Working With the Body You Have

How do you work with your body? Are you working with it, or against it? I recently read an article about teaching yourself to land softly when running. Parts of the article really resonated with me. Whether you workout with a trainer or by yourself with fitness plans/Pinterest printouts… one thing holds true: when you land, land softly. Your joints will love you!

The article from Competitor says, “Propulsion should come from pulling back from the hip and using your butt muscles, which will move you more directly forward, instead of straightening the knee and using your quads, which will propel you about two-thirds up and one-third forward… Your quads should hold you up, but not propel you.” Read more here. That really hit home with me because when my legs get tired, it’s my lower legs. And I’ve always been told – from shoe fitters and my chiropractor – that I need to work on my hip flexors, IT bands and getting my butt muscles stronger and firing more efficiently.

One thing I’ve been working on lately is working with the body that has been given to me. I’m an endomorph – meaning I “have trouble losing weight and seem to gain weight even thinking about food (OK, not really, but sometimes it feels that way). They are typically shorter, have shorter limbs and are curvier.” Read to find out what you are here. Livestrong goes on to say “If you find yourself tending to bulk up in your lower body (as a lot of endomorphs do), focus the bulk of your strength training on your upper body to balance yourself out. But your strength training should still focus on all your major muscle groups.”

I do bulk up really easily in my lower half. I also have really tight calves and hamstrings and more muscular thighs – huge muscle imbalances Batman! You can read more about muscle imbalances in runners and how to fix them here. I’ve never thought of my butt being soft but I guess there is a huge difference between your gluteus maximus and your gluteus medius (see below). Huh! Who knew? And my medius is definitely not as awesome as it should be! glutes-overall-sci-pic

After reading up on being an endomorph, I started focusing more on my core and my upper body – which as been great for the amount of sit ups and pushups I can do… but I know I still have weaknesses in my lower half, regardless of it being bulky and pretty muscular down there. So it’s time to shift gears of what my main focus is, apparently. I’m still going to work my upper half to even out the lower half but here are my new body goals: strengthen my running muscles – mainly my gluteus medius and knees by focusing on one legged exercises and muscle isolations, loosen up my calf and shin muscles via being dedicated to yoga and foam rolling more often, strengthen my hip flexors and run more with my butt not my legs!

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Last week’s training looked like this:
Monday – 3.5 miles
Tuesday – 35 minute cross train
Wednesday – Walked for Rest Day
Thursday – 3.5 miles
Friday – 35 minute cross – rode the bike for 15 minutes then did some lifting
Saturday – Way too hot to run – Rest Day – Painted
Sunday – 5 miles on a nice cool Sunday Runday

I was definitely trying to use my butt on my runs Thursday and Sunday. Thursday was my first day trying this technique out and man, did I notice a difference. I got tired less quickly and Friday when I woke up my inner thighs, butt, and hip muscles were sore… that’s a feeling I don’t think I’ve ever had from running.

So how are you working with the body you have? Are you working with your assets and working on improving the not so asset-y parts? Everyone’s body is different and everyone has to find out what their body likes and responds to. More on that later 🙂

I’m running the 4 mile Racine Lighthouse Run on Saturday. Looking forward to it!

Have a wonderful week!

Running On Snowflakes - With Love and Snowflakes

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