Thursday, November 11, 2010

Running At Night

Megan running - from the blog I love Megan Way More than my Bike(s)

I often run in the dark. I wear my Nike reflective vest and always assume cars don't see me. I don't try to run through intersections at the last moment, I make eye contact with drivers before running in front of them while they are trying to make a right hand turn.

While I'm out running in the rainy, dark Seattle night I see people wearing all black, black hoods up, ear buds in, dodging through intersections. It bums me out. Like good bikers cringe when they see another cyclist tarnishing their good name by running lights and cutting dangerously in front of cars. I feel like irresponsible night running gives a bad impression that affects all runners.

Not to mention how risky it is. I know a feeling of invincibility comes with running, but in the fight against a car ... I'll give you two guesses who wins and the first one doesn't count. I love running and I've had my share of injuries, I do what I can to stay on the road. Don't jeopardize what you love by running invisible!

There is so much awesome reflective gear and apparel out there; go treat yourself to some and stay safe out there!

Lululemon
From the Groove pants to the Speed Shorts, Lululemon has you covered in reflective detailing!
Shop Lululemon Reflective Gear

Nike
From reflective details to reflective vests. If you live near a Nike Outlet you can find reflective vests at great prices. I think I got mine for under $10.
Shop Nike Reflective Vest

Oiselle
I love the Oiselle Fargo jacket. It has awesome reflective detailing that just looks like stylish detail in the daylight.
Shop reflective Oiselle running jacket

LED Arm Bands
You can wear it with anything and don't to worry about your reflective apparel being out of the wash :)
Shop REI Runner's World LED Arm Band

Friday, November 5, 2010

Protect Your Knees - Exercises

I have bad knees. And I know I'm not alone. I believe that knees can be "bad" but you can change that! I had three knee repairs before my 19th birthday. As I ramp up any training they are the first things to complain. And they complain all the time. In the middle of the night, sitting at my desk, standing, bent, straightened...they are just whiny.

I refuse to give up running, because I love it. Sometimes it brings heartbreak but more often it brings strength and peace and I need it in my life. As a runner who has had knee repairs, and over a decade of knee issues, I've known my share of great physical therapists. Every physical therapist has told me the same thing: strengthen your hip abductors (outer) to protect your knees, wear the right shoes/orthotics and stretch.

To keep your knees healthy they must track correctly. When you do squats, run, walk or whatever. To keep them tracking right through exhaustion you have to build up the big and small muscles that protect them. My hip abductors are the weak link, and for many runners this is the case. If your hips are weak as you tire you will begin to let your hip drop, legs turn in, your knees start to look in at each other. This angle messes with your IT band (among other things), and as runners we know ... IT band = knee problems.

Here are two exercises to keep your hips strong and knees safe:

1. Hip Hike: One foot standing on something 2-4 inches up (stack of three Vogue's should do the trick). Drop the other hip, hike up, drop. Repeat 15 times 3xeach side. This is a very small movement, but you'll feel the burn in the outer hip of the leg on the book/weight/curb.

2. Side Leg Lift on the Ball: Just like it looks - lean over an exercise ball, one knee bent, one out to the side. Lift. 15 x 3 sets each side.

Perhaps this drawing from my physical therapist will help. I choose doctors based on their willingness to draw stick figures.

Happy knees to you!