Small Steps, Big Changes

Bridge exercise  | happyfitmama.com

As a Stonyfield blogger ambassador, I was compensated for writing this post as part of my partnership with the brand. The thoughts and opinions expressed are, as always, all my own.

We are 14 days into 2015. How’s it going? Sticking with your goals?

I’m happy to say that I am still on track for my running goals. I met with a strength coach over the weekend who gave me an eye opening functional assessment. Good news? It’s not all my hips fault for my injuries. Bad news? My glute strength is basically non-existent. I’m using my hamstrings and quads to get me by. Which can only get me by for so long before there’s (another) injury. He’s giving me 3 weeks to work on incorporating high quality (not quantity) basic exercises into my routine (again) that focus on my glutes before we even begin to work together.

Simple exercises like one leg bridges, side leg lifts and a few clam shell variations. And squats, even one legged, I should not be doing. Why? My quads take over for my glutes every single time.

He told me one small step can make big changes in my running.

That got me to thinking about what other small steps I can take (or already do) in running:

  • Do a dynamic warm up before each run
  • Foam roll or use The Stick after every run
  • Run Garmin free sometimes
  • Practice my race fueling and hydration on my long runs
  • Get monthly deep tissue massages
  • Wear the proper running shoes
  • Wear weather appropriate gear
  • Cross train
  • Strength train my whole body
  • Eat a balanced diet for every meal and reduce random snacking
  • Keep up on PT exercises
  • Eat carbs and protein within 30 minutes of finishing a hard run
  • Proper refueling throughout the day of a hard workout

I haven’t been doing the greatest when it comes eating something within 30 minutes after a long run. It’s during those runs that I usually meet up with friends. Which also usually means it’s at least 30 minutes or more before I get something in my system other than water. I’ve begun to pack a Larabar since I usually don’t have much of an appetite immediately right after and those go down like candy.

Once I get home and have more of an appetite, I’ve been trying to refuel with a high quality organic protein and carbs. Stonyfield Greek yogurt topped with my Oat and Quinoa Granola and fruit is something I always look forward to. It tastes like dessert so it’s a good way to trick my mind into thinking I’m indulging in ALL the sweets because I ran 14 miles. Oat and Quinoa Granola with #Stonyfield  HappyFitMama.com

Another good option is a smoothie. Right now, smoothies do not even sound appealing. I’m cold enough! But when the temperatures are decent, I love to slurp on an Apple Pie Smoothie.

Small steps. Big changes.

Bigger and better. More advanced. Sometimes all you need are the basics. It’s true in strength training, fueling your body and in life.

Here’s to strong glutes and healthy refueling in 2015!

What small steps do you take in running that result in big changes?

26 comments on “Small Steps, Big Changes

    1. One leg bridges (making sure it’s not about how far you can go up!), side leg lifts (again small movement) and a couple of clam shell variations to really isolate the glutes. Simple exercises!

  1. I have the same flute issue (shocking!) and have been building it back up for weeks now. I have to say that it does seem to be working but, that means I have to keep working. Sometimes it’s hard enough to just get out for a run and now there’s all this “extra” strength and stretching stuff!!
    I don’t think I knew about quinoa granola. Interesting!
    Allie recently posted..4 Alternate Uses for A #TrailHeads Headband (Giveaway!)My Profile

  2. Love love love this! I am trying to get on top of the little things, foam rolling after runs is my main focus. The biomechanics lab I went to threw out 80% of my exercises, saying that they were strengthening the wrong muscles for me, that was interesting, but I have to say I noticed the difference doing the ones he suggested. I think these little changes are going to work for both of us, and I am excited to see you continue the marathon training journey to boston 🙂
    Tina Muir recently posted..Be Brave, Be Strong, Be You!My Profile

  3. The lack of glute use is so, so common, unfortunately. It has plagued me for ages. But I have made a ton of progress with daily glute/stability work. Now I don’t feel all those aches and pain that used to be with me constantly. Keep up all your great work!
    misszippy1 recently posted..How to go plain Greek yogurtMy Profile

  4. Hi Angela! You are not alone in your improper glute activation. I’ve trained so many people who have no idea that they aren’t using their glutes for everyday activities and for physical activities and are relying on other muscles. But it’s something you can fix with all the exercises above. It won’t be easy, but will be worth it. Have you tried protein shakes directly after a run? Seems like if you could down one of those quickly then eat a bit later it would help your recovery? Anywho, have a great day! 🙂
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted..Joining a healthy green movement and my eatsMy Profile

  5. Nice info here! yes yes yes…good reminders. I guess one of the biggest things I try to remember is to keep the easy runs slow enough! Not wearing a watch can help so much with this!!

  6. I’ve started a new pilates regime that I do after my runs. It hard after my long run, but I have noticed (and only into week 4 into a 12 week plan), that is is actually helping.
    Small changes can have the biggest impact.
    Be the turtle I say.
    Matilda recently posted..A Letter to MeMy Profile

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