Core Stability for Runners
The core is a pretty general term that is thrown around a lot these days. There is definitely more to the core than just trying to get beach body abs. The musculature of the core includes: the abdominals, obliques, erectors, glutes, hip flexors, lats, adductors, and more. One of the things that always frustrate me as a personal trainer, is when clients beg for more crunches because they want to lose belly fat. It’s not your fault, we are constantly bombarded with a new infomercial on the latest ab gadget. The truth is, you cannot spot reduce the fat around your midsection. That comes from eating healthy and exercising properly.
There’s a better way to train the core. For improved performance and overall function, train the core to be more stable. Think of your core like a highway. All forces are generated there first, and travels the highway to our limbs. When we see a runner struggling, the posture is usually the same, hunched over from the midsection, just trying to hold on. We want our core to be stable to outside forces, and also forces that we produce. Any breaks in the highway, will lead to energy leaks and lack of performance. A strong stable core will lead to better force production, and longer strides. Another big misconception is that longer strides don’t come from better flexibility. If that’s the case, we would be reaching with every stride, and planted our feet ahead of hips. This will cause us to brake with ever stride, causing injuries and slower times. With a stable core and having the foot strike under the hips will lead to longer more effective stride.
Everybody has done this exercise a million times. It’s the plank. Most people, get into position and hold on for as long as they can. This isn’t a good strategy. Eventually we get so tired, that our form goes down the tubes, but we still try to hang on for a few more minutes. Avoid this strategy. When we train our body in a dysfunctional state, we will make that dysfunction stronger. Here’s the proper way to perform this exercise:
1. Support your bodyweight between your feet and your forearms
2. Allow the head to stay neutral
3. Squeeze the shoulder blades together.
4. Squeeze your glutes, quads, and suck your bellybutton to your spine.
5. Lastly, even though you won’t physically move, drive your elbows towards your toes, and your toes to your elbows. This will activate your core like you’ve never felt before.
6. Keep this form for the time you want to perform. Once you’re able to get a minute fairly easy, I like to make the exercise a little harder as opposed to adding more time. You can raise a foot or arm slightly off the ground. Place your arms on a stability ball. Variations are endless.
Give this a try and let me know what you think.
Wayne Earney MS, CSCS, PES, CES
Race Week Tips!
With two big races happening in the midwest this weekend, I thought it would be appropriate to give some last minute race week tips:
1) Training – You’ve already done all you can training-wise. No running you do this week will make you faster, but it’s possible the running you do this week could hurt you (if it’s too much or too fast). I’d suggest taking either Monday or Tuesday off, and then keeping any other runs this week under six miles. I also think a two mile run on Saturday would be good, but you probably don’t need much more than that.
2) Hydrating – Drink lots of water this entire week. There is such a thing as overhydrating, though, so I think it’s more of ensuring you get the 8-10 glasses/day. When you start to get to Saturday night, I’d stop drinking out of habit and only if you’re thirsty. Last thing you want when running a half marathon is to have to stop for a bathroom break.
3) Eating – Carb load this entire week; it really is a process rather than a one meal shot. A lot of people think of the big pasta feed the night before is a great thing, but my suggestion would be to have this meal on Friday night. That will give you all day Saturday to digest the food, and you won’t be left with a full stomach the morning of the race. I’d eat something a little lighter on Saturday night (like a sandwich) and then make sure to eat a granola bar or fruit or something the morning of the race, preferably an hour or two before you run.
4) Sleeping – They (experts) say two nights before the race is the most important night for sleep. Hopefully you are able to get some solid sleep this week, especially on Friday night.
Anyway, that’s my short list of things to think about. If you can even take one or two of these points, I think it will be beneficial.
Have a good half marathon week! Happy Running!
Healthy Eating, Healthy Living!
If you are like me you might have foods that you absolutely love, and unfortunately those foods are rarely the healthy ones. I have a list of foods that are terrible for you that I love: Ice Cream, French Fries, Fried Chicken, Pizza, Cheeseburgers, and COOKIES. When I was a student at South Dakota State University often times the foods I loved won out over the foods I should be eating. Combined with really poor lifestyle choices the results were pretty dangerous. When I left school I weighed 305 pounds and seriously needed to get control of my bad habits.
Working at a specialty running outfitter it should be obvious that I strongly believe in healthy activity. Unfortunately, to lead a healthy lifestyle I needed to gain control of my eating habits in conjunction with participating in the healthy activities I now promote. For me when I combined both healthy activity and healthy eating my body began to change and I found myself with more energy than I previously thought possible. That is the driving force behind my weight loss story.
I want everyone to understand that I’m not just a guy that was unhealthy and then lost a bunch of weight. I continue to go up and down in weight, from year-to-year. I didn’t lose all of my weight in a short amount of time, and as I’ve added a few pounds on again it also didn’t happen overnight. Making healthy choices and leading an active life style is a life long endeavor, not just a passing moment.
Here are some healthy eating tips that changed the way I look and feel.
· Embrace the joy of fresh fruits and vegetables (I like apples, bananas, sweet peppers, snap peas, and broccoli)
· Avoid fried food as much as possible
· Don’t drink soda
· Water is amazing, odds are you need to drink more than you think
· Eat sweets in extreme moderation
· Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and turkey are wonderful
· Stick to whole grain breads if at all possible
What are some things that work for you as a runner? Do you change your eating habits in preparation for a race? Share your thoughts with the community in the comments section of the blog.
Here at the 605 Running Company, we love to support the local running community. One of the ways that we do that is by sponsoring and running in local races. In January, we were at the Beresford Frostbite 4 which was a very well organized event. It was put on by the local Booster Club and they were all very fun to work with. Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of sponsoring the Chilly Cheeks Race here in Sioux Falls. This race was also a lot of fun. I will be sure to sign up for both of them next year and I would encourage you to do so as well!
Today I wanted to take the time to highlight some other races that we are involved with that are coming up soon.
This Saturday is the River Rat Marathon in Yankton. Overall and Age Group winners can expect gift cards to the 605! Sign up information is Here.
Next weekend is also a big one for us as we will be at the Brookings Marathon expo on Friday night. Visit us at the booth to pick up some last minute gels or Clif Bars and to see a sampling of our products. The half marathon is already full but there is still room in the marathon and Friday’s 5k, check it out Here. The next day, the smART 5k is taking place in Sioux Falls. Learn more about it Here. On Sunday, the Brandon Loyalty Day 5k is taking place in Brandon. You can pick up an entry form at the store or email Beth Hanna at email@example.com for more info. Race day registration is available and is only $20. That’s a steal for a race these days.
If you are looking for a great 5k in June, we are involved with 2 races. First, on the 6th is the Sioux Falls Kidney Fun Run at Sertoma Park. Find more registration information Here. On Friday the 19th, the Race for Hope will begin in Falls Park. Check out their Facebook page Here.
If you are a race director and want to discuss possible sponsorship, please stop in at the store to chat with us.
Apps and wearable technology are becoming more and more popular amongst runners, cyclists, and triathletes. Today I am going to tell you all about my favorite app, Strava. To use Strava, all you need is a smartphone or a GPS watch. You then use your app or your watch to record your activity. With the app, it will automatically upload to Strava when your workout is completed. With your watch, it will upload to Strava when you plug it into your computer. Now that you know a little bit about the background of Strava, I am going to tell you why I use it so often.
What are some of your favorite apps or gadgets for running? Let us know in the comment section!