>General Running>Form change and some PT - could it really be that simple?
OK I have been a runner for 25 years and admittedly haven't paid much attention to my form at any time. I also have been running with general soreness if not pain variously in my knees and hips and lower back. Usually low level soreness a 2 or a 3 out of 10. Sometimes a 4 or 5. I once ran a 5 mile XC race on a pulled hamstring so it didn't keep me from missing any running. I had some doc look at my right hip once at a free presentation 15 yrs ago, after he did and heard how I did it he said well you probably shredded all the cartilage or whatever in there and thought it just was arthritis I would deal with. I've never had a very high peak but have been reasonably successful/fast for a long period of time.
Then accidentally I came across a video of the one 5K I did last year and saw myself come through the checkpoint past the mile mark (I had gone out in a stupid 5:29 but broke 20). I only recognized myself from the race #. My stride looked awful! I was bouncing high in the air, it didn't seem strong, and I bet I had twice the amount of motion of all parts of the body as anyone I was running with. It looked awful! I hadn't seen myself on film since high school, the way I looked on that video I would have been laughed off the track.
First I tracked my stride on my treadmill before it died. I am 6-3 and have a long stride. I was at 150-152 strides a minute at an easy pace and not one thing I read said that was good, plus I noticed that I was doing the not good thing of full leg extension and jarring my knees on landing, especially on a downhill. So I decided to try out mainly shortening it, and after a lot of concentrating I had it in the high 160s/minute and my arms also didn't move anywhere near as much.
After reading here and a lot of other places I consulted my friend, a PT and a former 4-teens miler. "Yeah your form is lazy and terrible." I also finally broke down and saw him for PT as my hips were so bad after a hockey game I couldn't get out of bed. All my hip Xrays were perfect...bones and what tissues I guess they could see looked fine. In a 15 minute eval PT friend found just about all my injury history spots in the form of weakness/tightness and we're now working on it. I have gone from zero degrees of internal rotation in my right hip to 11 (avg is 40 or 45 deg). I ran with him a few weeks into my experiment and he said "looks much better." Going to do a few more weeks of the PT plus some assigned stretches at night.
Anyway, with no other changes I have noticed the following:
1. Not sore right after run and only a bit sore the next morning if I ran hard....and not in the hips and knees anymore.
2. I am able to build my mileage again, I'm finally back over 30 mpw
3. Most curiously, my times all suddenly got 20-30 seconds per mile faster. When before I'd be putting in a pretty hard effort to run under 8/mile today while holding back I did 6 on a hillier course at 7:43/mi. Its thrown me off on guessing how fast the run is as I finish (I don't look at the watch during) but its a great surprise....day after day I underestimate when usually I can guess within 5 seconds/mile.
4. I feel much better. In fact its been several years since I've felt this good.
Just wondering if anyone even with the amount of experience I had has ever had something like this, almost an epiphany and can explain to me. Or maybe someone else reading has similar issues and gets something out of it! Its just really curious and the best thing that's happened with my running in a long time. Any thoughts?