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Reluctant runner

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
My trainer wants to make a runner out of me. I agree the cardio benefits can't be beat, but the impact brings on Sciatic inflammation. This requires me to reduce all activities, until it goes away. Both my trainer and her superior say that this problem is manageable (they speak from personal experience and are highly qualified) with gate analysis & improvement and also correct shoes & orthotics.

Is this going to work? I can rollerblade and bike, so why go though all the trouble?

Michael
post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
Is this going to work? I can rollerblade and bike, so why go though all the trouble?
I wouldn't.

One of the issues of training is sustaining an activity over time, and you have a much better chance for success in a particular area if it's doing something you enjoy, and can also benefit from. Typically if it's just "work", people don't stick with the activity over time.

If you enjoy blading and biking, stay with that and increase the frequency and/or distance, if need be.
post #3 of 22
>>My trainer wants to make a runner out of me

the question is why does your trainer want to make a runner out of you?

is the running meant to be cross-training for skiing or because you have the potential or desire to be a great runner.

i do a lot of middle (& some longer distance running) & fitness skated quite a lot a few years back (until a rather serious injury and work demands) nixed my time for it and aside from the cardio aspect, for the most part the muscles you build up in running are completely different than the ones you use when skating. when i was really into the skating thing, i did squats, leg presses, etc to build up explosiveness and endurance and it adversely affecting my running (my quads and hamstrings got huge which just meant more weight that my legs had to carry each mile).

if you want to cross-train for skiing, skating would be more beneficial than running. even more so, if you're experiencing lower leg/foot pain...
post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlterEgo
>>the question is why does your trainer want to make a runner out of you?

is the running meant to be cross-training for skiing or because you have the potential or desire to be a great runner....
Well, its a long story. A year ago I was 250Lbs and did not have any fitness regime. 8 months ago I started a 75 minute elliptical & weight training program. Combined with diet, I lost 35 Lbs. I added Rollerblading; got up to 30 miles a week by skating 2 or 3 times a week.

Then I added running, this caused a mild sciatic episode, then winter came; no more rollerblading.

She feels that running will give me some much needed cardio workout that I'm currently not getting.

So I guess I'm looking for an intense cardio workout, 40 minutes, every other day.

That's my story,

Michael
post #5 of 22
My question is, why would a trainer who knows that you have sciatic inflammation want to make a runner out of you?: Every high impact move exerts a force of approximately three times your body weight. Since disks are major shock absorbers, and you already hyave some disk damage, this makes no sense.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just to add more info; while visiting the Green Mountain Orthotic Lab, it was determined that i do have a stance issue, possibly related to a broken ankle 6 years ago. The ankle is fine, but they added a shim under my healthy leg to equalize the length of my legs.

This problem might be reducing my ability to run.

If all of this can be remedied, i would be willing to change my gate and footgear so that I can run.

Thanks,

Michael
post #7 of 22
I wouldn't take up running if I were you (but, of course, I'm not). I would use an elliptical (especially with sprints), swimming, and other low/no impact aerobic activities. I see no reason to beat my body with the pounding of running. I may do sprints on the grass in the park, but that's about it...
post #8 of 22
All the posts are right. Having nursed my husband through spine surgery for stenosis resulting in sciatica, I can guarantee you that you do not want to exacerbate the problem with running. there are lots of good, strong aerobic workouts you can do. Stair climber, Eliptical, Rowing machine will all give you a great workout. You can still correct your stance issues without running, especially if you are carrying extra weight. It's just irresponsible to suggest it. My humble, but very, very strong suggestion is, if you insist on exploring this question, ask an orthopedic doctor, not your trainers - or us.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrettscv
The ankle is fine, but they added a shim under my healthy leg to equalize the length of my legs.

This problem might be reducing my ability to run.

If all of this can be remedied, i would be willing to change my gate and footgear so that I can run.
studies show that the majority of people have one leg which is slightly longer than the other. it's usually not an issue for most individuals but it seems like with your earlier injury and perhaps maybe your leg difference is larger, it's a problem which corrective footwear could fix. however, given that you've had a bout of sciatica my recommendation would be to refrain from running and at the very least, it should not constitute the bulk of your cardio workouts.

if you really have an urge to do incorporate running into your regimen, limit it once per week and keep mileage at a minimum. your fat-burning mechanism kicks in after ~18min of continuous exercise where your heart rate is at between 60-75% of max (for your age group).

i would recommend that you stick to the bike or use an elliptical cross-trainer as your primary cardio workout. this can be supplemented with rollerblading when it gets warmer. as you shed the extra weight and you approach a more favorable lean body mass/fat ratio you can think about incorporating some running into the program, provided that your body doesn't painfully object.
post #10 of 22
It sounds like they'd have to build something like this to get you to run safely.


Bah, I say. (I might, just might reconsider if your gym has a padded track, not just treadmills)

Find a hockey-sized ice rink is my $.02. Yes, I, know, no hills, too bad.

BTW Slideboards beat bike rollers any day.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex
It sounds like they'd have to build something like this to get you to run safely.
.
LOL

Yes, but then I'll need to do something about my broken neck!

Michael
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh
I wouldn't take up running if I were you (but, of course, I'm not). I would use an elliptical (especially with sprints), swimming, and other low/no impact aerobic activities. I see no reason to beat my body with the pounding of running. I may do sprints on the grass in the park, but that's about it...
+1.

Look, if you wreck yourself running you'll soon be doing nothing again. Don't do it. Swimming sprints will give you plenty of aerobic activity. Use a stationary bike, rowing machine, elleptical trainer, or similar.
post #13 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well, no doubt and no running for me.

I've several fitness priorities and I'll just have to get my cardio workout on the elliptical in the winter and then on the rollerblades and bike, weather permitting.

I think I'll concentrate on weight control, strength training and flexibility in the winter months. Come March I'll move cardio fitness to the top of the priority list and resume the rollerblading & biking on a regular basis. The kind of activities I enjoy and that also provide a good cardio workout are only intermittently available in the winter months.

No reason to incur injury while trying to run.

Thanks,

Michael
post #14 of 22
Let me add to the mix: I am a 52 yo male with a history of L5-6 disk disease, partially torn mcl left knee, and chondromalacia in both knees. Furthermore, I am a veterinarian, and consider myself a "student" of various human orthopedic problems. I run 2-3 days a week (ranging from 20 to 60 minutes), during the summer I bicycle twice a week (20-30 miles), do minor dumbell routines, and ski as much as I can. I have found that as I get older, my running has gotten a little slower and less intense, but if I don't run, then my back and knees hurt me more. It is possible that your sciatic pain is more biomechanical than disk related. With proper shoes (go to a good running shop where they can evaluate your gait) and warmup/warm down exercises, you may be able to run comfortably and maybe enjoy it. Of course, your spine should be cleared medically: go to an orthopod, then also go to a good physical therapist, AND a good chiropractor (preferably one that works with sports injuries and isn't trying to cure cancer with spine adjustments). THEN, combine the recommendations of all 3 that will allow you to do the activities that you like without making your injuries worse. The folks that say avoid running and to do the other cardio exercises have a good point, but there is some data out there that supports the idea of some impact exercise being necessary in order to maintain bone density (and I admit that running is only one form of impact exercise) -- there are some elite bicyclists out there that have the bone density of an 80 year old woman. BTW, with my bad back and knees, I am skiing bumps better and longer than I did when I was 25 (of course, shaped skis help). my 2 cents.
post #15 of 22
Try water running that is low impact & would still keep the trainer happy as it is still running.....
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbinder
there is some data out there that supports the idea of some impact exercise being necessary in order to maintain bone density (and I admit that running is only one form of impact exercise)
your understanding of this is not quite correct.

it is not impact that strengths bones and makes them bigger, it is force vector applied to the skeletal bones. for example, studies show that tennis players have larger and stronger bones in their predominant arm compared to their other side. that is why weight-resistance is a recommended exercise for older people. not only does it help strengthen and build muscle (loss in muscle tone is a prevalent problem as you get older), but it also helps promote bone growth and strength.

so yes, running would indeed strengthen leg & foot bones. the problem is that the repeated impact involved in running opens the door to all sorts of other potential side-effects/injuries to softer connective tissue in those areas.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlterEgo
your understanding of this is not quite correct.

it is not impact that strengths bones and makes them bigger, it is force vector applied to the skeletal bones. for example, studies show that tennis players have larger and stronger bones in their predominant arm compared to their other side. that is why weight-resistance is a recommended exercise for older people. not only does it help strengthen and build muscle (loss in muscle tone is a prevalent problem as you get older), but it also helps promote bone growth and strength.

so yes, running would indeed strengthen leg & foot bones. the problem is that the repeated impact involved in running opens the door to all sorts of other potential side-effects/injuries to softer connective tissue in those areas.
You are quite right, and I apparently misstated -- yes, there are studies that show weight resistance exercise alone can preserve and improve bone density. My understanding is that stair-climbers, bicycling, and elliptical exercisers do not provide weight resistance, and therefore do not help bone density. Also true is that impact exercise performed incorrectly can lead to all sorts of orthopedic problems. This is the reason why I suggest getting properly fitted for running shoes, and getting your "biomechanics" checked out. This is also the reason why I am running slower and less intensively and crosstraining as I age (and age and age). Obviously, if any form of exercise is causing you pain and injury, then something is wrong.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbinder
It is possible that your sciatic pain is more biomechanical than disk related. With proper shoes (go to a good running shop where they can evaluate your gait) and warmup/warm down exercises, you may be able to run comfortably and maybe enjoy it. Of course, your spine should be cleared medically: go to an orthopod, then also go to a good physical therapist, AND a good chiropractor THEN, combine the recommendations of all 3 that will allow you to do the activities that you like without making your injuries worse.
Hi BB,

I think your comments have merit; under ideal medical supervision and with customized running gear, I can add running to round out my fitness routine. It is really the only way to maintain a cardio regiment in the winter.

However I think I need to accomplish other goals first. I should get my weight down while I improve muscle strength and improve flexibility. I should be able to do these activities with minimal risk. By March I can add rollerblading and biking on a regular basis, that will give me the cardio workout I need.

However, I am interested in running as a future option. What makes running an option for me is the support available. The trainers I am working with are employees of Northwestern University and are of top quality. Chicago also has superb sports medicine resources, so running while managing sciatic inflammation is possible, I assume.

But I'm not going to pursue a running regiment until next winter. I can use the next 11 months to do everything else to improve my fitness and leave running as the final frontier.

I am interested in the kind of support you suggest, and will be doing my research on the topic. The biomechanical improvements you describe will be investigated.

Cheers,

Michael
post #19 of 22
try the water running!
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by disski
try the water running!
LOL, D.S., I'm not ready for the nursing home Yet!

Michael
post #21 of 22
neither are AFL footballers....

but they run in water!

& do aquarobics etc etc (seems they can actually get belly button to water level if they try hard doing eggbeater)
post #22 of 22
As stated previously, each one of us has our own unique biomechanics. No two people are exactly the same. Running requires some very specific biomechanics in order to minimize wear and tear and maximize the cardio and muscle development benefits. There are certain people whose biomechanics are not condusive to longer distance running. These people will experience different problems depending upon their particular issues. That said, most people can benefit and tolerate running 30-45 minutes, 3 days a week. And you don't need to be running 6 minute miles to get good results. It is important that you have the correct setup as far as running shoes and orthotics. Most people would benefit from proper orthotics and should seek advise from a respected othorpedic doctor with a reputation in this area. Also, I don't recommmend running if you are too overweight. If this is the case, work some of the weight off first through dieting, good eating, and walking or some other lower impact excersise. It's a lot easier on your body when you run at a lower body weight. It's also important to learn how to run correctly. This may sound peculiar but it is very important. There are techniques that produce a fluid and graceful motion when running. You don't want to be landing hard when you run as this leads to injuries.
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