Mobility

Tag Archives — Mobility

How is your IT band? + Leg Pain

This is a new, updated version of an old post responding to the below question about IT-Band Pain. I have adjusted the content to be more general to leg pain common to cyclists and endurance athletes generally. 

It is OK to get Help! 

Try some of these modifications and ideas but it is rarely a bad idea to go see a local, trusted practitioner who has helped you or similarly athletic friends – this could be a Physiotherapist, Chiropractor, Osteopath, Massage Therapist, Kinesiologist or other practitioner. These sessions can provide some ideas for reducing pain now and progressing back to your sport gradually. The benefit of seeing someone is also in the psychological benefit of talking to someone about your concerns and perhaps having the benefits of touch generally.  

How Did It Start?

  • Consider things you have done that are in exceess of your usual or very different in terms of volume or intensity (ie. did you do a really long ride? or Lift really heavy weight?) 
  • Read: Are you Training to Much on the SmartAthlete Blog
  • Your Training Log can help (ie. Training Peaks? or something in one of those wearable watches?) 
  • Position? Did you change the position on your bike (and then do something listed above?) Be cautious with changes to your position / movement by reducing the volume/intensity. A New position, bike-part, whole bike, cleat/pedal setup (or old parts) can be part of the issue! 

Listen to Greg Lehman talk about pain science on the Consummate Athlete Podcast and how psycho/social aspects can influence our pain sensation

Rest – Sometimes We Don’t Need to do anything! 

  • While it is  tempting to roll, stretch, ice, get massage, get chiro, get supplements, get cremes, get braces … sometimes we just need rest and to leave that ‘hot’ area alone. 
  • Can you (have you) taken a few days to let your body recover? Often we can treat our pain and soreness with adequate rest. This can be a complete off day or even just a day (or three) where you do a different type of activity or movement (ie. swimming or pilates instead of cycling).
  • Move differently is a solution sometimes but complete rest (again) can be under-appreciated. Dr. Stuart McGill in his books (including ‘Back Mechanic’) discusses how surgery often ‘works’ because we are forced to take time off. If you have an ongoing/chronic issue consider a ‘fake surgery’ where you skip the scalpel and just take 2 weeks off before gradually easing back into your sport. 

Change Something

As a Registered Kinesiologist, I love the idea of foam rolling, stretching and movement but we need to be careful thinking we can spend enough time stretching each day to compensate for hunching over our desk, bike and dinner plate and also need to be careful thinking movement is the only thing that influences pain (ie. we may just need to rest and relax!). 

Sleep, Nutrition, Lifestyle factors (stress) can all influence our sensation of pain (read more about Greg Lehman’s ‘Cup’ Analogy)

Are you doing something in your daily life you could modify? This could be a nutrition, stress reduction techniques or more movement/posture oriented changes like a pillow between the knees or under the low back, or cruise control while driving or a walk at lunch to change up our routine, enhance digestion and reduce stress. 

‘Easy’ Habits

I like things we can do once and they are set. The Shoes we wear, beds we sleep in, seats we sit in, and options for movement we setup (ie. book into a class or lunch massage) are ways we might shift loads and stimuli we are exposed to each day without adding another thing we have to motivate ourselves to do each day. Many of my clients have pushed ‘walking meetings’ and phone calls to get outside and move more. Often the meetings seem to go better! 

Listen to Katy Bowman talk about how ‘movement matters’ On the Consummate Athlete Podcast. Those little movements each day can add up! 

Try to Add Variety into your day – while it is tempting to say ‘stop sitting’ this is very challenging for most of us (and frustrating!) Thinking of ways to sit differently and vary position is perhaps more workable. 

WHAT TO DO WITH PAIN NOW: 

  • You can ice that ‘hot spot’ to reduce pain. This is not a long-term strategy but can reduce pain initially. 
  • You can roll above and below the area (or stretch/move those areas) … try to think above and below more then right ontop of the sore/painful area (give that spot a break!) Mobility Wod on Above/Below concept
  • Ensure your bike-fit is suitable. Generally, front of knee pain comes from a saddle that is low or too far forward. Back of knee pain from a seat that is too high or too far back. Mark your current position then make a small change and see if its better!
  • Try to avoid painful ranges/sports/movements for a few days and see if you can focus on moving in different ways. This might mean using a different bike (clueing you to a bike fit issue?) or a different sport like going for a walk, swimming, upper body strength etc.
  • Your Knee alignment in the movements you do *may* be a way to influence your pain. Hip and foot exercises can help enhance your athletism, which may then also influence the knee position. mobilitywod video discussing this knees out in stair climbing

 

If you do not have a local therapist, or you are visiting Collingwood, Ontario we can work together in person or consider a phone/skype consult. Booking is here. 

 

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Race Leadville Faster… Without Training More

Unfortunately doing well at any endurance race is not as simple as simply training for hours and hours. This is especially true for the grueling, Leadville 100-mile MTB race, which takes place at over 10,000 feet of elevation for almost the whole race and involves a lot of climbing.

Luckily most of us are limited in how much we could ever pedal in a week so the fact that success at these races involves something more than training for hours is a GOOD THING. Our fitness is a big part of the equation but what FITNESS is and how we apply our fitness through preparation, equipment, position and other methods will determine how well our big day goes.

My focus in this article is largely on everything BUT pedaling or fitness (although I do make plans to help you with that), because to me, the regular ‘desk’ athlete with kids, a job, 2 dogs and a mortgage likely has a different event to take on then the pro who can perform a month of high-volume training, on top of a mountain and do quite well.

Be A Student of the Race

The Leadville 100 MTB Trail race or other Endurance Bike Races tend to have huge followings and so there is a lot of content out there. When I signed up in 2011, I was looking for every resource (Leadville Pictures,  Leadville video, race storiesStudies) to help guide my preparation. Now, this may seem weird, as I am a supposed to be a Pro MTB racer and a coach with a university degree, but the fact that Leadville is a different event remains true and my lack of Leadville, or even 100-miler, experience had me scared. Experience the race before you get there via media and then by simulating terrain.

holly-descending

Get Better at Riding Fast Down Hills

Leadville has 12,000-14,000 feet of climbing … Yes, you should be light and fit to get up those hills, but dragging your brakes down 14,000 feet of downhill is costing you time too. Practice on technical trails and also on event-specific double track, ATV trail and gravel road and your average speed will go up considerably. Being comfortable on technical trails will make the Leadville double track and road much easier to do while fatigued. Check out Bike Skills Project videos on ready position and/or attack position (basically standing up on the bike)are key places to start.

Get Ready for the Altitude, But Don’t Freak Out

If you can go to a few camps to simulate your race pace at even moderate altitude, that will help. If you accept that it will be a bit harder and not exactly the same as home, it is part of the challenge and many people do no altitude adaptation and do fine thanks to good fitness and great pacing.

Altitude tents and devices such as SpiroTiger can be an asset in maximizing your adaptation to altitude and enhancing your respiratory system to help you be more comfortable with the increased breathing requirements at altitude, and while racing/riding/existing.  Both devices can be rented from many companies.

I also like getting clients to practice breathing through their noses during their day and while on rides (start slow and breathe deep with BELLY). You should find you can eventually build your wattage while nose breathing towards ‘tempo’ (about Leadville pace) AND (in my opinion) this first experience with restricted breathing helps you be psychologically ready in Leadville.

Beta-Alanine and Sodium Phosphate-loading are two potentially beneficial supplements to help maximize Oxygen-dependent performance (under ‘threshold’), which is important at altitude.  Ensure you have used both appropriately in training prior to Leadville and make sure you take care of all the (CHEAPER) basics first, such as fueling, sleep, mobility and bike skills.  A special tip is to try to stay lower then Leadville the week off. There are many cool towns at slightly lower elevation and I think it is worth getting better sleep, with a few rides in Leadville vs. Being in Leadville all week.


Want to re-energize- Unplug, put airplane mode on, and immerse in nature's finest.


Eat Enough, But Not Too Much

Minimize the digestive work your stomach has to do. Save that energy for pedaling. Many athletes make the mistake of eating too many solids and overwhelming their stomachs with foods/fuel that they have not game played over distances, at specific intensities and/or while not at altitude. We may not be able to test/Game Play any or all of these, BUT we can take notes from experienced athletes and the averages. Generally, focus on more liquid sources of calories at 2-300kcal/hr.

Maltodextrin-based mixes/gels seem to be most digestible, possibly with some fructose or simple sugar. Solids earlier in the race are used by some to break up the fueling strategy and avoid overloading on a certain sugar or component. Many distance athletes (e.g. RAAM and 24 hour Solo) will use products like Ensure to get a digestible calorie source; at Leadville, having an Ensure at top or bottom of Columbine could work well. I have also always liked Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) and typically will ride/race with them in my bottles with some electrolyte to help with energy and focus.

As always, you should be practicing race day nutrition long before your race. ( Nutrition basics with The Bike Skills Project here ) 

peter evan flat fix by Karlee on Gridley Pratt Ojai 2014

Hone Your Mechanical Skill

Many a race is ruined, if not lost, based on little fixes on the trail. You should be able to take your bike apart on the course and reassemble. Make a list and start practicing. A good and patient local coach or friend should be able to help you through sticking points.  Bike Skills Projects on Mechanics HERE 

musette bag issue at leadville

Do. Not. Stop.

It is very important that, within reason, we never go 0 km/hr. Leadville and many similar races are about average speed. Keep rolling steady. You should not stop in the feed-zone, or to eat or to transition to a hike-a-bike. Situations may arise, such as nature breaks (although some may find ways to do this one bike) but generally, try to plan and train for minimal stops to preserve that goal pace.  The feed bag pickup is a place I messed up in 2011 and actually fell (so pro!)

… Again, these are the little things we forget when out doing 4 hours hard, and a couple Game-Plays with the feed bag could have saved me minutes, if not gotten me a podium spot.  Bike Skills Projects on Dismounts / Mounts.

Pacing is Imperative

While on our bikes, we can add benefit to our training by making sure we learn what a sustainable pace is and how to hold it over varying terrain. I believe HR is still relevant to optimal pace even at altitude, but we also need to use our brains and experiences to inform when it is time to go or if HR won’t be used on a given day. My goal during my 2011 prep at sea level was to see my pace on hilly terrain (Miles/HR) come up to 1 mile faster/hour then my goal Leadville pace (14.7mph for ~7hrs over 103mi ).   ( Posts from Smart Athlete / Train With Peter on Pacing )

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Be Able to Function Off Your Bike and Avoid Cramps/Tightness/Back Pain

Be able to walk/hike uphill efficiently and dismount/remount easily, even uphill. Walking can be optimal pacing strategy. Be efficient in mount/dismount and walking/jogging. Avoid getting stopped at zero miles per hour pace. Plan spots you will likely walk (top of Columbine and power-line on the return for many). Have a daily mobility practice including standing often and walking a ton (i.e. on breaks at work and before-after meals). Bike fit and mobility are big causes of time off-bike so make sure these items are very well Game Played before the race. ( Smart Athlete Posts on Mobility ) ( Also check out the MobilityWod on Youtube)

aerotuck for leadville 2010

Maximize Aerodynamics, Position, Efficiency

Leadville is a mountain bike race but a lot of time can be saved by drafting and having a reasonable position on the bike (that you can pedal well in). Looking to optimize clothing (i.e. no garbage bag coats) and spend some time on the road in an aero position of some type (narrow hand position and maybe forearms on the bar). Elite Leadville times are becoming so fast that much effort is put into Aero (see 2016 winner’s bike/gear here) There are many sites out there proving being aero is worth thinking about, such as here. Recently, a bike company tested hair styles and found that braided hair was more efficient than a bun or ponytail and also found some interesting gains from shaved legs and arms (but not face!). So there are some little wins you can get for low cost or a bit of skill practice.

While these concepts may sound basic and optimistic at times, I do believe that there is a ton of time to be gained for almost anyone looking at Leadville and similar races without even touching on fitness. We want to maximize the work we can do (fitness) and minimize the work we have to do with preparation, planning, health, nutrition, and equipment creating our best performance on THE big day.

I would love to hear your feedback on these ideas, any questions they might spark or suggestions on ways to squeeze every last second out of your next big Endurance Race.

-Peter


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Using Sick Days and Injured Days to Your Advantage

As I come off a couple days where I have been forced off bike and forced to modify my training plan I thought it was worth discussing how I deal with these days personally and how I have helped clients be ready to react to these inevitable changes to the plan.

THE PLAN SHOULD CHANGE

One of the concepts that I try and instill in coaching clients is to use the training plan as a ROUGH PLAN. This is the direction we are heading, the rough progression of intervals/volume/workout types that will move us towards our goal but on any given day we might do less/more or completely different workouts. Embracing this concept helps us avoid over-training and also under-training and the frustration caused by both.

WHEN THE PLAN CHANGES – PICK A FOCUS

Once we have our working confines for the day then we need to be ready to focus on 1 or 2 key things and do a fantastic job practicing them. As an example if you decided to go with a classic 5 x 2 minute hill interval set then you might focus on maintaining a strong posture for the intervals and perhaps on pushing a little extra at the point our mind/body/legs want us to stop or back off to edge ourselves towards a bit more performance. On the flip side, if we decide that today is an off day due to injury/illness we might focus on doing several short sessions of meditation, mobility and/or getting a massage. We could do some work on our bike, we could do annoying phone admin work like hotel booking and insurance selection and focus on being ready for the next day. Selecting 1 or 2 ways we can achieve a daily goal and make progress, just like we do on our training days, makes these off days part of our journey towards our goal rather then a step away from it.

PICT0075

FOCUS ON RECOVERY

On training days and on off-days try to program and set goals around a recovery technique. Sleep, Mobility and Walking are two key ones I focus on. For sleep ensuring we fit in naps, especially if not getting >8 hours or not a ‘great’ sleeper. Bedroom should be quiet, pitch-black, cool and free of screens/electronic/lights. Try to include some meditation/mobility/quiet time before trying to sleep. Mobility is a broad term that can include stretching, yoga, gymnastics, calesthenics, walking, playing with your kids, gentle swimming, massage and several other kooky practices. Basically keep your body moving through the ranges of motion you were given before you decided to be an adult/athlete. A good, very broad, direction to start is to spend time daily squatting low, lunging to at least 90 degrees at both knees with upright torso and putting your arms over your head–you decide how/where you do it.  Finally walking is something I have done a ton of and I find the more I do the better everything else in my life goes. Walking serves to help open up tight hips, gets us out moving outside of our ‘workouts’ to get blood moving and add to our daily activity and also can serve as a quiet time, technology free time, family/relationship time. There is very little downside to adding walking to any person’s daily routine. For my business-people clients adding walking meetings and calls to their daily routine has been huge. Getting outside for walks on those days you are feeling tired, tight, sick can be a game changer–gentle movement and sun rarely does harm.

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ADJUST THE PLAN

On these days you are off training this is a great place to start adjusting the rough, long-term plan again. Give yourself sufficient time to get back riding and be patient, usually 1-2 days more off/easy after we feel ready to go is wise so build these into the rough plan. Having this rough plan as an evolving map of where you are now and where you want to go will serve to keep you motivated and invested in the process.

peter and evan on beach oxnard 2014

 

Mobility and Movement – Some Updates, Refreshers and Rules of Thumb to Try

*this is from the weekly Smart Athlete Newsletter, Signup Here to ensure you get this weekly update 

Mobility and Movement

Movement is my passion. Seeing people grasp basic movements on and off bikes gets me excited.

When we are not moving as well as we would like or in pain it can be quite frustrating for the athlete and also for the coach/therapist.

The important thing is always to stay positive and SOLUTION FOCUSED. What can we try or change that might help?

Often we develop habits that do not help our situation. When in doubt try doing things differently or adding variety.

Some ideas for your mobility and movement

1) Move frequently.
    => Many (most?) of us move often enough and in a variable fashion.
    => How could you sit/type/stand differently ? Can you ride your bike standing & sitting ?
    => If you are a cyclist & work at a desk could you incorporate yoga and/or hiking and/or strength training for variety ? (without being sore for a week?)

2) If/When You Can’t Move Frequently.
    => Focus on avoiding poor positions (slouching, weird sleeping postures, optimize driving posture) to minimize damage & mobilizing you need.
    => Mobilize to help overcome the effects of being in compromised positions (sitting, cycling, or anything in excess)
    => ‘Mobility Wod’ is a great resource. ***Easy way to access the free/older videos via Youtube

3) How to Mobilize.
    => Don’t do too much at once, keep it simple and focused on your 1-3 main trouble areas.
    => 5- 20min , 1-3 areas/movements , minimum 2min per area, go slow and BREATHE = if you rush/cram it is not worth doing.
    => focus on improving a position you want to get into (ie. cycling position, bottom of squat, arms overhead, standing with hips open)            
    => Rolling, Contract/Relax and oscillating in and out of the ‘end point’ of the stretch are preferable to traditional static stretch in most cases.
    => rolling each glute (butt cheek) for 5min each and then moving in and out of a lunge stretch (back foot up or down) for 2-3 min each is good place to start.

4) More Free Info !
   =>Below is a free chapter to Crossfit Endurance’s book “Power, Speed, Endurance”(buy here) by Kelly Starett of Mobility Wod
   => This is a 1-2 hour circuit you can do 1-2 x a week and get great results. Doing this whole routine will really help you isolate your ‘big 2 or 3 movements’
   => Free Mobility Chapter is Here in .PdF

5) Even More Info!!
   => A more slowed down and systematic explanation may be Network Fitness / Jeff Alexander.
   => http://smr.networkfitness.com/primary-regions/

6) Get Help.
  => A Great way to learn about mobility and work on your limiter areas is to get a Kinesiology assessment. Book Yours Now.
  => I am always looking for small groups and locations to spread the movement and mobility word. If you have a space and a few friends. Let’s do a group session.

Peter
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Episode ZERO

A New Project has come from many different influences, suggestions and inspirations.

The Goal of the Blog ? 365 days of Bike Skills Ideas to augment your ‘Training’

We (cyclists in general) spend way to much time ‘training’ and forget about all the little things that go into actual performance. The ‘training’ matters and I love it but we need to ‘up our game’ and spend more time on all the other important stuff that goes into game day performance.

The other important stuff ?
Anything that is going to improve Your Bike skill. Mostly on bike skills but look for lots of influence from Nutrition, Mobility, Bike Mechanics, Cross Training, strength training and Coach/Athlete interviews.

The Characters ? Anyone I can get on camera with me, sharing ideas and their angle

The Mission Each Day : Find a Bit more Safety, Confidence and Speed on the Bike

And So It Begins …

*Please spread the word*