Your body is a kinetic chain of bones, muscles, joints, and tendons.
Running with a single weak link causes physical imbalance and ultimately leads to injury.
But, you can strength train your entire body to improve your running mechanics and reduce your chances of getting hurt.
Jordan D. Metzl, MD, discusses running safety, whether you're a weekend jogger or a dedicated marathoner.
RadioMD Presents: Train Your Body | Original Air Date: May 12, 2015
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest: Jordan D. Metzl, MD
Train your body. Here’s Exercise Physiologist Melanie Cole, M.S.
MELANIE: Do you see those people out there running? You think to yourself, “I know I could be one of those. I just really don’t know how to begin. I don’t know if I have the wind for it”. I hear that all the time. “I don’t know if I have really the strength to do it. They seem like they’re so motivated.” Well, we are going to talk about healthy running and the things you need to do if you want to become a runner. My guest is the consummate expert, Dr. Jordan Metzl. He’s a nationally recognized sports medicine physician, bestselling author and fitness instructor, practices at the hospital for special surgery in New York. Welcome to the show Dr. Metzl, so your new book, Running Strong, right? That’s the name?
DR METZL: You bet you, nice to talk to you and, yes, the new book is called Running Strong. I did it with “Runners World” and I kind of think of this as the following things. So, I was thinking about it when I put it together. So, I’ve been practicing sports medicine for 15 years and I’ve been running for, I guess, thirty plus years, and I do believe that the best medicine every day, is to get off your couch every single day and get out of bed and get out there and get going. I want people to go do that and in sports, running certainly is the easiest, literally lowest bar entry. Literally you just got to get a pair of shoes and open your door. So, as a lifelong runner and somebody that has taken care of thousands of runners, how to you get that information and how do you keep people on the road? So, the idea of Running Strong was basically every single thing I know as a runner and every single thing I know as a sports medicine doctor together. This year was my 33rd marathon so just by way of “street cred”…
MELANIE: Oh, that’s just wonderful.
DR METZL: So, I practice what I preach. You know, I don’t want to talk about it, I want to do it!
DR METZL: We did a really cool thing actually with the great folks at Runners World, and that was, I have been doing a whole series of videos with them called “Inside the Doctor’s Office” over the last four or five years and literally somebody’s in my office and we tackle every subject matter a runner will deal with, from shin splints to muscle cramps to achy hips, to achy backs, to stride lengths to drinking coffee before you run. Everything. We called that series “Inside the Doctor’s Office”. So, what we did is, in addition to all the information about everything related to running, we did a series of illustrated, feet, ankles, knees, hips, backs and every time you get to a thing like shin splints, you read about it and then you hold your smart phone over the picture of the shin and we’re using this new scanning app called “Blippar” and it basically scans the page and takes you, on your smart phone, to the video I did on that subject. So, it’s literally like a 24/7 video consultation from anywhere around the world, but different than Dr. Google, who is only right about 30% of the time. I know what people are doing because they get all the information, so it’s a pretty cool way, I think, on the health informatics side to be able to give people info but also just for runners I want to keep on the road. So, yes, Running Strong is the title and it’s all about how to keep people healthy.
MELANIE: Wow! What a cool app that is. You just put it right on there and then it has you talking about that specific injury, or that specific limitation, whatever it is. That is absolutely brilliant! So, give us a little summary of your best advice for running strong. What do you tell people about getting out there on the road?
DR METZL: Sure. So, basically, first of all, I want everybody to do it. It’s interesting to think about my typical day in the office. You know, one patient can be a 62-year- old woman who is a new runner who wants to do the “5K” and she’s got a little bit of arthritis in her knees. The next patient could be a 16-year-old, cross-country junior who’s looking to kind of make it to a college runner and then the next person may be like a 40-year-old guy who wants to run a marathon for the very first time. So, each one of those people are runners and they all run and yet they all have very different needs and so I start by talking about the proper running form and some of the basics of preparing your body to run. Then, after going through pretty much the whole body piece, talk about things like improving your physiology, maximizing your strength, maximizing your flexibility on a foam roller, some of the things you think about in terms of mechanics of your own personal run, nutrition, so it’s pretty much a tip to toe thing. I guess the message I want to give everybody, I titled the book, Running Strong and that was no accident. We did it in combination of a new version of my workout called “Iron Strength” which is, I think I’ve talked to you about it before, a full body function training, which is basically kinetic training for runners. So, using body weight, a lot of plyometric-based training to basically build your strength so you put much less loading force on your hips, and your knees and your back. So, what I want people to think about is, “How do I make myself--whether I’m the 61-year-old person with arthritis, the 16-year-old kid who wants to run faster, or the 40-year-old person who wants to run a marathon--how to I make running the healthiest for me?” If you think about those kinds of things, maximizing your form, maximizing your strength, maximizing your physiology, you will make yourself the best version of yourself when it comes to running.
MELANIE: How do you maximize your motivation to get started?
DR METZL: HA! That’s a great question! And, that’s a fair question. A couple things. In my last book, An Exercising Cure, I talked a lot about what we call the exercise wheel. The exercise wheel is a concept that if there’s like a tractor tire lying on the street and you want to take this tire and take it from here to there--you know, down the block or wherever--the biggest amount of energy expenditure is getting that thing up and moving. Once it’s rolling, it’s easier to keep it rolling. So, number one is you’ve just got to get started. You have to force yourself to get started, number one, motivationally. Number two, you just think about it and the last guy on the show which was talking about some of the different apps and you need to kind of think about making a community, whether a virtual community or a real community. In my “Iron Strength” workout community we started in New York about 3 years ago, we have hundreds of people that come out and do the workouts now. They’re all free and it’s all free community-based fitness. It’s awesome and it’s so fun to see what the community looks like when it grows and develops.
MELANIE: And that is really cool. To be a part of something like that helps. I mean, people have learned that even buddy systems help them get going, help them do something. So, that new person, that person that wants to get up off the couch and start running. Right away they start running and the first thing they say is, “I’m not going to be able to do this. I felt my knees after that run” or “I only made it for two blocks and I couldn’t catch my breath”.
DR METZL: Yes.
MELANIE: What do you tell them?
DR METZL: So listen, I tell them that nothing in life is…You know, if it ain’t a little bit of work, it probably is not worth it in the first place but I think some of the coolest advances are with technology and movement together. Knowing how far you’ve gone, what you pace, what your friends are doing, some of the different tracking apps that allow you to setup different virtual communities so you can compare yourself to other people. Those things are all so helpful, I think, in terms of motivating people and keeping them going, getting them metrics on what they’re doing. I just think the whole face of this has changed so much. I love the interface of technology and health and wellness and preventive medicine.
MELANIE: I do, too, and I think it’s a great way for people to figure out what they want to do and get involved in it. Tell people how they can find your book and what you really want them to know about running strong.
DR METZL: Sure. So, you can find Running Strong on Amazon or in any bookstore or Barnes and Noble. The title is Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong and when you use it, I want you to send me a note. You can send me a note on Twitter. I’m on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook under Dr. Jordan Metzl, let me hear your feedback. Particularly, I’ve had some really neat videos from around the world of people using the scanning app, so it’s nice. Like, I had some guy down in Brazil, he was a big runner in Brazil that watched my shin splint video and sent me a video of him watching the shin splint video. It was pretty cool!
MELANIE: That is cool.
DR METZL: To have people use your information around the world--it’s really cool.
MELANIE: You’ve created a community of your own.
DR METZL: Yeah!
MELANIE: Revolving around people who want to run strong; people that want to get running. So, give us those handles again and where we can find your book.
DR METZL: Sure! So, any of you can get any of this. It’s accessible through my website which is www.drjordanmetzl.com and on there you can order the book. You can order the new Iron Strength DVD. You can access my information and then, if not, Amazon has the book as well.
MELANIE: And the book is called Running Strong. Dr. Jordan Metzl’s Running Strong, the sports doctor’s complete guide to staying healthy and injury free for life, and, you know, that’s it, listeners. That’s what you want to do. You want to find something that you can do and stay injury free and if running is your thing, well then, this would be the definitive encyclopedia for you!
You’re listening to RadioMD. The show is Sports Medicine. Train, motivate and perform with the American College of Sports Medicine. Train your body right here.
This is Melanie Cole. Thanks so much for listening. If you missed any of our great information, you can listen anytime on demand or on the go at RadioMD.com.