Category Archives: Community

When is it okay to push through the pain?

Select Physical Therapy is once again joining the Austin Runners Club as our Presenting Sponsor for the 2017-18 Austin Distance Challenge. For us, they are more than just a sponsor; they are a trusted and valued resource providing invaluable knowledge and support to our runners. We want to thank them and highlight their great work, while sharing some great information with you about common injuries that runners may face during training.

When is it okay to push through pain?

Most athletes accept a certain level of pain and muscle soreness as part of training for particular events. Often times many people will push through a certain pain in hopes it will resolve itself. Some pains are worth being concerned about and should be addressed before it advances to a more serious injury. Signs to look for include:

  • Pain that continues to persist hours after running
  • Pain greater than a 3/10 while running
  • Pain that gets worse the longer you run
  • Pain that wakes you at night

If experiencing these symptoms it is good to reassess your training regimen. Are you running too long or too frequently? Are your running shoes too old? Has your running form changed recently? If you are still unable to resolve these “bad” pains, it is a good idea to consult a physical therapist or running specialist for treatment. The sooner you get treated the faster the recovery process!

Identifying stress fracture versus shin splints

Lower leg stress fractures are a common injury in runners that form after repetitive stress to the bone. When there is not enough rest time for bone remodeling to occur, it causes a stress reaction to the area of the bone taking the most stress. This stress reaction eventually turns into a stress fracture. Drastic increase in amount of activity is the greatest risk factor to developing stress fractures.

Signs to watch for include:

  • Tenderness to palpation at the site of pain
  • Pain will be local to site of pain, and will not be tender above or below fracture site
  • Swelling is associated with this change
  • Symptoms will subside with rest

The greatest difference between stress fracture and shin splints is that shin splints will be tender to the touch above and below the tender point. Swelling is usually not associated with shin splints. If a stress fracture is suspected, it’s important to stop training and see a medical professional. X-ray or bone scan can determine if there is a stress reaction or fracture. Treatment usually includes temporary non-weight bearing with crutches and waiting for fracture to heal which can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks.

Hip Flexor Tightness

For many distance runners, hip flexor tightness and pain can be a problem when building mileage. Hip flexors get tight when sitting for too long. When the hip flexors get tight it will lengthen and weaken the glutes, making them less engaged during the gait cycle. The glutes are powerful muscles that are important for propulsion and shock absorption. If they do not engage as they should, other muscles throughout the lower body take on more force, leading to potential injury. Hip flexor static stretching throughout the day is a good way to maintain mobility. Dynamic warm up of the hip flexors prior to a run will ensure the hip flexor is open in order to allow for more glute activity. The following stretches are great to add to a training regimen.

Static stretching:                                                               

Dynamic stretching:

About the Author: Lauren Queenan, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Lauren is a physical therapist currently working out of Select Physical Therapy’s Cedar Park clinic. Prior to moving to the Austin area, Lauren received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. While living and working in Boston, Lauren was very involved with local run clubs and running events, particularly the Boston Marathon. She treated many runners who were training for the marathon and volunteered as a therapist every year in the medical tent at the marathon’s finish line. Administering comprehensive therapy and exercise plans that enable her patients to recover from their injuries to reach their goals, whether the goal is to finish a marathon or simply get back to running is what has always fueled Lauren’s passion for running rehabilitation.

Outside of work, Lauren enjoys staying active through outdoor activities such as running, swimming, and hiking. Lauren has trained and participated in countless road races and track events throughout her lifetime. Through her own training errors and injuries, she has gained a stronger appreciation for how the body works as a whole. The human body is an amazing machine, but the smallest error in mechanics can start to affect other areas of the body in an instant. Over time, the growing number of symptoms from poor mechanics can make it difficult to diagnose the root cause of the problem. To find this root cause, Lauren relies heavily on functional movement screens and gait analysis. This helps Lauren pinpoint the source of a problem to not only reduce current symptoms and get her patients back on track, but to ensure that they have the knowledge and mechanics to stay injury free in the future. 

Select Physical Therapy is a leading provider of physical therapy, hand/occupational therapy, sports medicine and work health services.  Our highly trained team of physical therapists and athletic trainers is available to serve all of your sports injury prevention, recovery and performance needs. 

Whether you are a weekend warrior or dedicated athlete, Select Physical Therapy is committed to working collaboratively with each patient to develop an evidence-based plan of care that achieves individual goals in a safe, compassionate and efficient manner. We offer running assessments, functional movement screens, the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill, care for orthopaedic injuries (including sprains and strains!) and so much more.

Select Physical Therapy has 20 convenient locations throughout Central Texas, 10 of which have provided specialty running programs in partnership with the Austin Runners Club since 2014. For more information or to request an appointment, please visit selectphysicaltherapy.com

Austin Half Marathon – Race Report from a Distance Challenge Finisher!

Amber at the Distance Challenge tent

Photo courtesy Amber Wadey

Two years ago I ran my first half marathon right here in Austin. I joined Team LIVESTRONG, created my own training plan, and did everything I could do to prepare, but I remember worrying about everything that was out of my control. What if it’s freezing or pouring rain? What if traffic or road closures make it too hard to park? What if I’m not feeling well, or my alarm doesn’t go off? The beauty of running your 2nd or 3rd (or 7th) half marathon is that eventually those details don’t bother you anymore. I know I can go the distance and I’ve logged miles in every kind of weather. I’ve learned that with a little planning, the logistics always seem to work out.

Continue reading »

Kayleigh’s Distance Challenge

Just over a year ago, Distance Challenge alumni Sandy Williamson submitted her story through our “September to Remember” contest and won two free entries into the Decker Challenge. When Sandy and her daughter Kayleigh decided to Dare the Distance together, nobody could’ve predicted where the journey would take them. With one race to go, Sandy shares their remarkable story with the ARC.

Sandy and Kayleigh

Sandy and Kayleigh
Photo courtesy Sandy Williamson

In April, my daughter and I travelled to Galveston for the Diva 5K. It was our first test to see how Kayleigh would handle a race with a strict cut-off time. She finished under the required time and the next week we started training for her first half marathon. Kayleigh has ITP and Graves’ Disease, and two weeks later her platelets hit a critical low of 15. It was a life threatening level. Even with steroids and a platelet transfusion, they did not increase so the decision was made to remove her spleen. The surgery normally takes 45 minutes to an hour, but in Kayleigh’s case it only took 20 minutes. Normally, they keep a patient for 24 hours, but she was released 5 hours later. That’s when I knew I had Wonder Woman for a daughter.

Continue reading »

3M Half Marathon – Distance Challenge Race Report

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's 3M stats

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

This is the first race report I’ve contributed where I don’t feel like a newbie. I ran the 3M last year and came in right at my goal time of 2:05. I registered for this year’s run soon after and told my training partner that next year we’d go even faster; perhaps even break 2 hours! After the Decker Challenge I was feeling strong but had a little more trouble moving from recovery back into training than expected. I blamed the holidays, weather, allergies, work and school for limiting my time and focus. Somehow I managed to stick with my training plan (even when my daughter insisted I could skip) and everything started coming together in the final week leading up to the 3M.

Continue reading »

Decker Challenge – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

Amber's Decker pic

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

Before I started writing up these blogs for the ARC, I had never written a race report. I thought it might be a good idea to read a few race reports from previous Decker Challenge finishers to help me prepare for the event, but all the reports I found were by athletes who run 6-7 minute miles and focus on nutrition and pacing on a completely different level than me. My goal for this run was to average 10 minute miles and finish without injury. I did learn a few things, like apparently the big hill at mile 10 is called “Quadzilla,” but I hope my post will inspire more average runners to give this event a shot!

Continue reading »

Run for the Water – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey registered for the Distance Challenge after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” DC runner. She participated in an ARC member interview earlier this year and we’ve asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

amber_r4tw

I’ve lived in Austin for over a decade and friends have been telling me about Run for the Water for years, but I have NEVER been ready to run 10 miles by early November. Even these past couple of years as I’ve been training for half marathons, the Turkey Trot has been the kick-off for my longer distance training runs. Of course, in previous years I have never considered myself a “real runner.”

Continue reading »

ARC Interview with William Greer

William Greer is a runner. Like many of us, he runs sometimes on roads and sometimes on trails. He has a regular Saturday morning running group. He has run half marathons, marathons and ultras working through everyday challenges like overuse injuries and trying to qualify for Boston. Unlike many of us, William has trouble seeing. He was born in Chicago then grew up in Texas. He was out riding a bike at 17 without a helmet and crashed. The open skull wound led to his lasting visual impairment, and he has been legally blind ever since.

Continue reading »

Run Free Texas 8k – Race Report from a Newbie

Amber Wadey participated in an ARC member interview as the first person to register for the 2016-2017 Distance Challenge, after realizing that she perfectly fit the profile for the “average” Distance Challenge runner. We have asked her to let us follow along as she runs the series by contributing her race reports to our blog. We hope you enjoy sharing her journey!

aw-race-report-1-photo-1

I’m a new member of the Austin Runners Club, #daringthedistance for the first time. I have two small kids and work full-time so I don’t have a ton of time for group runs, but I like to say what I lack in training I make up for in enthusiasm! Getting back into running after taking most of the summer off has felt great. I kicked off the season last month at the Marathon Relay and have been so excited to get the Distance Challenge started with my first 80’s 8k.

Continue reading »

ARC Interview with Sandy Cumming

20160430_111758For this Austin Runners Club Interview, we have a local celebrity. Sandy Cumming has been a member of the ARC for 20 years, has served on the ARC Board, volunteered countless times (but we definitely count on her) and is part of the amazing Al and Sandy Cumming team, a couple that has done so much for Austin running and the ARC. They lead the Ship of Fools intermediate training group, with 3 of our ARC training runs and the Austin Runners Club Marathon Training groups.

Sandy used to live in Burnet, TX, just up 183 and over on 29 from Austin. She met Al Cumming when she was the Race Director for the Bluebonnet 5K in Burnet. They married and lived there for a while. It used to be a tradition to attend two local races and end up at Al and Sandy’s house in Burnet, for local barbecue and donuts “as big as your face”, or “breakfast, immediately followed by lunch”. Continue reading »

ARC Interview with Amber Wadey

Amber

Image courtesy Amber Wadey

Amber is brand new to ARC. She ran a little bit in her mid-20’s but was struggling to get through 2 miles when she signed up for the Marathon Relay with a bunch of friends in 2014. They were raising money for LIVESTRONG and one of the fundraising incentives that year was an entry into the Austin Half Marathon. Running a half marathon was NOT on her bucket list, but she figured she’d give it a try. She read every running book she could get her hands on and created a training plan. When she crossed that finish line in 2015, she figured if she could do it once, she could do it again (and again). So far, as of this writing, she has completed the 3M Half, the Alamo 13.1 and the Austin Half Marathon (twice).

Soon after finishing this year’s Austin Half, Amber saw the wrap-up infographic for the ARC Distance Challenge on Facebook. She typically would not have considered joining a group or registering for a series of races, but looking at the average age and pace, she realized immediate that the Distance Challenge was for her. She was the first person to sign up the day registration opened for the 2016/2017 Austin Runners Club Distance Challenge.

Continue reading »