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lindsay Flanagan

lindsay Flanagan

As a runner, chances are at some point or another you’ve experienced pain in your hamstrings, knees, or lower back that just won’t seem to let up no matter how much you stretch.
Interestingly enough, this pain may actually be stemming from inactive glute muscles (also known as the ol’ butt).

Luckily, performing a few simple activation exercises pre-run can stop this pain in its tracks, allowing you to run powerful, strong, and injury free.

“So why aren’t my glutes firing?” you may ask.
The most commong reason is that most people sit for long periods of time. The glute muscles tend to stop firing due to a lack of oxygen and tightened hip flexors. This, in return, puts more strain on the lower back, hamstrings, and knees, that imbalanced and stiff feeling when you head out for a run.

Add these simple exercises to your warm up routine and get those glutes firing.
Turn up the intensity of these exercises by adding a resistance band. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10 on each leg.


1. Clam shells
 clamshell Lay on your side, with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Keep your feet and ankles together and raise your top knee. Make sure not to raise the knee too high-you should feel a slight tug in the glute area






2. Single Leg Bridgebridge

Keep your one knee bent, and straighten the other legs. Slowly move your leg up and down. Make sure you aren’t feeling this in your hamstring, you want the glutes to be doing all the work.







3. Prone Leg Liftsprone

Lying flat on your stomach, focus on raising first one leg at a time. If the knee bends you are using too much hamstring.










4. Fire Hydrantsfirehydrant
Place your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Flex your feet and keep both your feet flexed even as you raise one leg.

Then raise one leg out to the side, keeping the knee bent to 90 degrees. Lift it as high as you can while keeping your arms straight. Try to not let the foot get higher than the knee or the knee get higher than the foot. Really squeeze the butt cheek as you lift.

Hold for a second or two at the top. Lower down and then repeat. Complete all reps on one side before switching.

 

helen_blogHelen has persevered through physical set backs and anxiety running on roads, to complete a fast marathon just before her 60th birthday! She shares inspiring advice to "never give up", and "you get what you put into running".



Major milestone:
Completing a marathon just before my 60th birthday in a time of 4:01:05 following a serious car accident in late 2015 (just after running the DCM) when I didn't think I would ever walk properly again never mind run a marathon!

What is the secret to your success?
Determination and a will to exercise and get back on track. I still have nervousness crossing roads and being afraid that I might fracture my tib and fib again while running on uneven surfaces

What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
Fear and loss of confidence which I had no issue with prior to my accident. I just wanted to get back out again with my friends from my running club who had kept in touch with me during my year off from running

What is the most rewarding part of training?
Sense of achievement always when a run is completed. Delighted with my progress and times at my age. Running with a group of friends. Being able to train to participate in races



What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
You will only get out what you put in! To achieve success running you must run....simple as that! When training for 2018 DCM, I had to go out on occasions when I didn't have company because of my work schedule but I still did it



Anything else you would like to share?
Never give up! It is worth the effort to get back if you have been injured, but be patient as you must listen to your body. If you can't run do something else like the bike indoors or cycle outdoors



What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?
I've had great chats online with Coach Lindsay!

shutterstock_191142425You just ran a huge personal best in the marathon and spent the past week enjoying some well-deserved down time. You decide it’s time to start up again, but realize that post-race excitement is starting to dwindle and it’s much harder to get out the door than you anticipated. “How can this be!?” You ask yourself. “I just had a fantastic race and should be beyond excited to start again, right?” If you find yourself to be in this situation, fear not, you have a case of the easily curable post-marathon blues.

After fully investing in your training program for the past 3 months and being laser focused, it makes sense that it might be tough to get started again. I, personally, have always struggled jumping right back into full training after a marathon because I just spent the last 4 months completely focused on my goal. Oftentimes, we forget that running can be just as mentally taxing as it is physically taxing and we need to be sure to give ourselves time to recover in both ways after a marathon.

Here are a few tips to shake those post marathon blues and get that pep back in your step.

1. Throw pace and distance out the window and enjoy some unstructured training. It is mentally quite freeing to run on your own terms for a few weeks without a care in the world about pace. You will be spending quite a bit of time in the coming months focused on hitting splits, so enjoy some relaxed, care free runs and soak in the nice spring weather. Simply getting outside for a few leisurely miles can do wonders for both the mind and body.

2. Meet up with friends to keep things light and fun. Running with friends is a great way to unwind and relax. When you are chatting away, you start to focus less on how heavy/tired your legs may feel, and more on the conversations you are having. Before you know it, the run is done and you are feeling much lighter and happier than before you started. Never underestimate the power of running with friends.

3. After a few weeks, start to look at future races. I like to switch things up after a marathon and run some shorter races, like 5&10ks. It’s fun to set my sights on a new challenge and mentally change gears. Getting a race on the calendar will give you something to look forward to and help that motivation and excitement return.

So lace up your shoes, enjoy the warm weather, and shake those post marathon blues. Set your sights on a new challenge and enjoy the journey one step at a time. Happy Running!

 

Having a goal is one thing. Accomplishing the goal is another. David was able to complete the Seacoast Half Marathon in just under 8:00/mile pace (reach his pre race goal in flying fashion!). This was the first time he had help from a structured training program. Runcoach is now helping David train for a full marathon!b0c19b4david_running_seacoast


What is the secret to your success?


No one thing in particular, but I do want to give some credit to the Runcoach training schedule I followed for the two months leading up to the race. It was great to have a personalized schedule based on my past running data from Strava -- It gave me a plan I had more confidence in than just winging it on my own, and I did accomplish my goal!


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?

Time -- still figuring out how find enough time. Wake up earlier seems the only solution I can come up with. Injuries. Fortunately I didn't get any. I think the warm ups suggested by Runcoach helped.
What is the most rewarding part of training?

Seeing progress and thus having the satisfaction that the training is paying off, and being part of communities -- online as well as local offline communities -- of runners supporting each other's goals.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?

If the mileage of the Runcoach training schedule seems to increase too quickly, don't be afraid to back off or skip a session. I followed the training schedule which, besides providing needed structure, got me to do some speed and interval training which was great, but I skipped a run occasionally when I felt like the mileage was too much and my training plan didn't really change and I was still "on target" most of the time.


Anything else you would like to share?

I've only been running for two years and using Runcoach to prepare for the half-marathon last fall was the first time I had tried a more structured training regime with a particular performance goal in mind. That in itself was a milestone for me, and the experience was positive -- enough so that I set another Runcoach goal for a marathon this fall!


What feedback would you offer on the Runcoach experience?

As someone on the free membership, I was happy to use the algorithmically generated training plan based on my goal and running history, but never reached out to the Runcoach coaches. I guess I wasn't sure how make valuable use of that option. Maybe some suggestions on ways to use that resource would motivate me to try that.

Fueling for your First MarathonmarathonFuel

So you're g up for a big spring marathon and have been checking all the boxes. You are logging tons of miles, nailing all your workouts, and even have your race day kit and shoes picked out weeks in advance. But, have you considered your marathon fueling strategy yet?

One of the most commonly overlooked aspects of marathon racing, is mid-race fueling.  You body will endure a great deal of stress and will require carbohydrates and fluids to stay strong all the way to the finish line. The chances of hitting that "wall" are much less if you have been getting in a steady stream of calories and fluids throughout the race- But where should you begin?

Research shows that the body is able to process 40-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour during exercise. While it would be fantastic for everyone to have their own personal bottles out on the course, just like the elites, this is not possible. So…what do instead? I recommend taking water every 5k, about 6-10 ounces, and a bit more if racing in hot conditions. A trick I learned is to squeeze the cups at the top to get the most out of each.  In addition to water, I recommend taking a gel every 5k as well.  Gels contain about 20 grams of carbohydrates and are easy to stash in shorts, sports bras, and pockets. Gels, combined with water, are a great option to help keep you hydrated and fueled all the way to the finish.

If the idea of taking gels is not appealing to you, I recommend checking out the race website to see what sport drink will be offered out on the course. You can purchase this ahead of time and practice using it during your long runs to make sure everything sits right. Which brings me to the most important aspect of mid-race fueling, practicing your strategy ahead of time.

It’s important to practice using gels and fluids during your long runs and workouts to make sure your stomach is able to tolerate the calories. Your body will get better and better at processing mid-run fuel so nailing down a strategy early on in your build up is key. Without practicing ahead of time, you run the risk of experiencing mid-race GI distress-something no runner wants to deal with!

So hit your local running store and give a few different gel brands/flavors a try to see which one you’ll want on race day. You can also pick up many commonly used sport drinks at these stores as well. Practice your fueling strategy early on in your build up and often, then go check that final box! Happy Running!

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