We are back at it with our fourth edition of ‘In the Spotlight!’ This month I have a client who has worked hard over the past year and is now running more efficiently with less aches and pains.
When I first met Guy, he was struggling with some achilles tendon issues. As an avid running and all-around active person you can imagine how frustrating that is. After the functional movement evaluation, It was clear that we could make very strong improvements in several areas that would eliminate the achilles pain, while improving overall range of motion and movement quality.
As we close in on 1-year of training, Guy continues to put in the work each and every week. In addition to our regular sessions, he has developed a routine that serves as a dynamic warm-up and maintenance program. Instead of picking his favorite exercises and drills, Guy has done a good job honing in on what truly needs to be addressed. Because ultimately, 2-sessions a week is very minimal. But, incorporating some of these strategies, both within and outside of the sessions, is the reason for these lasting results.
Without further ado, let’s shine the spotlight on…
Q: Where are you from? How long have you lived in the Nashville area? And, what brought you here?
A: “Most recently North Georgia. We lived in the Appalachian Mountains not far from Springer Mountain which is the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
I grew up in a small (tiny) town in Northern Mississippi. Marsha and I have lived all over, we moved about every four years for the 32 years we have been married. All, except for the last move to Nashville were business related.
We moved to Nashville 4 years ago to be closer to my three sons and three grandchildren who all live in Nashville.”
Q: What do you do for work?
A: “I’m a now retired, serial entrepreneur. My background is finance and Certified Public Accountant. I spent my early years working for Arthur Anderson, United States Steel, and Marathon Petroleum. Later I started 4 different Healthcare and Pharmaceutical distributions companies, all of which were either taken public or sold to private equity. I still serve on the boards of a couple of those companies.”
Q: When you aren’t working, what are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “I ride my bicycles, walk my dog, watch Preds hockey and trade options.”
Q: What are the top reasons you enjoy running?
A: “Running is an excuse to travel to interesting places. There is nothing like the experience of running in a redwood forest, watching the sun come up while running on Mt. Tam or the Golden Gate Bridge, running the coastline of Big Sur, Napa Valley on a crisp morning, the first rays of sunlight hit Torre de Paine while running along a glacial river, running along the Fjords of Norway, a forest stream in Bavaria, under of full moon or the forest trails of North Georgia. Then there is Tennessee in the summer 80 degrees’ 90 percent humidity at 7 in the morning. That’s why we run.”
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?
A: “Nashville. Because my three boys, three grandchildren live here, and the Preds.”
Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what were the goals you wanted to achieve?
A: “My most immediate goal was to fix whatever was causing my Achilles problems. My Achilles was to the point of solve the problem or stop running.”
Q: What motivated you to work with Garrett and/or start making changes in your routine?
A: “Garrett was giving seminars and help sessions at Fleet Feet Brentwood. I spoke with a couple of staff members at Fleet Feet and watched a couple sessions. He seemed to have a different approach that was running specific. It took a couple months but I dropped by to talk with him about my issues. He assured me he could help.”
Q: What are the most noticeable improvements you’ve seen so far?
A: “The most noticeable improvement is to my running form late in a race. I’m able to maintain good posture, breathing and stride length the entire marathon. Strength training is critical to being able to maintain form and pace throughout a race. This past year, I’ve focused on running negative splits on my long training runs and in races. In the past I set out at goal pace and tried to hang on until the end but usually fell off the pace late in training runs and the last 4 miles of the marathon.
The core strength and good posture helps keep breathing and heartrate under control the last 5-6 miles of the marathon. Being able to keep the heartrate from drifting up and less fatigue in the legs helps me run the last 5-6 miles of a marathon about 10-15 seconds per mile faster than average. I no longer feel like I’m just hanging on late in the race.
Equally important, we developed a dynamic warmup that is quick and effective. I credit it in large part to keeping me injury free this last year.”
Q: What is your favorite part about the sessions?
A: “Weighted sleds, don’t you love that feeling when you are just about to throw up?”
Q: What is that one thing you dislike the most but continue to work on because you know it will help?
A: “It’s a tie, trap bar deadlifts and single leg deadlifts. They are a real buzz kill but they work.”
Q: How has supplementing your running with strength training and mobility impacted your running? And, do you feel this is an area more runners need to include in their programs?
A: “Strength training and mobility have a such an impact on running form and remaining injury free especially at longer distances. There are two things to say here. it is impossible to objectively assess your strengths and weaknesses, develop, and stick to a program. You can follow a generic running marathon plan and be relatively successful. It’s not clear to me how you can a follow a generic strength training plan and address all the issues required to be a successful runner.”
Q: How do you feel Garrett’s services may differ from other professionals in his field?
A: “The 5 exercises that will make you faster, the 7 Ab exercises every runner should be doing. There is so much information out there and no doubt much of it good advice. My problem has been trying to sort through it and then figure out how to apply and stick with it. That’s why I turned to Garrett.
I’ve worked with a couple trainers in the past and I have a running coach. The big difference with Garrett’s approach is the periodic functional assessments and tailoring the sessions to address the weaknesses found during the assessments. We retest and modify constantly. I’m a 60-year-old runner and not every exercise is appropriate for me. Garrett modifies many of the movements to address my limitations. In the past, my trainers have used a one program fits all approach. One program was a modified cross-fit where the goal was to see how fast you could run through the exercises. The point seemed to be high intensity training rather than addressing any specific issues or even bothering to make sure the form of each exercise was correct. I ended up injuring my shoulder trying to do kipping pull-ups.
Like a lot of runners, I sought help after an injury. A physical therapist helped me get through the initial rehab of the injury. His assessment was my injury was caused by a lack of functional strength, poor movement patterns and restricted range of motion. I did a lot of research, I found Kelly Starrett’s books particularly helpful in understanding the issues. Understanding the issues of functional strength, poor movement and restricted range of motion doesn’t fix the problem. My view is it’s not possible to self-diagnose then prescribe the proper exercise to remedy the issues. That’s why I turned to Garrett.
Garrett has developed an individualized program for me. We are systematically addressing mobility, flexibility and strength was the relate to running. It’s made a difference. I dropped 13 minutes off my previous marathon time and ran injury free this last year.”
Q: Looking ahead, do you have any new goals/races you are working towards this upcoming year?
A: “The immediate goals for the 2017 fall/winter season were to run a series of half marathons trying to incrementally improve the pace with each race. This fall I have completed 4 half marathons with one to go, Mt. Juliet. The pacing has improved in each race except for the last race which was slightly off my previous best time.
I qualified to run Boston in April 2018, training begins in earnest Mid-December. Will probably run another half about 4 weeks out from Boston to check conditioning. I’m excited to run Boston this spring and it’s my A race for the year. My goal at Boston is to re-qualify for Boston at the marathon. After Boston, I have a trail marathon in Oregon for late July, a marathon in Cape Town South Africa the end of September 2018, and looking at Queensland, NZ in November.”
Thank you for reading this ‘In the Spotlight’ segment. And, a big shout out to Guy Edwards!! Please feel free to comment below with any questions or feedback.