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Posts from the ‘Injury Prevention’ Category

Tight Glutes

Any time I’ve ever had a sports massage, I have always been told I had extremely tight glutes. In my mind I took that to mean you have really strong glutes but it seems this isn’t the case. This morning, as I started out my run, I could tell I was holding a lot of tension in my glutes and it was affecting my running form. Once I focused on letting the tension go, my stride really opened up and my running felt so incredibly efficient. It was awesome.

When I got home, I decided to look into tight glutes. Well it turns out, I think this may have been a big contributing factor to my injury in February. Glutes are important.

Your glutes are the largest, most powerful muscle in the body. When they are inhibited, they can affect everything from your hip flexors to your lower back muscles. (Wait, isn’t that what was wrong with me for 5 weeks?) If your glutes are inhibited, this means they can be either too tight or too weak. Want to know if you have inhibited glutes? Try the hip extension test. Right now it seems mine are pretty normal. (The goal will be to keep them this way as I slowly pick my running back  up.) Your glutes are the muscles that help keep your pelvis, femur, ankle, and knee in alignment. If that gets out of whack, you could potentially have issues with your lower back, your IT Band, or even your knees. Um, not good.

This website has some great stretches and exercises for getting the glutes firing properly. In addition, it has some stretches for the piriformis. I know I’ve said this before but it continues to amaze me how running is a complete, whole body, activity. In order to be an efficient runner, all the parts have to be in sync with one another. Kind of like a nice, fancy car… 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: This morning was a glorious run. The weather was perfect, my body felt great, and everything went by effortlessly. I ran 9 miles and that is my longest runs since my injury. I keep reminding myself that some of the best female runners are in their 30s. I turn 30 in two weeks so maybe my time is approaching. 😉 Stats are here.

The Psoas

Today, using my expert medical training, I determined what has been plaguing me and causing my injuries. In my expert opinion, it’s a very tight psoas muscle (pronounced so-aZ).

After my workout at the gym, I came home and googled all the words I could think of describing my pain. That brought me to this article, a description of the psoas and muscle pain. I felt like every section in the article described exactly what I am feeling. Remind me why I spent two hours at the doctor on Wednesday? Read more

The Crab Walk with Resistance

I’m a runner. That means I spend the majority of my time moving forward and hardly ever going side to side. Too much of a good thing = not so good anymore. I need to incorporate more lateral exercises into my workout to keep from getting injured. Enter the crab walk with resistance…

Crystal Welch:

Crab Walking

Resistance band exercises for getting ripped can involve walking to strengthen your butt, outer thighs and abdominal muscles, according to “Fitness.” Stand on a firm surface with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place the center point of the band underneath your feet. Place one band end into each hand. Switch ends so that you criss-cross the band in front of your body. Your left hand will be holding the right side of the band and your right hand will be holding the left side. Lift your right foot and take a step to the right. Do not bend your back or knees. Lift your left foot and take a step to your right. Keep walking sideways for 10 steps. Relax 10 seconds. Repeat this sequence by walking to your left for 10 steps.

This exercise makes my IT band burn and I love it! I now take my resistance band with me everywhere. And I am not ashamed to to use it in public. After all, if you’re going to make things happen, you can’t worry if somebody thinks you’re crazy for walking side to side with a resistance band, right?

 

Yes, I did this during my lunch today.

Yes, I did this during my lunch today.

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

Running Update: My RC decided to cancel my track workout today. He says I’m pretty fit and it’s not worth risking a serious injury. The wind is about 30mph here in Raleigh and we are suppose to get heavy thunderstorms. I took this as a sign and just did some light exercises. Now I’m off to the chiropractor for some active release therapy. I’m trying to do the right thing for my leg…

And this is totally vain, but I’m super proud of my leg muscles. I like to think all my hard work pays off…

Runner's legs are one of my top reasons for being a runner :)

Runner’s legs are one of my top reasons for being a runner 🙂

The Left/Right Balance

Running is a whole body experience and injuries can often come from bad biomechanics (at least that’s how I think). I get injured on my left side because my left side is weaker. I know this. I do not do enough to prevent it but at least I understand what’s going on in my body.

As I’ve mentioned, I’m teetering on ending up on the injury list. However, I’m not there yet and in fact have had some decent workouts. I contribute that to two things. First, I’ve switched to using my left hand for everything I can. It has made everything take twice as long and my makeup in the morning has been a diaster. (Putting eye liner on with your left hand is like trying to write with your left hand. Really freakin’ hard.) But it is causing me to become much more aware of my left side. Today while running, I only focused on my left arm swing. What a difference it made!  Read more

Balancing Exercises

Sunday morning I listened to Healthy Conversations – a discussion between Chris, Matt, and Mark (fitness and health bloggers). They discussed a variety of topics including strength, sleep, posture, stress, simple meals, and several others. The conversation is a little over a hour but they outline when each section begins so you can skip and find the parts that interest you most.

The discussion on strength had a theme that really stuck with me – there is no need to overcomplicate things. Often times we turn to the latest and greatest ideas because that’s what is exciting and that is where the money is. But the truth is strength can very easily be achieved with a set of dumbbells and 4-5 exercises. They also mention the importance of balancing exercises. Balancing exercises are something I definitely do not do that often. I think because I was a dancer growing up and my balance is already pretty good (or so I think), I neglect this area of my training. But as a runner, balance is important… being center is important. Balance exercises can increase core strength as well as improve muscle balance. (Think injury prevention.) Read more

Hill Sprint Training

My two favorite ladies talking about my favorite/least favorite (depending on my mood) workout:

Hill Sprint Training

Hill Sprint Training

 

Embrace the hills. They are speed work in disguise.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Running Update: No running today! It’s a sad day but I think my body will thank me later. I am on my way now to the gym to do yoga and some general strength training. A little variety will be good for me. Happy Sunday!

Injury Prevention

Including today, I have been running for 16 days straight. No break. No cross training. Only running, with some strength training and yoga of course. In 16 days I have run 117.46 miles. A previous version of me would have thought this nearly impossible. But my running is going so well right now and I couldn’t be happier. However, I am mandating a day off from running tomorrow (Mario has already been instructed that if he sees me put on my arm warmers, he should lock me in the bathroom 😉 ). There are two things I am doing differently that I think are helping my recovery and allowing me to run injury free. I always wear my 2XU compression socks and drink Endurox after every hard workout. Read more

Leg Swings

One of my new favorite warm up stretches is the leg swing. I always see the cross country team doing this stretch before a workout so I’ve recently started incorporating them into my pre-run ritual. Along with the other hops, skips, and jumps I do, the leg swing helps to get the blood flowing in my legs.

Here is a great video from New York Road Runners on how to do the forward and side leg swing.

Leg Swing

 

Read more

My New Favorite Running Drill…

I’ve only been doing them for a few weeks, but my new favorite running drill is… strides! There is something about starting off at an easy jog then transitioning to a comfortable sprint, then slowing back down after 100 meters that feels really good to me. Maybe it’s because I’m really focused on good running form or the fact that they are so short, but I’m mad at myself for not incorporating them into my training any earlier. I always heard about them but I wasn’t quite sure how to properly execute them. Now every time I’m at the track, I want to do warm up and cool down strides 🙂 Read more

Leg Turnover

One thing that I have noticed with this increase in mileage is that my running form feels better. I don’t feel like my hips are going all over the place or that my arms are swinging unnecessarily or that my posture is bad. It just feels really good and I like to think this is how Caballo Blanco felt while running throughout Mexico. Like this is what we were born to do.

I was talking about this tonight with Mario. I’m trying to figure out what has changed and why my running feels like it’s now at a different level. Is it because I’m running a few more miles? Is it because I do running drills at the track? Or does it have something to do with improving my overall strength? Perhaps it is a combination of all of these things. After all, it takes more than just running to be a good runner. However, while reflecting on this tonight, I started thinking that maybe my track workouts are doing more than to just increase my speed. I really think they are helping to increase my leg turnover. Read more