The Hamstring Saga Continues
By: Chris Kimbrough
After reading Carmen’s article about running biomechanics in the latest issue of Austin Fit, I realized that I’ve been lazy about my own form. I just haven’t paid enough attention to it in the past year or so. I tend to just go out and run in a way that feels natural and therefore let the little but important biomechanics slip by me. I guess I just get complacent and think I’m running just the way I run. Things work okay, and I get minor tweaks here and there, but nothing has me sidelined for more than a few days at a time. I’ve been very fortunate over the years.
My concerns about my running form were re-inforced after I talked to A.J. Zelinsky of Advanced Rehab. Most runners know AJ – he shows up at many big events eager to help people recover and stay healthy. He has seen me run many times over the years. Back when I trained for the Olympic Trials, he helped me stay healthy. I spent some time last week talking to him about my running form. We covered topics that I’ve been taught in the past but haven’t applied lately. A.J. also had a few insights that were new to me.
I think the biggest biomechanic problem I have in my running form is an anterior pelvic tilt. This body positioning increases the tension in my hamstrings thus causing the muscle to shorten and tighten. There are a lot of exercises that you can do to correct this tilt. Even being mindful of the issue while standing and sitting is so important. In the past couple of weeks, I’ve tried to master these exercises – it’s been very difficult. It’s hard to teach your body to do something that seems so unnatural to it. One thing that AJ said was that going through childbirth multiple times may have contributed to the instability and difficulty I have in tilting my pelvis. What’s interesting to me is that the hamstring pain is 90% in my right leg, but my right hip is more stable and stronger than my left hip. The other issue is that I tore my posterior cruciate in my right knee in college playing basketball. I remember my surgeon telling me to always make sure that my hamstring was stronger than my quadricep because all I had was a string left for a cruciate. So maybe all of these factors are contributing to my problem. I think my right hamstring takes a lot more abuse than it should. I feel confident that I can make some changes that will help. I’ve been working on my stabalization exercises again. I want my left side to feel as stable as my right. I find it very interesting that there is some disparity there that is obviously noticable.
My two cents: stabilization and core strength are keys to running healthy! Now, time for Cap 10K!