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Please Note: I am not a doctor.
Please consult a physician
prior to attempting any of
the example workout routines
showcased in this blog.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Running Concerns

A very good friend of mine recently approached me regarding her current running routine. She asked me to take a look at her routine and tweak it a little bit. If you are in a similar situation take a look at some of the tips I give to Kirstyn as they may apply to you as well. Also, if other fellow runners have any suggestions, by all means add your two cents!

Kirstyn's Routine:
1. Stretch

2. Run:
5 miles pace 9:45 (this is my general run)
7.5 miles pace 10:00 (I do this once a week)
10 miles pace 11:00 (I do this every other week, occasionally back to back weeks)

3. After Run:
1/4 mile walk

4. Every Other Day:
3 sets of 20 - Lunges
3 sets of 10 - Push-ups
3 sets of 10 - Leg Raises(lower ab)
3 sets of 35 - Sit-ups
3 sets of 35 - Calf Raises

Issue #1:
While running during mile 2-4 I get pain in my top to ab muscles. It feels like side stitch but in the center. How do I prevent/treat this?

Issue #2:
Also I noticed on my 10 milers I stop sweating from miles 6-8 and then I start sweating again. What is that?


My Response to Kirstyn's Questions:

1. First things first, when you say stretch are you doing static stretching prior to your run? I've been doing some reading on the scientific journals for exercise science & they've concluded static stretching actual decreases your muscular ability so static stretching should only be done at the very end of a workout whether cardio or strength training. For prior to running focus on dynamic stretching such as going through movements fluidly rather than holding stretches.
Ex: 50% effort on lunges, glute kicks, high knees etc.

Check out some good dynamic stretches here:

2. Are you running on pavement or grass or beach? Terrain will definitely have some degree of influence on how your body feels.

Also are your shoes new? What's the brand and how long have you had them? Typically I would recommend not going more than 100 miles in a pair of shoes but that gets very expensive, though worth it considering your trying to preserve your body & prevent injury.

3. For your strength training that you do:
I'm assuming your doing all of these(calf raises, lunges, push-ups etc) without added weight?
Chances are your body has adjusted to these moves.
Change them up by adding additional weight or using the following modifications to present more challenging moves for your body.

Lunges: Not knowing how you do your lunges I'm going to give you a quick rundown. Never do walking lunges. Too high a risk of injurying the knee. Stationary lunges are definitely more efficient(either stepping forward with each leg then returning to starting position or stepping backward with each leg to target the gluteus medius & maximus more efficiently)
However, for you I would recommend Split jumps. Lunge out with left leg --> This is your starting position. Jump up & switch legs in mid air so that when you land you are in lunge position with the right leg out in front. Do 30 of these nonstop (1 jump = 1 rep)

I would also challenge you to do squat jumps. Same thing as split jumps though your starting position is in a squat. As you jump up try to make this move explosive & reach above your head then land in your starting position of a squat again. I find these are easier when I do them in a doorway so I have something high up to reach for & tap.

Push-Ups: Check your form. Make sure your back is flat like a table top. Your abs should be contracted & should be working through entire movement. Depending on what you have available, play with angles. Prop your feet up on a bench/chair for a decline push up. This transfers more weight onto your upper body. Try diamond push-ups targeting the triceps. Alternate with holding 1 leg extended in the air while doing push-ups then alternate holding the other leg up in the air. *This will throw your body alignment off so be sure it doesn't compromise your form.

Sit-Ups: How are you doing these?

Calf Raises: Do these with added weight or if you do them with just your body weight, raise & hold for up to 30 seconds for each rep.

Leg Raises: How are you doing these? To effectively target the lower abdominals the hip flexors need to remain stabilized. Meaning when people tend to "work their lower abdominals" they end up basically doing hip flexion. To engage the abdominals & work them primarily, your hip angle must begin at 90 degrees and then decrease the angle from that point. If you were to sit on the end of a bench/chair. Lean back raise your legs (bent/straight) I would recommend bent legs as straight will compromise lower back & the potential to create lower back pain/injury is fairly high. Begin with legs bent & hip angle at 90 degrees. From this point exhale & bring the knees to chest. While doing so focus on engaging core muscles to contract & fold into one another similar to that of an accordian. Contract at the mid point of this movement (when your knees are to your chest) for 1 second then inhale while slowly lowering legs back down to the starting position of 90 degrees again. You should be able to work up to 30 reps to fatigue. Make sure after you do your 30 you stretch your abs out (Stand up reach above your head & lean back slightly). Also, be sure to work your back to compliment your abdominal work to ensure no muscular imbalances occur. Supermans are great for the lower back.

Issue #1:
That pain in the top of your abs is either from lack of hydration (water, water, water, water!) or lack of stretching. I would also watch your form when you run. Are you crouching over/leaning forward when you run? Form will have an influence. Try this: Jog in place in front a mirror. Do your arms swing across your body? They should be flexed 90 degrees the entire time. Roughly your hands should be fluidly moving hitting just below your chin or at chin level and then down just below your chest. It's really weird at first when getting used to re-learning how to run but it's definitely worth it. The easiest way to "trick" your body into running with proper arm form is when you run turn your thumbs out away from your body. It forces your forearms to rotate externally, thus causing your arms not to swing across your body.

Issue #2:
In regards to sweating during 10 milers, I would wonder if your pace changes between those miles. Basically your HR is increased & your body is working during miles 6-8 but then your pace may/may not change but I'm assuming that your HR decreases slightly (body has adjusted to the pace/distance) then if you pick it up after mile 8 your body sweats again because it is "working" again. Also, if your body has cooled (say with the breeze or sweat has dried off) then that may be why. Typically the body's natural AC is sweating. Your body temp increases so your AC turns on (you begin to sweat). So if your body temp levels off at a certain point, the AC turns off. I would recommend throwing in a few days of interval training. You don't necessarily need a track but play with pace & distance.
Ex: Run 1 mile 9:45 pace then for the next mile increase your pace by say 30 seconds from one telephone pole to a second one (9:15 pace). Then after the second telephone pole return to the 9:45 pace until the third telephone pole. Then repeat alternating your pace to challenge your body & HR.
*Note: I wouldn't recommend doing this until you are able to run without that 'stitch' feeling in your stomach though.

Hope this helps!!

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