Home Posts tagged "Boston Marathon"

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

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:

Read more

The “Saving the Shuffler” Sale

Earlier this week, I introduced you to the "shuffler," a breed of endurance athlete that seems to be everywhere in Boston this time of year.  And, skilled trapper that I am, I actually managed to catch one last night to: a) rescue her from herself, b) learn more about how we can diagnose and treat this shuffling epidemic in the endurance training community c) even help charity in the process. In fact, promising to help her out with her charitable deeds was the only way I could cajole Steph Holland-Brodney into doing this interview from the cage we keep her in at Cressey Performance. I'm not normally this sarcastic with our clients, but Steph's the most tenured of the bunch, having been with me since I first moved to Boston in the summer of 2006 as she prepared for her first Boston Marathon.  She's put up with my bad jokes and stuck with me through two facility moves.  With two Boston Marathons under her belt - and one more on the horizon - it's been interesting to watch the shift in her mindset over the past few years. Maybe it's been Tony's mind-numbing techno music that's gotten her to come to her senses.  Then again, I can't explain how that would have happened, as that garbage drives me crazy. Or, maybe she got a pack of carb goo that had passed its expiration date.  Nope, that can't be it; simple sugars make people dumber, not smarter. My hunch is that there's a lot more to it - and that's why I think an interview with her will tell an awesome story.  Check it out. EC: Okay, let's get right to the meat and potatoes.  When did you start running, and more importantly, why? SH-B: You eat potatoes?  Sorry, I'm easily distracted. I ran here and there through college and graduate school, but never more than three miles.  After I had my second child, I needed to lose that infamous and annoying "baby weight," so started running again.  I bought this Oldsmobile of a double stroller and it took me longer to get them both in it than my runs took.  I was running on the morning of September 11, 2001 when my mom died as her plane was hijacked.  I wasn't home to see any of the images live.   In many ways I am thankful for that. Over the next few years I became more serious about my running; it was my escape.  After completing some 5k and 10k races, I decided that I wanted to tackle The Biggest Enchilada of them all (you know, to honor my Mexican heritage.)  When I saw that Boston Medical Center was a charity for the Boston Marathon, I applied immediately.  The Good Grief program at BMC helped me so much after my mother passed away.  It was a no-brainer. EC: How has your training program changed in that time period?  What have you added? Subtracted? SH-B:  I used to view lifting as "supplemental" and my "cardio" (yes, I was a Step Aerobics and Spinning instructor) as the core of my training.  That has totally changed.  I used to be a cardio 4x/week and lift 2x/week chick.  Now, I lift 3x a week and do cardio three times. At least one or two of those times is interval work.  I used to whine (well, I still do, but it's definitely a more angry whine) when I had to lift heavy.  Now, I get pissed off if I don't hit a goal.  I mean, what 5-2 marathon midget gets off on trap bar deadlifting 225?


EC: Whine?  You?  Never.  I'll just say that there were a lot of us that were pretty relieved when you uttered these words and they became the photo-worthy quote of the year at CP :

We Saved Her!

Anyway, though, it's been my observation that roughly 80% of those who follow the cookie-cutter marathon training program they're given develop some sort of an overuse injury prior to the marathon.  I think the hardest part about this is that it's impossible to really "fix" any lower extremity issue when an individual is still running with such high mileage.  You've had your share of aches and pains along the way; what have you're your strategies for dealing with them, and what have they taught you? SH-B: Marchese and Morgan torture, lower mileage, my foam roller, and a proper warm-up.  Soft tissue work is a must.  I see John Marchese and Tim Morgan every other week.  I tell them that giving birth to two kids was less painful then their treatment.  Those 45 minutes of torture though are so important. Like the CP staff, they were adamant about lowering my weekly mileage and replacing some of my runs with interval work and even some bike work.  The foam roller and I have taken our relationship to an entirely new level.  And the terms "ankle mobilization" and "glutes activation" have taken on new meaning in my life. EC: Now, I've come to appreciate that we've turned you into a training snob.  You appreciate a good training environment, and loathe watching people do moronic stuff in the gym.  What are three things you've seen/heard among endurance athletes that made you want to hole them up in the Big Dig? SH-B: So easy.  Do yoga.  Do yoga.  Do yoga.  No, wait: do hot yoga. EC: You're right; that was too easy.  What else you got? SH-B:  Add more mileage, "I don't have time to strength train," and going carb crazy before long runs and forgetting about protein.  Brian St. Pierre has taught me a tremendous amount about carb/protein ratios and the breakdown of fat in your system.  And the importance not only of the pre-long run meal but the post run nutrition also.  If he tells me one more time about quinoa or kiwis.... EC: Speaking of good training environments, at Cressey Performance, there's something known as the "V-Hour" - and those who train during that time period are known as the "V-Club."  While I came up with the name, you're undoubtedly the president and events coordinator for the group.  So, I figured you could best articulate the mission of this esteemed group of ladies.  Oh, and just what exactly does the "V' stand for? SH-B: Oh Eric, you just want to make a mother of two and teacher say VAGINA, don't you?  Clarification, I'm not the president.  I am social director.  Let me just say that last night at CP, the last three clients there were ALL women.  I have trained with you for almost 3 years and that has never happened.  When I started with you I was your only female client for quite some time.  Slowly, more women started to jump in on the madness. Let's face it, V Club Members are versatile; we have to be.  We're married, single, confused, all ages.  Some of us are professional athletes, some of us are endurance athletes and some of us just like to lift heavy stuff.  We must tolerate the same rotation of three CDs all of the time, having Brian yell across the crowded gym for all to hear, "Stick your ass out more," and Tony walking around with his Tupperware full of beef, broccoli and guacamole saying things like, "Atta girl!"  And let's not even get into you. We've got to be witty and be able to dish it out.  Have good taste in music and know how to rock a pair of Seven Jeans.  We are a tiny percentage of the clientele.  We support one another in our quest for CP greatness.  And our favorite activity is of course making fun of the staff. EC: Okay, let's talk fund raising.  For whom are you raising money with this year's marathon efforts?  And, how much have you raised in recent years for that cause? SH-B:  This is my third year with Boston Medical Center.  Their mission is "exceptional care without exception."  That pretty much sums up my mom's mission in life.  Over the past 2 years I have raised $10,000.  This year I need to raise $3,000.  I have about $2,200 left to go. I just have to say this.  When I was first referred to you, I saw my time with you as maybe a six-week stint.  I needed "corrective exercise."  Never did I think that my entire philosophy on training would change - or that I'd make such great friendships.  I look more forward to my CP sessions than I do my runs.  A half hour at the track doing sprint intervals kicks my butt more than a "medium run." You guys really have turned me into a training snob and I am so thankful for it.  Before this ends, I have one request.   Can one of the interns vacuum my cage? EC:  I'll see what I can do.  Thanks for taking the time; now, let's raise some money for a great cause. Boston Medical Center has helped loads of people like Steph, and while I think they deserve the donations regardless, I'm going to sweeten the deal.  Here's the scoop: Make a donation of $20 or more to BMC HERE by next Thursday, March 26 at midnight.  Then, forward your receipt to me at ec@ericcressey.com.  In exchange, I'll send you a coupon code for 20% off ANY purchase of: 1. Magnificent Mobility (e-manual and CEU package available) 2. Building the Efficient Athlete DVD Set (CEU package available) 3. Inside-Out (e-manual and CEU package available) 4. The Ultimate Off-Season Manual 5. The Art of the Deload 6. The Truth About Unstable Surface Training 7. The Indianapolis Performance Enhancement DVD Set (CEU package available) 8. Bulletproof Knees (CEU package available) In your email, just let me know which product(s) you'd like to purchase.  As you can tell, if you purchased a bunch of these products at once, a simple $20 donation could save you hundreds of dollars in products.  A huge thanks go out Bill Hartman and Mike Robertson for generously agreeing to help out with this promotion. Here's that donation link again: https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=294905&lis=0&kntae294905=C0E17F6614F64DF5BBC0DB96BF2D3283&supId=246743102 Thanks for your help in supporting this great cause! EC
Read more

27 Things I’m Thankful For

1. Yesterday, the defending state champion Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team clinched a share of its 8th consecutive Dual County League title.  Over 25 current L-S players – including virtually the entire starting varsity lineup – train at Cressey Performance during the off-season and in-season.  We also had five LS baseball graduates in to train yesterday to kick off their summer session – and four of them are playing D1 college baseball.  These guys realize that winning programs are largely built in the off-season.

2. Speaking of L-S, Sam Finn is currently batting over .400 at the cleanup spot, and on the mound, he’s 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA, and 49 strikeouts in 41.1 innings.  Last year, Sam had one at-bat and he struck out.  As a testament to his hard work in the off-season (during which time he added 20 pounds to his frame), Sam was the first athlete to train at CP’s new facility last Saturday; how many high school athletes do you know who show up to train at 8:45AM on a Saturday morning?

3. Speaking of new facilities, the new place is open – and I’ll have pictures soon.  The move was an absolute nightmare that basically amounted to 39 hours of heavy (and messy) manual labor over a three-day period, including two “days” that didn’t wrap up until 3AM.  Pete, Tony, Brian, and I agreed that it was the longest three days of our lives.  On Day 1in the new facility, we all walked around barefoot because the blisters on our feet were so bad that we couldn't wear shoes – and our hands were really raw from moving all the flooring.  However, every cloud has its silver lining: we commiserated, but not one person complainedor even thought about leaving early.  Everyone gave up Thu, Fri, and Sat nights to get things done.  It made me realize how lucky I am to have a great group of guys around me at work.  And, from now on, when I hire, I'm going to think about whether my potential employee would have stuck around for all that work.

4. Jon Lester tossed a no-hitter for the Red Sox last night.  Here’s a guy who beat cancer and pitched the clinching game in the World Series last year.  Talk about a great story – and a guy who deserves every bit of success that comes his way.  This should make you feel good whether you’re a Red Sox fan or not…

5. …which reminds me: I need to remind the Yankees fans in the crowd that you’re in last place in the AL East.  Sorry to rain on your parade, folks.  On a brighter and related note, I have to chuckle when I see a signed baseball in my office from Yankees AAA pitching prospect David Robertson: “To Eric, you are the best bullpen catcher I have ever seen.  You should definitely look into baseball as a career.”  He got up to 91 mph – and I didn’t break a thumb.

6. In the past two years, CP client Steph Holland-Brodney has raised over $6,000 for Boston Medical Center with her Boston Marathon participation.  Her giving doesn't stop there, though; on Day 1 at the new place, she also showed up with a full meal from Whole Foods: an entire chicken, green beans, and almonds.  She even brought Pete cupcakes - and added two balloons to our office. Thanks, Steph! 7. How many 68-year-old men do you know who can do eight neutral pull-ups? Tony Hughes can.  Tony’s my only one-on-one client – and I think that he’d be the first to tell you that success in training is a marathon, not a sprint.  Consistency keeps you healthy and functional.

8. Worcester, MA native and CP athlete Tim Collins has posted an ERA of 0.00 with 15 strikeouts and only two hits and five walks in 10.0 innings of work for the Lansing Lugnuts in the Toronto Blue Jays system.  That’s not the best part, though: you’ll see Tim listed (generously) at 5-7, 155 pounds – yet he’s touching low 90s on the radar gun.  At 5-7, 155, most kids are lucky to be able to reach the cookies on the top shelf – but Tim is living the dream as a professional pitcher.  Awesome kid, too.

Not to be outdone, CP athlete Steve Hammond of the Huntsville Stars (Milwaukee Brewers AA) is currently leading the Southern League in strikeouts and boasts a 5-1 record along with a 2.61 ERA.  He gets mentioned second only because he's 6-2 and not 5-7.  Sorry, Steve - but great job nonetheless!  For your amusement, here is Steve throwing a 2-seam fastball at me over the winter.

9. A few weeks ago, after approximately 20 years of trying (during which time she completed 11 Ironmans, won three NCAA championships as a swimmer at Stanford, and spent five years on the US National Team as a swimmer), Cressey Performance athlete Dede Griesbauer finally did an unassisted chin-up.  It also happens to be her wedding anniversary, so Happy Anniversary, Dede (and Dave)!

10. Last week, my girlfriend had The Today Show on while she was eating breakfast – and New Kids on the Block were performing live.  Now, the reappearance of NKOTB nearly made me gag on my eggs, but I took solace – and definitely cracked a smile – when they had to perform in the pouring rain.  Apparently, Mother Nature and I share a similar taste in music.  You think she likes Disturbed, too?

12. Combat Core by Jim Smith is hands-down the best product of 2008 thus far.  If you don’t own it, buy it.

13. Last summer, Gillian Roddie, an Irish powerlifter, came over to train with us for a week.  While at CP, she commented that she was very impressed that in the time she spent there, not a single one of our athletes squatted high.

14. StrengthCoach.com.  Mike Boyle has done an excellent job of quickly establishing this forum as one of the best place to exchange training ideas on the web.  I check in on it daily.

15.  On Sunday, at age 39, PJ Brown had 10 points and 6 boards in 20 minutes of action for the Celtics during their Game 7 win over Cleveland.  Here’s a guy who came out of retirement only a few months ago.  Never underestimate the positive impact a veteran can have on younger players.  It’s one of the reasons why we try to get our high school athletes to interact with our collegiate and professional athletes here and there at the facility; success rubs off on them.

16. Yesterday, an online consulting client emailed me to tell me that he saw Maximum Strength at the front of the largest bookstore in Bangkok, Thailand.  I’m flattered – and really hope that they can read English, or else they’re going to be pissed, because we haven’t done any translated copies yet.  I also heard that we were in a Borders in Idaho – and I hope they actually speak English there, too. :)

17. I love the giant cambered bar.  It’s fantastic for working with overhead athletes you want to keep out of the at-risk position with back squatting, and it’s an excellent way to rotate in some variety without getting rid of squatting altogether.  It’s been a huge help with keeping my shoulder intact in spite of all the problems I had with it back in my early 20s.

Coincidentally, the spotter in that video text-messaged me at 7:14AM to wish me a happy birthday; thanks for letting me sleep in on my big day, George.

18. My girlfriend not only does chain push-ups; she also looks up and smiles at the camera in the middle of a set.

19. Tony Gentilcore tomfoolery.

20. Jon Boyle is a guy who flies under the radar, but is an integral part of the success of my newsletter and, in particular, my blog.  If you enjoy what you read here, Jon deserves a ton of the credit for his help behind the scenes.  I’m lucky to have him; thanks, Jon.

21. I actually laugh out loud when I hear some of the things that people have said about me since I opened my own facility last July.  I’ve heard everything from “Cressey is injuring people” to things that I don’t even want to put into writing on the internet.  If I was so bad at what I do – and so unethical – then I probably wouldn’t have gone from zero clients in a new town in August of 2006 to over 300 clients in our database today.  Roughly 200 are active – and another 100 or so were one-time evaluations who came from all over the country (and abroad) to experience my ignorance and dim wit.

Keep talking, folks.  It’s pretty amusing.

22. I love variety.  While we work with a ton of athletes, I get some variety thrown in there to keep my life interesting.  In about an hour, I’m heading to the track with four college baseball players, a pro hockey guy, and a full D1 scholarship soccer player.  They’ll all be in later – and lift alongside a professional triathlete, high school athletes, and weekend warriors from a variety of disciplines.

23.  I love it when an athlete comes to us with a shoulder injury that hasn’t responded to traditional physical therapy (ultrasound and rotator cuff exercises).  I don’t love the fact that the athlete is in pain; I love the fact that there are a ton of approaches we can still exhaust to get him/her better.  So, we get to work on scapular stability, mobilizing the thoracic spine, improving glenohumeral internal rotation, improving hip and ankle mobility, and working on soft tissue quality.

24. There was a slight mix-up with the editing on our new book, and one of the photos on page 68 is incorrect (our publisher confused the bottom position of a scap push-up with a regular push-up on the first production run).  While I wasn’t too happy about the mix-up, I will say that I was pretty darn proud when three of our athletes picked up on it when reading the book.  I guess they’re actually learning something.

25. I’m proud to say that I have never used an agility ladder with an athlete.  I’m sure Todd Hamer is proud of me, too.

I did, however, once MacGyver-it-up by tying together several agility ladders along with a bicycle tire and broomstick to rescue a beached whale from certain death.  The Greenpeace folks loved it.

Just kidding, actually.  Agility ladders are still stupid.

26. My girlfriend introduced me to a Brita water filter two weeks ago – and it makes the water taste a ton better.  I don’t even want to think about what I was drinking from the tap before; Lord only knows what it filters out.  Needless to say, if you aren’t drinking enough water, get one of these; it’s well worth it.

27. Perform Better is awesome. Chris Poirier and his staff not only provide awesome equipment and educational materials, but they also host the most informational seminars in the fitness industry.  I’ll be speaking at the last PB Summit for 2008 in Providence, RI at the end of this month; I’d highly recommend you checking it out, if you can make it.

I’m headed to the track to sprint, and I’ll be lifting later on – before heading to eat approximately 387 fajitas for my birthday dinner.  Fajitas aside, exercise and coaching athletes are huge parts of my life, obviously, and I wouldn’t imagine not having them on my one day of the year to enjoy myself.  I love what I do.  Thanks for subscribing to this newsletter and for continuing to support me.

All the Best,

Read more

Newsletter #54


First off, a big congratulations goes out to Lincoln-Sudbury’s Kevin Scanlan, a Cressey Performance athlete who pitched his first career no-hitter last week. With a 3-0 record, 0.35 earned-run average, and 40 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched, Kevin is the top-ranked pitcher in the competitive Dual-County League here in Massachusetts – en route to pitching for the University of Maine next year. Kevin is also batting almost .500 at the clean-up spot and playing first base when he isn’t pitching. Great job, Kevin! Cressey Performance has become somewhat of a breeding ground for the 7-1 Lincoln-Sudbury baseball team, with seven of the athletes training with me.  Stay tuned for more of the same success in the months and years to come!


As you may have heard, there was a great feature article in the Boston Globe about Stephanie Holland-Brodney, one of my clients who ran the marathon. And, needless to say, the picture that accompanied the article served as great blog material: The School of Hard Nipples

Self-deprecating humor is the best kind, right?

With the help of Jon Boyle, we’ve really upped the content considerably on the blog over the last few weeks. Be sure to check it out at www.EricCressey.com on the homepage - and by all means, please spread the word. The more popular it gets, the more content we’ll pack into it each day. In the meantime, here are a few of the more popular ones from the past few weeks:

The 315 Deadlift Fiasco Lifestyle Checklists Lower Back Pain and the Fitness Professional Until next week, train hard and have fun! All the Best, EC
Read more
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series