This month, I’m going to two of my favorite sources. One for a topic I’ve discussed here before and the other for an interesting look at something new.
Keep your ankles strong
First, something new. What’s your weak point as a runner? I suppose, if you think about that carefully, you’d say that the muscles of your lower leg are the smaller muscles and, as such, probably are working at a higher percentage of their capacity than the larger and stronger upper leg muscles. How much thought have you given to that, though? I have to admit I haven’t thought of it from that perspective before.
Maybe we should be, though. In short, as you run, your lower leg muscles fatigue more quickly than your upper leg muscles. As that happens, the larger, less efficient upper leg muscles have to pick up more of the load. This may be a cause of the well documented decline in efficiency as runners fatigue.
So strengthen those ankles. There are a few suggestions for ankle strengthening in the article. Check them out.
Should you stretch or not?
I hate to pile on because I know we’ve gone over this before. A (relatively) new study looked at the topic of stretching again, though.
What did it find? If you remember my previous statements on stretching, this will seem familiar. If you like it, do it. If you don’t like it, don’t do it.
There seems to be no performance benefit or detriment, whether static stretching, dynamic stretching, or not stretching at all before the performance tests in this study. So do what feels good to you.