Over the course of the next year we will focus on one area of importance for runners to gain mobility, strengthen, and stretch. Some may be quite familiar to those who attend the TRACK and/or the HILLS, DRILLS, and SKILLS sessions run by our coaches.
Try to incorporate the monthly focus areas into your regular strengthening routine and see how much better you get with your mobility and strength. The frequency of injury can be kept at bay, as well, when one focuses on these exercises.
As with anything, take it from where you're at. It's better to do the exercise correctly and do fewer than to try to do so many that your form is off and you injure yourself trying to prevent injury!!
JANUARY FOCUS: ANKLES AND FEET
There are a multitude of exercises one could do to strengthen their feet and ankles. This article will highlight a few for you to get started. However, search the internet for MANY more ideas. You can find tips forrehabbinga sprained ankle orstrengtheningyour ankles for trail running, for instance. The main goal is to increase the mobility and strength in your toes/feet and your ankles to be able to handle the loads going up the kinetic chain to your knees and hips.
- HEEL WALKS: Walk across the room on your heels, lifting your toes up towards your shins. Try working up to 60 seconds. Do 2 sets.
- TOE WALKS: Lift up onto the balls of your feet. As you walk forward, lift the toes of your front foot up towards your shin and then press the ball of the foot down onto the ground, take step with the next foot repeating the same. As you walk it's "lift, press, lift, press, lift, press", etc. Work up to 60 seconds. Do 2 sets.
- SINGLE LEG BALANCE: Stand on one foot, extend your arms in front and clasp hands together. Now draw the alphabet with your arms/hands in big, loopy letters purposely challenging your balance. Switch legs. If it gets too easy, try closing your eyes!!
- LATERAL HOP AND HOLD: Stand on one leg, jump sideways over an imaginary line, hold for a second, jump back over the line. Repeat for a certain amount of time or a predetermined number of sets. REPEAT on the other leg.
The above exercises are just a few of the many that one can do to strengthen your feet and ankles. Add some focused calf stretching and you're off to a good start.