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1st-Time Boston Marathoner Kelly Walsh Turns to Personal Trainer, Sees Results, Shares His Advice

Paul Berube of Boston Sports Clubs, with a degree in kinesiology, has Kelly relax, train for strength, stretch. His general advice: Strength- and cross-training raise speed, lower injuries.

I can’t believe it’s less than two months until the big day!

To update you all on my progress, I’ve been able to get in some great long runs.  I reached my donation goal at my charity fundraiser last weekend, and I started working out with a personal trainer.

I knew it was time to enlist the help of a professional when I started getting an unbearable knee pain five miles into every run.

I figured I was doing something wrong, and I was. I’ve neglected to work strength-training into my routine. Strength training always made me nervous because I didn’t know what exercises to do and knew that there is a possibility for injury if done incorrectly.

So who did I rope in to help me?

His name is Paul Berube, personal trainer at Boston Sports Club in Westborough. Paul has a Bachelor's of Science in Kinesiology from UMass Amherst, a background in research and sports performance, and is a competitive rower.

 In my first session, he joined me for a run and analyzed my stride and form. It turns out I’m a tense runner.

Paul gave me valuable advice to loosen up and relax. That way I can exert more energy into my runs instead of putting energy into being tense. It made perfect sense and was something I could easily work to correct.

 Then he turned the tables on me. He told me to keep a food journal. As a future registered dietitian, food journals are what I recommend to a majority of the patients I see.

Never have I done my own, so I guess it was about time to start! It turns out I need to eat a little more to sustain my long workouts.

 Our next two sessions focused on stretching and strength training. He left me with exercises that I could do at home, with barely any gym equipment. I did the stretches pre- and post-run and could immediately tell the difference.

I feel a lot better at the start of my runs and I’ve shaved almost 30 seconds from my mile time. Not to mention my knee pain is minimal.

 I asked Paul if he could give some words of advice to my readers and fellow runners.

“By working with an experienced trainer, runners can drastically improve not only their race performance, but also prevent, reduce or rid nagging pain and injuries," he said.

Paul said, "Many runners fail to take advantage of specially designed strength training or complementary cross-training, and are missing out on a key component of success in their sport."

He talked about misconceptions that can hurt performance or even lead to injury.

"Always use common sense, healthy skepticism, and check the qualifications of your source," Paul advises. "Take care of your body and it will take you far.”

If you are training and are - like me - nervous to start strength training, I highly recommend you seek the help of a professional.

I can see know how important it is in developing strength as a runner. It is great to have a personal trainer, someone to push you, hold you accountable for your work, and will end up being your greatest source of encouragement.  

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