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Q:  After some of my long runs I completely crash for the rest of the day, and I can't afford to be down for the count - I have stuff to get done!  What can I do?

A:  Make sure you are leaving for your runs with a full tank - hydrated, and with 100-200 calories at least in the hour or two before you start.  Plan for and consume 4-8 oz of electrolyte replacement beverage every 2-3 miles (25-30 mins.) for long runs beyond an hour.  And, most importantly, replenish with carbohydrates as soon as possible after your run = 15-30 minutes max.  A banana, apple, orange, peanut butter sandwich, or energy bar with primarily carbs and some protein included are great choices to save in your car or keep ready at home for your return.  We know that in a depleted state your body will grab carbohydrates and convert them to working glycogen quickly.  So the post-run quick meal (100-200 kcal) within 30 minutes is key.  Miss this window and you'll be playing catch up the rest of the day!


Q:  What should I eat the night before a race?

A:  You should eat familiar foods at a normal dining hour.  The day before a race, incorporate plenty of carbs, but do not stuff yourself with two pounds of pasta.  Eat a moderate amount of a well balanced meal (pasta, chicken breast or bolognese sauce, salad, roll is one example) at dinner, and sip both water and sports drink throughout the day.  Steer clear of alcohol.

One mistake a lot of people at destination races make is to set out from the hotel for dinner at 7, head to a casual dining restaurant which is busy on weekends, wait 45 minutes or an hour for a table, and all of a sudden, start dinner at 9pm when the alarm clock is set for 5am.  Plan ahead and give your body time to assimilate the food and get ready to sleep! You and the line of people behind you at the porta-potties will be grateful.


Q:  How much should I drink during a marathon or half marathon?

A:  First of all, we recommend taking a drink to the start line and consuming 4-8 oz right before the gun goes off.  This is your first water stop.    Plan to consume 6-8 ounces of fluid every 2-3 miles or 25-30 minutes.  For bigger races with aid stations every mile or two, one good rule of thumb is to just take fluid every time (so you don't have to think about it).  A good strategy is to alternate sports drink and water.  Pinch the top between your thumb and fingers, and you can nurse it for a few more yards.  Most importantly, do not wait to consume fluids until you are "thirsty".  At that point, you are already playing catch-up.  Drink early, and when in doubt, choose the electrolyte replacement drink over water - then you'll get both the minerals and the H2O necessary for hydration.


Q: Everybody says I should try this (bar/ gel).  How do I know if it is right for me?

A:  Practice!  Your initial long runs serve as trial and error nutrition workouts.  Once you find your comfort zone with a particular drink, gel or bar include consumption in your longer and more rigorous workouts. Nutrition-wise, nothing you do on race day should be brand new territory.  We recommend consuming a gel packet (always with fluid) or similar amount of carbs through another source such as a banana every 45-60 minutes during a marathon or half marathon, which means you should also be doing this on your Big Kahuna long runs.  Keep in mind if you are following the earlier recommendation of energy drinks every 25-30 minutes you may not need the additional gel/bar/banana replacement.  Many utilize a combination of drinks, gels and food to provide quick available carbs within the race.  Everyone's body is different - make your refueling plan during workouts as deliberate as the other parts of your race preparation and you'll have one less unknown to worry about!



This is Coach Tom’s favorite routine which will target many of the running muscles and also areas of weakness. It takes just 20 minutes and it will develop your flexibility, strength, and core muscles. (Core muscles include the muscles in your abdomen, back, pelvic floor, and glutes.) We recommend that you do 8-10 reps, 2 times per week. If any of the exercises are too challenging at first, please shorten the duration. Over time, you will get stronger and be able to increase the duration.

Left and Right Side Planks - Targets the lateral abs

Hamstring Bridge - Targets the hamstrings (back of the thighs) and gluteus maximus (buttocks)

Cobra - Abdominal Stretch

Close Hand Push Ups - Also known as Narrow Grip Push Ups

Glute Stretch - Stretches the buttocks muscles

Single Leg Squat - Challenges balance, quadriceps (front of thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs), and glutes (buttocks muscles)

Quad Stretch - Stretches the front of the thighs

Partner Punishment - Targets abdominal muscles

Pointers - Core Body Stabilization

Hamstring Stretch - 3 different stretches that target the back of the thighs

Pretzel Stretch - Stretches the muscles of the back

Calf Stretch - Stretches the calves (back of lower leg) and achilles (back of feet)

Leg Swings - 3 different exercises that target the core muslces and stretch the pelvis, hips, and hamstrings

Foam Roller - "Self Massaging" routine

 

 

 



What is mental health?Picture1

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’. Mental illness can impact anyone, of any age and background. Achieving and maintaining good mental health and well-being is important for everyone.


How common are mental health issues?

It is estimated that, 1 in 6 working age people can suffer from mental illness. Another 1/6 of the population can be affected by symptoms associated with mental ill health, such as worry, sleep problems and fatigue, which, while not meeting criteria for a diagnosed mental illness, will be affecting their ability to function at work.

Have a conversation:

It's okay to feel stressed out or unsure of how to cope with the daily demands on your plate. Keep a pulse on your heart rate, behavior, and mood. If you notice changes, have a conversation!

> Choose a trusted friend, coworker, 
> Select a private and comfortable place and time
> Discuss the changes you’ve noticed 
> (if you are having a conversation about another person's well-being) encourage them to talk openly. Don't complete sentences or jump in to provide a solution or opinion.

 

You have rights in the workplace. Read more about the US Equal Employment Opportunity Coalition and National Alliance of Mental Illness.



Take 5 simple steps toward better well-being:

1) MOVE : Exercise is a great way to release stress, improve your mood, and increase energy.
2) MINDFULNESS : Pay attention to the world around you. Focus on the present.
3) NUTRITION : Choose wholesome food choices, a colorful plate, and hydrate often.
4) GIVE : Perform acts of kindess. A simple gesture goes a long way for you and the reciever. 
5) CONNECT : Increase the amount of positive relationships in your life. Reduce the negative and time consuming.





Jack Daniels, an exercise physiologist who inspired some of the Runcoach ideals, said "The stronger your core, the more solid you are as you hit the ground, this reduces the need for unnecessary stabilization, and allows you to be a more economical runner."IMG_8268

What are you waiting for? It's ABsolutely time to get to work. Here are some videos to help you get started.

Side Planks
 2-3 sets
Works the internal and external obliques to build better core stability.

Hamstring Bridge 2-3 sets
Core is more than just your abs. One of the most common weaknesses we see in runners is their glutes which are the key powerhouse for propulsion with every step you take while running. 

Push-Ups 2-3 sets
Works your arms, upper body, and core. Can be done on your knees to start, and then as you build up strength, you will be able to do a full push-up!

Partner Punishment 2-3 sets
If you don't have a partner to help you out in this exercise, you can do leg lower and left controlling the resistance of gravity on your own to get a deep core exercise

Try to include core into your weekly routine and watch your form and strength increase!











My Race Has Been Canceled – Now What

Now that we are in uncharted territory with the spread of the coronavirus as a global pandemic, many of you must deal with the cancelation of your respective events.  I want to share my thoughts and empathy with you.

First off, running to many of you, as it is for me is much more than exercise.  It is a stimulus toa path forward when your road gets muddy and blocked.  I have used running throughout my life to “get unstuck” and continue forward.  So, I’m acutely aware of the personal disappointment that many of you currently feel.

Our race goals are more than just fun and certainly not fleeting.  This can only be understood by you – the walkers, the runners, the goal-setters that you are.  There is an incredible personal loss when someone moves the finish line or in this case, takes it away.  I nearly experienced this in 2001, after weeks of 100 miles running in preparation for the New York City Marathon.  Fortunately for me, that race took place after the tragedy of 9/11, and I can only imagine what it would have done to my morale had it been canceled.

All of us at Runcoach are right there with you and share your disappointment.


So now what?

 

Here is my Top 5 List of what to do if your race has been canceled.

1) Go run the distance anyway on the day it was scheduled
-Don’t be a renegade and try to run where the race was supposed to take place as that may clog the streets and put you at risk with traffic.
-Instead go to your favorite running route or treadmill, map out a course concomitant with your goal distance.
-Wake up early, do your normal pre-race routine and go run your personal race.
-Take a friend if you can (and consider keeping a safe distance throughout your personal race)


2) Write a race report
-Enter it on Runcoach if you like so that our coaches can share in your accomplishment
-If you’re not a social type, take the time to draft an email to yourself – highlight your training journey, the ups and downs and how it went when you traversed a different course with no spectators for support


3) Choose a New Goal in the future (preferably at least 10 weeks out)


4) Acknowledge Your Loss
-Losing a race goal is hard
-Contemplate that when you run your replacement race
-Remember – The best is yet to come


5)Be Grateful
-This situation doesn’t take away your fitness or your accomplishment
It is hard to be disappointed when you are grateful
Obviously, there are many far of worse than you – the active and motivated participant


We are runners and we persevere.  All of us at Runcoach feel your pain and are excited to help you reach you next goal.

 

Keep rolling!
tom







Coach Tom
Founder and CEO of Runcoach 



IT Band Syndrome

Written by Tom McGlynn March 07, 2020
it_bandHow to treat the IT band - 

What is IT Band Syndrome?
The Iliotibial Band, or IT Band, is a dense band of connective tissue that originates in the hip (iliacus), runs down the outside of the leg and inserts just below the knee.  Every time you bend your knee the IT Band crosses over a bony protrusion at the outside of your knee.  If the band becomes tight it starts to snap more aggressively over this bone and it can then get irritated and inflamed.  When this happens you have IT Band Syndrome.

Common signals or symptoms:
- The most common symptom is pain at the outside of the knee.  
- Tightness at the outside of the hip.
- Soreness in the lateral (outside) quad muscle.
- Swelling around the knee

Prevention Tips:
There are a number of things a runner can do to prevent IT Band Syndrome.  
The easiest thing to do is use a foam roller, "the stick" or some other form of self massage.  This is probably the most effective thing you can do to keep the IT Band loose.  There are also various IT Band stretches but many people have a hard time getting into a position where they actually feel an effective IT Band stretch.
Other causes:
  • -Lazy stretching routine 
  • -Pushing too hard -- run too far or for too long
  • -Lack of rest between workouts
  • -Worn-out sneakers
  • -Steep downhill runs
  • -Running only on one side of the road (Roads slope toward the curb, which tilt your hips and IT band)
Treatment:

The most effective treatment is rest.
If your knee is swollen, ice, compress and elevate.
If you can find a pool, you can swim to maintain aerobic conditioning.
Get a massage on your quads, hips, and hamstrings 
Foam roll 2-3 times per day
Perform IT band, glute stretngth exercises


Video demonstrating Hamstring Bridge (also works glutes)
Video demonstrating Single Leg Squat
Video demonstrating Glute Stretch



PlantarLet's talk about Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Most often felt in the heel,  over 50% of Americans will experience this pain during their lifetime.
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a condition caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes, which can overload the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes), resulting in heel pain.


Self Identify PF:
- Sharp stab or deep ache in the heel
- Pain on the bottom of the foot in the arch
- Worst in the mornings. First few steps out of bed are excrucating
-  Pain experienced during "push off" while running


Common causes of plantar fasciitis:

PF occurs due to a variety of reasons: overuse of improper, non-supportive shoes, over-training in sports, lack of flexibility, weight gain, too much standing. 


Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:

As with any pain ice and rest is the first step. Fill a bucket of water and add ice to it. Stick your foot in. Another option is to freeze a plastic bottle of water and roll your foot with it.
Other options:
- Use a lacrosse ball or golf ball to massage your foot. Gently roll over the pain spots.
- Use an Arch support
- Update your shoes 

If pain is present for more than three weeks, see a medical professional about the problem. Treatment options such as orthotics, foot taping, cortisone injections, night splints, and anti-inflammatories can help.



d747ee20C180EC5-D2A8-4A67-872C-D253DB3024D8_2Teresa shares her incredible journey with the Runcoach community. She encourges us to first and foremost "START". However small the gains are, there are improvements!

Major milestone:
I started with the desire to lose weight- started walking. Now I feel it is truly a miracle- I can run 10 miles. I lost the weight but the other effects are priceless! No more depression, or back pain, I have more energy and I feel like I look so much better. I can actually see muscles in my legs and arms.


What is the secret to your success?
I started very small. Jogging for only 30 seconds initially. I continue to incorporate walk breaks into my run


What is the biggest obstacle to reaching your goals and how do you get over it?
My biggest obstacle was the weather and day light kept me from gettin in my runs. Bought a treadmill to deal with this.


What is the most rewarding part of training?
Seeing the success and improved health. My thinking has changed- other areas of my life I now use the same strategies. Start small and stick with it. Progress not perfection is what I strive for.


What advice would you give to other members of the Runcoach community?
Don’t give up. If a 200 pound woman can do it anyone can!


Anything else you would like to share?
You are worth it.





Shin Splints

Written by Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne February 29, 2020

shinsplintWe are beginning a new column where we will dive into some of the most common running injuries. First up: Shin Splints.

This is the pain felt along the front of your lower leg, at the shin bone. 

Shin splints are common among runners  who increase frequency, volume, or intensity of training, along with improperly fitting footwear or worn out shoes can cause problems. Also frequent running on hard surfaces can cause shin pain.


How to prevent them?

The first thing is to understand what they are.  Then you know what stresses you are putting on your body.  Consider the age and appropriateness of your shoes and review your training to make sure you aren’t making any huge sudden jumps.   Many runners with shin splints also report tight calves and relatively modest strength in the lower leg muscles. Proper stretching and strengthening of the calf muscles can help.   One productive exercise is heel walking.  [Check out our Heel Walking Demo Video here.]


If we feel shin splints coming on, what should we do?

There is an inflammatory component here, so ice can help a lot.  A reduction in training intensity and a change in running surfaces may be required to allow the symptoms to subside.  Anti-inflammatories may be appropriate, but consult your physician to ensure they are a safe choice for you.  If symptoms persist or become steadily worse, make an appointment with your doctor.

The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking.

Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • Keep your legs elevated.
  • Use ice or a cold compress.
  • Wear elastic compression bandages.
  • Use a foam roller.

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.



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