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"I hate running!" and other things I used to feel before I learned how to run

November 3, 2021

I used to hate running. I was a water polo player and swimmer my whole life! Nobody makes me sweat my own sweat! We had to run for what we called “dry-land” and I was always miserable. I got shin splints, back pain, plantar fasciitis and I was slow and inefficient. It wasn’t until 2010 when I graduated and started working as a physical therapist that I really learned about running, how to run and how to treat runners. I read the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and it really changed my perspective. I wanted to ensure I was using evidence to support my running and training so I attended various continuing education courses that focused on treating the injured runner or injury prevention in runners. Using this information I slowly started to change my running mechanics. I was a huge heel striker which is why I was having such bad shin splints and knee pain, so I shifted towards more of a forefoot striker. I used cadence, or steps per minute, to give me feedback for this. I started out around an average cadence of 156 steps per minute and tried to increase this about 10% at a time. This decreased the forces that were coming up from the ground and being dissipated throughout my entire body. It also decreased the amount of work the muscles along the front of my shin bone (anterior tibialis) had to do. After a good 6 months I had worked my way up from interval run/walking programs to running 6-7 miles with ease. My cadence has leveled out at a steady 175 steps per minute and my running is more economical, smooth and comfortable. In 2019 I successfully completed my first marathon and I can’t imagine my life now without running.

Not every runner has the same technique, what works for me may not work for someone else. Please see a physical therapist if you are having pain or difficulty with running. Let me customize a rehabilitation or running program that will improve pain, running economy and allow you to enjoy a long and comfortable training plan. Don’t let pain stop you from doing what you love