Running on Grass Offers Big Strength and Balance Benefits

There are many reasons why training on grass is a great idea for all runners—regardless of experience or ability level. Most obvious is the fact that grass offers runners the benefit of a softer surface, which is an excellent way to reduce the chances of impact-related injury. There are non-intuitive benefits as well. “Grass workouts are an excellent way to improve overall balance and proprioception as well as strengthen the feet,” says Pete Rea, the elite athlete coach and coordinator at ZAP Fitness in Blowing Rock, N.C.

Source: Take It to The Turf: The Benefits of Training on Grass

If you have a nice curated field like the one in the pic, yes, but I won’t even run on grass next to the sidewalk because that smooth layer of grass on top can hide nice little holes that can seriously injure you.

Trails are the best IMHO because you can see what you are running on.

Super-Short Workouts Shouldn’t Be Your Only Exercise

Dearest Fellow Athletes,

In the past few days, you may have come across the wildly popular New York Times article titled, “1 Minute of All-Out Exercise May Have Benefits of 45 Minutes of Moderate Exertion.” Such a promise would understandably get busy go-getters like you all up in a tizzy, dreaming about Insta-fitness and newfound time. That is why I must say, in the kindest way possible, this article is not for you, nor is the study it’s based on.

Source: You Need More Than One Minute of Exercise a Day

I think half an hour is actually a really good session time, maybe even optimal, IF you are training both hard and smart.

Most folks look at total time in the gym, and don’t factor in the types of exercise they are performing, (bang for your buck?), and the amount of time spent resting. Generally, one can either train hard, or train long, but not really both!  I think that the real, significant variable that effects tangible results in training is amount of challenging volume performed, or, if you prefer, number of hard sets.  The more ambitious your goal, the more time that may need to be spent, certainly. But more is not always better, sometimes more is just more.  Most trainees desire a mixture of improved body composition, (more muscle, less fat), and improved strength.

A few simple general guidelines for these goals come to mind:

  • train compound movements (squats, deadlifts, presses, pulls, rows, cleans, etc.) with solid form,
  • train at a relatively brisk pace, heart rate recovering to about 100 bpm, between sets
  • taking sets near technical failure, a rep or two before form breaks down, and compensatory form begins

Following these parameters, half and hour of strength training is plenty of time to spur positive adaptations.

Stretching Prevents Injury, and Other Misconceptions About Exercise

This does need a YMMV disclaimer unfortunately.  Cold static vs warm static pre workout stretch varies in terms of efficacy for many, and the six month rule shoe rule is in play for most marathoners, and may even be less depending on whether you rock a stability type of shoe, etc.

Reduce Your Risk of Hamstring Muscle Pulls With This Bodyweight Exercise

Jan Ekstrand thinks every hamstring injury is preventable. “All of them?” I asked him during a Skype conversation last week. “Yeah, I think so,” he replied.

Source: Soccer Hamstring Injuries Are Up, But Preventing Them Is Complicated

If you don’t have someone to hold your feet, you can do these with a lat pulldown machine, too. Just face the opposite way and put your feet where your thighs usually go.  But know that your hamstrings will likely be really sore after the first time you try the exercise, reducing your ability to walk the day after.

Why You Should Stop Using Hydrogen Peroxide

The only thing it’s used for in my house is to get blood out of clothes. Victims or mine, doesn’t matter 😉

There has been really no evidence that hydrogen peroxide slows down wound healing (source), because at 3% it just isn’t strong enough to harm human epithelial cells. Because we actually have enough catalase in order to prevent real cell damage from occurring. Ironically for the same reason, it does actually a pretty crappy job of preventing you against a staph skin infection, because staph is a catalase positive bacteria and also is really unaffected by hydrogen peroxide.

So using it for a typical cut probably won’t do anything at all, except break up pus or debris, which is what the AMA recommends it for. Also if you actually cut yourself out away from easy access to medical care and land into a pile of mud or manure it’s probably handy there because it will kill off the non-catalase positive bacteria really well, which is better than nothing. But something like Neosporin is ultimately a lot more effective in that situation. And in that situation please use some sort of anti-septic or antibiotic, because even if your healing time was slightly longer, it’s well worth not getting a major skin or even worse systemic infection.

What to Expect When You Start Working Out Again After a Long Break

If you’re just now getting back into a workout routine after a few weeks off for the holidays, or after injuries or laziness kept you grounded for a long time, don’t feel guilty, and don’t worry. You will get that strength and fitness back. Compared to somebody who’s never trained, your experience gives you a huge advantage that’ll make it easier to get back to form.

Don’t forget your first victory: That you came back at all! If you’re having trouble with the mental side of getting back in the game after a workout break, remember…

Source: What to Expect When You Start Working Out Again After a Long Break

Expect to be sore.  If you take it easy, you shouldn’t be too sore. 😉

For me nursing a busted collarbone, I’m heading into week 2.  It’s certainly improved as the first week progressed, and it’s nowhere near as bad as when I busted ribs.  Broken ribs suck.  It’s the hand on the arm/collarbone that isn’t busted up – still swollen, I can see yellow of the bruising.  I’d feel OK to get on the trainer or even commuter if it weren’t for the busted hand on the good arm.  I learnt from the last time, no swimming for at least the first five weeks.  I’m walking 5 KM ATM, but I think I’m not taking it easy enough on the collarbone.  It’s still a month before I can even take the stuff in the article to heart 😦

Blaming Yourself for Failure Could Increase Your Risk of Injury

When you have a bad run or fall short of your race goals, what sort of script runs through your mind? If you tend to fault yourself for your failures, you may face a higher risk of injury, a new study finds.

Source: Negative Thinking Boosts Injury Risk

I don’t think I suffer from this.  Rather, the consensus seems to be that I “sandbag it” – I don’t try hard enough.  But I’m too old to be competing for spot on the National team (not that my times ever put me there), nor can I expect to even get sponsored.  I have to work the next day, and I’ve had an experience with my lungs filling with blood, very likely due to being on warfarin/coumadin.  I have nothing to prove, just being out there is good for me.

How to Minimize Your Risk of Injury When Lifting Heavier Weights

The one time my mom watched a video of me deadlifting, she cringed with fear that I was going to hurt myself. In reality, though, you’re just as likely (if not more so) to get injured doing other physical activities. That doesn’t mean you should throw weights around willy-nilly. You still need to prioritize safety to avoid getting seriously hurt. Here’s how.

Source: How to Minimize Your Risk of Injury When Lifting Heavier Weights

Lots of this can be applied to body weight exercises (yoga, Pilates).  Form is extremely important in yoga – I really don’t like seeing someone’s shoulders pointing towards me, but their hips aren’t :/

This is why I recommend doing such exercises with someone who will watch and is knowledgeable – so you can get proper, constructive feedback.

What to Do When Returning to the Gym After a Long Break

Well, after a long time of not working out (months) I started lifting again. Problem is that most times when I come back from not lifting for a while I end up injuring myself. I used to jump right back in where I’ve left off, I’ve gotten smarter, but perhaps not smart enough. What strategies would you recommend for folks returning from a long time off?

Source: Returning to Training After a Layoff

The advice for returning from an injury is exactly what those in the rehabilitative services gave me: add back just one activity/exercise at a time, and start slow.  Instead of 15 squats/etc, do 5, and see how things feel. Pay attention to pain and swelling. Modify the exercises to make them less intense.

“Comfort” in Running Shoes May Not Mean What You Think It Means

Don’t worry about pronation control, stability, or even cushioning when choosing shoes—wear what feels good and you’ll be more efficient and have fewer injuries. That’s the bottom line of a recent discussion paper published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine that sparked a flurry of web stories, such as this New York Times piece.

Source: Choosing Shoes: Should Comfort Be Your Only Guide?

Reminds me of when I was last shopping for running shoes – the ones I liked the least felt like walking on a marshmallow.  Given my weak ankles, I’m pretty sure I’d have rolled my ankles in those shoes.  My ankles are so weak, I don’t frog kick when swimming the breast stroke – I can feel it almost snap.