Running with Knitting Needles
by Meghan Dougherty
I've been a regular runner since high school, and over the years this habit has taken its toll on my body. All in all, I've been incredibly lucky - I've never broken a bone, or been seriously injured - but I have a few nagging problems that sometimes make it uncomfortable, or at times, painful, to run. Since reading Born to Run, I've had hopes of figuring out a sustainable way to run, something that will allow me to run injury-free as I get older. So, when my friends gave rave reviews of a Pose Running workshop they had attended run by Tracy Peal, I knew I had to try it out.
I met with Tracy on a Saturday morning for a little more than an hour. He looked at my posture standing, then watched me run a few feet, and I think that was enough for him to figure out where I was injured and what I was doing wrong. It was a little freaky, I almost think he was reading my mind, he was so accurate in diagnosing what my injuries have been. Apparently my right foot pronates slightly, while my left foot does not, and after years and years of running, this has caused my IT band injury, my brief bout with plantar fasciitis, and my current ankle woes.
If you're not familiar with the Pose technique, you can find more information at www.posetech.com. The basic idea is that the movements of running can be broken down into poses. The most important of these is a figure “4” that you make with your legs. To make this figure, you stand on one leg (very slightly bent), the balance of your weight on the ball of your foot with your heel gently touching the ground. You raise your other leg, keeping that foot even with your standing leg, making the figure “4”. To run, you lean forward with your whole body - no bending at the waist! - until you lose your balance and start falling, then catch yourself with the leg that was raised, simultaneously bringing your other leg, previously on the ground, into the figure “4” position. And repeat!
It sounds so simple. I had read a lot about Pose running and watched some very excellent videos on YouTube, but I really didn’t get it until I met with Tracy. He would explain something, run me through a drill to illustrate it, then have me try to implement it and correct me again. For a specific example, I was unconsiously favoring my right leg, maybe because of my ankle or maybe because my right leg is more injury-prone than the left. He could see that I was leaving my right foot on the ground longer than the left, but to show me what I was doing, he had me run a drill with my hands clasped together and held out straight in front of me, parallel to the ground. My arms moved back and forth with my movement, but veered much farther to the right than to the left. He did this maybe 5 or 6 more times, each time tweaking something different about my running and setting me up so that I could feel that what I had been doing wasn’t “right,” and that changing my form felt better and faster.
The best was that by about halfway through, I could run without triggering any pain - at all! - from my ankle. I haven’t been able to run without ankle pain for nearly two months. The worst was that even though I didn’t run all that far during the training session - I’d guess maybe 800m, total? - because Pose running uses different muscles, my calves were massively sore for days afterwards. I am going to have to spend serious time building up these new muscles!
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about Pose. If you're in the SoutheasternPA/Delaware area, I highly recommend Tracy as a Pose trainer.
My first published knitting pattern is decembre, published in Knitty Deep Fall 2010. Decembre is a reversible scarf that is not double-knit in the traditional sense, and its chart is not intuitive. To help you out in knitting it, here is a brief FAQ inspired by a knitter on Ravelry:
Q. As I knit, the contrast color (CC) yarn becomes really loose. How do I fix this?
A. You just need to tug the CC gently every few stitches (but not too tightly! That's another problem) to make sure tension is consistent with the MC. It's fiddly, but it works. Again, be careful not to tug too tightly!
Q. How far do I carry the CC - do I carry it to the end of the row?
A. No, but -- look to where the first CC stitch is on the next row, and that will tell you how far to carry the CC. For example, let’s look at rows 7 & 8 of the chart.
In row 7, the last CC stitch is 7 stitches in from the edge. But in row 8, the first
CC stitch is only 3 stitches in from the edge. So when you’re knitting row 7, knit
the last CC stitch, then, as you work the next 4 stitches in MC, thread the CC
behind the knit stitches and in front of the purls. At this point, hold
the CC in back (don’t continue to carry it), work the last 2 stitches in MC,
and turn. On row 8, work the first 2 stitches in MC. Now you’re at the 3rd st
of row 8 - a CC stitch - and the CC that you held to the back from row 7
is in the right place.
Q. How do I weave in the CC ends?
A. Thread them through the purl and knit stitches, like you did while working the pattern. If you’re using any kind of a sticky yarn (which I definitely recommend for this pattern), that will be enough to hold them in place.
Any more questions? Feel free to post them in the comments, or PM me on Ravelry. Happy knitting!
Meet Griffith Park:
My new pattern available for download on Ravelry. It's a quick but interesting knit,
and great for a woman or a man --even though the model is in pink and grey, knit
it up in darker colors and it's a perfect present for your guy.
If, for some reason, you've been paying attention to my blog this evening, you may
have noticed I'm having some technical difficulties. Sorry - I'm trying to figure out how
to link from my blog to Ravelry in such a way that you don't have to be a member in
order to download the pattern. But if you're a knitter, you really should join Ravelry --