Why I Don’t Do Static Stretching

Static Stretching

Static stretching has long been abandoned as a pre workout warmup but should we also abandon it post workout? There is a lot of evidence that supports the idea that we should!

Now when I say static stretching I am referring to exercises such as bending over and touching your toes where you aren’t moving or exploring range of motion. We often go through these stretches with no real purpose and no real minfulness for the task at hand. Static stretching will increase your flexibility sometimes but it is not the most efficient in increasing your range of motion or teaching your body efficiency in the running motion.

Mobility exercises like the ones I have talked about in previous posts, often involve exploring the running range of motion such as the couch pose pictured below.

Static Stretching

There are also dynamic stretches that explore your sport specific range of motion – think of a dynamic warm up! You have leg swings, hip flexor pulses, fire hydrants and many other variations that work on activating the muscle as well as increasing mobility. I’m a big fan of working in the running specific range of motion and doing everything you can to improve your overall efficiency.

Then there’s yoga as well which takes all of these elements and incorporates core strength and breathing – I love yoga because it forces you to think about what you’re doing while you breathe and while you move. It’s not about sitting in a stretch and lengthening that muscle it’s about building strength in motion and building range of flexibility in all three planes of motion.

Is static stretching going to hurt you? Not necessarily but there is some evidence that excess stretching can lengthen the muscles too quickly. The point of this post is that there are a lot better ways to get more bang for your buck when talking about injury prevention and increasing your range of motion.

I will continue this idea in later posts but for now if you have any questions you can always reach out to me on Twitter, Instagram or drop by my Anthrophysique page.

Happy Running,

– Justin

2 Years Later – A Running Coach’s Retrospective

February 6th marked my 2 year anniversary coaching (coachiversary if you will) with Anthrophysique.

It has been a crazy journey from college coach trying to figure out his options to online running coach with a clear plan for the future. I have learned a lot, from my first series of blogs to my first full time athletes, I’ve worked hard and didn’t necessarily see the results right away but you have to stick with it and keep grinding – Running and life often require the same principles.

Online Running Coach

 

The main principle being hard work, and what it means to actually work hard – it’s a subjective idea! Your ideas of hard work may seem like a breeze to someone else and vice versa. When I started my coaching I thought I was working hard but there is such thing as being busy for the sake of being busy, it’s the same idea in running – at a certain point you have to take that jump in effort to see more results. Continue reading “2 Years Later – A Running Coach’s Retrospective”

Having Confidence in your Training Plan

I think it’s safe to say that confidence is a good thing, especially when you truly believe in your training plan… but what happens when you lose faith in your training or… you are too cocky about your fitness.

I’ve seen both situations – as well as runners who have failed from not realizing, or succeeded from checking their mentality.

Like anything in running there is a tendency to be hypercritical on every aspect of how you feel during a run. Running is more of a mental sport than we realize and those mentality shifts can happen without us realizing if we aren’t taking stock in our running or if we aren’t realizing that bad days happen. It’s the biggest thing I harp on with my athletes, how are you feeling? Is it mental or physical?

You can’t get too hung up on the minutia of a training plan… I mean you can but it really isn’t necessary until you’ve explored all other options..

What do I mean by minutia?

Think running 8:20 pace instead of running 8:50 pace – only when you’ve explored all other options should you be worried about easy pace and how it is making you feel. I’ve gone into easy pace and running by feel before so I’m not going to get into it here but my point is that your confidence shouldn’t come from easy run pace until you’ve explored all of the other variables. Minutia simply refers to being caught in the weeds… i.e. not seeing the bigger picture.

Confidence in your training is the greatest performance enhancer, go to any cross country meet in the nation and observe the runners on the line. I guarantee you that the top teams will have a certain swagger about them; they know they are ready and they are confidence that they will race well however they aren’t cocky to the point they aren’t ignoring the race plan.

Confidence in your Training Plan

 

You need that swagger! it isn’t saved for high school kids anymore. I give you permission to be wholly confident in your training, believe that what’s on paper will take you to the finish line! It’s ok to question things along the way but be sure that the right solution will be found and your body will react in the best way possible… It’s a confidence game after-all.

– Justin

Road Racing Is About Patience… Not Every Race Will Be Your Best

Road Racing

Road Racing is addictive – I get it, there is a reason why road races around the country made over $100,000,000 in total revenue last year.

We love racing but sometimes that comes without the proper buildup; maybe your friend talked you into it or you chose to run two marathons back to back… chances are you are not 100% prepared to run your best.

I’ve made that mistake at times – we used to think that the best way to train was to race yourself into shape but now we know that you have a finite number of hard efforts in a training cycle, be it mentally or physically… something has to give.

Success in road racing is about patience.

Sometimes racing too much can be detrimental to your confidence if you aren’t ready to roll – but racing can also be a good benchmark for your current training. Racing is a two way street and as a runner you must have perspective and you must have patience – there is a lot of experience that goes into knowing if it is a good time to race. That is where a good coach can be invaluable – knowing when you need a race to test fitness and knowing when it will kill your confidence or wear you down.

I tackled this very issue in one of my A Day In The Life videos:

 

– Justin

To keep up on what I’m doing – follow me on Instagram and Twitter

Step out of your Comfort Zone and run a PR

The worst thing you can do for yourself is be comfortable…

Ok ok hear me out for a second!

The best work is done when you venture out of your comfort zone. I feel it too – I suffer from that fear of getting uncomfortable.

“We’re involved in racing because there’s that element of competition. But there’s that desire to push yourself beyond the natural comfort zone and the boundaries that are preset if you like, and to be better than the rest.” – Allan Mcnish

Then you’re struck with negative self talk, “what if I try and fail, what if everyone laughs at me, what if I have nothing to offer”.

Instead of fighting against that negative self talk, it’s so much easier to sit back and stay comfortable with where you are.

Think of this in a running context, Continue reading “Step out of your Comfort Zone and run a PR”

The Lifestyle of Running, It’s Not Just Logging Miles

Running plans are everywhere these days, however, just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you will stick to it… or even see results.

The truth is, being fit is about more than just running. Sure running receives the glory – but it’s what you do away from the roads that make the biggest impact.

The biggest gains in fitness come from how much you sleep, what you eat, how you hydrate, how you relax – that’s how you optimize your training.

You have to live the lifestyle of a runner!

Something I would preach as a college coach, “You don’t PR off of 5 hours a night”.

Check out my latest A Day In The Life Video for a little more insight.

 

~ Justin

To keep up on what I’m doing – follow me on Instagram and Twitter

Let’s Talk About The Warm Up; Are You Doing It Right?

typical pre run warm up

What’s a typical pre-run warm up routine for you?

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.

Justin

How Many Miles Are Enough For Me?

What's the right mileage for you?

I want to stress that we are all individuals — in that vein there are no magic bullets, no quick fixes, no secret recipes to success. We all have a different training style that suits our body, personality and mental strength.

So a question I’m always asked is:

“How many miles are enough for me?”

 

What's the right mileage for you?

 

It’s a question that has been hotly debated for years! Should I train low mileage-high quality or high mileage-low quality?

To be honest the best answer is found somewhere in between.

In my mind the perfect training plan has you smartly increasing your mileage with a solid mix of high intensity and low intensity.

That’s why mileage is tricky…

Finding what works for you.

So how many miles should you run?

There are runners who are built to run 120 miles per week but there are also runners who can only handle 30 without coming up injured! Those 30 will need to be at a hard pace to make up for the lack of quantity but if done right those runners can still run incredible times.

In a perfect world where every runner is built the same and races happen in a vacuum. But it doesn’t…

I would argue that high mileage (done right) can lead to a bigger improvement than a more low mileage plan. This has to do with the improvements that only happen on a molecular level when you spend hour upon hours on your feet. (I would also argue that there is a mental toughness component that comes from taking yourself to the wall on your mileage training, but I will cover this in a later article.)

We all have a personal peak mileage and a personal peak race — it’s important to find out works best for you individually.

The Aerobic base

Authur Lydiard is the man who popularized building a big aerobic base before moving into more specific training. He coached a group of New Zealand runners, headed up by Peter Snell, that would go on to dominate the world stage. This is when a man by the name of Bill Bowerman brought Lydiard’s training philosophies back to the University of Oregon and the rest is history.

Think of the Lydiard system as a pyramid — the base of that pyramid being the amount of easy runs you put in. That base allows you build the rest of your pyramid, the bigger the base, the bigger the pyramid… hypothetically.

For years this “revolutionary” approach to distance running is how we coaches trained our athletes. Of course there was still a love for the old method that primarily relied on interval training multiples days a week… but the damage had been done and “periodized” training was here to stay.

In my own experience this can be modified a bit and if you’re more of a Jack Daniels (not that Jack Daniels) or Joe Vigil descendant like me than you would know that this philosophy isn’t the end all be all. I feel like the best set up for a training cycle is a steady diet of mileage, tempo runs, and mile pace work to build efficiency .

However, there is no denying that with just easy running alone and spending time on your feet then you will see a big benefit to your general aerobic system as well as:

increased bone density

increased capillary density

tendon development

improved Vo2 max

mitochondria recruitment

improved running economy

usage of fat as fuel

development of slow and medium twitch muscle fibers

mental clarity

mental strength

Mileage has it’s benefits but ultimately it comes down to what your body can handle. This depends a lot on your genetics but with the right amount of experience, trails and testing you can do a lot to optimize your performance.

Trial and error and research and obsess and learn and pass on to others…

So back to your question, “how many miles are enough for me?”

To be honest I don’t know — because I don’t know you, yet! However, I can tell you that more mileage is better than less and there’s no way of knowing until you get out there. With the right plan and progression you should be able to find your ideal mileage within a few weeks.

-Justin

If you have any questions or need help on your training journey, you can add me on snapchat, instagram or twitter — How can I help?

All About Proprioceptors And How They Can Benefit Your Running

All About Proprioceptors

Our bodies are awesome!

Think about it!

We have sensory nerves throughout our body that send feedback to our brains about where we are in space.

These sensory nerves, called proprioceptors, tell our brain about the terrain we’re running on, as we’re running, and our body makes the appropriate adjustments.

If you want to learn more about proprioceptors and see how you can better implement them into your training – check out my latest 5 Minute Barrier;

Thanks for hanging out friends!

If you want to follow along on my journey follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Anchor!

-Justin

Beating The Marathon Taper: PR When It Counts

Marathon Taper Madness

The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.

Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.

It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.

This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to thumbs up that video and give me a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat if you liked this info and want more!

Justin

Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch

Yoga Can Do Wonders For Runners

If you know me, you would know that I am not the most flexible person in the world — like less flexible than this computer I am typing on — but that doesn’t mean I shy away from anything that involves flexibility.

This hasn’t always been the case though.

In college there was a time when instead of an easy day we opted for a team yoga session, you know active recovery, taking an actual easy day and working on flexibility.

I wasn’t having any of it, I had a strict mileage plan and if I couldn’t fit those miles in during practice… when was I going to get them in? I had a bad attitude about change, I needed those miles! It was tough but I didn’t make it any easier on myself and coupled with thoughts like;

“I’m just naturally inflexible”

“I stretch everyday, what do I need Yoga for?”

and the kicker, “How is skipping an easy run going to make me better?”

Thoughts of a stressed out collegiate runner… Continue reading “Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch”