Last year, keen amateur triathlete Heather Kukla from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was training for an Ironman triathlon. As she was racking up the miles for the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and marathon, however, injury struck.
‘I had knee and back pain and it turned out I had a torn hip labrum, a torn quad muscle and a torn knee meniscus on my left-hand side,’ she explains.
The 44-year old indoor cycling instructor took some time out for recovery and, with races cancelled for 2020, she’s been focusing on honing her run technique to come back stronger next year.
She tells us how she’s been using NURVV Run to help.
On the frustration of injury
‘I completed my first triathlon around 12 years ago. I’d never really done any sport before but I started training after my kids were born as a way of getting some “me time”. I started with a sprint triathlon and I’ve increased the distances over the years
‘As the kids get older, it gets easier to find the time to train. But as I get older, there’s more wear and tear on my body.
‘I really love to run and when you can’t do it, it’s the worst. As I’ve gone through different injuries, I’ve learned to take more time for recovery and NURVV has helped me pay more attention to my technique. I like tangible data to look at and it’s good to see my Cadence, Balance and Pronation and how that affects my running.’
On being able to see issues on either side of the body
‘Using NURVV is pretty effortless, you kind of forget about it and then you see all this data at the end of the run.
‘I already know my left side is weaker as I’ve had so many injuries over there but NURVV’s Balance data [the difference between your left and right side as you run] reinforces the fact I need to do more strength training on that side. I’ve started doing more strength work recently and I’ve already seen the data improve.’
On finding the right footwear
'I think overpronation [when your foot rolls excessively inwards on landing] and overstriding [when your foot lands too far in front of your body as you run] both played a big part in my injuries last year.
‘When I started using NURVV Run this March, I’d been working on my Pronation and it was pretty good. The data showed I was landing neutrally around 80-90% of the time. Then I got some new shoes – a brand and model I’d worn before.
‘Instantly I was overpronating again and landing neutrally just 40% of the time. I realised these weren’t the shoes for me based on the injuries I’d had in the past. Without NURVV’s data I probably wouldn’t have noticed, kept running in them and maybe got injured again.’
On picking up Cadence to minimise injury risk
‘In the past I would take bigger steps rather than increase my Cadence [how many times your feet hit the ground as you run] to run faster. I was at risk of overstriding, which can cause injuries.
‘I’ve been using NURVV’sPace Coach feature, which offers live, in-run coaching to help me increase my turnover and shorten my steps to hopefully alleviate injury. It tells you when to pick up your Cadence or pull back yourStep Length to run at a certain pace.’
On not always focusing on speed
‘When I teach indoor cycling I tell my class, not every single workout is going to be your best but pick one thing to focus on and be proud of.
‘That’s what NURVV Run has allowed me to do. Rather than just running myself to exhaustion every time, working on my technique gives me something else to focus on and be happy about achieving.’
You can follow Heather’s training journey on Instagram @tri.or.die_chick