Sunday, December 5, 2010

UCSF RunSafe Healthy Runners Clinic

This month, for the first time in about 5 years, I was able to celebrate running injury free for a whole year. Last week, in hopes of keeping this trend going, I visited the UCSF RunSafe Healthy Runners Clinic profiled in the November issue of Runner's World.

Over a two hour period four specialists, a dietitian, podiatrist, physical therapist and orthopedic surgeon, run participants through a battery of assessments one-on-one. Then as a team they review your case and video of your form to discover potential causes of future injuries. In the wrap up of the session, they show you the video of your running form to identify muscle weaknesses and tightness that may result in injury.

The following day you receive (in my case) a 17 page document showing you the test name, the results for each side, the corrective exercise name along with a description and instructional photographs. In my case, the short summary is weak gluteals causing knock knees. I have 10 strengthening exercises, 5 stretching exercises and 3 things to focus on while running. Six weeks of strengthening and 12 weeks of strengthening and I'll be able to safely increase my mileage.

I was so excited to do this that I even took my November issue of Runner's World and asked the folks there to sign the article. And, that excitement was justified. The people who run the clinic are super nice. You just could not meet a nicer group of folks whose competence makes you trust them.  The writeup I received afterwards was a bit hard to understand because of the lack of information design, use of jargon (just looked it up on the web) and the resistance created by the fact that I wasn't prepared for the disconnect between what I was told at the clinic and the information in the document.

On a personal level, I had to work a bit to get over the additional resistance to being told that I needed to change my form. True, this is exactly what I went there to discover. I just needed some time to get over it and get on with it.

I would highly recommend this experience.  People fly in from all over the country to benefit. My sincere hope is that the information from the UCSF RunSafe Healthy Runners Clinic and my use of it enables me to run another year injury free.

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