Tag Archives: Pilates

Stretching and ankle strengthening

Ankle strength exercise by Andrew Gills
Ankle strength exercise, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

I’ve not been as consistent with stretching as I would like. I am stretching my calves and circling my ankles 3-4 times a day but I’m not putting time aside specifically for stretching because I have so much on.

This morning I decided to switch my road cycle for a stretching session.

I spent an hour stretching my calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteals and ankles.

I was recently shown an ankle strengthening exercise by Vixx from Kinetic Lifestyle. The first exercise is to pick up a pen or pencil using my feet. Then I hold the pencil between my toes and write my name. The exercise is challenging but I’m sure it will help improve my ankle strength and flexibility.

I did a couple of pilates exercises too because my sacroiliac joint has been playing up a little bit this week (I think it’s stress related).

I’m trying to find a balance between my desire to just go out hard and do lots of miles, my body’s need to work up to hard training after the four months off last year, and my other commitments (university and TAFE studies, work, and family). It’s just all about patience right now but at least I’m not injured and am feeling fit.

Total: 1 hour stretching and pilates

Pilates and stretching

My partner finished late shifts last night so after burning the candle at both ends for a week, I treated myself to a bit of a lie in this morning and a day off training. All I’m doing today are my pilates and stretching exercise. What bliss. Well, pilates is tough for me but still, I can do it in the relative cool of my house in front of the television with my partner for company.

I’m looking forward to trail running tomorrow night.

C25K Week 2 Day 2 – Tempo

My hip clicks as I start my C25K session. During the walk it’s audible but not painful. My Virgo mind goes a little crazy thinking about what it could be. But I settle my mind and remind myself that this is a normal symptom of the looseness in the ligaments in my SIJ. Once I realise this, I relax and settle into the session, accepting the clicking noise isn’t good but also isn’t a new injury. It’s probably just a sign I actually need to part with some cash to buy an SIJ belt. I don’t hear my hip as I run.

Today’s session was the same as Tuesday’s but I did it on a flat course. I ran on a mix of surfaces including uneven and ungraded 4WD tracks through the grass field, a graded gravel road, a concrete footpath and bitumen roads. I focused on using the new technique my physio is helping me with. It’s based on chi running. I am trying to keep a mid-foot strike, forward lean from the ankles (not bending at the hips) and my feet under me.

After my run I completed part of the Pushups for Pink App program. I’ve still got it set on 5 minutes easy, which is too difficult for me. But I made progress compared with Tuesday’s routine. The program I am currently following include 30 seconds each of:

  • standard push ups (completed full 30 seconds)
  • hands elevated push ups (completed full 30 seconds)
  • feet elevated push ups (completed 15 seconds)
  • wide grip push ups (completed 15 seconds)
  • diamond push ups (completed 10 seconds)
  • knuckle push ups (completed 10 seconds)
  • rotational push ups (completed full 30 seconds)
  • single leg push ups (completed 15 seconds)
  • right elevated push ups (completed 10 seconds)
  • left elevated push ups (completed 10 seconds).

I find push ups tough. I guess it’s probably because I run and cycle more than I use my upper body. The program also includes medium and hard options, and 7.5 and 10 minute durations. I currently just aspire to be able to complete the easy 5 minute routine.

I also completed my pilates exercises. I am really starting to feel a difference in my core strength, despite only doing 3 sets of 6 of each exercise 3 times a week when I’m supposed to do 3 sets of 10 exercises every day. It takes me ages to do my pilates exercises because I have to go slowly to get the form right. The exercises I do are:

  • abs prep
  • pelvic tilt
  • basic back extension
  • clams
  • leg lifts
  • leg slides.

These are all just basic exercises but they are a challenge for me, particularly the pelvic tilt and leg lifts. The great thing about them is that I can just do them in front of the television.

I finished the session the same way as I started: by stretching.

Total: 4.16km run/walk.

C25K Week 2 Day 1 – Hills

Hill running session by Andrew Gills
Hill running session, a photo by Andrew Gills on Flickr.

It’s 29’C at 5:15am and the humidity is climbing. I’m awake and sweating while doing my pilates exercises. I’m getting better at them but am still only doing three sets of six repetitions for each exercise. I figure it’s better to have good form than to do more repetitions. And right now, it’s difficult just getting my form right. I can really notice the lack of stability in my right hip but I can also feel the improvements in my core.

At 6:10am I set off down the road for my Couch-to-5k session. I might as well be swimming I’m so wet except that it’s smelly sweat, not deliciously clean-smelling chlorine. I am up to Week 2 Day 1 and my session is:

  • 5 min brisk walk
  • 20 mins x 90 sec running, 2 mins walking
  • 5 mins brisk walk.

Hills used to be my strength as a junior runner and triathlete but over the past eighteen months they’ve been my weakness. But now that I’m starting from scratch, I am going to address this weakness. I am inspired by Run Nature’s blog and a post she wrote about joining her friend on hill sessions. So Tuesday is hill running day. We have some nasty steep climbs in the bush near my home and I want to be able to run them comfortably. They are not mountains by North American or European standards, but they rise sharply from sea level to about 70m above the sea.

After my C25K session, I came home and did a push-up session using an app I downloaded from Exercise for Pink. I’ve set the app for the easiest level and just five minutes but still I can’t yet complete the whole circuit, which contains nine different pushup exercises. At just five minutes, the session is short but it’s intense. It felt good to do it. I think it would feel great to actually complete it one day.

Total: 5km run/walk, 40 mins pilates, 5 mins push ups

First session of the new year

Sun salutations

Sun salutations

Today is the first day of my journey to running a 100 miler. At this stage, that’s my ultimate running goal. The distance is calling me the way The Landy is called by Everest. I’ve spent the full southern hemisphere spring in rehabilitation mode but since this morning my physio and I have switched to ‘moving forward’ mode.

I have to give Paul Trevethan at Body Leadership Australia a big shout out because he’s been wonderful. From the moment I walked into his clinic he listened to my needs, fears and frustrations. He’s responded to my text messages asking for help and he’s squeezed me in when I’ve urgently needed his healing hands. He’s never told me I couldn’t do anything but has been honest about the areas of my body I need to look after (and he’s never said “I told you so” when I failed to listen).

Tonight I did my stretching routine for the first time since October. I also did two rounds through the Hatha Yoga Sun Salutations. I only did them gently and tentatively but it’s a start. I start yoga classes on Tuesday 18 December and have already told my instructor about my SIJ so she’s going to help me avoid exercises that might flare it up.

I have also done three sets of five exercises each of my pilates exercises: setting my stomach, clams, knee raises, rocking my knees side-to-side and hip raises. My core strength is terrible. But I am practicing these basic moves until I start pilates classes on Monday 17th December with my physio’s wife (also through Body Leadership Australia). The great thing about taking pilates classes with my physio’s wife is that she will know my limitations and core strength needs.

My physio is looking at ordering me a sacroiliac joint brace and has taped me up in the interim. It’s all systems slowly shifting into “go”. I’m being careful not to overdo it and will continue to be guided by both my body and my physio. But it feels good to be making the first step towards my 100 miler goal. A goal that might take a while to reach but one that promises an interesting journey.

Pilates and another walk

I left work at 5pm today because my partner was home after a week of night shift. We’d promised each other an evening walk and I was excited about it all day.

We walked a 3.5km loop through the vacant paddock, down the gravel road between the tall gum trees and back through our pretty neighbourhood. We caught up after being ships passing in the night for a week.

After dinner I did my pilates exercises. This is one of the positive outcomes of my injuries. The physio has given me a series of pilates exercises to help me strengthen my core. Every day I have been doing three sets of ten repeats each of:
– leg slides
– leg lifts
– clams
– wall gluteals
– about prep.

I find the exercises challenging because my abs are weak, something that was probably compounded by the total abdominal hysterectomy I had in 2002. But I am noticing increased abdominal control, which I know will be beneficial when I start running again.

So today’s total is actually 8.5km (this morning’s 5km plus tonight’s 3.5km).