These last few weeks I've asked my PT folks at Team Clinic to apply their Active Release Techniques (ART) to improving my performance. Basically, years of adhesions and scar tissues, as well as shortening of muscles and muscle structures, have led to restrictions in movement, which then lead to compensations in muscles which get overworked because other muscles aren't working, which then leads to lessened performance or injury.
So they use ART to get to critical muscles and muscle structures (ligaments, tendons, etc) and break down some of the adhesions, allowing freer movement and less restriction, thereby increasing in athletic efficiency and reduced possibility of injury.
Well, one thing I gotta say is that it hurts like crazy. When the ART practictioner digs his thumb into your psoas and tendons connecting to your hip, I am writhing in pain and screaming in the clinic. Nobody pays attention because screaming during ART is commonplace and nobody really cares anymore...except the new patients who always wonder what they've gotten themselves into....hahah.
He then repeats this with all my major muscle groups, and then goes to my glutes where the other major restriction point is. And then it's another 3-5 minutes of writhing in pain.
But the results are staggering.
I was doing some 800s and 200s on the track this last week. Prior to this track session, I was working out with 400s at about 1:45. Just before the Pac Grove Triathlon, I cranked out a 1:39 400m and wasn't winded. This last week, I improved my time to running 800s between 3:11 and 3:21. Now usually when one runs 400s at 1:45, an 800 is run sometime slower as you're pretty much maxed out for each interval. So if you take my 400m time of 1:45 and multiply it by 2, you get 3:30 which is supposedly not a time you're able to sustain for a few intervals, as you're supposedly maxed out at 1:45 just to get to the end of the 400m.
So somewhere along the line, my efficiency has improved. My 800m time should predict that I should be able to run 400s at least at 1:35!
And then for my 200m time, I consistently cranked them out at :45, which is a whopping 6:00/mile pace!
A few years ago, I never would have thought I could have run that fast. But here I am running that fast and still there seems to be room for improvement.
Medical and sports science have advanced so much in the last few years. Our understanding of how performance is achieved and how to increase performance is so much higher now than that of 10 or 20 years ago.
I'm using all of that and applying it to myself. It's all a big science experiment.
How fast can Dshen REALLY go?
Some parts sure hurt a lot, like the ART, or today's 2:15 run negative split workout where I pooped out right before the end (arg). But man, this pain is leading to some really great gains.