Monthly Archives: April 2017

5 Ways to Prep for Summer Running

Summer running is coming.  It might already have hit summer time temperatures where you are even though it’s barely spring but that doesn’t mean your training is over.  The fall is a wonderful time to race any distance and to get there you have to fight through some tough summer days.  Here are five tips that will help you keep summer running safe, effective and fun.

Hydrate.  Nothing is more important than staying hydrated when it’s hot or humid, or both, outside.  Even if your summer running mostly takes place in the shade, fluid intake is a must.  Run somewhere with easily accessible water fountains or place bottled water along your route.  summer runningSports drinks, electrolyte tabs or even some table salt added to your water are also good ways to ensure your body gets what it loosing from sweating so much out there in the warmth.

Cover up.  Pants and long sleeve shirts will definitely be too much but you still need to protect your skin as much as possible.  Wear light colored clothes that reflect the sun’s rays and definitely slather on the sunblock.  A hat and sunglasses will also help keep the sun at bay.  You can also use the shade from trees and buildings as much they’re available.

Adjust your schedule.  It’s easier said than done but moving the times you hit the road can have a big impact.  Weather is usually cooler in the morning or evening and you’ll have the benefit of being out of the directly overhead sun.  There’s more coverage from shade as the sun rises or dips so plan routes accordingly.

Slow down.  Your body will be working hard to keep you cool before you even finish your warm up.  It’s not a good idea to the additional stress of running as fast as you can on top of it.  Women tend to fare better than men and smaller people better than large ones but everyone feels the pain.  Dropping your pace is a must.  With decreased blood flow to muscles, increased sweating and more demand planed on the heart, trying to maintain your January paces is just not worth the danger.  Summer running paces can drop by as much as 3 minutes per mile compared to cooler weather!  For a more detailed breakdown, check this out.

Relocate.  No, don’t move to a cooler climate.  Take your workouts somewhere else.  If you’re always training on the sun baked roads, try shaded tree lined trails.  Committed to working on your tan?  Try the waterline on a beach.  Neither of those sound reasonable?  Head into the AC and have some fun on the treadmill with these workouts.

More than anything else, stay alert for signs of any heat related difficulties and listen closely to your body.  Take the dangers of summer running seriously, prepare to beat them and you’ll be ready to PR this fall.

Coach Meredith

Miles: Running Quality vs Quantity

Many runners wonder what’s more important: running quality miles or just running lots of them.  The answer is both are important.  Of course you want every single mile you run to be a running quality (via linkedin)high quality one.  The trouble?  Running lots of miles, unfortunately, doesn’t guarantee they’ll be good ones.

It takes time to build the strength, stamina and durability you need to run correctly all the time.  Diving into a high mileage program without experience is a recipe for disaster.  Injuries, over training and frustration are the menu if you get overly ambitious.  Yes, it’s true that high quality along with high quantity is a proven recipe for success but not everyone has that kind of time or the necessary resources.

Beginners should slowly build mileage until their bones, tendons, ligaments and muscle can take the pounding running puts on them.  Running quality miles is much more important than volume early on.  Even experienced runners have full time jobs and lives outside of running that make it nearly impossible to log 100+ miles each week.  Does that mean you should give up on your newest goal?

No way!  It means you’ll have to focus on getting the most you can from each workout.  With a lower mileage program, you’ll likely have a bit more intensity and fewer recovery, or easy, runs.  Runners who have time constrictions might replace one easy outing with yoga or a short body weight workout rather than a longer session.  The key is to make sure each workout has a specific purpose that will help you reach your next goal and that you’re fully recovering from the harder efforts.  Remember, a few good miles are much more valuable than a bunch of not so useful ones.

Work with a coach to discover what volume works best for your body at your current level of fitness.  Then stick with your coach to get strong enough to increase it.   Making sure you can keep your running quality high as you increase your volume means you’ll be able to have both the quality and quantity you need.

Coach Meredith

Running Injuries: Runners Knee

Runners knee, a term that can refer to any pain centered around your kneecap, is something no runner wants.  It’s a preventable injury that can end up sidelining a great season or a solid training plan for a while if not runners kneeproperly dealt with.  Here you’ll learn what runners knee can be, how to treat it and how to prevent it.

What:  Runner’s knee is a broad term to describe discomfort around the kneecap that can come from several different sources.  Also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome, it is common in both new and experienced runners.

Causes:

  • Overuse: Suddenly increasing training load in a high impact sport such as running can lead to overstretched tendons and irritation of the kneecap joint.
  • Foot Problems: Fallen arches, overpronation or hypermobile foot joints can all cause runner’s knee.
  • Muscle imbalances and malalignment: Weaker muscles in the thigh lead to uneven loads on knees that create abnormal wear and tear on the joint as the knee collapses inward with each footfall.  Bones that are out of alignment will cause similar abnormal damage as stress is unevenly distributed through the skeletal system.
  • Poor running mechanics: Running form errors such as over striding/heel striking, toe running and poor posture can all cause irregular wear and tear on the patellofemoral joint.

Symptoms:  Symptoms of runners knee include pain around or behind the kneecap along with swelling and popping/grinding feelings.  Clues are pain when the knee is bent during walking, running, jogging and squatting that gets worse going downhill or a flight of stairs.

Treatment:  There are a wide variety of options available to help treat runner’s knee.

  • Rest:  Take some time off from high impact activities and avoid putting weight on the hurting knee.  Try cycling or swimming to maintain cardiovascular endurance.
  • Compression:  Use compression sleeves, pants, elastic bandages or patellar straps to give the knee extra support during the healing process.  Avoid these while exercising because they mask the real issue and can lead to more damage.
  • Strength and mobility work:  Study a tape of yourself running and work with a qualified coach or physical therapist.  Work to eliminate muscle imbalances and running form errors that created the initial irritation.

Recovery:  Once you are able to get back in action after recovering from runner’s knee, fix what caused the problem.  Balance muscles and improve mobility by regularly performing exercises for the hips, core, legs and feet.  Wear appropriate shoes with enough support for your foot while avoiding doing all of your running on very hard surfaces like concrete and avoid making sudden dramatic increases in training load.

Coach Meredith

Running Injuries: Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a nasty and common running injury.  A seriously no fun thing to face, PF is something all runners dread but luckily, it is 100% preventable.  Learn more about what PF is, how it happens and how to treat it by reading on!plantar fasciitis

What:  Plantar fasciitis (PF) is the most common source of heel pain in runners new and old.  It is the result of inflammation in the thick band of tissue that connects your heel bone to the rest of your foot.

Cause:  PF is cause by inflammation of the plantar fascia as it rounds the heel bone.  These tissues, the plantar fascia, are a support for the arch of your foot and act like a shock absorber when the foot lands.  If they become overworked, the results are inflammation and tenderness.  Drastically increasing mileage and worn out shoes are common causes.  People who are overweight, who have weak feet, poor movement mechanics or wear shoes without enough support are especially at risk.

Symptoms:  Plantar fasciitis is characterized by a sharp stabbing pain in the foot with the first movements of your day.  The pain will then usually subside or ease once the foot has warmed up.  PF pain can resume when you stand for a long period of time or when you stand up from sitting or lying down.  This injury can limit the amount of running, jumping, walking and dancing you are able to tolerate.

Treatments:  Anti-inflammatories, rest and ice are good treatments.  Orthotics and surgical options exist for those who have unbearable pain.  Those paths should only be taken in very extreme cases of completely collapsed or permanently damaged plantar fascia.  An important part of any treatment plan is determining the cause of your plantar fasciitis.  Work with a physical therapist or certified coach to ensure you don’t become re-injured.

Recovery:  Prevention is the best way to treat PF.  Be sure spending time barefoot, foam rolling and regular foot, ankle and lower leg strength and mobility exercises are part of your training plan.  You’ll want to build stronger arches, more flexible ankles and looser Achilles tendons that are less likely to become inflamed during the recovery phase.  If you do come down with plantar fasciitis, recovery can be a long road.  Work with a coach or therapist to find the treatment plan that works best for you.

Coach Meredith