenny Moore

You can’t have a list with Pre in it and leave out legendary coach Bill Bowerman. Bowerman is arguably the greatest running coach of all time. He was a student of the sport, pioneer, and one hell of a manly man. Moore’s Bowerman and the Men of Oregon gives insight into Bowerman’s childhood and what molded him. He was a modern-day pioneer and just might be “the most interesting man in the world”. This book was gripping each and every page and I loved it. A fantastic account on the life of Bill Bowerman.

Bowerman-and-the-Men-of-Oregon-9781594867316

 

7. Running & Being – George Sheehan

When I first picked up Running & Being in college, I will have to admit that I wasn’t a fan. To be honest, it was a little too “hippy-trippy” for my 20-year-old brain and I wasn’t quite ready to process the wisdom that Sheehan can give. Five years later, I absolutely loved Sheehan’s masterpiece of Running & Being. Sheehan is an amazing running philosopher and eloquently expresses the true meaning of running in ways many of us are incapable of. I now gift this book to friends and family, it is that good of a read.

sheehan

8. Why We Run – Bernd Heinrich

I did not discover Bernd until a Salomon Running YouTube video called “Why We Run“. Salomon Running and their videos have changed my life in so many ways and this video was no different. It led me to Heinrich’s book of Why We Run which is the perfect blend of running stories, evolutionary biology, science, and passion. With all those things combined it is pretty easy to strike a chord with me. He’s a brilliant man with a huge heart, definitely give Why We Run a read.

why-we-run

9. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

This book takes the cake for the worst titled book on the list, but don’t let that fool you! Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a great read, dipping into the psychology of runners and what makes us tick. He chronicles the highs and lows of his own running, my favorite part being the chapters about his ultra marathon where he found strength he did not know he had. I love books like this because I can relate to them so well and it just makes me happy to read them.

haruki

10. Going Long – David Willey

Going Long is a running novel put out by Runner’s World that is a collection of running stories that all of us can relate to. These stories will move you and motivate you and some will even bring you near to tears. Running is such an emotional activity and this book does a good job at providing a variety of running stories to tug at our heart strings.

Going Long

 

Remember, this is not meant to be an exhaustive, end-all list of running books. Please share your favorites so I have more reading material!

Always in Stride,

Jack

A Weekend with Jay Dicharry, Mark Cucuzzella, and Ian Adamson

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.

healthy

Healthy Running Clinic at Rausch PT

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.

MarysTrail9

Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

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

Jay Dicharry, MPT, SCS

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

Dr. Mark Cucuzzella

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

Ian Adamson

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.

Kevin Rausch, Jay Dicharry, Jack McPheron, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, Ian Adamson

Kevin Rausch, Jay Dicharry, Jack McPheron, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, Ian Adamson

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.

Healthy Running

Always in Stride,

Jack