Answers to Your Questions

October 30, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Posted in General Health, Injury, Racing, Training Method | 4 Comments

Active Release Technique

Lacey and Justy2003 asked for more information on Active Release Technique (ART). This early post of mine will tell you how I discovered ART and how I used it to control my Runner’s Knee. This website provides a good overview of the practice. I go to Advanced Rehabilitation, and they provide a good list of commonly treated conditions here. I suggest finding a practitioner (check the website with the overview) and then calling to inquire about what they can do to help your precise condition.

At my appointment today, my doctor used his massage techniques on my soleus and Achilles area. I brought my running shoes and insoles with me, which you might want to do as well if you schedule an appointment. He watched me run, had me take out the insoles, and watched me run again. He decided that the insoles were making my feet roll too far outwards and suggested that I do not wear them. He did, however, say that the Sorbathane insoles appear to be very well made.

After watching me run, he used Anodyne Therapy and ultrasound on my soleus and Achilles. I don’t know much about those procedures, but they feel good. Today’s appointment was typical of my knee injury appointments as well. My doctor prescribed these exercises to help strengthen the muscles around my knee.

My insurance does not cover ART, but I think it’s worth every penny. I went through months of dealing with conventional medicine and an expensive MRI before discovering ART.

Running a Half Marathon

Sara is running a half marathon on Sunday, and asks for tips. Good luck, Sara! Here are my tips in bulleted form:

  • It’s ok to be nervous. In fact, I’m pretty sure it produces adrenalin. Adrenalin is your friend.
  • Show up early. You will be less nervous (after all, you don’t want to be freaking out completely) if you don’t have to hurry and you will have plenty of time to spend in the port-a-potty line.
  • If people are coming to watch you, establish a meeting place for after.
  • Fuel accordingly. This is a difficult area for me to give advice, because everyone has a different tolerance for food before running. I eat something small several hours before and then switch to liquid calories (Gatorade) until my race.
  • Do a warm-up jog or power walk. Stretch.
  • Wear layers to warm up. Then discard them until you are slightly cold on the start line. You’ll warm up quickly!
  • Start at the correct area in the start chute. Some races have pace markers. You want to avoid a) getting run over, and b) getting stuck behind much slower runners.
  • Start off slow. The first mile should feel a bit too easy. You can always speed up later. You have plenty of time left to hurt. 😉
  • Sing songs in your head.

If you want to get all competitive about it:

  • If the course is curvy: go around the curve, then pick up the pace for a few seconds. The people behind you can’t see you. Haha, losers, I’m suddenly farther ahead!
  • If the course is hilly: lots of people try to surge up the hill. This wastes too much energy. Save the surge for the very top of the hill when everyone else is dying from sprinting up. Haha, losers, you killed your stride!
  • Stretch out your stride and really let loose on the downhills. You won’t use up much more energy going fast downhill than going slow downhill, so go fast! Haha, losers, I’m passing you without expending excess energy!
  • Sprint at the very end. It’s gratifying.

At the finish:

  • Thank the volunteers.
  • Don’t sit down! Do a cooldown walk or jog. Stretch like it’s your job.
  • Don’t forget to look for Race Swag (free stuff). This is a good time to get food and refuel.
  • Wear your t-shirt proudly. I usually wait until I’ve showered for this one.
  • Go eat pancakes.
  • Take a nap. Possibly even after you’re home.


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  1. Thanks for the info on ART! I’ve been debating going to the one here or going to the doctor and having them look at it. However it seems like the ART people are more up my ally and will be able to tell me what’s CAUSING the pain instead of just how to make it stop for now. And I know one of the doctors at the practice I’m looking at is running the San Antonio marathon in a couple weeks, so I would think she’d know what she’s talking about 😉

  2. good tips, and now i’m intrigued about art!!


    Ill be cheering you on virtually….

  4. I’ll have to look into ART. It sounds fantastic. Also, your HM advice is great. I always wonder why people speed up going uphill!

    Sorry about the race this weekend and the Achilles flare-up. Sounds like a smart decision though; if you’re anything like me, there’s no such thing as a rational day-of decision– once you’re at the race, and running it, pulling out is far more challenging than just deciding not to run at all.

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