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Posts tagged ‘Strength Training’

Spinal Erectors and Running

I don’t remember where I first heard about the spinal erector muscle group, but I do remember thinking I have weak spinal erectors. I had no knowledge about these muscles but they sounded pretty important. Fast forward a few months and the more I in tune with my body I become, the more I realize my left back muscles are not as strong as my right back muscles. Perhaps weak spinal erectors??

Leslie Truex:

The erector spinae is comprised of a group of muscles and tendons that run the length of and support the spine. They work with abdominal muscles to help support the torso, and they should be strengthened in conjunction with ab exercises. In fact, according to Spine-Health.com, trying to develop strong abs but ignoring the back can increase your risk of back injury.

The way I understand it is spinal erectors keep your spine straight. With regards to my running, as I pick up the mileage and subsequently become more tired, my weak left side stops engaging as it should and my right side takes over. In my non-expert opinion, this has contributed to my many injuries. In fact, because I’ve been running consistently for about a month now, I can feel my left side starting to disengage and my right side take over. As much as I wanted to do an easy run today, I decided not to and worked solely on stretching and strengthening my back. There are a few good exercises here and here.

I think because my long run yesterday was a little on the fast side and I’ve been running almost everyday for a month, I’m going to go easy this week. My body is starting to tell me that it needs a little break (and variety).

Happy Trails & Happy Running,

Tracie

And completely unrelated, here are some pictures from the birthday festivities last night. Check out the cake!

Thanks Emily for the cake!!

Thanks Emily for the cake!!

 

With my fabulous sister, who along with my parents, made an amazing video using pictures of me from when I was a baby until now.

With my fabulous sister, who along with my parents, made an amazing video using pictures of me from when I was a baby until now.

 

Best friends since kindergarten

Best friends since kindergarten

With Mari, Baby Ravi, and Emily

With Mari, Baby Ravi, and Emily

 

 

 

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Strengthening the Hip Flexors

About a month ago I posted about the importance of hip flexors. I found some good stretches but right now, as I’m recovering from my injury, I want to know how to strengthen the hip flexor. There is a lot of great information out there about stretching and strengthening the hip flexor (which is super important for us runners). Here are a few of the strength training exercises I am going into start incorporating into my routine:

I think four is a good number to start with right now. If I overwhelm myself, I know I won’t do it. Does anybody have any other hip flexor exercises they recommend? I’ll take all the advice I can get!

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Rest and Injuries

There are many reasons why I don’t like going to the doctor about a running injury. But the main one is because the typical recommendation is restRest? Mmmm… not going to happen. I’ll take a break from running but I can’t just sit around with ice on my hip.

Ryan Hall did an interview discussing life after his DNF at the Olympics. He dropped out due to tendonitis and a hamstring injury, but within 3 weeks, he was back to normal. He didn’t follow the take some time off and this will heal itself approach. He focused primarily on strength training and his tendonitis went away. Check out what he had to say about the importance of strength training and injuries:

Ryan Hall, Life after the Olympics

Ryan Hall, Life after the Olympics

I always notice that when I suffer an injury, I always feel stronger when I return back to running. It’s because I spend all the extra time focusing on strength. That really needs to become a non-negotiable part of my training.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Hip Flexors

Due to the fact I did not run my 17 miles this morning (a very sad day for me), I spent the morning learning about the anatomy of the hip. I’ve been down this road so many times and I know my body pretty well by now. My hips are the source of my pain (left hip in particular) and it is affecting everything form my left quad, to my left knee, to my left peroneal tendon. (Instead of the singing the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone it should be a tight iliacus causes runner’s knee…)  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

 

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Two Things I Learned from an Olympic Athlete

On our way to Roxboro tonight, Mario and I listened to the most recent podcast from Greatist. It was an interview with Shelia Taormina, the first woman to qualify for the Olympics in three events- swimming, triathlon, and the modern pentathlon. Now that’s what I call a pretty amazing athlete.

In the interview, she discussed what helped her to be an awesome athlete. Taormina put a strong emphasis on two things: strength training and rest. In particular, listening to her body and taking days off at a time if she needed to. According to her, without those things, she would not have been able to achieve her Olympic goals.

Today was my day off and for some reason I was feeling guilty about it. I was even planning a 6 mile run but when I was running short on time, decided against it. After listening to this interview, I’m glad I let my body rest. It’s been a rough week and I think I needed it. And after all, if I plan to go to Rio for the 2016 Olympics, I better start taking the advice of a well accomplished Olympian. 🙂

Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Tracie

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Back Hypers

Other than running a whole lot, my coach has me doing general strength exercises. Last week he sent me a list of what those exercises include and I knew all of them except one – the back hyper.

The back hyper is an exercise that works the lower back as well as the mid and upper back. As a runner, a strong lower back is important because running involves repetitive, constant impact as you move forward. When your feet hit the ground one after another, your feet, knees, hips and, ultimately, your back are subject to absorbing impact. If you’re a distance runner, this means your back and back muscles are subject to long time periods of exposure. (Rachel Nall).  Read more

Dancer Pose – My Favorite Yoga Pose

I do not take yoga classes that often but back when I did take a class once a week, my favorite pose was always dancer pose. I always found this to be such a beautiful pose. My version of dancer pose was never anywhere close to the lifelong yogi’s version, but I wasn’t too shabby at it. After my easy run today, I hit the gym for some general strength training and yoga of course. Dancer pose always helps me to feel balanced, focused, and stretched.  Read more

Upper Body Strength

Saturday I got in an awesome 21 miler. The weather was great, my  mind was right, and the only downer was learning that the marathon course is even hillier than I originally thought. Let’s just say that while running along the course, there were several signs that warned of the many steep slopes ahead. After running through one tunnel, I turned right and just stopped. You want me to run up that? I couldn’t believe this course is being promoted as flatter than the previous course, but nevertheless, this is not a PR course. Instead it is like an obstacle course, or at least that is how I like to think about it. I guess every race is different. Read more

Single Leg Deadlifts

I have a muscle imbalance and I am very much aware of it.  While sidelined from my last running injury, my sports massage therapist pointed out how much stronger my left side is than my right side.  That includes my back muscles, my abs, quads, and calves.  I immediately started working to try and correct this problem.  Whatever exercise I could do to isolate the right and left side, I always did more on my right side. However, since I’ve been running so much lately, I have been neglecting these exercises and after my run yesterday, I can tell. Read more