It is often said that to accomplish your goals it takes hard work and dedication this was definitely the situation for me this past weekend at the Umstead Marathon in Raleigh, NC. Completing this race was a big goal for me and I am so glad to have done it. Going into the race I knew the most challenging part of the course was going to be running up the hills; this course had A LOT of them! I know for me as a runner, when I run uphill I tend to loose my running form, and arch or extend my back. When this happens I end up using my left hip flexor muscles instead of getting a good push off with my gluteal muscles. To help me maintain proper form when running up the hills, I incorporate Postural Restoration into my training. Here are some pictures of me during my warm up before the race.
I like to use the PRI stance before starting my runs. This dynamic activity helps me achieve proper counter rotation position of the hips and shoulders for the left stance phase of running. This activity helps me isolate my right Gluteus Maximus muscle, which is needed during the right stance phase of running to help me get into proper left stance position. It also helps me feel my left lateral abdominal muscles, which help stabilize my trunk during running. These muscle actions targeted during this activity are critical for maintaining efficient posture when running up hills.
Another Postural Restoration activity that helps me is the PRI Squat. In the clinic, I use some props to help support my technique, but I had to improvise! This great activity helps me engage muscles from my legs and hips, my abdominals and shoulder and back muscles, but most importantly it makes me use my diaphragm muscle. Holding this position, while breathing in a rounded state gives me a point of reference for when I am running and start to extend my body. I will then try to take some deep breaths out to re-achieve rounding, this brings me back into improved breathing and a balanced running posture.
Even at mile 26.1 in the race, efficient running form was still the goal. Notice that as my right leg is coming forwards, my left arm is coming forwards. Conversely, as my right arm is going back my left leg is going back. These are the hallmarks of achieving proper counter rotation during the left stance phase of running.
Here I am after the race, 26.2 miles in 3:35:10. It was a successful race venture. I finished the race tired but without injury. My training involved hill work outs, long and short runs and cross training; all with Postural Restoration sprinkled throughout.
You can learn more about using Postural Restoration for running by viewing our Postural Restoration Running Program. There you can find other PRI links and resources.
Thanks for reading,
Matthew Harwood PT, DPT, OCS