The other day I heard a really interesting interview on Marathon Talk (Episode 239)- the interviewee was a rehab coach, James Dunne, and he was so interesting. He mentioned that on his website was a 30 day challenge which focused on strength, mobility and flexibility. I know that this is an area I really lack- I do stretch a bit when I get back after a run, and I go to one Body Pump class a week, but that it is.
Of course, prevention is better than cure, but my poor tight hamstrings are beyond that! So anyway I signed up (it is free) and thought I would track my progress on here to keep me accountable. If you are interested the website is here, just follow the links for the 30 day challenge.
Day 1: I was not sure what to expect (I didn’t know if I would need a sports bra on) so decided to do the exercises before my Sweatshop run. It says to allow around 15 minutes, but I allowed longer and I am glad I did. When you click on the link you get a list of exercises for the day (3 mobility drills and a balance drill), along with how many sets and reps. For each exercise there is a link to a video clip, which is really useful. The adductor stretch was really tough- something I need to focus on. It made me legs feel pretty tired though, and next time I think I would save it for after my run!
Day 2: I nearly forgot to do them- that would have been a bad start! I had been out in London all day, and then went to Body Pump as soon as I got home, then had a late dinner and only remembered at 10pm! The mobility drills were the same as day 1, but I still used the videos to check. My legs were so tired after doing them though- although partly that could be from the squats and lunges at pump!
Day 3: I had been on a walk (nearly 3 miles) after dinner, and did the exercises after that. Again, similar ones to the first two days. Think I am getting the hang of the adductor stretch now- I really need that one! At the bottom of the day 3 challenge was a video of Steve Jones running a race for some motivation- I love these little extra bits.
Day 4: Went to parkrun in the morning, then walked up into town and back (just over 2 miles) for a nice cool down. Did the exercises when I got home. Again, similar to the previous days. The hamstring stretch makes my quads ache though, not sure if this is because I can’t straighten my legs out properly? There was a bonus calf stretch which was really good.
Day 5: Had an 8.3 mile run in the morning, but was so hungry when I got home so saved the stretches for the evening. It is quite nice actually to stretch in front of the TV or something. I am really getting the hang of them now, although the final balance drill was standing on one leg for one minute with your eyes closed. Andy timed me, and I think I had to put my other foot down about 3 times in each minute as I was wobbling so much- it is really tough!
Day 6: Actually didn’t do it yesterday, as was out of the house all day at a family thing and decided I could do with a day off. Day 6 was the final part of stage 1, so with hindsight a day off after might have been better. Anyway, had a 4 mile run and then did the stretches when I got back. Getting used to the exercises now (apart from the adductor one- still not sure if I am doing it correctly). Standing with my eyes closed is still very hard!
Day 7: Onto the next section, which is focusing on resistance work and core strength. Well, the split squats were OK (a bit like lunges from body pump), the hip thruster was OK although made my hamstrings ache a bit (and had to lie off the sofa as I don’t have a bench thing). I quite liked the straight leg dead lift, although balancing on one leg is not my forte. The mountain climbers are just so tough- I struggled with getting my legs in the right place as my hips are just so tight. Did it before Sweatshop so I shall be a bit warmed up for the run.
Day 8+9: Missed another day (and had body pump with some heavy squats on the same day) so decided to do days 8 and 9 together on the Friday, as I went for a walk but had no running planned. I like the fact that it is the same exercises (apart from the core work) but for different reps. Those mountain climbers are tough- I will persevere but I only managed half of the second set and my hips started to feel strange so I stretched instead.
Day 10: Had parkrun in the morning, which I ran pretty hard. Then came home and decorated for a few hours, which involved a lot of crouching down. My legs were really tired, so I did the split squats and straight leg deadlifts as per day 10, but instead of the hip thrusters I did the hamstring stretch (2×15 and 1×10 on each leg) and the adductor stretch. For the core exercise I found it easier to have one hand across my stomach and one across my lower back to check that my pelvis was not tilting at all.
Day 11: Did a 7 mile run in the morning, and a walk around town in the afternoon. Did standing core instead of the mountain climbers as one wrist was sore so could not really lean on it. Starting to find the balancing on the single leg deadlift things easier now.
Day 12: Can’t believe I have finished the end of the next section! Had a run (not sure how far as my Garmin had no battery- about 5 miles) the did the lunges and squats etc when I got back, plus a few of the stretches from the first week.
Day 13: The start of intermediate mobility and plyometric training. Missed a day due to be shattered after work and then a tough Sweatshop run. Not sure if I should revisit the first 6 days instead. I found the stretches/ moves really hard- for one the pigeon pose was hard to get into- I really struggle when copying someone else if they are facing me, so I am not sure if I actually did it correctly. Doing the rotations was quite disheartening as I am not very flexible so found it hard to hold that position, and even harder to twist around (one way was harder than the other, but I can’t remember now if it was the same side as the bent leg or not). It reminded me of why I don’t carry on with yoga for that long- I enjoy it for a bit and really like the stretches, but get fed up when I can’t do the moves properly. Hopefully will get the hang of the moves as the week goes on.
Day 14. Had a 7 mile run in the morning, and got on with the exercises in the afternoon. The pigeon stretch made a bit more sense today- I think I have copied him correctly. The lateral hip stretch was really hard, and did make my hips a bit sore while I was doing it, but I did manage it. The spiderman rotation was really good, although I am not flexible at all, it reminded me of yoga- a good stretch feeling. I like the jumps and hops, although I don’t wear trainers for home workouts and my right heel was worse to jump on than my left and I wonder if normally in trainers the cushioning helps. Also did some of the hip and adductor stretches from the first set of workouts as I think they are what I need.
Day 15: Ended up having nearly a week off, as I had a cold and cough, then did a race and was tired after that! Anyway, still not sure I do the pigeon one correctly. But completed, as well as a 4 mile run.
Day 16: Pigeon stretch getting better. Completed.