As you may remember, if you have been following this blog, I finished my first Half Marathon last September and my first Marathon in October. While training for these two events I had developed an annoying neck pain and was seeing a Physical Therapist about it. It seemed to get worse after my longer runs including the Half.
A few days after the Marathon it got really bad. After seeing the Doc again he diagnosed Cervical Radiculopathy (Pinched Nerve). After an MRI, I was also diagnosed with Cervical Disk Disease between C6 and T1 and in my lower back as well. I was told I couldn’t run again as the pounding was just too much, at least not until after a couple of years of PT.
My PT changed with this new information and my Physical Therapist was convinced that my posture was to blame and not so much the pounding. After only four months, I was pain and numbness free. My posture is much better and I have been cleared to restart my running.
I started going to the gym a few time a week and spent 20 to 30 minutes on the elliptical and treadmill. I’ve been extra mindful of my posture and have had no ill effects. I’ve done a lot of research on proper form, core strength (as recommended by my Physical Therapist), and injury prevention. I’m developing a daily workout routine to incorporate these aspects along with continuing the strengthening exercises I learned while going to PT.
I also did a lot of research on shoes and narrowed it down to the Hoka One One and the new Brooks Transcend. I went to Fleet Feet of West Hartford, CT to get properly sized and have a gait analysis done. The staff at Fleet Feet was very helpful and knowledgeable. After trying different shoes and different insoles while having my gait checked for each one, the Brooks Transcend with my original insoles (Dr. Scholl’s Active Series) was what turned out to be the best for me. I also found out that I was wearing a half-size too small.
One thing I picked up on during the gait analysis was how much I heel strike. This is something I am looking to improve on. I’ve done some research on drills and techniques to stop heel striking. I’m sure this is something that contributed to my neck problems along with my posture.
So, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working out my workout plan and what works best for me. I plan on gradually increasing my mileage focusing on form while improving foot and ankle, core, and upper body strength while also maintaining good posture. I am going to try to only add miles after making sure I have correct form. This will be my plan for the next year. No organized races to goad me into training too fast. Next year, maybe, I’ll get back into racing.