Not sure who will be away this week for Spring Break, however for sure Stef will not be out on Monday or Wednesday and Cal and Shirley are away in Sunny Arizona for a trip into the Grand Canyon where they will probably see John Simpson, Lonna, Gert and Sheila either on the way down or the way up!! Have a good time and enjoy the weather. I also know that Rolf is away in Texas riding his bike. Any one else who is readying this from a warm place or will be in a warm place before the week is out - give us a shout so that we here can all be envious!!!!
The current C25K participants were suppose to have a race next Saturday with the Sarnia Raod Runners, however at the same time as I was writing this blog, I received an email stating that they were cancelling their race for Saturday the 15th, hence the group will simply do a 5 KM steady run on Saturday. We will use the MORun route since it starts at OnEdge - it will be sent out to all the C25K people separately. Also for those people in this clinic, the newest "EXTENDED" C25K plan is on the web site - please download because this will take you to your revised race date of May 4th for the DVHIR
A new C25K plan is also on the site for the next C25K clinic which starts on March 17th - I will have attached a copy of the flyer to this week's email - I hope you could spread the word for us please.
ATB and some of our marathon people's training is now coming down to the wire - stick with it! I know it has been a struggle with this winter weather but you know what? You guys are going to be so proud when you cross that finish line - not one oz of ice or 1 mm of snow nor 1km of wind will be on your mind - euphoric endorphins and happy thoughts will boost your pride to inspire all who know you.
Here are 100 facts about the Marathon that might be interesting to read:
100 Fascinating Facts About the Marathon
ALSO - I have been reading a new book on "Running Technique" by Brian Martin (an Auzzie) and I find it very interesting because although we harp on strength training to get better, he has a take on how muscles need to be trained together to get the most benefit for running. The following is a list of the muscles involved in running (and to what extent) plus the exercises he suggests to do to make the largest of the combination of Glutes and Hamstrings better. I was going to do a session on Wednesday using these instructions however since it is Spring Break week, I figured I would just put it in the blog and then we can have an explanation a week from Wednesday. (Stef - can you add this as a talk for March 19th - thanks)
PARAPHRASED FROM "RUNNING TECHNIQUE"
Muscles in order of greatest to least activity over the running cycle: - Hamstrings (62%) - Rectus Femoris (49%) - Intrinsic foot/lower leg muscles (38%) - Gastrocnemius (calf 33%) - Erector Spinae (back extensors 30%) - Tensor Fascia Late (TFL hip flexor 25%) - Quadriceps (21%) - Glute Medius (20%) - Iliacus hip flexor (17%) - Glute Maximus (13%) We can see the massive work being performed by the hamstring group. If there was any doubt about the importance of hamstrings in running, let the debate rest here. Ignore your hamstring strength at your peril. However, the hamstrings and glutes working together is key: without the glutes firing, much of the hamstring strength will be wasted through over-extension and instability of the hip joint. Therefore working on exercises that coordinate the hamstrings and glutes is critical to developing a better, more powerful and economical running technique.
The following exercises all focus on activating coordinating the glute and hamstring relationship to a very high degree. Here are three exercises that you can integrate into your strength program: - Dynamic single leg back extensions (body weight and barbell) - Leap onto platform - Step-ups with barbell
Dynamic single leg back extensions. This difficult exercise demands the buttocks and hamstrings drive and support the body as you complete a series of controlled, but quite powerful extensions of the hip and back - all while balancing on a single leg.
Coordination and running. The dynamic single leg back extension works the hamstrings and glutes in a short range while keeping them under tension - it is fantastic for developing their strength and elastic properties. In addition, the control and power required from the glutes is very similar to that in running.
How to: 1. Stand on a single leg with flexed knee and hip and engage your buttocks. 2. Hold your hands clasped together outstretched and in front of your body. 3. Tilt your pelvis forward, dip forward slightly at the knee while maintaining an arched back. 4. Keep your knees flexed and the knee outside the line of your big toe. 5. Keep your hips back and square. 6. As you reach slightly less than the horizontal plane with your back, flex your butt and hamstrings powerfully to bring your torso back upright to the start position. 7. Repeat. 8. Do a single set of 5 - 10 on each leg to begin.
Think about: - Maintaining control of your core and lower back muscles. - Performing this exercise at the beginning of your work-out or on your coordination focused day in the gym. After heavy squats or leg press this exercise is very hard to do well.
Try not to: - Flex forward at the spine, maintain good curvature in the lower back. - Do this exercise if you have a bad back, sore or tight hamstrings. - Lose control of your posture. If you do, make the movement slower and more controlled - as you progress you will be able to speed up the movement and make it more powerful.
Progression: - Increase the repetitions until you can do 20 on each leg. - Add a second and/or third set. - Do the exercise with a light barbell on your shoulders.
Mastery: This exercise is difficult to master and it has mastered me more than once. Take your time learning to control your hips especially. Any loss of strength in your glutes will throw you completely off balance. If you need to correct your posture briefly place the opposite foot on the ground. Don’t be in a rush to progress to using barbells. I overdid this initially and because I wasn’t strong enough it tightened up my hips and lower back for a few days.
Leap onto platform. With exercises that emphasize powerful dynamic movement, we’re beginning to delve into plyometrics. Keep in mind that exercises such as this carry a greater level of injury risk - especially if not done correctly. You need to weigh up carefully whether you are ready for the exercise and if the benefits you expect are worth the risk. This exercise seeks to minimize landing shock by initiating the leap from below a solid platform.
Coordination and running. The leaping action helps to train the body to store and unload energy powerfully from the glutes, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, Achilies and feet.
How to: 1. Find a wide raised platform, perhaps a landing or a raised deck - just be careful of a low roof if you go down this road. 2. Stand about a foot or two away from the platform, knees and hips flexed. 3. Tilt forward at the pelvis as in the previous exercise, but don’t flex your spine - create the same forward motion as in the dynamic single leg extension. 4. Thrust with your hamstrings and glutes, letting your arms come up to add lift. 5. Halfway through the extension of your knee and hip, bring one leg off the ground and complete the thrust with the supporting leg. 6. Land on the platform on the opposite leg or swing leg. 7. Practice this so you don’t have to leap too far or high in the beginning - mini leaps at lower intensity on even ground might be a good idea to learn the movement pattern. 8. A handful 3-6 good quality leaps are more than enough to begin.
Think about: Keeping your foot stiff as you thrust - activate the plantaflexors. Don’t toe-off but allow your foot to stiffen and transfer the thrust from your glutes and hamstrings. Push your torso ahead of the supporting leg and hip - keep the glutes engaged.
Try not to: Roll off your foot or let it become relaxed. Don't do this exercise when fatigued from lifting weights or running a hard session - you will need all your wits about you to coordinate the movement without injury.
Making progress: Be very confident in your skill at performing this exercise before considering holding a light barbell across your shoulders.
Step-ups. These step-ups are not the traditional fast cardio ones that you might have experienced in an aerobics class. They are to be done deliberately to add strength to your butt and hamstrings. It particularly strengthens the buttocks.
Coordination and running. This exercise is deliberately designed to practice holding your knee and hip flexed while leveraging your body up onto the step with the hamstrings and butt. The idea is to practice keeping your hamstrings engaged at the same time as your butt powers the movement. This means the extension from the hips becomes very powerful and stable.
How to: 1. Find a decent platform or use a step from a gym. 2. Stand back from the step a little and lift one leg onto the platform (this is not the exercise). Keep this foot in alignment with the hip. 3. Once the leg is in position with the knee flexed at about 90 degrees engage your hamstrings and glutes to drive your body up onto the step. 4. Swap sides - try to identify and eliminate any wobble or hip rotation. 5. Use your arms to help drive you up. 6. Begin with 5-10 repetitions on each side.
Think about: Generating a clean decisive stride up onto the step driven from your butt.
Try not to: Let your hips collapse - if they do, put this exercise on hold for a few weeks until you build strength. Squats, lunges and dynamic single leg bridging will all help build you up.
Making progress: - Increase the number of repetitions. - Do two or three sets. - Hold a barbell across your shoulders (light weight to begin with). - Alternatively, hold dumbbells in both hands.
Martin, Brian (2011-08-04). Running Technique (Kindle Locations 2438-2443). Brian Martin. Kindle Edition.