If you are local to the New Paltz area or even if you are visiting family and friends, chances are pretty good you've heard of a little event called the New Paltz Turkey Trot at this point. It has grown immensely over the years and is much more than just a 5k race/walk. It has become a great tradition every Thanksgiving for friends and family to get together for a fun community event before diving into all the deliciousness that follows the rest of the day. Chances are you'll probably run into a friend or two you haven't seen in a while as well. It is also an important fundraiser for Family of New Paltz which provides invaluable services for those in need.
This year's Trot is shaping up to be a chilly one with some wind to go along with it but don't let that scare you away! Whether it is your first Turkey Trot, first 5k ever or you can't remember how many 5k's you've done, it is a fantastic event and a flat, easy course. So come join the fun, support a great organization that is so important to the community, and burn some calories before digging into your feast! Registration is still open on Wednesday at the Jewish Community Center from noon-6pm or the morning before the race at Water Street Market. Race is set to go off at 9am.
For all information and details about the Trot, you can head over to their website: www.newpaltzturkeytrot.com/index.html
See you race day!
What do you listen to when you run? Are you singing along to your favorite '80s mix, rocking out to Metallica's greatest hits or catching up on your favorite podcast? All of these actually sound like pretty good options but do you ever take your earbuds out and just listen to yourself run? There are a variety of ways to analyze running performance but using your auditory organs isn't commonly on that list. And unlike some of the others like video analysis or a biomechanics evaluation, you can perform an auditory analysis on your own and on any surface inside or out. Sound is a powerful tool and is something I use often with my clients and certainly for myself when I am running.
For the purposes of this discussion, the assumption is that there are no significant asymmetries (structural or functional) or previous injury, prosthesis or orthosis that prevents symmetry of the body in stance or with movement.
The first, and probably easiest thing, you can key in on is the sound of your cadence. You should sound like a metronome when your feet hit the ground. There should be equal time (or silence) between each foot strike as well as equal time (or sound) when each foot is in contact with the ground. The latter can be a little more difficult to discern because the transition over the foot is generally quite quick. If there is a difference between foot strikes, then that may suggest possible issues like inefficiencies in your running mechanics or imbalances in higher joints which could lead to nagging injuries or limit your mileage or pace. Without overhauling your technique see if you are able to tweak your cadence first so that it is more even the next time you run.
Assuming that your cadence is symmetrical, the next sound(s) to listen to may be a little more challenging: how your feet actually strike the ground. Are you a heavy hitter with a solid impact each time or are you light like a gazelle? Is one foot heavy and the other light? Depending on how light or heavy you land (and also which source you read), you are landing with 1.5 to 3 times your body weight on a flat surface. That is a lot of energy and it has to go somewhere. The Earth is certainly not going to budge which means all of that energy is translated into your body. If you land on the heavy side, injuries could pop up generally more structural in nature like stress syndromes and stress fractures. If you land exceptionally light or soft, this could actually mean that you're absorbing so much energy that you lose some efficiency in your technique and soft tissue injuries like tendonitis is more likely to show up. For instance you may bounce up and down more with each step rather than using that energy to move forward. There's a delicate balance between landing too hard or too light and listening to your foot strike can help you find that sweet spot. If you're lucky, you've got it already.
Another sound to listen for is the foot slap. For those unfamiliar it almost sounds like two impacts when you land: first with the heel followed quickly by a loud "slap" by the forefoot. This is not to be confused with regular heel striking with a smooth transition versus other styles of landing. (That is a completely different discussion which will be covered in future posts.) This pattern generally describes someone who is over striding. When the foot and leg are too far out in front of your body and center of mass, it is difficult to transition smoothly and it is a less stable position which results in the distinct foot slap sound. The "easy" fix for this is to shorten your stride which may feel a bit awkward at first but long term will feel more smooth and comfortable when you run.
Lastly, breathing. This encompasses all runners regardless of your cadence or foot strike patterns. Without getting into any specific technique (there are several out there but this is also a different discussion for another day), the one thing that they all have in common is rhythm. Make sure your breathing is consistent and has a rhythm to it so that you are constantly getting the oxygen you need to perform.
Should there be any noticeable differences that persist and you are unable to correct them yourself or you develop pain, consider consulting with a physical therapist knowledgeable in running injury and performance to review your technique and history.
See you out on the trails!
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In five days, the gun will go off for a truly spectacular race in the Shawangunk Mountains. The Josh Feldt/After the Leaves Have Fallen 20k race is set on the beautiful carriage trails of Minnewaska State Park and takes its competitors around two serene glacial lakes and up to Castle Point which has some of the best views in the park. Even though it has a later start time of 11am, it might still be on the chilly side with temps in the high 40s and current forecasts suggesting clouds and a slight chance of showers. But don't let that deter you from participating in a great race put on by the Shawangunk Runners especially if you're looking for one more serious challenge for your racing season before winter comes.
Here is a brief preview of the course:
The first 2 miles offer modest ascents/descents as you run clockwise around Lake Minnewaska. The next 3 miles mainly alternates between flat and gradual but steady climbs up to Lake Awosting. After that you'll hang a right to circumnavigate Lake Awosting counterclockwise for about 3 miles. The loop around the lake is mostly flat with a few rollers mixed in but the footing here is a little more challenging than the rest of the course since it is certainly a trail less traveled in the park. Leaving the lake you begin your ascent to Castle Point which has some steeper sections. After reaching Castle Point and taking in the views the rest of the course (roughly 3 miles) is almost all downhill. There are a few rollers but you can make up some time here after all of the climbing done in the first 9 miles of the course. The last hill is right before the finish line as you make your way back around Lake Minnewaska. Overall a fairly challenging course but one of the most beautiful trail races in the area.
As you can probably gather, I will be there racing but I will also be setting up before the race to offer free knowledge, information and advice as well as fielding any questions you may have for me or about Momentum Physical Therapy of New Paltz. Take advantage of this opportunity while you can!
For any last minute runners, there is still time to register online by going to the Shawangunk Runners website or by clicking this link to take you directly to the registration page. By the way, this race is a bargain at only $15 so hurry up and join all the other runners for a great event this weekend.
Hope to see you there!
Dr. Greg Cecere
Your personal physical therapist, movement educator and knowledge dispenser.
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The contents of this blog is meant for educational purposes only. Momentum Physical Therapy of New Paltz and Dr. Greg Cecere are not responsible for any harm or injury that may occur due to any information on this blog as it is by no means a substitute for a thorough evaluation by a medical professional.