Spring racing weather? Mehhh, not so much...
What a winter that WASN'T, huh? Great for us runners (ski bunnies...well, not so much). Poetic justice then, that our warm winter morphed into an extra warm spring--at least on Sunday mornings when most of you have been racing lately: Boston (especially), Goodlife, Mississauga, Cleveland, etc... All too hot for hammering, though some were worse than others.
(at left) MDI sophomore Jacquie Jacobs hammers strongly home toward the finish line of one of the hottest Boston Marathons in over 100 years...STILL SMILING!
Alas, as the conclusion of the spring campaign drawns nigh, with the coming weekend's races in Ottawa and Toronto, we look forward to pub nights and BBQ picnics with our fellow MDI teammates shortly after, to share our stories stories and dream aloud on what next season holds for us.
As for this past season, it was another genuinely fantastic trip for those we had the privilege to coach and train with, with great times and personal bests and wonderful experiences abounding. We often do a "top 12" or even a "top 100" listing here, but we thought this time round we'd just draw your attention to the incredible races run by our crew over the past 3 months (soon to be updated with Ottawa/TO Womens Half results), already summarized neatly on our homepage. Click here to see which top performers made the MDI news.
Next season is just around the corner: new Customized Running Plans and our GTA Training Groups start up in early June--click here for specific details--and we'll do an informal "Early Bird 1 Mile Trial Night" on May 30th at Central Tech, for those of you chomping at the bit to get started right away.
Meantime, we've put together a newsletter jam-packed with material we hope you'll find informative, useful and perhaps even a little entertaining...enjoy!
See you soon crew!
8 Great Injury Prevention Exercises & 4 Super Strength Builders For Runners
By: Dr. Cindy Lewis @ Absolute Endurance
Running Injury Prevention Exercises
1. Single Leg Squats: Stand on one leg, with the non-weight-bearing leg extending forward, then to the side, then back. If you are able to use a 10-lb. weight on the load-bearing side you will realize more benefit but only if this is done with proper mechanics. This exercise focuses on strengthening the quads, hamstrings, glutes and works on stability.
2. Reverse Lunges: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Take a step backward with your left foot and lower yourself down into a lunge position—your left knee should almost touch the ground. Keep your back straight and make sure your right knee doesn't extend past your toes. Return to the standing position, then step backward with the other leg. Do 12 to 15 lunges on each side. To make this more challenging, you can hold dumbbells.
3. Hopping Exercise: Stand on one foot in a small imaginary square. Hop a foot or two forward to the top left corner of the square, then a foot or two to the right, then to the back right corner, then to the left. Go six times around and then switch legs. If that's too difficult, just hop forwards and backwards, rather than in a square, and repeat 12 times on each leg. You should use body weight only for this exercise.
4. Single Leg Dead Lift: Balance on your right leg with your left foot a few inches off the ground. Bend at the hip (it is important that your back remains neutral, and that you are NOT bending at the back) and reach to your right foot with both hands. Your left leg will raise upwards behind you. Do 12 to 15 on each side. Hold dumbbells for a greater challenge, again only if you can do this with proper mechanics and you feel no added stress on your low back.
5. Swing Drill: Bend and lift your left leg in front of you, then swing it back behind you as far as it will reach without moving your pelvis or lower back. It is important to maintain a strong core so your low back remains neutral. Swing the leg back forwards and repeat with this same leg. This is the running motion you want to have—hip extending back, pelvis and lower back neutral (not arched). Do two sets of 20 swings with each leg, alternating legs with each set.
6. Sideways Squat with a Theraband: Tie a theraband so it makes a circle that is approximately 6-8 inches in diameter unstretched. Put the theraband around both ankles, so your ankles are “inside” the circle you formed with the band. Then, squat sideways, and continue taking sideways steps in a squat, so you take 15-20 steps in one direction. Then, repeat in the other direction. It is important to maintain a neutral back and strong core during this exercise. It is also important to make sure that both of your feet are pointing directly forward. If your foot faces outwards, this can increase tightness of muscles that we don’t want to shorten!
7. Dynamic Hip Flexor Stretch: Step into a longer lunge position, so your front leg is further forward than you would do for a regular lunge. Lower your back knee towards the ground. Keep your upper body straight while you tilt your pelvis forward. Hold for 3-5 seconds before taking a step forward with the back leg and repeating on the other side. Take 10-15 steps forward with each leg. Your goal is to lengthen the hip flexors on the front of the hip.
8. Plank: Assume the plank position with your weight evenly supported on toes and elbows/forearms. Elbows should be directly under your shoulders. Feel should be shoulder width apart. Head should be aligned with your spine. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. And repeat 5-6 times. To advance this exercise, maintain the exact same trunk and upper body position, while lifting one leg slightly off the ground.
1. Bench Step Downs: Start standing on top of a bench that is 12-16 inches in height. Stand on your left leg only, with your weight on the left heel. The right foot should be free and held slightly behind the body. Lower your body in a slow and controlled motion, until the toe of the right foot “just” touches the ground. Drive your weight through the left heel and stand back up on the step. Do not transfer your weight to the right leg at the bottom of the motion, it should remain fully on the left leg throughout this entire motion. Ensure back is neutral and you maintain proper alignment. Hands at your sides. Repeat 12-15 times per leg. This exercise focuses on hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes.
2. Pull Throughs: Support your weight on your left leg. Flex your right hip and bring your right knee up to waist height. Hip and knee should be at a 90 degree angle at this point. Then, slowly straighten your lower leg as much as you can, while maintaining that 90 degree hip flexion – like you are going to jump over a hurdle. Then, quickly activate the glutes and pull the leg down and through ground contact. As your foot passes across the ground, flex your leg at the knee so the heel elevates toward your buttocks and cycle the leg through to the starting position again. This rotary motion should closely mimic the natural running motion. Repeat up to 20 times per leg.
3. Double Leg Forward Hops:
Stand in an upright position with your knees slightly bent and your feet shoulder width apart. Quickly bend your knees so your body drops 10-12 inches (not further) and quickly explode upward and forward. Use your arms to help you, so they will swing upwards. Try and maximize the distance that you hop forward each time, by staying low to the ground. Repeat immediately upon landing. 12-15 repetitions.
4. Ball Squats: Place a swiss ball between your back and a wall. Rest against the ball. Place your feet approximately 3 feet from the wall, shoulder width apart and with toes facing directly forward. Slowly bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat position, allowing the ball to support your back as it rolls toward your shoulders. Continue bending until your knees are bend to 90 degrees and then squeeze your quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings to return to the starting position.
Dr. Cindy Lewis and the other practitioners at Absolute Endurance Training and Therapy perform Gait Analysis on runners and provide recommendations on drills, stretching and strengthening exercises that will help in making specific improvements to each person’s running stride and efficiency. Go to www.absoluteendurance.com for more info
By Michelle Clark, Marathon Dynamics Runner & Coach
Sunday I ran a half marathon [Mississauga] and just when I thought Boston was the toughest thing I have ever ran through – I was given yet another tough challenge to overcome on Sunday.
The race started like any other. The gun went off and away I went. Again with the sun high in the sky I started to worry whether it would wreak havoc with my ability to hold a steady pace – I was sure this wasn’t going to be a Boston heat wave blood bath, but only after 3km I was feeling it.
Little did I know that the heat was the least of my worries this day. Without much warning I felt my stomach make a weird sound. I needed a porta potty…already? This was not happening to me. I took the next tree that came my way and squatted without any cover from the public eye. I didn’t have time to worry about such incidentals. I knew there were spectators to this awful event but I refused to make eye contact.
Away I went, back on track. I was 2nd female and was still holding my position in the race. It was at this point I had made up mind this race was probably going to be about placing and not time. I lost sight of the 1st place girl; I lost sight of my friend who I had started with. I was now alone – except for the 2nd female bike guide and the occasional male runner.
Early on, I was still on track for a decent high 1:22 time and there it goes again. The stomach rumbles and before I can even think about doing anything about it. I explode. I’m at the 9km marker and my bowels start to react in ways words cannot describe. My options were limited at this point. Stop and walk? My MO was to get to end as fast as possible and get myself cleaned up. It was not the perfect circumstance but I knew I could handle a little poop in pants. Then a little turned into a whole lot more. It wouldn’t stop! I kept thinking km after km this has to end at some point. I know intestines are long but this was ridiculous!
It’s around 15km that I feel things running down my legs. It’s around 18km where I see my coach. He rollerblades alongside me trying to motivate me to finish strong, but little did he know what I dealing with. Every step forward got more horrific as I kicked into my final gear. All I could hear from the sidelines was “that isn’t what I think it is?” The last 800 metres I make a run for the finish, which was probably the most intense 800 m of my life.
I got my 2nd place finish – in a time of 1:25, not bad for someone who shit her pants. I grabbed one of those silver blankets and wrap it around my waste like a skirt. I even took a finish line picture with my friends and that was where it hit me. The stink, it was eye watering. I beelined for the porta potty and stripped down naked!
I left everything outside the porta potty, and used 5 bottles of water, a bar of soap and a hand towel to essentially shower in the porta potty. Thankfully I had an extra change of running clothes. I cleaned off, changed – threw away mostly everything and sealed what I couldn’t throw away in a plastic bag. After my potty shower, I walked to the massage tent not for a massage but in hopes that they had hand sanitizer. I’m sure I was a biohazard. I smeared the sanitizer everywhere, my legs and arms, hoping that it really does kill 99% of germs. It was my friend who had to tell the woman helping me that I wasn’t a crazy germaphobe but I had had “an accident” on the course.
As runners we all have or will experience a situation such as this at some point in time (well, close anyway!). Some say it’s a right of a passage. So I guess I finally earned my badge at the half marathon.
Want to see the gruesome finish line pics? Click here...
Michelle Clarke is a competitive runner (5K to marathon) sponsored by Mizuno, with recent personal bests of 2:57 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (3rd Canadian woman), and 1:22 in the Half Marathon. When not ripping up the roads, she enjoys mountain & road biking, yoga, snow shoeing, skiing, baking and spending time with her dog Kona
You Rocked! - MDI Runners BIG Season!
Is 40 The New 50? - By Coach Kevin Smith
Not-So-Dirty Dozen - By Dr. Cindy Lewis
Try Something New! - By Coach Jackie Dupuis
$hit Happens! - By Coach Michelle Clarke
- Winning Edge Guarantee is back!
Looking for a super fun, flat and fast fall half marathon right here in Toronto?
You found it! November 11th...mark the date and sign up soon! (click logo for more info)
Kristin Dalzell after her 1st year with MDI
MDI Rocks! Why? The Personalized Training Plan and the Weekly Group Coaching. I did both. The result? 18 weeks later I qualified for Boston! The Plan was personalized for me, advocated cross training combined with a sensible number of non running days and was easy to follow. So I was realistically able to manage life outside running. And bonus...when I needed my Plan to be tweaked (due to really rough winter weather) it was easily done.
The Weekly Group Coaching got me ‘out there’ with other runners (of all abilities) and my professional MDI Coach. The coaches are runners too and were adept at keeping me on track (literally!) with my Plan by providing encouragement, advice (by email, phone or in person at the weekly workouts) and good jokes! Boston here I come!
MDI Runner Katie Thomas improved her marathon PB by over 15 min and qualified for Boston
“Even more important to me is that Kevin works really hard to foster a friendly and supportive team environment throughout training and coaching sessions... As a result, I have been able to establish incredible new friendships with some great people that share my passion for running.”New Marathon Dynamics Runner Harvey Foote
"Marathon Dynamics’ training program showed me that if I run the race the right way, I can break 3 hours.
My first marathon was painful, but the training for it was a lot of fun, and I would definitely recommend Marathon Dynamics to anyone. Whether you’re aiming for a particular time, or your goal is just to finish, the coaches will design a program that will help you safely and enjoyably reach your goal"
"8 months ago I was immobilized on an hospital bed with severe injuries suffered in a horrible motorcycle accident. I just ran my half marathon in 1:29--an 8 min PB!
This would not have happened without MDI's help. The personal plans are very effective at keeping you focussed & the camaraderie of the group running sessions and coaches push you to the limit without you even noticing it!".