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What People Say About the Runner’s FitKit

Jonathan Beverly, editor in chief of Running Times Magazine 
selected the Runner's FitKit as his holiday gift choice.
 

“I am very impressed with the Runner's FitKit, particularly the emphasis on understanding running mechanics, avoiding common running injuries, and incorporating both strength and flexibility exercises as a proactive approach for enhancing running performance and reducing injury risk. The Runner's FitKit is easy to read, simple to use, and provides a very practical approach for running longer and stronger.”

 Dr. Wayne Westcott, Fitness Research Director and National Strength Consultant


“The Runner’s FitKit is must for any runner. The program remedies many of the common strength and flexibility issues that often hinder running performance and lead to injuries. Resistance tubing exercises are presented in a simple and efficient way, making it easy for runners to incorporate valuable strength training into their schedule. The manual is comprehensive and organized--much more than a compilation of general guidelines, it addresses specific issues and provides a variety of exercises and stretches to accommodate a wide range of abilities. Through extensive research and experience, Deborah Mullen has distilled a huge amount of information into an easy to use, practical conditioning program that will benefit runners and non-runners alike. At about half the cost of a pair of running shoes, the Runner’s FitKit is definitely essential equipment.” 

Adam Ford, CFT (certified neuromuscular therapist, massage therapist and personal trainer)


“I have been an avid runner for over 30 years and recently strained a hip flexor. The Runner’s FitKit was an important part of my rehabilitation, helping me to regain my flexibility and strength in these muscles. The FitKit instruction booklet provided detailed descriptions of exercises that focused on particular muscle groups. This was extremely useful in deciding which exercises to do. I now use the Runner’s FitKit as a general training aid for flexibility and strength.”

Terry Sullivan, New York, NY


“My legs got a really good workout and the strength exercises appear to be helping my ITB syndrome. The
Runner’s FitKit manual is a great supplement for any long distance runner, and it is not until now that I realized that being a good runner is not only about going out and doing a run--it is also important to strengthen and stretch your muscles so that you will be able to run tomorrow. I have been down from running for almost 6 weeks now, and once I return to running, I will never overlook the importance of strength and stretching exercises. Again, thank you for your manual.”

 Joseph Scholler, Madison, WI

Runner’s Fitkit Manual – Table of Contents
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Introduction   

Chapter 1:  The Dynamics of Running
Joint Movements   9
Muscle Actions   11
Ground Reaction Forces   11
Running Gait   12
Faster Running Paces   14

Chapter 2:  Running Injuries—Causes and Prevention
Risk Factors Related to the Condition of the Runner   17
Risk Factors Related to Running Conditions   21
Tendinosis, Not Tendinitis   22
Injury Prevention   23

Chapter 3:  Running Performance
Determinants of Running Performance   28
Effects of Resistance Training   29
Effects of Flexibility   29

Chapter 4:  Resistance-Training Essentials
Types of Resistance Training   32
Fear of Bulking Up   33
Resistance-Training Adaptations   33
Program Variables   34
Training for Strength, Power, and Muscular Endurance   34

Chapter 5:  Resistance-Training Programs
Resistance-Training Recommendations   36
Fitting Strength Training Into Your Schedule   37
Strength-Training Guidelines   38
Tubing Instructions   39
Exercise Lists   42
Strength-Training Program for Runners   43
Additional Upper-Body Exercises   56
Specialized Exercises: Specific Running Conditions   59
Specialized Exercises: Specific Injury Prevention   60
Intermediate Program   69

Chapter 6:  Flexibility Essentials
Effects on Injury Risk   78
Stretching Before and After Running   79
Types of Stretching   79

Chapter 7:  Flexibility Programs
Stretching Guidelines   81
Stretching Instructions   82
Stretching Program for Runners   84
At-Work Stretching Routine   94

Chapter 8:  Special Considerations
Novice Runner   98
Woman Runner   99
Over-Forty Runner   101

Appendix
Glossary   105
Range of Motion Assessment   107
Weight-Room Conversion Guide   111
Resistance-Training Workout Charts   112
At-Work Stretching Guide   115

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Chapter 1, The Dynamics of Running, covers movements and muscle actions during the running gait, giving the reader a better understanding of why certain areas require specific conditioning in order to prevent injuries. For instance, the hamstrings contract forcefully to brake the powerful forward knee lift. This high-intensity decelerating action places the hamstrings under a high amount of stress. The anterior tibialis (a shin muscle) is active throughout most of the gait cycle, firing at the highest sustained level of activity of any muscle during running. Therefore, the hamstrings must be strengthened for their braking action, while the anterior tibialis needs both strength and muscular endurance training.

Chapter 2, Running Injuries—Causes and Prevention focuses on how injuries occur and how to avoid them. Sections include risk factors related to the condition of the runner and risk factors related to running conditions. With regard to overuse injuries, the problem isn't so much a case of "overuse" as it is a "lack of preparation for use." Inadequate strength and poor flexibility create weak, tight muscles that can pull the body out of alignment. This interference in running mechanics changes the distribution of forces, overloading certain areas and increasing the likelihood of injury. For instance, excessively tight calves or hamstrings can cause misalignment and poor tracking of the kneecap with the knee becoming painful as a result.

Chapter 3, Running Performance, explains how performance is measured and how it is improved with resistance training. Three important determinants of running performance are maximal oxygen uptake, running economy and lactate threshold. Resistance training can increase running economy and lactate threshold by improving running form and muscle fiber recruitment patterns. By increasing power, stride frequency is increased, with the foot spending less time on the ground. Hill-climbing ability and sprinting ability at the end of a race are also improved with increased power.

Chapter 4, Resistance-Training Essentials, covers how adaptations occur and the components of proper training. Adaptations are specific to the nature of the training. Muscles, muscle actions, joint movements, speed of movement, and range of motion used in resistance exercises have an effect on the adaptations that occur. Therefore, it is critical that resistance-training programs closely match the demands of running so that training adaptations will effectively transfer into increased performance and injury avoidance.

Chapter 5, Resistance-Training Programs, contains the Strength-Training Program For Runners as well as the Intermediate Program. The Strength-Training Program for Runners contains exercises that help create a strong musculoskeletal base, optimally preparing the body for the forces encountered while running. Optional exercises are included to customize the program for specific running conditions and specific injury prevention.

The Intermediate Resistance-Training Program focuses on continued gains in strength as well as training for power and muscular endurance. Additionally, the Appendix includes workout charts for tracking progress, and a guide to convert the resistance-tubing exercises into weight-room exercises.

Chapter 6, Flexibility Essentials, covers types of stretches, when to stretch, and the effect of flexibility on injury risk. Static stretching, active isolated stretching, and facilitated stretching are all effective, with the last two employing techniques that relax the target muscles, thereby increasing the stretch. Recent research suggests that stretching before running may not be beneficial and may even decrease running performance. If pre-running stretches are performed, they should be dynamic rather than static, helping muscles to warm up and better prepare for running.

Chapter 7, Flexibility Programs, includes stretches for muscles that are typically tight in the runner: calf, hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, hip abductors, hip adductors, low back and chest. Three types of stretching are described—static, active isolated, and facilitated—giving the runner a choice in stretching methods. Additionally, a routine for stretching at work is included.

Chapter 8, Special Considerations, contains information relevant to novice runners, women runners, and over-forty runners. For the older runner, age-related declines in aerobic capacity, strength, power, and flexibility can reduce running performance and raise the risk of injury. These declines can be minimized, however, with proper conditioning. For instance, stride length tends to shorten with age—legs are moving at the same speed but aren't covering as much distance with each stride. The causes seem to be decreased hip extension power and decreased hip flexor range of motion. Therefore, resistance and flexibility training for these areas can help increase running performance.


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