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Greetings Winter/Spring Runners; Week #11

A lot of the group got out for longer runs this weekend. 

I think we may be back in business.

I came across Bill Rogers during my run with Beau (the dog). He was finishing up a 20 mile run in prep for Boston.  He reported the shoulders on 450 are clear enough to run out to Staples. We would need to put the water stop at 4 Mile on the right side of the road in the open area across from the 4 mile mark.  Jane also did 20 miles with some combination of Pinedale, South Haven, Truman, Mastline, and 2nd Street.  Ron Hooker did 18 from Truman, all the way down South Haven, Pinedale, and Rt 450.  Ron reports the Port A Pot is still behind 6 feet of snow. I will try to take a shovel over before the weekend.

The trails are still pretty much out of the question for a while.  Too deep even for my Yak-tracs L .  B&A is supposed to get plowed this week but  the HASHAWAHA 50k has been canceled.  SENECA CREEK 50k is still planned.

NOTE: There is a movement spearheaded by Christian Hazen and Dan Falk to do an Annapolis FATASS 50k (or part thereof).   I am checking with a fellow trail runner from Kent Island on the trails at Tuckahoe Park as an option also.

Stay tuned.

The AHS Track is now under only 6 inches of snow L

Wednesday Track Session -   START 6:00pm .If you have a place to do intervals, do: 7 x 800 at 80% w/ one lap jog recovery (Half Marathoners do 5) + 5 x 100 (All out w/20 sec recovery).  Otherwise plan on doing your speed session on the treadmill or on a clear residential road.  It may be easier to use time instead of distance as the measure.  Do 7(5) x 3:30/4:00 min (i.e. 60 sec faster than marathon target time, e.g. 4 hrs = 4min 800’s = 3:00 min/.25 miles) Z4(80%)with 1:30 min recovery, then 5 x 100 at Z5 with :20 sec recovery.

Saturday Run –  ***START AT 7:00am. ****  This Saturday is scheduled for a 20 mile run– easy; 8 to 10 miles for the Half marathoners.  If you have to do it on the roads outside your neighborhood; be very careful.  The high drifts do not allow a lot of room as cars go by. The Port A Pot at Truman is almost completely covered from the plow drift.  Truman and R 450 are runable.

Sunday Trail Run
– Looks doubtful at this point.  The snow is still a foot deep on the AHS trails.  I will check periodically and keep you posted.

Why it is the ‘little things’ that make a difference. Here is some neat information on those pesky micro-muscles and ligaments/tendons that are always sore; a little technical but very interesting. When it comes to sport performance, power, strength and endurance can only take you so far. Whether you’re a soccer player, a gymnast on the bars, or a rugby player diving for the line while fending off tackles, balance is absolutely critical for performance. John Shepherd has taken a look at how balance and proprioceptive training and the mechanisms that lie behind this skill can be improved.

Balance in sport involves a complex interaction between numerous factors. A number of these are conscious – such as deciding to move a limb to prevent yourself falling at the same time as performing a skill eg a basketball shot – while many more are unconscious. The unconscious element involves the ‘use’ of in-built sensory mechanisms and programmed responses. This is known as ‘proprioception’. Proprioception has been called the ‘sixth sense’ and is basically a mechanism (or, more accurately, a series of mechanisms) that keeps track and control of muscle tensions and movement in the body.

When you consciously make movements or are subjected to external forces, your muscles, ligaments and joints will be making their own ‘judgments’, based on the information that they receive from their own sources. These judgments are then used to invoke mechanisms to control movement. These mechanisms are known as sensorimotor processes, and scientists have been investigating how the senses consciously and subconsciously react with one another to control movement (known as sensorimotor research). Sports scientists now believe that sensorimotor ability and proprioception can be enhanced by specific practices. 

Proprioception is achieved through muscles, ligaments and joint actions using messages that are continuously sent through the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS then relays information to the rest of the body literally ‘telling’ it how to react and with what amount of tension/action. Some of these instructions go to the brain, where more often than not they are acted on unconsciously, whilst others go to the spinal cord, where they are acted on automatically.

Proprioceptors are basically ‘sensors’ that reside within muscles, joints and ligaments. These respond to pressure, stretch and tension and are key in initiating what is known as the ‘stretch/reflex’. You will probably be familiar with the stretch/reflex as a mechanism in the everyday sporting context when trying to stretch a muscle beyond its sticking point – a point will be reached when the muscle will not want to stretch any further. This is the result of the stretch/reflex mechanism kicking in and trying to prevent the muscle from being stretched further.

Although not so readily apparent, the stretch/reflex also provides control over other functions such as your postural muscles, which maintain the balance of the body against gravity. This makes it a global as well as specific site muscle mechanism. An example of this is if you were holding a weight in your outstretched hand and then had more added; the stretch/reflex would attempt to make the adjustments necessary to allow you to continue to hold the added load by ‘tweaking’ all the supporting muscles and influencing your posture.

Injury can reduce the effectiveness of an athlete’s proprioception, something that the athlete  may not be fully aware of even when rehabilitation seems complete. A team from the University of Pittsburgh looked at the role of the sensorimotor system as it relates to functional stability, joint injury and muscle fatigue of the shoulder and the restoration of functional stability after shoulder injury (1). They noted that to fully restore shoulder stability, deficits in mechanical stability, proprioception and neuromuscular control are needed.

The rule of training specificity states that the greatest sports improvement gains will be derived from the most sport specific exercises for that sport. Thus for example, a sprint athlete will get greater returns from plyometric training, in comparison with weight training. However, it is possible that even these specific training means may not fully develop proprioceptive ability.

Mark Alexander, MSD, notes that a focus on speed and power exercises, with their emphasis on fast-twitch muscle fiber may in fact disrupt proprioceptive ability. He indicates that fast-twitch muscle fiber is less adept at monitoring and controlling muscle tension when compared with slow-twitch fiber because of the quicker speed of neural impulses being sent and interpreted through muscle spindles and spinal motor neurons.

It is expected that balance type exercises need to be performed at slower paces to optimally enhance proprioception. These allow postural stabilizer muscles, with their greater predominance of slow-twitch muscle fiber, to supply enhanced movement control. An example of a stabilizing muscle is the soleus muscle of the lower leg (calf), while the other major calf muscle (the gastrocnemius) is the ‘fast-twitch fiber rich prime mover’.

Balance type drills are seen to improve not only proprioception, reducing potential injury, but also the ability of an athlete to express power. To explain this, think of a high jumper planting off their curved approach to leap dynamically skyward. The forces going through the athlete’s prime mover leg muscles need to be controlled by the stabilizing muscles. The more effective these muscles are, the more effective the power output will be from the prime movers. This is akin to the fine-tuning of a race car’s suspension (which can be equated to the stabilizing muscles), where small tweaks can greatly enhance the geometry of the car and therefore the speed produced by its prime mover – the engine.

Mark the Date

Saturday 17 April – METAvivor Adventure Race, Annapolis MD.  1 Mile Kayak; 17 Mile Bike; 5k Run.  Details and Registration at:  http://tinyurl.com/yh8r7w9

The Rosaryville 10k, 15k, 25k, and 50k Trail Runs will be Sunday 18 July

Details and Registration at: http://tinyurl.com/ykug576

***Remember to do your part to maintain the Port A Pot at the Truman Park N Ride by making a contribution.  We get a discounted rate of $46 per month for the unit.  Contributions can be made directly to me or via PayPal.

Tom Nelson has constructed a site to show our routes and water stop locations for the long run coming up each week.  You can indicate your intention to run and see who else is planning on showing up – one more incentive for getting there. Check back to the following website later in the week for the latest info on water support:  http://www.runningahead.com/groups/truman/Forum

NOTE:  Steve has added a rotating photo feature to the web page. I have sent him some photos but if you have any you like, send them to Steve at: steve.carton@retrievalsystems.com  Take a look.

"The only one who can tell you 'you can't is you. And you don't have to listen."


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