Monthly Archives: May 2017

5 Tips for Summertime Beach Running

There’s nothing quite like getting your workout done on the sand.  Beach running is a great tool for any runner, regardless of their ability level and has some wonderful benefits.  It can also have some potential pitfalls.  Here’s Team ECRP‘s list of things to think about before you head to get sandy.beach running

Take it easy.  Running in the sand is harder than running on the road.  The soft, slippery surface makes out tendons and muscles work extra hard to keep up standing upright.  Up to 1.6 times as hard according to a 1998 Belgian study.  If you’re not used to tackling workouts in the soft stuff, be sure to slow your pace down and shorten your run.

Choose wisely.  Some beaches are cleaner than others.  Some beaches are longer than others.  Pick one you know can meet your needs for distance without putting you in danger of crashing into some serious rocks.  Look for uncrowded areas without lots of visible debris before you head out.

Pick shoes (or not).  Odds are you don’t want to splashing through the water in your brand new racing flats.  Pick a solid but older pair of shoes that will support your run without making you worry about their condition.  Should you opt to go barefoot, be careful of shells, sticks, rocks and rough sand.

Check the tides.  Beach running at high tide leaves you with one option:  deep, soft sand.  That’s a fantastic way to get a great strength workout in but it’s not your only choice.  Look for low tide and you’ll have the entire beach to choose from.  Packed firm wet sand, middle ground sand or that soft stuff.  No matter what depth of sand you choose, take an out-and-back route.  Every beach is slanted and you’ll want to stay even.

Safety first.  Just like the sand is making your legs work harder than they do on the road, it’s likely your beach running takes place when it’s warm out.  Not only will temperatures be higher, most beaches lack trees or stretches of shade.  Make sure you have a solid hydration plan, proper warm weather clothing, a hat or sunglasses and sunblock.

Keep in mind that beach running is harder than the road so you’ll want to shorten your run or slow down the pace.  Take your pick of pros and cons then hit the sand for your next workout!

Coach Meredith

5 Ways to Stay Fit When You Travel

Spring break, summer vacation, holiday visits to family, all mean time on the road, in airports and away from home.  It can be very easy to get away from your home based training plan while you travel and that might spell trouble for your next goal.  Luckily, there are five simple things you can do to stay on track no matter where you are.travel

Keep a food journal.  Remember the 80-20 rule and find healthy choices while you travel.  There’s nothing wrong with an indulgence now and then, we’re only human after all, but remember that too much can set your training back.  Keeping a diary of what you’re eating can help you realize if you’ve gone too far off track.

Pack for activity.  DVDs, resistance bands and tubes are small enough to fit in any carry on and can help you workout anywhere.  If your bulky running shoes won’t fit in that carry on, wear them.  Same goes for a heavy cold weather coat.  Check out these additional recommendations for help with your travel fitness strategy.

Schedule activities.  Find out what there is to do in your destination.  If you’re in a new place, there’s no excuse not to try something.  You might check out a new class in vibrant New York City, go for a horseback ride in Wyoming, walk through wine country in Napa or scuba dive in Honolulu.  Canoeing, skiing, dancing and even a long sight seeing walk will keep you moving forward.  Even if it’s not your preferred mode of working on your fitness, any athletic activity will help you perform at a higher level when you get home.

Use your hotel.  Yes, they’re usually small, but hotel gyms give you a little space to move around.  Most hold stationary bikes, treadmills, ellipticals and weight machines and some have quite modern, state of the art facilities.  If there’s a pool big enough for laps or pool running, dive in.  Any hotel that’s more than one story features a set of stairs, don’t be afraid to use them.

Expect to have a tough first few days back.  Your body might still be recovering from jet lag or overindulging in food and drink.  Your muscles need a chance to get back in gear, too.  Stay hydrated, especially if you’re flying and try to plan for a recovery day once you’ve arrived back at home.

Coach Meredith

4 Ways to Decide You Need New Running Shoes

Lots of runners find a pair of shoes they end up falling in love with.  Unfortunately just because you love them doesn’t mean they’ll last forever.  Everything wears out and eventually we all need new running shoes.  Here are four of Team ECRP‘s tried and true methods for determining when it’s time to pick up a new pair.

Worn out treads.  If your shoes look like the pair on the right in this photo, it’s time for them to new running shoesgo.  When you’ve run enough to wear down the rubber on the bottom of your shoe, they’re not much help.  Your traction on slippery roads or trails is gone.  If your treads lack definition, it’s time to upgrade.

Pain train.  Do you feet hurt after a workout?  They shouldn’t.  What about a sudden onset of shin splints?  Both can indicate it’s time for new running shoes.  As running shoes age, they start to break down.  That breakdown means your cushion isn’t quite so fluffy, your arch isn’t getting the help it needs and your feet aren’t as well protected from the road.  Old, broken down shoes can increase your risk for injury.  No runner wants that.

Newer is better.  You love the model you’re in.  To avoid the changes that are made each year you stocked up with multiple pairs.  If you slide on a new pair that feels cushier, more comfortable, supportive and softer, it’s time to can the old ones.  If they’re pretty close, you’re probably in the clear to keep both pairs in your rotation.

Lots of miles.  Lots of runners track their mileage and lots of them don’t.  Whether you’re an avid Strava user or not, it’s pretty easy to guess how many miles are on your shoes.  Shoes vary widely in how long they’ll last.  If you’re running on hard surfaces they won’t last as long as they would if you tackled the trails every day.  Heavier runners are tougher on shoes than lighter ones.  A good baseline is 300-400 miles per pair but take into account the kind of running you do before tossing anything based purely on mileage. 

The good news is there are always new models, technologies and colors out there so when one pair wears out you might just find something you like even more!  Take these tips with you on your next outing to decide if it’s time for you to pick up a shiny new pair of running shoes.

Coach Meredith

5 Tips for Faster Recovery

Recovery is almost as important as your actual workout.  If you aren’t recovering from today’s workout how are you going to be ready to perform tomorrow?  The right answer is you won’t be.  Your body needs certain things pre-, post and hours after a good sweat session to get back in working order.  Here are five tips from Team ECRP that will help you feel great after today’s workout and fresh for tomorrow’s.

Eat right away.  Workouts burn through energy reserves.  If you want your body to build those stores back up, you’re going to have to feed it.  Proper nutrition after a session will help your tissues recoveryrepair. and muscles clean out any waste.  Post workout fueling should include complex carbohydrates, hydration and quality protein and occur within 30 minutes of a session.

Drink up.  Drinking fluids is important during a workout, especially for endurance athletes, but you’ll need even more when you’re finished.  Luckily, good old fashioned water is all most people need to help their muscles start the repair process.  Water helps the body get started with recovery by supporting all metabolic functions, most importantly flushing out the things that build up while you exercise and allowing much needed blood and oxygen back into torn up muscles.

Keep moving.  Beating your body up for an hour during a workout then slamming it to a stop when you fall down on the ground is asking for trouble.  It’s like crashing into a brick wall.  Cooling down properly is paramount to starting the recovery process.  Gentle movement, like walking, stretching or light yoga, is known as active recovery and are great choices.  Staying in motion promotes circulation, moving nutrients into needy muscles and waste from your workout out.  More nutrients and less waste lead to faster repair, less recoverysoreness and a better next session.

Relax.  Breathe deeply and go over your workout in your head.  If it was good, take note but if it wasn’t, learn something and move on.  While you recap, foam roll, stretch, or sit in an ice bath if you’re really in need.  If you’re lucky, you might even get a massage.  Like performing active recovery, massaging muscles promotes circulation and tissue repair.  An additional bonus:  you can do this while you eat that high quality post workout food!

Go to bed.  Sleep is the best time to recover.  When you’re snoozing the body produces essential Growth Hormone to repair and build muscles.  Getting plenty of quality sleep can lead to stronger muscles, better performance and more endurance.  You’ll also wake up with a more effectively working brain, in a better mood and a happy body.  In contrast, sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to decreases in performance, increases in recovery times and general grumpiness.

Use these tips to take your recovery plan to the next level and see the results you want sooner.

Coach Meredith

Unilateral Movement for Runners

Unilateral movement can sound intimidating.  Thankfully, however, the movements themselves aren’t.  Any runner can and will benefit from practicing using one side of their body at a time.  When we use both legs to complete a squat or jump, the stronger side often takes over while the weaker side stays that way.  This can be a recipe for a funky gait, less running power, muscle imbalances and even injuries.  Unilateral training works to make weak sides stronger, increase muscle recruitment, eliminate muscle imbalances and strengthen the core as a bonus.

Team ECRP loves unilateral movement and here are three of our favorites.  Each one will help you get stronger and run with better form.  These movements work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, ankles, feet and abs all on their own.  If you’re looking to hit your upper body too, safely add carried or overhead weights.unilateral movement

Lunges.  Take a giant step forward with one leg then drop your back knee down towards the ground.  Be sure to keep the front knee behind to your toe, aiming for a 90 degree angle.  Once that back knee hits the ground, push back up to standing position and bring your feet back together.  Repeat on both sides.

Step-upsUsing a box, chair or table that’s strong enough to hold you and a comfortable height, place one foot fully onto the flat raised surface.  Use your front leg to lift your body upunilateral movement, bringing your back foot onto the box as well.

Single Leg Deadlifts.  Single leg deadlifts require lots of balance and hamstring mobility.  Start by standing feet together then raise one leg straight behind you while your shoulder come forward as a counter balance.  Keep your working leg steady but don’t lock out your knee as you keep your non-working hip open and back flat.  Touch the ground then slowly return to the starting position.

Include these unilateral movements in your training plan for stronger, better balanced running.

Coach Meredith