EXERCISES EVERYDAY

However, it would be a mistake to give up too easily. Your first, second, and third injuries at a given training load should not be read as €œdead end signs but rather as €œdetour signs. Take them as challenges to find another way to get where you want to go, whether that’s by exercising patience and slowing your march toward that target, identifying and addressing the specific susceptibilities that cause your individual injuries, switching to a softer running surface, or doing whatever else makes sense. Refusing to take €œno for an answer from your injuries will help you become a better runner in two ways. First, the effort to find a workaround means to run as much as you want to run will lead you to discover tools that improve your running. Second, finding a healthy way to run as much as you want to will result in your running more than you would if you responded to your injuries with permanent reductions in running mileage. And again, this happens all the time. Runners routinely develop durability that enables them to run more healthily at higher mileage levels. A good example from the elite realm is Meb Keflezighi, who first tried 130 mile weeks in his mid-20s, but quickly broke down under the burden. €œMy body wasn’t able to take it, he told me. So he found a detour. €œWhen you have aches and pains, you can’t do the double days, so your mileage is minimized, he said. €œSo what I did in the past was a lot of biking and some swimming. Meb rode this self-created, low-volume, cross-training approach, peaking at just 99 miles of running in a week, to a second-place finish in the 2004 New York City Marathon. Five years later, after recovering from the worst injury of his career (a hip stress fracture suffered during the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon), Meb took another crack at 130 mile weeks and found that his body was now durable enough to handle them. Those 130 mile weeks led him to victory in the 2009 New York City Marathon. Elite runners rarely respond to injuries by permanently reducing their mileage targets. They know that they must run a certain amount to be competitive on their level, so instead they respond to injuries by trying new things that might enable them to run more. A typical case is that of James Carney. In his first four years of postcollegiate running, Carney struggled with injuries and performed poorly in the few races he was healthy enough to run. Eventually, he decided enough was enough and left his longtime coach, Bob Sevene (who cannot be faulted for Carney’s injuries), for Brad Hudson. As he does with all of his runners, Hudson had Carney run steep hill sprints (we’re talking 10 × 8 seconds at full speed) to develop overall leg strength and thereby reduce injury risk. It worked. For the first time in his professional career, Carney was able to train injury free for long stretches of time and he blossomed, lowering his 10,000 m PR from 28:27 to 27:43 in 2006 and winning the U.S.

EXERCISES EVERYDAY

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