Monthly Archives: June 2011

Running to Fitness: Week 2

Last week I was introduced to the concept of Stealth Running by John.  I’ve often wondered whether I should be running at all given the high impact and force at which I hit the ground. This week we expanded on the idea that runners should be going gently on the planet.

I wasn’t expecting a discussion on physics in a physiotherapy session, however, that is what happened and it helped make sense of what was happening on the treadmill.  (Last week I made quite a noise on the treadmill and expending quite a lot of energy going up and down in the process).  As Force = Mass × Acceleration it therefore follows, the higher one’s foot is coming down to earth, the more force it’s going to exert on touchdown.  John showed me how to get a straight and bouncy spine:

  • Stand upright and take a deep breath in,
  • soften the ribs on the out-breath and reset the shoulders,
  • move the bottom and stomach back together as if standing at the edge of a cliff!
  • rock forward from the ankles and start to walk/run.

By following this routine when starting to run I’ve noticed that my weight is shifted forward and, to stop my self falling on my face, I have to run faster! Genius!  This gives me a forward momentum that I didn’t have before…that energy that was previously expending going up and down can now be transferred to travelling forward.

I practiced getting into this running posture in the session with John.  Just by jumping up and down in before and after positions I could feel exactly how much more bouncy I felt and how the impact was absorbed by the correctly positioned vertebrae.

I’ve been having a lot of discomfort historically on the right side of my neck in particular, but more recently with my shoulders.  The trigger for me to come to these sessions was that midway through a run I would get a really uncomfortable feeling underneath my shoulder-blade and I would have to stop.  In the first session, John had made a couple of adjustments that made my back feel great, but during the last 10 race I could still feel the shoulder (although I didn’t feel the need to stop).  This week, John freed up my shoulder by making some adjustments to my neck.

The following Sunday I had another 10k race.  I found this race really hard going and all my muscles, but in particular my calves, really stiff.  I felt that I was continually making conscious changes to my posture to try and run upright.  I stopped a few times during the race to reset as I was very conscious of tiring and running with bad posture.  Although I had stopped and started I actually finished the race in 54.19, which is my second fastest time!

Running to fitness

Hello, I’m Dave.  I’ve been running for a number of years.  Occasionally I experience neck and back pain, which, in the past, has put me off running for fear of causing damage. I’ve been a frequent visitor to the Chiropractor’s table but with little improvement to my condition.   This year I’ve decided to take a different tack: starting Pilates classes, regular massages and, on my massage therapist’s recommendation, sessions with John Stephenson at AAA-Physio. - Running Experts



My first session at AAA-Physio was an eye-opener and 2 things really stood out for me.  First of all, John asked me to mark on a diagram where I’ve been experiencing pain.  John noticed that when shading in parts of the paper I hadn’t bent from the waist to approach the drawing, but moved with my head and shoulder first.  This observation lead to John teaching me how to sit properly…

  • from a starting in a relaxed sitting position take a breath in wide
  • Breath out and let the ribs fold softly down
  • Maintain height through the crown of the head and draw the tail bone slowly upwards.

John pushed my back by the label in the back of my shorts to illustrate how to draw the tail bone slowly upwards.  I could really feel a difference in how comfortable my lower back felt and John demonstrated the difference in power in my arms in before and after sitting positions.

My second epiphony of the day was on the treadmill.  John wanted to see my running style and, at the moti clinic, was able to video my gait.  The overwhelming thing for John was the noise that I made thumping down on the machine.  Now, I’m 14 stone, and had always thought that quite heavy however John was been the first person to point out that 14 stone of me shouldn’t make all that sound.  In the video I could see that I spent a lot of effort going up and down.  John suggested that I try running using shorter steps and landing with my feet under, not in front, of me…  Stealth running.

The following day I ran a 10k race using John’s tips, ensured that I ran with switched on abdominals, and kept my neck and shoulders as relaxed as possible.  Despite it being a warm evening I ran a personal best (54.08).  I hope to improve this time with John’s help over the summer.  I’ll keep you posted on how I get on:)

AAA-Physio: Running client Testimonials & Feedback

Portrait John Stephenson HPC Registered Physiotherapist
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