Home Blog Bum Wheels and Runner’s Diarrhea: A Special Sunday Blog

Bum Wheels and Runner’s Diarrhea: A Special Sunday Blog

Written on April 18, 2010 at 7:03 am, by Eric Cressey

Tomorrow is marathon day here in Boston.  On one hand, it’s a great day in our city, as loads of money is raised for charity and quite a few high level, well-prepared athletes come to town to compete for a Boston Marathon crow.

Boston Marathon

Unfortunately, it’s also a day when hip replacements become reality and 140-pound dudes in shorty-short shorts instantly become Johnny Brassballs so that they can fight through pain (and runner’s diarrhea) to complete a 26.2 biomechanical nightmare that is the exercise equivalent of taking a 1983 Chevy Cavilier out for the Daytona 500.  The Boston Globe ran a feature today that noted, “Each year for the past three years, about 1,000 qualifiers received medical deferments, allowing them to postpone their eligibility to run until the next year. As of last week, about 600 of the nearly 27,000 people registered to run tomorrow had sought deferments, and the organizers expected that number could double.”

Out of the Running

The thing that I think frustrates me the most about this scenario is that all the modalities listed as “treatments” are really just band-aids on a ruptured aorta.  They talk about oral NSAIDs, cortisone shots, ice, massage, knee straps, surgery, physical therapy – all REACTIVE modalities.  People wait for issues to reach threshold and only then do they start to perceive them as problematic.  And, there will never, ever, ever, ever, ever be any modality that will overcome a dysfunctional runner with a completely warped perception of reality a few weeks out from an event so physically demanding that it actually killed the first guy ever to do it.

So, with this year’s marathon upon us, I’m going to make a plea to the (few?) marathoners out there who actually read this: start preparing on Tuesday for next year’s event if you plan to run it.  Be a regular athlete before you try to become an elite athlete.  Don’t run to get fit; get fit to run.

Four-month training programs are a load of B.S.; nobody became elite at anything in four months.  Instead, put in a legitimate year of strength training, flexibility training, (energy systems) cross-training, sprint work, threshold work, and solid nutrition BEFORE you start running any longer.  You’ll feel like a million bucks and blow this year’s time out of the water.

Confucius said that “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  So, here’s Step 1.  Get a foam roller and start doing this series every day:

8 Responses to “Bum Wheels and Runner’s Diarrhea: A Special Sunday Blog”

  1. Dan Says:

    Great advice!

  2. Mike Arone Says:

    about time someone has posted a quality foam rolling vid…thanks eric

  3. Jim Says:


    As a physical therapist, I feel obliged to let you know that physical therapy is not always a “reactive” modality.

    Good physical therapists restore, maintain and enhance human function. Not all of us “react” but rather many are proactive and many of the strategies you note are utilized daily to enhance the lives of those we touch….

  4. Eric Cressey Says:

    Jim, thanks for the note. Sorry if that was taken out of context; it was meant to refer to the way in which the runners themselves think. Very rarely would any of them ever consider going to a PT in advance to prevent such an injury. Like you said, though, there are some outstanding PTs out there who are doing a great job of preventing injuries in the first place; I’m very fortunate to work hand-in-hand with quite a few on a weekly basis. However, in that capacity, they aren’t really doing physical therapy; in the absence of symptoms, they’re really just doing quality strength and conditioning and manual therapy.

    Sorry for the misrepresentation; it certainly wasn’t my intention. I appreciate your contribution.


  5. Meaghan Says:

    Step 2: Stop training for muscular endurance and GET STRONG: http://www.fitnessmash.com/2010/04/forgotten-training-variables-connective-tissue/

  6. Ernie Says:

    Eric Beard took this great video of some impairments he saw while passing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBsGs3H2HxU&playnext_from=TL&videos=zA9FGcR3e_o&feature=sub

    Only 1 minute of video and ~20 people passing, but 3 of them have quite gross movement patterns. If you extrapolate that….

  7. Carson Boddicker Says:


    No question that the distance world needs a bit of help on this front.

    I enjoyed your remark concerning “reactive” modalities, as much of our health care system is really not “health care” but closer to “sick care” and runners are the WORST.

    In the elite populations here in Flagstaff, much of the aversion is a result of decades of dogma and things published from some of the most well respected coaches in the distance running world discrediting its effectiveness for the distance runners despite countless pieces of literature saying otherwise. Luckily, when people value your work, more start to catch onto “good” methods. In due time I believe that people will finally recognize and exploit the value of what you and I do.

    Best regards,
    Carson Boddicker

  8. Anna Says:

    I really hope some runners are reading this and are paying attention. As a long distance runner myself, it’s amazing what a bit of designated strength work and corrective sessions can do for you. Not only to prevent injuries, but also for greater running efficiency so you can push harder, and recover faster too.

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