Joe's East Africa Trip 2012

Iten, Kenya - Wednesday 10/24/2012

Coach Renato Canova swung by around 7:30 a.m. to pick me up. In the van were Florence Kiplagat (2010 World Champion - half marathon, 2009 Cross Country World Champion, 2011 Berlin marathon champion with 2:19) and Janet Achola (Ugandan 1500 meter 2012 olympian - 4:05). We headed first to the track (now completely empty) so I could have a good look at their mechanics. I took a video so we could look at things in slow motion. With the camera perched on two home-made wooden hurdles that Renato found nearby I was able to capture the necessary angles.

The day before I had noticed over 70% of the runners on the track run with a considerable asymmetrical rotation of their upper bodies (i.e. their shoulders would rotate excessively to the left). This is a common tendency of runners for many reasons, the most common causes being the imbalanced force applied when always running in the same counter-clockwise direction on the track and the dominant right side/shoulder becoming more tight/strong than the left. This gait characteristic pre-disposes the runner to injury due to the hip obliquity that occurs if this imbalance is not taken care of. Florence demonstrated this tendency, with her injuries directly relating to this habit. This photo, as did many, demonstrate facets of this imbalance.

After the videos it was clear I would need to spend more time with Florence to better understand the extent her physiology has adjusted to these mechanics and the injury. We headed back to Kiero View and after a couple hours in the gym we were all in full agreement as to the appropriate corrective actions. Renato and I then headed back to HATC to look through the videos. We talked mechanics, coaching, and again time flew by.

Next up was an afternoon hill workout with Florence where I could now see her form in a more intense setting. A storm was quickly approaching so Renato simply drove to 'this certain color of the clouds' where he thought there would be enough time to get the workout in before the storm hit. Sure enough the downpour came right as Florence finished her last repeat! We were back at sunset, and as with everyday in Iten it seems, life (and running) quickly quiets down when it gets dark.

Joe McConkey, Renato Canova, Florence Kiplagat, David - Florence's training partner

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