Monthly Archives: November 2016

Watch Out! Treadmill Training Myths

Winter is coming.  For most of us that means cold weather, snow, ice and maybe some serious wind.  More important than the miserable outdoor conditions is that our spring marathon is still on the calendar.  We have to train, no matter what’s going on out there and that means hitting treadmill trainingthe treadmill.  Love it or hate it, the treadmill sometimes becomes a necessary evil.  Get the most out of your treadmill sessions this winter by ignoring the treadmill training myths.

Myth #1:  It has to be set at an incline to mirror running outside.  Not so fast!
Outside you have to push through the air and maybe a headwind.  On a stationary indoor treadmill, that resistance isn’t there.  That is what makes treadmill training runs slightly easier.  To make up for this lack of air resistance you can increase your speed.  And that might not even matter.  This study shows that incline only matters at paces of 7:09/mile or faster, leaving most of us OK to run flat.

Myth #2: Your running motion is different on a moving belt.  According to this study, and others, it’s actually not.  You might feel different because of the treadmill’s cushioning but your muscles and joints move the same way during treadmill training as they would over pavement, trail or track.  The important things to remember when you’re stuck on the treadmill are to keep your cadence high and form tight.

In the same vein is Myth #3: You take more (or fewer) steps on the treadmill per mile.  As Myth #2 proved, your motion on the treadmill is virtually identical to how you move over a stationary surface (road, track, field).  This also means your step rate (cadence) should be the same.  Winter treadmill training runs can be a great time to figure out how many steps you take per minute at a given pace.  Working on taking shorter steps at a faster rate during treadmill training is great for when you get back out on the road.

Myth #4:  Holding on doesn’t affect your workout.  Yes, it does.  Holding on or pushing yourself up with your arms does not decrease the stress on your lower half.  It completely changes your gait for the worse.  Twisting your spine and over rotating your hips are asking for injuries.  Slowing down and letting go on your next treadmill training run might just save your spring race season.

Myth #5:  The treadmill tells the truth.  They try but often fail.  The readouts for calories burned, speed, heart rate and distance can all be wrong.  Unless the machine is calibrated to your body on a regular basis it’s going to be off.  In the ballpark?  Probably.  Your best bet is to use a heart rate monitor that straps to your chest or wrist to determine exertion levels and simply run (with no incline) for your desired amount of time.

Coach Meredith

Marathon Recovery 101

Marathon recovery is almost as hard as running one.  Your body hurts, your mind is fried and after all those weeks of hard work, you’re ready for a break.  Getting up and taking a lap around the track is low on the list but unfortunately, it’s one of the best things you can do.  The quality of your recovery plan can have a huge impact on when you’re ready to start training again.  Here are five ways to marathon recoverybuild a marathon recovery plan that will help you get back on the road as soon as possible.

Keep moving.  One of the most important aspects of marathon recovery is movement.  This doesn’t mean a tough track workout two days later or taking off for another race.  Giving muscles some easy work to do the day after beating then up has been shown to help speed recovery but it has to be just that, easy.  A very slow jog, air squats, a few push-ups, sit-ups and 30 minutes of yoga works wonders.

Mobilize.  Just getting out there are easy jogging a mile or two won’t get the job done.  You need to work tired and abused joints through a full range of motion to keep fluids moving around.  This is how you make sure muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones get the blood, oxygen and nutrients they need to repair while clearing out the debris from when they got damaged.  Foam rollers, bands, softballs and a lacrosse ball are all part of a well built marathon recovery kit.

Eat up.  You definitely burned a ton of calories covering all of those miles.  Replacing them and giving your body the nutrients it needs to repair damaged muscles is paramount.  Replenish fluids with sports drinks or salted water as soon as you cross the finish line.  When your tummy is ready, chow down on calorie loaded foods like bananas and yogurt.  Put your feet up and rest a bit until you’ve processed those then can head for pizza and tacos.marathon recovery

Sleep.  Getting an adequate amount of sleep will help you recover faster than just about anything else.  It can be tough to shut down after a big race so try taking a warm bath, meditating and turning off all electronic devices.  Here’s a great piece on how a solid night’s shut eye can make a big difference in your marathon recovery.

Go easy on the celebration.  Yes, those free beers taste delicious but they’re just going to cause more trouble for your already hostile body.  Dehydrated muscles aren’t aching to lose more water.  Even though there are carbs in there, make sure you mix in plenty of other fluids with those post race cocktails.  A long walk or standing around for a little bit won’t do any harm but you do want to get off your feet for a few hours as soon as you can to start the healing process.

If there are other marathon recovery traditions you swear by, like ice baths and massages, stick with them.  Just make sure you don’t neglect these key elements of getting your body ready to go back to work.

Coach Meredith

How to Run Your Best Race

We all want every one to be our best race.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen for most of us.  Bad races happen.  Sometimes we’re running a training race just for fun and other times our day goes completely off course leading to results we’re not happy with.  No matter which one your event is, here are some of Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to make any one your best race race

Practice.  Replicate every part of race day you can before hand.  Get up and eat like you’ll have to that morning.  Test out different nutrition strategies for during the race on your long training runs.  Then practice messing it all up.  Run in any kind of weather you can while making sure none of those winter layers chafe.  Race day is unpredictable and the more prepared you are for the unknowns the closer you’ll be to having your best race yet.

Focus on you.  You’re trying to run your best race.  Not another runner’s.  Don’t worry about how fast the people around you go out or what they’re going to do later on.  You’re only in control of your own performance.  Pushing too hard early will cost a lot towards the end.  Stick to the plan you made during training and the rest will fall into place.

Have fun.  Getting tense or stressed out in the middle of a race is a sure fire way to perform poorly.  We run because it’s fun.  Let’s keep it that way.  Stay loose, smile at the water stop volunteers and say ‘thank you’ to the course marshals.  It’ll keep you happy, positive and well on your way to a wonderful finish.

Use these tips and you’ll be a few steps closer to having your best race day yet.

Coach Meredith

Simple Tips For Better Eating

There’s a lot to be said for a high quality diet.  Better eating habits are something that every athlete without a full time nutritionist, dietician or chef thinks about.  Putting cleaner, healthier ingredients in our systems can be incredibly beneficial.  But it’s also hard.  While the quality of ingredients can be a factor in how our bodies function, there are a few other contributors as better eatingwell.  Here are some of Team ECRP‘s favorite healthy eating reminders.

Eat Little and Often
Start eating better with your snacks.  A good for you snack provides energy and quality nutrition without causing low, spiking blood sugar levels or tiredness.  Foods like fruit, nuts, granola, protein bars (watch those labels!) and yogurt are great choices.  Snack between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner, but not after.

Remember Main Meals
Proper snacking is important but regular meals are what really count.  Well rounded meals with equal portions of protein, fat and carbohydrate are ideal.  Breakfast should be clean or even Paleo, big enough to fuel your morning but not so large you’re busy digesting it for hours.  Ensure protein and healthy fats make up a good portion of meals.  Both macro nutrients help you feel full longer and can aid in curbing hunger to loose weight.

Drink More Water
Water is the most important nutrient in your body, making up 50 to 60 percent of your bodyweight.  There are several ways to ensure you’re getting enough hydration throughout the day.  Count your fluid and aim to down half your bodyweight in ounces of water.  Weigh 200 pounds and you’ll need 100 ounces of water each day.  Of course, the pee test is always available.  Your urine should be clear, not the color of yellow sports drink and happen 5-8 times a day.  Just chugging water isn’t the answer, though.  If the fluid is going right through your body, it’s not being absorbed.  Add a dash of salt to help your body absorb the water it needs when you’re dehydrated.

Keep Track and Plan
Use a food journal, write a grocery list, and save leftovers for snacks.  Track what you have already eaten and plan future meals to help ensure a healthy and varied diet.  Read labels and know what everything on them means.  Typically, the simpler and more understandable the label, the better choice that food is.

Use these tips for better eating and you’ll have more energy throughout the day while recovering faster and performing better.

Coach Meredith