Tag: Runner

A Runner’s Guide to Maintenance

Running is a very dynamic sport that involves several different joints to function in correct alignment to absorb and react to impact efficiently. A routine that strengthens to prevent injury, creates length, reinforces proper movement patterns, and treats or prevents inflammation can help you become a stronger and safer runner.

Mobility warm ups:
A general warm up might be too limited to maintain proper strength, flexibility, and stabilizer activation. Here are a few extra movements for optimal joint function.

Ankles:

  • Using a combo balance board for ankle circles, lateral and medial motion, and forward and back wobble motion. If you do not have a balance board, you can do multidirectional toe taps, ABC’s, or ankle circles.

Hips:

  • Move from a hurdler’s stretch position to a track start position with the toes up to warm up and lengthen the front and back of the hips. An alternative is forward and back leg swings.
  • Folding forward touch down to an elevated surface like a step, or grab under the toes and transition from the forward fold to a deep squat with knees out and the heels up while using the arms to stretch the inner thighs and groin area. An alternative is a lateral leg swing, pendulum motion. Make sure that you are warmed up properly for this kind of motion.
  • Figure 8’s or circles can be done in a controlled movement or in a ballistic leg swing. Make sure to maintain a neutral spine and tight core for safety.

Spine:

  • Move from a flexed spine into extension on the floor, or use a resistance band or stability ball for added traction.
  • Lateral bends reaching up and over done in a controlled movement lengthen major muscles, such as: lats, quadratus lumborum, and the psoas.
  • Lateral twists can be done in a ballistic motion from the arms or lying down with the legs as windshield wipers.

Exercises:
When it comes to an exercise routine make sure you have these simple, yet important basics in your repertoire.

  • A leg strengthener that is general and highly effective for spinal integrity, core strength and proper length/ tension relationships of the body is a barbell squat. This can be done with light weight body bars and can progress from there.
  • An upper body strengthener that utilizes core and shoulder stabilizers is a pushup. You can do a ball pushup using the stability ball under the hands for added activation and increased difficulty.
  • Chin-ups or pull-ups counter-effect shoulder elevation that is common in runners and again integrate a lot of core and stabilization.
  • An overhead shoulder press is good not only for shoulder stability, but range of motion and health of the shoulder joint. If you are doing this correctly with complete range, you should be able to extend the elbows straight with the weights held directly above you without extension at the lower back or shoulder elevation.
  • Core or spinal stabilizers have the greatest importance for endurance athletes. A plank or leg lifts for added psoas activation are great choices for runners.

Strength and mobility aspects of fitness are important to maintain as a runner to complement your running program. In addition, proper flexibility and massage will keep the body healthy and will aid in recovery. If you have additional questions, or would like more advanced options please contact personal fitness trainer Amber Walz.

Oh Those Nasty Shin Splints

Whether you are going after general fitness or you are training hard to prepare for a certain sport, if you train with any purpose, then you are probably training hard. And when you go hard, you are bound to run into a few “wear and tear” problems along the way. These issues do not need to take you off course and should not keep you from reaching your goals!

One common issue I’ve heard of lately is shin splints. If you’re jogging around outside, training for a race, or participating in a boot camp class, you’re at risk of a common, running-related injury called shin splints. Referring to pain along the shin (tibia) or the large bone in the front of your lower leg, the pain is caused by an overload on the shinbone and the connective tissues that attach your muscles to the bone. This overload is often caused by specific athletic activities, such as:

  • Running downhill
  • Running on a slanted or tilted surface
  • Running in worn-out footwear
  • Engaging in sports with frequent starts and stops (ie. basketball and tennis, or agility training and plyometrics)

If you have shin splints, you may notice tenderness, soreness or pain along the inner or sometimes outer part of your lower leg and mild swelling. At first, the pain may stop when you stop running or exercising. Eventually, however, the pain may be ongoing.

Most common among runners, many times they can also be caused by training too hard, too fast or for too long.

TREATING SHIN SPLINTS:

  • Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort, but don’t give up all physical activity. While you’re healing, switch to non weight bearing cardio such as biking, the elliptical, or swimming.
  • Ice the affected area. Apply ice to the affected shin for 15 to 20 minutes after you train.
  • Wear proper shoes. Be sure you are wearing shoes designed for the sport in which you participate. Invest in a pair of shoes that will enhance your performance and protect you from injury. Also consider the age of your shoes. Athletic shoes will last you the equivalent of 350-550 miles of running, depending on your body weight, running style and surfaces on which you train.

*It’s also important to resume your usual activities gradually. If your shin isn’t completely healed, returning to your usual activities may only cause continued pain.

PREVENTING SHIN SPLINTS:

  • Choose the right shoes. As previously mentioned, wear footwear that suits your sport and replace them as necessary.
  • Lessen the impact. Cross-train with a sport that places less of an impact on your shins, such as swimming or biking. Start new activities slowly and increase time and intensity gradually.
  • Add strength training to your workout. Try foot strengthening along with calf raises. You can perform this exercise with added resistance by sitting on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Loop a wide resistance band around your toes. Flex your toes toward you and extend outwards for 2-3 sets of 10 reps. Leg presses and other exercises for your lower legs can be helpful as well.

Seattle Athletic Club Downtown fitness programs incorporate athletic training to build strength, endurance, and agility. Training this way strengthens joints, tendons and connective tissues along with the major muscle groups. Strong muscle attachments and joints that can bear the stress of heavy training are essential in the prevention of injuries. However, even the fittest athlete can encounter wear and tear problems! By taking the right steps, you can minimize the pain and long term effects and get back to your normal routine in no time!

Electrolytes – What They Are & Why You Need Them

You know it’s important to drink lots of water before, during, and after a workout, but you might be forgetting something! During exercise, your body also loses electrolytes, and you need to replenish them for proper organ and cellular function. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium chloride, and bicarbonate.

Sodium
Sodium regulates the total amount of water in the body and the transmission of sodium into and out of individual cells also plays a role in critical body functions. Many processes in the body, especially in the brain, nervous system, and muscles, require electrical signals for communication. The movement of sodium is critical in generation of these electrical signals.

Potassium
The proper level of potassium is essential for normal cell function. Among the many functions of potassium in the body are regulation of the heartbeat and the function of the muscles.

Chloride
Chloride is the major anion (negatively charged ion) found in the fluid outside of cells and in the blood. Chloride also plays a role in helping the body maintain a normal balance of fluids.

Bicarbonate
The bicarbonate ion acts as a buffer to maintain the normal levels of acidity (pH) in blood and other fluids in the body. Bicarbonate levels are measured to monitor the acidity of the blood and body fluids. The acidity is affected by foods or medications that we ingest and the function of the kidneys and lungs.

It is especially important to replenish electrolytes after exercise, because many electrolytes are lost in sweat. You can replenish your electrolytes by consuming sports drinks, juice, milk, and many fruits and vegetables. Perhaps the most common and efficient way to replenish electrolytes is through sport drinks like Gatorade and PowerAde. These drinks offer a good source and adequate amounts of carbohydrates and electrolytes to replenish your body. So remember, next time you plan your workout, don’t forget to include a way to properly recover and nourish your body!

Recovery Massage & Maintenance Massage: Two Applications of Sports Massage

Sports Massage techniques consisting of flat, broad-hand compressions, jostling, and kneading are generally done without oil with the athlete draped (under sheets) or in loose clothing/ athletic attire. Deep gliding strokes with oil can also be used, with the overall purpose being to clean and prime the muscles by increasing circulation. The difference between Recovery Massage and Maintenance massage is in their application. Recovery Massage facilitates recovery from competition or a strenuous training session and is applied soon after the activity. Maintenance Massage is received on a regular basis by athletes as part of their training regimen. Its purpose is to help athletes maintain optimal physical condition during training.

Recovery Massage is administered for the uninjured athlete soon after the activity. It should last no more than 30 minutes and is essentially a post-event Sports Massage. This somewhat immediate, shorter duration application can reduce the athlete’s recovery time from an event by half and is designed to minimize the physiological effects of the activity. Several hours after or the next day, the Recovery Massage could last as much as one hour, although post-exercise soreness may have already developed. Jostling coaxes the nervous system to let muscles relax, compressions and deep gliding strokes increase circulation, promoting better cell nutrition and removal of waste products.

Maintenance massage consists of general recovery massage on the entire body with specific attention to problem areas, concentrating on tight and sore muscles, stiff joints and former injury sites. Sports massage techniques are effective in addressing tension and improving muscle flexibility, thereby restoring normal Range of Motion. Although the jury is still out as to the cause of post- exercise soreness and pain, broad-hand compressions of Sports Massage can successfully alleviate this condition: pressure used is administered lightly at first, increasing proportionally as the pain diminishes, until all muscle discomfort is eliminated.

By increasing circulation of blood and lymph, Recovery and Maintenance Massage carry away waste products or metabolites, promote cell nutrition, reduce edema and expedite healing of damaged tissues. They calm the nervous system and restore Range of Motion. Afterwards, athletes should feel relaxed and refreshed.

Stretching with the TRX

There are multiple benefits to stretching while using the TRX. You will be able to move through greater range of motion which will deepen the stretch, making it more beneficial. You will also be able to use your own body weight to “lean” into the stretch. This is a great cool down for the end of your workout since you will have to use the muscles that were just worked to assist with the stretching.

Lat Stretch
Facing the TRX anchor point, with your arms straight, reach your hips back keeping the spine straight. Relax and head and neck, allowing the head to drop between the shoulders. Keep your weight in your heels and take a few deep breaths. You will feel this all down the back and underneath the armpits.

Chest Stretch
Turning away from the TRX anchor point, keeping the arms at shoulder height and the palms facing out, walk forward until the stretch is felt in the upper chest muscles. Be sure to keep the upper neck muscles disengaged and the shoulders stay down. Once the stretch is felt you can take a small step backwards and lean your weight in to deepen the stretch. This allows gravity to assist.

Shoulder Stretch
From the chest stretch you can move directly into the shoulder stretch. Keeping the same angle, move the arms up so they are close to your ears. Again, keep the upper neck muscles disengaged and focus on your breathing and relaxing. You can also walk back some to let gravity help pull more.

Hip Flexor
With your arms out wide in the chest stretch, standing up straight, reach one foot far behind you (like a lunge). Ground yourself through the heel of the front foot and move your body forward. The stretch will be felt in the front of the thigh behind you. Keep the spine tall and the chest big.

Side-body/ Intercostal/ TFL/ IT Band/ Lat
Standing with the side of your body facing the anchor point, take the outside leg and place it behind you. Take your hands and put them on top of your head keeping the chest open and elbows pointing out. Maintaining this position, drop the hip out away from the anchor point. Avoid any kind of rotation and allow yourself to deepen into the stretch. This stretch will open up the muscles in between your rips, the muscles of your hip, and the IT band that runs the full length of your leg (GREAT FOR RUNNERS!)

Hamstring and Calf
Standing straight, facing the anchor point, place one foot forward with the heel down and toes up. Keeping the spine tall reach the hips back and lower down. You can also point the toe (like a ballet dancer) which will stretch more of the belly of the hamstring. If your hamstrings are fairly flexible, this stretch may not be felt as intensely as the other stretches.

Piriformis
Standing up straight facing the anchor point, pick up one leg and place the ankle on the thigh of the opposite leg. Keeping the spine tall, reach the hips back. The stretch will be felt through the hips of the bent leg. Avoid any kind of forward bend.

Running in Rome with Doug Haldeman

When I started running seriously several years ago, I never dreamed I’d get hooked on marathons – let alone in foreign countries! Yet there I was, lined up at the start of the Rome Marathon on March 20, feeling that strange mix of pre-race excitement and anxiety. To say that this wasn’t on my screen a few years ago is an understatement: I was happy, at first, just to make it the 2.8 miles around Green Lake in a half an hour.

But the more I ran, the more I wanted to run. I’d never been athletic as a younger man, but lo and behold, at almost 60 – discovered that there was an “inner jock” inside the whole time, just waiting for me to give him the chance to run free. At first, I set my sights on a 10-k; then a Half Marathon. And another. Before long, I was wondering: could I actually complete a whole marathon?

The first one (Vancouver) wasn’t pretty, as I followed someone off-course for two miles and ended up running 28 miles, collapsing in a heap at the finish. Since then, however, my times have improved (I won’t even tell you where I started, but I had a PR in Rome of 4:47) due to two things: great training and determination, or “pure stubbornness”.

I credit my first trainer, Jared Weigand, and my first running coach and mentor, Tim Koffler, with sparking my interest, and helping me find a deep belief in myself. I currently work with Joel Mitchell, who has kept me on track (pun intended) to improve my times by improving my conditioning. I like my training regimen; it’s the time I spend with myself, lost in my own thoughts, listening to music, or just enjoying the scenery. Joel has structured it so that I can improve my times and my endurance – very important in long-distance running. Could I do it on my own? Yes, but not with the results I’m getting with a trainer.

Rome was the race of a lifetime a sunny day with big puffy clouds and ideal temperature, and a cooling breeze. The race takes you through a different era in human history every mile. From the Colloseum to the monument honoring the unification of Italy to the Vatican to the touristed areas of the Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain, this race has a beautiful course and gentle, forgiving changes in elevation. The race motto was “start your dreams”. And I say, once you start, keep them going!

Seattle Athletic Club Runners Take on the Mercer Island Half Marathon!

Let the race season begin!!!

Kicking off the 2011 local race season, we had an amazing showing at the Mercer Island 5K, 10K and half Marathon. And a super kick-off it was with over 32 athletes racing, we were a pack to be reckoned with! The sun was shining and so were all of our athletes with some superb performances! Plenty of fantastic races, course PR’s, top placements, and race debuts made it a very memorable day for all!

While there was plenty of pre and post race laughter and kidding around, the MI courses are no joke! The courses have more ups, downs, turns, and bends in them than a roller-coaster! And just when you think that you have hit all the hills and rollers you could, there is that last little steep climb to the finish that is placed there like a bad joke but oh so exhilarating when you crest the top and sprint that 30yds down to the finish line!

Congrats to all of those who raced your performances were amazing and inspiring out there! And of course always a big thanks to the support systems out there cheering them all on! Your cheers of encouragement are the secret weapon that kept all the racers charging up those hills to the finish line! It would’ve been that much more mentally difficult out there without all of that positive energy to keep our athletes moving forward. Your cheers are what helped to give all the racers that boost when we really need it out there!
We look forward to seeing you all out there at the many races to come this season creating more fabulous memories!!!

SAC’s roster of speedy racers – keep up the great work!
½ Marathon:

  • Amanda Camp – 2:00:16 (9:11)
  • Chuck Cathey – 1:43:45 (7:55)
  • Bridget Jones Cressman – 1:35:24 (7:17)
  • Ethan Morris – 1:54:20 (8:44)
  • Patricia Nakamura – 1:51:12 (8:29)
  • Mike Podell – 1:31:25 (6:59)

10K:

  • Chad Baker – 49:51 (8:02)
  • Mark Longman – 52:16 (8:25)
  • Elizabeth Martin – 47:48 (7:42)
  • Kirsten Nesholm – 44:20 (7:08)
  • Lisa Ohge – 51:08 (8:14)
  • Tammi Westphal – 59:14 (9:32)

5K:

  • Teresa Nelson – 22:25 (7:14)

Overtraining: Know When to Say “When”

Most SAC members new to exercise may think that their biggest issue to becoming more fit will be getting the motivation to work out more and become more active in general; but in reality a more common problem is the exact opposite… overtraining. Overtraining is when the volume, load, or repetition causes the negative effects (chronic soreness, joint ailments, etc) of exercise to outweigh the positives. This occurs whenever quality of motion is not the priority.

For some reason most gym goers have a set weight, mileage, rep number, or time that they MUST get to achieve their fitness goals. Focusing on such things and disregarding your quality of motion will eventually catch up to you. No matter if it is weight lifting, running, or yoga, too many movements without competent form will have a negative effect on your musculoskeletal system. Executing any movement without biomechanical efficiency will cause one muscle group, or more, to do way more work that it was designed to. If your back is rounded under a barbell back squat your low back will take the brunt of the movement. If you are not landing softly when you run, the bones and muscles in the feet and ankle will pay the price. This will initially cause some soreness from the overworked muscle. Sore muscles are muscles that are dehydrated and unable to lengthen and contract in a flowing manner. Continuing to stress these sore muscles not only promotes improper mechanics but also invites injury. Whatever calorie burn or muscle pump you achieve in that particular workout will be overshadowed by the damage you do to your body.

The brutal irony is that an over trained individual is bound and determined to improve their overall health and they are in fact speeding up the aging process. One of the first images that come to mind when the word “old” is mentioned is a hunched over, stiff and shuffling figure. Unfortunately age isn’t the only contributing factor to this type of appearance. Faulty movements such as poor running and lifting mechanics can “age” the human body past its years. So all the hours spent in the gym in hopes to slow down the hands of time can actually be speeding them up.

The most disconcerting thing about overtraining is an over trained individual is hardly aware of their condition. Here are some clear cut signs that someone is over trained…

1) Chronic Soreness
This is a huge red flag that your posture and movements leave a lot to be desired. “No pain, no gain” holds absolutely no water. Soreness means you lacked the skill and strength to perform your movements competently. Soreness is expected when you switch activities, increase load, or mileage. This shouldn’t be a constant condition.

2) Decrease in Performance
Are your mile times getting slower? Is your bench press going down in weight? The point of training is to increase performance. If you are not progressing in your activity you are just abusing your body. If your performance is lacking continuing to train in the same manner will only worsen the matter.

3) Lack of Energy
Are you plodding through your runs? Do your arms feel like lead when you try and lift your weights? Do you feel wiped out after each workout? If you answered “yes” to any of the above consider yourself over trained.

So before you throw in the towel and quit the gym, take a deep breath and relax. There is hope. Avoiding overtraining is a rather straight forward process. Just follow these three simple rules to recover from and avoid overtraining.

1) GET COACHED
Every mode of exercise deserves respect. There is a reason there are Yoga and Pilates instructors and weight lifting and running coaches. These professionals don’t get credentials for merely participating in their craft for “x” amount of time. They know each movement they teach inside and out. In addition they are capable of transferring that knowledge to a wide variety of clientele. If you aren’t getting the desired effect from your current activities get professional help. A trainer or instructor can make adjustments to technique and programming that can often dig you out of your current training rut.

2) EARN YOUR INTENSITY
Do not just add more weight to your squat just to lift more weight. Add weight only when the current weight you are lifting can be performed with meticulous form. Don’t just add miles to your running route. Only add mileage when you can finish your current distance with some speed and grace. Exercise isn’t about loading up the weight or running farther; it is about mastering your movements and becoming a more efficient moving human being. If the load your lifting compromises your form or if your feel like you are plodding through you current mileage STOP!!! Only advance when you have earned it with skill, poise and power.

3) REST AND RECOVER
The body needs time to recuperate. Though this amount of time will differ from athlete to athlete it is always a must. If you are feeling tired and lethargic take a day or two off. Take that time to foam roll, stretch, get some down time and relax. A fully recovered body can perform at peak levels. Coming back strong in the gym far outweighs plodding through seven days a week of mediocre workouts.

When it comes to our health, most of us would do anything to keep it. Sometimes this creates a drive to do as much as possible all the time, creating an over-trained body feeling chronic soreness, with decreased performance and energy levels. Take a step back and look at your current exercise regime, if you see any or all of these happening try getting a coached, master your form before increasing the load and make sure you give your body ample time to rest and repair itself. If you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the Seattle Athletic Club’s Fitness staff or contact the Fitness Director Jacob Galloway.

What Exactly is V02 Max?

Many of you may have heard the term “V02 max” thrown around when talking about your cardiorespiratory endurance and aerobic fitness, but I’m sure many of you are all wondering the same thing…What exactly is V02 Max and should I get mine tested?

WHAT IS VO2 MAX?
VO2 max is the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized in one minute during maximal or exhaustive exercise. It is measured as milliliters of oxygen used in one minute per kilogram of body weight. VO2 max is one factor that can determine a person’s capacity to perform sustained exercise and is linked to aerobic endurance. It is generally considered the best fitness assessment tool available to accurately identify the appropriate training intensities specific to your fitness needs/goals.

HOW IS IT TESTED?
Determining your V02 Max involves a graded exercise test on a treadmill. The test begins at a light intensity and gets slightly harder each minute until you reach near maximum exertion. The subject wears a mask and the volume of air expired along with the percentages of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the expired air are measured. From this, we can determine the following:
■ Peak oxygen consumption
■ Calories burned during exercise at different heart rates
■ Aerobic and Anaerobic Thresholds
■ Target intensity zones

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES?
VO2 testing is the best way to measure your cardio fitness and maximize your workout. Each person has a unique optimal training zone. Exercising at different levels of intensity will meet different fitness goals. Some intensities burn more fat, some increase endurance, and some focus on strengthening your heart. As you may know, the calories burned calculated on cardio machines are not known for their accuracy. Some machines are even known to bump up the calorie readout by almost 25%! Furthermore, machines do not always take into consideration all the factors in individual fitness levels and the specificity of the exercise, so relying on these machines to give you an accurate calorie and heart rate count can hold you back from attaining your goals if your not careful. Also, many of the charts you see on exercise equipment displays target heart rate based only on age. V02 max testing measures your precise target heart rate, then calculates your personal target intensity zones and how many calories you burn in each zone. These zones give you the precise heart rates necessary to optimize each level of exercise and maximize your results, so you workout smarter, not harder.

By knowing your V02 Max you will in turn be able to:
■ Burn more fat
■ Maximize your workouts
■ Eliminate training plateaus
■ Decrease fatigue and injury potential

WHO SHOULD TEST THEIR V02 MAX?
Anyone who is looking to lose weight, maximize the potential towards their workouts, improve performance or most importantly, help make fitness goals attainable. Although many individuals would benefit from knowing their V02 max, it is especially valuable for those involved in sports where endurance is an important component in performance, such as:

■ Cycling
■ Rowing
■ Cross-country skiing
■ Swimming
■ Running

With spring approaching quickly and marathon/swimming/cycling season underway, now is the perfect time to maximize your potential and workout smarter, not harder!

Tips to Become a Successful Multisport Athlete: #9 REST

REST
Great athletes know when it is time to REST. It is a balance of work, family, play and train. Athletes forget to REST when training is not calling and good athletes know when it is time to put the legs up . Recovery is also the additional element on swim/bike/run!

If you are interested in beginning training, or you are ready to take your training to the next level, contact Teresa Nelson to begin.