What Should You Eat and What Should You Avoid In the Hours Leading Up To Your Event

marathon-race-week-nutrition1

Hello Runners,

In the last post, I discussed the importance of a hydration and nutrition strategy for your event, and offered some tips. I also discussed what to eat the week of your event, including the day before. In this post I will discuss what to eat the morning of your event, including foods to avoid.

The principles to follow during the hours before the start of the race

  • In the two to four hours before your race, eat a meal with some protein and simple carbohydrates, and drink lots of water or sports drink. The more time until the race, the larger this meal should be. Minimize fiber and fats, since they can cause digestion issues. So, if you’re going to eat something like a bagel or toast, this is one time when you should go with white over wheat. Most importantly, don’t try anything new on race day!
  • Some good pre-race foods: gluten-free bread and/or cereal, fruit, smoothie, almond butter (not too much though). The more liquid and easier-to-digest these foods are, the better.-
  • In the hour before the race, don’t eat very much. Most experts recommend only water, sports drink, or energy gels at this point. I personally don’t drink much at this stage, to avoid having to use the bathroom during the race. Standing in the start corral already having to pee is no good, as this causes unnecessary stress and Porta Pots at the early aid stations will be jammed.

What to avoid before and during your event

  • Sports drinks or solids that include fructose or malodextrin, these can cause gas, bloating, and GI distress. Also avoid wheat, dairy, and fermentable fruits, including apples and pears before your event.
  • Artificial sweeteners and other chemicals including sugar alcohols, sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium
  • Large amounts of caffeine
  • Large amounts of fiber

What to eat before your event

  • Blended and juiced foods
  • Small amounts of caffeine – in research studies caffeine shown to improve endurance performance
  • Easy-to-digest carbohydrates including white potato, sweet potato, yam, white rice
  • Easy-to-digest fats including MCT oil and coconut oil
  • Easy-to-digest proteins such as vegan protein (pea, rice, or hemp containing digestive enzymes), essential amino acids, or hydrolyzed collagen protein

In a future post, I will introduce future considerations as far as nutrition for your next event. These can help you better utilize fats more and spare the limited amount of carbohydrates you have available. Thus, reducing fatigue and enhancing performance.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

P.S. If you know anyone who might benefit from this post, please share this with them. Also, if this was beneficial, please “Like” our page. Thank you.

References

Bob Seebohar “Triathlon Nutritional Strategies” USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification Clinic June 7, 2013, Englewood, CO.

Luke Humphrey with Ketih & Kevin Hanson. Hansons Marathon Method. Velopress, Boulder, CO, 2012.

Ben Greenfield. Beyond Training. Victory Belt Publishing, Las Vegas, NV, 2014.

Matt Fitzgerald . Marathon Roadmap The Plant-Based Guide To Conquering Your First 26.2.

What’s Your Hydration and Nutrition Plan for Your Big Race?

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“Plans Are Nothing: Planning is Everything” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Hello Runners,

So, you’ve put in some great training, and you have a goal, and maybe even a purpose higher than yourself, which can get your through some of the toughest portions of your marathon. The weather on your race day is ideal. You’re able to run without any injuries. But, you could still fail to achieve your goal on race day due to dehydration or fatigue caused by burning up all your available carbohydrates.

Therefore, you need a plan before and during your event to make sure you stay as hydrated as possible, and don’t run out of available carbohydrates. Basically, we don’t have enough available carbohydrates in our body to complete a marathon. We need to take on additional carbohydrates during our event.

Where so many runners fail on race day is not having a game plan for how they are going to hydrate and fuel themselves during their event, or they have a game plan ahead of time, but don’t follow through. Also, many runners rely on what’s handed out at the event without practicing with it ahead of time (sports drinks, gels, etc.), and sometimes found out the hard way that what’s handed out is not best for them.

So, what’s your hydration and nutrition strategy for your event? How often will you drink? Will you use a sports drink? If not, what will you eat, so that you have enough energy to finish your marathon? Hopefully, you have been practicing your strategy during your training and have a plan you will use during your big race.

Practice Hydration and Nutrition (Fuel) Strategy During Your Long Runs

Your long training runs are a great time to practice hydration (how often and how much you will drink) and figure out what you will use for fuel during your event, as well as when you will consume this. There are lots of options available as far as fuel, including sports drinks, gels, beans, chews, real food, etc. You may want to practice what will be handed out at your event, that way if it works for you, then you don’t have to carry your own fuel.

Most likely your event won’t have these, but here are some fuel options you might try: SuperStarch by UCAN, Infinit-E by Millenium, and Vitargo. Some other options which are lower in calories, but provide electrolytes include Osmo Nutrition and Skratch Labs. Ideally, practice under similar conditions that you will experience during your event.

The Week Before Your Event

Before I talk more about your hydration and fueling strategy during your event, I will mention what you should do both the week of and the day before your event. After all, you want to start out with a full tank, otherwise, you will be trying to play catch up during your event, and that won’t work and will negatively impact your performance.

So, be sure to hydrate well throughout the week before, and especially the day before your event. Limit alcohol consumption during that week, as well, especially the day before your event. At a minimum you should be consuming half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should consume at least 75 ounces of water per day.

During the week of the event, this is the time to load up on carbohydrates, including grains, starchy vegetables, and fruits (such as blueberries). You should also be consuming proteins including nuts, seeds, beans, tempeh, fish, other meats, if you normally eat them. Fats are the nutrient you need least during the week of your event.

It is popular for events to have pasta dinners the night before an event. This is more traditional than beneficial. This pasta will really not help you during your event. In fact, you may want to have a salad with some nuts or a small bowl of pasta or white rice for dinner, and eat a larger meal for lunch or in the early afternoon. This larger meal should consist primarily of easily-digestible carbohydrates (such as white rice and white pasta), with some protein, and little fat. Avoid spicy foods and any new foods. Beware of eating a lot of fiber the day before an event and FODMAP foods (beans, onions, garlic, dried fruit, apples, pears, etc.), which can cause gas and bloating.

During Your Event

Don’t consume anything on race day that you haven’t practiced with during your training. Several years ago, when I was living in Maryland, I made an annual habit of running the Baltimore half-marathon. I really enjoyed that event and the crowd support throughout much of the event was great! Within the last few miles of the event there were people who traditionally would hand out gummy bears. Boy, was it tempting! Many people indulged. I passed and recommend you do the same. If you want gummy bears, have them after the race.

General guidelines for hydration

Water loss through sweat of as little as 2% can negatively affect performance, if fluids aren’t replaced because of:

  • Decreased blood volume resulting in the heart having to work harder
  • Increased usage of carbohydrates which can lead to fatigue happening sooner
  • Ability to dissipate heat is reduced
  • Imbalance of electrolytes which can cause cramping and weakness
  • Possible cognitive impairment

Keep in mind this will depend on your sweat rate and the conditions of your event. If you sweat profusely you will likely need to include electrolytes as well. In general you should consume 250 to 500 mg of electrolytes per hour. See previous post. During your event drink 3-8 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes (a gulp is ~ one ounce), basically drink to thirst.

General guidelines for nutrition

The main cause of fatigue in those participating in endurance events is running out of available carbohydrates in the body. You will need to determine if you will use fluids or solids for your carbohydrate fuel, and which you will use. If using solids, you may want to wash these down with water, don’t use a sports drink to wash them down. During your event, make sure you using something that doesn’t bother your stomach, contains little or no fiber and that you consume 30-60 grams of carbohydrate (~120-160 calories) every hour. For events lasting 4 hours or longer you may want to consume ~60 grams/hour.

Other Considerations

Keep in mind that you may need to carry your own fuel, whether it’s a sports drink or solid, during your event. This has been pretty much the case for me in every marathon I’ve run. I don’t do well with the sports drinks typically handed out at events.

Even if you have a strategy, you may need to develop a plan B and possibly plan C. What if you encounter heat and humidity during your event? What if they run out of sports drink or water at an aid station? (This happened at the Chicago marathon several years ago).

You should be well-hydrated before the start of your event. You should have eaten a well-balanced diet on the day before your event to ensure that carbohydrate stores in the body are maximized. Also, you should start calorie and fluid replacement early in your event.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

P.S. If you know anyone who might benefit from this email, please share this with them. Also, if this was beneficial, please “Like” our page. Thank you.

References

Bob Seebohar “Triathlon Nutritional Strategies” USA Triathlon Level I Coaching Certification Clinic June 7, 2013, Englewood, CO.

Luke Humphrey with Ketih & Kevin Hanson. Hansons Marathon Method. Velopress, Boulder, CO, 2012.

Ben Greenfield. Beyond Training. Victory Belt Publishing, Las Vegas, NV, 2014.

Matt Fitzgerald . Marathon Roadmap The Plant-Based Guide To Conquering Your First 26.2.

Importance of Running For A Higher Purpose To Help You Through Challenges During Your Training and Event

your-purpose-in-life-is-to-find-your-purpose-and-give-your-whole-heart-and-soul-to-it

“The deepest of all human needs in the need for meaning and purpose in life and work.” – Brian Tracy

Hello Runners,

Every once in a while we hear stories of people performing amazing feats of strength to pick up a car to rescue someone trapped underneath. How are people able to do so, and can you use this to help you overcome significant challenges in your training and event?

In 2011, Jennifer Pharr Davis set out to break the record for hiking the Appalachian Trail (2185 miles from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia) in less than 50 days. At that time, the overall record was 47 ½ days held by several competitive male athletes who specialized in ultra-endurance events. However, 12 days in, and with 1650 miles to go, Pharr Davis was broken-down, depleted, and ready to give up. Shin splints and diarrhea had been wreaking havoc with her body for the past 4 days. Negative thoughts and fear were poisoning her mind. She was off the pace she needed and was ready to give up. She approached a juncture on New Hampshire roads where she was meeting her husband, Brew. She told him she was quitting. However, Brew reminded her that he had given up so much of himself to support her on this hike, and that achieving the record was a team effort.

At that point, she realized that the hike was more than about her and the record. Instead, she focused on the love of her husband, being in nature, and the love of her god. Her psychological stress removed, Pharr Davis pushed through her physical discomfort and broke the record by 26 hours. She had harnessed the power of purpose to overcome her fears and doubts. She had focused on something beyond herself and reflected on her core values, allowing her to courageously confront challenges and improve her performance.

We have the ability to do the same. Research by Dr. Victor Stretcher has shown that when people focus on a self-transcending purpose, or a purpose greater than themselves, they become capable of more than they ever thought was possible. Stretcher believes that this is due to ego minimization, which is important because the ego’s job is to protect our “self” and to shut down and flee when faced with threats. When we transcend our “self” and minimize our ego, we can override the fears, anxieties, and physiological protective mechanisms that often hold us back from achieving major breakthroughs.

Also, Dr. Tim Noakes noticed that runners were able to speed up during the final stretch of a race when the end was in sight and questioned why so many runners, seemingly overwhelmed by fatigue, were able to do so. Through his research, Noakes showed that physical fatigue occurs not in the body, but in the brain. It’s not the muscles that wear out, rather, it’s the brain that shuts them down even though they have more to give. This shut down is an innately programmed way of protecting ourselves. Basically, our brain intervenes and creates a perception of failure before we actually harm ourselves. Noakes suggests the brain is our “central governor” of fatigue and that our “ego” shuts us down when confronted by fear or threat. In other words, we are hardwired to retreat when the going gets tough. However, Noakes says it is possible to override the central governor with transcending purpose, such as someone saving another person trapped under a car by lifting the car, or Jennifer Pharr Davis’ performance in breaking the Appalachian Trail record.

Every year people with little or no running experience join organizations like Team in Training to complete their first marathon in support of those with cancer and other diseases. Many of these people have run no more than a 5k in their life, if even that. Another challenge these runners experience is that the training programs used by these organizations often include minimal mileage during the week, thus making the weekend long runs much more difficult. However, many of these runners still push through because they are running for something bigger than themselves. In the case of Team in Training it’s for those with leukemia and lymphoma.  Others run for loved ones who have been stricken with other life-ending diseases, including other forms of cancer.

So, what’s the higher purpose that you are running for?

The idea of transcending yourself can be applied to other areas of your life as well, such as your work.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of help in any way.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

P.S. If you know anyone who might benefit from this email, please share this post with them. Also, if this was beneficial, please “Like” our page. Thank you.

References

Peak Performance. Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness. Rodale, Inc. New York, 2017.

Tim Noakes. “Time to Move Beyond a Brainless Exercise Physiology: The Evidence for Complete Regulation of Human Exercise Performance.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 36, no. 1 (February 2011): 23-35

Tim Noakes. “J. B. Wolffe Memorial Lecture. Challenging beliefs: ex. Africa semper aliquid novi,” Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 29 no. 5 (May 1997): S71-S90.

Marathon Training 2019 Day 36: To Run or Not To Run, What Do You Do When You Feel Sick

“If your body’s not right, the rest of your day will go all wrong. Take care of yourself.” ― V.L. Allineare

I decided not to do my scheduled run for this morning and get more sleep because I could feel a cold coming on. Instead, I waited until the evening to do my run. By that time I was feeling much better and felt about 90% well. I did a easy-paced run for ~33 minutes with 4 x 20-second strides with ~90-second slow jog recovery intervals. This brings me to the topic of today’s Tip of the Day, which addresses whether or not you should run if you are sick. Immediately after my run I performed the following exercises:

  • Leg swings forward and back with straight leg and bent leg (10 repetitions for each leg)
  • Leg swings side-to-side with straight leg and bent leg (10 repetitions for each leg)
  • Single-leg stands (~45 seconds)
  • Clamshells (20 repetitions on each side)
  • Prone planks (~40 seconds)
  • Side planks (~30 seconds)
  • Supine planks (~20 seconds)
  • Glute bridge hip lifts (10 repetitions)
  • Quadrupeds (15 repetitions on each side)
  • Toe yoga (10 cycles)
  • Fire hydrants (10 repetitions on each side)
  • Knee circles forward (10 repetitions for each leg)
  • Knee circles backward (10 repetitions for each leg)
  • Single-leg balances (~30 seconds)

After performing these exercises I foam rolled for ~10 minutes.

Recommendation: If you are feeling well perform the recommended workout from the Fitness Training Program. If you are not feeling well, see the Tip of the Day.

Tip of the Day: Whether or not you should run if you are sick depends on the extent of your illness and the type of illness. This time of year the common cold and to a less extent, the flu, can occur. If you have the flu I recommend not running and getting your rest and fluids, so that you can recover faster and be on your feet running again sooner. If you have the common cold, whether or not you run has a lot to do with how you are feeling and if the cold is in your chest or head. If it is in your chest you should not run. Get your rest and fluids and let the cold take its course. If the cold is a head cold, you could still run, however you might be better served by cutting back on the intensity and duration of your run.

So, assess how you feel. I you feel you are at least 85-90% well, then you can run. If not, you should not run. If you have to take some time off running, when you return, you should perform at least 2-3 days of easy running for 30 minutes before resuming your training. After you do your first run back, take inventory the next day.  Use the 85-90% rule to decide if you should go for a run or not. For long runs and runs with speed or hill work, you should feel 100% well. If not, run 30-45 minutes easy with strides (as long as you feel at least 85% well). When getting back to running after being sick, you should simply move your training back a week.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can help in any way.

Be well, and be your best self today!

Your friend and coach,

Brian

Reference:

  • Simple Marathon Training, Jay Johnson, PFB Publishing: Denver, CO, 2016.

What Should You Wear As You Train in the Cold Weather?

November 18 2018 Family hike pic 2 medium version

“There is a Beauty About Winter, That No Other Season Can Touch”

Hello Runners,

The beginning of the year is a great time to get new running shoes.  Here is a blog that I previously posted that can help you in selecting your next pair of running shoes:

http://www.denverrunningcoach.com/its-not-all-about-the-shoes-or-at-least-not-in-the-way-you-might-think/

As I mentioned in this post, I would consider selecting running shoes that have a wide toe box, that have minimal heel drop, and have minimal cushioning. I recently began running in a pair of Altra Torins, which has a wide toe box (these shoes look like clown shoes!) and zero drop from the heel to front of the shoe. They do have more cushioning than I would like. However, I have been very happy with them so far. There are other shoes made by other manufacturers that will meet the criteria I mentioned. So, I am by no means specifically promoting Altra.

In addition to shoes, you will need running attire. I discussed this in a previous post:

http://www.denverrunningcoach.com/what-should-i-wear-when-i-run-especially-in-cold-rain-and-wind/

Basically, avoid cotton and use synthetic or technical fibers, keep head, hands, neck covered, and you may consider Yak Trax Ice Grippers for traction when running on snow and ice.

When running in the cold and wind, first try to avoid wind the best that you can. If you can’t avoid the wind, do your harder and faster running against the wind and your slower running with the wind. This way the cooling effect is kept short and is related to harder work, whereas recovery (slower running) can take advantage of the warmer tailwind. For out-and-back steady pace runs, start out against the wind, so that your trip home will be warmer.

Be your best self today.

Your friend and coach,

Brian

References:

–              Daniels’ Running Formula Second Edition. Jack Daniels. Human Kinetics, Champaign, IL, 2005.

Disclaimers:

Coach Brian Hand has no ties or investments in Altra or Yak Trax and does not receive any form of compensation for mentioning Altra or Yak Trax or their products in this blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Things You Can Do At Work To Make Yourself a Better Runner

Believe it or not, there are things that you can do throughout the day when you are at work (some of them very simple) to help make you a better runner.  The key is to consistently incorporate these each day at work.  I recommend scheduling or setting a timer, so that you can take a few minutes every 45-60 minutes to incorporate at least some of these recommendations.  In this article with the accompanying video, I will give you five recommendations for things you can do at work to make yourself a better runner.

1.Get Up, Walk, and Hydrate

Many of us have desk jobs and spend many hours day after day sitting at our desk.  Research has shown this can be detrimental to our health.  It can also be detrimental to your running.  One of the reasons is that while we are seated are hip flexors (muscles in the front of our upper leg attached to our hips) are constantly being contracted and as a result oftentimes become shortened.   How does this affect your running?  Because the hip flexors can become shortened this can limit our hip extension when we run.  So, get up and walk and hydrate multiple times during the day.

Why is limited hip extension a problem?

Limited hip extension can cause the runner to have to arch his/her back, which can lead to low back pain.  The runner may also rely heavily on the calves, thus increasing the potential for injury to the Achilles tendon.  Limited hip extension limits stride length and results in an inefficient release of energy to propel the body forward when running.  Thus, limiting the runner’s speed.

Also, while we are seated our glutes are basically on vacation and are getting weaker because of disuse.  This is important because the glutes stabilize the pelvis and hips.  Without a stable pelvis and hips we will be unstable when we run, wasting energy and being less efficient each time we have one foot on the ground when we run.  This instability also sets us up for an increased risk of injury.  The glutes, particularly the gluteus maximus is an important muscle for extending the hip.  In fact, if properly engaged the gluteus maximus is the strongest muscle used when running.

So, let’s give those hip flexors a break and engage the hip extensors, including the glutes, instead and get up and walk for a few minutes.  This walking will not only get the glutes engaged, but help circulate the blood that may be pooling in our lower extremities while we are sitting.  You will probably feel a bit more invigorated as a result.

In addition, while you’re taking a two to five minute walk grab some water to keep yourself hydrated.  Most people aren’t hydrating enough.  At a minimum you should be consuming half your body weight in ounces of water each day.  For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be consuming at least 75 ounces of water every day.  As a runner you will need to consume more depending on how much you are running and how much you sweat.

What if you have a job where you are standing and already walking during the day? 

Lucky you!  This will certainly help you minimize the loss of flexibility and mobility in your hip flexors and hip extensors.  However, be sure to stay well-hydrated and I strongly recommend you incorporate the other exercises below.

 

  1. Engage the Transverse Abdominus

The transverse abdominus (TVA) is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and is an important postural muscle.  The TVA is located between the lower ribs and the top of the pelvis and encircles the body like a corset on a women’s dress.  Engaging the TVA is like tightening a corset in that it prevents movement and keeps your upper body stable on the lower body.  This also helps keep the spine in its neutral position.  So, if you engage the TVA, which most people don’t do, you will have better posture and will better stabilize the spine, pelvis, and hips, which is key when you are running.  The TVA is not an easy muscle to engage and so it can take some practice before you feel it engaged.  I recommend focusing on engaging the TVA for 10 seconds while breathing normally, multiple times throughout the day.  Below I have described two different techniques you can use to engage these muscles.  I recommended practicing one of these techniques until you feel you can engage the TVA at any time, especially when your run.

How to engage the TVA

Technique 1 (You may want to try this at home first to get used to being able to engage the TVA):

  • Lie on the floor, rest your hands on your stomach with fingertips in the middle and do an abdominal crunch so you can feel what it is like to engage the rectus abdominus (different from TVA), you should feel the fingertips rise
  • Now lie flat on your stomach with your hands next to your shoulders with toes on the floor like you are in a standing position
  • Imagine an ice cube under your belly button and without moving anything else, pull your belly button away from the ice cube, as you do so your TVA will contract
  • Try this a couple of times, until you feel comfortable with engaging the TVA
  • Now lie on your back again
  • Find your TVA by placing your fingers on your hip bone and then slide your fingers one inch towards the middle of your body and then one inch down
  • Rest your thumbs on your belly button
  • Again, pretend like you are pulling away from an ice cube
  • Perform an abdominal crunch and you should feel your thumbs go down and fingers rise up as the belly flattens out
  • Practice engaging the TVA for 10 seconds while breathing normally
  • Watch this video to see how to properly perform this technique for engaging the TVA:

 

Technique 2 (this is one you can do at work):

  • Place your fingers on your hips and then slide then towards the midline of your body one inch and then slide them down one inch to locate the TVA
  • As your exhale, make a “Ssssss” sound, this will help you feel what it is like when the TVA is engaged, your belly button should be gently drawn back
  • As you inhale relax this muscle
  • Repeat until you can engage the TVA without make the “Ssssss” sound
  • In addition, you want to engage the other muscles that stabilize the pelvis by gently drawing these muscles upwards
  • To do this imagine sucking a smoothie with your vagina as the straw, if you are a woman, and if you are a man, Imagine yourself urinating, then imagine stopping yourself mid-flow, also, imagine trying to draw your testicles up, yes this sounds really weird, but it works!
  • While you are doing this make sure your shoulders are relaxed, that you are breathing normally, that you are not “sucking in your stomach”, that you are not arching or rounding your back, that your ribs stay back and your chest isn’t pushed out

 

  1. Leg Swings

Because the hip flexors are commonly tight in most runners, especially those who spend a significant portion of the day seated, I recommend leg swings to help minimize the loss of flexibility and mobility in the hip flexors and extensors.  Perform leg swings multiple times during the day.

How to do forward-to-back leg swings

  • Use a stable chair or other immoveable object to perform leg swings
  • Stand to the side of the chair or other immoveable object with the hand closest holding on to this object for support
  • Place the other hand on the hip to help stabilize the hip and pelvis, engage the TVA
  • With the leg that is closest to the immoveable object bend at the knee and swing this leg forward and then swing this leg back gradually increasing the range of motion that you swing back, so that you extend back as far as you can without moving the pelvis and not arching the lower back
  • Perform 15-20 repetitions for each leg

Bonus: Side-to-side leg swings

If you have time, I recommend performing side-to-side leg swings as well to help engage the other glute muscles (medius and minimus), which are also commonly weak in runners

  • Stand so that you are facing an immoveable object and hold with one or both hands for support
  • Lift one foot off the ground and gently swing that leg in front of your body from side-to-side, gradually increasing the range of motion, engage the TVA
  • Make sure that the rest of your body stays stable and that the motion is only coming from the outer and inner hip muscles
  • Perform 15-20 repetitions for each leg
  1. Single-Leg Balance

Single leg balance is a great exercise to help you establish balance with one foot one the ground, which occurs often while running.  Through single-leg balance your body will better be able to develop the ability to microcorrect its position at various joints to stabilize your body.  This is tied in with proprioception, which I mentioned in a previous article.  For now I recommend the basic single-leg balance, however there are several variations that you can incorporate to further develop your body’s ability to microcorrect, such as performing single-leg balance with eyes closed.  I will go into more variations in a future video.

How to perform single-leg balance:

  • While standing with hands on hips and with good posture, weight evenly distributed over the entire foot, and the TVA engaged, lift one foot off the ground and bend the knee so that this foot is in back of your body with approximately a 90 degree angle formed between the upper and lower leg
  • Spread your toes out to maximize your base of support and try to push you big toe down, while keeping it straight and not curled
  • Imagine a triangle formed between the inside ball of the foot, the end of the big toe, and the outside of the foot kept in solid contact with the ground
  • Try to stand with minimal movement for 30 seconds
  • Switch legs and repeat
  • Perform this exercise multiple times during the day to try to accumulate at least 5-10 minutes for each leg during the day, instead of one 10-minute block
  • I recommend performing this exercise with shoes off to get the most benefit

 

  1. Glute Squats, aka Chair of Death

Glute squats, also known as chair of death, is a great exercise not only to strengthen the glutes, but it forces you to utilize the glutes, instead of the quadriceps, which most people primarily use when they do squats.  This will help you better engage the glutes when you run.

How to perform glute squats:

  • Place a chair with its back against the wall or desk so that the chair is stable and won’t move
  • Hold a yardstick, broom handle, pipe or wooden dowel (you can get one at Home Depot for about five bucks) so that it touches and will remain in contact with your tailbone, upper back, and middle of your head
  • Stand facing the chair so that the front of your knees are touching the chair
  • Squat down moving your butt backwards just like you are hovering over a toilet.  The yardstick, broom handle, pipe, or wooden dowel should not come off the back of your body as you hinge from the hips, it’s okay to lean the trunk forward as you get used to this exercise
  • Perform 10 repetitions at least two to three times throughout the day
  • Over time you should be able to squat to parallel (thighs parallel with the ground) and you should be able to keep your torso more upright

 

 

 

References

Bobby McGee Run Transformation

Jay Dicharry Anatomy for Runners

http://yourfunctionalhealth.com/functional-health-tip-how-to-engage-your-core/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dgIhzlp474A

http://www.theasanaacademy.com/how-to-engage-your-transverse-abdominis-a-short-guide-to-floating-effortlessly-and-landing-lightly/