During rest and recovery each year I spend time strengthening different parts of my body. The last few years, I’ve focused on my core. Unfortunately, 3 years ago I had a sacroiliac joint injury that forced me to change a lot about my training. You can read more about that injury and rehabilitation here. In the end, the changes were good and there is no doubt that strengthening my core has kept me running and injury free.
I didn’t make these changes on my own. I sought help from physical therapist, Mike Beretta at Beretta Physical Therapy here in El Dorado Hills. He helped me learn how to strengthen my core, and has continued to help me stay healthy when I have little issues with my SI joint so that I can continue running. During this time, I became a fan of physical therapy. A few sessions make a huge difference for me.
This year when my lower back went out and caused an incredible amount of pain, I had no doubt that I would spend some of my rest and recovery in physical therapy strengthening my upper body. Although my back issue isn’t a running injury, I learned that there are a few things relate to my running that could have contributed to it.
For one, I started carrying a hydration pack that probably didn’t fit me well. I also started carrying it when the temps were high and I was running several miles (18+ trail miles). This meant I threw on a pack that didn’t fit me well with 50 ounces of water. Instead, I should have trained my body to carry a pack gradually. Some people may be able to do that without any problems. But for me, I didn’t have the strength to do it and it contributed to the problem.
The other thing that I learned was that although my lower back was in pain, the main problem was coming from my mid to upper back. Muscles that I needed to use weren’t strong enough and so they tightened up and other muscles had to compensate.
What I’m doing about it:
*I changed my pack.
*I am running with a small amount of water in it and for shorter runs to train my body.
*I went to physical therapy to work on loosing up the muscles in my upper back and strengthening the ones that I need to use.
As a goal for 2014, I will be strengthening my upper body. After completing a few sessions of physical therapy to help heal my back, I was taught how to strengthen my upper body. And, now, I have a good solid home routine.
I’m reminded that if I want my body to perform well in endurance events, I need to spend the time strengthening it.
These are some of my workout buddies:
I use this equipment to help build upper body strength. I do stretching, push ups, bicep curls, rowing, tricep exercises, and more. Don’t worry, even after all these exercises, you won’t confuse me with the Incredible Hulk.
How much time do you spend on strengthening exercises?