Monday, 3 February 2014

3 things every runner should do in the New Year!

FOAM ROLLING!

I mentioned before in a post titled "should I stretch before or after exercise" that foam rolling is a far better way of achieving muscle suppleness and function than static stretching. When our muscles become dysfunctional due to the demands we place on them albeit by bike or running, the most successful way of breaking down the adhesion is by foam rolling. Fascial adhesion will appear over areas of intense friction or recurrent micro-trauma. A small inflammatory process occurs and the fascia adheres to the underlying muscle fibers, this occurs during the repair process. Fascial adhesion will cause an adaptation in the muscle or limbs function. Uncorrected adaptation will inevitably cause compensation and therefore injury/pain. To minimise muscular or joint injury and pain, foam roll the body to minimise fascial adhesions, repair faster and perform better. 

Ideally you should work through all you major muscle 'chains' and areas of specific use. Runners should specifically concentrate on hamstrings, adductors, gluteus medius and calf muscles, low back, abdominal muscles and plantar fascia.

Cyclists should concentrate more on the quads, calf muscles, gluteals and the entire back muscles particularly the lat dorsi muscle. 

RESISTANCE TRAINING!

Resistance training in my view is the single most neglected aspect of running, cycling and triathlon training. The benefits of increased muscular strength and endurance should not be overlooked but usually are. I think most endurance athletes fear that they will get "too bulky" so avoid weight training at all costs. I couldn't disagree more. Gaining bulk to muscles is a very difficult and long process, "don't believe me? Go ask any body builder!" It usually requires thousands of hours in the gym and some anabolic steroids. I would never suggest that any endurance athlete prescribe to either, however, a 30min sessions twice a week might be the answer to having some personal best performances this year, with very little morphological (body structure) change.

Don't be frightened by the words 'resistance training', this doesn't necessarily mean heavy weight lifting. My favourite type of resistance training is body weight exercise and TRX. You can also use dyna bands, kettle bells, pilates and plyometrics.

CONSISTENT RUNNING!

I wrote before on this blog the benefits of being consistent with running. The cardiovascular benefits in terms of opening new capillary pathways will allow a better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle and better removal of waste products such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide. 
The increased blood flow and demand on the muscle will encourage the opening of new muscle cell mitochondria (energy station), it is inside these mitochondria that our bodies utilise oxygen and glycogen to make energy for the (muscle) cell to contract and move us forward. 
The lungs will open new bronchial pathways and just like the capillary pathways this will increase gaseous exchange. Meaning more oxygen is taken in and more carbon dioxide is washed out. This will keep the breathing at a lower rate and therefore heart rate and blood pressure will be lower. Lower BP and heart rate means performing faster and longer due to increased lactate threshold....Simples!

It doesn't matter if you can't do a 'long run', if you are pressed for time and likely to miss a run session just running one mile will keep those pathways open.

If this is confusing have a read of this and this and it should make more sense. 

*Watch this space, next week I will post a video on foam rolling and resistance training at home. 

Run far, run fast but most of all RunSensible!

Neil
@RunSensible