WEEK 37 & 38 IN ADVENTURE!

During the last couple of weeks (#37 & 38) summer temps and the east coast humidity came back strong after an early feel to the upcoming fall season; which by the way is this Friday, Sept 22nd! Many from our group took part in the SRT (Shawnagunk Ridge Trail races hosted by the Long Path Trail Series, as well as the Pisgah Trail Race, the Free to Run 50, the Rocky Point 50 MTB race and an epic FKT in NH! 

MPF Athletes in Action

Evan's Race Report from Rocky Point

This race was held in Rocky Point State Pine Barrens Preserve (who knew?). This was a brand new race for the promoter and the course as well.

I went in knowing two things: it was flat and it was Long Island. And I came away with a greater appreciation for what they have out there. The course was super nice- really tight flowy single-track that just ripped through windy tree lines. The pine forest was a combination of sand and hard pack, which I have never really ridden any of.

I registered for this race as a tune up, gear check, and leg check for my upcoming Vermont 50 MTB race in 2 weeks. The distance is the same but that’s where the similarities end…read more.

MPF RNR Athletes

Latest Exercise Highlight: Getting Started with the KB Deadlift by Elizabeth Azze

Having a weak, disengaged core and posterior chain, especially within the gluteal complex, can contribute to a host of ailments from lower back pain, knee pain, Iliotibial band (ITB) issues, even lower leg & foot issues such as achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

So how do I get my sleepy posterior chain strong and active? Let’s start with one of my favorites the Kettlebell Deadlift. Most people lack the proper utilization of the Lumbo Pelvic Hip complex (your core) and the mobility to execute the deadlift correctly so we must begin by working on core strength, mobility, and glute activation. Read & Learn More.

Local trail maintenance with NY NJ trail Conference 

Many of your local trail and outdoor organizations such as the NY NJ Trail Conference rely heavily on volunteers to make things happen. Please give back to the outdoor community when you can, the trails can’t maintain themselves. Thank you to Jay Lemos, Julian Vicente and James Jansen for your help throughout this year. Please let us know if you would like to lend a hand. Contact NY NJ Trail Conference directly or your local organization. Here are a few photos from our latest trail work in Norvin Green State Forest

What's Up next?

Exercise Highlight 11: Getting Started with the Kettlebell Deadlift

As a Running Coach, Strength Coach and Corrective Exercise Specialist, the main issue I come across with many athletes is a weak posterior chain (the muscles and soft tissue that make up the rear, back or posterior portion of the body). A few muscle groups of note are the gluteals (minimus, medius & maximus), erector spinae, trapezius (lower, mid, upper), muscles of the hamstrings, rhomboid major & minor, and so forth.

Having a weak, disengaged core and posterior chain, especially within the gluteal complex, can contribute to a host of ailments from lower back pain, knee pain, Iliotibial band (ITB) issues, even lower leg & foot issues such as achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

 
Core = the muscles that attach directly to the vertebrae and involves the lumbo pelvic hip complex (LPHC). The LPHC involves the lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine, the pelvic girdle and the hip joint. So a lot more than just your abs…
 

You say to yourself “I must have functioning glutes and a strong backside, I’m an athlete!” Well, this just isn’t so in many cases, especially if you are seated most of the day and do not include a proper strength & conditioning plan within in your training. When in a compromised position for long periods of time such as sitting at a desk, your glutes end up deconditioned, choking them from blood, oxygen and of any movement, making it harder for them to contract and be involved with posture both static and dynamic. This leads to a decrease in hip mobility, increased compressional forces of the lumbar spine ( L1 - 5 vertebra) and compensations that will cause other muscles to try to make up for what is lost.

Why is it important to have a strong posterior?

Simply put, when you head out the door for a run, walk or any activity without proper activation of your posterior chain, other muscles will have to work harder, becoming the drivers rather than the assisters and synergists that they were designed for. Eventually leading to imbalances, injuries, pain, inefficient movement and loss of your ability to extend properly through your hips.

The gluteal complex & hamstrings help stabilize your pelvis, support your spine & back and are the prime drivers of hip extension and forward propulsion. This making each step taken as a runner or hiker stronger and more efficient. Which is also vitally important for the cyclist and general movement.

So Now What?

How do I get my sleepy posterior chain strong and active? Let’s start with one of my favorites the Kettlebell Deadlift. Most people lack the proper utilization of the Lumbo Pelvic Hip complex (your core) and the mobility to execute the deadlift correctly so we must begin by working on core strength, mobility, and glute activation. 

Warm-up & Movement Prep

Below is a basic idea of what a warm up would look like. For specific workout & training guidelines please feel free to contact us.

First begin with Foam Rolling & Self-myofascial (SMR) techniques to help reduce muscle tenderness and break up trigger points. This will then allow the application of lengthening techniques such as static and active stretching to help reset the muscle. With optimal length tension relationships of the muscles and surrounding tissues, you can then begin the corrective strength work necessary to get your movement patterns in order. To learn more about SMR & Foam Rolling, click here. I’m tired of seeing people just roll around without a specific goal and think all they need to do is foam roll. It is just the 1st step within a properly designed plan.

Once you inhibit overactive muscle tissue and trigger points that are specific to you, you will then move into lengthening techniques such as static, active and dynamic stretching. Here is an example workout using the Kettlebell Deadlift for a common scenario.

We have a runner who is training for a marathon but sits for 8-12 hours a day. Yep, 8-12+ hours a day is very common. Think about it...Arnold wakes up, grabs a cup of coffee and sits reading a newspaper, answering emails & texts and scrolls through their social media feeds. Then he makes his way to work via car or public transportation, again sitting. Finally making it to work after a 1 block walk and then he is seated for the rest of the day (8-10+ hours) with little to no movement other then to go to the bathroom or head out for lunch. Retracing his steps, he heads back home, does a few odds and ends, sits for dinner, then to the couch answering emails and watching TV. This is a very general scenario but a common one.

STEP 1 - SMR (inhibit) with Foam Rolling

STEP 2 - Lengthen (active stretching)

STEP 3 - Activation & Integration (Wake up your butt!)

STEP 4 -  Hip Hinging / Untapping the power hidden within your hips

Hip Hinging properly is an extremely important part of deadlifting. You must learn to do this properly or it can lead to an injury when attempting to deadlift or simply picking something off the ground. Many people make the mistake of lifting with their back and not using their hips or engaging their core. It is crucial that the spine remains stable and neutral when sitting your hips back.  

You can stand with your back facing a wall and heels about 6 inches away. Then practice the hinge, trying to touch the wall with your butt. This will help you shift your hips back if your finding trouble hinging. Watch the video below and practice with 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps.

How to Deadlift using a Kettlebell

While there are many different deadlift exercises and techniques, from kettlebell to barbell, wide stance to narrow, one arm to single leg; today we are going to start with a deadlift using a kettlebell. I feel the KB deadlift is a great place to start especially if you have pre-existing back issues or are new to deadlifts, and you need to clean up your hip hinge. Stay tuned for other variations in future articles & exercise highlights.

The Set-up

  • Stand over a Kettlebell with your feet shoulder width apart with the toes slightly pointed out. This is a good position to start with as it encourages a good hip hinge and a neutral spine. It’s extremely important to practice the correct form and set up before going for heavy lifts. Also, don’t skip the warm-up and movement prep before attempting (see above).  
  • Hinge forward at your hips, keeping a neutral spine and sitting your hips back. If you are having a hard time with hinging, keeping the spine neutral or the shoulders packed (avoiding elevating and rounding the shoulders), try placing the KB on a 6-12 inch step.
  • Stand directly over the KB and continue practicing getting into the position until you feel you are executing the hinge with proper alignment and engagement of the core.
  • Grasp the Kettlebell with a firm grip. Grip strength works isometrically with your LPHC.
  • Brace your entire abdomen while sitting your hips back. Press your feet into the floor, driving the hips forward and moving to a standing position while exhaling. Finish is in a tall standing braced posture, with legs fully extended and gluteals rock hard.
  • Lower safely back to the floor retracing the steps. Don’t get lax here!

Why is it important to have your shoulders packed? Both the Gluteus Maximus and Latissimus Dorsi have attachments to the Thoracolumbar Fascia which attach to the sacrum. By keeping your shoulders packed and lats engaged, encourages proper activation of your LPHC & entire core, which is needed to execute the deadlift safely and correctly.

Things to avoid

  • Rounding your shoulders or shrugging
  • Not breathing properly
  • Squatting the weight
  • Rounding or hyper extending your lower back
  • Jerking the weight off of the floor

Be sure to practice the positioning and the pattern of the deadlift. A well rounded fitness program is the key to injury prevention & burnout. If you have any questions regarding how to program this into your routine please feel free to contact us.

Recommended 

First Aid Workshop from the New York New Jersey Trail Conference

A Local Wilderness First Aid Workshop this weekend from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference still has some availability. Registration closes tomorrow at midnight. "Be prepared for the unexpected".

SCHEDULE

  • Friday • noon to 5 p.m. CPR/AED Training
  • Saturday • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wilderness First Aid Training
  • Sunday • 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wilderness First Aid Training

RATES

  • Combined WFA and CPR AED $235.00
  • Wilderness First Aid Course $180.00
  • CPR/AED (Adult) course $65.00
  • http://bit.ly/NYNJTC-WFA

WEEK 36 IN ADVENTURE!

UTMB 100 seemed to take over most of our social media feeds with beautiful scenic shots and motivational stories of inspiration from about 2300 runners... Here in MPF land, many of our athletes chose to celebrate the Labor Day weekend in style. MPF RNR athlete Laura Kline battled a couple of issues on the UTMB CCC 100k course, but had a great time being present in her journey in the Alps. Lots of great coverage from iRunFar.com, click here

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Ben Nephew has been going back and forth chasing FKT’s this summer with Neil Clauson, Ben took Neils FKT on the Monroe Skyline Gap2Gap2Gap 20.8 miles with 6,565 ft of climbing on some of Vermont’s finest technical terrain. Jill Lizotte one of Coach Ben’s athletes, finished the Wapack 18 mile trail race in 4:33.

Ryan Welts challenged himself against the clock at the Last Man Standing Race which is a unique format of racing, pushing the runner to complete the same 4.2 mile loop over and over until you can’t or choose not to continue. Ryan completed 42 miles in 8:15.

New FKT's on The Appalachian Trail!

Ryan Thorpe from the MPF Adventure Club set a new FKT of 15:36:25 on the 70 mile New Jersey section of the Appalachian Trail!

If you haven't heard or had a chance to read about it, Joe ‘Stringbean’ McConaughy, a well-known speed hiker, set a new record on the Appalachian Trail today. He hiked the 2,190-mile route in an unofficial fastest known time (FKT) of 45 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes. Read all about it on GEAR JUNKIE!

45d12d15m - a new self supported and overall Fastest Known Time record on the #appalachiantrail. Greetings from the top of Katahdin at 6:38pm where I was greeted by 70 mile winds, hail, rain, mist, endless boulder scrambles, @kekiracofe and @josh.katzman. After a 37 hour push, i managed 110.8 miles straight to do what I had to do, more than I have run at once by almost 50 miles. I honestly don't know what to say. I'm am in shock and pain, joyful and thankful, humbled and tired, in disbelief and exhilaration. I will be forever perplexed and appreciative of what the wilderness brings out in myself and others. I hope anyone watching is at least inspired to become more involved in the outdoors. Every day has been a battle, but I am very thankful to be safe and have accomplished my dream ever since the PCT. I've had a lot of time in my own thoughts, and what I took away most from this journey is community. It is the people you love and who surround you who provide the greatest joy. It really took a village. I want to give a heartfelt thank you to my lovely girlfriend, Katie, my parents and the Katzmans who came to the start/finish, friends and family who I have HEAVILY leaned on, hikers, trail angels and the trail community who have given me everything from sloppy Joe's to an extra set of batteries to allow me to run through the night, @anishhikes and @meltzerkarl for pushing the FKT record, @efnorthamerica and @efcollegebreak for being an awesome company and letting me take time off work to pursue my dreams, to @heartbreakrunco, @brooksrunning, @palantepacks, @mountainlaureldesigns, and @cieleathletics to help me get here, and everyone who has followed or watched or commented. I've been brought to tears and laughter even though I may have never met you. Thank you all, Stringbean out. OOHYEAH!

A post shared by Joe McConaughy (@thestring.bean) on

Join our MPF Adventure Club on Strava!

Park Litter: Lake Welch in Harriman State Park, NY (8.28.2017)

Eastern States 100 – A Race to Remember "The Journey to Winning the Axe" by Jayson Kolb

Eastern States 100 – A Race to Remember "The Journey to Winning the Axe" by Jayson Kolb

“I caught Clayton and closed in on and passed David and Aaron, as we descended to Ramsey aid station (11.3). About 50 feet prior to the aid station David surged ahead. I stopped for food. Aaron surged ahead not stopping at all. They gapped me immediately. All that hard-work for nothing! But the mountains in PA are cruel and unpredictable – they reward patience.”

WEEK 34 IN ADVENTURE!

WEEK 34 IN ADVENTURE!

Rich Heffron placed 2nd (11:04:16) & Scotie Jacobs placed 4th (12:19:11), Laura Rekkerth was 9th female at the Twisted Branch 100k Trail Run! Something was happening in Leadville Colorado. Joe's encounter with a trail superhero. Natalie Thompson wins RNR’s Lucifer’s Crossing 6.6 miler in 54:30! And much more, check it out!

WEEK 33 IN ADVENTURE!

WEEK 33 IN ADVENTURE!

This summer has been filled with one epic journey after the next! We are so proud of the hard work, discipline and true grit of our community of athletes. Getting to the starting line in one piece, finishes, great performances and adventures should be celebrated! Awesome job to all Eastern States 100, Fat Dog 120 Trail Race, Leadville 100 MTB and anyone who toed the line this weekend or had one heck of an adventure!

"Kids Outside" Cascade Mountain Trip Report by Ben Nephew

"Kids Outside" Cascade Mountain Trip Report by Ben Nephew

"While I knew Gavin would love the slide itself, I wasn’t sure how much he would enjoy any necessary off-trail travel to reach the slide. I asked Jan Wellford about the climb, and he said the bushwhacking was not that bad, you just had to get around the near vertical face of the falls, which is a major ice climbing spot in the winter months. I decided that Gav and I would give it a shot..."