restore: the legs program

preparation = performance

The first two weeks: prep!

More than perhaps any other program that is here on the Pursuit website, this program and the training contained in it must be approached progressively – incrementally, with one skill relying on and building upon the skill before it. 

For example, think about this:

In order to build the kind of quadriceps and hamstring strength that you desire, you need everything below them functioning optimally.   

  • You need the entire calf complex to be healthy, strong, and flexible. 
  • You need the ankle to be both stable and mobile – which in part relies upon the flexibility of the calf muscles.
  • You need the entire foot to be mobile AND have strong intrinsic muscles. 
  • You need the bottoms of the feet to be good sensory receptors – to be able to receive all of the information from the ground.
  • You need the toes to be able to move freely, particularly the big-toes.

If any of the above movement elements are missing, your health and training could be compromised. 

Your goal?

Focus on the most important elements FIRST, and be relentless in your approach to these skills and movement competencies. 

To hear a quick overview of these first two weeks of “prep,” watch and listen in!

Also, there’s more learning and information on down this page – all of it provided to help you get the most from this program. Keep reading, learning, and embracing the process.

Your Week ONE GOAL: 

Familiarize yourself with all of the skills of foot activation, integration, and proprioception. 

Practice, practice, practice. 

To download and PRINT a PDF of this 2-week plan, CLICK HERE!

Not a “Spring Chicken” Anymore?

If you’re an older athlete in your 40s or 50s or beyond, it’s likely some of your “bits” aren’t quite what they used to be. The miles and wear and tear of living life: running, training, competing, and exploring, all can take their toll.

What to do? 

Simply put: You want to make the most of THIS opportunity to keep what you have and also see if you can improve it. 

The human body IS amazing in its ability to heal itself. The real secret that most don’t talk about, for getting your body to TRULY HEAL, is to stop “picking the scab.”  

By that, I simply mean, stop doing the things that are continually abusing the tissues (like running through pain or doing useless strength exercises) and start doing the work that will build the strength you need, FROM THE GROUND UP. 

What is YOUR Margin of Error?

Here’s a quick story to illustrate why IT matters…

Co-founder and one of the smartest people I’ve ever known, Dr. Kurt Strecker, shared this story a few years ago about HIS experience and his own “margin of error.” We can all learn from his experience. The take-home lesson is simple: The principles are the same for everyone, including the smart ones like “Doc.” Keep reading…

Doc Strecker writes:

“Some background: I’ve recently been running in K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Light shoes. They are very comfortable and have a slipper-like feel. As-built, however, they are not ideal for me. I have, perhaps, the flattest feet on the planet, I overpronate and my ankle dorsiflexion is a bit limited in my right foot simply because of the shape of the bones. As such, I made myself some orthotics to correct for the biomechanics. The Kwicky Blade Lights are shorter in the heel than the shoes I was running in previously, so I’ve also added a 3/16” heel lift. Eventually, I will make the lifts a permanent part of the orthotics since I quite like these shoes. They do make a nice platform on which to put the orthotics. A week or so ago, I bought a second pair of the same shoes to keep at the lab because I’m too lazy to carry them back and forth.

This past Friday I had planned to do a session on the Computrainer, but the weather was so nice I strapped on the new shoes and went out for a run. Important note: I had orthotics, but didn’t have any heel lifts with me. I figured, “What the heck. I’m reasonably strong and reasonably stable and I’ve got good mobility with the exception of a small limitation in the right ankle. I’m good for a 30 minute run without lifts, right?” Sure… Dumbass.

I ran the first mile nice and easy and felt perfect. I ran the second mile at 5k pace and felt great. The 3rd and 4th miles were very comfortable. It was one of those days you just enjoy being outdoors. I came back to the lab and did some stretching. Hmm. A little tight in the right soleus. No biggy, just snug. By night time I could feel the calf with every step. Double dumbass.

OK, nothing serious, mind you, but a little bit of a calf strain. Why? ‘Cause I figgered I was above the law, savvy? I know exactly what shoe gear I need to run in and I opted to run without it. I know I have a small limitation in mobility that translates into an increased risk of injury, but I ignored it. I’ve just earned a few days in “run jail” to think about what I’ve done.

The moral of the story: there’s a correct shoe or shoe / orthotic configuration for everyone. Use it, people, or join me in jail. We’ll make it a social thing. You know, Jailhouse Rock?” 

What’s the take-home message from Doc’s story?

Injury can occur whenever we ask a tissue or an area of the body to do a job it wasn’t meant to do, or absorb a load that it wasn’t designed to absorb. 

One thing I’ve learned over many years, often the hard way, is that each of us has a unique and personal “margin of error” when it comes to these kinds of things.

Some of us can be less diligent with the strength/stability and mobility/flexibility work and get away with that less-than-fully committed approach. Others aren’t in that same situation and have to be much more diligent or the injury bug bites.

As we get older, or as the miles pile up, we all seem to lose some percentage of that margin of error. For each of us, it is unique and personal.

The secret, I have found, is continually asking questions to learn more about our OWN story. Where does each of us stand with regard to this moving target?

Understanding also, that because things are a certain way today, that they won’t always be that way, is key.

Movement quality, good health, and resilience are all moving targets.

The better we become at knowing where we each our in our quest to nail that target, the healthier and happier we’ll be.

Similarly, once we know these things, what can we do to ensure we stay true to our own unique needs?

Is it coaching, video, more frequent skype sessions, 1 on 1 personal training, or something along any of these lines? Objectivity and accountability are also key!

Ask these questions of yourself often: 

  1. What are your mechanics at this point as it relates to any issue you may be having?
  2. What is your margin of error and where do you stand with the things related to this, e.g. movement quality?
  3. What system do you NEED to employ to ensure you remain accountable for these things?