Weakest Link

A consultant I work with professionally has stated, “As a District, you’re only as good as your weakest school.”  Clearly, his philosophy aligns with mine in that he’s saying we are meant to lift others up, rather than leaving them to struggle.    During my morning run I reflected on this as I thought about my body.  Surely this thinking could also somehow apply to my physical wellness.  Therefore, I began to think about how I am only as strong of a runner as my weakest link.

What are the weakest links in our bodies and how does leaving them to struggle impact our mindset?  I can tell you these weak links can have a huge impact on they physical body and the mindset.  Pain is never welcome in our training plans.  The constant struggle with it invites those negative voices to start yelling inside.  You’re never getting past this, you’ll always get hurt, blah, blah, blah.  Ignoring the problem clearly hasn’t worked for me.  Being proactive and wearing certain shoes has helped somewhat, but not enough to eliminate the struggle.  Warm up and rolling has also helped, but still I’m experiencing some swelling.  This leaves me thinking that it is indeed about strengthening that weak link – lifting it up to join the party.

This connection really helped me focus today as I’ve been experiencing pain and swelling in my ankle near the site of my peroneal tendon.  I’ve been getting super nervous about it too.   Thinking about the weakest link theory, I spent the morning researching ways to strengthen my weakest tendon.  Yes, I’ve been rolling and stretching after runs, but I’ve done little targeted strength training for this tendon.  As I sit her soaking my ankle in Epsom salt post run, I’m excited about the new plans.

I found some cool exercises on Youtube that are perfect for me.  They involve my foam roller, bands and Bosu. These are all tools I have in the house so I was able to get right to work today!  It’s amazing how having a plan has already lifted my spirits.  I’m feeling hopeful that I will get this in control and not reinjure the tendon.  I ran a little faster today and lighter.  Here’s my current plans for my ankles and feet.   If you are suffering with any issues, feel free to join the party.  I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

Warm-Up

I’ve been doing the Silly Toes warm up for over a year now.  It most definitely helps me stay healthy in my feet and ankles.  It’s super quick and fun.  I never skip the warm-up no matter how late I am getting out.  My new addition is to do this every single day, whether I am running or not.  A quick way to start the day off right.  Here’s my running coach demonstrating it beautifully.

 

Strength Training

I plan to incorporate strength exercises daily. They are super quick and can be done before bed, or after a run. I can even do them in my office if need be. For the resistance band section, I put both feet in my resistance band (red).

 

Post Run

I’m adding this to my rolling sessions after each run. I already shared my rolling protocols for my feet/ankles, but definitely will be adding this. I already did it today.

 

Stretching

Three times a week, if not more, I can do these stretches. I already tried them today.

 

In addition to all of this, I currently do try to do yoga toes pose after each run.  I can try to up this to days I don’t run as well.  It is quite an intense pose, but one I’ve come to love.  I guess what doesn’t kill me does indeed make me stronger.

 

What’s your weakest link?  Can you create a plan today to strengthen and lift yourself up?Please share below if you’ve already done so, or plan to start.

Resources Used in My Routines

Tuesday Training Tip

Anyone who has been to physical therapy knows resistance bands are no joke.  Those little rubber bands that look so simple can really challenge the best of us.  When I was training for my race last year, my trainer recommended I add resistance bands to my routine.  Resistance bands, like those found in any physical therapy routine, are made of rubber and come in many different resistance levels.  I quickly learned just how effective, dare I say muscles you never knew you had, these little bands can be.

When using resistance bands, you can work any muscle group and build strength.  They are great for travel because they are so light and easy to transport.  When used correctly and consistently, they can be used to develop muscle strength without the need for heavy weights and dumbbells.  If you’ve never tried resistance bands, you may be surprised at how much you can do with them.

Resistance bands do not rely on gravity as free weights do.  This means your muscle works throughout all parts of the motion.  They are quite cost effective, do not take up any space in your home and are quite portable.   Further, they can be used to complete full-body workouts that challenge every muscle group in your body.  I generally use them for work on my hips and legs to develop strength for running and can tell you they are no joke.  The trick is to get the right resistance for your current fitness level.

The resistance bands I purchased were color coded.  Others available are made in different thickness, with the thicker bands having the greater resistance.  The easiest test is to see how you feel when you use them.  If you are able to complete the set and not feel anything, they are too light.  If you can’t complete the full range of motion, they are too strong. Use trial and error in conjunction with how your body feels to get the right resistance.  Once you feel you have it right continue increasing the resistance as you get stronger.  I have mine a year and have gone up only two levels, so there is no rush.

Here is the band set I purchased for around $13.00:

 

  Limm Exercise Resistance Loop Bands – Set of 5, 12-inch Workout Bands – Best for Stretching, Physical Therapy and Home Fitness – Instructional Booklet & Handy Carry Bag

 

Here’s my coach doing the first short workout (7 minutes) with the bands.

 

There’s a ton of free videos available online to get started.  I hope you give these bands a try, you won’t be disappointed.  Let me know if you currently use resistance bands and how they’ve helped you develop strength.