EXERCISES EXAMPLES

Let elite runners like James Carney be your role models in this regard. Don’t give up too easily on your desired running mileage because of injury. Try to identify and address the specific susceptibility that is holding you back now, whether it is lack of general strength, as in the case of Carney, or something else entirely. Be aware also that too much running today might not be too much running in the future. Consistent training increases durability and thereby increases mileage tolerance. Be patient and persistent, and do not listen to those who reflexively insist, €œYou’re trying to do too much! 2. Some injury causes are identifiable, whereas others are not. Jason Lehmkuhle’s quote implies that trying to identify the cause of an injury is never worth the bother. That’s a bit exaggerated. Sometimes the cause of an injury is easily identified, if not by the injured runner himself then by a more experienced runner, a coach, or a sports physician. Early in my return to endurance sports in my mid-20s, following an eight-year hiatus through college and beyond, I developed a crippling case of iliotibial band friction syndrome. I had never heard of the IT band at the time the injury struck. My friend and fellow Triathlete magazine editor T. J. Murphy, a former massage therapist, said that the injury was probably caused by tightening in my IT band and said he could very likely fix it with a little deep tissue work. Disliking the idea of another man, a friend no less, rubbing my leg with his hands, I declined the offer repeatedly, counting on the problem to resolve itself. Months later the problem still had not resolved itself, so at last I submitted to T. J.’s hands. He worked on the sore spot for five minutes and it was gone. I have performed regular self-massage with a foam roller ever since, and the injury has never returned full-blown. Years later I returned the favor. T. J. was 34 years old when I met him and had then recently run a 2:38 marathon. By the time he reached age 46, he was a shell of his former self as a runner. He tried and tried again to make a comeback to something resembling his old form, but each time his body fell apart. His right knee gave him the most trouble. It was painful just to watch him try to hobble along the sidewalk, knowing how swift and graceful he had once been. One day T. J. and I were talking about our respective injuries when I asked him if he had tried working to strengthen his hip abductors and external rotators, as weakness in these muscles had come to be considered a widespread cause of knee injuries in runners. To my surprise, T. J. told me that he had never heard of this connection. I showed him some exercises to do and urged him to get after them as though it were his job. Weeks later T. J. reported to me that his knee pain was gone, he was up to 35 miles a week of running, and his entire right leg was probably 25 percent stronger than it had been a month earlier.

EXERCISES EXAMPLES

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