Good happy Friday morning!
As this goes live I’m starting my 7 hour drive from Kelowna back to Calgary. It’ll be a bit of a rushed day as I have concert tickets for 7:30 at Stampede and I can’t freaking wait!
I have to say these two weeks have been absolutely wonderful. Sometimes it’s so nice to relax and unplug and just be.
I haven’t been running much on my vacation, but once I start up, I’m definitely going to be incorporating these exercised from Suz to help keep myself injury free!
Have a fabulous weekend and I’ll be back early next week
Well, hello, there! I am Susie, also known as Suz, and I typically wreak havoc on the world at Suzlyfe.com, but for some reason Ange doesn’t like you and asked me to take over for the day. Which I am more than just a bit excited about. For the uninitiated, I am a runner, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, former competitive equestrienne, yogi, foodie, and ice-cream-eater extraordinaire. For more about me, please come over here and visit!
I think that we can all agree that running might be one of the most infuriating activities that we, as fitness enthusiasts, can engage in. For some, running is effortless–some people can run for years with bad form, no cross-training, and shoes that are completely wrong for them, and with no recourse. For others (cough), we have to fight for our right to abuse ourselves and the pavement/trails.
Say we fall into the latter category (again, cough)–what can we do? How can we be proactive in our fight against injury and time out of our trainers? Proper nutrition and learning to listen to our bodies is key, as is proper training progression, good shoes, proper form, and cross training. These are all great, and invaluable, components of solid training. But you will learn the hard way that they alone will not keep you of the DL.
Talk to a running coach and you will hear, time and again, that many of the most prevalent running-related injuries can be tied back to a weak core and improper glute activation. Unfortunately, though, hitting the weights on your non-running days will only get you so far–you may still suffer from ITB injury, strained hamstrings, and overtaxed achilles if you are unable to get your (strong!) booty activated and working for you, not just sitting and looking pretty. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is a proper warm-up routine that gets your body prepped and activated for the work ahead.
So, here is a sample Runner’s Warm Up routine that aims to stretch, activate, and begin to engage your booty, hips, calves and ankles (for more ankle activation tips, please feel free to contact me!).
You will need: a therapy band, foam roller/lacrosse ball, and open area to lay down on.
Be forewarned–the lacrosse ball, though cheaper than the foam roller, is much more acute, both with regards to the area that it works on as well as the amount of pressure. If you have never done any SMR work before, start with a dense-foam roller, then progress to a Trigger Point. With the ball, start with a tennis ball, then move to a lacrosse ball. The lacrosse ball is a great option for travel, as well as for those with either very large/dense musculature or with muscles in need of release that are very deep. When I am just starting to get loose, I gradually increase the pressure and decrease the amount that I move around on the roller/ball, thereby increasing the overall intensity. When I get to the point of just pressing without moving, I start to flex/extend my knee (when pressure is on my quad/ITB) or my foot (when I am putting pressure on my peronneal tendon or calf)
Time needed: At least 15 minutes. Speed is not the objective here–focus on proper form, engagement, and mobility.
Notes: I do the first 2 phases without shoes, and the third portion with my shoes on.
3 Phases: 1) Self Myofascial Release 2) Engagement and Mobility 3) Dynamic Stretching/Activation
1) Self Myofascial Release (Visit here for more information)
I honestly like to do this while I’m catching up on my blog work–laptop on lap, ball under leg, coffee + bagel to the side. I start with my calf, then my hamstring. Then I roll out my ITB and quad with the roller.
Next, I release my back (this facilitates glute activation. Further, we all know that we sit a lot, we care stress in our lower backs, and if we don’t have sufficient core strength, our backs suffer. Plus, it hurts so goooood).
Lay down, ball underneath your lower lats (if your spine was a hot dog, the pillowy bun-like muscles on either side. Gentle at first, then increase intensity and pressure. Then I move the ball to my glutes, and focus on the areas that are the most tight and tender, but don’t force things to the point that there is real, honest to god pain. You want the muscle to release (autogenic inhibition), so give it at least 30 seconds to do so! I finish out with knee to chest, hug, then gentle supine twist (repeat each side, generally I will get a pop or two from my lower back as I turn).
Still with me? Great! Now it is time for the preventative therapy + active engagement and mobility portion. This will strengthen your supportive muscles, help to engage your glutes, flexor/extensor muscles, and open your range of motion. These can be done with or without a therapy band (I popped mine, SO BEEFY and I still do them sans band)
Reverse Clams (2-3×10)
90/90/90 Hip Mobility (10x for each movement)
Therapy Band Ankle Mobility (10x each direction)
3) Dynamic Stretch and Activation (shoes on, before I head out the door)
Low lunge, press back to standing half split, return to low lunge, kneeling warrior, kneeling warrior with hip flexor extension and gentle rotation (both sides, 15-30 s in each pose)
Golf Ball Pick Ups (3 directions, 10x)
RDLS (Romanian Dead Lifts) (10x)
Adductor Squat (10x)
Ankle rotations, Standing quad and calf stretches
Out the door and on to my run!
Sure, I may seem like a lot, and I will admit, it is. But if you wake up stiff, have poor glute activation, and little time during the rest of your day to focus on your preventative therapy, it is a great option! The time investment is worth it, folks. It is fair cheaper to be proactive and preventative than to be injured.
10 Self Myofascial Release Exercises for Runners
This is a great post on ways to stretch out your feet–yes, your feet! I personally have very stiff arches, so you better believe I roll my foot around on the lacrosse ball!
I am a Certified Personal Trainer but am not a Physical Therapist. Please check with your own physical/therapist before taking this or any other advice. Focus on proper form and always heed your body’s personal warning signals.
Thank you so much for listening, and I hope that you found this helpful! You can find me at http://suzlyfe.com on twitter @Suzlyfe Instagram @the_suzlyfe Pinterest @suzlyfe and via email suzlyfe (at) gmail (dot) com.
What does your warm up look like? Do you have a system? What do you do to prevent injury?
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