Clear and Present Danger — Outdoor Running with Headphones

running dangerRunning with headphones results in a reduced awareness of your physical surroundings. Like it or not, all runners (esp. women) must run defensively at times.

Today’s Featured Article is not about nutrition, injury prevention or how to run faster.  It concerns a more serious matter – personal safety.  Many runners consider headphones a mandatory article of clothing.  You can’t run without tunes.  However………

Safety (a.k.a. proving a point to your teenager)

Running with headphones results in a reduced awareness of your physical surroundings.  If you are treadmill running, by all means, hit the playlist. Outdoors, being less than totally conscious of your physical surroundings compromises your personal safety.   Like it or not – all runners (especially women) must run defensively at times.  Headphone wearers range from being less attentive to totally oblivious of other people, cars and dogs – all of which are potential attackers that can pose real threat to a runner’s physical safety.

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.

Should Women Runners Eat Like Men?

women runnersWomen 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 ……

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.

The Cure for Perfectioinism

Kate F. Hays, Ph.D., C.Psych., CC-AASP

Maggie is a passionate runner. Energetic, competitive, single-minded, and skilled. At 16, she’s already made a name for herself, received funding, and is being scouted by prospective schools. It doesn’t hurt that she brings this same drive to her academics, is popular, and has a supportive family.

Everything’s perfect, right?

Well, not so fast.

The most obvious problem is that she’s recovering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome (more easily remembered as ITBS). It’s a common and nasty injury among runners, one that requires rest and patience—two skills that Maggie has a difficult time mastering.

And now, a few months later, as she shifts back into her regular running schedule, like peeling the layers of an onion, a new “injury” has emerged: fear.

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.

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