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Training: How To Recover Faster After a Marathon

What does it mean to finish a marathon? Many runners, especially novices, have inspiring ideas that help them get through training and to the finish line. And then the finish line looks like a battlefield with runners wobbling and hobbling around with pain all over their bodies and minds. The video clips of runners crawling across the finish line are glorified as something impressive and admirable. For most runners crossing the finish line also means continuous suffering from muscle soreness, ligament and tendon pain for days and even weeks afterwards, and forget about walking up and down the stairs – that means pure torture.

Are you really supposed to pay like this for the pleasure of running a marathon? Is there any way to avoid this or at least reduce these unpleasant consequences? Of course! There is simply no reason anyone should suffer such painful consequences for simply wanting to run. My clients go out or go shopping to celebrate right after they complete their marathons.

This situation has the same roots as all running related injuries do – lack of technique work and lack of adequate training. Lots of advice out there completely misses the point. Icing and other band-aid treatments don’t do much as many runners already know.

The Mechanism of the Injury

In this article I want to go over the main “injury” associated with running a marathon – the general fatigue and excruciating soreness of your entire body.

What does muscle, ligament, and tendon soreness mean? It means that all these tissues were over-stretched, over-pulled, and overloaded by your own body weight while you ran the marathon. Your body cannot handle the lengthy duration of such repetitive activity, especially with your running technique deteriorating in the process. Whether it’s gradual or rapid, deterioration still occurs and it takes effort and focus  to learn to maintain technique for whatever distance. If you watched the Breaking 2 all the way through you must’ve noticed that Eliud Kipchoge maintained his running form from start to finish. His unyielding execution of technique and focus were impressive. We’re back to the importance of technique here. Maintaining proper technique during marathon prevents injuries.

So, our muscles contract and relax. During long repetitive work muscles lose their ability to relax, and as a consequence of that, as you run, with each step your bodyweight loads, pulls and stretches these unrelaxed muscles, because the normal space/time cycle of the bodyweight loading-unloading is interrupted. This is a very simple deterioration of intra- and inter-muscular coordination with extension of these negative effects on all other connective tissues: ligaments, tendons, cartilages and bones. The soreness is just a manifestation of destruction of connection and coordination between tissues. To bring your tissues back to their normal condition and to reduce the pain we need to recover their ability to contract and relax.

Running with the Pose Method gives you a chance to avoid or at least minimize these negative consequences. But what if you are not familiar with the Pose Method or didn’t learn it well enough to run with the technique through the entire marathon?

Recommendation #1: Strength Recovery

How can you make your recovery faster and more effective? You need to learn a very simple procedure which I developed and call ‘strength recovery’. It is different from what’s called an active recovery. The common active recovery is all about restoring physiological functions. Whereas the strength recovery is all about bringing back to normal function the natural muscle-tendon elasticity complex. Muscles contract and relax and when that function is affected by the repetitive stress of running without adequate preparation, your tendons and ligaments, and consequently other tissue, are affected as well. It’s a domino effect.

So, the strength recovery concept is based on the idea of returning to a normal contract-relax cycle of muscle work. This is achieved through the use of moderate resistance exercises for the local muscle groups to restore their normal cycle. The repetitive acceptable resistive workload allows muscles to get back to their normal condition. Do it in concentric regime with resistance in 2-3 sets and allow about 20 to 30 repetitions in one set in order to get your muscles to feel the burning sensation.

You can start doing these exercises immediately after the marathon in a gym or just in a hotel room using rubber bands and StretchCordz. Begin from the most loaded muscles, such as quadriceps, then to the hamstrings. Move on to your hip area, low back and low abdominal. Don’t forget to do some exercises for your feet and ankles as well. Our strength development video program provides a good selection of exercises.

In the week following the marathon these exercises should be done almost every day, and then every other day, depending on the speed of your recovery and soreness going down. Along with strength exercises you should do some flexibility exercises and use them as a cool down portion of your recovery sessions. (here are a few flexibility routines you could follow). It’s a good idea to also run a bit with a moderate speed, maybe reps of 200m, or easy jogging on the grass or trails. You will be back to normal before you know it.

Recommendation #2: Technique Work

And at the end, I return to what I always start with – technique. Unfortunately there is simply no way around it. If you start correctly, then everything else will be built correctly. You must start with improving your technique. I put together a video training program that takes a complete novice from never having run a mile to being able to complete a marathon in three months of training. There is also one for half marathon, 5K and 10K.

It is difficult to watch runners suffer when in the Pose Method® the kind of recovery mentioned above usually takes just 2-3 days, or the longest up to a week, because of much less damage to all connective tissues to begin with, and whatever minor damage occurs it almost disappears within couple of days. Nevertheless my runners routinely use my strength recovery procedure to accelerate even this short time of recovery.

Technique is the gateway that allows you to express your physiological gifts or make up for the lack of such and still allow you to enjoy physical activity, and without it running just isn’t as great as it could be. Correct running technique prevents the typical injuries that are commonly referred to as overuse injuries. There is no such thing as overuse when it comes to using your body and your limbs for physical activity. There is however mediocre technique and injuries that come as a result of it.

With proper technique and proper training, finishing a marathon could take on a whole new meaning for you. Instead of suffering the consequences you could be enjoying the results.

Additional Recommendations

Right after the race or in the evening I recommend to take a hot/warm bath with apple cider vinegar which provides a very positive effect. This is a rather old recipe that is backed by experience of many generations. Additionally, a bowl of miso soup would be very helpful. It is often recommended for hangover in popular culture, but I recommend it to all my athletes as a recovery food after races and sometimes after training.

 

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Training: Remedy for Fatigue When Running

“What do I do when I get tired when running?” This question came up and it reflected a very interesting mind-set regarding performance from coaches and athletes. Indeed, what can we do when fatigue emerges when we run? Do we have some options in how to deal with fatigue? Obviously not many options exist, nevertheless many coaches and athletes “hope” that there are some magic tricks to go around. Some choose to gamble by using something yet unknown to science.

Is it a question “what do I do?” when a tennis player, swimmer or any other athlete in any other sport get tired during their performance? Do they ask to stop the game or exit the race for a moment to get some rest? Not at all, no one has that kind of luxury, because this is the essence of sport – to find out who can overcome the most obstacles, including fatigue, in order to win.

Then, what can we do when we get tired when running? The answer is as simple as it is complicated.

First the complicated part. It comes from the complex nature of fatigue, which is never just physical fatigue, but has mechanical, anatomo-physiological, psycho-emotional, mental, and spiritual parts. Which one of these states is more “tired” is very difficult to identify, but there is something known from our experience and science about the relations between these parts and their influence on each other.

 

Psycho-emotional aspect of fatigue appears much sooner, long before real energy exhaustion in the physiological component of fatigue steps in.

 

Generally, from science and experience it is well-known that the psycho-emotional aspect of fatigue appears much sooner, long before real energy exhaustion in the physiological component of fatigue steps in. Our psychology reacts in advance trying to “prevent” the danger of growing fatigue and to convince our mind to stop the performance. Therefore the brain receives lots of signals of fatigue in the form of burning sensations, pain, and reduced strength of muscles.

Focus on the Action

How do we deal with this psycho-emotional component of fatigue? Simple, our mind has to (and I am emphasizing this) stick to the action. In different sports it’s a different thing, but the meaning remains the same. Action is something that allows us to continue our performance. In running, from the Pose Method concept point-of-view, it is the action of pulling the foot from the ground. Do we have any other option, or some trick to continue our performance? The answer is, clearly, no.

 

Action is something that allows us to continue our performance.

 

Our ‘business’ is to keep our mind from exerting a discouraging influence of our negative emotions connected to the signs of growing fatigue. We must remain focused on the action of pulling so we don’t have the opportunity to dwell on what feels like danger to our life, and prevent our mind from recruiting defensive mechanism of the body to shut down our performance. Our mind is supposed to stay focused on the action no matter what is going on in our perception. In the Pose Method of running the only action to stick with is the action of pulling the foot from the ground while you are falling forward from the Pose.

This and only this focus of your mind will allow you to avoid unnecessary energy expenditure and keep utilizing it into your running no matter how fast and long you run. It is the essence of training and racing performance.

 

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Theory & Practice: Flexibility vs Stretching

In general, people have the impression that flexibility = stretching. That flexibility is just as simple as stretching your muscles in order to lengthen them to get a bigger range of motion. People misconceive that after stretching, we can relax our muscles, and by doing this, prevent our injuries.

This is what we have been taught, educated by press, articles and books in the fitness field. There is a long-standing misunderstanding of what flexibility is all about.

FLEXIBILITY ≠ STRETCHING

Flexibility

Flexibility, (“flex” means “bend”, or ability to bend) as a bio-motor capacity, is the ability of your joints to bend during movement. This is provided by three elements: joint mobility, elasticity of tendons and ligaments, and ability of our muscles to relax, which allows us to increase their anatomical length.

Mobility of joints is something we mostly inherit, so development of joint mobility is a difficult task. The situation with ligaments and tendons is better, because of their ability to increase their length through elasticity. However, there is a limit to both elements because of their autonomy from the influence of our brain, which cannot regulate their state of flexibility.

Muscles, on the other hand, are directly connected with the brain and their most important function is to contract and relax. Knowing this, we can assume that we can directly and indirectly regulate muscle relaxation during movement.

Stretching

I could not track down the origin of the reason for association of this term with flexibility. Perhaps, it came from a visual image of flexibility exercises, where it looks like we are pulling our muscles to make them relax. I don’t think our muscles like any violent approach to making them relax. On the contrary, our muscles do not like any special efforts made to lengthen them and react to these attempts by becoming tense; the muscles contract in order to prevent hyperextension, as you can probably recall from your own experience. Nevertheless, millions of people exercise stretching, moving in the wrong direction of damaging their own muscle tissues.

Muscles contract and relax. When you stretch them – they actually lose a bit of elasticity for a brief period, so you intently and intentionally weakening your musculoskeletal system instead of strengthening it. Stretching your muscles on regular basis will have lasting effects, but not the ones you’re looking for.

Why don’t our muscles work this way? Because they obey your body’s movement as a whole, where muscle activity and relaxation is used to serve the desired movement. So our muscles contract or relax according to the body’s needs to make this or that movement, but not as an isolated function. When we just “ask” them to relax, by stretching them in a separate movement, they do not understand this action. Our brain does not allow the muscles to stretch independently without their involvement into the movement of the body. Pulling your own muscles is the straight way to injuries or to muscle soreness, at the least.

 

Try our full flexibility development program. Start your FREE TRIAL now >

How to Develop Flexibility

What would be the best way to develop our flexibility? First of all, do not stretch your muscles – ever. What I propose for this matter, I call, “Action Flexibility”. The essence of it is very simple, work with or through your mind.

Your ability to bend is achieved through your mind and muscles. It involves them into the movement you want to do. Muscles will contract & relax on their own. This will produce the movement, or relaxation in their reciprocal relationship, so that not to resist the movement being performed.

Therefore, our brain makes this precise regulation about which muscle is supposed to work and which is supposed to relax. Following this simple logic, we can see, that our ability to relax and flex depends on how much we can focus on production of the movement, without any consideration of muscle tension or relaxation.

Try This Exercise

Do a simple test by bending forward, keeping the knees straight, in order to touch the floor with your fingers or hands. First, what will cross your mind, will be a concern about the hamstring muscle tension, which gives you a signal that this movement is a dangerous activity. This is normally what your body’s and mind’s reaction is – a safety issue, a survival instinct.

But you have to be free from these precautionary reactions and keep your focus on the action (doing) of what you want to do, which is to bend forward and touch the floor with your fingers. To put simply, worry about touching the floor, not stretching your muscles. Certainly this action requires you to overcome your basic reflex – fear, but this the only true way to develop your flexibility. Do not stretch your muscles – do the action, touch the floor!

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Et Cetera: 5 Things You Should Know About the Running Pose

Every single person goes through the Running Pose when they go running, but not everybody is Pose Running. What’s the difference? Read on.

 

  1. There is only one (1) Running Pose. The Running Pose that you go through is identical to the Running Pose of the runner next to you at the local race, as well as an elite runner at the championship or Olympics. The Running Pose is the key pose that is the heart of the running cycle. It is a single instance of a moment of stability on support that allows continuous movement when running.
  2. The Running Pose is not the same as Pose Running. The Running Pose, which is the key body pose in running, is at the heart of Pose Running, which is short for the Pose Method® of running technique – the methodology for teaching and learning biomechanically correct running technique.
  3. The Running Pose is a discovery, but the Pose Method® of Running – is a proprietary technology that was developed. After years of coaching and teaching biomechanics at the university, researching and viewing hundreds of hours of footage of some of the best runners in the world, as well as recreational ones, Dr. Romanov discovered that all runners have one thing in common regardless of the skill level or distance – they all go through the Running Pose.
    In order to teach runners of all levels to eliminate the unnecessary elements of running that also cause injuries (like heel striking for example), Dr. Romanov developed a method – the Pose Method of Running
  4. Every single person who runs goes through the Running Pose, but not everybody is Pose Running. As mentioned above, everyone who runs goes through the Running Pose. However, not everyone runs using the Pose Method of Running. Since every single runner goes through the Running Pose, it is easy to take a single photo of a heel striker that happens to be photographed as he/she was going through the Running Pose.
    That is why video analysis is essential. The video reveals what happens before and after the runner goes through the Running Pose. And that is what makes all the difference. Some runners go from Running Pose to Running Pose, that is what the Pose Method of Running essentially teaches, and others land on the heel or flatfooted, roll through, then attempt to toe off as they also attempt to produce full knee extension thinking they are propelling themselves somewhere as they waste precious seconds and significant effort on completely unnecessary commotion all the while increasing the potential of injuries.
  5. To become a better runner all you have to do is eliminate the unnecessary movement between the Running Poses. As a runner, you already go through the Running Pose, so simply do less and not more, go from the Running Pose to the Running Pose. Isn’t it amazing that to run better, to reduce eccentric load on your knees by virtually 50% you are advised to do less?

About the Author

Lana Romanov is a Director of Certification and Continuing Education at Pose Method, Inc. Having studied and worked at the company since 2001, Lana develops and maintains the continuing education program for health + fitness professionals. She also writes short articles and assists with research efforts.

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Technique: Usain Bolt Can Top His Own World Record

Usain Bolt could run 100m in 9.11 seconds. Given his constitution, genetics and his running technique he has what it takes and then some.

The difference between calculated potential and actual performance is the athlete’s ability to deliver and especially do so when it matters the most. For example, Bolt’s performance in Berlin in 2009 vs the following Olympics in London in 2012 – World Championship (9.58) vs Olympics (9.63). Less pressure vs more pressure, plus additional factors of course.

Everyone from fans and sports writers to former world record holders and astrophysicists have been speculating about human potential when it comes to dashing for 100m ever since Bolt clocked 9.58. However, all predictions seem to still only hover around 9.4 with the maximum human potential claimed to be at 9.36… nobody dares to even utter anything lower than that because just a ‘blink in history’ ago 9.58 seemed out of reach. Researches even announced that they had to reassess their calculations because they couldn’t have predicted Bolt.

That was in 2008, so all eyes were on 2012 and we were amazed with the new 100m men’s Olympic record of 9.63. But in the world of sprint it’s miles away from 9.36. Running at that speed is beyond most humans. At least for now.

Tracking the 100m world records through the years it’s almost painful to look at the tenths of seconds involved, and most humans couldn’t be bothered. After all, some of us blink slower than that. But, 9.11 is possible, and at this point and time, if anyone can do it – it’s Bolt. Yes, his physique is a factor, so is his character and mind. But most importantly – his technique, it is his gateway to greatness.

The calculations that produced the 9.36 as the maximum human speed were pure mathematics based on accumulated data of best times posted. However, to calculate human potential based on what humans have been able to achieve thus far is to severely limit that potential. In order to correctly assess the possible potential what we need is a correct and clear conceptual model. In our case, it’s a conceptual model of running.

According to Dr. Romanov’s calculations based on the Pose Method of RunningBolt is capable of running 100m in 9.11 seconds. Bolt has already demonstrated that his mind is as strong as his body. Yet to break his own records he would have to slightly adjust his technique and, most importantly, break through his own perception of his own potential.

There are no “handcuffs” stronger than the ones in our mind. He’s been talking about 9.4 for a while now. Though the world’s fastest man has been hampered by a recurring hamstring injury, which points to the fact that his technique is suffering and needs attention, he’s been able to produce great results and tonight he might surprise the world yet again. “I want to do more to make it even bigger“, a quote from Usain Bolt’s Olympic profile seems to point to his desire to achieve more. Well, he sure can. The only question is – will he be able to deliver?

Usain Bolt, the golden boy of sprinting, is set to entertain the world yet again. And there is nothing more fascinating and exciting than watching someone so gifted in action, racing towards greatness and looking to outdo himself.

I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do” he says. Well, young man, so are we. Godspeed!

Here’s a link to Dr. Romanov’s analysis of Bolt’s running technique and recommendations on what he needs to adjust in order to run even faster.

 

About the Author

Lana Romanov is a Director of Certification and Continuing Education at Pose Method, Inc. Having studied and worked at the company since 2001, Lana develops and maintains the continuing education program for health + fitness professionals. She also writes short articles and assists with research efforts.

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Training: How to Increase Running Speed in One Simple Step

Whether you can maintain your newfound speed for the required distance, say 40 yards or 100 meters, is a matter of training and your skill level. Whether you can run faster than Usain Bolt is a matter of your physical stats and genetic potential (p.189) in addition to training and skill level.

One thing is for sure, however, whatever your current running speed is, you can run faster immediately by simply changing just one thing. Nothing else will give you the same result.

Traditionally recommended things for increasing of speed in reality prevent you from running faster. The higher you attempt to raise your knees, the harder your attempt to pump your arms or hit the ground, the more you attempt to push off and toe off – the slower you make yourself. All of those things require extra effort and throw you off balance, so you end up exerting more effort without any increase in speed. You, most likely, have experienced that and know how frustrating it can be.

What you really want to do is:

  1. stay relaxed yet focused,
  2. apply minimal effort and
  3. use natural forces to your advantage.

That’s natural running at its best.

Now, the question is: how do you use natural forces to run? To say ‘stay relaxed yet focused’ is to describe how you should feel not what you should do. So how do you instruct someone what to do in order to tell them how to run? That is what the Pose Method® of Running is all about. If you’re not familiar with it – go ahead and follow that link, it will make the following paragraphs clearer.

How to Increase Your Running Speed

Commonly given advice is more of an advice for a training session or on running form. You’re told to “warm up, stay upright, land on forefoot, focus on posture”, etc. While improving your running form will definitely make you faster and more efficient in general, it still doesn’t answer the main question – how do you actually increase your running speed? What do you do? Especially if you’re already in motion? Knowing how to do that will make all the difference during a race or the game.

Running faster is about your skill, not strength or power. A certain level of strength is absolutely necessary  in order to withstand such a physically demanding activity as running, but your muscles do not produce your speed. Muscles serve a different purpose.

To run faster you need to master just one thing – angle of falling. It’s your ‘gas pedal’. Fall forward more – run faster. Fall forward less – run slower. Within the Pose Method framework, that is all that needs to happen in order to unleash your speed. Your speed is under your command when you learn to operate with the angle of falling.

By-products of Increased Speed

When you increase your speed several things happen as a result. The important part here is to understand where your efforts should be applied.

  • Stride Frequency will have to be increased. To maintain speed and to prevent tumbling over you’ll have to change your support faster. This is one of the reasons that strength training is so important for runners. In sprinting it is the intensity of speed, in long distance it is the extent of miles to be continuously covered that necessitates the ability to pull and keep on pulling your foot up in order to keep changing support in order to keep moving. A good thing here is that stride frequency of 180 and above activates a natural muscle-tendon elasticity mechanism

    Keep in mind, that you can easily increase the frequency of change of support and still stay in one place. You won’t move forward until you introduce a degree of falling forward to your movements.

  • Magnitude of Pulling your foot from support and under your hips increases and do so by itself, i.e. no effort on your part is required. Due to increase in angle of falling and stride frequency, your foot will come up higher than normal, right under your buttocks. The key is to understand that you won’t need to do it, the inertia and other forces interacting will do it for you. In fact, the trajectory of your entire leg will map itself out.

Recommended Reading:

  • Gravity’s role in accelerated running – a comparison of an experienced Pose® and heel-toe runner. (International Society Of Sports Biomechanics, XXV11, 374-377, 2009)
  • Geometry of Running. (European College Of Sport Science, July 5-8, 2006 Switzerland)
  • Runners Do Not Push Off the Ground But Fall Forwards Via a Gravitational Torque. (Sports Biomechanics Journal, 2007)
  • Романов, Н. С. Роль силы тяжести в ускорении тела бегуна вперед / Н. С. Романов, А. И. Пьянзин, Е. В. Никитина, В. И. Васильев / Актуальные вопросы физической культуры и спорта: материалы Всероссийской научно-практической конференции. – Новочебоксарск: НФ РГУФКСМиТ, 2012. – С. 75–80 (0,31/0,08 п.л.).
  • The Independent Effects of Gravity and Inertia on Running Mechanics. The Journal of Experimental Biology 203, 229–238 (2000)
  • Muscle Activity in Running. The Extensor Paradox Experiment. Biomechanics of Distance Running. Human Kinetics Books, 1990
  • Bartlett, R., Romanov, N., Fletcher, G. A Case Study of Two National Standard Sprinters Completing a Pose and Traditional Sprint Start Technique. Journal of Athletic Enhancement, Vol 3; 2014 doi:10.4172/2324-9080.1000145

 

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Training: 5 Signs of Overtraining

Sport specific training is not the simplest of tasks, yet so many attempt to train and to create training programs without really having a clue of what training process is. As a result, there are too many overtrained athletes in danger of being permanently injured.

It is necessary for every coach and athlete to be aware of these important signs of overtraining.

#1 BIO-MOTOR: LOSS OF COORDINATION

The most classical and usually the first of signs of overtraining. Unfortunately, this #1 sign is commonly overlooked. Instead the focus is on heart rate and other physiological signs, which are also important, but loss of coordination comes first. As a matter of fact, it comes first when we get sick, too. Ever noticed how you get a bit clumsy when you have a common cold? Interestingly enough, the minor injuries that happen (bumping into things in a familiar setting, stumbling or tripping, etc) because of the loss of coordination, actually help prevent serious overtraining because you know you’re not  going to be attempting to work out when you can’t keep your balance. It’s your body’s way of saying “take a break”. So always pay attention to your coordination ability, it’s the first sign of things starting to head in the wrong direction.

#2 PHYSIOLOGICAL: HEART RATE DEVIATIONS FROM AVERAGES

As you know there is “resting”, “working” and “recovering” heart rate. Special attention needs to be paid to changes in your “resting” heart rate. Some degrees of deviation ( ± 3 bpm) are acceptable, but some (± 6-9 or higher) are a bright sign of you entering the danger zone.

#3 PHYSIOLOGICAL: LOSS OF MUSCLES’ ABILITY TO RELAX

Muscles’ normal function is to contract and expand, tense and relax. The loss of the ability to relax means your muscles stay in a constant state of tension. Not good, not how it is supposed to be.

#4 PSYCHOLOGICAL: ONSET OF IRRITABILITY, DISSATISFACTION AND CONSTANT FATIGUE

If your girl/boyfriend dumped you it’s one thing, but if you’ve been “training hard” preparing for your big race and all over sudden you feel annoyed, always tired, never happy with what you’re doing or what’s going on – it is almost a guarantee that you’re overtrained. Sport activities are meant to bring you pleasure, satisfaction, things of that nature. So if you’re feeling the opposite, maybe it’s time to change what you’re doing… wouldn’t you say?

#5 RADICAL DROP IN TRAINING AND RACING PERFORMANCE

This one sneaks up on you. People don’t see it coming and then don’t know what hit them. But the more they try to train “harder and better” the deeper they are digging themselves in. It is a short distance from here to a “point of no return”, so you better STOP NOW.

What is not commonly known, is the fact that your training and racing performance will be ok for a while after you start going “downhill”. You will continue to perform ok under an illusion that you are simply dealing with one of your “down/off/up/good/so-so” days (whatever you want to call it). Until one day everything starts going steadily downhill, and you can’t seem to get out of it.

So, don’t get yourself to that point, be smarter and listen to your body.  Treated with care it will flawlessly serve you for years.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.

Theory & Practice: Muscle Elasticity

What is muscle elasticity? If you were to stretch a muscle you would see it shrink back a bit. In plain words, it’s a natural ability to recover to original form upon the removal of the force initially applied. In physical activity it is the ability of muscles to perform work, specifically, to contract rapidly after and immediately prior to extension.

A human body is a mix of physics, geometry, psychology and all that good stuff, so we should not talk about muscles and their function as separate from the whole. Muscles are a part of our entire system, and as such, whatever functions they perform or whatever is going on, it does not happen on its own. There is a whole chain of processes happening.

What is Muscle Elasticity

So, actually, ‘muscle elasticity’ is an incorrect term to use. Muscles do not work independently, nor do they work under our command. The sooner you let go of what you imagine you control, the sooner you will discover what you do control and consequently you will move better.

In Pose Method all of the key elements that are of any significance or benefit are brought together. Everything is connected. The center of the method, the Pose, is the most ‘ready to go’ pose of the body facilitating optimum elasticity allowing for the most effective interaction with the support where the entire musculoskeletal structure is ‘loaded’ with potential energy.

When we talk about muscle elasticity what we should be discussing is a ‘muscle-tendon complex’. Tendons play a very important and active role in this process, but the muscles run the show, yet let’s not forget that the true master is gravity.

Muscle-tendon Elasticity Complex

The concept of muscle-tendon elasticity complex is a relatively new one and research with the correct goals is much needed. There are, however, already some very certain and obvious facts about muscles and tendons and how they work together making for a unique system. For example, it is a fact that tendons can stretch more than muscles. It is most likely because tendons were meant to stretch and muscles weren’t as much, muscles were meant to contract and relax.

Speaking of tendons, let’s mention the Achilles tendon, the biggest tendon in our entire body, which just happens to be located at the ankle, which is part of the ‘mechanism’ of movement like walking, running. So instead of being concerned with overloading the largest tendon of the body during running (if it is the largest tendon, is it not logical to assume that it was meant to and it can handle the loading during running? It’s not the loading it is how it’s done that causes the problem), why not question the integrity of the idea of loading the joints (knees) that were obviously meant to simply bend, yet it is often recommended to actively use them in some many other ways.

It is a requirement in Pose Method of running to keep knees slightly bent at all times, why? Besides the fact that joints bend and should not be in locked positions when in motion, especially during running, bent knees help to absorb the shock during movement. It is also a part of the ‘rules’ of the muscle-tendon elasticity complex.

How It Works

Muscle-tendon elasticity complex is the natural ability of your musculoskeletal system to ‘return to its original state’. When the limb of your body is moved in any way in any direction for any purpose, muscles and tendons accommodate by elongating or shortening at various key spots. When we move our limbs back to where the movement had started, it is easy to notice how everything goes right back to its shape and form, and place. When we pull the foot up with the hamstring we work with this mechanism.

Muscles and tendons work in unison and in tandem, each one however, with its own timing doing its own job. As should be expected and as mentioned above, muscle-tendon complex has ‘rules’. In order to ‘activate’ the complex and benefit from it, one must adhere to those ‘rules’ otherwise the effectiveness of the complex is dramatically minimized or completely lost. And worst of all – injuries happen. Muscle tears and tendon ruptures are consequences of breaking those rules and performing moves out of synch with gravity.

Muscle-tendon complex, like so many other processes in our body, happens in space and time. It is a rhythmic work of muscles & tendons combined with rhythm of loading. And, it is a biomechanical law that guarantees the magic – with high cadence muscles ‘come to life’, so to say, and work at the highest level of their elastic function. Without much effort on your part your body continues forward movement. Elite athletes, most of whom are naturally highly talented, instinctively run with high cadence. Their perception allows them to naturally sense the ease of movement provided by it.

With age muscle-tendon complex naturally changes, but the decline in elasticity is less for active people than for non-active. So keep moving!

Check out progressions of drills and exercises in our video program for runners aimed at developing your muscles’ elasticity to help you become a better runner.

Read more about muscle-tendon elasticity complex in the Pose Method of Running.

Did you know? The payoff to “elastic” running is that you can maintain a high stride rate without “going anaerobic” and using up your body’s available energy supply of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the fuel of your highest intensity sprints. Elastic running gives you the ability to run faster for greater distances and still keep something in reserve.

References:

  1. Alexander, A.M., 1988, Springs as energy stores: running. Elastic mechanisms in animal movement. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 31-50.
  2. Cavagna, G.A., Saibene, F.P. and Margaria, R., 1964, Mechanical work in running, J. Appl. Physiol., 19:249-256
  3. Cavagna, G.A., 1977, Storage and utilization of elastic energy in skeletal muscle. Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, 5, 89-129.
  4. Cavagna, P.R., La Fortune M.A., 1980, Ground reaction forces in distance running, J. Biomech, 13:397-406.

About the Author

Dr. Nicholas Romanov is the developer of the Pose Method®. A passionate proponent of higher level of education in athletics, Dr. Romanov dedicated his entire career to sports education, scientific research and coaching. An Olympic Coach and a bestselling author, Dr. Romanov has taught on all continents and visited almost every country in the world.
[ Click here to learn more ]

CONTINUING EDUCATION + LIVE SEMINARS + LOCAL CLASSES

Pose Method® 2-Day Educational Seminar is approved for 16 contact hours towards continuing education for Certified CrossFit Trainers and Physical Therapists. Athletes and parents of school age children are encouraged to attend.

The Pose Method® system is a combination of online learning, live seminars and local classes making it the most effective solution available to health and fitness professionals as well as anyone who enjoys an active lifestyle.