How I went from hating running to loving it, and gaining speed on my younger self.
Written by: Sarah Kuindersma, MATm, PTS
If this title drew you in, you must be runner, a former runner, or someone who loves the idea of running but has found it hard to get into a flow and enjoy it.
I’m here to sympathize and help you get to running.
Hi, my name is Sarah Kuindersma. I’m the Muscle Activation Technique Specialist at A.S.T. Back in the day, I ran cross country in high school and later transitioned into triathlons at university. I used to love running until I was riddled with injuries and had to stop. Stopping was difficult for me, but eventually, I found new hobbies. Then March of 2020 happened, and most of our hobbies were suspended and many of us turned to running, as did I. I remember starting slow, 1 minute of running followed by 1 minute of walking. It felt terrible. My run felt heavy, I couldn’t get my breathing under control and most concerning my knee pain from university was rearing its ugly head again.
At this time, I had 2 choices, I could have just shrug and say, oh well running isn’t really a passion of mine anyways or use this time to figure out why running was posing such challenges for me. It wasn’t long until I realized I had multiple strength imbalances and mobility issues placing strain on my knee. I also learnt I had a low resilience to running and poor running mechanics.
Where do you go from here?
You would think, someone like myself, educated in muscle imbalances, personal training and a former triathlete should know these answers, but finding a place to start just felt daunting
So, where do you start?
You, you start with you. How are you currently moving? Or rather not moving? It’s important to take an honest look at your starting point of mobility, strength, and fitness.
I started with a movement screen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CApP_PyjUog I did not have a passing mark. There’s no judgement on that, it’s just a starting point. And this is why we use this as a gage to see if you’re ready to run or not. First, I needed to work on my mobility and strength.
After 6 weeks, I checked back in with the return to run screen, although not perfect I did get a passing mark which gave me the green light to start adding small amounts of running. I started with 2 x 30 second runs focusing on run mechanics, and waited 2 days to ensure there was no knee pain that followed suit. We were in the clear, over the next few months I continued with my strength and mobility work while slowly adding more volume and less rest during my runs.
Soon I started craving running, which I never thought I would. I craved it because it felt great. My run mechanics were improving, my fitness was improving and my knee pain was non-existent. We are going to fast-forward the time line here. As I mentioned before I took my progression really slow, but then June of 2022 rolled around and a friend invited me to do WASA with her. It’s a sprint triathlon close to Cranbrook BC. I hemmed and hawed, wasn’t sure I wanted to get back into triathlons but decided why not. Thanks to Facebook memories, I was reminded I had done that exact race, on the same day exactly 10 years ago with a finishing time of 1hr 26mins. The crazy part was I finished WASA in 2022 with a time of 1 hr 26 mins. 10 years apart, same course, same time, but this time around I wasn’t burnt out, I didn’t have injuries, and I was excited to train for my next event.
This long-winded story inspired me to pursue getting my running coach's license and put together a program for anyone wanting to love running again. I’m excited to tell you we have this program ready for you starting January 1st, 2023! The goal of the program is to run for life without pain, learn the proper running mechanics and find the ease of efficient running.