My last training tip dove into the subject of biomechanical efficiency and its impact upon performance. For those of you looking for a quick refresher on some of the common biomechanical issues that I must address when working with triathletes and runners, refer back to the vlog post section of the Landice blog. For those of you already familiar with these videos, read on!
There is no disputing the fact that a high degree of biomechanical efficiency not only leads to better athletic performance but to a reduced risk for training and racing related injuries as well. As stated in my last post however, attaining and maintaining a high degree of biomechanical efficiency with your chosen sport is not something that comes without practice. Although activities such as running may be considered to be non-technical in nature, the reality is that many runners can and will improve their performance by as much as 10% by devoting more time and energy to the improvement of their running mechanics. Watch just about any world class runner and you’ll notice how effortlessly they move when running at high rates of speed. Check out this very exciting 2+ minute clip of elite distance runner, Chris Solinsky, breaking the American 10k record this past spring. Chris was the first non-African runner to break the 27 minute barrier (roughly 4:20/mile pace for 6.2 miles) for 10k.
If you’re a runner, then chances are you are at risk for a common running injury to your Achilles tendon. Thad McLaurin, Runner Dude, gives these tips to strengthen your calves in an effort to avoid injury to your Achilles tendon.
Calf strengthening exercises and calf stretches are the best way to avoid Achilles tendon injuries. The following workout shows 5 different exercises that target your calves as well as two stretches. Once or twice a week pick 2 or 3 of the exercises and do 12-15 reps and 2-3 sets of each and before you know it you’ll have calves that are working hard making you a stronger more efficient runner.
If you’re like many runners, you may find that although you’re training several days a week, you aren’t losing any weight. You may have even noticed a slight increase in your weight since you started training.
There may be several reasons for lack of weight loss and even weight gain, including:
You aren’t paying attention to your BMR (basal metabolic rate) – the number of calories required for your body to function at rest. Are you eating more calories than you need for your body to be fully functional at your activity level?
Your body may have acclimated to your regular workouts and simply isn’t being challenged.
Thad McLaurin, of Runner Dude’s Fitness, delves into the details of this common problem among runners. Check out his blog to calculate your BRM and read a few tips to help you introduce a bit of variety into your workout.
Tomorrow Thad will be back with special exercises to help boost your metabolism and get back on track with weight loss.
I can’t tell you how many times, all is going well and then when I ramp up my marathon training, I seem to get sick. It’s usually something like a cold or in the most severe cases, more like the flu.
Guess what? According to David C. Newman, Dr. P.H., FACSM, who is a professor and director of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, there’s a reason for this bad-timed bug. “During periods of heavy training, the immune system reflects the physiological stress experienced by the athlete, and illness rates climb.” So, that old saying “Too much of a good thing, can be bad.” is true!
Problem is that there is no cure for all runners. Each runner has to find his/her training/rest balance. Newman suggests that nutrition along with rest is a key factor during these stressful times for athletes. So, you should pop a bunch of supplements during this time, right? NO! Newman says that making sure you’re eating a balanced diet during this time is the best way to provide support for the immune system in its fight against viruses and bacteria. Research shows that vitamin and mineral supplements don’t really boost your immunity above normal levels, so why spend that extra money on bland tasting pills? Just eat a good diet. This basically supports my thinking in a recent post, “Supplement the Natural Way…Eat!”Continue reading 'Train hard, stay healthy!'»
One of the most overlooked muscle areas of a runner is the backside. Okay, well, maybe it’s not “overlooked.” Maybe “paid attention to.” Nope, that’s not quite right either. Hmm… I got it! One of the most under worked muscle groups of runners are the glutes (gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus). Yep, the derriere, the bum, the hind quarters, the tush. Weak buttocks have been the culprit in ending more running seasons than possibly any other running-related injury.
The gluteus maximus is the attention getter—the J. Lo of the group. But of the three gluteal muscles, the gluteus medius is a key muscle to focus on when it comes to running. This muscle (along with the gluteus minimus) helps to externally and internally rotate the thigh. It’s also a hip abductor (helps to pull the thigh away from the body). Okay, now I know what your thinking, “I don’t externally or internally rotate my thigh nor do I abduct my thigh when I run.” Correct. However, the gluteus medius is key in stabilization of the hips/pelvis.
Hal Higdon, Runner’s World writer, is infamous for marathon running and coaching. Recently, one of our contributors, Thad McLaurin (Runner Dude), had the opportunity to interview this marathon icon. Runner Dude and Hal talk getting started, pre-race food, barefoot running, and so much more. Check out the interview on Runner Dude’s blog.
In the video below, Hal Higdon talks marathon with Training Peaks – the “Ultimate Training and Nutrition Software.”
Injury. Shhh! Don’t say that word too loudly. It’s a word every runner tries to avoid. Sometimes, no matter how careful a runner you are, injury still occurs. Often a bag of frozen peas or an ice pack does the trick, but other times a runner will find himself off his feet for several days, weeks, or even months.
Returning to running can be problematic if a runner’s doesn’t ease back into it. Most runners hate being off their feet for just a few days much less a month or two, or three. Problem is that even though your mind is ready to get back to running your body may not be quite ready even when the doc says it’s okay to run again.
One common mistake runners make returning to running after an injury-layoff is trying to return to the pre-injury level. If you’re off your feet for a week or two, your body won’t really decondition that much, but it’s still a good idea to ease back into running. If you’re away from runnin a month or more, a runner will be wise to use the following ten-week retraining schedule and guidelines for a return to running after a prolonged layoff developed by Doug Lentz, C.S.C.S. Continue reading 'Post-injury return…Slow and Steady!'»