Local runners were given a crash course on the right way to run and how to prevent injuries during a workshop conducted by board-certified orthopedic specialist Dr. T.J. Bellama.
Dubbed “The Right Way to Run for YOU” workshop, nearly 30 participants attended the two workshops—first from 10am to 12pm and the second from 1pm to 3pm—held last Saturday at the Eucon Medical Health Services along Middle Road in Gualo Rai.
Bellama first talked about the difference among forefoot, midfoot, and heel strike running and advised runners that they should purchase shoes according to the way they run.
He also showed runners how to detect and correct a cross-over gait to help them run more efficiently and avoid future injuries. Titling your upper body a few degrees forward and shortening your stride to lessen the pressure on your knees also go a long way in preventing the wear and tear on your body caused by running. Generally, running not more than 20 miles a week is an optimum way to avoid injuries from running, added Bellama.
The orthopedic specialist was quite satisfied with the turnout for the two workshops.
“We had 14-15 this morning (nearly the same number in the afternoon). I’m happy with the turnout. We had good participation, people enjoyed it, and they said they found some benefits. Whether it’s one person or 100 people if they found benefit that’s why we do it,” he said.
Bellama is happy that he was able to share tips on how to prevent running injuries to local running enthusiasts.
“It’s a tool that can help you be successful [in running]. Some people don’t need all the tools to be successful. Some people need a little bit of help and assistance. The goal is to teach them help themselves instead of getting hurt and relying on the health services here because it’s tough to get everything you need here sometimes and it’s easier to help yourself.”
When asked if there will be more running workshops in the future, Bellama said if there’s a demand for it he will be willing to conduct more.
“If there’s enough demand and people find value in it then I’m happy to do it a few more times. Run Saipan came to me and they asked if I could do this and if they have enough people who are interested, then we will do some more,” he said.
Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr. said Bellama was able to answer a lot of questions that the local running community has been inquiring for years.
“All the information T.J. put out was amazing for the community. He answered so many questions and debunked a lot of running myths out there. It was T.J. that came forward with wanting to do it. We merely just assisted by advertising it and get the word out there and handling the registration for it. Run Saipan would like to thank Dr. Bellama for giving his precious time out there to help people prevent injury in the sport of running. He didn’t gain anything from this. He just wanted to help people as did we.”
Dela Cruz also thanked the TSL Foundation for sponsoring Run Saipan’s first running clinic and thanked the runners that came out to the clinic and made donations to the non-profit organization.
“Thank you also to Eucon Medical for hosting the venue. Thank you very much to everyone and stay tuned for the next one,” he added.
Run Saipan vice president Jiayi Kong also extended her gratitude to Bellama for holding the running workshop and said a lot of participants learned something new on how to run more efficiently and avoid injury.
“I think a lot of runners are interested in injury prevention and T.J. has so much experience and this is a perfect way for us to learn more about that. I’m very pleased with the turnout and I’m hopeful that we can get more running workshops in the future because we got full signups for both workshops,” she said.
Run Saipan secretary/treasurer Dr. Ron Snyder said the workshop was a great introduction to the biomechanical concerns of running.
“I hope this is the first of many workshops that Run Saipan is able to offer. Nutrition, performance, heat acclimation—there are so many things that we could build into our offerings. I was very interested in the conversation on foot strike patterns and have been applying that to my own running and coaching. The workshop was a great starting point for some deeper research,” he said.
Malou Carlos, who just recently completed the virtual Boston Marathon, was very pleased that she took part in “The Right Way to Run for YOU” workshop.
“The presentation was very helpful to the running community. Especially, now that I am nursing a knee injury. I’m already doing some exercises as he suggested,” she said.
Floro Derexes, for his part, said the workshop was very good in identifying your run technique and how you can fix your deficiencies. “The floor exercises and those on the treadmill were really an eye-opener in finding out your injuries and what kind of runner you are so you can fix your technique.”