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The OCD Runner Pt III: Mobility Stability Training

Mobility Stability Training…Or as Training Guru Master Erin Carson of EC Fit Boulder calls it, “Mobile Stable Mobile Stable Mobile Stable.” Erin recently led a fitness clinic at Skirt Sports aimed at helping us attain a better range of motion. That’s the best way I can frame it.

I had to stop her. “Wait Erin! Repeat that. What’s supposed to be mobile and what’s supposed to be stable?” Mobile-Stable Training for Dummies I guess! Here’s how it goes:

Mobile Ankles
Stable Knees
Mobile Hips
Stable Lower Back
Mobile Chest & Shoulders
Stable Neck

Makes sense. Think about the best runners in the world. They look effortless. I have often felt that my husband, Tim, had the best running form I’ve ever seen when he was at his peak. If you watch the 2001 Hawaii Ironman footage – you can click here – go to 55:30 into the video and watch Tim pass then-leader Steve Larsen. I think that was mile 16 into the 26.2 marathon and wow – he was absolutely effortless. You know why? MSMSMS.

Tim was Mr-Mobile-Stable-times-three! If you’re visual like I am, it helps to envision people who run like this, and then you can pretend you are running just like them. Just don’t look at yourself in a mirror!

Getting back to Mobile Stable. The real philosophy behind Erin’s training program is about reducing the risk of injury. Plain and simple. As we get older, our bodies get tighter. We ignore aches and pains. We carry kids on one side. We start to hunch and lean and do all the wrong things. Until it explodes and suddenly we are hurt or injured or we just realize that weÕre walking sideways now!

We’re never too old to work on ourselves. Erin, in all her brilliance, recruited my husband, Tim, to her team of coaches and trainers. Who better to understand the rigors our bodies go through than people who have been there themselves. After winning the Hawaii Ironman twice, TimÕs body went through all sorts of ups and downs. For a decade he was constantly trying to fine tune his running form or his bike fit to solve a new body problem. Last year Erin started training Tim with the hopes that he would adapt this philosophy. He did and now heÕs helping other athletes.

So I did the unfathomable – AND ASKED MY HUSBAND TO TRAIN ME! There’s a reason he was never my coach. I got too defensive and emotional. But now, in our mid-40s, with no pressure on the line, we agreed this could be fun.

I’ve been working with Tim for a month. We are going through the 5 phases of strength training: Mobility-Activation-Stability-Strength-Agility. Tim said that many athletes take years to get to the agility stage-as we continue to plug along in Mobility. He also told me, “I wouldnÕt say that youÕre the most coordinated person I’ve worked with,” but he said it in a nice way, so no tantrum necessary!

I asked him to tell me in a nutshell how this training would have helped him when he was racing and he said, “You know how sometimes you just feel like a muscle or joint is ‘out’ and you don’t know how to activate it? ThatÕs what this does.”

I trust him. I believe I’m getting more stable and mobile. So here’s to continued body exploration in every decade of our lives.