WHERE did this year go?! I swear it’s like the last few weeks just travel at warp speed. Chris and I have both our families at our house for Christmas Eve which means shopping, cooking, cleaning (and stressing) have been well underway, and I’ve been trying to make the time I actually have for a workout count! Fitting a run into a tight schedule sometimes means skipping the warmup or the cooldown stretch, but that can actually be the most important part. The warmup and cooldown help ward off injuries and is a time to focus your energy on the parts of your body that need it most (cough cough…hip flexors). In addition to my core work, I perform an activation series before my runs to make sure I’m recruiting the proper muscles such as the gluteus maximus and medius. Check it out…
GLUTE There It Issssss!
Yes, corny, I know, but sometimes you just gotta go with what feels right! So the glutes have been a topic of discussion in my Instagram posts in the past because they are just SO important. I explain it to my high schoolers like this-your glutes are the strongest muscle group in your body; I like to call them the workhorse. Would you try to use your pinkie finger to pick up that 20 pound dumbbell? No, of course not, you’re using the full strength of your arm. When you don’t use your glutes, you’re using the smaller muscles like your hamstrings and calves that weren’t meant for that large of a load. This is what almost always leads to injury of these smaller muscles (I.e. Hamstring strains, calf strains, Achilles tendonitis)! By getting your core muscles fired up before a run, you’re helping to ensure proper, or at least improved muscular recruitment.
Don’t Forget The Sides
Not only are we worried about the gluteus maximus, but also the gluteus medius. The medius probably calls for more attention because we as a society sit way too much for our body’s own good, leaving our stabilizer muscles hung out to dry. This activation series focuses on the hip’s extensors as well as the stabilizers which help to minimize excessive movement in the frontal plane.
So when you’re fitting your next run in somewhere between last minute Christmas shopping (Who, me?? Neverrrrrrr) and cleaning frantically before family arrives, take the extra 5 minutes and do your body a favor by giving it what it needs. It’ll thank you when your first spring 5k rolls around! Run healthy and don’t forget to enjoy every second!