STRENGTHENING MUSCLES THAT STABILIZE YOUR SPINE
THIS AREA OF STRENGTH TRAINING IS RARELY EXPLAINED BUT NEEDS TO BE. Sean Gill does an outstanding job in his article posted on medium.com and offers exercise suggestions as well. Two components of this exercise set, the basic and side planks, are familiar to most as helping to build core strength.
However, rather than providing the usual pep talk about why ‘core’ muscles need our attention, Gill launches into a mini-tutorial on the specifics of this topic which he explains in terms of spine stability. The exercise physiologist tells readers why “It’s important to understand all the other musculature acting on the spine” beside the glamorous rectus abdominus of ‘6-pack’ fame that many hope to show off.
Gill explains that effectively strengthening the transverse abdominus (TA) and multifidus (MF) muscles, which lie so deep within our bodies that only by ultrasound can they be visualized, can bring about neuromuscular changes and increased size/thickness which have correlated with reductions in low back pain. He discusses how athletic performance might be enhanced by such training and changes.
Gill offers a set of exercises with a “proven track record” separated into 3 categories: anti-flexion, anti-rotational, and anti-extension. One of my all-time core favorites is included, the dead-bug.
Athletes who like to know why they’re performing specific routines will love this piece.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
RUNNERS 5K AND WALKERS 5K - 10K TRAINING PLANS Monday is the first day of Week 6 of the 10-week plans. Runners who incorporated the optional track day into their plan, have graduated to running FULL laps only; no more half laps, except when walking, during the remainder of the program.
The reasons and importance of foam rolling and rest days have been discussed recently.
Have you remembered to perform MYRTLs every week? The mobility routine is scheduled only once/week on this beginner 5k plan, but ideally you should be loosening up before each run. Jay Johnson provides a demonstration of images that should help you to learn the basic moves; the the pdf is on the RESOURCES page
An excellent YouTube video presented by the Wolf Creek Track Club’s USATF Registered Coach Brandon Wise, does a beautiful job showing the 12 different moves from several angles. Pay close attention to the words superimposed on the video describing each move. Coach Wise progresses so quickly through the exercises that you might miss one as the camera switches views and the coach moves.
Once you master the routine and perform it regularly before runs, you will “feel” ready to move, especially early mornings, or evenings after sitting all day.
Not only do these exercises help you to improve and maintain mobility in the hip girdle (mobility + girdle = MYRTL) some will also assist with hip strengthening when performed as an exercise rather than a mobility routine
The side leg lifts and clamshells included in this set of moves are often prescribed to build the gluteus medius (GMed) muscle. The GMed helps prevent runners’ and walkers’ knees from wobbling, as one leg after the other is alternately set down in a linear forward motion in the act running.
Outside of the scheduled MYRTLs routine for mobility, you may wish to work on gluteal strength. The lateral (side) leg lift is simple; it’s been shown by research studies to be one of the most effective at that targeting the GMed. Add light ankle weights to the lateral leg to increase the resistance in this strength exercise, as in indicated in the AAOS Knee Conditioning instructions.
Download the full AAOS Knee conditioning PDF to find additional lower body strength exercises. The AAOS Hip Conditioning program includes lateral leg lifts too, as well as other exercises you may wish to perform for strength training. Links to both PDFs are posted on the RESOURCES page.
You are more than halfway through the plan. November 1st is next Sunday; Thanksgiving is approaching. Great work!
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
AAOS Knee Conditioning Stretches and Exercises
AAOS Hip Conditioning Stretches and Exercises
TRAINING STARTS After four weeks of training you should be settling into a groove and hopefully becoming accustomed to track days, if you decided to stick with that part of the plan. Last week those on the runner plan ran/walked at a ratio of 3 minute to 1 minute (about 75% of the total time was spent running). This week the ratio will involve running 80% of the total time. Overall, the total running duration and distance is increasing.
Those on the walker plan will notice a big change in the range of duration of the long easy walk. Last week Saturday it was 60 minutes. This week it will be 45-90 minutes! Hal Higdon’s walker training plan, adapted by Earned Runs calls for this change. Since you will be increasing mileage and minutes earlier in the week Higdon is giving you the opportunity to either rest up (45 minutes) from the extra effort, or to reach for the stars (90minutes); it’s your call.
Ninety minutes is the longest duration walk of the entire plan!
As your training progresses and you build speed, each 90-minute walk will extend over a longer distance, such that the end of the plan your pace should be 15 minutes/mile or less. Thus, a 90-minute session will translate into a distance covered of at least 6 miles (10K). The plan is designed to train/prepare participants to walk a FAST 5K the day of the race, or finish a full 10K within a respectable time.
As runners and walkers add on mileage, you may decide FULL REST DAYS are needed, and it's best to SKIP A CROSS-TRAINING session. This is perfectly fine and a smart thing to do if you notice too much fatigue carrying over from your long running or walking days the prior week.
Forty-three-year old Olympian marathoner Meb Keflezighi provides great advice for runners in an article “Meb’s Tips for Performing into Your 40s and Beyond”. He says to listen to your body; it’s safer to err on the side of doing less than more, to avoid injury. HIS ADVICE APPLIES TO BEGINNER RUNNERS AND WALKERS as well veterans! No matter what your age, the risk of injury increases with over-training. Take a break, get enough sleep, make sure you stretch, and perform weekly core and strength work.
Although the usual Thanksgiving travel season will be curtailed this year because of COVID-19 infection concerns, consider preparing for the increased risk of influenza viral infection this season by obtaining a vaccination at least two weeks prior to any travel date. The usual CDC recommendations for persons living in or visiting the Northern Hemisphere are to get this done by the end of October, and there is more urgency in 2020 to add this anti-viral protection.
Check out virtual Turkey Trot races now if you’re interested in the swag of such events, or request free Earned Runs bibs to organized your own custom event. Don’t wait too long.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
HO-HUM, YOU MIGHT THINK AFTER GLANCING AT THE TITLE OF A ‘LISTICLE’ POSTED BY SUZIE GLASSMAN on medium .com. It promised to enumerate the virtues of a.m. walk sessions and did not excite my interest. Exactly what could the author list beyond several obvious physical health reasons that had to do with an overall increase in daily activity/decrease in sitting and calorie burning, and an improved emotional and mental start to the day?
Not a cutting-edge topic, I thought, and one that seems to pop up routinely on health-oriented websites. However, sometimes a surprise can be hidden behind a rather ordinary title.
Well, it turned out that the seven reasons elevated my respect for the humble routine, strengthened my resolve to retain the habit, and changed my perspective about benefits gained from morning outside exercise sessions. Literally! Two reasons, #5 and #6, had to do with vision and neurobiology and were definitely worth the time required to click and scan, then read the article more closely.
Glassman’s efforts to dig into the topic and write about it won’t be spoiled here. You’ll need to read the piece to obtain her insights. I think those who currently regularly walk, run, or cycle in the great outdoors before breakfast may appreciate them, and will follow the suggestions offered by her referenced experts to take full advantage of this time. Those who are not yet morning exercisers may be motivated to try.
My attitude toward this simple physical activity received a boost; perhaps yours will too.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
ARTICLES YOU MIGHT FIND INTERESTING THIS WEEK...
...GETTING CREATIVE WITH HIGH MILEAGE CHALLENGES
2018 Boston Marathon winner Des Linden and her husband Ryan took up a friend’s challenge to join the "Calendar Club" this month, which entails running a mile for each calendar date. Their plan includes running 1 mile on October 1, 2 miles on October 2, and so on, ending with 31 miles on the 31st and last day of the month. An article from runnersworld.com details how she plans to complete the task without injury. Even for an elite that last week will be a killer.
This particular Calendar Club would be nearly impossible for most of us to join. However, there might be variations that could work for mere mortals in the month of November. For example, change the mile to minutes and run, walk, or perform strength or balance workouts for that period of time. This could be one way to introduce beneficial fitness activities you’ve been avoiding.
Or come up with your own version!
...HOW ULTRAMARATHONERS TRAIN FOR SUCH LONG DISTANCES
While we’re on the topic of extreme fitness challenges, have you ever wondered how training for a 40- or 100-mile race is accomplished? I never thought about it, actually, until saw the title of a medium.com article, “The Ultramarathon Training Secret”. Can’t give it away here; you’ll need to read this piece if you want to know.
...TAKE CARE TO AVOID INJURY WITH HIGH MILEAGE RUNNING CHALLENGES
By the time faithful runners enter the “masters” age range (above 40 years of age), many have been logging serious miles on a nearly daily basis for decades. Readers of an article posted by PodiumRunner.com might be surprised to learn that masters age runners are prone to develop calf muscle strains. We worry about strengthening our quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles, but may not often be concerned with building up muscles of the calves.
The article explains why and offers exercises (with video demonstration) to help protect the Achilles tendon and calf muscles. A link to a second YouTube video might be of interest too.
THE 4TH WEEK OF THE 10 WEEK TURKEY TROT 2020 TRAINING PLAN STARTS today. Your mileage is increasing, so performing the Foam Roller (FR) session sometime this week becomes more important. If you have not yet performed this routine, you might be surprised at the experience and how it helps you to recover after longer runs. No doubt, the first several times rolling can be uncomfortable. But with repeated sessions over time, it feels wonderful. An ice bath, also a recommended method of recovering from the aches of extended sessions, doesn’t ever feel wonderful.
Before I knew anything about FR, I would attempt to ease post-run leg stiffness by sitting in an ice bath. To prepare I put on a bathing suit and a short-cropped warm sweatshirt, made a cup of hot tea to drink, drew a tub half full of cold water, and filled a bucket with ice. First off, I eased into the cold water, then gradually added ice. I never spent the recommended full 10 minutes in the ice bath, so that’s possibly why it did not provide relief from my stiffness. To those who think foam rolling is painful, I would argue that it in my experience FR is much less uncomfortable and is more effective, compared with icing.
It’s the reason behind my encouraging you all to try foam rolling!
It’s best to start this practice early-on in training, before your soft tissues (muscles and surrounding connective tissue) significantly ‘tighten’ from repeated cycles of micro-injury and repair. At a later point in training you will likely experience exquisite tenderness (otherwise known as pain) when the tight tissues are compressed by your body weight during rolling.
Recommendations have included foam rolling immediately after running and every 24 hours on subsequent days as needed up to 72 hours (3 days later), to prevent the delayed-onset of muscle soreness, called DOMS. Even though you might be able to grit your teeth and endure the DOMS, another reason to foam roll is that it can help prevent injury. This may be especially welcome if you are planning to run or exercise 24-72 hours after a tough long run.
A bonus of this session is that you work arms, core, and upper body as you FR. Feeling a little DOMS in these areas the day afterward will be proof that they were exercised during your first FR attempt!
If you find yourself forgetting it or skipping it due to lack of time, foam roll at least one time each week. I’ve confessed in other posts that I find it best to hit my tightest spots (piriformis, calves, quads, back) PRIOR to a long run, and then hit all areas AFTER the run.
Try it, at least once, before deciding to skip these sessions. The RESOURCES page lists some demonstrations.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WEEK 3 TURKEY TROT 2020 TRAINING STARTS FOR RUNNERS preparing for a 5K race and for WALKERS working toward participating in a 5K and potentially a 10K event as well. Runners who did not start with the optional track day plan but who have reconsidered, or who struggled with the track workout the first two weeks, it’s not too late to get organized. Runners or walkers who have not identified specific exercises to perform during strength sessions, it’s not too late to get organized.
The stress of harder training will begin to take a toll on the body later in the program, so there’s still time to form good habits beforehand. Better to skip a walking or running session now to find a track or search for three upper and three lower body strength exercises to help avoid injury.
Another blog discussion that touches on the topic of overuse injuries was posted today. Most of us have some type of muscle strength deficiency or inequality that places us at risk for injury as training mileage increases. Working to improve strength, especially in the lower body and core helps prevent this from occurring.
Cross training, or “mixing-up” types of exercises performed during training is another prevention tactic. Following plan directions and taking time to recover with appropriate rest days is another way to avoid troubles later in training. Check out the post and the featured article for more insight on how some imbalances might be diagnosed.
The track day schedule advances from walking: running half laps to full laps! It was amazing to me how far that quarter mile (one lap) felt the first few trips around. Believe it or not, the distance will seem to ‘shorten’ as you become accustomed to the track environment. It’s hard to imagine, but you might need to devise a way to count laps as the number completed increases, and your mind starts to wander onto topics other than discomfort and exhaustion. “When can I walk again?” becomes, “Oops I missed the walk mark!”
One thing to keep in mind is that all the effort expended and miles run in following THIS training plan becomes part of the base you’ll establish for FUTURE runs of the same or longer distances. Many runners train at a lowered level almost ALL YEAR long, not just in advance of a specific race, so that the agony of starting from months off is avoided. For example, the long run distance might be maintained at 3-4 miles most weeks, unless a specific plan was started in advance of competition.
Consider mentally adjusting your goals early on in this plan to thinking you’ll maintain a minimum weekly mileage AFTER your 2020 Turkey Trot 5K, to be ready for the NEXT RACE.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
Remember, go to the RESOURCES page for all 2020 Turkey Trot related downloads.
You may not realize, when asked to perform an overhead squat during your first visit with a trainer, that this common move is an assessment tool (OHSA) more revealing than a tiny bathing suit or a 360 degree floor-to-ceiling mirror. It shows how well your body’s musculoskeletal system functions as a unit. Watching a client’s performance of the OHSA helps professionals identify muscular imbalances and areas of inflexibility, most often brought about in these times by prolonged sessions of sitting hunched over a video screen.
A piece from The Fitness Trainer Academy explains the “test” and demonstrates with pictures the form issues that may potentially be detected. Included is a table of solutions to problems which underly these observed departures from perfect form (foot or knee moving in certain way, for example), related to over- and under-activity of specific muscles.
The article explains that to obtain “honest results” the person being assessed should receive minimal coaching, because too much instruction might force unnatural movements that will interfere with the diagnostic process. In other words, it’s better to perform the OHSA without thinking, without knowledge of its purpose, such that a discerning observer can critique how we normally move and be able to prescribe the most effective corrective exercises.
Perhaps by reading this post and the article you will have cheated yourself of an honest OHSA? I think not, based on personal experience. I’ve undergone several diagnostic sessions with various trainers over the years and I seem always to be taken unawares when asked to perform this move. I can’t help but do it honestly!
The benefit to knowing about and understanding the purpose of this test comes with recognizing that, if your form isn’t diagnosed as within acceptable range, the elements of your musculoskeletal system aren’t functioning in a mechanically coordinated manner.
According to an item on the ActivAided Orthotics blog, poor biomechanical functioning places stress on this system which, when uncorrected accumulates over time, leading to fatigue, injury, and pain. Many of us stoically attempt to push through pain in such circumstances, but ultimately injury will prevent participation in beloved athletic activities. Many who have been sidelined know that the cumulative stress effects of even minor imbalances tend to present most inconveniently just as training is being ramped up for a big competition or challenge. The disheartening result is having to stop training or not finish an event at time we hoped and expected performance to peak.
If on your own you can’t seem to perform the OHSA correctly as shown in The Fitness Trainer Academy article, consider seeking the help of a professional. Several sessions may be all that’s needed to obtain a precise diagnosis with exercise prescription and start on a corrected fitness path that allows continued training and, most importantly, years of pain- and injury-free physical activity.
Why wait for pain or injury to force this move? Try the OHSA in front of a mirror or friend.
Go from there.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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