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Should Mild pain halt training - sara
I am training for a half marathon and have developed a mild pain in my glutes that I also feel in my lower back on the same side. Do I need to cease training?,
reply - coach janet
Pain is your body's way of telling you that something is amiss. For that reason it's important to heed the warning. I tell my athletes to not ignore "whispers" from their bodies... if they do, often the "whispers" will turn into a shout (worsening symptoms). With that said, sometimes simple adjustments to training rather than a complete cessation is all that's needed. Address the underlying cause for the symptoms and back off a little while your body works the magic of healing. Often glute and low back pain is brought on by issues distant from the symptom itself -- things like tight calves, tight hamstrings, weak lateral core muscles, or even postural habits like prolonged sitting or wearing elevated heel shoes can irritate the low back and the symptoms often radiate into the glutes. Deal with those causative factors and make sure you're training at the right paces (most people push pace way harder than they need to). Hopefully the symptoms will resolve quickly if you address them quickly! Good luck on your half marathon - reach out to me if I can be of assistance. Best regards - Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1, RRCA-certified coach.
Training vs. Genetics - anonymous
How to know when you have reached your peak and will stop improving as a runner? I have seen female runners run similar times in 8th -9th grade. Then some stay the same , some improve by 2 minutes per 5k and others get worse by 2 minutes. The sad part is the ones who are the most dedicated are the ones who get worse. It seems that this is the result of talent and not training. Can someone really reach their peak at 15? Some say this will pass but these girls have not improved in 4 years despite training and trying everything. It is very depressing. How much of running ability is talent and how much training or dedication?
reply - Coach janet
That is a tough question! Make no mistake about it - how you pick your parents is important, but so is training, nutrition, mental preparation and physical maturation. How much of performance is the result of one aspect or another I don't think has been conclusively determined, but studies done on twins has estimated that 30-80% of performance is determined by genetics. (that's a pretty broad estimate). Here's my thought - if a young runner isn't improving, step back and look at as many aspects as you can - their life stress (home life/school life/etc), their nutritional status (are they starving themselves trying to maintain a certain body weight?), and also their training (quality as well as quantity, pacing on different training runs, etc). If the athlete is healthy and life stress isn't an issue - look at the possibility of changing the training patterns - include a bit more strength work or perhaps tweak the speedwork session. Different stresses will result in different adaptations. Remember that performance improvements are incremental and often do not follow a linear pattern.
Sorry I couldn't give you a conclusive answer to the nature vs. training question but I don't think there is one.
Best regards, Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1, RRCA Certified coach
9 year old with a 17:15 5K? - Donald
My grandson is nine. He will be ten at the end of December. He's average height for his age and says that he doesn't particularly care for running. The thing is that he just broke the school record for a 5k. He ran it in 17:15. I'm pretty sure that this is not common as my best time for the mile was 5:46. Am I just a proud pawpaw or should I try to encourage him.,
reply - coach janet
Make no mistake - that's an exceptionally STRONG performance for anyone and especially a young adolescent that says he really doesn't care for running. He's clearly gifted and it is unforuntate he doesn't really like running because it's clear he's got some real ability. What does he enjoy? Most young people go through phases where they are into something for a while and then the interest fades and they shift to the next "thing". Perhaps is there a coach at his school that he likes? Maybe discuss with them the options for encouraging him without pushing him into something he's not really interested in.
You have every right to be a proud pawpaw! He ran a great performance! I'd say just let him know how proud you are and tell him that the time he ran is outstanding. Perhaps when he realizes that he would likely rank Nationally with that time he'll realize just how gifted he is. Best of luck but even if he never takes up running competitively - you can still be a proud pawpaw!
Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1, RRCA certified coach
Running Aches in foot - Kim
The longer I run the more I start to develop what feels like a pressure or lump at the front bottom of my foot. Is this due to weight distribution, or running shoes or something else? When I stop running and walk for a distance, it disappears and then comes back after another couple kilometers
Reply - Coach Janet
Hi Kim, the way you describe your symptoms makes me think you may have something called metatarsalgia. That's a big word for pain the forefoot region where your metatarsal bones link up with your toes, right in the ball of the foot where the toes bend. Sometimes a runner will describe the symptoms as feeling like their sock is bunching up. Other times the symptoms are more distinct and painful. Either way, here's a couple of interventions to try to address the cause of the issue:
1. Stretch your calf muscles several times a day. Be gentle but consistent. It's more important to stretch often than it is to stretch hard.
2. If your shoes are getting a bit old - go ahead and replace them. If you've had good luck with the current make/model of shoe in the past, you can go back with the same one but if this is the first time you've run in this make/model of shoe you may want to experiment with something different.
3. Make sure you are warming up well with some walking before you launch into your run, and respect the pace... majority of your running should be at easy/conversational paces.
4. If you wear dress shoes to work - try to transition out of any shoe that has an elevated heel. That position really loads your forefoot and may be contributing.
Hope this helps - feel free to reach out to me directly if you have questions. Best regards, Coach Janet Hamilton, MA, RCEP, CSCS, USATF-level 1, RRCA Certified coach
"We are undefeated coach! We prepared for 5 marathons together and we set a PR every time!"
Paul S (NY)
"Janet's education, experience in patient care & as an educator give her a credible resume for advising runners. More importantly to me, she is able to reach out and see where I need a boost - nutrition, race day preparation, etc. She is intuitive in reading my running log and tweaks my training accordingly. I have worked with Janet for several years and I have been injury-free while snagging half marathon PRs."
Over the years my running goals have evolved, and, thanks to Janet, I’ve achieved them all! Janet’s background in physical therapy and biomechanics was invaluable to get me back on my feet after a bad hamstring injury. Janet uses her knowledge of the latest scientific evidence to optimize performance. With Janet’s help, I’ve reached the podium for races from the 5K to the marathon and qualified for Boston. Most importantly, Janet has a positive, supportive coaching style, and is a pleasure to work with!
Kathrine T (GA)