"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." - Andre Gide

Welcome to day 18. Approaching the end of this challenge, you must reflect on the past 18 days and how it has pushed you to discover new personal limits. Today you can rest. However if you feel up to it, Ashley is repeating her fantastic activation session for the final time. Why not give it a go? Be sure to follow Ashley and her brilliant exercises and training tips below.

Squat Test

Consitecy is the secret to success! Again, we focus on working on the calf, therefore take a mental note on the tightness of the calf as you squat into the seated position.

Using a mirror to help engage a brain / body connection, practise your squat. Take note of where you are tight and how deep you can go on your squat.

Set your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. With a straight back and open shoulders, slowly bend at the knees and drop your hips to lower your body. Ensure to push your knees out very marginally when you reach the 90° angle. If able, aim to deepen your squat beyond 90 degrees to the maximum range of your hip and squat ability. At the bottom of the exercise, squeeze your glutes and pause for a moment. Strongly push back up to the starting position, mirroring the descent. Keep your upper core engaged. Drive the energy through the heels to the glutes.

Complete 25-30 reps, according to your ability, and again, take note of the areas which feel tight and how deep you can go with this

Activation Session

Pole Myofascial Release:  Using a pole or another household item like a broom, place yourself onto your knees and bring the pole to the back of the knee. Slowly sit down onto the pole and breathe through the sensation (which will be quite intense!). Hold for 15-20 seconds, slightly lift the legs up and bring the pole down by 1cm. Place weight back onto the pole and repeat further down the calf. You may find as you reach the bottom of the calf that you may need to apply extra pressure onto the pole. You can do this with both hands. 

Foam Roller Massage: Begin by sitting onto the ground with the foam roller underneath the legs. Place one leg onto the foam roller and the other leg across the leg on the roller. Lift the hips and roll the foam roller back and forth onto the calf. Make slight movements to each side and if you find a trigger point (which will feel more sensitive than in other parts), breathe out deeply and place extra pressure onto the trigger point. Complete for 2-3 minutes.

Wall Push Pulses: Begin with facing the wall. Both feet should face the wall. Have a small split stance between both feet. Ensure that the back foot has the heel connected to the ground as you bend the leg at the front. You will begin to feel a stretch onto the back of the calf. Pulse the knee in and out against the wall. Repeat for x1 minute then move onto the other leg. 

Bench Heel Drop: Find yourself a step or a surface where you can place both feet on. Drop one heel down of the side of the surface from the midline of the foot. Ensure the foot is facing forward and hold the stretch for x1 minute. Bring the foot back up and rotate to the left and drop, hold for x1 minute. Bring the foot up once more and drop out to the right and place the heel down one more time and hold for x1 minute. Repeat the same process with your other foot. 

Downward Dog Walks:  Get down on all fours. Start on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart, with your shoulders above your wrists. Align your inner shoulders with your index fingers. Your hips should be above or slightly before your knees. Next, tuck your toes against the mat or ground, using that leverage to extend your legs and lift both knees into the air. Your body should now resemble an upside-down “V” shape. Extend and lengthen your spine, simultaneously pressing through the palms of your hands and balls of your feet. Pull your pelvis up toward the ceiling, using the triceps in your upper arms to help stabilize your form. Place pressure onto the back leg and you straighten it, the other leg should bend. Repeat the knee bend for x1 minute. 

Activation Session

Pole Myofascial Release:  Using a pole or another household item like a broom, place yourself onto your knees and bring the pole to the back of the knee. Slowly sit down onto the pole and breathe through the sensation (which will be quite intense!). Hold for 15-20 seconds, slightly lift the legs up and bring the pole down by 1cm. Place weight back onto the pole and repeat further down the calf. You may find as you reach the bottom of the calf that you may need to apply extra pressure onto the pole. You can do this with both hands. 

Foam Roller Massage: Begin by sitting onto the ground with the foam roller underneath the legs. Place one leg onto the foam roller and the other leg across the leg on the roller. Lift the hips and roll the foam roller back and forth onto the calf. Make slight movements to each side and if you find a trigger point (which will feel more sensitive than in other parts), breathe out deeply and place extra pressure onto the trigger point. Complete for 2-3 minutes.

Wall Push Pulses: Begin with facing the wall. Both feet should face the wall. Have a small split stance between both feet. Ensure that the back foot has the heel connected to the ground as you bend the leg at the front. You will begin to feel a stretch onto the back of the calf. Pulse the knee in and out against the wall. Repeat for x1 minute then move onto the other leg. 

Bench Heel Drop: Find yourself a step or a surface where you can place both feet on. Drop one heel down of the side of the surface from the midline of the foot. Ensure the foot is facing forward and hold the stretch for x1 minute. Bring the foot back up and rotate to the left and drop, hold for x1 minute. Bring the foot up once more and drop out to the right and place the heel down one more time and hold for x1 minute. Repeat the same process with your other foot. 

Downward Dog Walks:  Get down on all fours. Start on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart, with your shoulders above your wrists. Align your inner shoulders with your index fingers. Your hips should be above or slightly before your knees. Next, tuck your toes against the mat or ground, using that leverage to extend your legs and lift both knees into the air. Your body should now resemble an upside-down “V” shape. Extend and lengthen your spine, simultaneously pressing through the palms of your hands and balls of your feet. Pull your pelvis up toward the ceiling, using the triceps in your upper arms to help stabilize your form. Place pressure onto the back leg and you straighten it, the other leg should bend. Repeat the knee bend for x1 minute. 

Squat Test

It is time to now check your squat again. Remember to use a mirror to engage your mind/body and re-practise your squat.

Take note of where you are no longer tight and how much deeper you can go on your squat. Continual work on your squat and coinciding exercises will gradually highlight improvements in the strength of your legs.

RUNNERS TIP

The biggest tip any runner will give you is to take your time and be patient. You've already completed a huge step of the running journey and that is consistency. However don't give up if you are not yet seeing the progression you wanted. You never know how close you are to seeing that. So keep going and keep your eyes on the big prize!

Your coach throughout the challenge... meet Ashley

Hi there! 

My name is Ashley and I have been guiding you through your "Im Not A Runner" 21 day challenge.

You have done amazing so far, and I hope I have helped in showing you there is so much more to running then just that. Keep those muscles limber and working, and your progress will just flow.

Take time to rest, eat and hydrate well, stretch and mobilise and of course celebrate the wins and keep working towards the goals. You've got this! 

Coach Ashley x Activ Balance

Read more here