Friday, January 22, 2010

The scientist in me

There are two different ways one can go about becoming a psychologist. The first one is to do a PsyD program and get the necessary clinical training. The second one is to do a PhD program, and along with the clinical training, conduct scientific research and write a doctoral dissertation. Both ways allow you to get licensed as a practicing psychologist but the PhD way requires more time in school and, well, more effort.

I would have loved to do the PsyD program but it is NOT accredited or available in Canada, only in the USA. Therefore, I had no choice but to do the PhD one and actually do the research. The problem was I was MORTIFIED of it. Not the actual data collection but what came before and after that. Let me explain. One of the requirements of a doctoral dissertation is that the research is original, meaningful, and not a mere replica of someone else's work. And then you have to write about it and publish it. So I was afraid my ideas were not that original and I was absolutely sure I won't be able to write hundreds of pages in English (not my first language). But I did. And I loved the process! Generating the ideas I had not problem with and the writing? Well, let just say that it was one of the things I did that I am most proud of (made possible by the help of my supervisor and my super-duper best friend and their endless editing).

So why am I writing about all that? Because I want to tell you how much I love research now! It made me a different person, it made me a great problem solver. I don't just listen to people (I mean professionals like my GP or my physio therapist), I need to understand the cause-and-effect relationship, know exactly how things work, and why they work this way and if I can make it better. If an answer makes no sense to me I'd take it further and look for solutions myself. So, my brand new Garmin has been collecting dust for few days now. Apparently, I am not supposed to run or walk (crawling is OK, though). But I love to to see the miles clicking so much that I am trying to research my way out of Achilles tendinitis :) ... I've read everything there is on that type of injury so feel free to ask me :)

What I wanted to post here is a video about the way we run that would be of great help to novice runners or those who never thought about their running technique. More specifically, it's an analysis of heel strike vs. forefoot strike and the associated risks with heel strike. Enjoy!

As for mileage: 3Ks for me today... (shall we say crawling ;))


  1. First I love how you embraced doing something that terrified you, and the fact that you came to love it is icing on the cake!
    That video is a great argument for forefoot running! I happen to be a natural forefoot runner, although when I get fatigued I don't think I maintain the 'heel to butt' posture.

  2. I tried to maintain it but it only worked when my speed went up and was very hard when I was at a slow jog pace (5MPH for example)...

  3. HmHm when did you try this? Not today I are not to run for at least a few weeks woman!
    I love this video, like you say, I don't run fast enough to do the full stride that she does, but I do seem to be landing more forward than on the heel naturally...yay!
    Thanks for this info...and I really enjoyed this post Dr. M :)

  4. I started to earn my miles in rowing, which is easy on the achilles tendon. Of course, Garmins don't like when you let your arms and abs do the walking, but the manual mileage buildup gives me the same high.

  5. I am the same way about research projects. I know I can do it, I'm just scared that it's not as awesome as I thought it was!