Anyone who knows me, knows my Dachshund Maxwell, is quite a character. When I say character, I mean feral. Much like myself, he knows the rules. Whether or not we choose to abide by them, is entirely up to us and what mood we're in. My friend Dean called me "Little Miss Flout the Rules." Maxwell therefore is "Mr What Rules?" He's a handsome chap; tiny Queen Anne legs, big floppy ears and suffers from hayfever and being starving at all times. He's also very clever. In summer, he only chooses the finest picnics to trough from, containing Waitrose prosciutto and M+S sausage rolls (is that cannabalism?) Most of all, he LOVES people. And people LOVE Maxwell. In fact, everyone loves a sausage dog. If I were a single guy, I'd be taking home new women daily. He's a chick magnet. He likes cuddles, licking people's faces and stealing snacks from small children.
Imagine my shock then, when walking in Regent's Park this week (a firm favourite with Max as he can bark at the camels in the zoo from a safe distance), when a teenage girl from a local school started screaming hysterically and running away. From a sausage dog. My utter disbelief (and the urge to film it) cut off any sympathy for this girl. I told her sternly to calm down and quit the hysteria and tears. I can't deal with screaming children. Or worse, screaming young adults behaving like toddlers. Once all was calm and Max was safely back on his leash, little Enrico, clearly head of the debate club at school, approached me and asked if maybe I had considered that some people have a phobia of dogs and that's why they behave that way? No, I replied. If someone has a genuine phobia, they do everything possible to avoid certain situations. Phobia of flying? Don't get on a plane. Phobia of dogs? Don't go to a public park where dogs are allowed off the lead. I asked him how he would feel if I towered over him and screamed in his face. He looked confused. I was tempted to demonstrate, but thankfully restrained myself in the name of common decency/not being accused of child abuse. Whilst myself and 20 toothy teenagers had it out over who was more feral, the dog or the child, Maxwell had quietly slipped away and stolen their cricket ball and was bounding wildly across the field, ears flapping in the wind, joyous at his silent victory.
Which brings me to running. This week, I have spent time in clinic at the London Foot and Ankle Centre with Dr Martin Klinke, consultant orthopaedic surgeon. We had a good giggle at the number of patients coming through with "I run okay for the first marathon, but well, the second one usually brings on this pain in my foot...."
I personally believe no-one is happy running. Have a look around in the park (assuming Max hasn't stolen your ball or peed on your picnic). Anyone running does not look happy. They are gurning. They are squirming. They look seriously uncomfortable. Running is also, like any other form of exercise, not healthy when performed in large quantities. As a former dancer, I know this well. However, if we all insist on doing silly things multiple times over, luckily I am here to advise on how best to do it without doing yourself a mischief.
A big problem when people start running is foot pronation (flat feet/dropped arches). This inverts the knee. Pain can be felt either through the sole of the foot or in the knee. Either way, strengthening your gluts (ass) is a preventative measure. Strengthening the gluts in standing is also the most functional for runners.
Stand against a wall, on one foot. Your heel should be up against the wall, as well as the whole of your spine. You must also lengthen the base of the spine and squeeze your bottom gently underneath you. Bend and straighten your supporting leg, thinking of pushing the supporting knee out towards the 5th metatarsal (little toe). Repeat as much as you like. Make sure to do more repetitions on your weaker leg (this is the one which isn't as easy). Note: your back should not leave the wall throughout.
Next, take a theraband. Wrap it around your knees and tie it in a knot. Bend the knees, feet hip width apart. Lift the inside of the arch and again, weight bear towards the outside edge of the foot. Push the knees out and in against the resistance of the band. Keep the spine straight but slightly hinged forwards from the hip joint.
Now you can run safely without your bum hanging down behind your knees.
If your dog is terrorising small children and you need to run after him, contact me here.