Thursday, January 5, 2017

In the Long Run What to do before, during, and after your biggest workout of the week.

If you think of your body as an engine, then a great way to add horsepower is with a good, long run a continuous effort ranging from 90 minutes to 3.5 hours in duration, depending on your experience and race goals. By going long, you increase aerobic capacity by building muscle enzymes, capillaries that deliver blood to muscles, and mitochondria (which help power cells). Spending more time on your feet also strengthens the musculoskeletal system. And as even nonphysiologists know, you build mental toughness by pushing your body through those times it would prefer to wave a white flag.
Long runs have served as a staple in training programs for more than a half-century. And with so many benefits, coaches recommend them even for runners who don't have a race on the calendar. For those who do, these workouts prime your body to perform optimally on race morning, so start them around the same time that your event starts. Here's a minute-by-minute guide to successfully going long.

Two Hours Before:

Eat a meal that consists of .5 to 1 gram of carbohydrate for every pound of body weight, "In other words, if you're 150 pounds, aim to consume 75 to 150 grams of carbs"--300 to 600 calories. Stay light on protein, fiber, and fat, which take longer to digest and don't fuel muscles as efficiently. Consume 17 to 20 ounces of water or sports drink dehydration has been clinically shown to derail performance.
30 Minutes Before:

This is checklist time. BodyGlide? Energy gels? Sunscreen? "But don't do too much, You have a big effort coming, so stay relaxed.
Go Time:

The key thing with long runs is to start slowly, No matter how eager you are to get rolling, rein in your pace during the early miles. Recommends the old talk test: You should be able to chat away with your training partner. If you can only utter a sentence before you gasp for breath, you're going too fast. And that will spell trouble for the second half of your run, which, is where all the great benefits happen...

45 Minutes in:

Begin to refuel. Take in gels and fluids at least every three-quarters of an hour during your run. By fueling early, you are less likely to deplete your stores. And if you take in bits of fuel at a time and chase with water, you'll absorb it better and are less likely to have GI distress.
15 Minutes to Finish:

Tough it out. As you get toward the end of the run, the fatigue curve ramps up. You have to increase your focus and intensity to maintain the same pace. But keeping your pace constant, or even picking it up a bit, is crucial to reaping maximal gains. Recommends using mantras for those soul-searching moments.
You'll want to collapse on the couch. Don't. You should immediately start taking in fluids. Rehydration comes in many forms: water, sports recovery drinks, smoothies, even chocolate milk. Within 30 minutes,Recommends also suggests carbs for glycogen replacement and boosting the immune system, plus protein to aid in muscle repair. How those carbs and proteins come--whether in drinks, solid food, or a mix of both--is a matter of individual preference and depends on what your stomach is able to handle.

Within One Hour Postrun:

Stay active. Find a routine that helps you avoid the onset of soreness and tightening that can follow a hard effort, whether that's a session of active stretching or a walk around the block with your dog.has found that subjects who used foam rollers on their leg muscles following workouts experienced less soreness and recovered faster than those who didn't. The rolling would help runners recover from a long-distance run.Recommends performing a full lower-body foam roll, including your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and IT bands.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Nutrition and Pre/Post Run Meals

Nutrition and Pre/Post Run Meals 
The 3 key components for runners:
            1) Training
            2) Rest/recovery
            3) Nutrition and Hydration

Nutrition Tips #1:
            Hydration: before, during and after the run/race!!
            Fueling and electrolyte replacement
            Goal --> optimal performance and minimize GI distress
                        Pre-race: 1 week prior the event!!
                        During: carbs and rehydration for sustained fuel
                        Post-race: up to 36 hours post-event!!!
                        rehydration, glycogen/protein

Pre-race meal
To optimize glucose availability and glycogen stores

            1) Carb rich meal/snack before bedtime
            2) Race day: carb rich/some protein
            3) Well tolerated

Carbohydrate source of FUEL/ENERGY!!
            Simple carb: sugar fast/short acting (better during the race)
            Complex carb: starch slow/longer acting (before/after the race)
Avoid high fiber and high fat!!
        High fat foods: make digestion slower and heavier
       High fiber foods: will attract water and promote bowel movements
       Caffeine: although ergogenic aid (enhances athletic performance), it is a diuretic (will induce urination/risk of dehydration) and can promote bowel movements

1) Banana with peanut or almond butter
2) Toast/bagel with peanut or almond butter
3) Oatmeal c pieces of banana/berries
4) Yogurt (greek) with fruit

Post-race meal
  To replenish glycogen stores and facilitate muscle repair!!

              Mostly carb/some protein
              Begin within 30 minutes after race
              Follow with a high carb meal within 2 hours
       Carbs to replenish depleted energy
       Protein to rebuild muscles
       Continue hydration!!!!



Don’t miss the next GoRun / Nutrition Tips!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hydration and Fueling

Hydration and Fueling
Hydration, besides proper nutrition, has a very important role in athletic performance. How much to drink? Plain water or sports drinks??
What about fueling? Sports drinks or sports gels or energy bars or food??

Everybody is different!! It’s personal and requires trial/error!!

Hydration: look at your urine!
                 Light-yellow: ok
                 Very clear: over-hydration 
                 Intense-yellow: dehydration
Hydration prior to exercise:

        1) always hydrate, not just on the day you are running
        2) drink ~16 oz water at bedtime the night before the long run/race
        3) drink ~16-24 oz fluid (water or sports drink) 2-3 hrs before the long run/race

               if no urine or if urine is dark before the race drink again!!! 

Hydration during exercise:

    1) aim for 1:1 fluid replacement to fluid loss ratio
              check your pre- and post-exercise body weight
              (the difference is fluid loss: it needs to be replaced!)
             *some authors suggest to replace fluids slightly more than fluid lost

             or may consider: 8-16 oz/hr
            (more for faster/heavier athletes and hot/humid conditions) * some authors             suggest to drink 4-8 oz every 15-20 minutes
       o drink water or rinse your mouth or pour it on your head!!
       o can alternate drinking water and sports drink at every station
    2) for long runs (more than 60 minutes) need hydration/fuel/lytes:
           sports drinks (source of hydration/energy/lytes) with:
       o ~110-175 mg of sodium/8 oz
                        Salt tablets are unnecessary!!!!
       o ~20-50 mg of potassium/8 oz
       o ~30-60 g rapidly absorbed carb/hr to reduce fatigue or have a sports                    gel (source of energy/lytes)
       o same guidelines than sports drinks
       o always take 1 gel with water (at least ~8 oz water)!!
                     NEVER ALONE!!
                     NEVER WITH SPORTS DRINK!! o take 1 gel every ~45-60                                        minutes
       o after the second half of the long run:
                     may take 1⁄4 or 1⁄2 gel every 20 minutes to avoid stomach issues

Hydration post exercise:
    1) water, carbs and lytes
          usual meals/snacks and water should be adequate
    2) or sports drinks if no access to food after the long run




Don’t miss the next GoRun / Nutrition Tips!! 


BY: Maria “Lupita” Townsend, MS,RD,LDN,CSO,CNSC

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Science of Recovery Which recovery techniques work best and why.

Figuring out whether a recovery aid really works is trickier than you'd think. After all, how do you measure the subtle difference between feeling "good" and "just a little off" the day after a big workout? Here's what scientists have come up with so far.

Hard running triggers a cascade of "reactive oxygen species" that cause oxidative damage to your cells. Antioxidants can neutralize some of this damage, which is why some studies have found that dosing up on vitamin C in the weeks before and after a marathon can boost immune function. A caveat: Reactive oxygen species also play a key role in triggering repairs and adaptation after exercise, and some studies have found that prolonged antioxidant use can delay muscle recovery and interfere with fitness gains. For this reason, it may be best to limit antioxidant use to a few weeks at a time, during periods of particularly heavy training or racing.
Let's clear this up to start--lactic acid doesn't cause muscle soreness. Cooling down after a workout will boost your mileage, but it won't "undamage" your muscles or protect them from lactate. A Norwegian study published in 2012 found that a 20-minute warm-up was more effective than a 20-minute cool-down for reducing next-day soreness. The message: When it comes to muscle damage, prevention is better than cure.


Every few months, a new study proclaims that ice baths do or don't work. In 2012, researchers from the English Institute of Sport combined the results of 14 of the best studies to get a more complete picture. The measurements of muscle damage and strength recovery were inconsistent, but ice baths made athletes feel better. One explanation for the results is that everyone has different ice-bath recipes. The evidence suggests that contrast baths, alternating hot and cold every minute or two, aren't as effective as sustained cold baths. Shona Halson, the head of performance recovery at the Australian Institute of Sport, suggests 10 minutes at below 60 degrees Fahrenheit as a sufficiently long and cold (but not too painful) dose.

If massage wasn't helpful, would you really want to know? Fortunately, the news is good. To get around the placebo problem, researchers at Ohio State University have been putting rabbits in a machine that administers "massage-like compressive loading." They find that the massage reduces swelling and accelerates the return of strength after strenuous bunny exercises--and this effect is greatest if the massage is administered soon after the exercise rather than waiting a few days. Other (human) studies using muscle biopsies have found that massage reduces inflammatory markers in the muscle, possibly in response to internal sensors that detect when cells are being physically pushed and prodded. Book your massage secure in the knowledge that it's a training aid, not a frivolous indulgence.


If ice water is good, then swirling nitrogen vapor at minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit must be even better. Er . . . right? The idea is that your blood vessels constrict in response to the cold, combating inflammation and muscle pain. From the few studies that have tested cryosaunas, it's clear that the blast of cold provokes a physiological response from your body. Whether this response is any better than an ice bath (or better than nothing, for that matter) remains to be seen.

Like ice baths, compression garments suffer from a profusion of conflicting studies searching for different effects. So far there's little evidence that wearing them while you run will make you faster, but the case for accelerated recovery is more encouraging. While no one has directly tested the effects of wearing compression socks during or after a Sunday long run, evidence from other sports suggests that compression really does reduce next-day soreness and accelerate strength recovery. The key: starting the compression as soon as possible after exercise. Get the socks on as soon as you get out of the shower, and keep them on for an hour or so.

The list of products on the market is long, and many of them are plausible, even if they lack independent testing. Be open to new ideas, and experiment to find what works for you. But remember that no recovery aid yet invented is capable of substituting for the original post-workout miracle recovery technique: rest..

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Up with the lark or out with the night owls: what’s the best time of day to run? Martin Yelling explains

“Oh no, I never run in the morning.” How many times do we hear runners utter these words? I do sympathise. If I roll out of bed for my morning run before 7am, I don’t get into my rhythm before I’m back home. On the other hand, a few hours and a cup of coffee later, I’m positively raring to go.
But is this just talk or is there ‘good’ time of day to run? Are there segments of a day when it’s best to train? And can you improve your ability to do something by selecting the right time of day to do it?
Much of it comes down to your circadian rhythm – your body’s natural clock that determines your sleeping and waking. This is an internal clock that governs physical biology and physiological response: it tells us when to wake and when to feel sleepy.
The circadian body clock suggests we’re at our most alert at 10am; that we have our best co-ordination at 2:30pm; that we have our fastest reaction time at 3:30pm; and that we have our greatest cardiovascular efficiency and muscle strength at 5pm. This would suggest that there are, indeed, optimum times to run.
Of course, you may not be able to train at the optimum time due to work, family and other commitments, so do your own research with the time you have available. And take comfort in this fact: finding any time to run, whether you’re up with the early birds or out with the night owls, is a whole better than not finding time to run at all.


Early morning workouts are done between 5am and 7am. For many of us with regular 9-to-5 jobs and busy home lives, training needs to be done as the lark rises.
• Feels great in the summer when the mornings are light and warm
• There are physiological benefits to training in a fasted state
• Feels good knowing you’ve got your run out of the way
• Builds mental strength: if you can do it first thing in the morning, you can do it anytime
• Limited traffic, pedestrians and other road/path users
• Hard to do in the winter when it’s cold and dark
• Can be pushed for time fitting it into a tight window
• Requires an early night beforehand
• Body functions are typically at their worst first thing in the morning
Workouts that work
• Easy paced runs / base miles (40mins slow effort)
• Progressive paced runs (40mins, picking up the pace each 10mins)


This is between 1pm and 2pm. For many of us, a lunchtime run is a great opportunity to take a break from the office, get some fresh air and bank some miles.
• Gets your run done away from home so can relax after work
• Provides opportunities to run with others if you can generate some enthusiasm at work
• Helps you to feel more energised, focused and invigorated for your afternoon at work
• Research has shown those who exercise at lunchtime concentrate more and can be more productive at work in the afternoon
• Limits you time-wise as lunch typically lasts an hour
• Means you have to rush your lunch, and could risk skipping it
• If you workplace doesn’t have a decent shower, you could quickly become very unpopular with your workmates
• Body functions experience a lull in the middle of the day, especially body temperature, so keep a lid on top-end sessions.
Workouts that work
• 5mins warm-up; 1 x 30mins tempo; 5mins warm-down
• 5mins warm-up; 30mins fartlek; 5mins warm-down


This is between 10am and 11.30am. Although we may be at our most alert mid-morning, it may not be realistic for many of us to schedule a run at this time.
• By this time, your body has fully woken up and you feel more ready and prepared
• Your muscles function and lung performance is up to speed
• You’ve had breakfast so are fuelled and hydrated
• Testosterone levels are at their highest mid-morning so if it’s strength-based workouts you’re after, hit them at this time
• You’re psychologically at your daily peak
• Difficult to fit into a normal work schedule. Unless you’ve got a very understanding boss or are self-employed, you can’t simply down tools and clear off for a quick run
Workouts that work
• Mid-morning is a great time for harder workouts when you need to feel at your best. For some, this might be weekends only
• Threshold running (eg. 1 x 15mins threshold, 2 x 5mins threshold with 4mins recovery) or interval sessions (eg. 6 x 4mins with 2mins recovery or 8 x 3mins with 90secs recovery)


This time covers 5pm to 8pm. Evening running works for many people. Could this be the golden hours for nailing your training?
• It’s been scientifically shown that athletes perform better when body temperature is higher. This typically peaks early evening
• Your muscles are warmed up, supple and in a much better state of readiness
• Lung function has been shown to be better in the afternoon than at other times of the day
• It feels physically easier to run faster, meaning your workout quality is improved
• Your work day has finished, meaning you have focused time to spend on training
• This is a common time to train meaning you can reap the social and motivation benefits of running with others/in groups.
• It can be a struggle to find the motivation. It’s easy to bail and miss it if work runs over, kids need picking up or life generally gets in the way. Once the window of running opportunity has gone, it’s gone
• If you live in built up or urban areas, roads/paths can be busy with traffic and pedestrians
• If you’ve neglected lunch, feeling tired could be an issue
Workouts that work
• Event-specific time trials
• Track sessions – 15mins warm-up; 4-6 x 1K repeats; 10mins cool-down


This is between 9pm and 11pm. For those working shifts or with very busy work and family commitments, this may be the only time possible to schedule a run.
• If this is the only time you can run, it’s better than not running at all
• Roads more likely to be quiet
• Your body might be tired, meaning you are not as receptive to training or potentially as adaptive to the benefits
• You’re not sure when to eat: before your run or afterwards? If after, this can mean that you’re heading to bed late on a full stomach
• You’re wired at night after running, meaning sleep can be difficult
• Visibility will become a factor
Workouts that work
• Steady 30-40mins run
• Treadmill session – 2mins at 70%, 2mins at 75% effort, 2mins easy
• Repeat x 4

Friday, October 14, 2016



In a raft of studies, exercise – primarily in the form of, but not restricted to, running – has been shown to have several effects on the brain. It leads to the release of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that alleviate pain, both physical and mental.

Depression is related to low levels of certain neurotransmitters such as seratonin and norepinephrine, both of which can be stimulated by the effect of exercise on the sympathetic nervous system. Also important are endorphins: chemicals released by the pituitary gland in response to stress or pain, which bind to receptors in the brain’s neurons to inhibit pain and promote feelings of euphoria – more on that later.

Another positive side effect of running is a process called neurogenesis – the creation of new neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls learning and memory. At a cellular level, it is possible that the mild stress caused by exercise stimulates an influx of calcium, which effectively ‘agitates’ proteins that promote the neurogenesis process. The upside is that exercise provides a natural trigger.

Running, in essence, can help fight the chemical imbalances that cause depression; a serious illness that can result in low mood, feelings of helplessness, self-harm and even suicide. “Depression can manifest itself in physical ways,” says Trainor. “You can suffer loss of energy, headaches, agitation or anxiety, and nutrition often suffers. There are also cognitive changes – loss of concentration, focus and confidence. Running can challenge all of these. GPs are able to prescribe gym memberships these days, and that’s because research has found that, in cases of mild or moderate depression, exercise is at least as effective as, if not more useful than, medication.

“It’s in severe cases of depression that medication may be required, day to day. But running can give you a sense of purpose and allow you to take control of your life.”

Running, can do most things – and helping to overcome, or at least manage, depression is one of them

So exercise is good for you, and the even better news is that running is just about the best form of exercise you can do. “It’s called the ‘runner’s high’ – we don’t hear the term ‘cyclist’s high’ or ‘rower’s high’,” says Andy Lane, professor of sports psychology at the University of Wolverhampton. “The reasons for this aren’t completely clear, but it’s likely that it’s because running is a movement humans learn naturally via walking as babies. It’s an extension of that natural movement pattern.”

At a very basic level, most of us can run – that is, physically put one foot in front of the other at a pace faster than walking. And you don’t have to flog yourself if you’re new to it. The key for beginners is not to overdo it. “Intensity is quite complex,” says Lane.

“If you’re unfit, running slowly is intense. Unfit people tend to start running at a high intensity and don’t enjoy it. Intense exercise triggers a response in the brain that says, ‘Careful, we can’t keep this up,’ and that message comes in the form of negative emotions – feeling miserable, sad and tired. Moderately intense exercise associates with positive mood.

“But once you reach a certain level, doing intervals or completing a hard session can bring a tremendous sense of achievement. Overcoming doubts and fears that you can’t cope builds resilience, and this can raise self-esteem.”

The benefits of running extend beyond the chemical reactions in your brain. It can help change bad habits and give a sense of achievement. “Sticking to a running programme is a form of exercising self-control, and self-control is a variable linked with a number positive attributes,” says Lane.

“Good self-control helps diet-management, job success, sticking to timetables and so on. Poor self-control is associated with a large number of societal problems such as anger and violence. Self-control is improved by training. People should run – it will lead to general happiness and, because of the physiological effects, reduces a whole host of cardiovascular diseases.”

There’s just one word of warning: if you’re taking medication, don’t bin it simply because you’ve pulled on a pair of running shoes and feel great about it. You should never come off medication without talking to your GP first.

“Depression is complex,” says Lane. “The causal link between exercise and mental health is not completely established, and exercise tends to help improve mood for those people who like exercising. People who dislike it and who are prescribed exercise might as well be given the worst-tasting medicine possible.”

RELATED: How to talk to someone about their mental health

Steve Clancey, 44, discovered that running could help him in 2009. “Over time, work pressures and life changes took their toll, and I was signed off in 2008 because I physically couldn’t work,” he says. “I saw a flyer to enter the London Marathon to raise money for Sense, the deaf and blind charity, and decided to do it on the spur of the moment. I didn’t particularly know what I was doing but I’d always been reasonably fit and entered some shorter events as part of my training.

“When I finished the marathon in four hours, in 2009, I was on cloud nine, and after the event I realised I missed it, so I joined a club and carried on.” The benefits were obvious. “It’s very therapeutic and training gives me a structure,” he says. “I also suffer from seasonal affective disorder so running makes the winter a lot more bearable, especially when I’m training for a race in the spring.

“Running has given me a focus. It’s improved my health and shown me it’s possible to improve at something. With running you get better little by little, and that shows you can overcome seemingly insurmountable problems by taking lots of small steps. I’ve met lots of new friends and I have a huge support network – there’s always someone to talk to,” adds Steve, who is a member of London’s Serpentine Running Club.

“In short, it’s something to look forward to, and a reason to get out of bed in the morning.” And that, when it comes to overcoming depression, is half the battle.

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