Marathoner's Mechanic

Dr. Devin Young, D.C.

Most people don't care to listen in on a conversation between two former high school track teammates. However, when one is a chiropractor and was on the success team of two U.S. marathon legends - Deena Kastor and Meb Keflezighi, you tend to hang around.

Jerold center kneeling Devin sitting far left
That's me kneeling center and Devin sitting bottom left

In this conversation, Dr. Devin Young, D.C. shares some of his insights on elite runner preparation, recovery and his own journey as an athletic traveler. Enjoy!

SuiteRun: Tell us a little about your recent running background.
- How often do you go for a run?
Dr. Devin Young, D.C.: 2-3 x/week.
- What type of mileage do you get in per day/week?
DY: 3-5 miles.
- Do you race?
DY: Occasionally.
- Have you run a marathon?
DY: Yes - San Diego Rock N Roll.

SR: Tell us about your current business and how it differs from common understanding of chiropractic care.

DY: You know, the popping and cracking. The work we do is highly detailed and dependent on precise x-rays. It's kind of like this: I can slowly push my index finger in the table and apply considerable force and barely feel it. I could use the same amount of force and HIT the table, but it will hurt. Our adjustments are slow, controlled, and precise. So we can create amazing changes without popping/cracking, and they tend to last longer. Additionally, we focus on the upper neck, as that is the kind of like the main breaker to the body.

SR: You have worked with some of legends of U.S. marathon team like Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor. What role has your modality played in their preparation and recover?

DY: That would probably be a better questions for them but I think they would tell you that getting their body balanced and working at 100% allows them to a) have better workouts b) recover faster and c) prevent injuries. They are constantly pushing their bodies to the physiological limit. Part of my role is to ensure that they don't move PAST that limit and that they are able to function as close to 100% as possible. Also - If I can help them increase their output by just 1 or 2%, that can be a huge difference at that level. It could easily be the difference between a medal and being off the podium.

SR: Can you give our readers (distance runners/marathoners) on tips/exercises to stay injury free while on the road?

DY: Rest. Most people don't rest well. For many people, rest is working or taking care of kids or catching up on projects around the house (or going to the gym). That's not true rest. True rest is being off your feet, and shutting off your mind, and letting your body truly recover. The more you push yourself in your workouts, the more important it becomes to rest and recover.

SR: How often do you travel? 

DY: Monthly.

SR: What is you go-to gear when you are running while traveling?

DY: Same as when I am at home. Shoes, music and whatever clothing is appropriate.

SR: What are you currently reading?

DY: Hell on Two Wheels; It's about the Race Across America (Bicycle race from Oceanside, CA to Annapolis, MD)

SR: Where is your favorite place to travel and why? 

DY: Tough question; I feel like every trip has a different purpose and goal; Internationally, I love Paris - there's just a charm about it, and running along the Seine is just really cool. I also really love Mexico - especially the interior - San Miguel D'Allende, Mexico City, Oaxaca City; great people, amazing food, tremendous history. Also really great places to run! Domestically, the SF Bay Area is where I'm from and I love it there, but Southern Utah is incredible due to the recreational opportunities - National Parks, Running, Biking, incredible scenery every where you look.

SR: Favorite hotel?

DY: I'm not picky. I tend to not spend a ton of time in them, so I just look for location and price.

SR: Do you ask the hotel for running route ideas or walk out the door to start your run?

DY: Occasionally; I usually have something picked out already.

SR: What tips /stretches would you give distance runners for staying health and keeping legs fresh while traveling. Both in transit (long plane/car ride) and once the arrive at their destination?


DY: One of the keys is to keep moving. About the worst thing you can do is sit in the car or airplane for an extended time without moving. Getting up and walking the aisle of the plane every hour or so can make a tremendous difference. In a car, I tell all my patients to adjust their seats every 20-30 minutes. Subtly moving the seats forward/backward, up/down, incline/decline, changing the lumbar support, etc. will change the pressures on your spine and can have an unexpected affect on how your body feels. Once you arrive, putting your feet up (like - up - above your head) will help drain them after long hours of sitting and will help them feel better and prepare them to exercise.

Dr. Young, it was a pleasure catching up and learning about your practice. On behalf of all our readers thank you for the insights to better running.

Dr. Devin Young, D.C. Olympic Marathon Trials Los Angeles

Jerold and Dr. Devin Young D.C. reconnecting at 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles