Mobility over flexibility, I’ve had that simple motto for a while now, meaning as runners we need to focus on our overall mobility in the running range of motion over general flexibility… but what is mobility?
Mobility – The ability to move freely and easily
Essentially mobility is everything to running. Your ability to move freely in the running plane of motion is incredibly important and this mobility can be hindered by:
Lack of local flexibility
General form issues (side to side movement)
Hip flexibility (ability to drive your knee upwards)
Flexibity, “your legs follow your arms”
Torsion of your torso (think twisting side to side)
So let me explain “mobility over flexibility”
Is flexibility important? Absolutely, but flexibility for the sake of flexibility isn’t optimizing your time. Static stretching will make you flexible but your dynamic flexibility hasn’t changed much. So working on flexibility using dynamic poses is far more successful, reaching down to touch your toes isn’t exactly a running specific motion right? Therefore, mobility is localized flexibility in relation to your running form, you need flexible hips and glutes because those muscle groups are directly responsible for knee lift and drive.
Chad and I have talked about this before but how you work on your mobility is extremely individualized. We all have our own tight muscle groups and past injury history. A good mobility plan will take that into effect and use it in reference to your running form.
Take a look at my video below where I take you through an initial running form consultation and show you what I look at when I look at mobility in general.
Here are the 3 methods of increasing your mobility, and then you will individualize within these methods:
Running Form Drills (as demonstrated in the video above)
Mobility exercises (these were popularized by Kelly Starrett and are hyper-focused on individual muscle groups)
Myo-fascial release (foam rolling and other methods to release muscle tension and allow the muscle to function properly)
I hope you could learn something from that but if you have questions go ahead and ask them in the comments of this article and I would love to answer them.
When my clients hear how I eat pizza, drink beer or hate working out sometimes, so many of them tell me that they thought I love working out, I eat a perfect diet every day, and that it’s probably impossible for me to gain weight.
The crazy thing is that I think it’s just an excuse.
For the longest time I would just walk out the door, do some leg swings – if that – and go on my way.
That was the routine!
However I know better now; the point of this pre run dynamic routine is to thoroughly warm up your running muscles and be ready to get into your run. So instead of taking 5 minutes to find yourself during the run you can warm up more efficiently and save yourself the pain of potential injury.
The more you warm up your hips, glutes and hamstrings the less stress you are putting on a cold muscle during the run.
You are essentially activating that muscle to fire properly so that your stride will benefit!
Check out the video below for a sample of my “A Day In The Life Video” series I’ve been working on. If you want, you can jump ahead to the 3:44 mark where I go through my warm up, touching on my glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads – to make sure that I am ready to go when I hit the road.
If you watched the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed the video!
Now let’s talk. Comment below about your warm up routine, or lack of and I’d love to see if I can help!
Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter if you have any other run-related questions.
Just this past Wednesday I got back from a 1 week vacation with my sister in Puerto Vallarta. It was a great week filled with a whole lot of relaxing and not much else. The perfect vacation.
To me the idea of vacation is that it’s a break from your normal routine. You do something different and for most you take time to relax. That’s what I did!
However, it may mean some difficulty getting BACK into your normal routine.
From my week away, I realized a few things.
1 – I love activity and I get bored pretty quickly by doing nothing.
I think this is an important element because it’s something that I consider in the whole concept of a ‘lifestyle change’. It’s what I consider to be my ‘normal routine’ and it’s all about momentum and habits.
If you’re the type of person that doesn’t exercise regularly and find yourself too tired to workout after work, that is your momentum and your habit. Your normal routine. You’ve built that through repetition. It’s hard to break out of that and into a workout routine because you’re going against your flow so-to-speak.
If you’re like me, and you’ve built a lifestyle of fitness, working out regularly and making healthy food choice are your momentum and habits. A few days of shitty food and no exercise would be going against your flow. After a few days of that you want to go back to your momentum. I found that after about 3 days of sitting by the pool I was ready to get up and move. I wanted a workout!
2 – I planned to rest and not much more.
On that third day I had decided I would go to the resort gym for a workout. However, when I packed for my trip I didn’t bring and running shoes, which of course are required in the gym. I had actually packed socks for my workouts, but at the last minute I recall tossing the shoes aside and saying “I’m only going to wear flip flops this whole week”. I wasn’t able to use the gym, but because I was in a workout mindset I ended up doing a few sets of push ups and pull ups near the pool. I made due with what I had in the moment, but had I planned for workouts I’d be better set.
That said, I’m actually a believer in a vacation being a vacation. Not just from work or other things you do, but from workouts too. Unless your vacation is pushing 2 weeks or more, having a week off from workouts can actually be a great thing for your body’s recovery. So I usually plan for the rest and plan to NOT workout.
3 – My metabolism is pretty good at managing calories.
A lot of people complain about gaining weight while on holidays. I get it and it makes sense. Especially when you’re at an all-inclusive like I was because the food and drinks are endless.
For me, because of my lifestyle as mentioned above and therefore the metabolism I’ve created in my body, I realized how well I self regulate. I had some indulgence of food and drink in the first day and a half. After that I felt like I wasn’t as hungry and I didn’t desire drinks as much. I wasn’t being active, my caloric demand therefore wasn’t as high and by filling it with greasy and sugary foods in the first couple of days, my body slowed me down and I didn’t feel hungry.
Again, I’m sure some people may experience the opposite of this and I’m not exactly a normal case here, but I do believe that it comes from my lifestyle and habits I’ve built.
4 – How you come back from Vacation helps dictate your momentum going forward.
Even though I wanted to exercise and I was pretty good at regulating my calorie intake during the trip, I did feel pretty lazy by the end of the week.
When I got back from my vacation on Wednesday afternoon and literally went straight to work. I coached classes at my gym that evening and again the next morning. I love what I do, but I was pretty tired.
I’ll be completely honest, when I came back I was completely planning on skipping my Wednesday night workout. I had plenty of excuses for why it would be best to wait till the next morning. Thankfully I’m slightly *cough* competitive and when one of my buddy’s came in to do the same workout I was supposed to do of course I jumped in.
I felt better afterwards and it kickstarted my momentum back into my normal routine. By jumping back into things, I jumped back on the wagon and regained my momentum of fitness and activity.
I think vacations can have a momentum to them. It’s good to relax and rest and recover if that’s what you’re going for. But doing that for a week or two gets you in that mode. I found that by the end of the week I was more tired throughout the day. I think part of it was from not having the best sleeps in my hotel bed, but also because that was the momentum I built. I had an inertia of not doing anything and my body was getting used to it and adapting.
For me, that’s a whole lot different than my normal routine. The key for me was that at the end of the week I broke that momentum and got back into my usual regimen. A couple days later I still feel a little more tired than normal, but I feel myself getting back on track.
Having the break is only good if you can get back on track again afterwards.
After over 10 years of coaching people in fitness and nutrition, I’ve finally realized that I know what I’m talking about. Well, truthfully, it’s that I’m finally confident in saying it. I’ve guided enough clients to the results they want that I am extremely confident with the programs and prescriptions I lay out for them.
However, it’s not usually the prescription that is the problem…
The problem is that search and narrow focus actually prevents them from getting results.
I’m extremely confident that when I create a program for a client that it will help them reach their goals.
I’ve learned that it’s not that I’m prescribing the wrong thing, it’s that what I’m prescribing isn’t being followed.
Even when it comes to the packaged programs, DVD systems and latests hame gym gadget, for the most part they are going to work if followed. For the most part…
They key element is that they need to be followed.
Are you following me? haha
So if you’re starting to sense the theme of the last few articles, it’s that I’m not really concerned with trying to find the best thing to reach your goals. What I’m most concerned with is making sure you’re putting in the work to get reach your goals.
Are you putting in the effort and doing the work?
And the work isn’t just putting in your reps at the gym, stretching here and there or hitting the pavement every day for your run. Especially if it’s short-term, motivation-dependent work.
The work is putting in the effort when it gets hard.
The work is still getting outside or going to the gym even when you don’t want to.
The work is stretching and rehab every single day.
The work is getting it done because you said you would.
The work is getting back up when you’ve fallen down.
The work is doing whatever it takes to reach your goal.
Over the last two articles I bashed the idea of asking “what’s the best” something to get results. I’m going to give you a better question:
What will it take for you to actually to do the work?
The long term work.
What do you need to be able to truly commit, dig in, fight through the hard times and stick it out to the end?
What will it take to go beyond the original motivation you had to start the race, and fully complete the miles?
Where will you find the support that will pick you up when you can’t do it on your own?
Okay, maybe that was a FEW better questions, but I hope it got you thinking.
I’ll leave you with one more thought:
Whatever your goal and whatever you’re trying to achieve, it’s HIGHLY likely that someone else has already done it. Use them for motivation, guidance and support. Doing something completely on your own rarely works, and there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help and support now and then.
However, if you do use others for support, make sure they support you reaching your goals vs doing it for you.
I love comments, feedback and even questions. Please comment below and let me know if this article has helped you.
Last week I wrote an article about knowing what to do, and how much people waste time trying to get information on a very micro level. They’re searching for the straightest road to success.
They’re constantly in search for that one thing that’s going to make all the difference when in reality there’s a lot of things that factor into getting results.
As an online fitness coach and I’ve worked with hundreds of people on their health and fitness goals. I, like many others in my field, would like to say that I know what I’m doing and that I have the answer.
However, this comes with a grain of salt. I don’t always have THE answer first try, but I do have many ways to find the answer.
Let me explain:
Like my last article, when we are searching for micro level answers like “the best exercise” or “the best food” for some specific outcome, we have a very limited vision. We are only focused on one thing and we want one answer. We are trying to find the straight road to success. The linear path.
Sadly, there are plenty of people in my industry that are offering their program as THE answer and THE path.
This is probably because what they’re selling worked for them. They found an exercise, food, routine, habit, schedule, etc that works for them.
And in truth it does or did work!
They found a path. One.
The question is whether or not that path will work for you.
So, when I say I know what I’m doing, and even if I say I have the answers, what I actually mean is that I have a really good idea of what I’m doing. It’s a very well educated guess that comes from years of experience and hundreds of clients testing different methods. Testing different paths.
I like to think of it like a nature guide, mechanic or computer repairman.
You hire a nature guide because they know where to go. They know the path and they’ve traveled it before. However, in nature unexpected things happen. There’s avalanches, floods, fires, rockslides and wild animals. The real value in the guide isn’t that they know the one path to get you where you want to go, it’s that they know many paths and can navigate the obstacles that come up.
The mechanics and computer repair men are similar in that they have a deep understanding of how their products work. If it’s not working, they are ready to navigate the obstacles. They have the skills to troubleshoot by looking at many different aspects and finding the area the needs to be addressed.
All of these people know how to do this because of years of experience, study and trial and error.
NONE of them know the perfect answer when they start.
They will probably be close, but what’s most important is from there they have many options and paths.
They will use education, trial and error, and experience to reach their goals.
They will navigate the obstacles and find the straightest road to success.
The great thing is you too have the ability to use trial and error to find your path. You can jump into the wild and figure it out. It will have many setback and struggles, but if you keep pushing you’ll find a way.
The key is that whether it’s on your own, or with support and guidance, there is always a way to reach your goal. However, it won’t be straight and it there’s no one or perfect answer. It will take trial and error.
My conclusion is very similar to last week:
Don’t waste time trying to find the perfect answer or one path, it doesn’t exist.
No one thing is going to work for everyone. And even if it does work for you, it usually won’t keep working forever.
There is no straight road to success, but an experienced coach will help you find the straightest.
For the month of February, 2016, I am going to be offering Snapchat coaching to ANYONE that wants it!
What the heck is Snapchat coaching? Let me explain:
First, if you’re not sure what Snapchat is, you may not need to read on. However, if do know it and/or you want a personal coach for a month and are willing to learn new technology, then READ ON my friends!
As an online coach, I’m always looking at how I can best use technology to support my clients. I feel like Snapchat is really starting to take of in the “older” generations now. (25-45+) I also feel like there is a huge opportunity to be able to help someone in a way that other social platforms don’t provide.
To figure this out, I need to test it. To test it I need people. People means you!
For the month of February, I’ll do my best to answer every Snap you send me. Questions about your training, motivation, eating, supplements, ANYTHING. Consider it a one-on-one Q&A.
I say I’ll “do my best” because ONE: my current clients and business are my priority, TWO: I’m not sure how many people are going to take me up on this, THREE: I don’t know how many questions people are going to ask me. Regardless, I’m willing to give it a shot.
A question popped up on a questionnaire I filled out last week: What makes a successful running coach?
I was filling it out to spend two months in Flagstaff while the NAZ Elite crew get ready for the Olympic trials. The question really got me thinking… that’s pretty relative right?
After all, who determines what successful means? Is it simply that you’ve coached runners to new prs? Or maybe all of your runners just enjoy training? Or do you have to be recognized by your peers?
I believe there needs to be a bit of all three to be successful. With that in mind – here are some points I pride myself on that every coach needs to keep in mind:
Your runners need to enjoy training
You must be in tune with your runners, don’t let them burn out. Training can be tough and there are days they might hate you, but you need to know the difference between being tired from the rigors of training and being mentally worn down. Sometimes your athletes will need a day off.
Your runners need to be in the position to run their best every training block
The training must suit their needs, and you must be willing to react and anticipate any problems they may have.
Your runners need to be comfortable talking to you
This means being open with your athletes, don’t just tell them what you think they want to hear. Be honest and be real, because if your athletes can’t talk to you – how will they tell you how they are feeling.
You need to be able to market yourself and expand your coaching presence
This is something I struggle with at times but am constantly working on. A successful coach needs to be able to sell their brand and have your coaching philosophies in front of as many eyes as possible. This means being able to influence runners – experienced and beginners alike.
You must be able to talk confidently about your coaching methods
If you can’t talk confidently about the science or reasoning backing your training then your runners won’t feel confident executing the plan. Don’t just say regurgitated terms, really KNOW why the training works and what you are accomplishing. You don’t have to be a Biology major but you do need to know why you are training this way.
You must be flexible with your coaching methods
Sometimes your methods won’t work like you expected: maybe it’s how the runners are responding, maybe it’s a lot of external stress on the runners, maybe you didn’t execute your end of the plan as well as you wanted. You must – MUST – be able to change your approach! As one of my mentors told me, “let the runners have the glory,
You must be willing to learn
Whether that’s by reading or asking questions, be a sponge and never stop learning – even if you can’t incorporate a method or you disagree with the reasoning behind it. The more you know the more you can be ready for any questions your runners may ask.
You must be willing to move on
Sometimes things just don’t work out – you need to be fluid. Maybe there is a athlete relationship that isn’t working or a way you are explaining things or maybe a way you are marketing yourself. Don’t be afraid to shut it down and move on to something else… don’t be afraid to fail.
Ultimately success can be defined as many things but it always comes down to the runners!
Follow me on Twitter to ask me how I stand up to these points, or if you have guidelines I didn’t cover.
This past weekend I had one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a very long time!
I went to bed at 2am and woke up at 10:30 am. Nothing in between, just a solid 8.5 hour sleep with some vivid dreams. It was great and I felt rested.
While laying in bed for a little while longer I did what we all do and played on my phone for a bit. One item of playing was a notification from the S Health application on my phone. I’ve been using it a little bit for tracking water intake, caffeine intake and sometimes take my pulse. A pretty cool app.
About a week or so ago I saw that the app could track sleep so I figured I’d check that out too. You can put in a goal of when you want to go to sleep and when you want to wake up.
During the week my sleep is pretty regular so I put my bedtime as midnight and my wake time as 6:20. So, each day during the week I crushed it. I was getting badges and awards all over the place because I consistently went to bed at that time, give or take and hour, and got up at 6:20 every day.
This time however, was Saturday. I wasn’t working so there was no alarm set. I went to bed later and got up later.
As I said, it was one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a long time. When I entered my data however I got this:
It was considered a “poor” sleep because I didn’t got to bed nor get up at the times listed in my goal.
Maybe there is a way to have a separate weekend goal but I’ve only been using this feature for a few days and didn’t really dig into all the options.
Either way, I still have the same issue of: how can the app really know how good my sleep is? All week I’ve been reaching awards by the apps standards yet still feeling tired. However, when I sleep well and finally feel good, my sleep gets rated poor.
This is my point for the whole article.
I really appreciate apps and technology and what they’ve been doing for our lives. Just the other week actually I had an incredible experience of Facebook notifying me and my friends our “safety status” because we were in the affected area of hurricane Patricia. However, I still have a hard time getting on board with most apps because of how limited they are.
For something like sleep, and any other health variable as far as I’m concerned, there are many factors that will affect the quality. Basing everything on when you go to sleep and when you get up really doesn’t tell you much. It’s kinda like saying I’m unhealthy because I weigh 200lbs or because my BMI is over 27. One metric can’t give me that conclusion.
When you’re only looking at one small piece, you’ll never understand the whole puzzle.
So Galaxy S Health sleep app, and fitness apps everywhere, thanks for being a fun toy that allows my inner nerd to feel incredibly special while quantifying my life, but I don’t think you’ll ever truly know how well I slept last night. Thanks but no thanks.
Last weekend I got to spend a few days in San Diego, California. What was supposed to be just a weekend turned into a 5 day trip. There’s worse things in life right?!? 😀
As a quick weekend trip I didn’t make a lot of plans other than exploring the city. When my trip got extended, the first thing I thought of was: Who do I know in this area that I can visit? One of the first people that popped to mind was my friend Tahirih.
First, a bit of background:
I first met Tahirih about 2 years ago, I was looking for new coaches and we connected about doing online coaching. She started working with me offering Online Yoga Coaching. Now, 2 years ago Online Fitness Coaching was still a pretty new concept and people didn’t really “get it” – online yoga coaching was an even bigger stretch for people to take.
Long story short, Tahirih moved on from online yoga coaching to exciting new things with her nutritional education and career. We stopped working together but remained connected online and through the social medias.
Back to the present:
I called up Tahirih and asked what she was up to for the weekend and if she wanted to hang out. Finally, we were going to meet in person! I’ve had this experience a few times with online coaching clients but this was the first time I’d be meeting one of my non-local online coaches in person.
Thanks to the interwebs we’ve Skyped a ton and follow each other on Facebook and Instagram so it didn’t exactly feel like a ‘first meeting’. It’s like we had known each other for years… because we have!
I write this because online friendships, relationships and business interactions are so much more common these days and I like that it’s less of a scary thing. When I started to work online, people I had a hard time understanding online coaching and how it could possibly work. I now have a ton of clients and coaches that I’ve never met in person, but I am still able to know about them and their lives like they are dear friends.
Gone (I hope) are the days where people feel you can’t really connect/work with someone online, because in my experience that’s completely un-true. The internet, social media and technology is bringing the world closer together and it’s incredible what we are able to achieve!
This is one of the most common and one of my favourite self-prescriptions I hear:
“I’m too sore to workout, I need a rest day”
If you workout consistently, soreness is part of your life. And if you workout inconsistently, soreness is inevitable every time you “restart” your training. Even if you sit at a desk all day soreness is likely part of your life too.
So what do you do about it?
Rest day? Ice bath? Salts?
Most people rest. “I’m sore so I need to let my body recover and rest. I belive this mindset stems from a common doctor response: “if it hurts don’t do it”.
But what if that’s not the best option?
When it comes to exercise, typically it’s the opposite that’s true. If your muscles are sore from a workout, most of the time using and challenging those muscles again will help reduce the soreness.
When it comes to lifestyle soreness, like sitting at a desk all day, the same prescription can be true. Exercising, strengthening and stretching the sore areas/muscles will do a lot to reduce the soreness.
However, if the soreness is extreme due to muscle fibre damage, which is often the case in a “first workout back”, then rest and repair is needed otherwise you can create further damage.
When you have soreness and tightness that has built up over time, recovery and/or reversing the soreness also takes time. And in my experience more time than most people want to invest. I’m talking both time in the sense of days, weeks and even months to recover and also time in the sense of amount spent per day working on active recovery.
No matter the reason, you’ve put a lot of time and effort into creating the soreness so you’re going to need to put time and effort into reversing the soreness too. Also, it can often get worse before it gets better. Recovery is usually a marathon, not a sprint. Plan for the long run and experience the benefits.
Running should be simple – you put one foot in front of the other and go for it, then why is it so hard sometimes?
Today I will take you through a decision I made in college that changed the course of my running career – and how you can apply the lesson to your training today!
I was at an impasse, cross country season of my senior year had just finished and I was burnt out – school was killing me, I hadn’t pr’d in two years and I was working as hard as ever. So what did I do? I took my time off like I do every season hoping it would help me reset… it didn’t and I resumed training and resumed going through the motions.
Until one day I just so happened to forget to bring my watch with me to the trail, so I ran without it – and I actually didn’t feel miserable.
Woah! – could it be that simple?
So I kept running without a watch all week – feeling naked- until it was time for my weekly tempo, could I run that by feel too?
Yes, yes I could – I set out on my run taking it easy until I felt loose and went for it. I know what tempo pace should feel like, comfortably hard, but it had never felt that way to me when I was running my prescribed pace. That run felt different, I went ‘comfortably hard’ and didn’t worry about what pace I was hitting. Was it slower than usual? probably but I was enjoying myself more and my workouts had me feeling better than ever.
Throughout track season I was running the best workouts of my life without any of my usual blow-ups, then I went on to pr at every distance on top of finally breaking university records in the 3000m and 1500m.
The usual anxieties of always having a pace to run had left and I was feeling more confident on a daily basis.
Running by feel will take work, I had been running for 9 years when I decided to go for it! For more experienced runners like myself feel free to go for it, but for newbies and those who aren’t familiar with their paces here is a simple workout you can try!
The purpose of the step fartlek is to be able to run at a harder pace while counting your steps instead of time, this is a nice short workout that will show you what you can do without having to constantly look at your watch.
10 on – 10 off – 20 on – 20 off – 30 on – 30 off – 40 on – 40 off – 50 on – 50 off – 60 on – 60 off – 70 on – 70 off – 80 on – 80 off – 90 on – 90 off – 100 on – 100 off – and back down the ladder.
Go out and give running ‘naked’ a try and tell us how it feels – sound off in the comments or tweet us @Anthrophysique