Winter Track #3 Shock attenuation

ImageEmerging from my warm car into the darkness, strapping the headlamp on, the rain drops begin. I get a text from Rikki “are we still on?” We are.

I warm up barefoot on the astroturf, at the high school track, joking with Orla (a friend from the auld sod) about Irish weather forecasts: sunny spells and scattered showers (and still it rains for hours and hours). Dawn rises and the familiar landscape of naked trees with streaks of layered grey clouds in the background, dashes of green fields framing the view beyond the track. This bittersweet western Atlantic winter weatherscape is moulded deep in my bones. I have flashback memories of learning to “golf” in the damp fields behind my convent school: whacking golf balls over the ditch from one cow pasture to the next, while our “team mates” collected them and whacked them back to us. We laugh, and warm up with movement correction drills. A skips, B skips. Becoming smoother. 

We play with our running cadence, listening to the increased heel strike force at the lower cadences, popping into higher turnover to keep up with the iPhone metronome beeping out a steady pace in the early light. I give cues, they listen, their feet getting lighter and lighter as the 200’s progress.

Recapping from the running analysis course this weekend in Toronto, I discuss the concepts of stress attenuation in running, and how alterations in footwear, cadence and running technique can reduce forces on the body. We discussed  how appropriate training and footwear alter tensile, elastic and contractile elements, and were fascinated by the amazing capability of the running body to adapt with appropriate “Mechanical Stress Quantification.” Blaise, the course director, and an expert both in running, training and rehabilitation, elucidated this wonder using an example of a Swiss PhD study. These *scientists* investigated a sample of women running while not wearing sports bras, measured pre-intervention resting nipple height and breast jiggle while running, and set them off on a naked running training program. After only a few weeks, they observed  significant adaptation to training with resultant improvement in both boob jiggle and elevated, i.e. perkier nipple resting position. Not so surprising that the tissue adaptations we spoke about, in the posterior chain, the feet, the mechanical stress kinematic changes, also continued up the kinetic chain too.. We recovered from the 400’s laughing hard, and challenged each other to test the hypotheses.

While my track group have cadence drills to work on this week, we resolved to leave the naked running for warmer days ahead.. (or maybe not.. see you at the track!)



About sineadpt

physical therapist, PhD candidate, bike fiend, swim nut, run loony, multisport athlete, bike fitter, coach, general life enthusiast
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