Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Prevention versus Rehabilitation

Written By: Mark Dejohn

Many people often overlook incorporating regular bodywork when they begin a running program. Stretching, Active Release Technique (ART), massage and chiropractic all have incredible benefits that should not be disregarded. As we approach spring, and many of you will be increasing your mileage, or may even be taking up running for the first time, I want to share with you the difference between prevention and rehabilitation.

I know it’s difficult to be proactive when you are not in any pain and your running gait “feels” good. But consider the alternative: rehabilitation. Compared to other sports, running is less expensive when you consider the minimal gear required to participate. Until things go wrong. By ignoring regular bodywork, a cheap sport can quickly become expensive. Shin splints, patellar tracking issues, IT band and foot pain can all stop you from doing what you love. So how did you get here? And how did your great running program get sidelined?

Rehabilitation is not the preferred way to go but it is the most common. Here is what can happen during a Rehabilitation Program:
  • Stop running.
  • Treatments are more painful due to injured tissues.
  • Healing times are longer and frustrating.
  • Potential loss of sleep due to pain.
  • Changing your plans for the rest of the season.
  • Psychological issues like depression can set in.
  • Potential surgery with 8-10 weeks healing followed by months of physical therapy.
  • Expensive!

Prevention is the preferred route, so let’s outline some things you can do to keep running all season with great form and injury free.

First, learn how to do it. Sign up for a program like the Good Form Running clinic atThe Footzone. Running is more than just walking really fast. It takes good technique to run well and without pain.

Secondly, stretching is a key piece of your training that should never be ignored. Including a regular stretching program that is running specific will help you be stronger and have more endurance. I know we all have a friend who never stretches. Here’s why that’s a bad idea: tight muscles with a shortened range of motion simply cannot lengthen fully or contract with the power of a muscle that has full range of motion. Additionally the loads placed on the joints are increased due to the shorter range, and the joints wear out faster. The best time to stretch is after you have warmed up. However, you can stretch when you are cold, but you want to hold each stretch for a maximum of 30 seconds. If you are warmed up, try to hold the stretch for a full minute. Always stretch until you feel a pull, not a pain! If you feel pain when you are stretching, back off a bit. Try to make stretching part of your daily routine.

Active Release Technique (ART) is a soft tissue balancing technique where the provider and patient work together using specific protocols to treat the tight, stuck, or injured tissues. Runners around the world recognize ART as the go-to therapy for their specific sport. Unfortunately, I treat many people in my practice after they have pushed themselves too far, and have created an injury that could have been avoided if they had seen me before it became debilitating. Consider trying ART before you add too many miles of training. I provide video analysis for every runner who comes into my office. By shooting video I can see what is happening with your gait and set up a performance treatment plan to sort out running imbalances before they become major problems.

My performance running plan includes:
  • Two ART sessions per month to balance the load on your joints so you move efficiently.
  • Custom stretching program.
  • Video Gait Analysis with follow-up reviews.
  • Kinesiotaping.

Additionally, massage done on a monthly basis after a race, or a large training distance, can help flush your legs and get you back on your feet faster. Chiropractic is also a great tool to help mobilize the body. Sometimes joints get stuck and need a little push in the right direction. Seek out a sports chiropractor to make sure you are receiving the right care.
Prevention has its benefits, as you can see from the list below:

  • Keep running and improve your gait, strength and endurance injury free.
  • Treatments do not hurt; they feel great like a reward.
  • Healing time takes on a new meaning: “Rest and Recovery!”
  • You sleep great; regular exercise reduces stress so you can sleep better.
  • You can plan your summer events and actually attend them.
  • You will be in a great mood due to all those endorphins in your blood.
  • The only time you will see your orthopedist is at the store.
  • Not expensive. Priceless!

Now you know. Prevention is the way to go!

Mark DeJohn is an Active Release Techniques Provider and Instructor. He regularly does assessments at TheFootZone during the “Ask an Expert Series” on the first Thursday of the month. You can reach him through his website at or 541-948-0993.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

FootZone Half Marathon Training Group: Why You Should Join!

Written By: Caitlin Mastenbroek

Are you toying with the idea of running a half marathon this spring or early Summer? Has it been a long winter with limited miles on foot? Are you a person who does better running or training with a group?  Do you want to add miles to your running routine while being coached for safety and motivation? If you answered yes to any of these questions the FootZone half marathon training group might be the perfect fit for you.

The FootZone half marathon training group is a fun, energetic, educational and motivational experience that helps individual runners improve their abilities and reach new heights in their running routines.

What if I don’t have a running routine? This training group is not a learn to run class. It is preferred that runners entering the group have a base of 3-4 miles that they can run comfortably at least once a week. If you are not quite there, that’s OK! You still have 5 weeks to work your way up to it; one step at a time. If you have a more established base that is great! The benefit of the training group for you will be the commitment to the increasing miles and healthy challenges to improve your speed and techniques on the running course.  

My first experience with a training group, outside of organized team sports, was last Fall when I coached this group. I was honestly amazed at the beautiful friendships and camaraderie that developed over 8 weeks. For those who are “social runners” the light hearted chatting and encouragement filled the air with an energy that facilitated improvement and fun. For the more independent personalities I could sense their focus and determination to achieve their goals. Although these individuals were not very verbal on the course I know that being around other runners who could push them and give them something to keep up with was a major inspiration and key to their improvements. Training groups are a great way to meet like minded people with similar goals and interests. Many runners walked away from our first training day with contact info. to meet up mid-week for workouts.

When you sign up for this training group you will be provided with a detailed training manual that includes an 8 week training plan that incorporates running, speed work, cross training and rest. The manual is filled with information and definitions of running terms that will educate you in many areas of being a successful runner. On day one we will run a “magic mile” that will establish your pace. From here you will be assigned a pace mentor that will be your direct link to information, motivation and running tips. Your mentor will keep in close contact with you each week via emails; they will also be the person running alongside you on course. I will be your coach and look forward to helping every person in the group make this experience positive, uplifting and educational. I will be in contact with the group via email twice a week providing feedback and in depth information on the topic of the week. I will run the course with the group and it is my intention to provide as many running strategies and tips as possible to each runner I come into contact with along the trail.

The training courses will be a mix of trail and road. I am a trail junkie and love getting away from cars, however, with the unpredictable Spring weather in Central Oregon we may have to rely on the roads occasionally to provide a safe course for our training group. I scout trails and routes throughout the week. On Friday mornings I go out and mark the running course using reusable flagging on clothes pins. I am diligent about marking the course to the best of my ability, looking for any cross-roads or tricky areas to keep the entire group safe and together. The course flags will be pulled on Saturday by our last mentor off the course. So, for those of you who are on the fence about the training group because you might have to miss a couple of Saturdays you have the option of running the course before the group, either on Friday afternoon or early Saturday morning.

The training group meets every Saturday for 8 weeks at 8am at the FootZone store. Occasionally we will meet at a trailhead, but for carpooling reasons the FZ store is typically our meeting ground. When you arrive in the morning your pace mentor will be there to greet you, check in with how you are feeling that day, how your runs through the week have gone and to answer any questions you have about the course of the day. Each morning we will begin with a short 10 to 12 minute presentation from a local professional on a different topic related to running. This topic will be incorporated into emails and discussions throughout the week to offer more depth and personal investigation into the topic at hand. Examples of topic we will cover running nutrition, good form running, strength training for runners, speed work, injury prevention and care and so much more.  

Who is leading this group? My name is Caitlin Mastenbroek and I will be your coach; the mentors for each pace group are invaluable resources for runners as well. I love trail running, I work as a personal trainer and yoga instructor and am amazed everyday at the beauty and light that presents itself on my personal journey of life. I make it a priority to honor my body, learning from its whispers to avoid hearing its screams. A thought I am working with at the moment is, “Prioritize the cultivation of your highest potential” Unknown.

The FootZone half marathon training group is a wonderful opportunity for runners of all ages and speeds to come together and form community around our sport. Myself and the FootZone family make it a priority to express our love for running through reaching out to fellow runners, by offering up our knowledge and encouragement with the intention of making you a better runner. Whether you are a decorated racer or new to running I invite you to try our training group to improve where you are today and hopefully set new goals for tomorrow.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this training group. If you have any questions, concerns or would like to sign up for the group please contact me at or visit the FootZone website. I will get back to you as soon as possible. Gratitude!


Monday, February 11, 2013

Stroller Strong: Tips For Running With a Jogging Stroller

By: Angela Shatting

For busy parents, running with a stroller is sometimes the only way to stay active. It can be a lot of fun and a great work-out, but pushing a weighed down stroller also creates its own set of challenges. If the weight of the stroller sometimes seems like too much, you’re not alone. We’ve all skipped a run because loading up and pushing the weight just didn’t sound fun. Whether it be your body or the passenger that’s not cooperating, sometimes the stroller just stays parked. Running with a stroller takes physical and mental strength. Find your groove, stay strong, don’t be afraid to try something new and keep pushing!


Pace Yourself:

Running with a stroller takes a lot of strength and can take your run to a whole new level. Suddenly you’ll feel your biceps, abs and hamstrings more than ever before. Embrace the strength work-out and don’t get discouraged when you tack on some serious time to your mile. Remember, you have a lot of weight up front so slow it down and cut back on mileage if need be. Save your long runs for when you have childcare, you might be surprised at how light, care-free and fast you feel after running with a stroller! Give yourself a break, walk up-hill and don’t be afraid to walk/run in intervals. You’re out there, that’s all that matters!

Show Good Form:

You can practice Good Form Running with your stroller! Keep your core engaged and don’t rest your weight on the stroller. Avoid hunching over and pushing with your back. Keep your shoulders back and down with your chest open. Loosen your death grip on the handles (that’s what the emergency brake cord you are wearing on your wrist is for) and if pushing with one hand, alternate arms. Avoid injury by taking FootZones Good Form Running class and ask for running with stroller tips.

Get The Gear:

Leading brands like Bob, Chariot and Mountain Buggy make lightweight easy to maneuver joggers with shocks and fun accessories. If the price ruffles your feathers, you’re not alone! Bend has an amazing re-sale market on joggers. Get online or go consignment shopping and find a deal! A quality jogger can often be more comfortable for the kiddos and less bumpy. That just may make the difference in keeping you on your run longer. Trying to run with a conventional stroller just doesn’t do the trick, invest in yourself and get the three wheel jogger!

Safety First:

Buckle them up! Duh right? Wrong! According to a recent article on the website Suite101, 13,000 kids are injured in strollers every year and the majority of those are from unbuckled children falling out! Clearly, us Bend parents are smarter than that, but don’t forget Central Oregon elements. Blankets will keep them warm, letting you run longer! In warmer months, cover their exposed legs. Stroller shades often cover the upper body, leaving their legs and feet exposed to the sun during your run. Nothing like a sunburnt baby to bring on the parent guilt ‘eh! Keep the front wheel locked in place while running. Yes, it makes the stroller harder to turn, but it also protects the wheel from catching on an edge or debris and getting away from you. Plus, the locked front wheel adds a nice little core work-out every time you make a turn. Most joggers have a safety cord, use it! Keep it in your hand or on your wrist in case you trip, loose your grip or head down a hill.

Let The Negotiations Begin:

At some point your running buddy may decide that sitting in the stroller for an hour isn’t really much fun at all. So put the fun back in it. Agree to run to a destination like a park, the library, cafĂ© or a friends house. While they play, get in a nice stretch and some calisthenics (maybe other parents will join you)! Try giving them a fun snack or toy to keep them occupied for the ride. Finally, and most importantly, teach them that you need your exercise and by sitting in the stroller, they are helping you build strength and stamina. My daughter challenges me to run faster, picks points to sprint to and loves a good downhill.

Don’t Go It Alone:

Recruit other parents to grab their stroller and join in! Running with friends can be fun for you and the kids; and the added support and camaraderie is always beneficial. Take advantage of the extra eyes. Pick an open spot, park the strollers and take turns running sprints or hill repeats while your running partner does squats next to the strollers. No friends up for it? No worries, it’s Bend, we have stroller running groups!

Enjoy The Ride:

Pushing your stroller sets a great example for your child, builds strength and may be what’s keeping you sane throughout the day. Enjoy the challenge running with a stroller creates and keep getting out there. Your little ones are getting bigger everyday (you know, you’re pushing them), enjoy this time in your life and be grateful for your time together. Have fun with it, let go of expectations and be proud that you loaded up and headed out the door!

Reap The Rewards:

Enjoy your stroller free runs even more! Don’t take your usual stroller route when baby free! Find a trail, hill or new route that’s just for you. All your stroller runs are also a strength work-out. Without the stroller you’re faster, stronger and lighter. Celebrate all your hard work and have fun!

Angela Shatting can often be found pushing her two children in their chariot with the family dog in tow. She is a new addition to the FootZone crew and a long time runner and yogini.