Huge thanks to Kelly for the pictures and write-up from the Strength and Conditioning Clinic last weekend at the YMCA. I was especially bummed that my body didn’t cooperate well with this event. Looks like you had such a good time – and learned so much!
The LexRunLadies took it downtown on Saturday January 21st, at the YMCA on High Street. Ten ladies braved the potentially icy roads to meet with Y personal trainer, Jason who gave us some instruction and ideas on Dynamic and Static stretching, strength training and injury prevention.
Jason showed us 10-12 dynamic stretches and we followed his lead in performing them. Some of them were a bit silly (walking like Frankenstein’s monster) and some were very simple (skipping). He assured us that even though we thought we looked silly, our bodies would thank us, and even reward us for doing these with fewer injuries and sore muscles. (Stretching instructions to come!) Jason suggested doing this type of “dynamic stretching” after a few minutes of moderate running to warm up your muscles, and then go on with your scheduled run.
We moved on to static stretching. Everyone remembers static stretching from Gym class in school, but it turns out that there had been research showing that doing these kind of stretches before running can actually do more harm than good. Jason said that we should be doing these stretches after our runs to lengthen our muscles, improve flexibility, and work out some of the stiffness that creeps up during our runs.
Jason also talked a little about injury prevention and gave us a few tips on how to deal with sore muscles and muscle knots. He told us that it’s important to be consistent and use the dynamic and static stretching as a tool. Stretching is just as important to improving as the miles you put in. When you get sore or stiff muscles, it’s critical that you take the appropriate action to prevent further injury. This is where things like rest days come in. It can be tempting not to use rest days when you are seeing improvement or when you’re in training for a race, but rest days are just as important to your training as your runs. They give your muscles time to build and recover, and be ready for your next workout.
Jason introduced us to some tools to aid us in dealing with sore muscles and knots.
The Stick is sort of like a rolling pin with multiple short rollers instead of one long one, though he said an actual rolling pin would do the same job. Basically, you roll The Stick along your muscles to smooth out the tight spots. You’ll be able to tell the tight spots or knots in your muscle as they’ll be hard and likely painful to roll over. This is normal. You need to work these knots out because they can cause more damage to your muscle if you don’t.
The Stick is available at thestick.com, amazon.com, John’s and a ton of other online retailers and cost around $30 depending on the model you buy. There are also different brands that are similar to The Stick available.
The Stick relies fully on your arms to do all of the work and get the tool to penetrate into the muscles where you need it. This can be difficult for a lot of us who are still working on building upper-body strength. That’s where the foam roller comes in.
Foam Roller from Foamerica:
Grid Foam Roller from Running Warehouse
The foam roller is used for the same purpose as The Stick would be. To work out the kinks and knots in your muscles. Unlike The Stick, foam roller exercises use your body weight to work the knots in your muscles. There are all kinds of different varieties, lengths, and diameters of Foam Rollers out there. These take a little practice and a lot of balance to use effectively. There are classes given in the use of the foam roller, but you can easily find video tutorials on youtube. They’re available to purchase at John’s, amazon.com, running warehouse, and other online retailers and start at around $10. A Grid roller will cost you around $40.
After the clinic at the Y, some ladies went for a run around downtown covering distances from 4 to 10 miles. Luckily the weather didn’t get as bad as it could have and we didn’t find one icy spot.
We had a blast on Saturday and learned a lot. Thanks again to the High St. YMCA for lending us your space! Thanks to Jason for giving us your time, your expertise and your photography skills. Thanks to all the ladies who came out and made this even a success!