3 Common Misconceptions about Running Injuries- Guest Post by RunningMate Physical Therapist & Performance Coach

I am super excited to introduce Guest Blogger Nathan Carlson, from RunningMate.  Nathan is a physical therapist that has helped me through multiple running injuries, including my freak out ankle injury shortly before the Boston Marathon.  I will be working with Nathan, again, through the summer on performance training. I can’t wait to share our adventures!

Until then Check out this awesome Guest Post from Nathan.

Trying to manage a running related injury can be incredibly frustrating. There is a lot of information out there, both from credible and non-credible sources, on how to manage various injuries. Because of the large amount of information that is available to the public, there are a lot of misconceptions as to why runners get hurt. I’m gonna go over the three most common things I hear runners say when I chat with them about why they got injured.

  1. My lack of flexibility is causing my injuries

Many runners have been told that tightness in their lower body is leading them to get hurt. For most, this is completely untrue. If you can do day to day tasks without issues, you have enough flexibility run. You only need a little bit of motion, at a few different joints, to be able to run. I did a video a few months back on how much motion you actually need to run.

Check it out here. * Running Flexibility Requirement by RunningMate

Because of this, I haven’t told a runner to “stretch” anything in at least three years. If you like to stretch, feel free to. There are a lot of runners that complain of “tight” hip flexors that have normal hip flexor length when assessed. Just because something feels “tight” doesn’t mean it needs to be stretched. If stretching doesn’t make it feel better you probably need to try something else. Sometimes when something feels tight, it actually needs to get stronger.

  1. My Foot Alignment/Arch Height/Posture is causing my injuriesNathan 1

Every runner that has bought a pair of shoes in the last 30 years has been fit into some type of foot shape/posture category. The original thought was based on the idea that based on the posture of the foot, we would need to prescribe a shoe to either provide more or less support so that arch doesn’t “cave in” and cause overpronation. This is a nice idea in theory, but in practice it doesn’t add up. We have very little evidence to support the idea that we need to prescribe footwear in this manner, or that it will reduce our risk of getting hurt. There a lot of runners that have A LOT of pronation that don’t get hurt. Haile Gebrselassie is a great example. He was a fantastic distance athlete and displayed a lot of “undesirable” mechanics when he ran. His tissue adapted to training and he was able to have a very successful career.


  1. My heel striking is causing my injuries

When it comes to running form/mechanics, there is a belief out there that running form is consistent no matter where we are running, how fast are pace is, or how tired we are. Running form is much more dynamic then that. When we talk about foot strike, most runners will change how their foot hits the ground depending on how fast they are going. It is not a static variable. If you are running on a trail, you will move different than running on a treadmill. Most runners in the world hit with their heel first when they run and that’s OK. When Dennis Kimetto set the world record in the marathon, he hit the ground with his heel first.

Nathan 2

Now that isn’t to say that sometimes we might need to change our foot-strike. When we hit with our heel first, it tends to load more to the hip and knee. When we hit with our forefoot first, it tends to load more to the foot ankle. So…if your knee hurts, it might feel a little better to hit with your forefoot. Vice versa, if your Achilles hurts, it might be better to hit with your heel first. It’s just different ways of loading the body.

So why do most running injuries happen? Training errors.

The human body is pretty awesome. We can run marathons in almost 2 hours and can cover 100 miles in a day. We are adaptable, robust and able to do some awesome things in the world of endurance sports. Our body is really good at being stressed, recovering, and then coming back stronger. That is what happens when we train a race. There is a reason why a lot of training plans will increase for 3-4 weeks and then take a step back for a week. As we move towards race day, we are slowing turning up the dial so we are primed and ready to go the day of whatever our race is.

The adaptability of the body is important to remember when we think about injuries. Small variations in foot shape, flexibility and running mechanics are very, very small variables when we compare them to our overall training plan. Most runners get hurt when they progress mileage, speed, or make a large change in training environment (more hills, more treadmill, etc.) without giving their bodies time to adapt. So what does this mean to you as a runner? PAY ATTENTION. There are definitely days to go out the door and push the pace, but if we do that too much we run into trouble. Make smart decisions as you progression training and race day will go off without a hitch.

18644949_408144079569472_1911289356144869376_nNathan Carlson is the owner of Runningmate Physical Therapy and Performance Coaching, a physical therapy and performance enhancement business focused on the management of runners and other endurance athletes. He can be reached on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RunningmateKC/, by email at info@runningmatekc.com, or in his clinic located inside KC Endurance’s Treadmill studio at 75th and Washington in Waldo.



Weekly Recap 6/5-6/11

*Que Nelly* hot in here

It’s getting hot in here! HaHa. The temperature is rising here in KC and my training is too.  Increasing mileage slightly and extending my workout on Tuesday.  I may have went a tad overboard with the weights, but no harm no foul right? I got a little excited about all my extra time that I added a few extra exercises and ended up pretty sore Wednesday-Friday.  Not to mention, summer is kind of exhausting. In that awesome, so many adventures to be had kind of exhausting.

Before I get too crazy with my summer break brags, here is my weekly recap

Monday- 8.13 miles at 8:09 pace, total time 1:06:19f8c39b2d-b208-4d88-a20d-c0c530242f40

Went on a solo run at the Nature Conservation Center nearby.  I had intended to just get some easy running in, and the overall pace would suggest that is what I did. However, there is this darn hill segment on Strava that I just can’t seem to catch.  So I ran up and down that hill 5-6 time and completely gassed myself.  It was a good time, but not something I can do frequently as my training hopefully increases throughout the summer.

Tuesday- 10.38 miles at 7:04 pace, total time 1:13:19

Workout- 2 mile warm up, then 6 miles alternating pace.  Half mile at 7:00 minute pace and then 1 mile at 6:00-6:10 pace. 2 mile cool down

Great workout, a definite step up from last week, basically doubling the time I spent in the faster zone, without changing the recovery at all.  I had a running buddy join me for the first portion and then he rode his bike with me along the second portion. I found a fun Strava Segment to give myself an extra challenge on the last one.  Nailed it! Ha.

img_3347After the run, I headed to the gym.  I included the workouts that my coach sent me, and then added some additional arm and abdominal pieces. I definitely felt that for the next few days.




Wednesday-4.05 miles at 7:38 pace, total time 30:53

                     4.08 miles at 8:05 pace, total time 32:58

I kind of doubled today, but not really.  I wanted to check out the new KC Endurance Treadmill Studio, and they were hosting a group run for Global Running Day.  The route was 4 miles then some light drinks and snacks after.  Mostly, it was fun hanging out with some area runners before they all headed off to work.  Then I headed out for the second portion of my run.

Thursday-*Garmin reads*6.12 miles at 8:47 pace, total time 53:49

Evening run through the high school cross country course and trails.  I am not very experienced in trail running and these seemed like some pretty legit single track trails.  My last adventure on some trails ended with me face first into a tree, and a pretty good knock to the knee.  So I am happy to report a much happier outcome this time around.  As normal, I think the Garmin reading of the trail distance and pace is a bit off.

Friday-7.03 miles at 7:50 pace, total time 54:59img_3294

Met up with a couple running buddies for some super easy and flat miles, then breakfast.  After breakfast I headed to the gym for some more strength training.  Cutting back from my Tuesday session, but still feeling a bit sore when I was done.



Saturday-15 miles at 7:27 pace, total time 1:51:45

Solo long run for me.  I’ll admit the hotter weather had me dreading this run. I decided to head to a lake trail nearby so that the shade would keep me a tad cooler.  I’ve only been to the trail once and it’s just a couple miles away. There were a couple Strava segments along the course, as well, which helped break up the longer run into fun, smaller pieces.  I did make a mistake and ended up at the wrong exit, making my run about a mile longer than planned.  Oops!

Sunday-Scheduled Rest Day      

Rest day for this girl, I’ll be firmly planted next to the pool all day with some sort of drink in hand. Just got some new draft ciders to try. Summer break is my favorite!

Total Weekly Mileage- 54.7

Another awesome week is in the books.  I am really starting to get antsy for a race. I get a serious case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when I see all my running buddies post about their races.

How was your week? What’s next on your schedule?


The RunCanvas Giveaway ends this week! Be sure to like our Facebook page to be entered to win.  Tag two running buddies or share the giveaway for additional chances


Saucony Kinvara 8

Basic Specs (Women’s Shoe)img_3260

Category- Neutral

Weight-6.9 oz.

Forefoot Stack height-23 mm

Heal Stack Height- 19 mm

Heel Drop- 4mm offset


The Kinvara 8 is the newest addition the popular Kinvara line.  This Kinvara 8 contains many of the same favorite features from the Kinvara 7 while boasting the new “FlexFilm”.  This is the upper part of the shoes, which is supposed to be strong and lightweight, giving the shoes a seamless and flexible feel. The Kinvara 8 also contains Sauconys “Everun” a lightweight cushioning material that gives a softer landing and more responsive take off.

img_3556received my Kinvara 8, as a perk of being on the KC Running Company Racing team.  I have run a little over 120 miles in them including runs as short as 3 miles and as long as 14. Mostly easy/recovery miles. However, I have also completed one track workout, one tempo run and some hill repeats. I completed all runs on the road or crushed gravel. All during dry weather. I personally, prefer these shoes for a casual everyday run or long runs, over speed work.  The shoes perform just as stated, I just typically use shoes that have less “stuff” under my feet when I do speed work. I think the shoes performed exactly as designed and this was more of a personal preference.

I have flat feet and a slight pronation, so I typically use stability shoes for my everyday run.  My daily trainers also include an 8mm offset, compared to the 4mm offset of the Kinvara 8.  I had no problems in these shoes. I found them very comfortable for all types of runs.  With a tad over 120 miles, there isn’t much wear on these shoes.  I typically get a higher than average life out of my shoes. I think that is partially due to my tiny size/weight.

The Flexfilm upper portion of the shoes, was actually my favorite feature.  I have no idea why, but the tops of shoes REALLY irritate me.  I have bought a handful of shoes I cannot wear because of how the tops sit or rub the tops of my feet. The top of the shoes were able to be tied nice and tight, leaving them secure feeling.  While also, being very flexible and they seem to have a great amount of venting/breathability.

The performance of the shoes felt very natural.  I definitely enjoyed the responsiveness of the Everun.  The shoes were very lightweight. Again, personal preference,  the cushioning of the shoes were very nice for my easy runs and long runs but for speed work I like to feel like there is less “stuff” between the ground and my feet.  So I plan to use these more as daily trainers and not as much for speed. However, I know a handful of runners who love racing in their Kinvaras.  Many runners use the same shoes for all runs, and these would be a top notch choice for that purpose.  They are cushioned and supportive, with a natural feel and very responsive.  A great all around shoe.

I used to shy away from Saucony shoes, for appearance reasons, but their recent lines have been much improved.   I like the bright colors of this pair and the line has a range of options.


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Strava Addicts

I’ll be the first to admit, I am a Strava nerd.  I love the App.  It combines some of my favorite things; running, nerdy data, social media and competitions.  Are you a Strava nerd too? 

If you do any of the following, you might be a Strava nerd too.

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Helpful tips, making time for your run

For the first time, I am not teaching summer school.  I love it! I have so much time to do the things I love.  Balancing family time and running is much, much less of a challenge.  This is NOT the case during the school year.  During the school year I am balancing work, coaching, running and most importantly family time.  It isn’t always perfectly balanced.  Thankfully, with lots of support from my husband, we make it work.  I get to do all of the things that I love so much, including running.

I have goals, big goals.  I don’t want to toe the line on race day unprepared.  For me, running is a daily priority.  It’s not the most important thing on the list, but almost everyday I can find some time to run. I do this through deliberate planning and communication.  I am able to accomplish this with an amazing supportive husband. I try to be very cognizant of how my running affects my family time and their personal time.

Here are some helpful tips for making time for your run, each day.Read More »


Global Running Day! Let’s Celebrate!

It’s Global Run Day! What a great day to enjoy running and friends.  Getting back into running has changed my life.  I know, it sounds cheesy.  It really has though. Running has taught me so many lessons, challenged me in new ways and taked me on amazing adventures with some pretty amazing people.  Running has given me a sense of pride and a positive relationship with a healthy lifestyle. 

So get out and celebrate! HOW? 

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It’s Giveaway Time! (Closed)

Congrats to Margaret for winning the RunCanvas Giveaway!  We will be contacting you via Facebook.  

Have a great day,  stick around for more Runcanvas Giveaways 

Let’s kick off this new training cycle with a Giveaway! Like RUNcanvas Facebook Page to enter! I have some goodies to help you get your training of to a great start!  

Giveaway prize incudes Heart Rate Monitor watch, Glass Hydration Bottle, Hand towel, Running Belt and Foam Roller.   Click here to enter

All you have to do for a chance to WIN, is follow the RUNcanvas Facebook page!  Everybody who is already following RUNcanvas on Facebook is automatically entered to win 

For additional chances to win

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