So I was blown away by Brandon's recent blog post: "Are Your Shoes Holding You Back". Blown away. I think it's one of the best works this blog has produced. If you haven't read it, check it out, it's a slog but it's worth it.
The conclusion, as I took it, can be summarized as this:
It's not your gear, it's you, so don't focus on where it hurts figure out why you hurt
To add to that, why you hurt may not be why you think. Seldom does the pain point to the problem. More often, a problem in one area of your body causes the pain in another. We're all just one giant X of cords and muscles after all. Left affects right, right affects left.
Digging deep into the archives (we do have those, and they're great) I touched on that topic in my blog about Butt Running. In that case, pain in my calves was a result of weak glutes. Once I identified the problem and took corrective measures, my calf pain subsided.
I was sick for most of February. Like most of you, my first instinct when I was starting to mend was to try and start running straight away; to "get back into it". But that made my knee hurt. So less than 300 metres in I stopped, walked back, reconsidered my plan.
"Why is this the case? Why do I hurt?" I asked.
I could tell my body had tightened up over 3 or so weeks of basically no activity. So I fired up this Yoga routine from Youtube, and what did it show me?
It showed me that I was tight in places I couldn't even feel. And not only that, but when I dug deep into some of those unfamiliar poses, I felt tension in my knee exactly where I did as I ran (as well as other places). My groin, for example, was so incredibly tight in the poses, where on the day to day it gives me no issues (in any way ;-) whatsoever...giggidy).
My problem, then, is not my knee. It's the cables and cords and muscles that lead to my knees, and often from the opposite side of my body.
This seems self-evident in hindsight. Trust me, it is absolutely not in the moment.
And this was Brandon's point. The cause and effect in the body is not self-evident. Your shoes don't correct your bad habits, your weaknesses, or your discomfort.
My knee pain is not caused by bad knees. It's caused by weak and inflexible muscles elsewhere. It simply manifests itself as knee pain. A pain that I cannot hope to cure if I focus on only the source.
As such, before I run again I've implemented a purposeful strength and conditioning routine. If I'm to run pain free, I need the "non-pain" weaknesses to be address. Will I improve them overnight? Nope. But now that I'm aware of them I can work away, meticulous as ever, to get back to the goal which of course we all know is....
SLEEPING IN UNTIL 11!
No wait that's not the goal.
RUNNING PAIN FREE! #nailedit
I'd highly encourage you to take a spin through the video above. Take note of tight places, painful places, imbalances from left to right. And then focus on a plan to improve those areas. Your body will thank you, and you'll see improvements in areas you didn't know you needed to improve.
Here's to being pain free.