Flying Is Hazardous to Your Training

Many of us know that runners are more susceptible to catching colds after racing and running longer distances. Research has shown running longer than 90 minutes increases the risk of developing an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection (URTI). How to Prevent Colds and Illnesses after Racing and Running Long.

What other common activity increases your risk of illness? It’s not going outside without a hat during winter (sorry, Mom).

It’s flying.

The Most Accurate Training Monitor is Free

Yes. It’s called the brain.

Australian researchers at Deakin University reviewed 56 studies comparing objectives measures of training load (e.g. heart rate, blood markers, oxygen consumption) versus subjective indicators of training load (perceived stress, mood).  Their results, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that in over 90% of the studies reviewed, subjective measures were equal or more reliable indicators of training load than the objective scientific measures.

In other words, how you feel during and after a run is the most reliable indicator of how your body responds to your training.

How To Cure Painful Side Stitches

DiarrheasmallMany runners have experienced a beautiful run that was brought to a sudden painful end by a side stitch.  This sharp stabbing pain in the upper belly just underneath the rib cage, usually on the right side, begins without warning. With each step, the pain worsens, subsiding only when you stop running.

Until recently, the cause of what the scientific community call Exercise-Related Transient Abdominal Pain (i.e. the side stitch) was not clearly understood.  Some of the hypotheses to explain this annoying run-killer included not waiting long enough after food or liquid intake  before running, lack of oxygen to the diaphragm, spasms or cramps in abdominal muscles and the build up of abdominal gas.

Banish IT Band Pain


Iliotibial Band Syndrome (a.k.a. ITBS or IT band pain) is one of the most common running injuries.  The pain is debilitating, often stopping you dead in your tracks and forcing a long layoff from running. We’ll examine the cause of IT band pain, why commonly prescribed treatments are ineffective and the one exercise that you should do to alleviate this painful injury and get you back on the roads.

Sarah, one of the runners that I recently coached, had been suffering from IT band pain, which was preventing her from doing any running.  To alleviate the pain, she had purchased an over the counter knee strap to be worn while running.  In addition, her physical therapist had prescribed a heel lift to correct a minor leg length discrepancy.  Her ITB symptoms decreased in severity, but two weeks later, she began experiencing knee pain in the same leg.   When she attempted to increase her mileage, her IT band pain returned with a vengeance!

How the Genders Differ in Nutritional Requirements

AsianWomanEatingSmallWomen runners differ from their male counterparts in both caloric and carbohydrate requirement. When running the same distance, men burn more calories than women due to their higher muscle mass and less fat.

In addition to burning more calories when running, men utilize more carbs as fuel than women, even when running the same distance.  Therefore, women runners need fewer carbs than men.

To find out exactly how much of each you need and precisely how to get it ……

Kick New Year’s Resolutions in the Butt

We may not be Olympic calibre athletes, but we all have accomplishments for 2016 we can be proud of. Many of us tend to focus on the times we fell short of our objectives and forget our achievements.

Our preoccupation with negative events or outcomes is human nature. In their excellent book “Switch; How to Change Things When Change is Hard”, authors Chip and Dan Heath examine relevant psychological research. They conclude in almost all areas of life, “we seem wired to focus on the negative”.  We dwell on the negative, ignoring the positive.

Unfortunately, running is no exception.

The Depressive Edge? Going Downhill After the Race

Aren’t You Supposed to Feel Happy, Not Depressed, After Running a Race?!

(Published on September 8, 2014 by Kate F. Hays, Ph.D. in The Edge: Peak Performance Psychology. Republished with permission)

A few days ago, Susan completed a marathon. Her hard training paid off: she did well. Now, along with the expected body stiffness, why, she wonders, is she feeling so out of sorts? She’s cranky, snapping at people, has no appetite, can’t find a comfortable position for sleeping, can’t focus at work. If she didn’t know better, she’d say she was depressed.

Then there’s her good friend, Sharon, who also ran this same race. Coming back from injury, Sharon wasn’t even sure she could complete the race. She did, but had been miserable—and achieved a miserable time. She too is moody, unfocused, and irritable. She keeps re-playing the race in her head, thinking “If only…” and “I should have….”

What Are Your Guts Telling You?

The Athlete’s Kitchen
Copyright: Nancy Clark MS RD CSSD Oct 2016

What Are Your Guts Telling You?

When I think about eating, I think about the yummy taste of food and the pleasure of feeling satiated. But after attending a Harvard Medical School conference on Gut Health, Microbiota and Probiotics Throughout the Lifespan, I now realize I am not feeding my body but rather the 100 trillion bacteria that live in my gut – my microbiome. We have about 3 to 4.5 pounds of microbes that outnumber human cells by a factor of 10 to 1.

The microbiome is a signaling hub. Gut microbes produce neurotransmitters that talk to the brain. This ultimately impacts our immune system, brain, weight, and mood. Genetics, diet, and environment influence these microbes.

How to Prevent Stress Fractures

XrayShinSmallFew injuries have as much negative impact on a runner’s training program than a stress fracture.  The treatment involves no running for six to eight weeks (12 – 15 weeks in severe cases) to allow the bone to heal.  Stress fractures affect elite and recreational runners alike.  Women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe has suffered several stress fractures throughout her career. We know runners whose marathon times range from 3:20 to 4:40 who have all suffered stress fractures.

According to Dr. Cathy Fieseler, Director of Sports Medicine of Trinity Mother Frances Health System (Tyler, TX):   “My experience in my medical practice is that women comprise half of my stress fracture cases, but (women) are four times more likely than men to suffer a recurrent stress fracture”.

Research studies shed light on the biomechanical factors that increase predisposition to stress fractures, the differences between female and male runners that suffer stress fractures and a simple exercise or change to your training that you can implement to reduce your stress fracture risk.

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