from mile to marathon

The journey of a thousand leagues begins from beneath your feet.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

longer legs

When I pulled a groin tendon last fall, and it eventually dawned on my to do something about it, I looked up injuries in "Marathon for Dummies." The closest I came to the groin were hip stretches - I was supoosed to lie on my side and do leg raises with 1 pound of something attached to my ankle.

My boyfriend walked in on me one morning while I was on my left side, balancing the telephone book on my right leg. I was not doing a great job. He surveyed the scene for a while, and then announced quietly: "You need ankle weights."

I had never heard the term before, but he is an American and knows stuff. The Saturday after, he accompanied me grumbling to a sports store, where to my surprise they indeed sold something called ankle weights. I skipped the one-pounders on the spot, and went for the 2.5 lbs per foot version.

Since then I have been using them regularly during the after-run stretch session, doing hip stretches with perfunctory delight, happy to forgo the telephone book. They come in very handy. You fasten that Velcro strip around your ankle, and they stay in place. Voila!

It has occured to me lately I do not dedicate enough time to my running quest. While I run every scheduled day (if I am not hopelessly disabled), and run as many miles I had intended, and never shirk, and always do at least a minimal amount of stretching, I fail to allocate time for all the ancillary activities: extensive stretching, strength exercises, random icing, Pilates, yoga, upper body fortification, whatever. I obsess about running, but I am still much too busy otherwise

It has occured to me recently to use the ankle weights as a kind of passive training tool. Walking around with them has to elicit the muscles somehow, and in the long run make a difference. It's a logical idea, and I am puzzled I have not found it extolled anywhere. Perhaps, it's just me, imagining.

In the meantime, I am doing laundry, cooking dinner, watering the plants, with 2.5 lbs attached to each ankle, as if I were a convict in chains. The downward pull has a reassuring effect. I feel it straightens me out. Although it just falls short of making my legs longer, such a pity....


At 5:29 PM, Blogger justacoolcat said...

Ankle weights and a Yoga ball and kick your legs like you're swimming. It's great for stretching or little extra workouts.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger robtherunner said...

I used to wear ankle weights in high school when I trained during baseball season. I also secretly wanted to become a ninja and thought that if I practiced my jumping skills with them on that I may eventually be able to jump over a house:)

At 8:18 AM, Blogger Steve said...

I know what you mean. Im pretty good about doing complete body stretching before and after my walks , but I tend to neglect the upper body strengthening stuff. Next month I hope to start doing Pilates.

At 9:27 AM, Blogger Running by.... said...

I just found a pair of ankle weights while I was packing up my old house. I also found some wrist weights. I might start wearing them around the house, like you. Glad to know they're helping a bit.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger JustRun said...

Ah, yes, stretching. Stretching has become my new best friend. Without it, twice a day, I notice. I notice and it's bad and makes me achy and antsy. I haven't thought yet to add weights- that sounds like a great plan.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Chad said...

Sounds like the ankle weights are working good for you. I'd say keep at it!

I've heard running in them can put extra pressure on the joints - with all the issues - but walking around the house in them sounds smart.

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep at it, Lia. As for the length of your legs, don't worry about it. I've seen them. They reach the ground. What else do you want?



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