How Brian Recovered From 20 Years of Chronic Injuries (and rediscovered his potential)

by Jason Fitzgerald

Last fall, I opened a special 1-on-1 coaching program to a small group of runners who were frustrated with injuries.

For six intensive weeks, they received coaching material with one goal: to prevent injuries and finally get them healthy. It included:

  • Strategies and coaching lessons that actually prevent injuries (not this absurd advice)
  • All new strength and flexibility routines in high-quality video
  • Nearly four hours of interviews with six running experts like Alex Hutchinson, Matt Fitzgerald, and Brad Hudson
  • Training plans specifically focused on injury prevention
  • Questions and Answers about prevention, healthy training, and more
  • Private video lessons including a running form analysis case study

This was the most detailed, actionable injury prevention coaching I had ever put together.

And as much as I wish I could have helped more runners, 1-on-1 coaching is too time-intensive and expensive (this program cost $495) for me to help everyone. But soon, I’m going to release the same injury prevention content, interviews, and videos at a fraction of the price.

I’ve since refined the program and added more interviews, lessons, and videos. And even created specific injury treatment protocols for the major injuries. I’m beyond excited to share Injury Prevention for Runners with you soon – it’s the most detailed program I’ve ever created (and I spent thousands of dollars creating it for you).

As I’m finalizing the details, I want to highlight the accomplishments of Brian, one of the runners in the 1-on-1 injury prevention coaching program. He’s 58 and had been dealing with chronic calf strains since his late 30′s (over 20 years!).

After six weeks Brian had no calf pain and has since started running faster than ever.

More importantly, he has a renewed sense of optimism and excitement about his future as a runner. Not only can he keep up with his son, but he told me that his whole body is coming to life like never before and his athleticism is improving. Brian said, “another cool thing is that I’ve just begun this reawakening of body awareness and strength and who knows what other wonderful experiences will come my way as I continue to put in the effort.”

Powerful stuff. Here’s how he did it.

“Whatever it takes…”

Injury Prevention for Runners2

Brian joined the program while both of his calves were flaring up – a constant worry that plagued him for over two decades. He could barely run and was constantly hyper-aware of his calf distress.

Needless to say, he wasn’t sure if he could finally recover from decades of chronic calf injuries at the age of 58.

He hoped there was light at the end of the tunnel with this recurring calf injury. “Whatever it takes to get an injury free running body – I’m up for it” he told me.

I evaluated his training and noticed classic mistakes that most runners make:

  • An “eclectic” mix of strength work – instead of consistently sticking with tried and true, runner-specific exercises
  • No warm-up and never giving TLC to the most important muscles for runners
  • Lack of patience with recovery, workout progressions, and mileage
  • Poor running form
  • Focusing on the wrong things (like static stretching and breathing)

So we started working on the right things. Using a training plan that focused on injury prevention, Brian improved the weak links in his chain and learned from top experts like Alex Hutchinson (who writes the Sweat Science blog on Runner’s World), elite coach Brad Hudson, and running form expert Dr. Peter Larson (of Runblogger fame).

But it wasn’t all rainbows and kittens at first. Truthfully, Brian was reluctant to make key changes to his training that could give his calf muscles a break.

He pushed back on my suggestions for strength exercises, running shoes, and terrain choices. The first few weeks he saw little progress because he kept doing things the same way – and got the same results.

Slowly, he took my coaching advice to heart and made important changes to his training, adjusting how he approached strength work, structuring his running, and issues that affected his calf problems.

Focusing on recovery first – and then fitness – is the only way to truly get healthy.

Abracadabra! Calf Pain Gone

After listening to several interviews with experts in the running field, one story stood out to Brian: Greg Lehman‘s discovery of the relationship between posture and glute strength to efficient running form and injury prevention.

Finally, everything clicked.

“I was like, YES YES YES! I couldn’t have made this discovery without waking up my hips and glutes. Abracadabra, calf tightness vanished mid-run and has not come back in over two months. I found a new running body in the middle of your program.

I’m very happy to have recently run 12 super hilly trail miles with no calf problems during or after the run. And during tempo runs I’m running the last half-mile under 6:00 minute mile pace and feel good doing it – with no calf soreness the next day.”

A big reason why Brian loves running is because it’s when he spends valuable time with his son Noah. At 12 years old, he’s improving rapidly and recently ran a sub-6:00 mile (!). But Brian is keeping up with him, even passing him at the end of a recent workout.

As spring approaches and Noah guns for a 5:30 mile PR, Brian hopes he can continue improving with him. Brian told me that his goal of running a sub-5:00 mile soon is becoming more realistic and not just some pie-in-the-sky dream.

“I am so psyched because now I sense the freedom to gradually build a training schedule that matches my goals. It is so exciting to be running injury free and getting a taste of relaxed, confident, fearless running. I haven’t had that since my teens and truly never thought it was possible to get it back, to get this much speed and joy in my running at age 58.”

You Can Run Like Brian, TooBrian

Many runners experience similar struggles and lack direction to finally get healthy. But there’s hope, even if your injuries are chronic like Brian’s calf problems. If he can show such dramatic improvement, you can too.

Brian isn’t the only runner I’ve helped either. You can see how Deb quit running for 20 years and now runs ultramarathons. Or how Sarah went from constant injuries to pain free running. I’ve even helped myself break my own chronic injury cycle.

I want you to experience the freedom that comes from confident, injury free running – just like Brian, Deb, Sarah, and me.

The Injury Prevention for Runners program includes the same coaching lessons, private exercise routines, video lessons, and expert interviews that helped change Brian’s running.

Check out the program to learn more, and if you want even more content about how to stay healthy, join my Injury Prevention email list. I’ll send you three free presentations on how you can prevent more running injuries.

Brian had this to say about the program:

“I thought ‘if it works, it’s priceless.’ Then I learned that it is possible at 58 to loosen and wake up stuck areas of the body. It just feels really cool to see my body change so dramatically. Better late than never to discover your potential as a runner!

I absolutely recommend this program to other runners with chronic injuries. It’s an amazing package with so many great interviews, fantastic conditioning exercises, and it’s easy to access all of it.

I’m so excited for the New Year of running with an injury free body that can fully enjoy the wild trail runs that are my heaven on earth. That’s my favorite Christmas gift this year.

Thanks Jason for putting together such a comprehensive program for runners like me who struggle year after year with chronic injuries. There really is hope for us older chronically injured runners.”

Brian’s success is why I love coaching and helping runners transform their training.

Injuries are frustrating, disappointing, and give you a desperate feeling of helplessness. Who the hell wants that? My goal is for you to finally feel strong and free from injuries.

I’m so excited about this program and its power to transform your running. Check out all the details here (or hop on the email list for even more resources).

Now join me in congratulating Brian on his big progress over the last few months!

Join 10,000+ Runners and Get Faster!

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{ 4 comments }

Aimee

I have constant calf problems as well so this will really be helpful!

Paul

Well done Brian, you give me confidence that there is hope out there. I am 55 and struggle with heel and achillies pain, I believe its all linked to a stiff ankle and calfs but I am still doing marathons and halfs but a lot slower these days. My son has challenged me to a triathlon this year so I am out there tuning the body up, swim and ride are good – pain free, the run hurts all the time.

Ted Oviatt

Congrats to Brian. I did run a 4:52 mile at 50 but hadn’t encountered the calf problems. My problem today is different. I am 80 and have – at doctors’ insistence – stopped running for 2 years because I had great back pain, spent a couple of weeks in a wheel chair, and revealed a deteriorating spine on an MRI. I spent two weeks in a hospital, bed rest and 2x/day clinic stretching. I have been a very good boy till recently. I have pain every day but not bad, and I didn’t like the idea of the wheelchair – but I have returned to running – very slowly (I have no muscle!) and only on tartan surface. I stretch daily and limit to one mile a day. In my first 70 days back I have gone down from 20 minutes a mile to 15:20. I have a dream of running the steeple (2000m for us old guys) in a National Masters a year from August (I won in 1991). I was a single father of 4 for many years – and a great joy was running with my youngest till HS and college teams cut his training with Dad! He is now a marathon runner at 45 (2:40, 2:44) and a track coach in Washington. So I relate to what you are doing and will hold your dreams in my thoughts and prayers.

Jason Fitzgerald

Thanks for your comment Ted, really great to have you here and appreciate you sharing your story! Best of luck with the steeple (my favorite event from college).

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