Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Running a "Difficult Wet-Dirt" Race?? Prepare like a Pro

As thousands descend on the sites of Spartan Races, Tough Mudders©, Warrior Dashes and races like them, we get questions about what to do to prepare for the week or day of the race. Here is what team  "SPARK It Up" is doing and you should too.

* Emphasize the importance of race-week nutrition and hydration.
Be sure to begin hydrating heavily at least 72 hours before the race. This means that our Saturday group should be drinking lots of water and limiting alcohol consumption beginning on Wednesday.

Make sure that you are properly loaded up with energy; a high fiber, high complex carbohydrate diet is a must. This should begin on Thursday and carry through to Friday evening.

A bowl of oatmeal and some fruit is a great race-day breakfast especially as you will likely not eat anything
again until the first rest stop. Fortunately, the folks at the Difficult Wet-Dirt Race© takes the worry out of in-race logistics: there is no need to bring carb gels or anything like that with you during the race. There are plenty of "refueling" stations throughout the course that have water, bananas and FRS chews. Use these resources and you will have all the fuel you need to complete the race.

* Gear check.
Make sure your sneakers haven't completely fallen apart. Make sure gloves are not terribly worn. Make sure your socks are adequately hole-less. Nothing is going to suck more than getting a blister or hot spot on your skin and have to run with that for 4-5 hours.

* Gear selection.
Most of us are set on the sneakers we want to use. Most of us have gloves we like. Other suggestions might include: leggings or tights, some form of arm sleeve or a top that will cover you completely. The only bad/painful experience we had in our race last year was being covered in fine sand after several of the crawling events and then having to spend time on our hands and knees in subsequent obstacles with a hard surface. That will tear your skin up QUICK!

* Run as a team.

This is not a race; it is a challenge to the finish. If you are fortunate enough to have trained with a team, then run with the team. If a teammate falls, be there to pick them up. If you want a challenge, do your work and the work that a teammate needs help with as well. If you need help through an obstacle use your teammates. Several if not the majority of the obstacles will absolutely REQUIRE the strength and ability of more than one person. Lean on each other and we will all be successful.
Race hard. Have fun.

Friday, July 13, 2012

A patient-friendly way to explain how the 'painful part' isn't always the problem. A Movement Econ analogy

So we are continually asked, "Hey, so how is what we're doing for my hips and my ankles going to help me? My knee is what's bothering me." Or, "When I went to PT before, they gave me a hot pack and used this sound machine to decrease my pain. Then they just gave me some exercises and none of it was as hard as this. Why aren't we working on those things?"

Well needless to say, this is not something we hear too far into treatment. After any real length of time our patients realize the method to our madness. That said, I find myself repeating a similar analogy that I find helpful and I hope you will too.

Me: Take a look at our door over there. It has three hinges. All of those hinges are in perfect working order and the door opens and closes just fine, right?

Pt: Right. Ok. So.

Me: So, let's say I remove two of the hinges. Will I be able to open and close that door?

Pt: Probably, but not for a long time.

Me: Right! It will open and close but after a little while that hinge will start to make noise, then it may loosen and once that process has started it won't be long before the entire hinge comes loose from the door frame and the door will no longer open or close at all. Makes sense, right?

Pt: Yes.

Me: So what might a person who doesn't know a bunch about doors say about this situation?

Pt: They would probably say you have to replace that hinge.

Me: YES! That's probably what they would say. Now, what would an experienced carpenter say about that door.

Pt: Replace the other hinges and the door will work better.

Me: Exactly. Now, there is still a problem with the bad hinge but until we address the what caused the this entire process in the first place we will not have completely addressed the issue. If the "fix only the painful part (aka: the obviously bad hinge)" method worked, you wouldn't be in PT for round 2.

From a purely academic stand point, this is just a way to explain regional interdependence (RI) without using those words. This construct of Movement Economics (our more patient-friendly concept of RI) we feel improves our pt buy-in and the overall therapeutic alliance.