Category Archives: Training

Cure Your Gastric Distress and Race Faster

cure gastric distress while runningLike many runners, our coaching client Linda has difficulty tolerating sports drinks during training and racing. The resulting severe stomach cramps have ruined many long runs and has dashed race plans. It makes fueling during long runs and races very challenging.

Well, a solution may be at hand.

Alex Hutchinson writes in his Sweat Science blog  — over the past nine years, several research studies have shown that swishing a sports drink in your mouth and spitting (not swallowing) boosts performance in endurance events longer than 30 minutes in duration When and Why to Swish-n-Spit Your Sports Drink.

It may be hard to believe, but it’s hard to argue with ………. as the evidence mounts.

Is a Cooldown a Waste of Time?

Like stretching, cooling down after a run has long been accepted as a best practice.  Isn’t it a good idea to gradually reduce your heart rate with 5-10 minutes of light jogging? Doesn’t a cooldown help reduce post-exercise muscle soreness?  Doesn’t a gradual shift from running to non-exercise help speed recovery? Isn’t it bad for your heart to just stop running with no gradual transition to non-exercise?

The much touted physical benefits of a cooldown may also prove to be just another myth to be exposed.  Neither holding up under the harsh light of scientific scrutiny.

How Soon After My (Half) Marathon Can I Race?

women runner

Bennett was recently asked: “Is it safe for me to run a half-marathon five weeks after running my first marathon?”

There is no hard and fast rule regarding the length of time one should wait after racing an all out effort before stepping up to the start line again.  The higher your pre-race mileage, the shorter your recovery period and the sooner you can race again.  For many runners — especially women age over 40 (we’ll explain why soon):

Should Your and Your Man’s IT Band Pain Be Treated Differently?

injury prevention running

Conventional studies on gender differences in running injuries focused on comparing injured women to their injured male counterparts. The research then concluded if certain injuries were more prevalent among women or men. Traditionally, the prescription for rehab for men and women suffering the same injury was identical.

That may no longer be the case!

Alex Hutchinson, in his Sweat Science column in the May 4th Runner’s World, wrote about exciting new research conducted by Dr. Reed Ferber at the University of Calgary’s Running Injury Clinic. Instead of comparing injured women to injured men, Dr. Ferber and colleagues have been comparing injured women to non-injured women; at the same time, contrasting uninjured male to non-injured male runners.

Is Your GPS Watch Hurting Your Running?

We rely on our GPS watches to track running distance, overall pace, instantaneous pace and other variables. Is your GPS watch really accurate?

Training for Grandma’s Marathon was not going well for coaching client Diann.  She was experiencing difficulty completing workouts that should have been doable.  She was chronically tired.  Her lower back and knees were painful.   She was forced to take frequent breaks from training to prevent her nagging injuries from developing into full blown injuries that would force a long layoff.

This didn’t make sense.  Based on her fitness and experience, her workouts should have been doable; the training load should have been manageable.

We searched for a solution.  On a 7 mile (11K) run, Diann insightfully observed:

“Here’s the aha – at the end of the run my (GPS) watch said we ran a 10:00 (6:15 min/km) average. Throughout the run I saw 10:30 (6:34/km) frequently floating by for pace, so I assumed I was running pretty casual.  But my girlfriends’ GPS watches said 9:15 (5:47/km) to 9:22 (5:51/km) pace.  That’s a big difference.   I believe my watch has also been contributing to the injury issue and I’ve been at times inadvertently running too fast”

The Runner’s Guide to Caffeine

runner caffiene

Just as runners are passionate about running, coffee lovers are passionate about their coffee.

Caffeine is the most widely consumed non-nutritional drug worldwide.  What effect does it have on runners and running performance?

Research shows that without a doubt, caffeine does provide a performance boost (aka ergogenic effect) to participants in a wide variety of sports.  To quote Australian Institute of Sport’s Nutrition Department Head Dr. Louise Burke: “These benefits are likely to occur across a range of sports, including endurance events, stop and go events, and sports involving sustained high-intensity activity lasting 1-60 minutes.”  The breadth of events covered by Dr. Burke’s statement includes every running distance from 400m (one lap around a track) to ultra-marathons.

How to Prevent Ankle Sprains While Running

ankle sprainSprained ankles from running differ markedly from practically every other injury sustained while running.

Most running injuries are often classified as overuse injuries.  They result from your body not being strong enough to withstand a certain repetitive stress or action which often occurs thousands of times during a run.  In contrast, sprained ankles result from a single trauma.  Often, a runner who sprains their ankle has suffered a previous non-running ankle sprain (Bennett is prone to sprained ankles in part due to previous sprains suffered as hockey-playing teen).

Why does spraining an ankle once increase the likelihood of a future sprain? Depending upon the severity, an ankle sprain can damage muscles, ligaments and proprioceptors (PRO-pri-o-CEP-tors) – specialized nerves that control your balance and sense of position.  Proprioceptors are present in muscles and tendons.   Proprioceptors in a properly functioning ankle sense when your ankle is about to roll and instruct your tendons and muscles to fire and take corrective action, i.e. prevent rolling over.  When these nerves are damaged during the initial sprain, they often do not regain their full functionality.  Their ability to control the necessary firing of muscles and tendons is compromised.  It is this phenomenon that is the major contributor to chronic ankle sprains.

How Much Protein Do Runners Really Need?

Woman ProteinThe Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD  May 2015

Muscles fibers sustain damage during hard training. Repairing and building muscle is a critical component to successful training and gaining strength. Prevailing beliefs are:

1) The more protein you eat, the more muscle you will build.
2) Protein supplements are more effective than food.

Let’s take a look at what the research* says.

    • The amount of protein needed to build muscles ranges between 0.6 to 0.8 grams protein/lb body weight (1.2 to 1.7 g /kg). If you are starting a strength building program, target the higher amount to support the growth of new muscles. Experienced lifters do fine with the lower amount.

How Different Are Women Runners from Men?

DoctorWe regularly point out how women runners differ from their male counterparts. We’ve seen that due to lower body weight, women runners usually have lower caloric requirements and carbohydrate needs than male runners. Due to having lower testosterone levels, women frequently require greater recovery periods from hard training than men (testosterone promotes protein synthesis, which is critical in repairing the micro-tears that occur in your leg muscles during training).

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