Yaya Village Welcomes Renowned Physiologist Leave a reply From the 2nd to the 5th of November the Yaya Village Hotel partnered with Running Across Borders to host two lectures and a clinic from renowned exercise physiologist Joe McConkey of The Boston Running Center. The Yaya Girls Running Program was joined by a number of leading Ethiopian coaches for Mr McConkey’s visit. Coach Melak From the 2nd to the 5th of November the Yaya Village Hotel partnered with Running Across Borders to host two lectures and a clinic from renowned exercise physiologist Joe McConkey of The Boston Running Center The Yaya Girls Running Program was joined by a number of leading Ethiopian coaches for Mr McConkey’s visit. Coach Melaku, who works with the national marathon squad and also helps with the Yaya Girls project, and former 5,000m Olympic Champion Million Wolde (below left, with Joseph Kibur) were just two of the big names in attendance. Mr McConkey works solely with runners, combating the structural and functional issues which lead to injury and prevent them from enjoying the sport and reaching their potential. He has been involved in running for over 16 years and has experienced a high level of competition as both an athlete and as a coach.It was fascinating listening to Mr McConkey’s explanation of the simple principles that athletes of all levels should be following to reduce the occurrence of injury. As somebody who is currently fighting back from an overuse injury, I certainly took his words to heart. I began to understand the mistakes I had made which led me to where I am now, with a weak knee and difficulties running as much as I want to.The audience listened attentively as he explained the importance of athletes taking responsibility for their own bodies and performing daily checks to keep on top of any soreness or pain. His lectures focused on the necessary symmetry of tension, range of motion and stability that he likes to see in an athlete before they begin hard training. Mr McConkey then explained and demonstrated a variety of movements such as planks, one legged squats and hip drives. He explained the importance of keeping up a minimum maintenance level for each exercise to prevent and recover from the overuse injuries, that too often, plague runners. The knowledge that he was able to pass on in a short period of time was invaluable and the Yaya Girls team, the Yaya Village Hotel and the coaches and athletes who attended learned a lot of useful exercises and principles. All of us are indebted to Joe and cannot thank him enough. This week we have been practicing the guidelines he set out in the hope that the girls will increase their stability and remain injury free. So far, so good although we definitely need to keep working on their technique with some of the more complex movements!