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A Team Approach to a 1-on-1 Running Clinic

Posted by Chrissy Horan  December 11, 2013 10:08 PM

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Over the 13 years or so that I have been running, I have learned a bit about what I need to do to take care of my body. Whether marathon training, recovering from an injury or preparing for surgery, I have benefitted from the help of a massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractor or personal trainer to help me stay or get healthy. And most of these services I have accessed in the same place – Joint Ventures Physical Therapy and Fitness.

I’ve been a patient/client at Joint Ventures pretty much since they opened the doors at their Kenmore Square office in 2005. Their mission is to put all the services that patients might utilize under the same roof.

So when I heard about their 1-on-1 running clinic I wanted to see how this practice of coordinated services translated into improving my running.

The clinic included:
• 60 minute evaluation with a physical therapist
• 30 minute treatment from a sports Chiropractor
• 30 minute session with a personal trainer
• 30 minute massage with a massage therapist

I think I have a pretty solid training routine, but I’m always looking for ways to improve my running, so I was eager to see what the clinic would teach me.

To begin, I filled out a pretty basic intake form about my health, running habits and goals. I met first with physical therapist, Brent Butler. I’ve been to see a physical therapist only when I was injured, so having someone watch me run while healthy was a totally new experience. We discussed the plan for the day and what I had written on the form. We then headed to a treadmill where Brent filmed me running for a few minutes.

Have you ever watched yourself run? In slow motion? Far from the gazelle I like to imagine I am, I saw how my knees are too close together and my foot whips out and my hip drops before I bring my leg forward. Brent froze frames and drew angles to show how I could improve the extension of my back leg in my stride.


At least I would get my money’s worth with all this to work on.

Next we went to a treatment room where he tested my strength and flexibility in several areas to identify what might be causing my issues. After figuring out my weak spots, we went back to the gym to run through some stretches and exercises to target the areas that need the most improvement, which for me are stiffness in my Illiotibial band (ITB), starting way up at my TFL (tensor fasciae latae) and some associated weakness in my hips. Everything Brent suggested, except one exercise that used a kettle bell, was something I could do at home. I did, in fact use the exercises he suggested in my strength training workout on Monday and was immediately sore in places I am not usually after my usual workouts. I partly blame these Figure 4 planks.

They don’t look bad, but, go ahead and try ‘em.

After my time with Brent, he passed me off to Chung Lee, sports chiropractor. In the handoff however, he went over the notes he took during my evaluation and suggested to Chung the areas he might focus on in my treatment session. Chung treated my TFL/ITB with both active release and graston techniques.

If you have not experienced these techniques, the simpliest way I can describe them is different ways to apply pressure to the affected area that helps break up some of the “junk” clogging up that area and causing discomfort or pain. For the graston technique this includes using metal tool to apply the pressure and specifically for me, it means clutching the side of the treatment table until Chung was done. And while I did not enjoy it in the moment, I did feel better when I walked out of the treatment room.

When Chung finished, I met with personal trainer Kathrine Bright. While I was seeing Chung, Brent briefed her about what areas to focus on with me. She too gave me some exercises that would address my weaker areas. A former collegiate running coach, I also appreciate how she suggested incorporating elements into my workouts that would also help me meet my running goals.

Last, I capped off the clinic with a 30-minute massage from therapist Ryan Holohan. He also spoke with Brent and then asked me where else I might want him to focus the massage (my stress-trapped shoulders, please!). While I would have liked to spend longer on the massage table, it was a good reminder for me to try to schedule regular massages for this marathon training season.

Like Joint Venture’s mission to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to wellness, the running clinic did just that in 2.5 hours. I was impressed by the communication among the staff and even more impressed by the clearly individualized program they developed for me and my particular issues. I was not pushed to come back and pay for additional services, though I'm sure I will. At least to schedule another massage soon.

As always, let me know what you think and what’s going on in your running community. Post comments here or email me at

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

     Chrissy Horan has been running around Boston and nearby neighborhoods since 2000. An athlete through high school and college, she has found the running community in Boston to More »

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