Runners are constantly climbing. It’s in our nature to always have a goal we’re working towards, always wanting to push ourselves to do better. Whether it be chasing new PR’s, challenging yourself to expand your race distance range, or even after we’re past our ‘PR-PR’ years, redefining the times and bests (weekly, yearly, masters, etc.) bests.
Everyone wants to run faster, right? Part of getting faster is of course doing the shorter repeats; one must build that explosive power of course. BUT, there’s another part to getting faster and it’s training your BRAIN and nervous system to respond at a quicker rate.
A runner can’t utilize that explosive power to run faster without the nerve and synapse networks first being created to ‘tell’ your foot to move faster off the ground. Isn’t science and the brain cool?
Alright, Runners, time to tell you the brutal honesty about your hamstrings: they’re plotting against you! They’re weak, they’re tight, and they’re cranky! Okay, okay, I’m speaking in the general, so your personal hamstrings (if you’re ALREADY taking care of them properly), may not be secretly plotting away an injury for you in the future…but it’s an ongoing offense we must play.
Turns out this runner is taking herself to Hollywood to become a movie star! If you believed me even for a second then I’m sorry. However, to make it up to you I will let you point at laugh at me here rather shortly.
Yesterday’s post was all about runners and their imbalances; why we all have them, where common ones occur and exercises that can help you strengthening your weaknesses. I talked about one of my very favorite core routines, the Pedestal Plank Routine, and today I’ve got a video demo in case my wordage wasn’t quite enough plank awesomeness.
A headline jumped through my screen, grabbed this runner around the around the neck and choked out a laugh, smile, then grimace from me in that order. ‘I Love Quarters.’ Now obviously all of our minds went right to track quarters, at this point we’re all so far brainwashed that there was no question what the topic was about. You say you love quarters, eh?
Okay, to be fair to the Running Times article quarters ARE great and yes, we all know they can hone your speed. Often times the workouts we dread the most are the ones we need to do the most…but to actually go and declare that we love them, well I don’t think I could go that far. I know there are people that could, but me, I’m more in love with my long runs and tempo runs.
Let’s talk some plyometrics.If you’re reading this and your face is already smeared with chocolate and Peeps sugar residue, you’ve done the Easter Bunny thing right. 😉 Just kidding…Happy Easter to those who celebrate and Happy Sunday to those who don’t.
But because we have bunnies on the brain today I thought it fitting we revisit the topic of plyometrics, this time covering hops and jumps. You can read the Part I on bounds and skips.
The core is all the rage. I know I’m constantly harping on how important core work is for runners…it will help improve your form, efficiency, reduce injury risks, and yea, a stronger middle looks good too. I’m hardly the only one and in the last few years the ‘core’ and core exercises have really taken off, if they were a celebrity they’d be dominating the Star and US Weekly rag tag rounds.
Another core article caught my eye today over at Competitor.com, ‘Four Key Core Exercises for Runners’. I’m not going to lie, I’m sometimes a little hesitant to read these types of articles (more-so from general fitness magazines) because they tend to rehash the same exercises again and again or some of them are a bit watered down and would be too ‘easy’ for the consistent runner. But I give more weight to the Competitor and Running Times articles than I would say, Runner’s World or InShape for Her.
Fartleking. The term probably calls to mind particular workouts, but fartleking isn’t something you do just in workouts. If you watched the US Olympic Marathon Trials and took a look at the splits the women were running (or watched any of the post-race interviews) you’d see that their miles were kind of all over the place. They opened up over 6 for the first mile, then ping-ponged around the mid-5’s throughout; they were farleking.
Why is there farleking in a race? Well, a race can be run for two reasons: to get a fast time or go for the win. The latter is a strategic race and typically seen in the big time races where titles and top three finishing slots are more important than the eventual time. Fartleking, or throwing surges in, is one tactic to break your competition.
Does anyone else remember those books? My favorite were the Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure. This one will be with a fitness twist, but we’ll get to that in a short bit.
So I was reading about this Schwarzenegger 5k challenge; the guise is to test a person’s speed AND strength. The participants are first asked to bench-press a certain percentage of their bodyweight until failure, wait 30 minutes and then go race a 5k. The 5k time is then adjusted depending on how many rep’s of the bench press the person did.
I don’t think I’ll even attempt the title, as I’m sure I’d have to bench press more than the bar, so I don’t think I’d make all that many. BUT, it brings up a very important point: Runners DO need strength.
Cross-training. I have a love/hate relationship with it. The thing is, I know all of the benefits: cardio without the impact, a safe way to supplement ‘miles’, staying in shape during an injury…ahhh, that last one. See, that is where the hate part comes in.
To be fair, it is really just mischanneled anger that gets sloughed off on cross-training…sorry, x-training. Usually whenever I’m on the elliptical, the bike, the crazy scary gauntlet-style stair climber, aqua-jogging, etc., it’s because I’m forced into it. My body is on the machine but my mind keeps drifting to where I want to be…RUNNING!