Client Case Study – Peter Stafford

Case Study: Peter Stafford recreational runner and Economist

Peter Stafford came to Functional Training Ireland some time ago with low back pain and to do specific core and strengthening exercises. Peter was a typical office worker, he works hard all day sits too much and runs to relieve stress and keep fit. After a quick assessment using the Functional movement screen (The FMS is a tool we use to assess peoples weaknesses) we soon realised Peter had a weak core and weak glutes (bum muscles).

Why does this matter to the runner? Basically it meant Peter was running using the wrong muscles and this was hurting his lower back when his mileage increased.

Switching on your glutes

Peter Mathews Side Lunge

To begin with we had to get Peter moving from his hips more and engaging his core and bum muscles, now this sounds complicated but it actually means doing simple exercises really focused in on the weak areas and making the exercises more challenging as his strength improved and movements got better. Peter would sometimes wonder how he was so tired during a session whilst using so little equipment, in most cases only his body weight was needed to get him strong.

After three or four sessions Peter could really see a difference in his running and general movement, his back pain also had diminished. Because he could train more and do the mileage he got fitter and looked better. Peter is now targeting a Personal Best time in this year’s Dublin City marathon.

Peter’s Story

Peter Stafford (33) is a Dublin-based economist who sees a number of similarities between his job and marathon training. “Economics is about analysing statistics, data, charts and tables, but it’s also about public opinion, business sentiment and investor confidence which are impossible to measure. Running is the same. It’s about measuring distance, time, speed, pace, heart-rate but it’s also about health and fitness, and enjoying the freedom of pulling on a pair of shorts and pounding the pavements.”

According to Peter: “I think a lot of economists spend too much time number crunching and not enough time looking at things”. Running is a great way to see what’s happening to the country – I’ve been running since 2005 and seen
the transformation of Dublin. Despite the gloom of the economy Dublin is a great place to run. Sandymount Strand on a winter morning or Phoenix Park at dusk on a summer evening is magnificent. Running helps me put my job and
all of my datasets into perspective.

I sometimes think there should be a road race for economists. I think after 10k, and when the endorphins start flowing, they’d be happier people!”
Peter completed a sub-four hour London marathon in 2006 and finished the Edinburgh marathon in 4.30. “My first two marathons were very much based on the aim of completing the route. Edinburgh in particular was gruelling. My
interval times were all over the place and I didn’t give myself enough time to recover from London a month before. I want to complete Dublin this October in a good time and with good health. I’m constantly aware of my
lower back which has taken the brunt of sitting at a desk poring over statistics, so a weekly session with Dave Hare helps strengthen it, give my hips greater flexibility and makes the process of running much easier.”
“Dave has taught me how to stretch, and how to avoid putting pressure on my lower back when running by strengthening my core and avoiding bending back much when tired. Peter Mathews has helped me with my running programs also. My job is to put that training and advice into practice, and the only way to do that is to head out and see what’s happening to the city.”

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