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Autumfest was a Blast!

Thank you to all my clients, friends and allies who came out and celebrated Autumfest with me!  And a BIG thanks to Scannicchio’s for hosting such a delicious event!!

Bummed you missed this event?  Be sure to subscribe to this blog to be the first to get an invite to the next one!

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There’s about 8 weeks left to train for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. The 10-mile race was capped at 30,000 runners and it reached that capacity in just five days.

Running experts say, for many people, this is the time they get hurt.

So I met with a running coach at Optimal Sport Health Club. He has some tips to help keep everyone on track.

John Goldthorp is a certified running coach. He helps people run longer, get faster and avoid injuries.

I had him take me through a functional movement assessment. The movement tests joint mobility and stability.

He says stiff ankles, or weak feet or hips can lead to injury. And he has three tests and exercises you can do at home to help prevent problems.

The first is for ankle mobility. Place one foot three to four inches from the wall. Bend your knee in without lifting your heel. If you can do it, that’s a good sign. If not, then that becomes an exercise for each ankle every day.

“It’s best to do it several times a day, but definitely before you run,” says John Goldthorp.

The next test is the single leg squat.

“What we’re looking for with this one,” says Goldthorp, “is what are the knees doing?”

He says if your knee is caving in or wobbly, it is a sign your hips or feet are unstable. But once again, the test is also the exercise. Do this on each leg, eight repetitions, three times a day to strengthen your muscles.

The last is the marching bridge. As you raise one leg if your hips drop or twist that’s a sign of weak butt muscles. But again, the test is the fix.

Lastly, John says the biggest mistake runners make is doing too much too soon. You may feel good breathing wise, so you up your mileage.

“But the next thing you know, you feel an ache in your knee or foot because your muscle, tendons and ligaments take longer to adapt,” says Goldthorp.

“You just have to be patient, you can do it and I’d love for you to do it, you just have to take your time,” explains Goldthorp.

John says don’t rush your training. Take your time.

Training Tips from running coach John Goldthorp at Optimal Sports Health Club.

The first is for ankle mobility: Place one foot three to four inches from the wall. Bend your knee in to the wall without lifting your heel. If you can do this, that’s a good sign. If not, this becomes your exercise, each ankle every day. Goldthorp says to do eight repetitions three times a day (especially before running.) And even if you can do the exercise out of the gate, it’s still a good way to keep ankles loose.

The next exercise is a single leg squat: On one leg, squat halfway down. If your knee is caving in or wobbly, it’s a sign your hips or feet are unstable. But once again, Goldthorp says the test is also the exercise. Do this on each leg, eight repetitions three times a day to strengthen your muscles.

The last is the marching bridge: Lay on your back and lift your hips and buttocks up. Raise one leg. If your hips drop or twist that’s a sign of weak butt muscles, but again the test is the fix. Do this exercise same as the others, eight repetitions, three times a day.

Again, John says the biggest mistake runners make is doing too much too soon. Be patient, you can do it, just have to take your time.

For more tips or for a training schedule, visit: fixyourrun.com

 

Let’s focus on what the core actually is.  I recently read a great post on visualizing the core and the author likened the core to a balloon.  The take home point is that just like a balloon, your core is more complex than a 6-pack, low back, and obliques.  You aren’t a series of parts.  What you do to one part of your core will affect what happens to another part. 

 

Press into a balloon and the rest of the balloon expands.  Hollow out the front of your abdomen and the lower back starts to bulge outward and/or your diaphragm can’t function properly…

 

So, since you aren’t a series of parts, it’s time to start training that way.  This means choosing exercises that train your core in the same way that you rely on your core during movement.  And since we run, I’d like to pose a question:  

 

When, during the running movement pattern, do we round our spine and ‘crunch’?  I mean, besides running to the sink to hurl or something, you shouldn’t be running while looking like a hunchback!

 

So no more crunches, K?  Now we use exercises that challenge us to PREVENT spinal movement.

 

In other words, we want to choose appropriate plank exercises that challenge us to maintain a neutral spine position -despite gravity trying its best to pull us out of that position.  Don’t be tempted to try a more intense version of an exercise unless you OWN the beginner version.  Can you keep your head/shoulders/tailbone in alignment?  Or are you sagging at the low back?  Has your head begun to sink?  

 

A strong core means you can transfer power from your arms to your legs efficiently.  Jog in place.  Now pump your arms really fast.  What happens?  Yep, your legs move faster.  They have no choice because you are not a series of parts.  Everything is connected and if your core is strong then you’ll use less energy to run the same pace.  Cool, huh?  

 

And hopefully in the final 100m of your next race, you’ll be the one who is maintaining form all the way to the finish, pumping those arms furiously and transferring all of that power to your legs.  

 

You won’t be injured due to form breakdown and you’ll pass that annoying guy that was threatening to take your glory for the last 1/2 mile.

 

So now you know what the core really is and why it’s important to train it properly.  

 

John Goldthorp 
B.S. Kinesiology
ACE Certified Personal Trainer
RRCA Certified Running Coach

Functional Movement Screen Expert
267.735.4962

fitprofessional@comcast.net

“First move well, then move often!” – Gray Cook

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