Category Archives: Workouts

The Best Injury Prevention Exercises for Runners

Stay off the injured runner list with the best injury prevention exercises for runners.

It’s another edition of Monthly Workouts for Runners BY Runners. Here’s the previous month’s workouts if you missed them:

Stuck Inside Workouts for Runners

Two-a-Day Workouts for Runners

Upper Body Workouts for Runners

This month, the topic is Injury Prevention Essentials 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.

Here are 7 exercises that I do routinely to help keep my body strong and off the injured list.

 

Keep running strong and injury free with these 7 essential injury prevention exercises for runners. happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Squat (Good for pelvis stabilization, glute strength, balance)

  • Balance on your left foot. Bending at the knee, sit your hips back as if you are going to sit in a chair behind you. Aim for your upper leg to be parallel or lower to the ground.
  • Return to standing position. Repeat 12 reps before switching to the right leg.

Eccentric Calf Raises (Good for Achilles Tendonitis)

  • Start on your tiptoes on the edge of a step, gradually lower your heel below the forefoot.
  • Using the other leg, raise yourself back to the starting position.
  • Do three sets of 15 reps of each exercise, twice a day.

Dog & Fire Hydrant (Good for glutes)FYI: I’m sure there is a proper name for this but I think this gives a good visual of what the exercise should look like.

  • Get on the floor with knees below your hips and hands beneath shoulders.
  • Lift right knee off the floor and way out to the side, like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. (Sound effects are optional).
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds and lower slowly.
  • Perform 12 reps, then repeat on the left leg.

Single Leg Bridge (Good for glutes)

  • Lay with back on the floor, feet flat and knees bent, arms on the floor for stabilization.
  • Raise right leg up off the floor.
  • Pressing your left heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a bridge position.
  • Slowly lower your body to the floor and repeat 12-15 reps on each side.

Lateral Leg Raise (Good for hips and glutes)

  • Lay on your right side with your legs extended out and stacked one atop the other.  Head can be supported with hand.
  • Engage your left glute muscles and slowly lift up your leg keeping your foot in a neutral position.
  • Lower leg to starting position. Do 12 reps. Repeat on other side. May use a resistance band for higher intensity.

Plank (Good for core strength)

  • Begin in push up position and lower down to your forearms, making sure shoulders are over elbows and palms are flat on the floor.
  • Make a straight line from your head to your heels, hold this position for 20-60 seconds.

Side Plank (Good for core strength)

  • Place your right elbow on the ground.
  • Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line, balancing on the outside edge of your right foot.
  • Keep your waist up and lifted, and don’t sink into your bottom shoulder. Reach your left hand to the ceiling.
  • Hold for 20-60 seconds before repeating on left side.

And here are even more Injury Prevention Exercises and Tips from 4 of my running friends. Allie is too busy having fun in Italy to join us this month. Can you believe she didn’t invite us along? The nerve! 😉

Pin away so you have a stash of workouts on hand to keep running strong!

Three key moves for any runner from Sarah.

Prevent running injuries with these moves from RunFarGirl

Don’t forget the Donkey Kicks from Laura.

Injury Prevention for Runners

Go Around the World with Carly.

Injury Prevention for Runners - Fine Fit Day

Nellie has tips for preventing injuries.

Nellie's Injury Prevention Tips Graphic

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and Running Coaches’ Corner this week.

What’s your favorite injury prevention tool or exercise?

Race Pace Workout

trail running happyfitmama

I think I caught race fever over the weekend.

With a ton of friends racing local 5k’s, the Maine Coast Half/Full Marathon(way to go Sarah and coaching client, Cindy!), Sugarloaf Marathon(way to go Kailey on your 2nd marathon!!), and one of my favorite races, Wallis Sands Half (Robin had a 12 minute PR!!), I felt the urge to register for all the races. And I can’t forget to give a High 5 to Allie for killing her Tri on Sunday (You raise me up Allie!) and my coaching client, Dawn, for scoring a huge pure and 2nd overall woman in her 1/2.

The grit and determination had me fired up. I know the hustle and grind of training, especially long distance training, is a pain but I do like following a good plan. I’m this close (you can’t see me but I’m holding my fingers about an inch apart) to signing up for a fall marathon. It’s been over a year since I ran a race…do I even know how to do it anymore?

I ran trails with my friend Karin on Saturday afternoon. It was simply marvelous. All I was thinking – Why don’t I do this more often? Dirt just feels so much better. Not just for my body but for my mind and spirit. It’s so quiet and serene in the woods. And I feel like a kid again, running through the woods, playing with friends. One thing is for sure my body could tell I ran on different terrain. My hips and glutes were sore from climbing, hopping and jumping. I’m committing myself to doing more trails from now on. I need it!

trails2

It’s hard to believe that I was on the pain train fighting off injury (maybe?) two weeks ago. I was hesitant to go to a chiropractor, but I thought, why not? My mid back was painful to the touch. The fascia in an area was just not happy. And my Piriformis was inflamed because of it. Last Tuesday I had an adjustment and it seemed like everything went right back into place. I’ve felt good as new ever since then. That and I’ve been practicing good biomechanics while seated (I’m a habitual leg crosser or will have one leg tucked underneath me). I’ve also been doing very, very basic spinal exercises. I scoffed at the idea of doing a side plank or plank with my knees on the ground – too easy! But I think a side plank with just the hips elevated is actually harder than the full position. Try it – you might be surprised too. I’ve felt stronger in a few days with 5 simple exercises. Another reminder that simple is best.

So I’ve got a fun workout for you today!

I love doing ladder workouts at the track. The best thing about it – what goes up, must come down! The same applies with this Race Pace Workout. You start out at a blazin’ 5k pace and finish the set at a comfortable marathon pace. Those 4 mins at marathon pace feel downright slow after the other paces. I’ve been doing this workout every so often when I feel the need to dial up some speed but don’t want to necessarily do it at the track. Don’t get me wrong, I have grown to love the track but sometimes I feel that I need to do the work on the road to really feel like it’s possible to run that fast on something other than a pancake flat surface that goes round and round.

Dial up your speed with this Race Pace Workout on your next run. happyfitmama.com

Repeating this workout 2x, it would be 50-60 minutes depending on your pace for the warm up and cool down. If you wanted more, repeat it 3x. Either way, it’s a great way to push the pace with variety.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

You can find more speed workouts on my Pinterest board created just for the need for speed!

Do you ever get race fever?

Where do you prefer to do speed workouts?

Balance Exercises for Runners

Strengthen your feet, ankles, hips and glutes with these 4 balance exercises for runners. happyfitmama.com

This post in sponsored by prAna in partnership with FitApproach.

 

I spent the majority of 2015 in physical therapy from my partially torn FHL tendon and Posterior Tib Tendonitis. A huge part of my rehab was doing single leg exercises that focused on building up my ankle stability and balance. With a big toe that couldn’t even curl, it made even the little things, like balancing on one foot, difficult.

Balance exercises are huge for runners. If you think about it, running is essentially hopping on one leg over and over again. But it’s a little more graceful…hopefully. To build on your balance, you need to start from the ground up. The foot and ankle are your foundation. When you have a strong ankle you are less likely to be injured and much more likely to keep your balance under uneven surfaces. Your ankle never relaxes in running. It’s constantly working so you need it to be in tip top shape.

One of the orthopedic doctor’s that I saw last summer recommended I try Hoka’s. He’s a serious runner so I thought why not? At that point I would have done anything to run again.  So I bought a pair and they have been in my running shoe rotation along with my Saucony Guide’s and Triumphs. I will admit, I do like the cushioning. It’s funny, that even with all the cushioning, I still feel like I can feel the ground below me better than with other shoes. I know exactly if I’m heel or mid foot striking.

Last week, Amanda wrote a fantastic article for Competitor. But after reading Amanda’s article, I know that I can’t slack off on my balance training. It is one tool in my tool belt to running strong and injury free. Here are four balance exercises for runners that I are in my weekly rotation.

Toe Stand with Arms Overhead

This exercise is super basic but really makes me think about using my toes to help stabilize my balance. All you need to do is stand with your feet hip width apart and rise up onto your tip toes. Once there, raise your hands up overhead. Hold this posture for as long as you can without moving your feet to steady yourself. I try for 5-10 slow breaths. If you want to make it harder, close your eyes.

Toe Raise with arms overhead happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Balance on BOSU

The BOSU is great for building balance. If you don’t have a BOSU, any unstable surface will work. A pillow or couch cushion works great. To do: Stand on the center of the BOSU and raise the other leg off the ground. Be sure to not let your hip sink – they should be even. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds.

Single Leg Balance on BOSU Ball happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Dead Lift with Med Ball

This exercise makes me WORK. I have no problems with a regular dead lift but doing it single leg with a med ball takes concentration and so much balance. To do: Stand holding a med ball. Begin to lean forward with your upper body as your left leg lifts out behind you. Slowly lower the med ball and touch it to the ground. Return to starting position. Repeat 12-15 times before switching legs.

Single Leg Dead Lift w Med Ball happyfitmama.com

Single Leg Squat and Reach

If you are looking for an exercise that works your balance and fires up the hip and glutes, look no further. My PT had me to do this exercise with small cones to my left and right sides and one to the front. To do: Stand on one leg. Squat down and touch the floor (or cone if using) to your left side. Repeat the squat/touch sequence to the front and right side. Return to the left side repeating squat/touch. Traditionally, the opposite hand from the leg that is squatting down is used to touch the ground. However, my PT had me do it both ways. I think the same hand, same leg is much harder especially when you have to cross over. If this becomes to easy, you can progress to an unstable surface like a BOSU or foam pad.

Single Leg Squat and Reach happyfitmama.com

Note: I like to do all of these exercise without shoes to really make my feet work. With shoes, it’s way to easy to get “comfy” and not have my whole foot/ankle doing the work.

Switching gears from workout to workout clothing.

Last month, I had the opportunity to combine three of my favorite things  – yoga, prAna and an Instagram Challenge. How could I pass that up? I am loving my new prAna Prism Capri’s. It’s my third pair and I honestly want to buy every single color. Hands down the best capri for yoga, strength training and hanging out.

Learning how to do handstands lately. | happyfitmama.com

I’ve been a huge fan of prAna for a few years. I not only love the form and function of their clothing, but also how well made it is and with thought. They source their clothes from sustainably conscious material and energy sources and make sure that working conditions are good for all of their employees.

The cool thing with prAna gear is that you can breathe easier when you wear it. They have been using bluesign® systems since 2012 to make sure that the manufacturing of their products don’t contribute to air and water pollution. There is no use of harsh chemicals so their fabrics meet environmental and human safety standards.

Yoga in prAna | happyfitmama.com

You can check out all of prAna’s spring gear and get 15% off your total order when you enter code PSSS16HFM at checkout.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday for sweat inspiration!

Do you incorporate balance exercises into your training?

Do you own the same piece of workout gear in multiple colors because you love it so much?