Running Part 2
Running in Proper Form
Hoddle states that the most important thing for a runner to have is good body balance. “If a prosthetic limb is not designed correctly, the person is going to have problems all the way up and down the body. It doesn’t matter what workout I give you as an amputee, if your body is not aligned, then you will be hurting all the time, and running is not going to be a lot of fun. Often times you’ll see problems crop up in the SI area.
“The second important thing is joint range of motion (JROM) in the shoulder girdle and the hip girdle. If you are standing and you have your hand on the wall and I have you kick leg forward and bring it back – how much of a JROM do you have in your hip? Then I’ll have the athlete face the wall and do leg swings back and forth. Is the JROM the same on both sides of the body or do you have one side or one hip area that is locking up? That causes a lot of problems and I see this with amputees as well as NFL players. The solution is you have to work on it. In the USA, we are fixated on static stretching; that’s not going to solve the issue. The issue is you have to work on JROM through specific exercises.
“Third is the mental aspect and that is huge whether you are an able-bodied runner or a runner with disabilities. Because it is so interconnected with the physical, if you don’t have your mental house in order, it’s hard to be successful,” he said.
Hoddle uses five words for success: vision, focus, persistence, discipline, and commitment. “Any aspect of your life, even in the business world, you can apply those principles. Athletes today may not have the upbringing or the coach that taught those skills, so it’s something that really needs to be addressed and not taken for granted,” he said.
When it comes to training, Hoddle emphasizes quality vs quantity. “Whatever the workout is, there needs to be a reason for it, and if you can’t figure out a reason for it, you shouldn’t be doing it. Secondly, you get out and get the job done and move on. Time is valuable and precious to people and more isn’t better.”
“I’m a firm believer in time management. If you don’t practice it, you won’t survive,” he said. “If you are a Paralympic athlete, are you going to squeeze an hour and a half practice in or are you going to block a time that is set, so that you are totally focused and ready for a quality practice session. If you fail to plan, you’ll plan to fail. Even for a recreational runner, are you going to go out and squeeze in your run or are you going to say, hey this is important for my health and it’s going to be a priority. I am going to set aside FOCUSED time. So set a 24-hour plan in place (86,400 seconds in a day) that will structure your life, like brushing your teeth, showering, eating breakfast, and training. I think that is really important.”
When running, Hoddle said the foot needs to be dorsi-flexed. “You want to cock the toe up and muscles need to fire sequentially. Muscle A needs to fire to muscle B, then muscle C. If you aren’t firing muscles sequentially when you are running, you are setting up a recipe for injuries.”
Training Beyond the 5K
Hoddle had pointers for runners who want to transition from casual to competitive.
· Get a coach who is knowledgeable, who is a tier up in the coaching level.
· Sign up for runs that have more intense competition.
· Invest the time. An elite runner will be running far more than the recreational runner.
· Be active five days a week and add swimming, biking, weight lifting, or an elliptical trainer, to your fitness routine. Seek out a professional who can give you sound advice on what the best activity is for you.
· Don’t overtrain. “Proper sleep, good nutrition, and being relaxed, those things are just as critical as the workout,” he said. “You can do great workouts, but if you are only getting four hours of sleep a night or you are stressed out, then it’s not going to work out for you.”
· As you get closer to race day, don’t start changing your training. Be consistent in your good nutrition, sleep and continue to work on your mental part.