CALVES - Six exercises to keep your lower legs - the pillars of support and stability for runners - healthy and strong.
BUILDING RUNNING BALANCE, STRENGTH AND AGILITY -
Any trail runner can increase endurance by simply spending more time out there, but how do you improve your finesse?
By Dimity McDowell; Runner's World 02/03/2010
When you see a master trail runner like Scott Jurek in motion, it can be hard to think you both do the same sport. He floats; you trample. He clears obstacles; you get tangled up in them. He flies down hills; you inch down them, and still stub your toe. Any trail runner can increase their endurance by simply spending more time out there, but how do you improve your finesse?
In order to your develop balance, agility, and trail-specific strength—three vital components...
In the Gym
A proponent of creating a solid, injury-proof body in the gym, Azze is a fan of doing single-leg work. "That way, you can't favor one leg, as people normally do," he explains, "You eliminate imbalances and, in doing so, greatly reduce your chance of injury."
Two Favorite Exercises:
Single-leg reach: Place one cone about two feet in front of you, and stand on your left foot. Bending your left knee, while keeping your abs tight and your back straight, reach forward with your right arm to touch the cone (or come as close as possible). Stand up and repeat. Start with 8 reps, and work up to 30. As you become stronger, vary the cone positions—put one at 9 o'clock and one at 3 o'clock, for instance—and challenge yourself by going barefoot. "Make sure the whole foot stays in contact with the floor," he says, "Don't let it roll to the outside." Repeat on opposite side.
Benefit: This exercise strengthens major leg muscles—glutes, quads and calves—but doesn't allow you to favor your strong side. It also teaches balance on one foot while your knee is bent, and strengthens the stabilizing muscles in the foot so that when you land on each foot on the trail, your body is ready for impact.
Single-leg squats: Stand on one foot and concentrate on keeping your abs tight and your gaze forward as you lower yourself by bending the knee of your standing leg (not allowing your bent knee to travel in front of your ankle). Once you've mastered 12 continuous squats with good form, change the surface on which you're standing: try them on half of a foam roller, and as you get stronger, on a disc pillow or wobble board. The unstable surfaces mimic the terrain of the trail. "To improve balance, you have to continually challenge yourself," he says.
Benefit: Single-leg squats have a similar pay-off as the single-leg reach, but because you bend your knee further, the pay-of is even greater—more strength, more stability, more balance.
Race Nutrition (2010) - Leslie Bonci, R.D., who writes RunnersWorld.com’s Ask the Sports Dietitian blog, suggests that per hour, runners take in no more than .45 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight. 1 gram of carb is 4 calories. 160 lbs x .45g x 4 cal = 288 cal/hr
RACE NUTRITION (2010)- Consume a training nutrition mix of multiple carbohydrate sources
Research from the University of Birmingham in England indicates that doubling or tripling up on your carbohydrate sources can push your gut tolerance beyond the previously measured limit of 1 gram per minute (about 60 g per hour), and maximize your fuel absorption. Common carbohydrate sources in sports nutrition products are glucose, glucose chains (often maltodextrin), fructose, and sucrose, which use a variety of transporters to cross the small intestine, after which they enter your bloodstream and provide fuel.
Two studies found that a glucose/fructose mix or a glucose sucrose mix allowed study subjects to absorb and burn carbohydrate at a rate of 1.8 grams per minute (108 g per hour) while cycling. Notes researcher Roy Jentjens, PhD, “The finding from our laboratory suggest that to get a high rate of carbohydrate oxidation, a mixture of glucose and fructose at 1.8 grams per minute may be the preferred combination. One study that looked performance results found that combinations of glucose + fructose and maltodextrin + fructose resulted in greater fuel delivery, reduced fatigue and better performance when ingested at a rate of about 90 grams per hour. When compared to a glucose drink, these carbohydrate mixtures have also been associated with faster stomach emptying and fluid delivery.