6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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Tri Tip Tuesday: My MOST Important Running Tip

Tri Tip Tuesday: My MOST Important Running Tip

On Tuesdays and/or Thursdays, I will do my best to give one simple fitness, triathlon or running tip, trick or piece of information that will provide some value to in either helping you to become more efficient, prevent injury, increase performance, have more fun or at the minimum give a review of knowledge that might not have crossed your path in a some time.

I find myself observing other runners while running and sometimes just hanging out here in Tampa.  Due to the weather here lending itself to year-round training, I have no shortage of material to choose from.

My #1 Most Important Run Tip

My coaching practice’s number one priority is form, technique and injury prevention, so I routinely use other runners, with my clients to reinforce the form training I have provided.  (Sorry, Tampa runners.  If you happen to pass by me with a client, most likely you have been observed and surveyed for comparative analysis.)

With all of my observations, the number one issue that I see are runners that sit in the bucket.  Of course, the question most people ask is what does sitting in the bucket mean?

Basically, it’s when the glutes(or bum) are not in line with the torso.  The body looks like an “L” from the torso to the hamstrings.  Natural running which when learned is much easier, more efficient and greatly reduces impact on the joints.  The torso hips, glutes and ankles form a straight line.

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The interesting thing is, that running should be instinctual right?  Unfortunately, not anymore.  Sociological factors have played into our bodies to a point where most Americans, cannot just decide to take up running without going through periods of injury.

For example, sitting at a desk all day will tighten the hip flexors so that it becomes extremely difficult to push the hips under the torso.  The same thing is evident for playing video games on the couch for long periods of time.

The figure on the left is actually still a lot better than I have noticed out and about.  The torso is still tall and the chest is still has a little bit of lean to it causing forward motion.  A lot of runners I notice, sit in the bucket and lean back.  What is this doing?  Basically, gravity is working against the runner.  The objective is forward motion but the glutes and the torso are sitting back, so in essence, the body and gravity are working against itself.

Another perception you will see is the heel strike of the runner.  When that heel strikes the ground the impact reverberates all the way from the ankle through the legs, spine, neck shoulders and head.  This is where most of the injuries take place.

By simply starting to incorporate, tilting the hips under the torso and leaning from the ankles instead of the waste, the body will start allowing gravity to be used instead of the legs as the sole source of momentum.  Suddenly, the feet are striking the ground underneath the center of gravity and only the calf down to the metatarsals absorb the majority of the impact from the ground.

I continue to instill in my clients, running is powered by the core, not the legs.   Use gravity as momentum and allow the legs to just go for the ride.  To remain consistent, the core must be strengthened and hip flexors stretched to keep the glutes from returning to the bucket.

There are many techniques to help modify the behavior to allow for an efficient, safe and effective change of form.  All it takes it the will to want to change and get better and you will.

The #1 tip – get out of the bucket.

 

Are you running in the bucket? 

Did this information shed some light on any area of your running that might be in need of improvement? 

Carpe Vitam!

(Seize Life!)

Goof Review – Newton Energy & BOCO Running Shoes

Goof Review – Newton Energy & BOCO Running Shoes

Here it is again, a long time since my last post.  Life happens and when it does, watch out.  It can really mess up the things you want to do versus the things you must do.  I am learning to prioritize what is absolutely important to me versus what is important to everyone else.  I hope to soon have that under control, but I digress.

Newton was nice enough to send me both a pair of the Newton Energy and the BOCO.  I am reviewing them together since I have found they are the same shoe with the only difference being the BOCO has a tread that is made for the trails and the Energy is made for the road.

To be transparent and honest, I am a certified Newton Coach, so I am a little biased towards Newton.  However, I rarely train in Newtons, as running is very personal I have my favorite running shoes to train in.

I do however, love the methodology behind them.  For those that do not know, Newton running shoes have 5 lugs in the front of the shoe directly under the ball of the foot.  The lugs have a higher or lower profile depending on the shoe.

The lugs serve as a reminder for running form by automatically driving the foot to land on the fore or mid foot, reducing the impact dramatically.

When paired with Newton Natural Run training, the shoe will decrease the effort level of transitioning to a mid or forefoot runner.

In my experience, after the runner has developed the habit, they no longer need to be running in Newtons, but most do not only due to muscle memory, but they also last about 4 times longer than other running shoes.

Prior to the release of the Energy, the core products Newton produced were the Motion, the Isaac, the Gravity and the Distance.  These models needed a transition period for the runner to get used to the way the lugs lifted the heel causing some calf soreness.

The Energy now has a lower profile of lug, and a transition plate which actually allows the athlete very tiny transition period, if any, before the comfort of the shoe settles in.

The EVA foam that makes up the sole of the shoe is extremely comfortable and highly accommodating to the road.

The only conflicts I have heard is the heel cup is a little shallow for some, causing some slippage during long runs.

Since one of the core beliefs of natural runners is that shoes should be tied just tight enough to secure the heel, this could be a problem.  I have always taught, the athlete needs nothing to support but themselves.

In other words, if the shoe is tied too tight, the shoe ends up supporting the runner.  By tying the shoes very light and only tight enough to secure the heel, the feet, the calves, the ankles are strengthened with every activity.

I personally have not found an issue with the heel cup even without the help of a runner’s lace, but I have heard of the issues.

I did get an eleven-mile run on the trails with the Newton BOCO and was I surprised at how well the tread grabbed the terrain.  

The trails I was running were meant for Mountain Bikes and that meant steep climbs and steep downhills and there was not a moment I did not feel secure.ZOE_0005.jpg

For new runners or for athletes transitioning to more efficient technique, I believe the Energy is the perfect shoe.  They are the perfect shoe to transition with before trying one of the core Newton models.

The BOCO is a great trail shoe for anyone wishing to start or continuing a journey into trail running.  They are comfortable, supportive and made me feel completely secure on the trails.

That’s my opinion and I am sticking with it.  Happy Running!

 

Carpe Viam!

STOMP – The Goof Review

STOMP – The Goof Review

Special effects seem to be at a the crux of human entertainment these days, doesn’t it?  Every episode of almost every studio made episodic drama, situation comedy and major motion picture is loaded with some flavor of special effects.  Even shows like, “Big Bang Theory” or “How I Met Your Mother” have increased their effects budget with effects of dream sequences, stunts or layered images to help draw in the audience.

Pop-culture does not seem to have room for TV shows, movies or even plays that have to completely depend on the integrity and talent of the performers.

This was evident as I walked into the Carol Marsoni Hall of the Straz Center for the opening night performance of STOMP last night.

The house was littered with empty seats.  The mezzanine and balcony were completely empty.

All I can say is to the lovers of music and theatre that decided to skip out on this performance, it is your loss.  The simplistic cohesiveness of this ensemble show is something that does not come around all that often.

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STOMP is a percussive music, comedy and movement performance that is matched by nothing I have ever seen.  This group of seven performers make music without the use of musical instruments as we would define them.  They basically use junk you may find in a dumpster in New York City.  Garbage can lids, plastic tubs, match boxes, zippo lighters, are just a few of the items these talented performers use to make a beat come alive in a way that I was not only riveted, but I couldn’t help but want to move my feet with the beat.

The use of the artifacts along with their feet and the movement was visually stimulating as well.  Within the first few numbers, all I could think of, was this group is making music with everything except the kitchen sink, and of course in the very next number four of the performers came out with kitchen sinks strapped to their torsos.  Water in the sinks plus, cups and utensils seemed to come alive as the ensemble mixed their sounds together in one cohesive unit.

There is no special effects, no extra special lighting, no words, no special costumes just the performers and their props.  Simple entertainment at it’s finest and extremely riveting.

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Percussion was not the only thing used for entertainment.  There was many parts of each number where comedy was used to infiltrate the performance with the laughter of the audience.  Comedy alone is not easy, but comedy without one audible word for the entire show is extremely difficult and this group pulled it off with precision and ease.

This was one of the most entertaining ninety minutes I have had in a long time.  What made it even more fun was the ensemble incorporated the audience within the show.  Patterns of clapping, foot stomping, and finger snapping made for an interactive experience that just compounded on the immense fun this show had to offer.

In simple terms, STOMP was outstanding and I highly recommend everyone take the opportunity to go see it.

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STOMP is playing at the Straz Center of the Performing Arts April 30 – May 3.  Please visit the Straz Center website for more information.

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The Ultimate Guide to Compression

The Ultimate Guide to Compression

It has been a while, and I have a ton of ideas that I am anxiously awaiting to share with you. Unfortunately, time has been getting away from me. Between training myself, a full-time job and being at capacity with 15 individual clients I am struggling for time to post. I promise I will figure out a way to make time. I am so lucky to have such great people to bounce ideas off of, that sometimes, by not posting, I feel like I am letting all of you down, so I promise to post more even if the posts end up being a lot shorter than usual. (Which the length is probably not your favorite part of it anyway. I know I ramble.)

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my personal opinion of compression, a disclaimer.
I am not a medical professional. The opinions that are shared on this post come from research, my own experiences and the experiences of athletes I have personally witnessed and information I have researched. Every athlete/person has a different body and some products and/or methodologies may be advantageous for some and may even be dangerous for others. This post deals with my beliefs and my research. (Was that clear?)

Lately, most of the questions from other athletes, including clients of mine, have asked about compression. This usually centers around calf sleeves, but does include some of the other compression apparel as well.  My answer is usually, for recovery and for temporary use they are great, but not for training.   Why?  Great question.

I am going to use calf sleeves as my example.

While running, biking, swimming or any major activity using the legs, the muscles are constantly in motion.  That motion is what naturally makes the muscles stronger.  The muscle moves and is loaded with either more repetitions, or with weight.  The full range of motion of each muscle is imperative to the strengthening of the muscle.  Compression holds that muscle in place and limits the movement therefore limiting the range of motion.  While compressed the muscle cannot fully develop while training.   Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the lower leg in the running position.

As you can see the gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon, when the knee is flexed, both constrict and then elongate when the knee straightens.  Here is the epitome of the range of motion naturally occurring when running.  The more flexion and constriction that take place the more they are stretched causing the breakdown of the fibers.  After the recovery period the fibers wrap tighter and in more abundance aiding in a strength and endurance.  Now imagine that gastrocnemius muscle remaining constricted due to a calf sleeve.  It seems to me that this would dictate that it would not have full range of motion also causing the Achilles tendon to remain stretched without the full ability to absorb the impact.  This could unintentionally damage the Achilles tendon, the gastronemius muscle and the soleus muscle.  If not damage, it will limit the ability to be strengthened.  This is why I personally do not recommend calf sleeves during training workouts.

Recovery
I do however do not mind wearing compression while in recovery to include immediately following the cool down of a workout.  I mentioned the healing of the fibers earlier.  In order for the fibers to heal and become stronger after the breakdown, blood must be pumped through the muscle and with it water for hydration.  Compression does help to isolate that area helping to keep the majority of the blood and water being pumped through the body to the point of  the compression.  With the legs either elevated or even walking around and at that point limiting the movement, it would allow for the blood to pool in that area helping to re-hydrate the muscle thereby helping to heal faster.  In turn, an occasional training run or race, with compression at the tail end of an injury, might also benefit, but in a very limited quantity, and duration.

Carpe Vitam! 

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