Written by Joel Sattgast, DPT
When it comes to smart, strong, and consistent training, the winter months often prove challenging for a variety of reasons. The days are shorter, sunlight is scarce, and, if you reside in the pacific northwest, finding a window where it's not raining can prove difficult, if not impossible. Adding injury or setbacks from a season that did not go according to plan is the final ingredient in a terrible recipe, and the ultimate reminder that perhaps you have found yourself in the doldrums of training.
It's times like these when athletes need to behave like a thermostat rather than a thermometer. The difference is stark. A thermostat automatically regulates the environment by preventing large fluctuations in temperature. In contrast, a thermometer is at the mercy of the environment and prone to marked swings. In essence, a thermostat relies on information from the environment to generate an appropriate output, whereas a thermometer directly reflects the state of the environment. To foster peak athletic performance, consistent training and sound decision making are a must. It's therefore essential to adjust to the ebb and flow of life through making minor adjustments on daily basis. Of all the athletes we coach, the happiest and most successful ones in sport as well as in life behave in a manner similar to a thermostat. Be the thermostat!
Running is a skill that demands rhythm and timing, and typically a considerable amount of practice (for most people) for proficiency's sake. While I assure you that there are no easy ways to "hack running," there are some simple cues and considerations that medical and rehabilitation professionals should be aware of when it comes to working with recreational runners.
Although the lion's share of the running gait takes place in the sagittal plane, we must always remember that running is a triplanar activity. Additionally, deficits in the frontal and transverse plane often play an important role in addressing common running related injuries among recreational distance runners. It's therefore important for rehab and fitness professionals to refine their exercise prescription related to challenging runners beyond the sagittal plane. To accomplish this, I thought it would be helpful to share a simple three way step exercise that I routinely use in working with both healthy and injured runners to prepare them for the performance demands of the sport. While there are many ways to progress or regress this exercise, Im simply demonstrating the baseline exercise. All you need is a step, cinderblock, or platform, and you are in business. Happy training!
E-BOOK for RUNNERS
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