Saturday, September 19, 2009

Exercises for Better Running

I recently discovered a great blog—The One Mile Runner Blog—hosted by David O'Meara. The site inspires older athletes (30+ years old) to learn how to avoid injury, recover quicker and develop functional strength. David says these attributes are essential to achieving peak performance in any competitive sport and I couldn't agree more. David uses his personal experience as a coach, trainer, and masters runner to evaluate exercises, techniques and products to help you exceed your performance goals.

Looking through the site I discovered some great functional exercises perfect for making you a stronger and more agile runner. The first is something David calls The Toe Touch Matrix. David says this exercise really works the proprioceptors in your feet. (Proprioception means "sense of self". Proprioceptors are sensors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and tension, which is integrated to give information about the position of the limb in space.) The Toe Touch Matrix mobilizes your hips, knees, and ankles. Instead of touching with your hands in a balance reach, The Toe Touch Matrix has you touch 10 matrix spots with your toes. David says to pay close attention to the back corners of the matrix as those spots really hit difficult areas of your body. Again, this is a multi-directional, multi-joint, and multi-muscle exercise.

At the end of 2008, David met with a foot doctor who wanted to immobilize him in a "walking boot" for one month due to his injured Achilles tendon. Not liking that scenario, David searched for a second opinion and that is how he met Juan Ruiz Tagle. Juan, who is now the training consultant at The One Mile Runner, changed David's training program and his running to a "stiffer" and more powerful running style. Take a look at this video showing a few of David's running exercises.

For more great video clips of functional running exercises and stretches, be sure to check out David's site The One Mile Runner.


TC said...

Once again. Good stuff. Thanks for that info. How is the free body weight strength training going? Are you seeing improvements adding more cross conditioning strength training to your regimen?

RunnerDude said...

Hey TC! Thanks! Yep, the strength training is going well. It's a little different because I'm in personal training school so I get a new training partner every 3 weeks. It's great, but I think I will be even better when I'm able to stick to a consistant training plan. Definitely feel stronger and have much more endurance.