In this edition of ‘In the Spotlight,’ let’s talk with Claudette Watson. I have had the privilege of working with Claudette beginning in February of 2019. She started in-person with a 2x/week functional training option and then switched to the remote coaching program when I moved to Michigan.
Claudette and I have interacted quite a bit over the years. Whether that be at Fleet Feet Sports Nashville or one of my learn-by-doing seminars, she has always been eager to learn more about running injury prevention and strength training. Unfortunately, a challenging return from injury finally allowed us to work together in an official capacity. But, I was very happy for the opportunity.
One area that I believed was holding Claudette back was her current strength training routine. It consisted of a lengthy list of physical therapy-type exercises but did not take the next step to load and build tolerance to the high impacts of running. Through a movement assessment and evaluation, we were able to determine her specific needs and began working towards targeting those weak links with a structured and progressive program.
Fortunately for me, Claudette is very hard working, dedicated to the process, and inquisitive to want to understand the “why” behind the program. This allowed her to go from struggling early on when returning to running to excelling at a recent 5k.
Without further ado, let’s shine the spotlight on…
Q: Where are you from?
A: “I was born in New Jersey and moved around a lot as a child, but for middle school my family was relocated to Wilton, CT. That is where I discovered my love of running! I started as a sophomore in high school, where I ran indoor and outdoor track. I also had the opportunity to run cross country as a freshman in college. Early on, I was told I had “bad knees” by my doctor and advised to quit, but I decided to limit my mileage instead. Cross training of any kind really was not part of a young runner’s routine back in the 80’s. With some careful training and an inspiring college coach I was able to run my first 10-miler. After that I was hooked!”
Q: If you could live anywhere in the world where would that be? Why?
A: “I would live in Nashville! My husband and I love the friendly people and the country music scene. We appreciate all of the outdoor sport activities available to us and the excellent fitness opportunities with all of the gyms and studios in town.”
Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?
A: “For cross training I enjoy swimming with our friends at Ensworth Aquatics Masters. I also like cooking for family and friends, and recently joined a book club and rediscovered the pleasure of reading fiction. We are also preparing for the arrival of a new puppy in October, and plan on doing some volunteer pet therapy with her in the near future.”
Q: What are the top reasons you enjoy running?
A: “I like running for all the reasons I enjoyed it as a teenager- the camaraderie, spending time outdoors, and the challenge of a good workout. I appreciate all the connections I have made through running- especially friends in the Brentwood Breakfast Club, Fleet Feet running programs, and working with coaches like Garrett.”
Q: When you first started working with Garrett, what goals did you want to achieve?
A: “I was primarily looking for improved injury resistance. I discovered in my 40s that I have low bone density; now that I am in my 50s I really have to pay attention to how I manage load-bearing activities within my weekly routine.”
Q: What motivated you to work with Garrett, and what were the goals you wanted to achieve?
A: “I sustained an injury from training and racing the Indianapolis marathon back in 2017 and had to restructure my overall program to include more strength training. My goal is adding muscle mass to have a protective effect on my bones and improve injury resistance for running.”
Q: How did your new strength training program differ from what you were doing before?
A: “Before working with Garrett, I was mostly focused on “prehab” physical therapy-type exercises and Pilates. Lifting heavier weights was not part of my program. So far I am seeing good results with Garrett’s program and had success running a 5K over Labor Day weekend.”
Q: What are the most noticeable improvements you’ve seen so far?
A: “I have gained muscle, improved posture and core strength, and am able to lift heavier things in daily life without assistance. My return to running has been easy after taking time to lay the foundation with Garrett’s strength program.”
Q: Since you have worked with Garrett in-person AND remotely, what are the advantages of each program?
A: “Garrett offers great form/technique corrections and motivation when you meet with him in-person. Remote coaching is flexible and you get quick feedback to your written questions and commentary on any videos you share. I also appreciate the monthly check-in call Garrett offers as part of the remote coaching program.”
Q: What is the one thing that you dislike the most but continue to work on because it will help?
A: “RAILs- I am easily sidetracked at home; although I am good about stretching I often neglect to make time for the actual corrective exercises. I am working on setting aside some time for that important component of the program.”
(Note: RAILs is an individualized corrective program I have each client complete to address the findings of their movement assessment. It stands for Release, Activate, Integrate, and Locomote. The goal is to correct any underlying limitations, imbalances, and reduce the likelihood of future injury.)
Q: How do you feel Garrett’s services may differ from other professionals in his field?
A: “Garrett’s movement assessments make sure the program is specifically tailored toward your body’s needs and your sport of running. He is also knowledgeable enough to accommodate any other requests you have- for example, my shoulder as it relates to swimming.”
Q: Looking ahead, do you have any new goals/races you are working towards?
A: “This year my project is working toward a faster 5K time. Then next year my goal is a 10K, followed by a half marathon in 2021. Whether I get to race another marathon will depend on how I perform over the next few years with this strength training regimen. I will most definitely will be looking to Garrett for his expert opinion!”
Thank you for reading this ‘In the Spotlight’ segment. And, a big shout out to Claudette Watson! Please feel free to comment below with any questions or feedback.