THE MINIMALIST MOVEMENT IS THE REAL DEAL!!!

I should state that I am mainly a weight lifter/strength trainer. I’ll run occasionally because my wife likes to and I like to spend time with her. But, I used to use the running shoes highlighted in this video for everything I did. Run, sprints, lift you name it. I was experiencing a sharp knee pain along with a feeling of the knee giving out from time to time. Watch below.

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NY TIMES ARTICLE, ” THE SLUSHY WORKOUT.”

     According to a new study ,this is what runners might see being handed out to them on the side of the road during a race, a slushy.

     In an article written by the New York Times slushies are the new gatorade.  Looking to increase your performance in a 5 or 10K race on a hot summer day?  Drink a slushy just prior to running.  These will go over great for residents in Arizona and Texas and other warm weather climate states.  Performing endurance exercise in the heat is more challenging than performing endurance exercise in the cold weather.  During the winter months blood will go to working muscles to create warmth and prevent hypothermia.  During the heat, blood is diverted away from muscles to the skin for cooling.  The lower the blood supply for muscles the less endurance the athlete will have.

     The results of the study were as follows:

  • The men who drank a slushy just prior to running in a heated room on a treadmill ran for 50 minutes.     
  • The men who drank cold water with the same syrupy ingredients included in a slushy ran for 40 minutes before having to stop.

     Both groups reached exhaustion at the same heart rate level.  (Subjects were of the same age group)  185 beats per minute.  The slushy group reached that heart rate 10 minutes after the cold water group.

     What can we take away from this?  Endurance athletes looking to increase performance in events that last less than an hour in the heat can benefit from pre-race slushy consumption.  If you are worried about  weight loss, then consuming high sugar beverages isn’t the best way to go.  Focus more on interval style conditioning with a shorter duration and a higher intensity.

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WOMAN, RUNNING AND STRESS FRACTURES.

I’ve been having too many females coming to me asking what they can do for their shin splints that I have to write about this.  I wish I could gather all the women up in the Boston area and somehow communicate to them that distance running is a better way to get hurt than it is to lose weight.  I deal with a lot of college age males and females.  Let me put it to you this way; if I had $5.00 for every college age female that has induced a stress fracture I would only need a handful more to cover a year’s tuition over at Harvard.  Yeah, I get alot.  The males aren’t much better, but the women are definitely the larger population with this injury. 

    

     The more common fracture is of the tibia.  The larger of the two lower leg bones.  This bone bares body weight when running or walking.  If someone runs 6 miles on Monday, the very last thing they should do is run 6 miles the very next day.  Unless you are an elite level runner your body cannot handle the constant pounding day in and day out.  I have spoken with woman who run 60 minutes 7 days per weekfor weeks on end.  Top it off with not consuming enough claories for muscles to recovery and you have a sure fire recipe for a stress fracture.  Muscles need to recover and get stronger in order for tendons, ligaments and bones to do so.  If muscle tissue hasn’t been given the right amount of recovery the rest of your connective tissue and bones are in a vulnerable state. 

     

     Hip stress fractures are less likely to happen, but very painful.  Most hip stress fractures occur at the femoral neck of the femur.  The long bone in the upper thigh.  the femoral neck is located at the top of the femur.  This is the part that inserts into the acetabulum.  The acetabulum is the circular socket on the pelvis where the femur connects. 

     Two years ago I had a female runner who was training for the marathon approach me with hip pain.  I am not someone who can diagnose injuries and I do not try to act as such.  But if I can help someone narrow down the possible causes of their pain I will do that.  This woman mentioned a pain in her hip and was told by a physical therapist that it was a tight hip flexor and that she wasn’t stretching correctly.  The woman said it had been bothering her for approximately a month’s time.  Which didn’t sound right to me.  I referred her to an orhtopedist and din’t hear back from her.  I saw her less than a week after the marathon; she had decided to run the marathon without seeing the doctor first and ended up with a sever stress fracture of her hip.  She was on crutches when I saw her.  

     Most hip stress fractures are fatigue related stress fractures.  Fatigue fractures are caused by strenuous, very repetitive forces like running, excessive jumping.  Women in the military will suffer from hip stress fractures due to all the marching and distance running involved in basic training. 

     Moral of the story:  Contact me ( a personal trainer in the Boston area ) if you do not know how to design a strength training program to promote a faster metabolism and a leaner body.  Strength based programs produce better results than aerobic based programs for fat loss.  Injuries happen from repetitive motion.  Tennis elbow, tendinitis all happen from doing something over and over again.  Running is no different. 

     Body fat reduces as a result of increasing lean muscle mass; which in turn burns more body fat at rest and during exercise AND all day and night when you are sleeping.  Distance running or walking will not do this. 

     In conclusion, if the goal is fat loss make sure you have 2-3 strength training workouts in your weekly schedule.  This means with free weights.  Not rubber bands or anything else.  Free weights and body weight exercises.  Supplement your strength training with aerobic training.  Increasing lean mass will aid in burning more calories during aerobic training.

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HEART RISK SEEN IN OLDER MARATHONERS

Yesterday I talked about the potential effects of running a marathon has on your cardiovascular system.  The information I found recommended running a minimum amount of 45 miles per week for 3-4 months to condition the heart to the extent where it’s muscle tissue would not be damaged by the actual event itself.  Today I want to take a look at another article/research study depicting the relationship between running and heart attacks.  This study was conducted in 2006.

Healthy men over the age of 50 who had finished at least five marathons in the last five years were more likely to have major calcium deposits in their arteries than healthy men who did not run as much.  Calcium build up is a sign that arteries are hardening.  If you consider yourself healthy, the more disease you have , the more likely you are to incur a heart attack at some point in your life states the study’s author, Dr. Stefan Mohlenkamp who is a cardiologist at University Clinic in Essen, Germany. 

36% of the 108 male marathon runners in the study had coronary artery calcium scores above 100, possibly a sign of cardiovascular risk states Mohlenkamp.  Similar scores were seen in 22% of the 216 men who did not run the marathon and had risk factors for heart disease.  Dr. Mohlenkamp’s study only looked at calcium stores, not clinical outcomes.  He plans to follow up with his subjects for at least five years to evaluate scores reliability at predicting heart problems.  Mohlenkamp also stated that that the study does not suggest that exercise is not beneficial.  Rather that competitive exercise that pushes the body to the limit may take a toll on some older athletes. 

Women are at less of a risk due to the fact that women typically develop atherosclerosis 10 years later in life and are much less likely to be running marathons at the age 60.

Jim Fixx Author of The Complete Book of Running.

 

Death by running has become more apparent the last 15 years or so along with the fitness boom.  Jim Fixx was the first victim of running induced death by heart attack of note.  Ironically, he was the author of the first book about running titled, ” The Complete Book Of Running”.  Fixx was 52 when he died of a massive heart attack after his daily run in Hardwick, Vermont.  Prior to Fixx becoming a runner he was very unhealthy and sedentary.  Weighing in at 240 lbs and smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.  Which was normal in the 1970′s.  Some argue that running is what brought on his sudden death.  Others say that he would have died at a much younger age if he hadn’t changed his unhealthy lifestyle to a one of running and exercise.  Fixx’s father died at the age of 42 after having his first heart attack at age 37. 

Is running a marathon similar to a self induced stress test?????

In Jim Fixx’s case and a lot of others, they’ve found major coronary arteries to be either completely occluded or almost completely occluded at the time of death.  This doesn’t happen solely from the arterial calcium build up that was found in the runners in the study mentioned above.  That is attributed to diet, lifestyle and genes.  So can we really blame some of these deaths on running?  If these individuals knew of their conditions I don’t think they would’ve been trying to push their cardiovascular systems to the limit running a marathon.  If you are male and over the age of 45 you should certainly check with your doctor before attempting an event like a marathon.  It’s better to get a supervised stress test in a lab, then getting one out on the road 5 miles from your home where no one knows where you are.

 

RESOURCES:

The Boston Globe.  Nov. 14,2006.  “Heart Risk Seen in Older Marathoners.”

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SHOULD YOU TRY TO RUN A MARATHON?

I’m sure that a lot of us are inspired every year when we see runners with great physiques pushing themselves to the limit to finish the marathon and win for their country.  But should you really follow that inspired feeling into actually trying it yourself?  Well, I guess it depends on a few different variables.

1.  Age

2.  Gender

3.  How much you are going to train

The Massachusetts General Hospital has recently collected data on marathon runners and the effects it can have on one’s heart.  Doctors and researchers from Mass General Hospital stand at the finish line at the Boston Marathon and collect blood samples from volunteer runners.  They’ve found that for the average runner who runs a four plus hour marathon has definitive signs of cardiac stress after completion of their race. 

First - Cardiac troponin a chemical that shows in blood tests when heart muscles is damaged, rises 60% in runners.  In some it rises so high that if a cardiologist just looked at these scores the runner would be admitted into a hospital as having a heart attack.

Second – BNP, brain natriuretic peptide, another red flag for cardiac dysfunction goes up after a marathon in 60% of runners. 

Platelets also become activated and more likely to form clots that can trigger heart attacks, according to a paper published in 2006 by Alexander Kratz, director of hematology lab at Mass. General. 

Echo cardiograms have also shown that the heart’s ability to relax after each beat is impaired for several weeks in most marathoners. 

Findings by Dr. Malissa Wood a cardiologist at Mass General Women’s Cardiovascular center show that runners who trained for 3-4 months with at least 45 miles per week ” we’re golden.”  They didn’t get into any trouble as far as excessively high blood tests.  Runners who trained with less than 35 miles per week we’re in big trouble. 

45 miles per week for 3-4 months is a fairly heavy amount of training.  Only someone more than moderately fit would be able to perform this kind of a training phase.  This brings to light the question should you be fit to run?  According to the information I see in the research found here I would answer yes.  You have to be fit to maintain that volume of training for that period of time.  The one piece of information I would like to see is whether or not cross training can be substituted for some of the weekly mileage run.

Resources:

The Boston Globe 4/17/2006.  ” Runners who don’t train well can have marathon of miseries.”  By Judy Foreman.

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MARATHON NUTRITION; AFTER THE RACE.

Primary goals of post race nutrition are to replenish the body’s supply of water and electrolytes  (Primarily sodium and potassium) and carbohydrates. The weather cooperated yesterday for the most part.  Slight overcast for most of the day with temperatures in the high 40′s and low 50′s.  Great day to run. 

Gatorade and similar sports drinks do exactly this.  Accelerade may even be a better option due to it’s protein content that Gatorade does not have.  Research is being done as we speak on that topic.   

   

Also a carbohydrate rich meal combined with protein and healthy fats will stimulate the synthesis of muscle glycogen (storage form of carbohydrate) more so than just a carbohydrate rich meal.  Think chicken parmigiana.  The perfect post race meal.  Carbohydrates, protein and some fats.  And it will probably taste really good after running 26.2 miles. 

Yesterday’s race was yet another great race in the long history of the Boston Marathon.  The women’s finish came right down to the end with the American Kara Goucher being beaten out by Salina Kosgei from Kenya  who ran a magnificent race. 

  With less than one mile left in the race, Salina Kosgei of Kenya and Dire Tune of Ethiopia pull away from American Kara Goucher.

Ryan Hall, the men’s American representative also finished third behind some very strong competition from Ethiopia and Kenya.

 

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MARATHON SERIES: DURING THE RACE NUTRITION.

Main nutritional goals during the marathon are to keep the body hydrated and to keep the carbohydrates coming in for later in the race.  Runners need to consume things that quickly move from the stomach through the intestines and into the blood stream for use by skeletal muscles. 

Start consuming gu packs a little more than half way through the race.  Approximately two hours if you are a four hour marathoner.  make sure you consume water with each GU pack.  The water will help your body digest and absorb properly.

Drink Gatorade when not consuming Gu packs.  Gatorade was designed for athletic events.  Especially long duration events.  Use it!!  There is no magical combination of water to Gatorade.  But Gatorade does have sodium to aid in water retention.  It also contains simple sugars (carbohydrates) for fast digestion and then use by your body. 

Don’t consume anything with too high of a carbohydrate or sugar concentration.  Like bananas or candy.  Stick to the sports drinks.  To reiterate they were designed for this type of athletic event.  Too high a sugar content will pull fluids out of your blood stream and into your gut.  Dehydrating you.

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MARATHON SERIES: FUELING YOUR LONG RUNS. PRE RACE NUTRITION.

GOOD LUCK RUNNERS OF THE 114TH BOSTON MARATHON:

Average person stores 1500-2000 calories or energy in their bodies.

85% is stored in skeletal muscle as muscle glycogen.

10% is stored in the liver.

5% of volume is circulating around in the blood in the form of glucose. 

Energy is taken from the largest reserve first which is muscle glycogen.   Then from the liver and lastly the blood stream. 

BEFORE THE RACE:

Don’t give your body any surprises.  Consume familiar foods.  Drink water up until 90-120 minutes before the start of the race.  Give yourself a couple of opportunities to relieve yourself.  Again there are no magical foods to eat before a long distance event.  Below are some examples that should suit everybody who doesn’t have any dietary considerations.  Just have a big breakfast really.  Odds are you will be waking up around 5:30 or 6am and the race starts at 10:30am.  So the first meal should be when you first get up.  I would then have a smaller snack at 9am or so.  Here is what your morning should look like.

@ 5:30 – 6am:  Pancakes ( starchy carbohydrates ) with butter and syrup.  The fats from the butter will help slow the absorption of the carbohydrates.   A protein source like a couple of eggs will also aid in slowing absorption and satiety.  Start drinking water.

@  9:00 am:  Turkey on a wheat bagel or wheat bread or a power bar.    Stop drinking water after this meal. 

@ 10:30am:  RACE STARTS.     

  

If you are going to drink coffee then make sure you stay well hydrated.  Coffee is a diuretic.  I would recommend skipping the cup of joe for today.  BUT.  There is research claiming enhanced performance in male endurance athletes.  Studies in women endurance athletes is lacking at this point.(Van Sorenson and Graham 1998).

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CARBO LOADING FOR THE MARATHON. NECESSARY?

No.  Not necessary and here’s why.  Let me start by saying that you do need make a conscious effort to make sure you have complex carbohydrates in your meals during training and during these next few days prior to the race.  But DO NOT go above and beyond the regular amounts you would normally consume.  Loading up too much can effect your performance, weigh you down.

 

Reason being- chances are your body is in a moderatley (glycogen) depleted state from months of training.   When your body’s glycogen stores are depleted; the next time it senses carbohydrates coming in it will make sure it holds on to them and eventually store them as glycogen both in muscle and in the liver.  So with a decreased running schedule the week before the marathon regular consumption of carbohydrates should replete your glycogen stores sufficiently.   

Second - your body will become more efficient at utilizing fat as an energy source.  Long, low intensity exercise will favor using fat as an energy source (glycogen sparing).  Which is a good thing leaving you with more glycogen reserves for later in the race.

   

So no need to eat loads and loads of carbohydrates above and beyond your normal consumption.  Just make an effort to have quality, complex carbohydrates in your meal plan throughout training; not just the week before and you should be fine.   I would check with a registered dietition for further clarification if needed.   

I think we all know what carbodhydrates are but here are a few examples that are good to use.

CARBOHYDRATE EXAMPLES:

Any kind of pasta.  I like to use multi grain barilla myself.

Oatmeal

Potatoes, sweet or regular

Rices, preferable long grain wild or brown

Whole grain breads

The usual stuff there are no magical marathon foods. 

 

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MORE FINAL WEEK PREP TIPS FOR RUNNERS

Keep in mind it is difficult to train for a marathon without overtraining.  More so if you are a beginner.  Intermediate to elite runners are much more efficient mechanically and less like to incur an inury due to biomechanical issues.  There are exceptions to that statement.  But the average Joe runner (plumber) doesn’t really run a marathon.  They try and survive it.  They shuffle along with no true hip flexion or extension.  Their feet barely come off the ground.  And I know because I am one of them.  The longer you are out there the harder it is on your body.  With that said; just run fast and you will have less problems. (sarcasm)  Check back all week and weekend for more marathon tips including fueling your body before, during and after the race. 

London Marathon participant.  Crazy Brits.

 

Here I am in 2002.  I am glad I am not running distance any more.  I may try the marathon again at some point, but for now I am happy to be a spectator.  Being that I weight over 185 pounds can take it’s toll when trying to run one of these events.

As you can see I am barely lifting my feet off the ground.  I am one of those shufflers.  Or lumberers in my case.  This is mile 21 and I am wondering why I decided to do this for a third time.  Actually I started wondering that a few months prior to this moment.

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