Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New You

It's time. Time to get to the gym and get focused. Time to devote more energy to athletics and your personal health. Time to develop the best version of you. You can do it, but sometimes you'll need help. Check in with one of the Athletic Club of Bend's personal trainers to get that help and take your fitness to the next level.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Today's new stretch technique...FOAM ROLLERING

The foam roller, a large step past traditional stretching, is the perfect tool for lengthening and elongating muscles to limit soreness and tightness through increased blood flow and flexibility.  Its benefits are especially helpful for runners, who often suffer from tight and fatigued muscles.  Instead of simply lengthening the muscle, a foam roller massages muscles intensely, similar to a massage from a massage therapist, but foam rolling can be done daily without the heavy cost.  

ACB Personal Trainer Jessie Singleton says, "It is not a replacement for proper stretching, warming up or cooling down, but when used often and correctly, the foam roller can help runners avoid many sport-related injuries and greatly help release muscle tension in the days or weeks between regular massage appointments."

The iliotibial band, the band that runs on the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee, is one of the parts of the body most susceptible to injury in runners.  Roll the foam roller on the side of the leg, slowly back and forth toward the top of the leg, particularly on the quad, where it meets the IT band. This helps to increase blood flow and circulation, aiding healing and preventing injury.  The foam roller can be used on any part of the body, but be sure to avoid torn muscles.

There are several different types of foam rollers available from the original foam roller to Trigger Point Therapy to the Rumble Roller.  Each roller effectively stretches the muscle out in a similar manner, though the denser the roller or the deeper the ridges on the roller, the more intense the stretch will be.  The participants in Running Club use roller following almost all of the resistance training days and are challenged to use them on their own after individual workouts.  

You probably see a lot of people at the gym grimacing and groaning while using their roller, but the truth is, those people are just really challenging the muscle stretch and experiencing the feedback and it doesn't have to be that hard.  If you are unsure how to get started with a roller regimen, check with one your personal trainer to give you some direction.  Did you know that Trainer Julia Sandvall teaches a foam roller clinic?  Check with the ACB front desk for upcoming dates.
ACB's trainers getting together for some fascia-release time.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ice Baths: From Mountain Streams to Bathtubs

Ice baths or cold water immersion therapy has been shown to be effective to reduce swelling in muscles and reduce muscle soreness following hard, long running workouts.  Workouts of high intensity or hilly sections, especially long downhill sections can produce DOMS or delayed onset of muscle soreness. 

If you are new to ice baths, start with immersing just the lower leg in a bucket of ice water.  You may have to remove the leg after one to two minutes of soaking and return to the ice bath.  Try for a water temperature of between 40-50 degrees (F).  With adaptation you can stay immersed for up to 15 minutes. 

We are lucky here in Central Oregon in the summer with mountain streams that carry snow melted water.  I particularly like to sit down in a mountain stream after a long run and have the cold water swirl around my legs and thighs.  And most of the water coming out of the tap in and around Bend, whether from the Bend Watershed or wells often have temperatures between 40-50 degrees. 

In addition to reducing swelling and muscle soreness, ice baths can help prepare the muscles for second hard effort.  This may be important if you are on a relay team or have back to back races on a weekend.

Enjoy the benefits of cold water immersion this summer as you spend more time in the mountains. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Fluid Replacement: How Much Should I Drink?

Recently, a friend asked how much fluid should be replaced during endurance exercise.  It really depends on several factors which include air temperature, humidity, body weight, and acclimation to exercise in the heat.  Just a 2% drop in body weight, due to sweating and a lack of adequate fluids will cause a drop in performance.  Below is a chart that provides a good starting place based on air temperature and body weight.  
For instance, at 70 degrees (F) a 120 lb person would consume 4 ounces of fluid for every mile run and a 180 lb person would replace 5.9 ounces every mile.  The difference between the two runners is nearly two ounces.  Now, that seems like a small difference however, over the course of one hour that can add up to 16 ounces more for the heavier, 180 lb runner.  Calculating your fluid replacement needs before the workout based on air temperature and your body weight will make you feel and perform better.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Variety in Training

Variety in distance running can provide better training and recovery, help you avoid staleness and keep training fun and fresh.  Variety in training can take many forms including:
·    Using different training intensities
·    Following a hard – easy training pattern
·    Varying locations of workouts

Use different training intensities
The most successful endurance running training programs use a variety of training intensities to elicit different training adaptations. At the most simplest, two training intensities – endurance and high intensity can be used.  A more sophisticated approach uses five different training intensities of recovery, endurance, lactate threshold, VO2max and anaerobic.  Training at different intensities requires the use of heart rate training zones or training speeds to get the most benefit.  Training at the lower intensities of recovery and endurance provides a foundation for peripheral adaptations.  These include the building of microstructures in the muscle cell to increase energy and deliver more oxygenated blood to the muscle.  The higher intensities of lactate threshold, VO2max and anaerobic have more of a focus on central adaptations: an increase in the amount of oxygenated blood leaving the heart.  

Training at the lower intensities helps return the body to homeostasis – the ability of the body to return to equilibrium or balance.  This helps the body recover faster.  Training at the higher intensities results in quick and measurable training effects.  It also can result in injuries and overtraining.  Try to achieve a balance in your training plan with a mixture of low and high intensity workouts.  Try to follow a high intensity interval workout with recovery or easy endurance workout.  Generally, a training week will include:
·    1 overdistance workout of 2-3 hours
·    1-2 high intensity interval workouts
·    1-3 recovery or endurance workouts

Pattern of hard – easy workouts
I call the overdistance and interval workouts the “key” workouts of the week.  They help you meet your fitness and performance goals.  The recovery or endurance workouts add training volume and promote recovery.  The “key” workouts are hard because of the length of the workout (2-3 hours) or the high intensity.  The recovery workouts are easy because of the short duration and low intensity.  Each week should have a pattern of hard – easy workouts.  Follow one of the key workouts with a recovery workout.   

We all have our favorite running routes or locations.  To keep things fun try exploring new trails, routes and training locations.  This keeps the mental freshness in your running. 

From a physiological perspective, the body likes variety.  It will positively respond to a variety of training intensities, a hard – easy training pattern and different locations.  If variety is the spice of life, then variety in distance running provides nourishment to improve fitness and performance. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Have You Got The Right Trail Shoes?

The past few years have seen a lot of controversy when it comes to running shoes. The arrival of the minimalist and barefoot running movements has somewhat tarnished the reputation of traditional shoes and it can be hard to keep tabs on the endless debates about the benefits and risks of both options. Fortunately, there's one thing that's certain when it comes to running and your feet - whether traditional or minimal, road running shoes and trail running shoes are two different things.

So what should you look for in trail running shoes and how should they differ from a traditional pair?

Good Tread – With ever changing varied terrain, you want a shoe with tread that's going to grip the ground, as they will ultimately help you run more efficiently and keep you from slipping on a rock, root or random bump.

Durable Soles – Rougher terrain on a trail means you'll need a pair of shoes that are designed to handle surfaces that are potentially rocky. Unlike shoes designed for road running, trail shoes will have a reinforced sole or a rock shield to reduce wear and improve durability.

Sole Height – Trail shoes will generally sit lower to the ground than a traditional running shoe.  This lowers your center of gravity, giving you more stability on switchbacks or roots across the trail, greatly reducing the risk of spraining an ankle or eating dirt.

Light Weight
 – Trail running is hard enough that you don't need the added challenge of strapping weights to your ankles.  When trying on a pair of shoes, consider how they'll feel when you're fatigued and still running.

Breathability – If you are accustomed to running in the rain, you'll know that this is important in any kind of shoe, but if your trail takes you through any sort of water, shoes won't get waterlogged, suffer any permanent damage by getting wet, or grow mold are a must.

Protection – On the trails you're far more likely to encounter dirt, rocks, and other little bits and pieces that would be happy to sneak into your shoes and drive your feet crazy. A trail shoe should have a fairly rugged exterior that is designed to keep out unwelcome (and potentially painful) visitors.

Age – The last thing to note is the lifespan of a shoe.  Ideally shoes are replaced after each 6-months of wear, and are also alternated with a second pair for days of back-to-back training.  This gives the shoe time to dry and relax from compression, as even when the shoe feels dry and looks good, it may not be and will break down over time.  You may have a shoe for a couple years, but don’t be afraid to get a new pair even when your old kicks still “look” like they’re in good shape.
Summer is a great time to start trail running or explore some new trail territory.  Not only will the trails be cooler than the roads, but it's also likely that there will be fewer crowds than there might be in more popular running spots. Whether you're running trails for the first time or coming back after some time off, you'll want to be sure that you've got the proper equipment, starting from the ground up, with the right pair of shoes.  If you're having any doubts about what style you need, don't be afraid to ask questions.  Come talk to ACB’s Running Club personal trainers.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Staying Hydrated During Summer Runs

Staying Hydrated During Summer Runs
Summer is quickly approaching and with it comes a whole bunch of road races. Many places have summer-fun 5Ks, 10Ks or other distance races in the morning. Races are a great way to kick-off a hot summer day before you indulge in tasty BBQ foods with family and friends. With summer fun comes hot weather, so you need to take your hydration even more seriously. It's easy to get dehydrated quickly in 90-plus-degree heat. To stay hydrated in any race or training run, try these six tips.

Find Out Where Water Stations Will Be Along the Course
Know how far apart the stations are and make sure this layout works for your needs. If not, carry extra water with you. Most races have information including water stations and possibly the course layout on a website. Go online and do your research so you know what to expect before your race.

Supply Your Own Water
Even if you're a total beginner, there is no reason why you can't carry a water bottle with you. You can buy many styles online and in sports stores. Some even come with special grip holders, but a regular water bottle from any grocery store will do just as well in a pinch.

Stash Water Bottles Along Your Route
Many races don't have a problem with you placing water bottles strategically along the race route or having someone hand you a new bottle as you run. If you're not sure whether this is allowed in your race, check with the race director beforehand. As long as the bottles contain water or a sports drink, it shouldn't be an issue. This method works especially well on long training runs. You just need to do some prep work before you head out.

Use a Hydration Belt
A hydration belt is a thin belt that wraps around your waist and holds one or more water bottles. While you're running (or biking), you simply remove the bottle from its holder, take a drink, and then put it back for later. There are many styles out there, so look around for one that works best for you.

Get Yourself a Water Pack
A water pack is essentially a backpack that you fill with water and wear on your back for the entire run. Each pack has a straw that allows you to sip water when you need it. At the beginning of the run, they obviously weigh more than a water bottle, but as you continue drinking, that weight becomes lighter. Many runners report that the packs are very comfortable and the added weight does not bother them.

Add a Little Salt to Your Water
When it's really hot and humid outside, you sweat more—and with that sweat you lose salt. If you are running, especially for over an hour, think about adding just a dash of salt to your water. You don't need to add a lot of salt, but a pinch can help to stave off dehydration. If you use sports drinks, they will have all the salt you need so don't add any to your drink. One last thing to note about hydration: While you need to drink water during your race or training runs, it's just as important to drink 8 oz. of water 30 to 60 minutes before and also in the few days prior to your run. If you start the run dehydrated, it will be almost impossible to make up for that mistake. If you are a runner, then water is your friend. If you're running in hot weather, then water needs to be your best friend.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Getting the Most Out Of Your Stretching

The best way to prepare for vigorous running such as high intensity intervals or plyometrics is to warm-up with 10-15 minutes of easy running.  Then do 6-10 dynamic stretching exercises.  A static stretch will actually reduce the amount of force a muscle can generate.  Be sure to move the muscles through a range of motion to properly prepare for the activity.  The warm-up increases blood flow and warms the muscles so they can move more easily and efficiently.  A good warm-up has been shown to decrease injury rate. 

A good warm down includes a minimum of 10-15 minutes of easy running and static stretching – slow sustained stretching.  Yoga, Pilates and foam rolling are all excellent post running activities.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fad or new fave? The Elliptigo...

Even ultramarathoners need a break from pounding the pavement and when it comes to cross-training, runners are hopping on the Elliptigo, an innovative combination of the elliptical and bicycle. Just like the super popular (and normally indoor) elliptical machine, you pump your legs in a circular motion, but doing so propels the bike forward. The low-impact exercise has become a favorite of 2008 Olympic marathoner Magdalena Lewy Boulet, track superstar Lauren Fleshman, and a host of other endurance athletes. Though with a price tag range of $2,000 to $3,499, it may take a while for Elliptigos to wheel into the mainstream fitness market.  We recently spotted a few in West Bend.  Have you seen any in action?