The ABC’s of Running

It was 1994 and I was finishing my Undergraduate Degree at the University of Calgary. I spent 2 years in the Faculty of Engineering which really didn’t suit me. I took a semester of electives and ultimately found myself in the English department due to my love of reading and writing. I completed my BA, but secretly knew that I would not have a career in this field. The only thing I was passionate about during my time in Post Secondary School was my love for Track and Field. I ran track starting in Grade 9 and although I tried hard and worked diligently, I never proceeded to the level of superstar. Fortunately, I was a late bloomer and managed to run well enough to walk on to the Dino’s Varsity Track team and even get a scholarship for a few of the years I competed.

When doing our track warmups we often did “Power Speed Drills” or sometimes we called them ABC’s. All I knew at the time is that we looked really funny doing them and that they were supposed to make your hip flexors stronger so you could run faster???

I worked out with a very high end group and we had a few athletes who had potential to run on the relay team for the next Olympics, so we had a special coaching Seminar from our Canadian National Team Coach, Gerard Mach. He was a grey haired, mutton chopped man with a thick Polish accent. He was the man who invented the ABC drills to great success – developing Olympic and World Championship sprinters in his native country Poland and in Canada. Interestingly, he had very little interest in watching us run…he felt that by watching and refining our ABC drills he would be able to see the weaknesses and strengths in our running technique and ultimately know if we had potential to run fast.

My interest in becoming a better, and less injured runner, led me study anatomy, physiology, and basic biomechanics. Eventually, I went back to school to become a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, C. Ped (c) . I have made my living for over 20 years analysing people walking, running, doing range of motion testing and video analysis. This has also included the design and fabrication of Custom Foot Orthotics to optimize gait abnormalities.

Fast forward 25 Years. I am in New York City, NY with my wife Lise Dallien, also a Canadian Certified Pedorthist, at the invitation of one of my old track buddies, Derek Hansen. He has taken his track career, added a Masters in Kinesiology, and added in a couple of decades of high performance strength and conditioning, to become THE top speed consultant and return to play specialist to the NFL, NBA, MLB and Olympic athletes. Derek created Running Mechanics Professional Certification (RMP) to train others to improve running mechanics to increase speed and improve resilience to injury. The coolest part of attending The first ever RMP certification course in New York City is that the foundation of the training is based on Gerard Mach’s ABC drills that I learned decades ago!

Orthoquest is excited to announce that Sean and Lise have completed their Running Mechanics Professional Level 2 MED Certification. We will now be offering Private RMP sessions to our patients. If you are interested in learning more about running technique, improving your speed, efficiency, and running resiliency then please call our office at 250-448-5908 to be placed on our waiting list!

Written by,

Sean MacMillan, BA, C. Ped (c), RMP Level 2 MED


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