I sprained my ankle a few weeks ago. The injury brought to light the importance of ankle strength when it comes to Spartan Races. During the typical Spartan Race, the uneven terrain and running pace put quite a toll on my ankles. In addition, the intense training adds to the wear and tear. Since my injury, I have incorporated ankle strengthening routines into my training. The routine has made my ankles stronger than ever before.
Two times a week I go through a balance training routine. The balance training, strengthens my ankles and also improves my proprioception. The proprioception improvement assists when running on uneven terrain. Below is the balance routine:
- Using a Bosu Ball, I stand on the board side with both feet. I make circles with the ball ten times both clockwise and counterclockwise.
- Using a Bosu Ball, I stand on the board side with one feet. I keep my balance for one minute, 3 times on each foot. To further enhance the exercise I close my eyes.
- Between the single foot balance exercise I perform 20 calf raisers and 20 dorsiflexions of the foot.
It may seem like a short routine, but it does wonders for my ankles.
A major component that can assist with strengthening your ankles while running are the shoes you wear. In a previous post, here, I reviewed the New Balance Minimus, which can greatly strengthen ankles. Specifically it is the vibram technology that contributes to this. Shoes with the vibram technology and a minimal structure put more stress on the surrounding structures of the feet. There is not as much support compared to a regular running shoe. For example, I used the Nike Free RN Distance for a few months straight and then used a more minimal shoe. The following day my feet and lower legs were much more sore.
I would recommend using a minimal shoe a couple times a week for less intense runs. You can build up to using them in more intense runs, but definitely take it slow.
Overall I did not make many changes in my workout routine, but they have made a major difference. I hope the balance routine and the shoe recommendation helps with your performance!!
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