This week is all about recovery. And the never-ending quest to avoid too-much-too-soon syndrome (after flat-lining at 25 miles a week in college, it’s crazy to think I still haven’t broken the 30-mile barrier safely).
- cat/camel breathing
- calf circles/ABC’s for my shins
- Around the World (a variation on single-leg dead lifts)
- heel walks
- 1:00 pelvic tilt
- 1:00 bridge
- 30-sec pigeon
- Physical therapy (3 exercises)
- arm swings, to open my back
Many of these exercises, particularly the physical therapy ones, are intended to help me fire my glutes before I set out running. Glute strength has been my focus since I fractured a metatarsal in 2010, and learning how to “run from behind” may be the underlying principle in preventing almost all common running injuries.
11 physical therapists and exercise physiologists … named inactive glutes as the top weakness they see in runners (with weak lower abdominals as a close second). – Runners World article, linked above
My problem has always been executing my physical therapy. It’s very easy to go, learn the causes of your injury and the exercises for future prevention, and think “yeah yeah I got dis,” knowing full well that while the intention might be there, the likelihood of actually doing the exercises is … minimal.
In college, once or twice a week I spent the hour before practice in the athletic training room doing my “drills.” These were a compilation of exercises I had been given over the years to help prevent shin splints, Achilles tendinosis, IT band syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. But they became static exercises, and while I maintained a basic level of injury-free-ness, I don’t think I was actually learning any new skills.
In the last year, I have added more “big muscle” exercises (as opposed to simply lower leg and hip) to better recruit my core, hamstrings, and glutes. I’ve learned some new things (and done a few things incorrectly), but ultimately I have been less injured recently than in my eight (ten) seasons of track.
My bible: Jay Dicharry’s book, Anatomy for Runners. It blew my freaking mind to discover that I – and most runners! – have weak extensors and essentially no idea how to activate the most powerful set of muscles in our bodies: glutes. Tragic.
- eccentric calf raises
- firehydrants (3 directions)
- hip hikes
- double-leg squats
- core session
This is my 20% Down Week, so I am aiming for a whopping 19 miles. My goal for next week is to increase my mileage 10% to 26.5 miles. Repeat for 3 weeks total, and take another 20% down week. And I’m opting out of the Jackson Hole Marathon half marathon in favor of returning to Old Bill’s the following week for either a debut 10k or an attempt at repeat champ-ing the 5k.
What can go wrong?