Friday, 5 December 2014

TRX Training for Endurance Athletes

Check out this three movement sequence designed by TRX Head of Human Performance Chris Frankel for endurance athletes looking for a supplemental metabolic workout in place of a swim, bike or run. As the endurance season starts to taper off and the soggy weather creeps in, now is a great time to start working on functional strength, mobility and stability with TRX Training. - See more here

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sprinter vs Marathon Runner

In running, you've all seen the sprinter and the marathoner. One looks like an 80's movie character and the other like he has had too many crash course diets. They are both runners so how come they don't look alike?

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Learn the Skill of Movement

Whether you walk or run, dance or fight: movement should be fun, free and a joyous experience.

However, too many people get injured every year (around 80% of runners, for example) because of incorrect equipment and inadequate skill and strength.

The key for a long life of efficient movement involves reconnecting your brain and reconditioning your body. This is achieved by relearning the skill of locomotion by perfecting simple motor skill milestones and simultaneously, and gradually, building up adequate strength.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

How to Brag About Doing an Ironman

Nod to Hornetjuice for this guide to bragging about Ironman.

Sign Up Phase
For most Ironman events, you have to register up to one year in advance. This gives you plenty of time to brag about doing an Ironman. During this phase, you must let all of your non-Ironman friends know that you can’t hang out with them anymore, because you just signed up for an Ironman. If you don’t have any Ironman friends, then go to a place where runners or bikers hang out. Look for the Ironman symbol (M Dot) on their training clothes. An Ironman would never be caught running or biking without their Ironman stuff.

Training Phase
Training for an Ironman can be compared to having a part time job. You must let everyone you meet know this. This can be accomplished by sighing loudly at work, mumbling how tired you are because you just biked 100 miles, because you are in training for an Ironman. You can also skillfully steer the conversation with your neighbors and co-workers to your Ironman training. Here is an example:

Neighbor: “Did you hear what President Obama said this week?”
Lee: “Were you aware that President Obama is a biker? I just biked 100 miles today. I am training for an Ironman.”

Co worker: “Lee, are you working late tonight?”

Lee: “No, I have to get up early to do a 20 mile run. I am training for an Ironman.”

I even once rang my neighbor’s door and when he answered, I said “Sorry Bob, can’t talk to you now, I am training for an Ironman.”

One Week Before the Race Phase
You need to let your neighbors and co-workers know you will be gone for a little while, competing in an Ironman. Once again, you can steer the conversation to your Ironman race.

Neighbor: “Wow Lee your lawn looks great!”
Lee: “My lawn is going to look bad next week; I will be competing in an Ironman.”

Race Expo Phase
You must buy as much Ironman merchandise as possible. For years we saved our money to send both of my boys to private college, but sacrifices must be made. Both Derick and Ty will be going to junior college now. You must buy enough Ironman clothes to cover every day at work and training. You must also buy plenty of shirts for your spouse and children. They will also spread the word that you just finished an Ironman.

The Race Phase
At you can setup automatic emails and cell phone message notifications of your Ironman timing splits. You can use all of the entries in your email and cell phone address book. Include everyone regardless of whether they remember you or not. It just does not matter, because you are an Ironman.

Post Race Phase
The finisher medal can be worn for one day per the number of miles raced and everyone knows that an Ironman is 140.6 miles. So wear that medal for 141 days (always round up as opposed to rounding down your finishing time). Your children must be trained to say, “My daddy is an Ironman. He gave me this shirt. He’s an Ironman.” This must be emphasized over and over with your children. I made the mistake of not doing this after I ran the Boston Marathon, and Derick, my oldest boy, told everyone at his day care that his grandma ran the marathon. Your spouse must memorize all of your splits (swim, bike and run). You must also include transition splits as well. Instead of wearing a shirt which states, “I’m with Dummy”, your spouse will wear a shirt which says, “I’m with a stud Ironman“. All conversations must be steered to your Ironman race.

Co-Worker: “Did you hear about the new work policy?”
Lee: “Nope, I did not, I was racing in an Ironman.”

For at least one month you can say, “Well, I’m only going to run easy today, I just did an Ironman.”

When someone brings up a subject of hardship suffered, you need to remind them that you also have suffered hardship, while training for and racing in your Ironman.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Running Streaks Day #1

For a while now I have been looking for a new challenge to combat the Ironman blues. OK, so I have continued running and entering the odd triathlon but nothing that really pushed the boundaries again. So sitting at my desk today I decided to step up to the mark once again by doing a running streak. So what does this entail?
The definition of a running streak is: to run at any pace for a minimum of one mile per day over a period of time.
As it is my birthday, I thought it would be good to see if I can run everyday until my next birthday in one years time. How hard can that be?  Pretty hard by all accounts! I started to think about my weekly commitments and there is not a lot of time left over to grab a run, even if it is just a mile.
Well day #1 has been completed with a nice easy one miler. Didn't want to go mad and injure myself, that and I also had a fabulous meal and a little tipple.
Just need to get my plan in order and not make excuses. If Ron Hill can run everyday for over 45 years even with crutches on occasion then that is enough motivation for me to try a single year.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Identifying mistakes with Foam Rolling

This is an article about how we can refine our technique of releasing a muscle before we stretch it.

I think there is some confusion around what a foam roller can do, they do not actually stretch a muscle, they only allow us to release a muscle and/or tone down its activity, which then in turn allows us to stretch more effectively thereafter. Here are a few common mistakes and refinements to make to our technique.

1. Going Hunting! The most common mistake I see is people literally rolling up and down the entire length of the muscle continuously. There is no sign that this would have any long-term benefit in fact all we are really doing is firing off a lot of pain receptors and doing the opposite of what we want and actually increasing muscle activity! This is necessary in the first instance for what I like to call our ‘going hunting’ mission to find trigger points or ‘tender’ spots within the muscle. All that is required is to roll through the entire length of the chosen muscle and then hold still on the most tender point. Now either one of two things will happen from this point will we either cause ischemic pressure which will locally reduce circulation in the area that is targeted and reduce in activity or something else known as autogenic inhibition where we are causing the chosen muscle to relax and tone down activity in the point of the muscle and allow it to release.

2. RELAX!! Another common mistake that seems to happen is muscle guarding. This usually happens when we reach that tender spot. We tend to clench the muscle in order to protect the area. If this happens we will get no effect as we are actively tightening the muscle instead of allowing autogenic inhibition to take place and therefore be able to release the muscle. The whole point of release and stretching is about relaxing, again I see a lot of people really working hard during release and stretch as if it’s the main part of their workout.

3. Only target tight muscles! We only need to go after muscles which have become tight and overactive. It is counter-productive to release and stretch a muscle which is already long as this will only exacerbate the dysfunction or injury that we are trying to correct/heal.

4. There’s nothing special about a foam roll…you can use just about anything! Foam rollers tend to have a large surface area so they are more effective for releasing the more superficial muscles as there is less pressure. Little bit of math, The equation we use or release is Pressure = force x area so the smaller the surface area, the more pressure were applying on that point. So if we need to get deeper into muscle tissue and go after more deep lying muscles we can use other objects that progress from the foam roller such as a medicine ball to a small soft ball.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Runners create injuries, not shoes.

Blame the Runner: Shoes Don’t Cause Injuries

Whether you’re a Five Fingers minimalist or a Hoka One One maximalist, or just a Pro Keds tweener, all this foot-wringing over what kind of running shoe best prevents injuries can get pretty exasperating. One recent study says that “running in minimalist footwear appears to increase the likelihood of experiencing an injury.” While another more current one (in the same journal, no less) concludes that cushioning does not influence injury rates. Score one against the minimalists? Score one for the maximalists?

Yes, but also no. “The best shoe for a runner is highly individualized,” says Allison Gruber, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s biomechanics laboratory. “What may prevent or ‘cure’ injuries for one person may cause them or make them worse for another.”

It’s a sentiment—and not yet a fact, mind—that’s echoed by many of Gruber’s colleagues. Anyone looking for that magic-bullet “one-size-fits-all” shoe is misguided. “There are just too many variables that contribute to injury, and the shoe is pretty low on the list of possibilities,” says Dr. Paul Langer, a Minneapolis podiatrist, clinical advisor for the American Running Association.

Quite low, really. “The body compensates for what it is running on,” says Gruber. (“On,” meaning as much the substance between one’s foot and the terrain—i.e., a hard midsole, a soft midsole, very little midsole—as the terrain itself.) “How those adaptations by the body affect injury risk or occurrence is still unknown, because the answer doesn’t lie in any one variable.”

And while there are studies showing that midsoles that are extremely soft can sometimes lead to higher incidence of injury, Dr. Langer points out that that may have to do with figuring out the “ideal” amount of cushioning for each individual shoe wearer, which has not yet been determined.

Besides, what seems to be most responsible for injuries is not what you wear but how you wear it—and who you are. Up to 90 percent of running injuries could be classified as training errors, says Langer. One’s body mass index, history of injury, amount of pronation, too little rest, too much high-intensity running (hills, speed workouts), not enough cross training, abrupt changes in training volume, etc.

This blaming-the-runner philosophy is one that most people (shoe manufacturers, most of all) don’t want to hear or promote. They want a shoe that’ll absolve runners of any such responsibility. “Running is a skill and how one runs matters more than what is on one’s feet,” declares Harvard University paleoanthropologist Dan Lieberman, the popularize of minimalist running also known as the Barefoot Runner. “Natural selection is a much better engineer than any shoe designer. So my null hypothesis is that less shoe is better until proven otherwise.”

Lieberman, however, has more than a little skin in the game: his influential 2010 study that appeared in Nature, and which has been embraced by the barefoot-running community as proof that minimalist shoes cause fewer injuries, was funded, in part, by Vibram USA—makers of Five Fingers.

Still not convinced either way? You shouldn’t be. “We have a terrible track record,” says Runner’s World columnist Alex Hutchinson, “of being able to predict how shoes will affect injury rate.”

“It was pretty predictable, in a way,” he adds, “after all the hype about minimalism, how could there not be a swing to the opposite extreme?” As for which shoe, or method, works best, “nobody knows at this point. I don’t think there’s a single right way to run. Minimalism, maximalism, and everything in between—all of these are useful options to have available for people to experiment with and find what works best for their particular situation and needs.”