Are You Ready to Run? Part XII

The dietary staple your runs can’t do without

As we continue on in our series to make you the best version of your running self (we’ve put up enough posts on this topic that we’re rivaling the number of Air Jordan models that have been released), we’re going to talk about the simplest and most effective way to enhance your running performance.

Quickly, a review of the previous standards and some links for those of you who need to catch up:

The Standards

#1-Neutral Feet

#2-Flat Shoes

#3-A Supple Thoracic Spine

#4-An Efficient Squatting Technique

#5 Hip Flexion

#6 Hip Extension

#7 Ankle Range of Motion

#8 Warming Up and Cooling Down

#9 Compression

#10 No Hot Spots

#11 Hydration

A few questions for you:

Are you hydrated? Yes or no? It’s an easy but essential question to answer.

Are you drinking a minimum of 2 to 3 quarts of water each day?

Do you know how to check your hydration status?

How much performance are you leaving on the table by being dehydrated?

Some True Facts Related to Hydration

A 2 percent drop in your optimal hydration level can decrease your VO2 Max power output-the physical capacity that allows you to maintain your race pace from start to finish-by up to 11%!

You sweat out 3 cups of water through your feet every day. The average human loses 3 liters of water per day just perspiring, breathing, and peeing.

Water is the base of the aqueous environment inside of your body that allows a host of functions to occur: oxygen transport (fairly important if you want to breathe while you run), protein resynthesis (for muscle, tendon, cartilage, ligament and fascial repair), and hormone and antibody transport, to name a few. If you’ve got creaky knees from degenerative cartilage and you’re not on-point with your hydration game, you are accelerating the process of grinding your knee cartilage into a fine dust.

When you’re dehydrated while running, your body steals water from your muscles to keep your brain functioning-helpful in terms of keeping you from running into traffic, not so helpful in terms of keeping your muscles functioning properly. Chronic dehydration leads to muscle breakdown and a general loss of energy required to power that running motor of yours.

We’ve talked at length about tissue health and mobility. When you lack adequate hydration, those tissues get stiff, matted down, and stuck together. That quick roll of your ankle as you attempt to side-step a pothole in the sidewalk turns into an ankle ligament tear when those tissues aren’t properly hydrated and supple.

Application

A few simple practices will help you stay hydrated and optimized for running greatness.

First, a simple rule: you need electrolytes to absorb your water. Before you race out a buy the jumbo case of Gatorade at Costco, let me offer an easier, more cost-effective, and healthier approach. When you’re slamming back your Camelback water bottle throughout the day, add a pinch of salt. Otherwise that water will run right through your body instead of being absorbed by your tissues. I prefer Nuun hydration tablets, to add a little flavor to my water. If I don’t have any handy, a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt (just about any brand) does the trick. When you’re eating food, salt your food and drink pure water.

Second, don’t count on the color of your urine to tell you if you’re hydrated. Spend $10 bfor a 100-count of Rapid Response Urine Dipsticks (RRUD). Dr. Stacy Sims has done in depth research into the hydration needs of male and female athletes, and has some specific markers to look for on your RRUD’s:

  • Look at the Specific Gravity (SG) marker:
    • Fully hydrated status is 1.005 to 1.015
    • When you approach 1.020 you’re 1 percent down from normal hydration status and approaching the threshold of a dramatic drop in performance
    • When you read 1.025, stop and drink up!
  • Leukocytes (LEU) indicate how well you have recovered from your previous training day. No change in color tells you no leukocytes are present. If leukocytes are present, the reagent strip will turn purple, the darker the more leukocytes are present. If this is you, hydrate, eat well, get some extra sleep, take some extra vitamins and minerals, and take note if your resting heart rate is higher than normal. It’s a good idea for you to take the day off from training if you find yourself in this situation.
  • Protein (PRO) will show up on the reagent strip in a tint of green. This is normal in the hours following training, but if the strip is green when you retest the next day, you need a lighter day of training or a day off all together.

The basics are the basics for a reason. If you don’t like drinking water, try the hydration tabs. If you refuse to drink water and think you’re immune to the effects of dehydration, we’re going to have to ask you to hand in your Adult Card. Handle yourself. Top-notch hydration practices are essential not just for running but to operate day to day like a normal human being. Drink up!


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

 

Are You Ready to Run? Part X

Kick-starting your post-run recovery.

68015_10151199176137739_1161845327_nA quick review to get everyone up to speed in our series:

The Standards

#1-Neutral Feet

#2-Flat Shoes

#3-A Supple Thoracic Spine

#4-An Efficient Squatting Technique

#5 Hip Flexion

#6 Hip Extension

#7 Ankle Range of Motion

#8 Warming Up and Cooling Down

There are a variety of methods involving ice, heat, and water that many people use religiously to treat their bodies after their runs. But what happens when you don’t have time or access to these modalities and you’re facing 8 to 10 hours of commuting and sitting at work? It’s unlikely your boss is going to sign off on that hot tub request you made. Or worse, what do you do after a morning run followed by a transcontinental airline flight to ensure you don’t feel like your legs are unfolding like an accordion when you arrive at your destination?

Enter the ninth standard for our runners and a secret weapon in the recovery game:

Compression

You’re no doubt familiar with the nearly ubiquitous use of compression shorts and shirts by athletes trying to keep their bodies warm and supported during their sporting activities. Lower extremity compression is often times forgotten or relegated to the realms of clinical use for lower extremity circulatory impairments. We’ve known for decades that compression of the feet, ankles, and lower legs allows the body to operate the circulatory and lymphatic systems more efficiently.

What we’ve found in our practice is that the same compression of the feet and lower legs is an incredibly simple and effective tool to help you bounce back faster from your runs.

Here’s the simple application process:

  1. Once you’ve finished your run, properly cooled down, cleaned up, and gotten fired up for the rest of your day, put your compression socks on.
  2. Go on about the rest of your day

That’s it. It’s a simple and cost effective standard to meet.  You can find a good pair of compression socks for $20-$30. Look for socks that provide compression at 20 mmMg for the optimum effect.

If you’re sitting for the majority of your day, the systems that deal with muscle recovery and tissue repair (your circulatory and lymphatic systems) just don’t work effectively enough on their own. Compression keeps blood and fluid from pooling in your lower legs as you sit. Better circulation equals faster recovery.

And compression socks are a lifesaver on a long plane flight. After finishing my most recent Spartan Race last fall, less than a day later I limped onto a plane from New York City to Kansas City (a 3 hour flight), compression socks on and my calves screaming at me after running up and down a mountain for four hours the day before. By the time we landed in KC I actually felt looser than when I walked on the plane in NYC. Despite only being able to get up and move around a handful of times, being intentional about my recovery made the process 10 times easier than it would have been if I had just waited for my body to try to recover from that torture I put it through on my own.

There’s mixed evidence as to whether or not wearing compression socks while you run has any performance benefits. But there’s no argument that compression after a run helps the recovery process along. Yes, the socks can look dorky. No, no one actually cares if you’re wearing them. But your body will notice the difference. Wearing them under your business casual attire will be your secret weapon to help fuel your next hard training run or race, without any extra effort on your part.


COMMENT RULES: If you are a real person, leave your real name. We are not a clearing house for solicitors so don’t do it here. Criticism and questioning is fine, that’s how we all learn and grow. Personal attacks, name calling, and the like ARE NOT COOL-if we catch you doing it you’re gone. Other than that, have at it folks! We love hearing from followers and newcomers alike and will try to reply to as many comments and questions as we can!

Are You Ready To Run? Part VI

Question: How do you know your hips are normal and healthy? Today, we’ve got a test for you to find out. Continue reading “Are You Ready To Run? Part VI”

Are You Ready to Run? Part V

Today we’re tackling one of the running community’s most feared movements and exercises: The Squat. Continue reading “Are You Ready to Run? Part V”

Are You Ready to Run? Part IV

It’s time to move upstream today, as we continue our Ready to Run series. If you missed parts I through III, you can catch up here, here, and here.

Continue reading “Are You Ready to Run? Part IV”

Are You Ready To Run? Part III

Turkey and pie coma in the rear-view mirror now, it’s time to get back to work and get you Ready to Run. If you missed Part I and Part II of the series, you can click on the links to catch up.

Continue reading “Are You Ready To Run? Part III”

Are You Ready to Run? Part I

I am a 21st-Century runner. I don’t run every day. Or even every other day. Continue reading “Are You Ready to Run? Part I”

Spartan Super 2016 (a.k.a. “Sufferfest 2.0)

580cb1ff592a678c70f9a97f-oA little more than 18 months ago, while spending some time researching some ideas to expand the uses for my MovNat skills, I stumbled upon a quaint obstacle racing company based out of the New England-area that goes by the name Spartan Race. Continue reading “Spartan Super 2016 (a.k.a. “Sufferfest 2.0)”