Tag Archives: marathon

Running 101: Marathon Recovery

Running a marathon is hard.  Racing one is even harder.  No matter how fast you cross the finish line your body will hurt, your mind will be tired and emotions will still be running high.  After your collect that medal and celebrate with all the carbs of any kind, it’s time to start letting your body heal.  How fast and how well you treat your beat up muscles post race makes a huge marathon recoverydifference in how quickly you can get back to your regular routine.  Use these tips for high quality marathon recovery and you’ll be back on track in no time.

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 racing has been shown to speed recovery but it has to be just that, easy.  A slow jog, air squats, a few push-ups and 30 minutes of yoga works wonders.  Your goal should be to keep blood, nutrition and oxygen pumping to damaged muscles without any added stress.

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.  A professional sports massage is also always a good idea.

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.  After chilling out, putting your feet up for a bit and processing those foods, it’s time to head for pizza and tacos.marathon recovery

Sleep.  Getting an adequate amount of sleep will help you recover faster than just about anything else.  After the excitement of finishing and celebrating it can be tough to shut down.  When you get home 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.  Drink a bottle of water or sports drink before anything alcoholic then 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 staying for the entire post race convert might.  You want to get off your feet for a few hours as soon as you can to start the healing process.

Freeze.  Cryotherapy and ice baths are wonderful tools to jump start marathon recovery.  Part of many runners’ regular plan cold therapies are effective and simple.  Lowering your temperature flushes waste from muscles, reducing swelling and lets them get down to business right away.  Have an ocean or lake near by?  Celebrate by jumping in!

Coach Meredith

Racing 101: Get Marathon Day Ready

Running a marathon is tough.  Racing one is even harder.  Whichever path you chose to cover 26.2+ miles you need to be prepared for the long journey.  Getting marathon day ready is more than simply logging those training workouts.  Making sure you’re prepared for race day is an important part of any well rounded training plan.  Here are four things every Team ECRP knows before they toe the line at their marathon.marathon day

Test Nutrition.  Everyone has to have something to eat or drink while on the marathon course.  While most of us won’t get designated bottles we can still control what goes into our bodies.  Find out what they’ll have on course for hydration and fuel then practice with it.  It might work for you and it might not but marathon day is not when you what to find that out.

Train in Bad Weather.  Not only does training when the weather’s crummy, not dangerous, make you a bad ass, it prepares you for the unknown you’ll face on race day.  It’s tough to get out there when it’s cold or raining but it’s also very important.  Determine what conditions you could face on marathon day and train in them.  Run in the cold, rain and snow and your finish time will thank you.

Wear Your Gear.  We all have favorite pieces of gear.  That pair of lucky underwear or special pair of bright race day shoes is a must for marathon day.  Those pieces are likely well broken in but that doesn’t mean our socks, hats and sports bras are.  Never wear anything new on race day especially holds true when you’re covering 26+ miles so make sure whatever you’re going to put on has been worn on at least one or two long runs during training.

Plan for Logistics.  Marathon day can be a nightmare even if the start is right outside your front door.  There’s traffic, stressed out runners, confused spectators and that guy with a dog on too long a leash.  Know where you’ll park, where the start and finish are and where you’ll meet your support afterwards.  Having a plan will eliminate race morning stress and help you perform the best you can out on the course.

Use these tips to create a plan that works for you and you’ll ace any marathon day test you face.

Coach Meredith

The Lowdown: Beer and Running

Beer and running naturally go together.  Runners love a post run cold one, right?  Races are sponsored by beer companies, we get complimentary ones after we cross the finish line, group runs meet at bars.  The list goes on but does that mean you should be throwing them back?  Check out these pros and cons to the post workout beer.beer and running

Socializing.  There’s one thing runners love as much as running and that’s talking about running.  Post race recaps in real time with your friends is something everyone looks forward to and they’re fueled by booze.  Isn’t that why running clubs were invented in the first place?  It’s true.  Downing a cold one is a great way to connect with connect with other runners.

Health benefits.  Beer can help you turn carbs into energy with its B vitamins and chromium while the flavonoids in dark beer counter cell damage to help prevent heart disease and cancer.  It can also help you relax and that’s all good news for pairing beer and running together.

Hydration.  Beer is alcoholic and alcohol is a diuretic.  That means it helps take water out of you without replacing it.  That’s bad news when your body is trying to work hard or repair itself.

Sleep.  Since beer dehydrates you, it makes you use the restroom more.  That means disrupted sleep and less quality recovery as you fail to reach deeper sleep states.  It might also make you snore, which only serves to make your sleep even lower in quality.  Poor sleep leaves us grumpy in the morning, too, making it harder to get a good workout in the next day.

Gains.  Human growth hormone is what makes us stronger and faster.  It is produced when we’re in those deep sleep states alcohol keeps us out of.  Alcohol will also delay almost any healing process so backing off when you’re injured is key for getting back in action.  The carbs in beer are automatically stored as fat since the sugar raises our blood sugar levels.  That leads to major potential for weight gain.

In the end it depends what your goals are.  Was it a recovery run just to get your legs moving?  Go ahead, drink that delicious post run beer but have a water with it.  Did you just destroy a brutal strength and speed session?  That beer might not be the best idea.  Knowing the effects of alcohol on your can help you might the right beer and running choices.

Coach Meredith

4 Reasons to Race (Medals Not Included)

Of course we all want that race day bling.  But there are lots of other good reasons to race that make it great whether race medals are hanging at the finish or not.  Here are four good reasons Team ECRP likes to show up at the start line when there isn’t something shiny.race medals

Give back.  There are two ways you can give back to the running community through a race.  You can volunteer before or during the event or run it for charity.  Heck, you could even do both.  There wouldn’t be any races if it weren’t for volunteers.  They provide everything from packet pick-up to water stops and handing out those precious race medals.  If no one volunteered, paid help would sky rocket the costs for both participants and race directors, making it so expensive most of us couldn’t afford to race.

Another great way to give back is to run for charity.  Usually you’re able to make a donation at the end of your paid registration but at lots of events your registration, and maybe some other goodies, are comped if you raise a certain amount of funds for a designated charity.

Test yourself.  Even if you aren’t running for a PR, racing is a valuable training tool.  The excitement and atmosphere of race day push you beyond your normal workouts.  It’s a good way to check in on how your training is going and if you’re getting more fit.

Make friends.  Runners come from all over to run all kinds of events.  Thousands of them are trying to run a race in each of the 50 states (and collect those race medals).  Races are a wonderful place to make local or far away friends.  From finding yourself paired up next to someone running the same pace to standing in post race party beer lines there’s always someone new to chat with.  Because, of course, runners love to talk about running.

Change your scenery.  Roads close for races and if you ever want the chance to run down the Las Vegas strip without getting run over, you’ll need to sign up for this race.  With roads shut down or usually private property opened up for racers, participating in an event can give you special access.  Some of the views and scenery are definitely worth the price of entry alone.

Coach Meredith

The Every Runner Foot Care Plan

Having two healthy feet is something most runners take for granted.  Until one gets injured.  Foot care is often overlooked by runners who stretch hamstrings, quads and calves but miss their most important part.  Feet take the first impact of every step.  They also help us stay upright, balance and learn about our environments.  Here are some of Team ECRP‘s favorite ways to keep them healthy and happy.

Find the right shoes.  If your shoes are too loose they can rub and causing blisters.  Too narrow and you’re susceptible to callouses, too.  If they’re too small, add in the risk of black or foot carefalling off toenails.  When you buy running shoes, do so from a reputable running store and make sure the fit is correct.  And, once you have the correct shoes, know when it’s time for new ones.

Socks.  There are tons of socks out there, and you want to be sure you’re running in the right ones.  Cotton socks can lead to blisters while other materials, such as acrylic, can help protect your feet from rubbing by pulling sweat and moisture away.  You might need to vary your sock choice based on the weather, a light sock won’t be equally fit for a speed workout and racing a marathon.  Although there are lots of choices, socks are fairly inexpensive, so try different brands, fabrics and cuts until you find what works best.

Keep your feet dry.  This can be hard if you’re running in the rain, on the trails, in snow or on the beach.  Waterproof trail shoes are a great choice for those who brave nature, but for those who run mostly on pavement or a treadmill, the answer is usually to wear moisture wicking fabrics.  Never start with damp or wet socks and shoes and keep an extra pair nearby for when you’re finished.

Massage your feet by rolling them on golf or lacrosse balls, a rolling pin or foot roller.  Not only will a foot massage relax those hard working muscles, it’ll give you a few minutes to chill out foot careand take a break.  Be careful, though.  Rolling or massaging your feet too hard can cause damage to tender fascia and harm, rather than help, this important body part.

Make them strong.  Do foot and ankle strengthening exercises.  Weak feet mean you lose out on power and speed while increasing your risk of injury.  Try being barefoot as much as you can.  Shoes support muscles so they don’t have to work.  Taking off your shoes will strengthen the arch of your foot while aiding in your body’s ability to sense what’s happening around it.

Use these tips to keep your feet in good working condition and they’ll help you hit a new PR.

Coach Meredith

3 Comeback Tips for a Bad Race

Having a bad race is pretty much the worst.  Yes, there are horrible things going on in the world but the moment you cross that finish line after a less than desired performance can get emotional.  With fall race season rapidly approaching it’s important to remember that bad races happen and don’t mean the end of your running career.  Look how gracious Meb was after a bad racenot-so-wonderful Olympic experience!  We’re not all that talented but we work hard for those PRs and it hurts to miss a goal.  Here are 3 ways to bounce back after a challenging race:

Vent:  Be angry.  Be sad.  Be mad.  Feel all of the feelings.  Let it all out so you can move forward.  It might take one beer or four days but failing to move on will impede your next training cycle by lowering your confidence and sucking up your motivation.

Evaluate:
Your pre-race ritual:  While you can’t go back and change anything that happened during the race, you can change what happens before.  Did you eat right the nights before?  Were you sleeping enough?  Was your taper adequate?  Did your travel plans give you time to adjust to the altitude and time difference or recover from flying?  Each of these factors can change your body’s ability to perform at its best.

The Weather:  There’s only so much anyone can do about weather.  Which is a whole lot of nothing.  High winds, freezing temperatures, loads of humidity and heat waves can all have a major impact on your performance.  Sometimes a bad race isn’t all your fault and remember, everyone else out there had to deal with it, too.

Your goal:  Was your goal really reasonable?  Aiming to shave 30 minutes off a marathon over one season is noble but probably not attainable.

Your training:  How did your training go?  Did it include enough speed work?  How about a long enough base phase?  Did you train for the terrain you would be racing on?  Take a good hard look at your journal while examining what workouts were good and which ones weren’t.  Most importantly, make sure you weren’t overtraining or pushing through an injury.

Move on:  At the end of the day, OK, it was a bad race.  Was it the worst race ever in the whole world?  Probably not.  Look at all the things you learned!  Focus on positive parts of the event, make sure you’re emotionally ready then sign up for another.

Coach Meredith