Interested in training for your first long distance race? Tired of calling your watch your only running partner and coach seven days a week? “You can’t underestimate the power of a group,” says Kelly Maurer, Charm City Run Training Group Director. If you need convincing, check out our top reasons to join a training group below. Or, if you are already a training group regular, enjoy nodding your head in agreement as you read through our list.
Imagine a world where you could do whatever you want whenever you wanted to without having to worry about other plans? Wouldn’t that just be the best thing ever?! Well, as we all know, that’s not the life most of us live, and instead, we constantly find ourselves overwhelmed by our schedules, or sacrificing other plans we may have in place of work or school. I don’t need to tell any of you how tough it can be, and in my case, I found it particularly difficult to find time for working out last semester. Between school and work, any free time I had automatically went to homework, and I grew pretty fed up with it after a while.
I like to think I’m a pretty adventurous person. I’ve traveled Europe on my own. I try any food that is put in front of me (I even ate jellyfish once!). I have jumped off of cliffs and gone white water rafting. I’ve even opened up to a crowd of hundreds of people on a stage in the middle of Times Square. Where am I going with this? Well, naturally I was intimidated by each and every one of those moments, but the common outcome has been that overcoming the intimidation has led me to some pretty spectacular experiences in my short 22 years of living.
Roll Away Your Injuries – Anthony Inzirillo ATC & Charm City Run Manager
Let's stay injury free this weekend. Good luck to all those participating in the Baltimore Running Festival!
One of the most common questions I get asked while working the floor at Charm City Run is “what is the best way to stay injury free?” or “how can I get rid of the injuries that are holding me back?”. Well, no one has the perfect answer to those questions, but there are some ways to keep the odds on your side. Flexibility is something that every runner can work on because the running stride is such a limited range of motion.
In today’s world there are many ways of stretching whether it is static, dynamic, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. A new type of stretch has recently hit the exercise therapy world called myofascial release, which is a technique being introduced by many healthcare professionals. A professional usually performs myofascial release on a patient but with the use of some numerous tools (e.g. foam roller, tennis ball, golf ball, the stick) the patient can achieve myofascial release on their own. While all of these tools are beneficial, the foam roller is the most efficient, versatile, and easy to use. The foam roller is a great instrument to use when trying to gain muscle relaxation and extensibility.
The concept and physiology behind foam rolling (self-myofascial release), stems from acupressure. Acupressure is a technique in which physical pressure is applied directly to acupoints that are located throughout the body. Acupoints can commonly tense up causing the formation of a trigger point. When irritated, the fibrous tissue forms scars decreasing the function of the fascia.
Foam rolling focuses on applying physical pressure onto myofascial tissue restrictions. The pressure gets rid of associated pain, increases circulation, and increases motion by activating the stretch reflex of the muscles and overlying fascia. Reduction in soft tissue tension decreases pain, restores normal muscle length tension relationships and improves function.
The use of foam rollers is fast, easy and cheap. A foam roller goes for around $25, which is much cheaper than a personal massage therapist. The recommended use for a foam roller is one to two minutes on each muscle. When foam rolling, it is important that the muscle is felt before hand in order to find the trigger point that is the source of pain. While rolling the runner should stop for 10-15 seconds over the trigger point to try and achieve a muscle spindle release.
The foam roller is most commonly used for the lower extremity muscles but can be used for almost every muscle throughout the body. A foam roller can be used either before or after an activity starts. It is important that before foam rolling a general warm up be performed (bike, light jog, jumping jacks, etc.), as a muscle should not be stretched cold.
In this day and age runners are always looking for the competitive edge. Flexibility and muscle function are detrimental aspects to the performance of all athletes. The foam roller combined with a dynamic warm up can be used as a great tool to help runners to stay healthy and achieve greatness.
As a Charm City Run Training coach, Charm City has asked me to contribute to their training website blog. So, this is the first of what I hope will be many installments. In my attempt to keep you reading, I think I have to tell you a little bit about myself. Most of this is not an attempt to brag about my running, but it is more an illustration of what training properly can do for you and to illustrate how personal running can and has to be. And, because I think blogging has to be somewhat personal, I will get to how running has changed my life. I have been a long distance runner since about 2005. I got into long distance running by accident, which is to say my wife (girlfriend at the time) invited me for a long run and, like most men, I figured it would be easy, so I went along. A few miles in, I threw up….several times. After several years of running sporadically, I reluctantly agreed to go for a 7-miler with a friend. At the conclusion of this run, I experienced the “runner’s high” for the first time in my life. Within a year of this run, I signed up for and completed my first half marathon and my first marathon. I’ve run races ranging in distance from 5k to 50k (31 miles). I’ve begun and finished five marathons, bettering my time by more than 35 minutes and now have a PR of 2:53:19. Like most runners, I know all of my PR’s…but, let’s face it, marathons are sexy and most people care about marathons, so I will spare you the boredom of my other race times.