Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Running is generally a uniplanar activity since the movement occurs mostly in the sagittal plane (moving forward and hopefully not or backward). The muscles that support movement in the transverse and frontal planes are left untrained. Runners should choose a cross-training activity that lets the overworked muscles rest and heal while properly working all the other muscles that are usually underdeveloped. Pilates works the core and the extremities in all body planes that will help runners achieve maximum stability.
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Here are some other reasons why Pilates is good for runners:

  • Pilates is a functional exercise and conditions the whole body through natural and flowing movements. This helps develop a runners coordination.
  • Pilates is a body and mind workout that assists in improving proprioception – knowing where your body and extremities are in space. This is important for runners to keep their balance since the movement in running is done on alternating single leg (imagine balancing on one leg, then alternating between legs at a fast pace). This also helps runners to maintain proper footing especially on uneven surface which would help prevents slips and sprains.
  • The Breathing Principle of Pilates engages the right muscles and would help runners breathe efficiently and maintain correct running posture.
  • Overall stamina will improve as muscular endurance in the abdominals, pelvis, hip, and back increase. This is important especially for long distance runs.
  • Pilates combines strengthening the agonist (contracting) muscle while actively stretching the antagonist (opposite) muscle, which will increase range of motion on joints and improve a runner’s flexibility.
  • Pilates is a diverse exercise that can be very challenging! There’s a widespread misconception that Pilates is only for girls because the exercises are usually done in a mat and doesn’t use dumbbells, and because women usually outnumber the men who practice Pilates. It may be surprising for some to find out that even NFL players do Pilates! The bodyweight resistance component of Pilates is actually what makes it challenging. DeMarcus Ware, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys said “Power is nothing without a rock-solid core. Pilates is the key to activating it. Guys, don’t be fooled just ’cause women do it. It’s no joke. Try it and you’ll find out real quick.
  • ========== o ==========Many athletes and even Olympians do Pilates as their cross training because of the improvements in strength, flexibility, balance, and control that it offers. Lola Jones, a World Champion Hurdler said “When my core strength is at its peak, I can run more efficiently and maintain that extra edge.

    Also, Lawrence Frank who is the Head Assistant Coach of the New Jersey Nets (now known as the Brooklyn Nets, with Jason Kidd as the Head Coach at the time of this writing.) said “Pilates [is] an excellent conditioning tool for the NBA. The strength, agility and performance of my players have increased and Pilates has become such an essential part of our workouts that we take a reformer to our away games. I even have a Reformer for my own home use.

    Leading a Pilates session for Runners.

    Leading a Pilates session for Runners.

    The core training that Pilates offers help improve running efficiency, flexibility, and minimize risk for injury. The dynamic and challenging exercises of Pilates makes it one of the best options for cross-training.
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My wife has successfully persuaded encouraged me to watch one of her favourite shows, The Amazing Race Canada. The last (and might have been the only) reality show that I remember watching loyally was the first Survivor season. I agreed to watching the first Amazing Race Canada because as my wife said, it’s very informative and even educational about the places, people, and culture in Canada.

True enough, from the latest episode that I saw, I learned about one of the inspirational people from Canada- Terry Fox. I researched and read about him after the episode and I learned how inspiring he really was:

Terry Fox (July 28, 1958 – June 28, 1981) was a student athlete: he was a long distance runner and basketball player in his high school and college days. At the age of 19, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and his right leg was amputated. This did not stop him from his passion in sports and he continued to run using an artificial leg. He even played wheelchair basketball in Vancouver and won three national championships!

His optimism, courage and determination to outrun and outplay his disability wasn’t the most inspiring. Three years after his surgery, he began a cross-country run to raise money for cancer research and called it the “Marathon of Hope.” He began his run from Newfoundland and hoped to raise $1 for each of Canada’s 24 million people for Cancer research when he finishes at Canada’s west coast at Vancouver, British Colombia. In his request for funding, he told the Canadian Cancer Society that he would finish the marathon even if he had to crawl every last mile. He was also quoted saying “I remember promising myself that, should I live, I would rise up to meet this new challenge [of fundraising for cancer research] face to face and prove myself worthy of life, something too many people take for granted.”

Terry fox memorial at St. Johns, Newfoundland

Terry fox memorial at St. Johns, Newfoundland

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His dream of raising money for cancer research was not really smooth. He met a lot of discouragements and road blocks along the way, and he had a hard time to get support from his mother and family. In spite of his disability and all the challenges, he was able to run a marathon everyday and even ran on his 22nd birthday (why not?). However, when reaching Thunder Bay, he was forced to stop his run as it was later found out that the cancer has spread to his lungs. He was able to run for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres, raising $1.7 million. Support still came in after his hospitalization and after a few more months, $23 million had been raised.

His condition worsened even after getting chemotherapy and he died after just a few more months. He was recognized and given high honours, and the Prime Minister back then said in one of his address Terry Fox: “It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his life and in the mourning of his death … We do not think of him as one who was defeated by misfortune but as one who inspired us with the example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity

Passion, selflessness, and valor are the virtues which pushed Terry Fox to outrun his disability for the good of others. He didn’t let his condition bring him down, and he kept going forward for the hope of reaching his dream for others. It started with a dream to reach out to people in spite of his disability. He believed that a miracle could happen and he could do it, and he did.

Yes he is inspiring for how he overcame his physical condition, but more so, it was his desire to help people and his selflessness for others that made him honourable and truly worthy of life.

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This is what attitude can do: The arrogant runner (Steve Ovett) waved to the crowd and ‘claimed’ the first place while he was still a few hundred meters away from the finish line. John Treacy on the other hand focused on the road ahead of him and persisted in pushing his body to the full, until he reached the finish line.

 

“The game is not over until it’s over.”

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Running 101.1

Posted: August 29, 2013 in Running
Tags: , , , ,

My sister have just started running jogging with her friend a couple of months ago, and last week, she asked me to “coach” them on how to run properly. They always go for a jog on Saturday mornings since she goes to work very early. I usually run in the afternoon, before I teach my Pilates class at 7:30pm, but thank God I was able to get up early last Saturday to teach them.

They are targeting to run a straight 3km without stopping or walking too much. They said they usually run for a total of 15minutes or less, then just walk the rest of the hour.

Last month, I also taught my wife how she can jog for a longer period of time. She was a former sprinter back in high school and she’s used to short bouts of running. She asked me to teach her how she can jog and run longer. I am not a professional runner myself but I’m sharing what I learned and experienced as a conditioning coach at a running clinic.


First, I started by teaching them the proper running form and posture – most of these principles about posture are also from what I learned in Pilates! For the trunk: keep your head over your shoulders, your shoulders down and against your rib cage (you can observe some people running with shrugged and/or slouched shoulders), tuck your belly in (draw-in maneuver). Elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle, and swing your arms as you run without moving your hand backward past your waist. Relax your hands and try to point your fingers (or just your hand) to the direction where you’re going. Some people run with their arms and hands all over the place – these unnecessary movements waste energy.

It’s hard to learn all those things and do them just in one session, so I proceed teaching the running mechanics: when you run, your hip is slightly at an angle to tilt your trunk towards the direction where you’re going, which should always be forward! So you should keep your abdominals engaged (draw-in maneuver) because moving your legs without engaging your core would cause your hip to tilt sideways or rotate. As you run, push yourself from your toes and extend your legs as far to the back and up as you can. Try to land on the middle part of your foot and not your heel. Imagine you’re “cycling” your legs on the road and keep your feet from “braking.” Run lightly, or as some put it, imagine you’re running over egg shells and you don’t want to crack them.

Side-stitching after about 2km.

There are lots of videos about running that you can find on the internet (what can’t you find on the internet?), but here’s one youtube video which gives a very good yet simple and brief instruction on mid-foot running:


I made my sister and her friend do the drill sequence in addition to their warm-up before we headed off to run. True enough, they realized how running efficiently with the proper form and technique conserves energy and kept them running a little longer. I gave them a simple yet challenging target for the program of the day, and they we’re able to reach their goal.

Working out your endurance is another thing, but proper mechanics and form greatly affects any physical performance. Apart from that, it helps minimize injury and keeps you from overloading your joints (think foot pain, knee pain, hip and back pain).

It’s not too late to run. What’s stopping you?

 

 

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