How I Overcame Injury and Took Control of my Fitness

… and why everyone should have a coach.

I’m sweating, the treadmill says 7.5, and I’m feeling good! Just a few minutes left in this run… maybe I’ll push it up to 8.5 for a fast finish, then do some stretching. The machine whirs faster as the belt speeds up, my legs respond with extra speed and push, and I taste the familiar tangy metal of anaerobic effort.

Then I feel a twang of pain in my left calf muscle, and my gait collapses into a limp. I press the red panic button and I get a sick feeling in my gut. 

No, not again! The same calf!? Again!? 

I can’t believe it. I was more careful this time, I stretched, did some weight training, gradually added mileage, and this still happened?

Defeated, I resign myself to another 6 weeks of elliptical training, stretching, rolling, massage appointments and watching other runners go by with bitter envy.

The Realization – Stuck in a Cycle

On the drive home from the gym, my calf aching, it hit me – this was going to keep happening. It had been two years already that I’d tried to get back into long-distance endurance shape, and I was going through the same cycle again and again: 

I posted selfie’s like everything was fine, but dealt with chronic pain and frustrating injuries for years.

1) Run like I’m still 20 years old: Feel fantastic!

2) Develop chronic pain or injure a muscle: Despair.

3) Rehab and cross-train: Start to build hope again…

Then I gleefully go back to running like I’m a college kid and… you get the idea. It was a vicious cycle that I felt trapped in.

It became obvious that nothing was going to change by doing the same things I already knew how to do. I needed help. I needed a new perspective. 

I needed a coach and other people who would see things I was missing. I needed to re-learn how to train in a body that was older, heavier and slower than I had ever been. 

That was February of 2016. 

The Overhaul

Over the next 6 months I changed everything about how I trained. I went to a sports chiropractor who told me my glut medius muscles had atrophied from years of neglect, and I needed serious strength training. 

I hired a coach and joined a national endurance team, started to talking with other athletes in their 40’s, 50’s and up, and listened to their wisdom. I got a full slo-mo gait analysis from a running-specific physical therapist, who told me all the bad news:

“Your left leg is weak, you over-pronate, your gluts are not activating, you’re leaning back 5 degrees, and your hips are too tight. Any questions?” 

“Yeah. How do I fix it?”

Three years later, I’ve had a full season of injury-free training, ran my personal best times since college, and I have more fun running than I ever have. I’m on track to complete my first marathon in 10 years this Fall, and have a coach who knows me and my journey, and is with me every step of the way. 

With my wife Lillie and my uncle Dave after an exhilarating run at the Cleveland Baseball Stadium, 2018

What is Your Fitness Journey?

Your journey may be different from mine. Maybe you’re not a runner, or haven’t had chronic injuries; maybe your struggle is getting out the door to exercise, or using that exercise bike and set of dumbbells in your house that mostly collect dust. 

Completing the 2019 B.A.A. Half Marathon – injury free!

I don’t know what your goals are, or what you struggle with, but I do know that you won’t reach your fitness goals by doing what you already know (a.k.a. what you’ve already been doing).

What can get you there is a coach – someone who can see your strengths, challenges and opportunities objectively, and who will partner with you to create a plan that works for you and your life. 

I would be honored to be that coach. Don’t wait – contact me today and let’s get started!