Category Archives: Workouts

The Best Injury Recovery Exercises for Runners

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve had my fair share of running injuries during the past few years. With each injury, I’ve spent some time in physical therapy where I’ve learned a lot. In the past, I always went for the bigger, flashier strength training exercises, thinking that I was gaining more. The more complicated the better, right? Not so much. The basics work. It’s all you need. However, what’s the key to making the basic exercises work?

Doing them. Consistently. And with good form.

Best Injury Recovery Exercises for Runners  happyfitmama.com

On a side note, I had been doing my PT exercises quite faithfully this winter/spring. By the time I was discharged from PT in early March, my strength and ROM gains were huge compared to where I started. My doctor and PT’s don’t have any answers for why I got injured other than injuries can sometimes just happen for no reason. And that really, really sucks!

The good news is that since I did keep up with my PT exercises, my recovery will hopefully be quicker than if I didn’t. Fingers crossed that’s my case.

Below are 16 of the best injury recovery exercises for runners. Most of these exercises will be prescribed to any runner (or anybody) with a lower extremity injury. They are quite basic but very effective in strengthening the core, hips and all the way down the legs. These exercises aren’t just for recovery. They are for maintenance of a strong foundation.

Exercise descriptions can be found here – > Core strength for runners Core Strong - happyfitmama.com

Exercise descriptions can be found here – > Hip Strengthening Exercises for Runners

Hip Strengthening Exercises for Runners - happyfitmama.com

Strong Legs - happyfitmama.com

Disclaimer: These exercises were prescribed to me by my own personal physical therapist throughout the years for various injuries. Always be sure to consult your own PT when faced with an injury. Every BODY is different.

FYI – Happy National Running Day! To celebrates, you can get a 6 month subscription to Women’s Running for only $5. Check it out HERE

What are your favorite injury prevention/recovery exercises?

Two Treadmill Workouts for Speed

I’m so excited to have Heather guest post for me today! As you all know, I’ve been tied to the treadmill more than I care to this winter. But then again, haven’t we all? Heather is here to share two boredom busting treadmill workouts for speed that will have you running faster than ever once Winter is over. And that’s happening soon, right?!?

Hi friends! I’m Heather from FITaspire.com and I’m so happy to share a few minutes with you today! I’m a Colorado girl who stays fit to enjoy all that life has to offer. Fitness gives me the energy for everyday life and the next adventure! As an athlete and coach, I have learned how important nutrition is as part of your overall fitness plan, so I aim to balance delicious healthy foods with the flexibility to indulge from time to time.

Since it’s the time of year that many people are avoiding the cold and snow outside, I thought I’d share a couple workouts that you use the treadmill to improve your speed!

Treadmill Speed Workouts

Why the Treadmill

Even when the weather doesn’t force you to the treadmill, I actually recommend the treadmill for many speed workouts:

  1. It’s Convenient: a running track is a great place for speedwork, but most of those are located at high schools. In my experience, high school tracks often have limited availability for the public. They are closed for early morning workouts or shifting schedules due to sports that also use the track.For me, the treadmill is something I can use on my schedule. If your track is easier to access, this might not be a concern for you!
  2. Forced Pace for Intervals (and Recovery): Speedwork is hard! It’s fun to run fast, but it can be hard to hold a very fast pace when you’re tired. The treadmill helps take some of the guesswork out of the equation and forces you to keep up with the speed you set it at. It also slows you down on the recovery intervals, so you can appropriately recover. Very good things!
  3. Controlled Environment: The weather absolutely impacts your performance. If it’s too hot, your heart rate will increase and you won’t be able to hold as fast a pace at the same effort level. On a treadmill, your environment is more controlled and you can minimize this impact.

The treadmill really is a great tool, if you can make peace with it!

Getting Started with Speedwork

If you’ve been consistently running for at least 2-3 months, you can begin to add speedwork to your training. Stick with one speed workout each week, unless you’re an advanced athlete and your coach directs you otherwise. I’m going to reference training paces for these two workouts. You can follow these steps to find your own personal training paces.

Both workouts below are best for someone new to speedwork or training for a 5K. I recommend starting with the 30/60 Repeats for 4-6 weeks, then progressing to 5K Intervals. Although I choose the treadmill on most occasions for these workouts, you can also choose the track or a flat route outside.

30/60 Repeats

This workout always starts out fun, but you are tired by that last repeat. You can progress this by dropping to 400M pace, or by increasing the number of reps. Don’t be afraid to increase the warm-up or cool-down, as needed.

Treadmill Speed Workouts - 30/60 Repeats

5K Intervals

After getting your body used to speedwork, it’s time to increase the length of the intervals and really focus on the 5K distance. When you progress to 6 intervals, you will be just under the full 5K distance at race pace. As will the previous workout, don’t be afraid to increase the length of the warm-up or cool-down, especially as you increase the number of intervals.

Treadmill Speed Workouts - 5K Intervals

I hope you enjoy adding a little speed to your run training. These are challenging, but you will see results if you put in the work! If you give these workouts a try, drop me a note and let me know what you think!! I love to see your post-run selfies on twitter or instagram!  You can also find me on Facebook and I’d love a follow, if you’re so inclined.

Till next time,

Heather (FITaspire)

profile

Thank you so much, Heather!

Bringing Strong Back

6 exercises for a strong back

Your mother was right (as usual) when she would tell you to stand up tall and don’t slouch. A woman with her shoulders down and her back straight shows confidence, strength and beauty. Strong back muscles are essential for good posture. The upper back muscles are used in pulling your shoulders down and back and helping you stand tall instead of hunched over. Good posture is also the easiest and fastest way to lose 10 pounds! Then there’s the added benefit of looking great while wearing halter tops and backless dresses. A strong back can be very sexy!

Not only is a strong back eye appealing, it is also an injury preventer. Low back pain is the number one diagnosis that physical therapists see every day. Sitting too much during the day combined with poor posture is an injury waiting to happen. Having a strong back will also make your day to day life easier and less strenuous. Carrying groceries, gardening and lifting your children will seem easier.

It’s time we are bringing strong BACK!

Last fall when, I injured my L5 and SI Joint, it was a wake up call about just how important a strong back is.

Incorporate these five back exercises into two to three days of your week. Along with additional exercises that target the rest of your body plus cardio and a healthy diet and you will have a strong, beautiful back in no time at all.

For this workout you will need:

  • A resistance band
  • A yoga mat or towel
  • Stability ball

Bringing Strong Back Workout  happyfitmama.com

Bent Over Row

  1. Hold onto either end of a resistance band, and step onto the middle of it with both feet, so your ankles are directly underneath your hips. Lean forward, bending at the hips with a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Keep your back parallel to the floor, and let your arms hang down. From here, pull both elbows up so they’re in line with your torso. Be sure to keep your elbows in and pointed upwards. Then slowly lower your hands back to the starting position to complete one rep.
  3. Complete three sets of 12 reps.

*For an added challenge, add a dumbbell in each hand.

Standing Reverse Fly

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, keeping a slight bend in the knees. With straight arms, hold the resistance band in front of you with your hands slightly lower than your shoulders.
  2. Pull your abs in tight as you open your arms out to the sides, focusing on the shoulder blades squeezing together. Slowly return your arms back to starting position.
  3. Do three sets of 12 to 15 rep

Back Extension on Stability Ball

  1. Place your torso on the ball and roll forward until you have both hands on the floor. Your legs should be straight behind you, toes on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower your torso down with your hands behind your head — basically you are wrapping your upper body around the ball.
  3. Lift your torso up until you form a straight line with your hips and legs.
    Lower back down to complete one rep.
  4. Do three sets of 12 reps.

Shrug

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides, stand on the resistance band and hold an end in each hand.
  2. Start with your shoulders relaxed, and as you exhale, shrug them up toward your ears. Hold the position for a few seconds before relaxing your shoulders as you inhale.
  3. Do three sets of 12 reps.

Superman

  1. Lay belly down on the mat. Extend your arms above your head. Legs are straight.
  2. Lift your upper back and legs and hold for five seconds, squeezing your glutes. Lower back down.
  3. Do three sets of 12 reps.

This workout can easily be done at home or a gym.