"Soup of the Day"...just got serious!
It’s Thursday already? It’s APRIL already? Despite the sort of (?) slower pace, the days are still flying by at alarming speed. On the days when I don’t specifically set aside time to exercise/move it isn’t happening. A dedicated window in the morning with a specific task works best for me. I recommend you find what works for you. Schedule it in. And make it happen. Daily. You can be flexible on the start and finish time – for example plan to do your mobility and stability workout from 9:00 - 9:45am. If you end up only having time to do 20 minutes, so be it. Just GET IT IN!
Inspiration of the Day
“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” Martin Luther King Jr.
Workout of the Day
Running Mechanics 101
Runners, runners, runners… they are everywhere! I, myself took the winter off running and am now finding myself pounding the gravel every other day. Ouf. Running is an incredible activity. Great stimulation for the heart, lungs, and the muscles… it’s a great excuse to get outside… and all you need to do is pop on a pair of shoes and go! Right? Not exactly.
For all the positive simulation running places on the muscles and joints, there are negative aspects too. It’s hard for many of us to run efficiently, symmetrically, and in a way that minimizes injury due to overuse or faulty mechanics. Improving your form in even subtle ways is not only easier on the body, but it ultimately makes the running feel easier too.
The tricky variable for me here, is all of you are different. You each have unique running mechanics determined by how your body is built, including the current strength and mobility of your different joints and muscles.
That said, there are a few “tweaks” I can offer which may improve your running mechanics and lessen the negative load on your muscles and joints. The pre-run tweaks are easy enough to add in. Try them out, and see if your runs feel any different. For the “during the run tweaks,” try applying each one during one minute of running. That is, run “normally” and then try to alter your mechanics with one technique for one minute. How did it feel? If it felt “better,” “more natural,” and/or "more comfortable” you may have a winning tweak. If it didn’t… try again with 2 or 3 more intervals. Still not jiving? Maybe it’s not what you need today. Move to the next tweak. But keep this other tweak in your back pocket. It may work another time.
So I don’t run over (I’m so funny), I’m going to feature 3 in this blog, share a few more Saturday, and finish up Monday. (PS. I did include a simple Running Workout at the end of this piece!)
Hips & Butt:
Open up your hips.
Strengthen your bum.
My two favourite exercises to do pre-run? Hip flexor mobility followed by hip bridges.
Efficient, fast, long distance runners tend to have cadences over 180 steps per minute (spm). Irrespective of what YOUR stride rate is, subtle increases in step rate can substantially reduce the loading to hips and knees and may prevent running related injuries.
On your next run, wear a watch. Warm up 5 - 8 minutes. Count the number of foot falls in a given minute (or count the number of times your left foot hits the ground and multiply by 2!). Do this 3 - 4 times to get a solid average. Your goal for your more efficient strike rate should only be 5 - 8% higher. So if your current spm is 160, a goal of 168 is perfect.
So how do we do this?
- Alternate 1 minute faster turnover with 1 minute normal foot fall. Gradually increase the time spent at the higher spm.
- You can download a free metronome and set it to 168 bpm. Use this to help you pace the faster turnover intervals.
- Shorten the amount of time your feet contact the ground
- Think “run light.” You will likely find your core more engaged as your body tries to stabilize your legs and lessen their impact on the ground.
- The slightly faster cadence work will initially feel harder. You will likely become tired faster. It will take time for your core, hips, and glutes to adjust to the new mechanical load. But, ultimately, your running will become more efficient! And you will be less prone to injury.
- Simply thinking about engaging your abs, especially as you start to drive each thigh forward may help too.
Dare I say this? There is no right or wrong way for your feet to hit the ground. Again, everyone is built in a unique way. That said, there is evidence to show that mid-foot strikers tend to contact with the ground almost directly under their centre of mass. And heel strikers tend to strike too far ahead of their centre of mass, wasting precious energy “braking” and often landing with the knee locked out. In other words, I’m suggesting it may be more important to focus on trying to shift your foot strike so you’re striking under your centre of mass rather than worry about what part of your foot is striking the ground first.
One of the easiest ways to shift your foot strike so it’s more under you, is by increasing your cadence. See point two 😊
There’s also evidence to suggest you can improve foot strike placement by:
- Increasing your hip mobility
- Strengthening your glutes
- And tweaking your running posture so your head is stacked over your shoulders which are stacked on top of your hips…
AND whether you’re working on altering mechanics or not, here’s a great running workout. Use the “fast” interval for higher cadence work.
Warm-up 1: Hip flexor mobility and 10 - 16 hip bridges
Warm-up 2: 4 - 7 minutes easy running
FAST pace : EASY pace
Walk for 1 minute
Repeat 2 - 4 times
Cool down 5 minutes
For questions about this or any workout, you can connect directly with Meg here.
Naturopathic Wisdom of the Day
Avoid refined carbohydrates - sugar and alcohol reduces the ability of white blood cells, an integral part of the immune system, to destroy harmful particles by up to 50% for several hours after consumption!
Have questions? Connect directly with Dr. Cugliari here.
Bite of the Day
Here’s another fabulous dinner created by Neesha from the HUB - kitchen & bar at the Adelaide Club!
Hawaiian Style Pork Loin with Roasted Sweet Potato & Broccoli
Makes approx. 3 servings
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp black pepper
Mix in a small bowl.
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- ½ tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
Mix in a small bowl.
- 4 lbs pork loin
- 1 medium carrot
- ½ medium onion
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 ribs of celery
Trim the fat off the top of the pork loin, pat dry with paper towel, rub the spice rub all over meat.
Heat up pan with a small amount of olive oil until smoking and sear pork until browned on all sides (approx. 4 - 5 minutes per side).
Brush pork with glaze, lay it in a deep baking dish on top of a bed of chopped veggies (carrots, celery, onions, and garlic). Pour in vegetable stock to cover bottom of dish.
Bake at 375F for about 25 - 30 minutes per pound of pork.
Peel and cut sweet potatoes in 1/2” cubes, marinate with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Bake at 400F for 25 - 30 minutes. Flip halfway through until nice and golden.
- 1 medium head of broccoli
Wash and DRY broccoli (the drier the broccoli, the crispier they will be). Cut into florets (small heads of broccoli), and marinate with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
Plate and serve!
Do you have a "Something of the Day" you'd like us to share? Email Meg!