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Posted on 10-20-2011

 "There I am," a practice member of ours recently told us, "out on my 3-mile run, running up a steep incline. Suddenly, I feel a pain in the middle of my right shin. 'Oh, no, I think, not again.'"

As the story went, the patient recovered from the shin splints quickly, but he knew he'd dodged a bullet. "Why did I get hurt?" he wanted to know. "I wasn't doing anything wrong…What can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again?" These are key questions that our practice member asked Dr. Seaman.


One important answer is that we need a plan for exercise. This is the basis for a good workout, one that will work and in which you will see results. When you're working this way − training smart and safe − then you can also train hard.

Training safe and smart means paying attention to what's happening in your body as you do your workout. "Paying attention" is a learned skill. It requires focus and repetition. This is something that we go over in our office during rehabilitative strength training. Visualization is an important part of focus and, if you're working on visualization, then you are definitely paying attention!

You can visualize no matter what exercise you are doing. Dr. Seaman's tips for visualization:


·         Start by visualizing a string coming from you head to your feet, straightening you.

·         Your head is upright, you're looking forward and slightly down, and your chest is open.

·         Your abdominal muscles are tightened.

·         Your arms are active yet relaxed, and your shoulders sit comfortably on your rib cage.

·         If you're completing an action such as running, visualize the follow through of the action.

·         Visualize a long stride, a soft landing, and a strong push off, with your leg kicking straight behind you. If you're at the gym on a rowing machine, picture your elbows pulling back smoothly behind you.

Training smart also means trusting your instincts, rather than listening to your ego. This is a tough one. At the time, it seems so important to do that last rep. You can do that last rep if you maintain your form. Form is everything! If you have to sacrifice form in order to do those last few reps, you may get an unexpected, unwelcome result. You can injure yourself, and you can't train at all with an injury. When your form breaks down, that's a signal to slow down and recover your good mechanics. If your training is done with attention to proper, effective form, you'll be more likely, when the time comes, to run a good race at a good pace.

As in much of life, there's a fine line between training hard and overtraining. Remember, the benefit of training is for the long term. If you need assistance in developing a program or maintaining alignment while you are training, give Dr. Seaman a call today at 773-545-2233!

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