If you follow a Runcoach training program, chances are you have seen the term "cross training". 

So what exactly does it mean? 

Cross-training means a type of exercise that you can substitute for running. We include things like cycling, swimming, and strength training in this category. 

The purpose of cross training is to improves your aerobic fitness without the impact of running.  This is why most people consider cross-training to also be an injury prevention tactic during training. Below I will list some of my favorite cross-training exercises. I recommend taking at least one cross training day each week to prevent injuries, allow your body and mind to rejuvenate, & become a well-rounded athlete. 

cartoon-girl-on-elliptical-cross-trainer-vector-12090079_2#1-Elliptical
These are easy to find at any gym. Wipe off the handles before use and get pedaling.  Remember to maintain good posture and not place a lot of stress on your lower back. You should feel nice and tall, while moving the legs and arms in synchronization. 

Workout:
Elliptical 20 - 30 minutes total 
To challenge yourself, add in one minute of hard effort every 5 minutes. 

**Extra challenge: Set the resistance on the machine to a higher number for 30 seconds, pedal hard. Reduce the resistance for 5:00. Repeat. 




b1f9a3a5-f0ea-4ab6-a5f9-b9c8962b2444.__CR0016001200_PT0_SX800_V1___#2-Get in the Pool

The water is a great ally for us runners. If you can find a pool, maximize it for more than just a dip to freshen up. The two best methods to use the pool is to either aqua jog (pool run) or swim.  

Workout:
Aqua jog/ swim 30 - 40 minutes total. When aqua jogging it might be helpful to have a flotation belt. 
To challenge yourself, add in 2 minutes of hard effort every 8 minutes. 

**Extra challenge: Simulate a fartlek in water. After a 5-minute warmup aqua jog, or leisure swim, perform 1 minute hard/ 1 minute easy, 2 minutes hard/ 2 minutes easy in rotation 30 - 40 minutes. The "hard" and "easy" are all effort based. Whatever feels tough and relaxed to you on the given day. 


#3-Full Body Workout

Running is an extremely liner sport. This means we always move in one direction, often neglecting many muscle groups. Those neglected muscles need attention too. Especially your core. 

Workout:
15 – 20 minute full body workout. 
To challenge yourself, add in a 5 - 8lb weight. 

Checkout Coach Tom’s favorite full body workout.


Other Ideas: 
-Jump rope 
-Cross fit
-Pilates/ Yoga class
-Rowing machine
-Spin bike 
-Heavy weight lifting session
-TRX or HIIT Session












High Hamstring Tendinopathy

Written by Dena Evans April 28, 2020
hammie_croppedThis month in Ask the Practitioner, we inquired about high hamstring tendinopathy with Renee Songer, Clinical Director of Agile Physical Therapy. 

Read on to find out more about one of the most common injury problems among runners.


Coach:  What is high hamstring tendinopathy? 

RS: Tendons connect muscle to bone. Tendinopathy is a degenerative condition of the tendon structure. High hamstring tendinopathy is a degeneration of the hamstring tendon at it's insertion near the buttock region.


Coach: What are the primary symptoms of this injury?

RS: Primary symptoms include local pain at the top of the hamstring. Often these injuries can be painful to the touch, painful with stretching and painful with forceful muscle contraction.

While running you may feel the pain as you are pushing off the back foot or as the leg is swinging forward.

A quick test is a Reverse Plank (see picture). Pain or weakness compared to your non-injured leg indicates possible problems with hamstring tendon.

Supine_plank_startSupine_Plank


Coach: What are some tips for addressing these symptoms or preventing their onset?
RS: If you see bruising in the hamstring it is best to get in to see your physical therapist or physician to assess the severity of the damage.

If you feel pain in this area acutely, it is often best to rest and ice for the first 24 hours. If pain allows, gently stretch the area and working on a foam roll or massage can help. Slowly return to activity over the next week avoiding activities that cause pain. If pain persists beyond a week see your physical therapist or physician to assess the problem.

This type of injury can also start with a gradual onset as a localized buttock ache, first noticed after a workout and with sitting on harder surfaces.

To prevent high hamstring tendonopathy make sure your glute muscles are strong through a full range of motion. Often we tend to avoid the last 20 degrees of hip extension (straightening) with exercise but we need it to be strong for running. Bowing, single leg bridge, and single leg curtsy squats are excellent exercises to maintain adequate glute strength for running.

Curtsy Video Version I

Curtsy Video Version II


IT Band Syndrome

Written by Tom McGlynn March 07, 2020
it_bandHow to treat the IT band - 

What is IT Band Syndrome?
The Iliotibial Band, or IT Band, is a dense band of connective tissue that originates in the hip (iliacus), runs down the outside of the leg and inserts just below the knee.  Every time you bend your knee the IT Band crosses over a bony protrusion at the outside of your knee.  If the band becomes tight it starts to snap more aggressively over this bone and it can then get irritated and inflamed.  When this happens you have IT Band Syndrome.

Common signals or symptoms:
- The most common symptom is pain at the outside of the knee.  
- Tightness at the outside of the hip.
- Soreness in the lateral (outside) quad muscle.
- Swelling around the knee

Prevention Tips:
There are a number of things a runner can do to prevent IT Band Syndrome.  
The easiest thing to do is use a foam roller, "the stick" or some other form of self massage.  This is probably the most effective thing you can do to keep the IT Band loose.  There are also various IT Band stretches but many people have a hard time getting into a position where they actually feel an effective IT Band stretch.
Other causes:
  • -Lazy stretching routine 
  • -Pushing too hard -- run too far or for too long
  • -Lack of rest between workouts
  • -Worn-out sneakers
  • -Steep downhill runs
  • -Running only on one side of the road (Roads slope toward the curb, which tilt your hips and IT band)
Treatment:

The most effective treatment is rest.
If your knee is swollen, ice, compress and elevate.
If you can find a pool, you can swim to maintain aerobic conditioning.
Get a massage on your quads, hips, and hamstrings 
Foam roll 2-3 times per day
Perform IT band, glute stretngth exercises


Video demonstrating Hamstring Bridge (also works glutes)
Video demonstrating Single Leg Squat
Video demonstrating Glute Stretch



PlantarLet's talk about Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Most often felt in the heel,  over 50% of Americans will experience this pain during their lifetime.
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a condition caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes, which can overload the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes), resulting in heel pain.


Self Identify PF:
- Sharp stab or deep ache in the heel
- Pain on the bottom of the foot in the arch
- Worst in the mornings. First few steps out of bed are excrucating
-  Pain experienced during "push off" while running


Common causes of plantar fasciitis:

PF occurs due to a variety of reasons: overuse of improper, non-supportive shoes, over-training in sports, lack of flexibility, weight gain, too much standing. 


Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:

As with any pain ice and rest is the first step. Fill a bucket of water and add ice to it. Stick your foot in. Another option is to freeze a plastic bottle of water and roll your foot with it.
Other options:
- Use a lacrosse ball or golf ball to massage your foot. Gently roll over the pain spots.
- Use an Arch support
- Update your shoes 

If pain is present for more than three weeks, see a medical professional about the problem. Treatment options such as orthotics, foot taping, cortisone injections, night splints, and anti-inflammatories can help.



Shin Splints

Written by Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne February 29, 2020

shinsplintWe are beginning a new column where we will dive into some of the most common running injuries. First up: Shin Splints.

This is the pain felt along the front of your lower leg, at the shin bone. 

Shin splints are common among runners  who increase frequency, volume, or intensity of training, along with improperly fitting footwear or worn out shoes can cause problems. Also frequent running on hard surfaces can cause shin pain.


How to prevent them?

The first thing is to understand what they are.  Then you know what stresses you are putting on your body.  Consider the age and appropriateness of your shoes and review your training to make sure you aren’t making any huge sudden jumps.   Many runners with shin splints also report tight calves and relatively modest strength in the lower leg muscles. Proper stretching and strengthening of the calf muscles can help.   One productive exercise is heel walking.  [Check out our Heel Walking Demo Video here.]


If we feel shin splints coming on, what should we do?

There is an inflammatory component here, so ice can help a lot.  A reduction in training intensity and a change in running surfaces may be required to allow the symptoms to subside.  Anti-inflammatories may be appropriate, but consult your physician to ensure they are a safe choice for you.  If symptoms persist or become steadily worse, make an appointment with your doctor.

The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking.

Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • Keep your legs elevated.
  • Use ice or a cold compress.
  • Wear elastic compression bandages.
  • Use a foam roller.

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.



Achilles_cropped

In March, we examine another common concern for many runners.  Dr. Adam Tenforde returns to discuss a problem that can trip up runners like himself (28:23 for 10,000m), as well as recreational runners alike.

FNF:  What is Achilles tendonitis?

AT: Achilles tendonitis describes a condition involving the tendon that connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus) to the calcaneous (heel bone).  The condition can either result from an acute stress (such as increase in training) or develop over time from chronic stressors, such as biomechanical factors or poor footwear.