Tag Archives: Leg Muscles

Weak Knees : Exercise to Strengthen Weak Knees

Weak knees affects a few runners. A reader of this blog sent me an email asking me what she can do with her weak knees.

The New York times had an article on the issue of running and knees.

Running Makes your Knees stronger

In a Stanford University study researchers followed middle-aged, longtime distance runners (not necessarily marathoners) for nearly 20 years, beginning in 1984, when most were in their 50s or 60s. At that time, 6.7 percent of the runners had creaky, mildly arthritic knees, while none of an age-matched control group did. After 20 years, however, the runners’ knees were healthier; only 20 percent showed arthritic changes, versus 32 percent of the control group’s knees. Barely 2 percent of the runners’ knees were severely arthritic, while almost 10 percent of the control group’s were.

Debunking the myth that Running leads to degeneration of the knees

The word on the street is that running may weaken your knees but In another scientific study runners knees were scanned before and after 1997 Vienna Marathon. Ten years later, they scanned the same runners’ knees again. The results were striking. “No major new internal damage in the knee joints of marathon runners was found after a 10-year interval,”

According to Ross Tucker, a South African who blogs about running injuries he said the best solution for weak knees is targeted strength training. If you work on the the muscles that support your knees, hip stabilizers, quads, hamstrings you will have strong knees. It is weakness in one of these muscle groups that causes knee injury.

Another interesting solution I picked from comments on the NY times article was this one by a Dr. “The issue is weight, not running. The more you weigh, the greater the chance you will develop osteoarthritis as you age. The key is to remain slim lifelong.”

VIDEO : EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN KEY LEG MUSCLES TO PREVENT INJURIES

This video should help

Standard Chartered Marathon 2011 Week 4

During the week I ran a total of 43Kms. 7kms on Wednesday, 10 kms on Friday and a 26 kms long run on Sunday. I missed running on Thursday because it was raining and I wasn’t in a mood to go out running in the rain.

I did the weekday runs around a track. I wasn’t trying something fancy like basso 800s, my goal was to maintain a high pace for the duration of the distance.

I am getting better at focusing on my feet movement. I have learnt when I keep focus on my feet movement and prevent my mind wandering am able to maintain my pace.

The Sunday long run was the best so far, I felt my body was getting stronger. I started with a goal of running 24 Kms but I extended it to 26 kms because I was feeling strong. The good weather helped, it was a Sunny morning with cool temperatures. I ran the whole route without taking water and I never felt seriously thirsty at any time. My long run consists of running a very hilly route. It is a route where you are either going up or down. I try my best to step up my pace when climbing up those hills: it is the only way to get better and stronger.

Cross Training.

After missing training on Thursday, I made sure I did indoor work outs. I did press ups and squats. I have also been doing stretching exercises to make sure my leg muscles are nibble and flexible.

So far I haven’t been timing my runs but I plan to start timing myself.

Come October 30th, I will be strong and ready to fly.

Stomach Pain : Stomach Problem : When Running : Cause & Treatment

Stomach problem when running affects all kind of runners, from the seasoned elite runner to the casual runner down the pack.Stomach problem is described as a pain in the stomach. Experts call this stomach cramps.

Personally my last marathon was run with a nagging stomach problem. The pain struck even before I hit the 10K mark. I ran the rest of 32Ks with an on and off pain, it was like going through hell. I still cant believe I managed a sub three hours finish. Maybe it was the desire to quickly get to the finish line and put the pain behind me that pushed me!

Causes of Stomach Pain.

Expert explanations are : –

  1. Dehydration
  2. Low salt levels.

These two are the known causes of stomach problem, but another less reported cause is fatigued stomach muscles.

Fatigued Stomach Muscles

Although most runners spend alot of time getting leg massage, few think of massaging stomach muscles. Running engages almost all the muscles in a runners body. The most used muscles are the leg muscles. The core muscles are also heavily  used. Runners should remember to massage the core muscles to keep them in good working condition. I solved my stomach problem when I started massaging the stomach muscles.

If you still suffer stomach problem despite taking enough water and licking salt blocks maybe you should consider massaging your tummy. It worked for me and it might work for you.

2009 Stanchart Marathon Training Week 10 Freak Accident

Last week I had a minor set back. I suffered a slight back problem, a little pain on my back. It happened while I was drinking water. I normaly drink water from a bottle and I guese I overdid things because I pushed my mouth up and head backwards. The head moved far back pushing the spine down hard. Overstretching the spine!

I wasnt feeling the pain most of the time I only felt a slight pain whenever  I swallowed air.

I managed to do the two midweek speed runs without any problem. Yesterday I managed to run a 30 K run and everything went well.Today morning I decided to treat my body to a thermal massage to remove any physical stress that has accumulated in my body.

This year am trying to focus in finding a perfect running technique.

Leg movement

Am trying to ensure my leg swing starts from the hip downward that way I use all my leg muscles. Another area is the foot strike. I want to perfect the technique of pushing foward using the front of the foot. Using the front of the foot is the way to stronger and faster running.

See you next week.

Blurred Vision While Running : Sarkozy Collapses Jogging

Am in my 8th week of training for 2009 Stanchart Nairobi Marathon. I had horrible experience yesterday during my weekend long run. I suffered a blurred vision while running, something that I have never experienced in my 3 years of marathon running.

The distance for the long run was 28 Ks and the blurred vision struck at around 22 K. I couldnt see properly beyond 20 metres, reading road signs and billboard advertisement 20 – 30 metres away was a problem. The only thing that kept me going was that I could see colours of cars coming my direction.

I suspected something was wrong at 20K mark when I touched my face and it felt dry and full of white particles. That was a sign of dehydration! A normal runner should be sweating water.

When the blurred vision struck I thought of stopping but with 5K to go I just kept running. The angel in my head was telling me stop but the demon in my heart was telling me keep going, what the hell the finish line is near. My body was feeling good, the leg muscles were fine. I jogged to the end.

When I got back to the house I drunk fluids, water and orange juice. Licked salt pallets. These made me feel 10% better. I rested for two hours and woke up feeling a headache. I tried to eat and found myself eating uncontrollably. It was after stuffing myself with food that I started feeling good again.

Sarkozy wasn’t so lucky

When I sat down to watch the evening news I heard French president Nikolas Sarkozy had collapsed while out jogging. That is when I realised how lucky I was.

I have been checking for information about what happened and I can confirm the blurred vision was a case of dehydration. I had not hydrated properly before the run and the weather was sunny and hot.I  was also wearing new Saucony running shoes and these gave me an incentive to run at a fast pace.

Dehydration increases the risk of heart attack because it increases heart rate. When you are dehydrated your blood thickens and the heart has to beat faster and harder to pump the blood. Blurred vision occurs when you reach heart beats of between 140 – 157 per minute.

Michael Phelp’s : Lactic Acid Advantage

American swimmer Michael Phelps is targeting to win a world record eight gold medals at Beijing Summer Olympics. To achieve his goal the 23 year old will have to recover quickly from one swimming event to the next.

Phelps body has a remarkable ability to recover quickly from intensive workouts. Hard working muscles release lactic acid, which causes soreness. But Phelps’ body can flush out lactic acid in minutes vs the hour or two it takes the bodies of most athletes.

How runners can help their body remove lactic acid

The same lactic acid production is what causes soreness during running.  You can help you body flush out lactic acid by doing the following

1) Stretching

2) Massaging

3) Soaking the lower half of the body for 20 minutes or so in cold or ice water may force blood through the leg muscles to speed recovery

Although lactic acid is bad for the body this fruit acid has its own benefits, such as treatment of skin acne. Lactic acid is derived from sour milk or bilberries.

Lactic acid acne : Lactic Acid Skin

Lactic acid is used in treatment of skin problem such as acne. Through a procedure known as lactic acid peel : This lactic acid face peel will remove dead skin cells, and promote healthier, softer and more radiant skin.