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”

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”

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore? Part 1 DOMS & Inflammation

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore

Am I hurt or am I just sore?

This is a common question you might ask yourself, especially the day after a hard workout or starting something new.

I used to be really bad at answering this question, which says a lot about my background and how far my knowledge has come since I was a 5’2″ high school freshman.

I was having a conversation with a friend about this the other day and we decided that it all came down to the old school mentality our coach
instilled.

Sure we were tough and had a “nose down” type of attitude, but this led to the idea that being sore was some kind of weakness. We ran through a lot of warning signs because… that’s just what we did. A mix of not knowing any better and wanting to be the runner with the most grit, but inevitably the injury team could have fielded a Varsity and Junior Varsity squad by the time conference rolled around.

* For the sake of clarity to anyone who didn’t run in high school, the “top 7” runners on the team were the Varsity squad and the next 7 were considered Junior Varsity, we had a small team – ok back to the post

You do need to be able to recognize that soreness is ok! but only within a certain context…

So what are these so called ‘warning signs’?

You can expect soreness after a good, hard workout or after a mileage increase, and that’s fine but be cognizant about where you feel it!
This comes down to DOMS!

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is caused by micro-tears in the muscle. These tears are necessary for building muscle/building better endurance in the muscle. All good things!

However, inflammation is an unnecessary byproduct of this process. Inflammation, essentially your muscles’ response to training*, can cause excess tightness throughout your body and can really impact the flexibility of your muscles and joints during this period.

*A more technical definition dealing with inflammation – biochemical processes release proteins called cytokines as “emergency signals” that bring in your body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem

So if we think of DOMS as a 48 hour window; any pain past that is a cause for concern. I usually follow this protocol with my athletes:

*Soreness up to 48 hours after: probably not serious unless it is near the joint or throwing off running form – monitor the situation and be sure to take care of yourself! Follow The Art Of Foam Rolling!

If it’s over 48 hours and there is still muscle pain, then it is probably time for a cross training day. I would recommend staying active in your recovery to help speed up the process, however if you’re legs are dead…

There is nothing wrong with an off day or two!

If there is still pain after the next 3 days (the 5th day post initial soreness) of taking time off or cross training — call this the next 72 hour rule — then it is time to go see a chiropractor or physio or sports doctor, at this point there is something wrong and the sooner you find the problem, the sooner you can start rehabbing!

So let’s look at a few scenarios –

INJURY TIMETABLE 1: First workout in spikes
Day 1 – Calf soreness/tightness but overall run goes fine
Day 2 – Calf is extremely sore, achilles tendon feels swollen and running is throwing off your gait – take a cross training day today
Day 3 – Feels a bit better but you still bike for the day
Day 4 – Calf still feels tight but after biking, a light jog and foam rolling you feel a lot better
Day 5 – Back to running!!

INJURY TIMETABLE 2: First big increase in mileage
Day 1 – You don’t really notice it but your legs are overall sore from the mileage so you take a super easy day
Day 2 – Your legs feel better but now you feel the soreness in your shin area, painful to the touch – take a cross training day tomorrow
Day 3 – Running is out of the question today, your shins are hurting when you walk
Day 4 – You don’t feel any better today and even biking is causing your shins to ache!
Day 5 – You feel just as bad as you did yesterday (you spent 3 days cross training and it doesn’t seem to be hurting)
Day 6 – It could be a stress fracture or it could be really bad shin splints, so think about going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist or someone in that field as it could be a muscular problem that can be worked out.

As with anything, listen to what your body is telling you! Do not be stubborn and think,”I’ll just run through it” because that mentality will put you on the shelf for a long time.

Thanks for reading friends,
As Always please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Coming up in part 2: Rehab and Prehab!

Justin

Welcome To The Anthrophysique Running Club

Anthrophysique running club

Hi friends,

Do you have trouble finding running partners? Are you a busy adult that has to fit their runs in at odd hours? Are you looking for a community to share your accomplishments and meet new friends?

You aren’t alone, trust me!

It can get tough having to constantly push yourself and not having anyone to hold you accountable.

I can’t tell you the amount of mornings that even I have woken up sore/tired and wanting to push my run off. Luckily, for the majority of my running career, I have had coaches and teammates who were relying on me to be there and ready to roll.

Imagine what would have happened if I didn’t have those built in obligations!

That’s kind of our mission here at Anthrophysique, everything comes down to accountability – you can have the best training in the world but if you don’t have the motivation to follow the plan it does not do you any good.

There is a great quote from USA Olympian Breaux Greer, “Even Spartacus needs a coach” – basically meaning every leader/coach/”motivated individual” needs someone to hold them accountable to their actions and motivate them every now and then.

This is the thought process that compelled me to start the Anthrophysique running club, this is a virtual running club designed to help you follow through and accomplish your goals – whether you are just starting a couch to 5k porgram or you have been running for decades.

Partnering with Strava you will be able to post about your runs, keep track of your minutes/miles/kilometers/hours or whatever you measure your workout in, ask the club about their runs, and pick up a tip or two about your training.

We’re here to help you; find inspiration to get out the door, ask for help, brag about your latest run, find inspiration from future friends and above all else – have fun while hitting your goals.

One thing is for sure, at the AP running club:

You Will Never Run Alone.

Come see what it’s all about!

Justin

Don’t forget to follow what I’m doing on Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter!

Make A Racing Plan And Stick To It – Be Successful in 2016!

Make A Racing Plan

It’s a new year and for many of us that means making goals and setting our expectations for this coming year; career goals, personal goals, but what about running goals?

Think about it!

What did you accomplish last year?

Maybe you ran your first marathon or ran a personal record in the 5k, reflect on those accomplishments and lets build on that. Set some specific goals, don’t just go into the year thinking, “I’m going to pr this year” or “I’m going to run farther this year” – How are you going to accomplish that exactly?

Make A Racing Plan

Let’s look at it from a year long stand point, pick a few key races – a destination marathon or your hometown 10k because you want to show up an old training partner – make your goals and plan your training around them – come up with a racing plan.

The next step is writing it out!

Writing your goal down commits it to memory and allows you to display your goal where you can see it EVERY DAY!

Here’s the thing; you need a goal to progress in your training – you can’t have the same goal and use the same cookie cutter training plan and expect to make progress! You won’t improve off of the same training year after year, training that has worked for you before might not work in the same way the next time.

Why?

Your body is a crazy thing and will become accustomed to stress. This goes for more than just training – after cycles of stress and recovery your body becomes resistant and needs a higher level of stress for that system to react!

So the same beginner 10k plan that brought you to your first race won’t have the same effect on you for your second – you may still improve in the end because you have a race under your belt now but you won’t improve by as much. Every training cycle must build on the previous cycle – hence why having goals and planning races in advance is important!

I’m not telling you how many times to race a year – but be sure to pick out a few key races that the rest of the races build towards.

Here’s an example:

Goal: Spring Half Marathon PR & Fall First Marathon

Plan: A Year Long increase in mileage while working on different paces and finding what works best for you. Peak for the half – a few down weeks – and start building ideal mileage for the fall marathon. This gives you time to safely increase your mileage while learning what the pace feels like and finding what training style works best for you.

Make A Racing Plan And Stick To It

 

What’s your running goal for 2016?

Let’s figure this out! Don’t go into the new year or new racing season blind – training on a whim and racing when we feel like it.

Set your goals, pick your races, make a plan to pr and have your best year yet!

All it takes is a smart racing plan and commitment to that plan and the lifestyle that comes with it – you will be unstoppable.

Justin

What Makes a Successful Running Coach?

Hi Friends,

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?

What Makes A Successful Running Coach?

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.

Happy Running,

Justin