How Do You Measure Your Success As A Runner?

 

How can I get faster?

Am I improving?

Can I do It?

How fast can I get?

Am I good enough?

Running is a sport that is truly based on your own individual improvement.  It’s you verses yourself and at the end of the day the only thing that matters is whether or not your time has improved.  We challenge ourselves to improve on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis.  It really doesn’t matter what our competitors, friends, and team members do as long as we have put our best foot forward and have been true to ourselves.  Surely we aren’t always going to be thrilled with all of our performances as that would be far to simple.

banner-girl

Running is a sport that requires a tremendous amount of dedication, consistency, and drive.  Fabulous results will come only to those that put in all of the necessary hard work.  It’s all about getting out for that early morning AM run when all you wanted to do was sleep in.  Bundling up on a sub-zero afternoon to bang out that six mile loop that you have done so many times before.  Going to the track for your weekly speedwork in the heat of the day as that was the only time possible to get it done.   It’s all of these actions that will get you to the finish line that much faster.  Repeating these activities over and over and putting your best foot forward with every step will get you there.

home-nark

How do you quantify your success as a runner?  So many get caught up in the game of comparing themselves to others and what everyone else is doing.  This comparative strategy will only lead you astray and leave you constantly walking in the shadow of others.  Your success as a runner is truly measured by the level of personal enjoyment, fulfillment, and progress towards your individual goals.   For some this may be the conquering of the five hour marathon or in other cases it could be the hurdle of the thirty minute 5k.  It’s all a matter of setting yourself some tangible goals and reaching them in a your chosen timeframe.

I want to do it!

I can do it!

I will do it!

I did it!

Only a select few of us will ever get the opportunity to grace the front page of Runner’s World as seen below.   Set some goals, get a plan together, and get busy training for those goals.  In given time you will all have the opportunity to celebrate the fruits of your labor and enjoy all of your running success.

11692753_10206995042345289_7643109409701163929_n

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Chasing The Unicorn: How The Little Runner Girl Will Earn Her Boston Marathon Qualifier.

Hey Guys! It’s Erin over at the Little Runner Girl and I am so excited to talk to you guys about why I made the leap and decided to get a coach.   I have no plans to be an elite runner (even if I did have plans, I’m not sure they would come to fruition, I am just being honest here!)  So why would I hire a coach?  Running coaches aren’t just for experienced or elite runners.  They are for everyone!  Whatever level of runner you are, whatever you are hoping to achieve (losing weight, running any distance from 5k-marathon, Boston qualifying), everybody can gain something from hiring a good  coach.  I already had this post in my head and when my coach asked if I’d want to guest post on his blog I knew this was the perfect post.  He gave me free rein to blog about whatever I wanted, but with fall marathon training about to start, this seemed like as good of a time as any.

Finishing the OK 5k 2 weeks ago with a :40 second PR-- 3 weeks after I started with Nark Running Strategies

When I started running about 2 years ago, I didn’t know many runners and I didn’t know anything about running. I immersed myself into learning anything and everything I could.  I read every article, reached out to people via social media to ask questions and searched tons of blogs.  I ran every training run solo.  I got injured and still ran #runnerprobs.  It was mentally draining training through the summer for a fall marathon and not having anyone to keep me accountable or anyone to share in my whining and complaining on 20 mile runs in 90 degree heat. If my plan called for a certain track workout, I had no idea how to execute it properly.  I didn’t know what a tempo run was, what a fartlek was or even just how to properly train for the goals I hoped to accomplish. Google was my friend ( ie: how to run yasso 800’s). I joined a local running club for a few track workouts and runs, but it just didn’t seem for me.  I still had no idea what I was doing and I felt dumb asking how to do the workouts (Don’t feel dumb, please ask.  You’ll save yourself lots of time and frustration).   I would attempt them on my own and give up because they were hard.

 After training for my 2nd marathon this past winter, I knew I wanted and needed more out of myself and my running.  I reached out to a runner friend, Allison, who had joined Plaza Fitness/ Nark Running Strategies back in January (she finished her 3rd Boston Marathon in 3:17:31 this year).  She had NOTHING but great things to say about the group and about her coach, Mat, and it sounded exactly what I was looking for.  When I checked out the Facebook group, I noticed how they really motivated and encouraged each other (I also saw how many PR’s were being achieved.)  Falling just short of my BQ in April and already looking ahead to Chicago in the fall, I knew this was the time to get some help.

Allison and Deanne at mile 17.5 of this years Boston Marathon.

There are tons and tons of different training plans out there and I know a lot of people who have had success doing it that way.  I find it more difficult because the training plan is generic.  It’s not tailored to my needs and goals.  Using a training plan that had no speed-work while training for the NJ marathon this year probably wasn’t the best choice for me when I was trying to earn a BQ.  And like I mentioned above, I didn’t meet that goal.  I had reached the point in my running where I did everything I knew how to do and couldn’t figure out how to push past the barrier.  I needed guidance and so after a few back forth emails and meeting Mat, I hired him to help me reach my goals.

logo-home

 A running coach designs your training plan to optimize your performance and simultaneously minimize your injury risk.  I told Mat about my past training and what my goals were for the summer and for my fall marathon.  One thing I never made a priority was strength training so, in addition to coaching, I also signed on for two strength training classes a week.   I ran my first 5k 3 weeks after joining and had a 40 second PR.  My previous 5k time was from April at the peak of marathon training when I was in fantastic(ish) running shape.  This 5k PR was just 2 weeks ago and coming off of marathon recovery.  I could already see a HUGE difference.  I felt ready.  My body felt stronger and my running seemed to flow easier.  Even my form was improving.  That weekend there were 23 PERSONAL RECORDS achieved by Nark Running Strategies runners.  I don’t think I have to make a convincing argument that the training I/we are receiving helps us in every aspect of our running.

11392853_1176810132361220_2947207474901727387_n

Before I would just follow whatever plan I had chosen (loosely) and sometimes would just completely change a workout.  With my training plan done for me every Sunday, I don’t need to question why I’m doing a specific workout or run because my coach knows what my goals are and what I need to be doing to achieve them.  Instead of going out racing every weekend like I used to, I did one 5k this month to see where I was fitness wise and my next race won’t be until mid-July.

Coaches are the voice of reason and seem to be the only people on planet earth that can rein a runner in  and explain why recovery and rest are important parts of training.  And surprisingly, I listen.   My goals for this training cycle are a sub-21 5k and a sub 3:30 marathon in Chicago.  More than anything though(okay, equal to wanting a BQ), I’d like to go through this training cycle injury free.  Something I NEVER(this is not an exaggeration) included in workouts was a warm-up and cool-down.  A good coach will make that a priority and every speed-workout I do, Mat includes both.   When you are injured less often, you can train more consistently.   Coaches keep you accountable and consistent. I believe that what sets apart good training versus great training is consistency.  When you train more consistent, you become a better runner and ultimately your coach can help you become faster and more fit than you ever thought possible.  Staying consistent means staying motivated and a coach keeps you on your toes and reminds you why you are working so hard.

Hill repeat recovery

Long story long, if you’re having trouble figuring out your next step in your running, it’s probably time to hire a coach.  The great thing about hiring a coach is that they are accessible ANYWHERE.  Maybe you travel a lot or you like to get your run done in the mornings, you don’t need to have a coach physically by your side every moment of your training.  Your plan will be there for you, you fill out your log for them to review and they will be there for you with any questions or concerns you may have.  I have texted my coach at 6am (sorry) and at 10pm (sorry again) whenever I have a question about a workout or to see if I could possibly maybe run a race next weekend (the answer was no.) If you are dedicated about reaching a goal and willing to go the extra mile in your training then investing in a running coach is 100% worth it.  Do the research, ask questions and run fearless.

unnamed

If you’re interested about learning more about my work with Nark Running Strategies, visit my blog over at The little runner girl and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have!  If you’re even more interested about joining us for group runs and training, check out the website or facebook for more info!

Happy running!!

 

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Running Results That You Can See!

11187393_1154346727940894_2740015848614079000_o

This past weekend our Nark Running Strategies @ Plaza Fitness Performance team produced some unbelievable results at a three different events.  Our half and full marathoners were in New Jersey, Cherry Blossom 5k folks in Niskayuna, and duathlon athletes were in Delmar.

In Jersey we hit a home run with eight of nine runners getting new marathon personal best’s.  On the half I missed my PR by eleven seconds (1:21.49), Mike Cebula got his second half PR of the season, and Jennifer Meissner also came very close at 2:00.01.  Mike Dinicola nailed a 1:26.46 in his 1st half marathon and is begging for more.

Kara Defeo – 3:24.54 –  2 min marathon PR

Jennifer Newman  –  3:57.26  –  7 min PR-14 mins in 2 years

Heidi Nark –  3:32.01  –  20 min marathon PR

Bill Drapeau – 3:18.51 – 11 min marathon PR

Dennis Beardsley – 3:16.05  –  Amazing marathon debut!

10430850_10203688500524123_3207869586930416292_n

Mike Cebula  –  1:36.16 –  21 sec Half PR/ 2nd PR this spring

Erika Beardsley –  3:47.27  –  13:03 Improvement

Steve Montanaro  – 3:39.08  –  5 Min PR and perfectly executed pacing.   Colleen Murray –  3:49.36 –  1 Min PR in 13th marathon

At the Cherry Blossom 5k we also had a phenomenal day with eight PR’s on the day.  Korey got under that 6 minute pace barrier, Dan Brady came close to 20 minutes, and Kara Plue was on fire with over a minute new personal best.  Nicky got under 25 mins, Ringer has a two minute improvement,  Deb Petridis got under 27 and Mary Walsh broke thirty minutes for the first time ever.  Well deserved achievements by a bunch of folks that have earned it!

11182207_10206590343620151_8146909938584628903_n

Michelle LaRock –  31:31 – 2:13 min improvement

Frank Gwinn – 24:09 – 5 second improvement

Mary Walsh –  29:55. 32 second PR…but the real news is that it’s my first 5k under 30 minutes!!!

 

Nicole Moran –  24:57 – 13 second PR

10906363_10206590348940284_8098624486266255792_n

Deb Petridis – :57 sec  5k PR to 26:50

Dan Brady –  22 sec PR to 20:11

Kara Plue –  24:29 – 1:17 5k PR

Korey McCoy – 18:07 –  30 sec 5k PR

While the rest of us were running, Mike Conroy and Tiberio x 2 went to town at the Delmar Duathlon.  Great job by all on a very exceptional weekend.  Here comes the fall marathon block before you know it.

11174221_656806457779977_194607246783676223_o

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

20 Strategies to Kick Ass at The Boston Marathon!

 b marathon

  1. You will have had a solid breakfast and bring a balanced snack/drink to start
  2. You will have atleast 4 gels for race
  3. You will dress warm to the start line
  4. You will drink as many carbs as possible at water stops
  5. You will not slow down at water stops
  6.   You will run the shortest route possible and stay focused on the tangents
  7.   You will get on goal pace and stay there
  8.   You will not stop for a potty break unless PR is out of question
  9.   You will have all priority body parts lubed up to prevent chaffing
  10.   You will only wear gear that has been used many times before (no exceptions)
  11.   You will hydrate and fuel early and often during race
  12.   You will have a razor like focus that doesn’t allow you to stray from your plan with all the excitement
  13.   When running with a partner you designate one watch in which to follow so that there are no pacing debates during race
  14.   You leave your partner whenever needed!
  15.   Make those early downhill miles as effortless as possible
  16.   Race starts at 18-20 miles
  17.   You will attack the last 6 miles with unseen ferocity
  18.   You will give 110% of yourself in this RACE!
  19.   The only thing that will stop you is you!
  20.   You will enjoy post race party!
  21. Bostonmarathonlogo

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

20 Habits of Super Successful Runners!

If you’re an aspiring runner or a veteran of the sport this list will help you to run faster times. This list of 20 proven strategies will guide you to your next PR and keep you as fast as possible.  Running is a sport that has a very high rate of injury and therefore it is a necessity to master these principles.  In order to be a super successful athlete is this sport it is essential that you avoid the common pitfalls of running injury.  The more that you can remain consistent in your training the more successful you will be at improving as a runner.  Below I have compiled a list of guaranteed strategies that will help to guide you in becoming the fastest runner possible.

results

1.  Soft surface runs:  The pavement and concrete of the sidewalks is tremendously brutal on your musculoskeletal system.  Get off the hard surfaces as much as you can and take advantage of trails whenever possible.

2.  Complete rest days:  Recovery from training is just as important as the training itself.  For most 1-2 days off a week is very appropriate and will insure that you stay fresh and rested for training.

3.  Set tangible goals:   Set goals that truly can be achieved!  Many folks set goals that are simply not possible in one particular training block.  Many factors should be considered when setting goals and they must be reflective of ones ability level, commitment, and aspirations.

4.  Recovery days:  All hard efforts and long runs are followed by a recovery day of running.  Keep those days super slow or off from running to allow proper adaptation to occur from tougher training days.

5.  Race pacing plans:  One of the most common errors that runners make when racing is that they start their races too fast and are forced to drag themselves to the finish line.  The longer the race the more important this concept will be to master.

Reactive Core Training for Runners

6.  Adaptable training programs:  Cookie cutter programs that don’t change to meet the challenges of life and the individual needs of the athlete will not be ideal.  The best programs are built to be changed (at anytime) to optimally accommodate busy life schedules.

7.  Post marathon recovery:  Although there is no answer for everyone here I recommend two weeks of rest or significant mileage reduction before beginning the next season.  If you begin the next mileage buildup on worn out legs you are setting yourself up for what will be a less than optimal training block.

8.  Build long runs gradually:  Whether you are training for marathons or shorter races it’s very important that you build these long runs progressively.  Raise the volume for a couple weeks then reduce or take a break from at least once a month.  The long run will be a staple of training and will solidify your stamina and endurance for faster racing and speed work to come.

images

9.  Address injury immediately:  After all this dynamic will be one of the quickest to put an end to your season.  Always be keenly aware of aches and pains that you may feel and adjust training accordingly.  Take an extra day off or skip sped work sessions to allow your body to recover fully before pushing on.

10.  Strength train:  A regular strength training program will help to keep you resistant to injury and training consistently.  By lifting weights one to three times per week and doing exercises that complement your running you will be stronger and more stable to absorb the stress of your running program.

11.  Have a racing schedule:  During your base phase it’s key to not race and build your mileage.  Once that base is established it’s recommended to have some regular races in your schedule to allow yourself to assess your progress and check on your fitness level as you approach key goal races.

12.  Practice how you want to race:  Run training, speed work, tempo runs how you would expect to race.   Practice even or negative split running in practice so that you are comfortable on race day and can stick to your pacing plan.

a t

13.  Energy system variation:  Most folks have a couple of workouts that they repeat over and over throughout their training block.  To achieve better results it’s recommended that you vary your workout stimulus to facilitate optimal training improvement and physiological adaptation.

14.  Fueling on longer runs:  As we run we burn our energy resources down at roughly 75-100 calories per mile.  In runs lasting for more than an hour it’s essential that you replace those carbohydrate stores to keep your fuel tank full for the upcoming miles ahead.

15.  Nothing new on race day:  Never try something new on race day!  If you haven’t done it in practice then don’t attempt it in competition.  Many problems can arise when you switch shoes, clothing, nutrition, or try a new race plan on race day.

16.  Compete against yourself:  So many folks make the huge mistake of comparing themselves and their training programs to that of their teammates and competitors.  This will only lead to discontent and loss of focus on ones training program and objectives.  Strategies that work for one athlete may work differently or not at all for another.  Some athletes will prosper off of high mileage while others will get same results from less.  Be your own athlete and focus on your goals to achieve optimal success.

10300446_1127281150647452_4917446596453379344_n-2

17.  Have a support network:  By training with a group you will be more consistent and will be able to conquer your workouts with ease.  Sometimes you will need that extra push out the door and someone to discuss and plan race strategies with.

18.  Be patient:  Running is a sport that takes time to get where you want to go.  Results will come to those that are consistent and driven towards the goals that have been set.  There will be times of elation and those of deflation as you wind through running seasons.  As you become more and more experienced new personal best’s will take a bit more planning and execution to achieve.

19.  Eat and sleep a lot:  Along with the rigors of a demanding training program comes the need for extra nutrition and sleep.   Many athletes neglect their nutrition and fall short on much needed rest.  Keep the engine fueled and get those 7-8 hours of sleep per night to achieve optimal results.

20.  Reward yourself:  When you crush those old PR’s or hit those mileage goals be sure to reward your efforts.   It takes a lot hard work and determination to be consistent and continuously improving in your running journey.  Have yourself a bountiful dinner or treat yourself to some mixed drinks to celebrate your achievements.  You earned it!

train smart

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

6 Core exercises for runners that you aren’t doing!

Would you like to learn some new core exercises that will help you develop an injury proof, core of steel?  In this article below I have attempted to provide you with a series of core training movements that you may not be familiar with.   These movements are all dynamic in nature with the main goal of improving the runner’s reactive/dynamic core stability.  Full body exercises are the optimal method in achieving this goal.   Enjoy the examples below and see how your core feels the next day after implementing these.

Albany Run Coaching: Core Training for Runners

At Plaza Fitness Performance we always prescribe optimal exercises and movements that will translate directly to life and our sports.  That being said, If we can program our workouts with exercises that are fun and effective at the same time then we are killing two birds with one stone.   Our challenge in programming is to prescribe solid core training movements that will train the mind and body to react against the forces that our movements put on us.  In order to accomplish this task we must be familiar with what exactly the core consists of and how it reacts to this stress.   All of these muscles pictured below comprise our complex system of musculature that make up the core.  The core is not just those muscles around the stomach area but  all of those that support our low back and torso as well.

Albany Running ProgramsWhen training athletes it is advantageous to include a steady diet of dynamic core stability exercises into these programs.   These activities stimulate your core to act reflexively and to stabilize your torso so that your legs are able to generate appropriate force into the ground to propel you along.   In the videos below we have Ingrid Ludt demonstrating a selection of these movements to perfection.   When implementing the weighted crawl all you need is a sled, weight, and some turf for this one.  3-4 X 30 meters is all you will need to begin to develop ferocious  reactive core stability.

 

Featured below is a movement called the Walrus Walk.  This core movement is valuable because of its dynamic nature.  This exercise is driven by your arms and places unique compressive force on the torso as you go backwards.  When you go forwards the benefit is reversed and we have some very interesting traction forces placed on the spine and surrounding torso musculature.   You can build the length of your walks and complete 3 – 4 sets of the movement.

 

The double kettlebell clean and squat is a tremendous full body movement that can be used for core stability, strength, or conditioning protocols.  The reactive core stability needed to perform this task with proficiency through many reps is something that takes time to builld.  3 – 4 sets of 8 reps with the appropriate loads will be required.

 

Here is Ingrid demonstrating the Cross Core, one of our favorite core choices at Plaza Fitness Performance.  We recommend doing three sets of ten on each side followed immediately by a 15 – 30 second plank.  Three sets of this movement in a row will definitely leave you with some soreness the next day.

 

The TRX Clam is a great core strength exercise.  This movement is a tremendous exercise for those trying to polish up their six pack and have a core of steel.  It targets the rectus abdominus ( six pack ) while also stimulating your other core stabilizers into action.  We recommend doing three sets of ten reps of this movement.

 

The Asymmetric Overhead Step back Lunge is a great full body movement that challenges your reactive core stability to the max.  You should start this progression by doing step back lunges with low weight until eventually putting the weight above your head for the exercise.  You will want to load the side over the foot that is stepping back into the lunge vs the front foot.  This will allow a great deal of core stimulus to be encountered each time that you step back.  We recommend doing three sets of eight reps on each side with this movement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Albany Run Coaching: Injury Prevention for Runners

What is the number one factor that is limiting your improvements in running performance?   Most of us will agree that the answer to this question is the annoying occurrence of injury that limits your consistent pattern of training.   We all find ourselves at one point or another with any number of  common running injuries.  Whether we develop ITB problems, suffer with shin splints, or experience plantar fasciitis they all put a damper on your training plans.   How can I avoid these injuries before they stop my training?

Meg Sodano @ HMRRC Half Marathon

Have your movement patterns analyzed and develop a strength training program that addresses your corrective needs.  These prescriptions will target your asymmetries and imbalances and get you strong symmetrically.   The single leg deadlift is a great tool to use for just this.

 

Kettlebells are the preferred implement when executing this movement.  Above is Meg Sodano demonstrating a great example of the single leg deadliest with a 12kg (26.4 lbs ) kettlebell.  This exercise places amazing stability demands on the stance leg and the contralateral side of the torso/core.   Address and correct hip rotator, adductor, abductor, and glute instability problems all in one place with this dynamic stability movement.  Give it a try!

The-feet1-300x253

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Smarter Not Harder

images

This most underrated variable in running programs across the land is RECOVERY.  Most athletes believe that working harder, faster, and training longer will produce optimally desired results.  The “more is better” mentality is common and plagues runners of all abilities and experience levels. It is not only individual athletes who struggle with this; even formal training programs sometimes fail simply because inadequate recovery is prescribed. Unfortunately, without adequate recovery, we may not see the true benefits of our hard work on the track and roads.

Recovery is a critical training component and encompasses concepts such as “days off” from running, sleep and mental recovery.  All athletes will respond differently and there is no “one size fits all” when addressing these factors. The volume and frequency of recovery greatly depends on the experience and history of the athlete, as well as individual psychosocial factors.   Past injury, age, goals, and levels of commitment must all be taken into account to find the ideal ratio of running to rest in order to produce consistent improvements in performance as years pass. As we all know, to truly excel in running, we need to be as consistent as possible and log enough miles to get us to our goals – without becoming injured or overdoing it.   By getting some much needed rest and relaxation from time to time, you can keep yourself fresh, motivated, and continually improving.

It can be difficult to know exactly how much rest is needed for each one of us. Some will wait until they find themselves at the orthopedic specialist to get that rest in.

images

Hopefully, your recovery has either been pre-planned or the need has been acknowledged prior to injury.  The human body uses common injuries to protect itself from more serious overuse.   Most of us will need days and even weeks off on an annual basis. In a Finnish study, “Training-related risk factors in the etiology of overuse injuries in endurance sports,” 446 Finnish athletes who used less than 2 rest days per week had a 5.2 fold increased risk for an overuse injury; tendon overuse injuries were more common in older athletes compared to younger. This is not particularly surprising; however, each one of us typically wonders, how much rest do we need in order to avoid these injuries? Since the answer to this question can only be determined for each one of us through experience, the key may really be avoiding what is known as “overreaching,” or, even more concerning, “overtraining syndrome.  ”Overreaching and overtraining syndrome (OTS) are well-studied phenomena. OTS is a clinical diagnosis is a “maladapted response to excessive exercise without adequate rest, resulting in perturbations of multiple body systems (neurologic, endocrinologic, immunologic) coupled with mood changes” (Kreher et al, Overtraining syndrome: a practical guide. Sports Health. 2012 Mar;4(2):128-38). As defined by the joint consensus statement of the European College of Sport Science and the American College of Sports Medicine (Meeusen et al, 2006), “overreaching” is different and has less severe consequences compared to OTS. Overreaching can be considered “functional” or “nonfunctional” but most athletes will recover from either type of overreaching.

 

3energysystems1

Functional overreaching leads to “short-term decrements in performance in capacity with or without physiologic and psychological signs and symptoms of maladaptation in which restoration of performance capacity may take several days to several weeks” (Meeusen et al, 2006) but eventually leads to  positive performance outcomes in the long run. An example might be attendance at a running camp that, in the short term, makes competing in races difficult but, in the long run, leads to better performance overall. Nonfunctional overreaching is more negative, where an athlete who consistently works at levels that are taxing (without allowing for adequate rest) experiences challenges in performance that are more remarkable (without seeing the longer term benefits); recovery from nonfunctional overreaching takes weeks to months, leading to negative psychological, neurologic or hormonal side effects and poor performance outcomes. Recovery from nonfunctional overreaching eventually occurs, given appropriate prolonged rest. At the most extreme, athletes who overtrain are susceptible to OTS; recovery from OTS may take months, or may not possible at all; individuals sometimes have to discontinue a career in running. The concerning clinical warning signs of OTS include extreme lethargy, loss of appetite, decreased coordination and physical side effects such as impaired performance, postural hypotension, loss of menstruation, and changes in heart rate from normal. To avoid overtraining syndrome, the key is avoiding excessive training (including excessive non-running activities) and focusing on obtaining adequate rest, as well as controlling other factors including nutrition and minimizing psychosocial stressors in one’s life. Two interesting examples of high volume runners in our area are Tom O’Grady and Jim Sweeney; each rarely takes a rest day but both seem to avoid overreaching and OTS. These two men exemplify what true consistency and dedication is all about; by uniquely managing their recovery, they have been able to generally stay clear of common injury and have built impressive running resumes.  Between the two of them they’ve had one break (5 days off with appendicitis for Tom O’Grady) in the last 15 years.  During this eight year span they have accumulated a rough total of about 60,000 miles between the two of them.  The total mileage here would have taken them two and a half times around the world.

 Tom O’Grady

5k – 15:21, 10k – 32:12, 10 Mile – 53:38, Half Marathon – 1:10.56 Marathon – 2:28.39 – One break in 8 years

 Jim Sweeney

100 Miles – 14:14:25, 100K – 7:11:53, 50 Miles – 5:38, Marathon – 2:35, 50k – 3:17 — 8 Year running streak on August 20th 2014

Recovery for some runners – such as for Tom and Jim – does not mean taking a day or two off from running every week. When asked about this topic, Tom stated, “Recovery for me is running with new people or trying some new running routes.” Tom does not feel he has experienced overreaching or OTS. By managing his workout schedule nutrition, sleep, and psychosocial factors so well, Tom has continued to make gains year-by-year in his running performance, despite high mileage and an intense training regimen. Jim’s record speaks loud and clear.

Perhaps recovery means taking a week off after a marathon – or taking two days off on a harder week when you’re juggling work challenges. Perhaps changing things up a bit after a long season and incorporating cross-training into your workout can give you that boost you need to pursue your new goals. Whatever it may be, remember that recovery is a critical component of training and continually improving your running while avoiding overreaching and overtraining syndrome.

 

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Everyone is an athlete!

“We are all athletes!”  Some of us just choose to train more seriously than others.  Whether you are running sixteen or twenty-seven minute 5k’s you have put in the time and effort worthy of the title athlete.  There are many misconceptions on what exactly constitutes an athlete.  The three most common fallacies revolve around age, ability, and awards.  An athlete is not defined by how old they are, how fast they run, or the number of awards they’ve obtained.  Everyone that competes is an athlete and here is some information to make your training time as productive as possible in that pursuit. iStock_000002300898XSmall There are numerous strategies that an athlete and their coach can adopt to improve their running performance and remain injury free.  The proper implementation of a periodized, energy system based training program can be the difference between injury, average, and results beyond your wildest dreams.  By developing an understanding of your three main energy systems you can then be assured that you are providing the body with an appropriate variation in training stimulus.   How you choose to vary this system stimulus will then be represented in your periodization scheme.   By manipulating training stress in a strategic manner we provoke a physiological response that results in a positive adaptation to training stress.  This adaptive response is what will be primarily responsible for staying injury free and improvements in your future running performances. periodization-cyclocross-training-cxm

 Programming Lingo:

Periodization models:  The method of alternating training loads, intensities and recovery to produce peak performance for a specific season or competitive athletic event.  ( linear, non-linear, and undulating non-linear )

Training stimulus/stress:  The prescribed activity given to the athlete to facilitate positive adaptation to the physiological system.  ( running, strength training, rope intervals, cross training, biking, swimming )

Adaptation:   A positive or negative change ( preferably positive ) produced as a result of the prescribed training stimulus.

Volume:  The amount of training stimulus being applied to the athlete in their training program.  ( length of run, number of repetitions or sets, daily or weekly training mileage )

Intensity:  The degree of physiological/psychological stress placed on the athlete by the training stimulus. ( resistance, weight, pace, speed, duration )

Recovery:  The time allotted in the training program in between workouts, cycles, and races that assures that the body gets an opportunity to adapt favorably to training loads.  ( This is the most commonly overlooked and under appreciated dynamic in the training process. )

graph

Every athlete is an individual and will respond differently to training stimulus.   The goal is to figure out how to get the individual to respond as efficiently as possible to the training program.  The most common problem that I see in running programs is that there is little structure and too much is left to random chance.   A structured approach to how you program can keep you and your athletes injury free and achieving their goals when it counts most.

Linear Periodization: (LP) This training initially uses high volume and low intensity. The training for LP progresses through mesocycles or phases where the volume decreases, and intensity increases.

Non-Linear Periodization: (NLP)  This is known as the conjugate method and varies training volume and intensity in shorter periods of time, and occurs frequently from training session to training session. NLP links two or more qualities that need to be developed, such as speed, endurance, and power.

Non-Linear Undulating Periodization:  This scheme includes a variety of workout types or energy system stimulus on a weekly or in some cases even daily basis.  

3energysystems1

 Whether you adopt a more traditional, linear approach or a non-linear strategy a structured plan will provide optimal results.   The strategically planned variations in volume and intensity are the key for continued athletic development over time in the athlete.   This adaptation will directly translate to increases in strength, stamina, and endurance while stimulating decreases in weight, body fat.   By strategically addressing these different training variables we can all provoke that inner athlete inside of us.    Your participation and commitment define your athletic status not your performance, place, or time.

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2

Pressing Reset

What do you do when your phone or computer is not working correctly?  You might reboot or reset the technology to regain proper working order.  Imagine if you could reset your own motor control patterns in your brain to improve your movement capabilities?  By pressing reset in your own vestibular system you can stimulate rapid changes in movement quality.

Certain corrective movements can stimulate the vestibular system and promote gains in overall movement competency.  I will introduce a series of five resets that can produce immediate improvements in your movements, strength, and performance.   These five resets can be unlocked by diaphragmatic breathing, head nodding, rolling, rocking, and crawling.   Certain resets will be more beneficial than others and individual results will vary from person to person.  The key is to find the combination of resets that work best for you and will aid in your movement improvements.

Rocking

As a infant we learn how to move our body about this world.   Holding our head up, rolling, and crawling are all fundamental movements that we learn for survival purposes.   These movements will lead to kneeling, standing, and eventually upright walking.   We master our head control and gain the ability to move in our contralateral patterns.   All of these movements will help to develop our vestibular system and be critical in our later years as we begin to participate and excel in sports.

Fast forward thirteen years and we’re all looking for that missing variable in our training program that will help to take us to the next level.   We try various types of supplemental training modalities in hope of improving our performances.   What if we were able to address injury prevention, balance, and performance enhancement all simultaneously with a new, system specific training method?  All of this to supplement our running and get us closer to that next personal best.  Have you ever thought about or considered implementing some vestibular training into your program?  What is the vestibular system and how could this enhance my running?  This is a valid question and I will shed some light on the topic.

Vest_Fig2

The vestibular system could be the most important sensory system that we have.  This is your “balance” system and your visual and proprioceptive systems are dependent on the vestibular system to allow optimal movement and performance.  Keeping your vestibular system finely tuned and sharp will translate to gains in mobility, stability, and strength.  As those three variables improve performance is soon to follow.  The vestibular system, which is a key contributor to our balance and sense of spatial orientation, is the sensory system that provides essential movement and equilibrium skills.   The vestibular sense is important for development of balance, coordination, eye control, attention, being secure with movement and some aspects of language development.   The vestibular system is composed of the vestibular receptors in the inner ear, the connections between them and other areas in the central nervous system.  Together with the cochlea, a part of the auditory system, it constitutes the labyrinth of the inner ear, situated in the inner ear.  The vestibular system sends signals primarily to the neural structures that control our eye movements, and to the muscles that keep us upright.

Keeping the vestibular system sharp and ready for our activities should be our main goal.  Like any system of the body if you leave it unchallenged and inactive it gets rusty and will function less than optimally.  As we strive for improvements in performance it’s these loose ends that can be the difference in climbing through your current plateau in training.   To address this system we have incorporated a system created by our friends at Original Strength and Tim Anderson.

OS_logoweb

1.  Breathing:  This is the first stop in our system resets.  As many infants mature developmentally they tend to drift away from our preferred breathing patterns.   Without proper diaphragmatic activation in our breathing patterns our body will fall short of our movement potential.  Proper diaphragmatic breathing can do wonders for core activation, gait patterns, and improved performance. Once we master our breathing from basic supine positions we can then begin to utilize these techniques while involved in more dynamic upright movements.

20140408_172740

2. Quadruped Rocking:    This particular reset can produce immediate changes in your ability to squat to proficiency.  This unloaded movement allows you to groove the squatting pattern and prepare your for adding appropriate loads.  Start in the quadruped position or on hands and knees.  From this position you will rock in and out of the squat position in an inverted, unloaded posture.   This rocking movement can be used in warm ups or as an active recovery exercise in between sets of complementary movements.

20140408_172758

3.  Head Nodding:    Head control is essential for balance, posture, and coordination. We teach head nods to help people start learning how to regain control of how to use their head.   This improved head control can help restore  balance postural coordination. The vestibular system also lives in the head and nods are a direct way to activate the vestibular system very quickly.  Head nodds also help to ignite the posterior chain which will help to improve gait patterns and improved performance.

20140408_172816

4.  Rolling:   Rolling is a concept that is beginning to gain respect in the strength and conditioning world thanks to the great work of Pavel Kolar, Gray Cook, and Craig Liebenson.  The basis of rolling goes back to the developmental sequence during which a baby follows a predictable set of developmental movement parameters as a result of “pre-programmed” neural patterns. After lifting the head, the first step in the sequence is rolling. By allowing appropriate developmental sequencing, the baby goes through postural ontogenesis and develops reflex responses that are useful at later stages of development.  By practicing these movements we can re-establish neural connections that may have been lost over our childhood, adolescent, and adult years. ( Tim Anderson, Breaking Muscle 2013 )

20140408_172957

5.  Crawling:   Crawling is a developmental movement pattern that ties everything about you together.In developing children, crawling activates and integrates the different parts of the brain. Through crawling, neural connections and pathways are established in the brain that allow the brain to become more efficient at communication between the left and right hemispheres.   Perhaps the greatest benefit to crawling is that it builds a foundation of reflexive strength, the original strength you were born to develop. Your reflexive strength, also known as your reflexive stability, is your body’s ability to anticipate movement before it happens and/or reflexively react to movement as it happens.

20140408_172844

PF-Performance-for-electronic-media

image003 (1)

Source: http://blog.narkmovementstrategies.com/?feed=rss2