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Olympic female runners
  • by Zac
  • 13th May 2019
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What Can You Learn from the World's Best Runners?

Even the world’s most competitive runners need help building better training habits.

Six years ago, I was working as a performance physical therapist at a sports performance facility in Dallas, Texas called EXOS. One of my first patients was a 27-year-old woman training to qualify for the Olympic trials in the marathon event.

She had a history of shin splints and various lower body injuries that were constantly interrupting her training and standing in the way of her dreams. Admittedly, I was nervous because she was turning to me to help with something so important to her.

During her initial evaluation we began discussing her training routine. She described all her runs, which consisted of various distances and paces, however it quickly became apparent that she was missing one crucial component.

She was not performing any cross-training. More specifically, she was not performing any training in the weight room!

When running she was  repetitively performing thousands of running strides every week consisting of similar ranges of motion and stresses to the body. Therefore, her body had adapted and stiffened into the ranges of motion that she used when running. After all, if her training routine did not require more motion, why would her body give that to her?

Weight training was essential to providing her body with a different movement experience. We used her weight training sessions to practice moving through a greater arc of motion that were vastly different than what she experienced on her runs.

Weight training also taught her lower body to better absorb the impact of running and handle the various stresses that occur over the course of a marathon.

Cross-training such as this is necessary for runners of all levels. If you are a runner and would like help designing your cross-training routine, we would love to help you!

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