Running Program Week 9

During the last 2 months, we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs including the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest in the next few weeks.

Last week, we reviewed the importance of running technique and discussed how muscle tightness can affect your running mechanics.  So this week and next, we will focus on various mobility and release techniques to keep you running strong and injury free. Today, I’m going to start with wall stretching which is a very relaxing way to release and since most runners are super tight to begin with, they are more likely to do it since it’s not so painful!

Complete the following stretching program after each run or workout.  Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds – ideally longer.  And remember, hold each stretch to the point of tension – not pain!

stretch wall hamstrings 300x236 Running Program Week 9Hamstring on the wall: Lie on your back with your hips close to the wall and your legs positioned straight up against the wall. To make the stretch less intense, move your hips a few inches away from the wall.  To make the stretch more intense, keep your hips positioned right up against the wall and wrap a towel around your feet and lightly pull your legs a few inches away from the wall.  Feel your stretch in the muscles at the back of your upper leg.  Hold this stretch for as long as you feel comfortable – minimum 30 seconds each leg and ideally longer.  Try to relax and breathe in to the stretch.  Feel free to read a magazine or watch T.V. while holding this stretch.  This is a great stretch to do after a run because it assists in the recovery process as blood is flushed from the legs back to the heart. Read the rest of Running Program Week 9

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Running Program Week 8

Re 8KL 6FiJGDGAHBnInvajHJLxl3oU wcXuYznA CQ Running Program Week 8During the last 7 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest in the next few weeks.

For today’s portion of running program, I wanted to focus on running technique. It seems easy enough, doesn’t it?  Right leg, left leg, right leg….I remember asking a Canadian National Running Coach about the best way to improve my client’s running technique and his response was “the best way to improve someone’s running technique is to run!”  And there is some truth to this for sure. The more you run, the fitter you become and the easier it is for your body to find the most efficient running forms. 

With that said, there actually is a science to running correctly to minimize injuries and maximize performance.

Here are some tips to help you fine-tune your running technique.

Keep in mind, don’t make any dramatic changes to your running stride too quickly which can lead to injury.  Gradually adjust one thing at a time.

Leg Turnover:

Most people run with too low of a cadence which puts extra strain on your body and the longer your foot stays in contact with the ground, the greater the energy required to propel it forward.  Do not focus on lengthening your stride but rather go for shorter, quicker strides. Focus on achieving a cadence of 90 strides per leg per minute (180 foot strikes per minute). The easiest way to measure this is to count how many times your feet strike in 15 seconds and then multiply by 4. You can also use a metronome or fast paced music to help you get comfortable with how fast your leg speed should be. Read the rest of Running Program Week 8

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Running Program Week 7

During the last 6 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall.

In this Running Program Series I’ve focused on strengthening critical areas for runners such as the feet and hips.  Today, I wanted to focus on one last critical area to condition as a runner – your core.  If your core is strong, you will be better able to stabilize and align your body, absorb and brace for the impact of running and run more efficiently and with better mechanics.  It’s important to mention that your core is not only your abs – but also includes your back and hips. Try to perform the following exercises 2-3 days per week.

 

Tubing Trunk Rotation

Torso rotations 300x255 Running Program Week 7Anchor an exercise tube around a pole at about mid-body height.  Stand sideways to the pole holding the tube in both hands standing far enough so there is tension on the tube. Keep your abdominals contracted, maintain good posture and slowly pull the tube across your body. Perform 8-20 reps each side.

 

 

 

Read the rest of Running Program Week 7

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Running Program Week 6

During the last 5 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall.

Last week, we discussed the importance of strengthening your feet as a runner and today, I wanted to stress the importance of strengthening your hips.  Strong Hips = Strong Knees.  Weak Hips = Weak Knees. If your hips aren’t stable and effectively able to stabilize your pelvis while running, your knees will suffer.

Here’s some tips to conditioning your hips in a variety of ways:

Perform these exercises 2 days per week

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Running Program – Week 5

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Today (week 5), I wanted to talk about your feet and how important they are to running.  As you run, the muscles of your feet and lower limb absorb the forces of up to three times your body weight.  So let’s say you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 450 pounds of force with each stride!  So it’s clear that the foot is important but very few people actually work on strengthening their feet and even though it’s one of the most important areas for runners, it’s the most neglected!

Here’s some tips to strengthening your feet and many you can do anywhere so shouldn’t take extra time:

Towel Crunches:

Lay a towel flat on the floor in front of you.  Place your bare feet on the towel edge closest to you and then curl your toes pulling the towel closer and closer to you.  Continue this exercise for a couple minutes. It’s an easy one to do while you’re watching TV or reading.  Some runners will do this in the shower with a wet towel making it heavier and more challenging.

Ball Curls:

Take a small soft ball like a Hacky Sac and squeeze your toes around the ball.  Continue for 1-2 minutes.

Toe Taps: Read the rest of Running Program – Week 5

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Running Program Week 4

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HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!

During the last 3 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall. Last week, we reviewed an action plan in the event you are experiencing nagging aches and pains associated with running.

Today, I wanted to talk about a running program that will help improve your performance as a runner.  Although most participants are just happy to get to the finish line of these events, there is a number of people that really want to work on their speed.

If you want to get fast, you have to train fast. Read the rest of Running Program Week 4

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Running Program Week 3

dEYbIkqKIL2bkegsT5PMMiczCU9xE fAFUokPDKJjvo Running Program Week 3During the last 2 columns we’ve discussed general running guidelines to help you design a running program to prepare you for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest this fall.

But even if you do everything right, sometimes you still experience nagging aches and pains during your training program.  So what should you do if you find yourself in pain?

As we mentioned earlier, running is a high-impact sport and unfortunately, you may be forced to deal with the symptoms of an injury or an injury-just-waiting to happen.  In the event that this happens, you need to know exactly what to do to hopefully “nip it in the bud”.  If you find yourself experiencing any form of pain around the hip, knee, shins or feet, treat it immediately.  Injuries left untreated, can become chronic and seriously affect your ability to continue with your training program.

As a general guideline, the acronym “RICE” should serve as the basis of treatment for most minor, acute strains and injuries during your running program:

  • R stands for rest - that is either take a few days off or reduce your training intensity and volume.  Walking, hiking and/or water running are good backups when you need a break from running.  And as a general rule of thumb, some activity is better than no activity to keep circulation strong and to support the healing process so do whatever you can to keep moving without causing pain to the affected area.
  • I stands for ice - ice the affected area Read the rest of Running Program Week 3
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Running Program Week 2

20140720 0628 2 Running Program Week 2Last week, we reviewed a progressive Learn to Run program to help get you ready for the local, popular runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure – Quarter & Half Marathon that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest.

Today, I will discuss a few general guidelines for designing your running program:

  • Try not to run 2 days in a row if possible.  Running exposes your body to a lot of impact and it is helpful to allow your body time to recover in between running workouts, especially if you are prone to injury.
  • Allow for one full recovery day per week. It doesn’t mean you have to lay around watching TV and eating bon bons all day but it’s a good idea to have one day a week when you aren’t concerned about getting into your training zone and instead, allow your body a day’s rest from impact and intensity.
  • Invest in a good pair of running shoes and consult with an expert to help determine the right shoe for your body.  Check out the previous blog post where I discuss the key pointers on getting the right running shoe for you. Read the rest of Running Program Week 2
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Running Program Week 1

9e1cMzuEMTwNIOY9e4MLjXMYLZe5gditzRmHjkqbuUs Running Program Week 1At the beginning of October, there are 2 local runs, the Portland Marathon and the Girlfriends Run for a Cure that will have thousands of runners and walkers participating from around the Northwest. If anyone is going to finish either of these events strong and injury free, it’s important to start the training process now!  Based on that, I decided to dedicate my next series to helping someone prepare for a running event.  Keep in mind, this running program will also work for those of you who will be walking which is a way to get to the finish line with considerably less impact and strain on your body and fabulous health benefits!

With that said, most runners can attest to the benefits of running.  Running has been proven to be one of the most effective methods for improving your cardiovascular system, reducing body fat and maintaining a toned, lean physique….like they describe in this new studyNot only that, it’ll also help improve your self-esteem and confidence and decrease your risk of experiencing health disorders or disease.  Running is an incredible form of exercise but it can also cause its share of problems.

The Running “Terrible Toos”….. Read the rest of Running Program Week 1

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Try a Triathon – Swim, Bike, Run your way to the Triathlon Finish Line – Transitions

DSC00767 Try a Triathon – Swim, Bike, Run your way to the Triathlon Finish Line – TransitionsToday, we finish our Triathlon Training Series.  I hope you now feel you have the tools to conquer your first Swim/Bike/Run event and the programming guidelines and training tips to reach a personal best for you seasoned triathletes. This column will focus on transitions and race day preparations.

Triathlon Transitions:

An often forgotten and neglected part of the triathlon training process, but if transitions are done correctly, it can shave minutes off your final time.  I had a girlfriend who took 8 minutes during one of her transitions and I asked her “What the heck were you doing for 8 minutes?” and she proceeded to tell me about all of her clothing changes, trying to find items, and even deodorant application! Had she been more organized, she would have experienced a much more seamless transition! Having a good transition time requires practice BEFORE race day!

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