INJURY PREVENTION ADVICE FROM NIKE+RUN CLUB
This is a brief piece that reminds runners which situation leads to many injuries, how to recognize a problem, and how to avoid those problems.
"The most common issue among runners is overuse injuries, which are caused by too much loading on a tissue (think 180 foot strikes per minute at loads of 3 to 5 times your body weight with each foot strike) and too little recovery," says Nike Performance Council Member David McHenry, PT, DPT, lead therapist and strength coach for the Nike Oregon Project, who authored the piece. This advice is worth hearing again and again. I've experienced 2 of the 4 injuries mentioned that, of course, were brought on by overuse.
Except for a longer run at week's end, there isn't much different in the plan for last week. Feel your confidence grow, knowing you are running a distance longer than the 10k race in which you will compete next month. GO FOR IT!
BRIAN METZLER PROVIDES AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF INFORMATION about running shoes, including historical tidbits, and shoe manufacturers in an article in Competitor.com. My favorite is in number 4:
"ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano which translates as 'a healthy soul in a healthy body.' ” Amaze, or bore, your friends with the knowledge gained from reading it.
THERE ARE MANY MORE THAN 20 FACTS!
AS YOU HAVE FIGURED OUT BY NOW, not every workout is for everyone. The same goes for high intensity interval training (HIIT). It can be incorporated into runs, cycling sessions, and floor exercises. Not all will be “do-able” and not all will be enjoyable enough to make a permanent part of your exercise life. This item in Active.com describes a HIIT routine that includes bodyweight (no extra weights used) floor exercises which separately have been prescribed for me at various times, but not all together in one session with the same specific timing requirements. It looks “do-able” to me, but possibly cannot be performed initially at the required pace, or with as many repetitions, or with as much movement.
I’ll try tailoring it to my abilities and level of fitness. That’s one thing I’ve learned: rarely, if ever, can all the exercises in a routine be performed by me as directed for it’s prescribed duration. The first time attempted I almost always must make it easier or stop short of completion. BUT IF mechanically I can confidently perform at least a few repetitions of each move, and IF the moves have previously been incorporated into a routine given by a physical therapist or trainer who tested my abilities, I feel fairly secure it is “safe” for me and will help my running. If I think I can master the exercise relatively quickly I am more likely to enjoy it and work it into a training schedule (not every day but once a week or month) to add variety.
This routine employs the Tabata method, explained in another article in Active.com, which also offers a few other routines besides the 30-minute bodyweight session. I had not heard of this method before. The medical literature contains studies that examined its benefits. One of the most recent, IN THE JOURNAL OF SPORT SCIENCE AND MEDICINE, by researchers C. Foster and C.V. Farland, et al, from University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, compared the effects of two different interval protocols with continuous exercise on aerobic and anaerobic capability. “The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training vs Steady State Training on Aerobic and Anaerobic Capacity”. In this study 55 “untrained college-aged subjects were randomly assigned to three training groups (3x weekly). “ Nineteen students exercised for 20 MINUTES (moderate intensity, steady state), 21 students completed a Tabata workout (very high intensity, brief intervals) for 4 MINUTES, and 15 performed a Meyer workout (moderate intensity, brief intervals) for 20 MINUTES. All exercised on a cycle ergometer with the pedaling rate controlled by a metronome and all were supervised one-on-one by a researcher.
The reason for the study was to test whether moderate intensity continuous exercise or interval exercise, at very high intensity and at moderate intensity would result in the same improvements in aerobic and anaerobic capacity in people who were NOT trained (simplifies the situation because trained individuals will have variable levels of advanced fitness that might lead to improved test results not related to the type of exercise). HIIT seems to hold promise because the relatively shorter duration of workouts may encourage people to exercise (for example 10-20 minutes versus 60 minutes of continuous exercise) because the results in terms of building fitness could be equal to the longer duration traditional routines. The study also sought to measure how enjoyable the different protocols were over the long-haul, “because even if exercise programs can be constructed in a very effective and time efficient format, if they are not perceived as enjoyable there is little likelihood that the program will be sustained for long enough to achieve reasonable health and fitness outcomes.”
Results: all groups improved significantly in aerobic and anaerobic capacity, but there was no evidence that one group improved significantly more than the others. A loss of exercise enjoyment was greatest in the high intensity group, but there was progressive loss of enjoyment in all groups over time.
Conclusion is best presented in the authors’ words: “in this population of relatively untrained but healthy young adults, our results suggest no particular advantage for very high intensity training models. The observation that the Tabata protocol was less enjoyable is not surprising” (It’s so physically challenging). “The progressive loss of enjoyment across all the protocols suggests that perhaps variety in the type of exercise is as important as the type of exercise per se. Particularly considering that the health benefits of exercise have to be viewed in the context of the likelihood that exercise is continued for several years, not just the weeks of a controlled study. Perhaps, in our quest to find the ‘perfect exercise’ we have missed the more important issue of how to make exercise enjoyable enough to be continued long term.”
So every person must find the ENJOYABLE training plan components that will help them persevere in the achievement of PERSONAL fitness goals. I know some people who THRIVE on a very, very challenging workout; their ability to perform it when others cannot is their best MOTIVATION TO KEEP doing it. In this study the untrained students might not have been as “geeked” about improving their fitness, and did not “enjoy” punishing themselves as much as trained fitness buffs might have!!!
The real conclusion for me is that there are many ways to get into and stay in shape, and new ones always to be discovered. Our fitness needs change over time. Best to try a new routine every so often and see if it will be a perfect fit. It’s also fun to recycle oldie-but-goodie routines. Don’t give up, is the message, and ENJOY!
BROKEN WINDOWS THEORY
There’s a controversial theory in criminology about neighborhood police patrols and neighborhood safety called the “Broken Windows Theory”. It was introduced in a 1982 Atlantic Monthly article and expounded upon in a subsequent book.
I became aware of the existence of this theory only late last fall as I sat in a waiting room, reading a piece in a popular magazine (regretfully I couldn't recall the source so can't find it to give credit where it's due). This author was making a point that the theory might generally be applied to marriage. It's interpretation, in this author's and others' views, is that where huge problems exist the making of small repairs can begin to reverse what seems to be insurmountable damage and prevent additional damage.
Wikipedia summarizes, correctly or incorrectly (not being an expert I cannot judge), that the Broken Windows Theory’s authors addressed “crime and strategies to contain or eliminate crime from urban neighborhoods.” They offered a “successful strategy for preventing vandalism” such as the breaking of windows, which blighted the neighborhood and encouraged additional acts of vandalism. In a nutshell, this interpretation of the theory says that if neighborhood problems were recognized early and repairs made when they were small, in a short period of time from which they were noticed, there would be less tendency by vandals to break more windows or damage other structures. Similarly, by cleaning the sidewalk every day, there would be a decreased tendency for litter to accumulate or it would accumulate at a lower rate. Such problems, the theory proposed, would be “less likely to escalate and thus "respectable" residents “ would not “flee the neighborhood” leaving it to undergo further degradation by individuals not invested in it as a place to call home.
The PURPOSE of my post is NOT to argue the merits of a SOCIOLOGICAL theory! The author writing the article I was reading about marriage was using it to offer advice to couples: if your situation seems hopeless, try to repair one small “broken window” at a time before fleeing from it with a divorce. My reason for bringing this theory to RUNNERS’ attention is that I think it could apply to fitness and health!
Sometimes we feel our body conditioning is going downhill, that we have let outside forces, like easy access to fast food, jobs that make us sit all day, weather that prevents enjoying the outdoors, vandalize our body “neighborhood” in small ways. We aren’t encouraged to police it very well either when others around us are also neglectful. The more out of shape we become, the more daunting the task seems to be to reverse the trend.
If there seem to be too many things to fix in your fitness life, WHY NOT START BY REPAIRING ONE SMALL “BROKEN WINDOW”? Chose a single fitness issue to address and work to improve in that ONE way. It might be to increase single-leg balance, or flexibility, or gluteus muscle strength. Set a pedometer goal to take 10,000 steps each day. What about standing up from sitting in a desk chair once an hour (an appropriate goal for me when writing these posts) or getting outdoors for 10 minutes every lunchtime? As you improve one aspect of your physical self you might be encouraged to try improving another until you achieve a larger fitness goal. And if a window breaks, for whatever reason, try to get back on track and fix it quickly, before that damage accumulates!
Happy 2nd Anniversary EarnedRuns! This past weekend marked the official second full year of operation of EarnedRuns. Onward into our 3rd year! This is an opportunity to explain the principle behind the photos posted on Facebook and the BLOG page.
Many running-related articles and information pages of other businesses and online blogs will feature images of people running or exercising, their legs, or shoes. Early on in the EarnedRuns website construction phase, running shoes and racing bibs were the only subjects of pictures because those were the only objects i could find that were related to running. Purchasing photos from stock galleries would have been expensive, and the pictures weren't always very interesting or of good quality. It was difficult to show people running...those few I asked weren't excited about the prospect; they did not consider themselves to be fitness models. However, It was soon becoming apparent that images added interest and attracted attention to online information, so many more were needed, regularly. The only "subjects" available to me were scenes from my runs.
Since I had a cell phone with me, it was natural to stop and snap a photo when a pretty scene presented itself. Mostly I run early or later in the day, and the light is soft and beautiful at these times, especially just before or after sunrise/sunset. When the sun is not high overhead it adds a golden glow. When there's no sun, colors can look richer, so pictures of colorful decorations or architectural features can be improved by overcast skies. People aren't included in the photos because using their images would require obtaining formal permission. Asking would be somewhat weird for me to do and it would interrupt my runs, ugh!
I realized, as the need to take pictures "developed" (pun intended), that no matter what the location of my run, whether i was in a neighborhood or in a park, on vacation in the sunshine, or on a business trip to the city, there were so many interesting sights that the task of finding and shooting pictures was easy. Perhaps by seeing my photos, runners will begin to better appreciate the possibly unrecognized beauty in their runs. Your scenery photos can be posted as comments on Facebook; and in a gallery on the BLOG, if your wish to share. Please send!
I WAS RESEARCHING A TOPIC IN THE MEDICAL LITERATURE for a future post and all the papers referred to "resistance exercise (RE)". To be sure I was using the term correctly I double-checked the definition and found this helpful review of RE. It was a great reminder that "strength" exercise or training is more scientifically called "resistance" exercise or training.
The article explains: "Resistance training is any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance with the expectation of increases in strength, tone, mass, and/or endurance. The external resistance can be dumbbells, rubber exercise tubing, your own body weight, bricks, bottles of water, or any other object that causes the muscles to contract."
This piece is an easy-to-understand, simplified summary of, and how to accomplish, strength training. The best way to read it, in my opinion, is to open the "print" option and cut and paste the article into a document. There's quite a bit of advertising surrounding the content, which makes it very slow to read. PLUS you can save the document for reading later.
Embedded in the piece (bottom of page 1) is a very very slow slide show demonstrating a progressive 30 minute workout routine that provides RE (beginner to slightly more advanced). It's also a summary of some of the most basic strength training exercises out there. Maybe it's my computer that's slow. More memory is on the way.
THE RESULTS OF RESEARCH conducted by scientists at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore MD and the Boston Medical Center were recently published in the medical journal Pediatrics ("The Association of maternal Obesity and Diabetes with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities" by Li X, MD Fallin, et al) .
The study showed that the combination of both obesity and diabetes in women prior to pregnancy was associated with greater risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the children born to these mothers “than either obesity or diabetes alone, in particular when ASD “ was accompanied by an additional diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (ID).
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH RUNNING? Many of us have difficulty when it comes to losing weight. However, as discussed in an earlier post (RUNNING AND PREDIABETES; February 1, 2016), most can increase our activity level to a degree that we help our bodies to decrease insulin resistance, the physiological state that leads to pre-diabetes and potentially diabetes. Prior to pregnancy, steps can be taken to minimize the effect obesity has on our ability to process blood sugar. Moderate consistent levels of exercise, which can be achieved with a running or walking training program, may POSSIBLY give women the chance to decrease their odds of developing diabetes in pregnancy.
See the article in Science Explorer for more discussion.
More details on the study:
“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental disorder characterized by severe deficits in socialization, communication, and repetitive or unusual behaviors, affecting 1 in 68 US children”, the study states. Over about the same time period in the United States, from the 1960’s onward, the authors say, the “prevalence of ASD has dramatically increased” and obesity and diabetes have risen to “epidemic levels”. Before this study, no attempt had been made to “disentagle” the effect of the two conditions present in pregnant women, which often occur together, on the development of ASD although each has been linked to ASD.
The enrolled mother and child pairs were selected mostly from a poor, urban population with other well-recognized risk factors for ASD. Although the researchers made adjustments to their analyses to minimize possible biasing effects of this selection, they cautioned that other remaining factors, which could not be adjusted for such as genetic and other unknown risks, might still exist. As a result, they said the findings could not be generalized to be true in populations with “different social, demographic, and clinical characteristics”. The scientists also said the findings can mean that the underlying causes of ASD with ID may be different from ASD without ID.
It is possible, the researchers say, that poorly controlled or unrecognized high blood sugar levels in pregnant women, as can occur with pre-pregnancy and gestational diabetes during a early critical period in brain development, contributed to the increased risk of ASD in their children.
According to the authors, growing evidence points to inflammation as a possible culprit underlying the development of ASD. Obesity and diabetes cause an increase in the amount of inflammation-promoting substances in the blood of pregnant women (shown in rat models to lead to fetal brain inflammation) and in intrauterine tissues, respectively, both of which are implicated in the development of ASD. In diabetes the mother’s elevated blood sugar also causes insulin levels to increase in the fetus, leading to a greater consumption of oxygen by fetal body tissues and a chronic state of low tissue oxygen (hypoxia). High maternal blood sugar is also associated with an increased production of tissue-damaging “stress” molecules called free radicals. Both hypoxia and tissue stress are implicated as risk factors for ASD. WHAT THIS BOILS DOWN TO IS THAT the developing fetal brain can suffer “multiple hits” in the presence of combined obesity and diabetes, “conferring an even higher risk of ASD in the offspring than a single condition”.
It's not uncommon for people to want to get in shape for future big events in their lives. Some events we cannot easily predict far in advance. Start getting ready for ANY big event NOW by finding and safely following a running training program so that you can check that huge "to-do" task off the list and begin any new life experience in a more fit body!
THIS WEEK YOUR MILEAGE IS INCREASING yet again, to the point where you may be spending more than an hour running a full six miles. It is more important than ever to warm up with the flexibility routine (MRYTLs) and dynamic stretches before running. Even though foam rolling is scheduled on Fridays, this routine can be performed ANYTIME. Before, after, or before and after a long run.
I like to roll my piriformis muscle (butt on the roller), and calf and hamstring extensor muscles (back of legs and thighs on roller) before a run because I am typically tight in these areas. Afterwards I especially like to do my back and shoulders, and quadriceps and IT Band (roll on front and sides of thighs). The physical therapist who introduced me to this technique instructed me to roll initially over a large area 5-9 times, then when I found a specific area that was tender, roll about 15 more times. This may seem like self-torture. But ultimately, after rolling a sufficient number of sessions, those areas cease to be painful. Now I rarely can find a spot that causes me to catch my breath when I roll over it.
GOOD LUCK, you are on the way to reaching your goal of running a 10K race!!!
JACKIE VELING WROTE A TOTALLY GREAT article (“list-icle” actually), “The 10 Commandments of Race Day” in an ACTIVE.com post. There are several more weeks to train before you will run a St. Patrick’s Day race. However, some of the practical advice she provides requires you to think ahead about sizing up the course, what to wear, drink/eat, how to approach the race, and pace yourself. I would save this article for reference, especially if you are relatively new to competing. It’s VERY GOOD. Thank you Jackie!
LAST WEEK ONE OF THE BLOG POSTS featured an an article that recommended 3 different indoor treadmill workouts. I was eager to try the “hill climb” routine: start with an easy 1-3 mile run, then on the treadmill with the grade increased to 6-8%, run a half mile at 10K speed and follow with easy 3-4 minute run. Repeat 6-8 times. Finish with 1-3 mile easy run.
My 10K speed is about 10minute/mile. Some of you may be much faster, others slower; don’t fret over numbers. They are what they are. It’s an often-repeated saying that “a 12 minute mile is just as far as a 6 minute mile”.
In this fitness center (I was visiting on vacation) the treadmill incline could be increased from Number 0 to 15, at .5 increments. There was no indication on the machine of the exact percent incline that corresponded to each .5 increase (but most treadmills maximum is a 15% incline, so likely it was .5%).
I started at “6” incline and set the speed at “5.5” (I presumed this was 5.5 miles/hour, “6” would have been 10 minutes/mile), to ease into the workout. However, I ran the most of it at a “3” incline and “5.5” speed, only performed 4 repeats, and walked most of the 2 mile cool-down. The first concern of any and every workout for me is safety. I do not wish to injure myself such that I cannot run at all for while. This routine seemed like it might be too much for my degree of fitness. I needed to start at a lower effort level.
With this recent experience in mind, I researched the topic of treadmill hill climb repeats, and found one by Matt Fitzgerald in Competitor.com that considers WALKING on a STEEP INCLINE to be a safe, low-impact alternative to running. His caveat is to “ease into it and avoid switching over to it abruptly” especially if you plan to use it as an alternative workout when you are injured”. The article recommends incorporating this uphill walking workout once a week while NOT INJURED, so that you can continue to do it if or WHEN AN INJURY OCCURS, and “your body is already adapted to” it and “you transition to daily walking” instead of running.
Check out the full article for the specifics of the workout, which consists of walking on the treadmill at a maximum incline, starting at a low speed and increasing to the highest while still walking (not running). I’ll try this too as it seems like a brilliant way to rescue a training plan in the case of injury. I’ll also continue to ease into the hill climber running routine.
What are your experiences with incline treadmill workouts?
NIKE+RUN CLUB CORE STABILITY EXERCISES
To increase your core strength and stability try the 3 exercises described in the link below. They are not technically difficult. The PHOTO IMAGE SHOWN when the link opens is NOT part of the routine, it IS A WAY TO increase the difficulty of one exercise, and is probably part of a workout offered for purchase. MEN would benefit too; I have similar exercises recommended to me by a male trainer in which men are performing the moves.
THE MAIN PAGE OF THE WEBSITE has suggestions on how to use bibs as a solo runner (see below). This message has been partly demonstrated, hopefully, by how I have used them. My most recent "SAINTS DAYS" 5K was run for training purposes, in preparation for a longer race, a half marathon in mid-April. This half marathon was to be an organized race that is an annual celebration of the signing of TITLE IX legislation, which has been so important to women's student sports teams since the 1970's. For the third year in succession I have not been able to run this race; one year due to injury, and the past two years because of conflicts with big family events (wedding-related). Being on track with my half marathon training, I don't want to "waste" the effort. So I'll use my bib and run a personal race. I'll post a bit more later about what I have planned for this Monday, April 18 race; maybe some can guess. I hope to keep myself in half marathon shape this summer so that an organized fall race will be possible (the Boston Half?).
One use that's not been demonstrated, fortunately, is "return-to-competition"! Actually you don't need to be injured to use it for this purpose. You can be returning to competition after a long break, for a number of reasons, like not wanting to race. Former high school and college athletes sometimes shun competition after graduation, mentally and emotionally exhausted from eating/sleeping/breathing their sport for years.
One of the benefits of using an EarnedRuns bib to re-establish a running career is that a former runner can begin to replace not-so-pleasant memories, especially of disappointing performances, with experiences of success and accomplishment. Run one personal race this year. Repeat the event next year. Now you have an annual race that you can look forward to running each year. It's likely that before that first year is over you will have signed up for at least one organized race too, and have fallen in love again with your sport.
RESULTS OF US OLYMPIC MARATHON TEAM TRIALS IN Los Angeles, for those who did not watch the race. I wish I could have attended; it would have been fun to visit the places I lived in that huge metropolis and enjoy the HEAT (not so much fun for these runners though) and the excitement of the Trials.
CONGRATULATIONS TO the
Top 3 Women Finishers:
1. Amy Cragg (age 32), 2. Desiree Linden (32), 3. Shalane Flanagan (34)
Top 3 Men Finishers:
1. Galen Rupp (age 29), 2. Meb Keflezighi (40), 3. Jared Ward (27)
These three finishers in each field will compete for the U.S. in the Rio de Janeiro Games. According to USA Track & Field, 168 men and 202 women had planned to start the Trials in LA.
Many more details are available from the official site, a Runner's World article, and a photo gallery from Competitor.com (see links below). Each has other links to help you get all the details you desire.
A related Competitor. com article indicates there was $600,000 in prize money given to the top 10 place finishers, split equally between the men and women. $80,000 was awarded for 1st place, $65,000 for 2nd place, and $55,000 for third place.
The US Olympic Track & Field Trials will be held July 1-10, 2016 in Eugene OR, a place that's considered hallowed ground by many competitive runners.
I RAN MY “SAINTS DAYS “ St. Valentines Day 5K this morning while on vacation. Discussed in an earlier post about running shorter races (January 5; Your Best Year of Training #7 RACE MORE) as a training strategy, I ran it not for a personal record (PR) but as part of a training plan. The plan also includes a “SAINTS DAYS” 10K on or near St Patrick’s Day, March 17, and a half marathon on April 18 (this was to be a 5K but now that I’m training, it’s a half).
Well it wasn’t a record, but it wasn’t bad either. The day before had been my long endurance run day. The two previous days had each included 24,000+steps taken as part of our vacation sightseeing and fun. My legs were not very rested, but I knew I could muster the effort to cover 3.11 miles in beautiful, sunny, cool-ish weather on dry roads. YES, I thought of skipping it. But knowing I would have a sense of accomplishment the rest of the day instead of a feeling of not being fully committed to my goal, it was a no-brainer to get out early and do it. Not running for a PR was a nod to the importance of family time. NO, no one ran it with me. YES, I ran it with my Earned Runs bib, on a course I chose, at a time convenient for my life. NO, it’s NOT A VIRTUAL RACE. According to Merriam -Webster .com dictionary, the simple definition of virtual is: very close to being something without actually being it; or existing or occurring on computers or on the Internet.
I hope you all experienced a sense of accomplishment in your training, and perhaps set a PR race this weekend.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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