In college, our workouts always included things like dynamic stretching, kettle bells sets and mobility. We were hungry, tired, needed to study, or didn’t see the point. We complained but we did the routines. Looking back, I’m thankful that we were “forced” to do the little things. Post college, not doing those little things are the biggest inhibitor to an athlete’s durability. No one wants to stretch, strength train, or roll out after they just finished a 6-hour bike ride. We want to lay on the floor and eat everything. Well, I paid the price.
Going into IMLOU, I had a major issue with my leg and was unable to get power from my stride. Dr. Steve Mayer, my good friend and training partner, tried everything to figure out and correct the issue. Muscle tests, MRI, nerve tests, massage, the whole workup. I wouldn’t have made it to the finish line without his help. But there wasn’t going to be a quick fix. After the race, he had me see a physical therapist at Northwestern Medicine, Lisa Gierczak. Her evaluation results were…not good to say the least. My torso is too rigid when I run, I have very little mobility in my thoracic spine, and my hips are misaligned and weak.
We immediately began working on flexibility, stability and strength. I have a series of planks, hip exercises and various stretches. They’re tedious and require an extra 30 minutes of work each day. But I’m 2.5 weeks through the PT course, feeling better and get to resume running tomorrow. I’m going to be stronger and more durable going into 2017 allowing me to train and race at my max potential. It’s clear that core, strength and mobility are not to be overlooked. They are little things that help make the big picture come together.