Bull Circle 3: A Marathon Ready Body

It was a full house for the third Bull Circle held in St. Luke’s Medical Center at BGC.  The topic was A Marathon Ready Body: Strength and Conditioning, Balance and Core (Structural Integrity / Stability) by Coach Jim Saret.

Coach Jim asked, “Is your body ready for 42K?  Will it survive running without injury?” He emphasized the importance of balance for runners because the joints carry three to four times the body weight while running. Imagine running imbalanced for 42 kilometers.

I wasn’t able to take photos of the exercises last night as I did them myself, so I asked my son to demonstrate.  These were taken early this morning before school hence the sleepy face. 🙂

The stability test:
With hands on waist, stand on one leg.  Slightly bend your knee.  Close your eyes.
Notice what’s happening to your ankles, knees, and hip.
Do the same for the other leg.

right knee should be slightly bent

Is one leg stronger than the other?  When running, the stronger leg will always compensate for the weaker leg. Imagine the load the stronger leg carries for 42K.  That is why it’s the leg that usually gets injured.  So we need to strengthen and balance both legs by stabilization exercises.

First exercise:
Sit on the edge of a chair.
Raise both hands above your head.
Lift left foot an inch above the floor.
Stand with the right leg. Hold for 30 seconds.
Slowly sit back.
Do the same for the other leg.

right knee should be slightly bent

Do the same exercise, this time, when you stand, do a tiptoe.  Try to balance for 30 seconds.  We do a tiptoe because when we run, we tiptoe when we push off.

Which leg is stronger?  Did you struggle?  Did you fall?

Second exercise:
Hands on waist.
Stand on slightly bent right leg.
Left foot should be one inch above the floor. (first position)

Slowly bring left leg to 12 o’clock position.  Go as far as you can while maintaining balance.  The body should remain straight.  Hold for 30 seconds.
Bring left leg back to first position.

Slowly bring left leg to 11 o’clock position.  Go as far as you can while maintaining balance.  The body should remain straight.  Hold for 30 seconds.
Bring back leg to first position.

Torso should remain straight.  Do not lean to the opposite direction.

Do the same for ten, nine, eight, seven and six o’clock positions.

Now switch legs.
Stand on slightly bent left leg.  Do above exercise for twelve, one, two, three, four, five, six o’clock positions.

Try the exercises with eyes closed.  Why? Because when we run, we don’t really watch our legs, do we?  We look ahead so we are not actually aware of what our legs are doing.  Hence the closed eye exercise.  You rely on feelings.  It’s called proprioception where the joint send signals to the brain where its position is, so the brain will help you stabilize to prevent falling.

Do as many reps as you can.  Keep in mind that if our legs are balanced, wobbling will be lessened.

Core training:
Planking is not a core exercise when the core isn’t activated.  How do we activate the core?  “By sucking it in.” Pull your navel towards your spine and hold.  That’s how you activate your core.  Hold for 30 seconds.  Repeat.

Do exercises one and two while activating your core.  Notice the difference.

When doing these exercises, wear the running shoes you are going to use on marathon day.

Balance and core training, right shoes, right apparel, maintenance runs, long runs, hydration, and nutrition are bits and pieces of a big puzzle needed for an enjoyable first marathon.  We need each piece.

*Notes were taken from TBR 3rd Bull Circle as I understood the lecture and not verbatim by the speaker.

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6 thoughts on “Bull Circle 3: A Marathon Ready Body

  1. Di ko maalala kung sinabi kung ilang seconds. Ang alam ko dapat dahan-dahan lang ang movement ng leg sa exercise no.2. Do as many reps for each exercise. 🙂

  2. I just talked with Coach Jim this evening and I asked him your question. He said for exercise no.1, tiptoe and try to hold for 30 seconds. If you can't, start with 10 seconds. When you get stronger then you can try again for 15, 20, then 30 seconds. Same goes for exercise no.2. For each clock position, hold for 30 seconds. He said to do as many reps as you can. He reminded me again that we make thousands of steps in a marathon. Hope this helps. 🙂

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