The Final Stretch: Marathon 2013
by Regina Sav
Join us as we follow Regina Sav, Administrative Assistant in the HSS Research Department and first time marathoner, through her training for the ING New York City Marathon. This is the third installment of a series documenting her journey. Click here to read the first part of the series and here to read the second part.
The days are passing too quickly. Temperatures have dropped; leaves have changed colors and only a few days left until race day. It is finally starting to sink in that I will be running 26.2 miles. The day my life has practically revolved around in these past few months. The day I’ve been training for.
It seems it was only yesterday when I had the privilege to meet with some of HSS most knowledgeable staff to help me prepare for the NYC marathon. I had my Running Mechanics Profile prepared by physical therapist, Michael Silverman; I strength-trained with certified strength and conditioning specialist, Jamie Osmak; and my nutrition assessed by registered dietitian, Jason Machowsky.
Here’s a summary of my sessions with each of them:
In order for Michael to create my Running Mechanics Profile, I had to run on a treadmill for 15 minutes with cameras placed in different angles to capture my movement. He was able to determine areas of my running form that needed improvement. Some of these areas are:
- I have a weak hip musculature that caused my knees to collapse inward at every step and creates instability. He suggested working on my hip and core strength to help fix this.
- I tend to “over stride”, which means at initial foot contact, my foot is landing on my heel and slightly too far out in front of my body. It should be landing underneath my body. Running on hills or on an incline will help shorten my stride.
At the end of the session, Michael showed me a few exercises I can do to help strengthen my hips and core. He then introduced me to Jamie to further increase my knowledge on the subject.
Jamie reiterated that strength training is just as important as running. I needed to incorporate it with my training immediately to be a better runner and more importantly, to avoid injuries. Before meeting Jamie, I thought I could get by with just running every other day and cross train, such as swimming or yoga, on non-running days. I didn’t realize how weak some of my opposing muscles (core, glutes, etc.) were until I had difficulty doing some of the exercises he recommended.
- Standing clam shell
- Chair squats with mini-band around knees
- The clock
Afterwards, he showed me stretches to do after runs and the right way to foam roll to relieve sore and tight muscles. Apparently, I’ve been doing it all wrong! With Jamie’s help, the pain I’ve felt in my knees during and after my runs have reduced substantially.
As for nutrition, I’ve always been conscious with my food intake. I eat fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and I tend to stay away from simple carbs, sodas, and refined sugar especially more since my training started. But I was clueless on what I should be eating and drinking before and after runs. Jason helped me determine a suitable pre- and post-workout nutrition strategy and develop and effective race-day fueling plan. He also pointed out that since I’m a “salty sweater”, I would need to add electrolytes in addition to fluid for runs lasting more than 60 minutes. This can be in the form of energy drink, gels or plain table salt. His suggestions of snacks I can try once I get tired of my usual English muffin with nut butter and jam were highly appreciated. Basically, he said I can experiment to determine what works well for me but to NEVER try anything new on race day!
Meeting with Michael, Jamie and Jason has improved my training tremendously. I have been able run longer and experience less pain in my knees. I almost never suffer from side splits anymore when I used to suffer from it at every run. I also noticed that I recover faster from longer runs. I don’t know for sure if I’m a better runner but I’m definitely a smarter runner and I have them to thank.
Hospital for Special Surgery is the official hospital for the NYC ING Marathon.
Regina Sav is an administrative assistant in Hospital for Special Surgery’s Research Department and a student in Hunter College majoring in Psychology. With a passion for running, Regina is training for her first marathon in November. If she’s not training, she pursues her love of yoga and traveling the world.