Archive for June, 2009

New Challenge: Stronger Legs with One Leg Squats

June 10, 2009

Now that I’m a few weeks from another marathon I think it time to address one or two things. And one of those things is the need to strengthen my legs.

A while back we discussed squats. Now I’m going to try to learn to do one-leg squats.

So far, so bad! With practice and perseverance, however, I hope to manage some.  Here are a few links to articles and videos I found useful. First, this article gives quite some detail about them, how to do them and why they are good for you. As for the advantages of one-leg squats, or pistols as they are sometimes called, the article states:

“Pistols have a wide array of athletic and real-world applications. The fundamental skill that pistols teach is exerting power through the entire range of motion of your stance, while on one leg. Whether running, jumping, or changing directions in an athletic competition, or walking, sitting, or standing in your daily affairs, powerful legs enable us to do what we do better, and with greater ease. The combination of skills that pistol practice develops simultaneously– balance, strength, endurance, flexibility and coordination– make it one of the most useful and important exercises to learn.  

Here’s a handy video:  

And another one with rather a charming (and good) but brief explanation:

I’ll report back on progress, if any, in due course. 

Posted by Xavier.

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Brussels 20 km

June 1, 2009

I ran the Brussels 20 km race yesterday. It is a traditional, festive run that takes place on the last Sunday in May. This year was its thirtieth anniversary and it attracted 25 000 runners. Those who had run all thirty annual races received special commemorative t-shirts with their names listed on them. 

The weather was warm and sunny. Fortunately, there was plenty to drink. The course is actually quite a hard one with a number of hills including quite a tough one two kilometres from the finish. 

This year it was both a sad and happy event for me. Sad, because some friends I run with regularly were absent, including Maria. Happy on the other hand, because I went round with another friend attempting it for the first time and who got round really well, running at an even pace throughout. 

I have to say I enjoyed running at a gentle pace, not racing against the clock, and just seeing to it that my friend was fine. It was a great way to recover from last week’s marathon and to remind myself that running is about enjoyment, not about times, performance, personal bests and the like. 

That sums it up. Running should be a moment of pleasure, of joy, a break from the ordinary. 

The Brussels 20 km also marks the end of my running season. Now it is time to recuperate, do something else and, of course, get ready for the autumn season and its new challenges. 

Posted by Xavier