Saturday, April 14, 2007

Active Release Techniques

After I swam, I slipped on a singlet and headed out on my VERY easy 30 minutes run. While I'd had a good night sleep Thursday night, the night we'd flown out I'd had about three hours of sleep, and spent more time than probably advisable lugging around well more than my weight in luggage (hence the etymology of the word).

As a result my right hamstring was sore enough that- well, it was sore enough that I was concerned it could have an impact on my race. So after my run, I asked if we had time for me to do a session.

If you've had ART before, you proably know what the process is like and, unlike say, getting a sports massage, where the therapist asks you what needs to be worked on and then gives you a massage, the ART therapist is looking for a cause of your discomfort. After asking me a few questions, she had the head therapist, or whatever he is called, watch me run. He came to the conclusion that my problem was that my quads were tight.

My quads are tight, but rarely bother me. The upper part of my leg is also a little proportionally shorter than it should be, and the end result is are muscles that are very tight. However, because of a terminology gap I initially got the impression that my choice of foot strike was being criticised. My choice of foot strike is one of the few things that is the result of some concious choice and experimentation, so I was a little taken aback.

However, what he was really saying was that I could run more efficiently and have more energy return with my current stride if I had better quad response. At that point the therapist was ready to go.

I don't work on well, and ART is an aggressive technique. That plus how tight my quads were made for an unpleasant session. However the therapist was very good, and also very patient, and after working on me she had the head therapist watch my stride again and he was satisfied my legs were in a better place.

So far, no pain in my hamstring this morning...thanks ART.

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