Contributed by: Michael Nokes
Making good habits is hard. Without an action plan, it is easy to skip the exercise for a day, eat fast food, and fall asleep in front of the TV. The best plans establish a routine with every step already thought out. Once it’s as simple as a reminder on your phone to put on your running shoes and stretch, the convenience of following the routine takes over.
In this post, we share our tips for organizing healthy meal plans so they’re easy to implement into your schedule and painless to do.
With only a few weeks left before the 2018 Pittsburgh Marathon, I have a lot of runners coming to me with aches and pains popping up. Maybe they didn't quite stay focused on their form during that last 20 miler, ramped up a little too fast, or didn't even know it was possible to run in a less impactful way.
Whatever the reason, it's probably safe to say that not nearly enough of us are taking the time to "pre-hab," of work on our "goats" after a run.
Check out these great exercises from my friend, Katherine Dryer, in her article "Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention." They're not a silver bullet for ailing achey legs, but they're a good start!
Stretching Your Hip Flexors for Greater Stability and Pain Prevention
by Katherine Dryer
Fervent runners know how important it is to be fully stretched and prepped before hitting the pavement or cross-country ground, yet many fail to exercise the hip flexors fully. While it is easier to remember the hamstrings, calves and quads, we should also take the time to lengthen and loosen our hip flexors. In this post, we highlight the importance of this muscle group and suggest a few easy stretches.
When I'm working with new (or even experienced) clients on their form, one of the first things we focus on is posture. Recently, I've added a few quick posture lessons to my Instagram feed and YouTube Channel. Check them out if you're not familiar with posture.
Once I have my client's posture into a good place, we usually focus on leaning into gravity, and allowing the foot to fall below the body's center of mass. This allows the foot to strike the road with less force, landing under the body's center of gravity an sweeping back (vs. landing on the heel in front of the body).
This all sounds good, but how do you put it into practice? How do you keep your legs landing below the body's center, but keep from pushing off moving into your next stride?
Check out some of these thoughts from ChiLilving & ChiRunning co-founder Katherine Dreyer (originally posted on ChiRunning.com)
One Thing to Make Your Running So Much Easier
You can make running easier…after all, why push yourself down the road when you can be pulled…by gravity, that is.
In our last workshop some people found it difficult to let go and let gravity do its job. Whether it’s a mindset that says you need to work hard, or legs that want to be tree stumps and not loose like noodles, the hardest part of ChiRunning® is learning to relax and let go.
When Donna felt her legs go truly limp she was amazed and very pleased. She’d never felt her legs relax so much! And then movement became easy.
Here are some tips to get your legs to relax. Practice these with beginner’s mind – the kid-like energy of, “heck, what might happen if I try this”:
I’m not sure why, but I can remember a lot of social media posts at the end of last year talking about how everyone was happy to kiss 2016 good bye. I think I felt the same way.
It wasn’t a terrible year, but there wasn’t anything particularly special about it either. It was just kind of, “meh.”
Now, contrasting that sediment with how I feel this year, couldn’t be any different.
2017 was full of learning and growing. From deepening relationships with family and friends, to learning some easy (and not so easy) life lessons, and expanding my professional practices of project management, personal training, coaching, and more, I look back with nothing other than gratitude. With that feeling being the overarching theme for the last year, I’ve been asking myself how I should plan for 2018 (I probably should have been thinking about it sooner than today!).
Should I tackle some new resolutions? Would they help me evolve? Should I stick with the status quo that lead to a great 2017? How much time should I look back, or plan for the future?
Well, here are a few quick thoughts that I’ve jotted down. You may or may not find them helpful, but they work for me. I’d also love to hear what works for you!
Resolutions & Planning
I’ve decided not to make any traditional “resolutions,” but instead take an approach that has served me daily throughout 2017. That is using the format of the “5-Minute Journal.” This great little tool has helped me stay focused on the things that matter most daily. So much so, that I thought “why not apply it to the year?”
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to head down to Asheville, NC to work with ChiRunning Founder Danny Dreyer. Along with a few other instructors, I was assisting assisting at a workshop. It's always great to see how different groups adapt to the ChiRunning and ChiWalking form. There's always a different "a-ha" moment for everyone.
When we wrapped up, I asked Danny to do a short video clip for my Instagram feed. I wanted to get his number one tip for new runners. His answer was using a metronome.
There are many reasons to use a metronome. When I started focusing on running form, it was a big help in getting my cadence to a more consistent place.
Check out Danny's article on the subject at ChiRunning.com. If you have any questions on how to use a metronome, don't hesitate to give me a shout!
The Quickest Way to Improve Your Running with a Metronome
by Danny Dreyer
Your body thrives on rhythm… your heart beat, your breath rate, your love for dancing, are all based on rhythms in your body or that you've established in your life. The more rhythms you establish, the better your body likes it.
When you're body has a rhythm to follow it doesn't work as hard. It knows what to do and when to do it. If you go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning, your body experiences a rhythm... "now I get to rest, now it's time to get up."
With the weather finally starting to get cooler throughout the days, it's safe to say fall has moved in. This can be a great time of year to focus on improving your running, fitness, or just overall health. With the cooler temperatures, it's easier to get out and run for longer periods of time. With spring races still over 25 weeks away, the added stress of upcoming events also fades from front of mind.
With this cooler season also comes the holidays. With the holidays comes lots of delicious comfort foods. The pumpkins, squashes, ciders, sweets, and spices are just as much part of this season as are our family and friends. And, if you have a soul, there's no doubt you're looking forward to indulging in a sugary cornucopia of carb overload!
I don't blame you... that stuff's awesome! BUT - what if you could minimize the damage and still hit the sweet, spicy spot you're looking for? It is possible! And, while I'm not saying to skip the pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or Christmas, I am saying scale back during the week. Make the smart choices as often as possible so that it's okay to dive into the pie when you're really celebrating.
Here are 3 of my most recent favorite fall creations. Warning, these are MY creating, and I'm not a chef! But, I think they're delicious, simple, and don't make you feel like you're missing out!
3, Three Ingredient Fall Inspired Recipes
You may have heard me talk about ChiRunning before (I mean, it's like all I do!). When I'm first describing ChiRunning to someone that asks me what it is, I usually say something like: "ChiRunning basically helps you learn to set up your posture correctly. Once you've got posture down, you can lean into gravity and use your core muscles to help lift your legs as you "fall" down the road with minimal effort needed from your quads, hams and calfs."
Because we place such an important focus on the core, I like to have my runners practice a number of strengthening exercises. My favorites are listed below, as well to a link from ChiRunning in which Danny Dryer gives a bit more background on these exercises and how to properly perform them.
Practice these on your own, a few days a week and give me a shout if you have any questions!
Best Core Excercises for Runners
Read More & See a Video Demo
As runners, walkers, fitness enthusiasts, and or simply those passionate about becoming the best versions of ourselves, we often place a lot of emphasis on diet and exercise. Usually, that exercise is centered around a goal of weight loss, building bigger arms, or developing a more defined midsection. I'd be willing to go out on a limb, and bet that most of us don't give much consideration to our feet, even though we're on them every day!
Check out these tips from Danny Dryer on keeping your feet healthy, and capable of carrying you through all your journeys!
Performance... What types of feelings does that word conjure up for you? Maybe it's excitement as you prepare for a new event or activity. Maybe it's it's pressure, as you feel the need to meet other's expectations. Or, maybe it's something in between.
We ChiRunning instructors have our own thoughts around the term, and believe that the concept of personal performance can be one of your strongest motivators! Check out this week's ChiRunning blog from Danny Dryer on the subject!
Personal Performance for ChiRunners
by Danny Dryer
The term “performance” in athletics has been usurped by top athletes and has become riddled with so many innuendos that the term itself can scare off the athlete and the runner in you.
However, the concept of personal performance can be the best kind of motivation. Personal performance asks you to listen deeply to your own self and do what feels good for you and for your body. When you focus on personal performance, you stretch yourself, make that extra effort, and find the place within yourself that wants the best.
Here at ChiRunning, we particularly like this definition of performance, found at dictionary.com:
per•for•mance – noun: The manner in which or the efficiency with which something reacts or fulfills its intended purpose.
In the injury-free ChiRunning technique we encourage you to focus on “the manner in which” and “the efficiency with which” you fulfill your “intended purpose” to run, without running pain or running injury.
Ken Presutti is a certified ChiRunning instructor, ACE Personal trainer, Spinning instructor, and coach. This blog is a mix of new articles and posts from his original blog, Overkill is Underrated.