1) A friendly weekly check in for the 50+ runners in Letsrun.com Weekly 50+ Training Thread.
"Even in a sport such as running, which does not involve much technical skill, efficient movement is easy to observe. Professional marathon runners have an unbelievably smooth stride. They are so incredibly fluid that they look like perpetual motion machines, or a ball rolling downhill. They need add only the slightest bit of energy to each stride to keep the ball rolling. By contrast, the average runner doesn’t look very much like a rolling ball – more like a rolling triangle. Their gait looks painful. And it probably is painful."
"So how do we train to be more efficient? Movement systems such as the Feldenkrais Method and Z-Health are devoted primarily to creating more efficient movement."
5) Shoveling snow and balancing the body and keeping it symmetrical. After shoveling snow on Saturday I was wondering what the Postural Restoration people would recommend. I found it.
Shoveling snow: This is repetitive activity that results in a lot of low back pain injuries. Remember our tendency is to have our weight on our right leg while shoveling the snow, rotating our trunk to the left. Like any repetivite activity, you need to balance your body or keep it symmetrical to prevent injury. Do one row of snow on your right leg and rotating to the left, however the next row should be done opposite. Standing with your weight on your left leg with your right leg ahead of it, shift your weight back onto your left heel, and rotate your trunk to the right. If you wanted to integrate this further, inhale thru your nose as you shift your weight back onto your left heel and then exhale thru your mouth as you shovel the snow and throw it to the right. This will be more ackward and slower than being on your right leg and rotating your body to the left, however a happier back can be the result. http://hruskaclinic.com/ 6) The Athletes Prayer for Loose Calves. This video shows a better way to free calves. At first glance, it looks the same as the usual way of stretching calves. It's 100% different, as the video shows. Hint: Your toes play an important part in the stretch.
Laawrence Gold at http://www.somatics.com/stretch.htm
7) A Men's Jounal article on Resistance Stretching. A Better Way to Stretch.
8) Warming up with joint mobility exercises. The Essential Eight - Eight Mobility Drills Everyone Should Do. Micheal Boyles StengthCoach.com
9) An interesting article on vision and sports performance: Where You Look Can Affect How You Look: Running Mechanics and Gaze Control. Don't just focus on the finish line, as you get closer, look beyond the finish line.
For runners who are performing over longer distances, I always emphasize the importance of training their gaze to track well ahead of their current position. In open areas, I would have them focus on the horizon. However, in more confined areas (i.e. track stadium, wooded trail), I would have them look as far as they could focusing on a point that sits roughly at the height of their head. Focusing your gaze on points that are in close proximity to your current position will result in greater stress and mental fatigue. Your running mechanics will also subtly suffer and you will find that you are less smooth with your running. When an athlete focuses on points in close proximity, their eye movements will tend to move quickly from one fixated location to another in numerous saccades. Vickers describes saccades as rapid eye movements that bring the point of maximal visual acuity onto the fovea so that it can be seen with clarity. When focusing or “fixating” on a point much further away, you will find that you will run more easily and freely, and feel as though you are being pulled toward that point. It is similar to the concept of not focusing too much on the finish line in a race. From a significant distance (i.e. greater than 50-100 meters), looking at the finish line may work. However, as you get closer to the finish line, it is better to focus beyond the finish line to elicit the best performance. Fixating your vision at the finish line may terminate your velocity prematurely.
10) Activating the Psoas Muscle. My physical therapist says that I am using my left TFL and not my Psoas muscle. Here is an article on a simple way to activate the psoas muscle. Mike Robertson's blog Robertsontrainingsystems.com.