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How To Help Sore Muscles After Running

in BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING

The Ice Bath has long been associated with recovery from running. The theory goes that the cold water helps to reduce inflammation in our sore and beat-up muscles. Fortunately, it looks as though recovery from your marathon training may be a lot more enjoyable.

Running is hard enough as it is, so adding in 10-minutes of sitting in freezing water afterward is not very enticing. Studies actually now show that markers of inflammation and potential soreness are not reduced by cold-water.Still, it remains popular with athletes of all abilities.

Research out of Sweden has indicated that heating your muscles can aid in recovery, while the old method of cooling actually slows the process down. The only catch is that you have to eat first. Food, then sit in a hot tub… Sounds good, right?

One of the main reasons that our muscles give out is that they run out their fuel: glycogen (a substance deposited in tissue as a store of carbohydrates), so tests were done to determine whether or not temperature affected how much glycogen our muscles can absorb before being used again.

It turns out that muscles recovered faster and were able to regenerate power after they had been exposed to heat, but only if they had first been refuelled with glycogen after exercise.

30 minutes after running is a great time to replenish muscle glycogen stores and get rehydrated. A favourite amongst marathon runners is chocolate milk given its 4-to-1 ratio of carbs-to-protein.

If you’ve currently in the midst of training for a marathon and are sore after a particularly tough run, then treat your aching legs to a hot bath or head to a hot tub/sauna. The recovery will help you bounce back faster and get the most out of your next run or race.

References

Food Fight: High Fat vs High Carb

in BLOGS

Written by Asker Jeukendrup.
Follow Asker on Twitter @Jeukendrup

There is a lot of debate about “training low”, low carb diets, Paleo diets, Atkins diets, fasted training, keto diets, etc. versus the more traditional high carbohydrate approach. It seems that people are in one of these two camps and there is little or no middle ground. The low carb group shouts, “carbohydrate is bad”, while the high carbohydrate group, you shout “you must carboload”! The purpose of this short article is to provide some clarity. We will take an evidence based approach to the questions and start to analyse the issue.

The issue gets contaminated a little by the fact that people may use certain dietary approaches for different purposes. The two extremes are: an elite athlete who wants to perform well in an endurance event and a couch potato trying to eat to lose weight or be more healthy. These are completely different purposes and it would be wrong to assume that two completely different problems should be solved with one common solution.

Let’s have a look at the theories first:

A Brief Overview of the High Carbohydrate Theory

In the 1960’s it was discovered that carbohydrate (muscle glycogen) plays an important role in fatigue. It was also discovered that carbohydrate intake during exercise can improve endurance capacity. Essentially, when carbohydrate is available, endurance is improved. When consecutive days of hard training are performed, carbohydrate will reduce symptoms of overtraining.There are many studies to support these observations and it is further supported by a clear physiological mechanism: At high exercise intensities (>80 percent of maximal oxygen uptake; VO2max), carbohydrate is the main fuel, regardless of the diet.

A Brief Overview of the High Fat Theory

Our bodies are adapted to carbohydrate because the Western diet contains a relatively large amount of carbohydrate. Therefore we have become more dependent on carbohydrate as a fuel. If we adapt to a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrate over the course of many weeks, our bodies adapt and will become better at oxidizing fat.There are several studies that show that a low carbohydrate diet result in increases in fat oxidation. Some of this is simply because the body is now depleted of carbohydrate, but some of this is a genuine adaptation. There are not many studies that have investigated the effects on performance. The studies performed will fit into one of these categories:

  • Short duration studies that show no changes or even decreases in performance with low carb diets

  • Long duration studies with large variability in outcomesStudies with performance measurements at very low intensities you would not find in any real life event

There is some truth in both theories although there is more evidence available supporting the carbohydrate theory, especially when it comes to performance effects. However, below are some more interesting observations:

Read the rest of the article HERE

Why Don’t We Improve Sometimes? Running Lessons From An Olympian

in BLOGS/RUNNING

This post was written by David McNeill for Runner’s Tribe – an SOS HYDRATION partner. 

Too often in my career, I have walked off the track querying my performances; wondering why I ran so poorly when training pointed to something better…or wondering how on earth I ran as fast as I did when preparations had been poor.

The latter scenario has never been so much a concern as it has been a blessing. But in the case of the former, I was always left wondering what it is I did to sabotage my performance; why, despite my best intentions, my performance didn’t improve from one race to the next. I’d like to say the days of unpredictable performances are behind me, but I am human, and I am sure unexplained performances lie in my future. At some point or another, many of us have run a great race, fed off the motivation of that performance in preparation for the next race, and then run poorly that next time around. Why don’t we improve sometimes? Why don’t races always live up to expectations? What is it we do to sabotage training and performance gains?

 Being overzealous is one factor. While it is sometimes easy to equate harder training with better performance, we sometimes jump the gun, and think training harder is the only answer, when often, the first answer is to be consistent. Imagine giving a lemon a squeeze, and getting some juice out of it. Rarely do you get all the juice out of the lemon with a single squeeze. More juice is yielded when we start to wring the lemon. Just as we wouldn’t fetch another lemon before we’d squeezed all the juice out of it, sometimes, we need to keep training consistently before we start training harder.When we prematurely start to train harder, the balance between stress and adaptation is shifted, and we do not recover and adapt at the rate at which we are stressing our bodies. When we train consistently after already seeing improvement, subsequent improvement with the proverbial wringing of the lemon is actually a product of our body’s ability to recover faster and more fully from training, so that we adapt quicker and more completely with each training session. Of course, the time comes when the lemon is dry, and you will need to fetch another. Learning when to be consistent and when to train harder represents the art of coaching and training.

Overcompensating for small hiccups in our preparation can also bring us undone. When we miss a session or when a session doesn’t go well, we sometimes feel the need to compensate by squeezing the missed training into a smaller window of time, or pushing harder than usual in the next workout. This ends up being detrimental in two ways: one is that often, in our haste, the body is not fully recovered from the illness or niggle that initially caused the hiccup when we overcompensate our training. Secondly, by temporarily training too hard or too frequently, we upset our body’s sensitive balance between stress and adaptation. Compensating often has the opposite effect we seek when a niggle, an illness, or a time constraint disrupts our training. Instead of catching ourselves back up in the training we miss, compensating drives us further from where we are trying to get, and sabotaging our ability to improve, even when gains have otherwise been made. But as is the remedy for the hiccups we experience when our diaphragm spasms, the key to navigating hiccups in our training is to take a deep breath; not to compensate, but to accept, recover, and move on. While a hiccup may hinder our progress marginally, compensating irrationally can hinder our progress substantially. Stay cool.

McNeill winning the 2015 Zatopek:10: Pic RT

Another factor that can curtail improvement with training gains is the perception that running faster gets easier with more training. “Train hard, win easy” is a deceptive saying. With training, our capacity to physically endure oxidative stress and the build-up of metabolic by-products improves, but it’s still uncomfortable, and the closer to our physical limits we approach, the more perceptible this discomfort is. While running equally fast may get easier with more training, running faster continually necessitates submitting to discomfort. When we ignore this truth, we can end up blaming everything from our training, to our diet, to our sleep for a lack of improvement, without every questioning our resolve at the crossroad between comfort and discomfort come race time. At the outer margins of our human capacity, when improvements become more marginal each time we get better, increasingly, our improvements rely on our ability to endure more discomfort for longer, than on our ability to get physically fitter. When our supply of lemons dwindles at the limits of our human capacity, we are spending a lot more time wringing out those lemons. We are trying to get the last drop of juice out of them before contemplating fetching another lemon; before contemplating training any harder, and increasing our injury risk. Wringing the last drop of juice out of a drying up lemon is a kin to enduring more discomfort at our physical limits – the juice is there, but we must work for it and endure it, unlike the first early squeeze of a fresh lemon.

I myself am guilty of all three sources of sabotage. And when I have performed better than my training indicated, it was probably because I was a little underdone rather than overdone. Avoiding sabotage is both a delicate mental battle we have with ourselves, and a carefully learned art that comes from experience – both our own, and our coach’s. The best combatant to sabotage is thinking less, and listening more. Most often, sabotage happens when we make irrational decisions – when we are over motivated, when we are thrown off by the unexpected, or when we are overconfident. Half the battle is recognising when we are over-motivated, overconfident, or thrown by the unexpected. The second half of the battle is finding someone you trust (i.e. a coach), and seeking a dose of perspective!

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An interview with Steve Vernon – Coach of New Balance Manchester

in BLOGS/INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/UK

Britain is currently in the midst of a distance-running renaissance not seen for decades. Although there were numerous standout results at the Rio Olympics from British athletes, the true indicator of depth has been the quality of performances at home.

At the British Trials for the European XC Championships this winter, the Top 4 automatic spots were taken by athletes that had either broken 13:10 for the 5,000m, 61 minutes in the half marathon, or 28 minutes over 10,000m.

One of the driving forces behind this progress has been the investment of resources into smart coaching and infrastructure to facilitate a model of group training. With the support of New Balance, Steve Vernon has been able to implement this successfully with his New Balance Manchester squad based in Stockport.

We spoke to Steve about the driving forces behind his team, how he manages the inevitable differences between athletes and what sets NB Manchester apart.

 

Your team seems to follow a similar model to your transatlantic cousins in Boston? 

Professional running teams in the USA have been a proven success ground for world-class distance running over the last 5-10 years. Performance athletes are central to New Balance as a brand so supporting athletes in a team environment is something that New Balance were keen to do as part of their global strategy. The professional Team in Manchester is one of the first of its kind in Europe and we are creating an environment that supports athletes to be the best they can possibly be.
Good communication is absolutely essential and I make sure that I am clear with how training is set out each week. I have a training philosophy that I explain to every athlete that joins the team so they know what to expect from the start. I do however appreciate that not every athlete will respond and adapt in the same way to a particular stimulus so although the majority of the training is group focused the schedules are all individual. We meet every day for training and I give the options for athletes to do second runs alone or with training partners that run at a similar speed on recovery runs.

Putting together a full-time training group is a delicate balance; some athletes inevitably find themselves pushing when they shouldn’t be, and everyone has their own routines. What steps do you take to create a balance that everyone can benefit from, despite having individual strengths and weaknesses?

Distance running is an individual sport but I have a culture where everyone supports each other as a team. When the gun goes they inevitably want to beat each other but I ensure that competitiveness is managed in training and they save it for race day!

The increasing number of professional training groups throughout the world has pushed the level of performance up considerably. What makes New Balance Manchester different from other set-ups?

As I mentioned earlier this group in Manchester is quite unique in Europe as there are very few, but we are starting to see more and more groups emerge in the UK especially. We have an athlete house where 4 of the guys live and then everyone else lives within 6 miles of the NB house and training venues.

The athletes are predominantly supported by New Balance, but also receive some support from British Athletics/Welsh Athletics with regards to altitude training camps. The environment we run in is quite spectacular as we are 10 miles from Manchester on the edge of the Peak District National Park with miles of trails, canals, and parkland to run on. We have the option to run on the flat or up and down hills, which I feel is essential to distance running success. There is a strong club structure in the UK and we are lucky to have the support of the local club Stockport Harriers to use the track and its facilities. 

Stockport obviously has a lot to offer, yet few would argue that it could be easier get out the door in warmer conditions. You recently had a training camp in Spain – is this something you will do on a regular basis? What benefits did you see in your athletes?

The weather in the North West of England has a bad reputation but it’s wet and mild all year round so despite the summers never being amazing it is often a nice (15 – 20 degrees centigrade) temperature to train in. We hardly ever get snow in the winter so it rare we have to change plans because of really bad weather. As long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet and muddy occasionally it’s pretty good. Oregon has similar weather and they don’t do too badly over there!

Despite my positivity of the Manchester weather we do like to get away in the dark winter months and Spain in January was simply a chance to get in some quality training, Vitamin D and a change of stimulus for the guys, which I believe can help during the winter grind. I use altitude training and like to get at least 2 camps in for 4 weeks in each year.

 

How to Recover Like a Pro

in LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY/RUNNING/SOS MAGAZINE

How listening less to college coaches and more to Lance Armstrong will help you run faster… legally.

There is a timeless saying, “you don’t get fit when you’re running; you get fit when you’re recovering”. If training was only about running then you’d barely stop, and Dean Karnazes would win every event from the 5,000m to the marathon at the Olympics. Thankfully, that isn’t the case.

EAT

The current obsession about weight in running is incredibly disconcerting. When female athletes become fixated on becoming as thin as possible it is rightly seen as a health concern, yet amongst males it is becoming an expression of masochism and bravado.

The head cross-country coach at Colorado State Art Siemers has become one of many coaches in the NCAA known for fixating on the weight and appearance of his athletes.

Heidi See

“Thin to win” is his catch phrase, and it’s a terrifying precedent to set on young, highly impressionable athletes.

Weight is just one variable in the training equation of stress, recovery, and adaptation. This is a delicate equilibrium that if thrown off balance can have devastating effects. Weight should not be used as a catalyst to precipitate training adaptations; rather it should be a carefully managed bi-product.

If we accept that fitness gains are made during recovery, then carrying less weight through diet restriction to complete a workout faster will only result in an inability to recover properly.

Eat good food; you need it.

 

HYDRATE

There are plenty of ways to skin a cat. Some are more effective than others, but the point stands – hydration has to be taken care of before all else.

Products used for recovery like chocolate milk are crucial for repairing muscle damage through protein synthesis, yet for this process to be as efficient as possible the muscles must be well hydrated. Without hydrating, protein synthesis will be less effective and increase the time needed for recovery.

Balance is also crucial, as our bodies endocrine system is affected by electrolyte losses. If one electrolyte is consumed in high volumes without the correct balance of the hormonal processes will be disrupted.

 

SLEEP

In a 2015 interview with Joe Rogan, Lance Armstrong stated, “naps are performance enhancing”. He’s not wrong. Sleep is when the magic happens, where the money is made, and most of us aren’t getting enough of it.

When we sleep, our body repairs damaged tissue. During the deeper stages of sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released into the bloodstream where it helps rebuild muscles and convert fat to fuel.SOS Hydration

The point is simple; when we don’t get enough quality sleep it becomes harder for our body to recover. The modern world isn’t making it easier; it is now commonplace to be looking at your phone in bed, with the emitted light telling your brain to remain awake and vigilant.

Try to avoid your phone, tablet, laptop or anything emitting that kind of light for an hour before you want to be asleep. A good rule of thumb would be 9hrs before you need to wake up. This can have an exponential effect on your ability to have quality sleep and recover.

Train hard.

Eat a lot of good food.

Hydrate.

Go to sleep.

Easier said than done, apparently.

Marathon Fueling by Laura Thweatt – 1st American 2015 NYC Marathon

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized
Whilst the weather may be cooling off in US and Europe, many of us are starting to gear up for two iconic marathons – Boston and London – early in the spring of 2016.
Now is the time to sort out the training plan and buy the kit, but many a runner forgets one key ingredient: Electrolytes.  Yes we all know the marketing gimmick about the gels but its electrolytes that get you round.  After all when you sweat it’s not just water you loose, its sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium.  If you don’t replace these and in the correct amounts, then your training and ultimately your race day will be adversely affected without you even knowing it.
SOS asked Laura Thweatt, the 1st American home in the 2015 NYC Marathon, to give us her lowdown on training and racing from a marathon fueling perspective.

Who's ready to run?!
Who’s ready to run?!

The Learning Cycle:
Going into my first marathon I knew very little in regards to the type of fueling needed to successfully complete 26.2. What I did know was that I did not want to find myself at mile 15 running straight into the dreaded “wall.” Having been a competitive runner for the last twelve years I understood that electrolyte drinks were a key component in hydrating pre race and rehydrating post race. As we sweat during a run or race we are loosing important minerals, such as sodium, that a few gulps of water cannot replace. During a marathon it is crucial that you are rehydrating and replenishing what you are loosing though sweat in two plus hours of exertion.
Why SOS:
My coach Lee Troop kept stressing the importance of getting fluids down during the race, and that the gels were there as back up just in case I was struggling to get down my drinks. SOS Rehydrate provided the perfect balance of sugars and sodium, two essential components in preventing the bonk by replenishing the body’s losses.
Practice makes perfect:
Long runs are a great way to practice fueling and thus finding out what works for you individually.
When and how much SOS did you drink:
I took 5 x 8floz (250ml) bottles of SOS one at 5k, 10k, 15k, 20k, 25k.
Favourite Flavour:
I used SOS Mango as my go to flavor in training as well as in my debut at NYC Marathon. Good luck to everyone out there training! May the force be with you 🙂
 Laura Thweatt electrolyte drink SOS
There you have it.  Marathon Fueling the simple way.  Thanks Laura and best of rehydrated luck for marathon number 2.
SOS wishes everyone safe, fun and rehydrated running.  May this in some small way help you achieve your goals.

The importance of self massage in recovery

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized

The Importance of Self Massage in Recovery:

Recovery is vital to performance. The body needs time to repair itself. Self massage and proper hydration are the keys to the door.

This month we have teamed up with the team at Addaday who have kindly offered to give away several of their cool massage stix. We have been using one and they rock.  We will also throw in a months supply of the new SOS because you know the importance of hydration in keeping muscles loose!  Share and tag this post #sosaddaday to be in for a chance to win.

 

Perfect mix, SOS with Addaday
Perfect mix, SOS with Addaday

Here Addaday’s distinguished PT, Robert Forster explains the benefits:

 

Every physical therapist wants you to know that your body needs attention every day for it to continue to function properly throughout life. Whether you exercise regularly or not, everyday life leaves your muscles tired and tight, and your joints off center. Stretching and self massage techniques are the key tools to mitigate the physical toll of everyday life, and of your workouts.

With athletes and desk workers alike, much of our work is focused on mitigating the damaging effects of daily activities. Long days, poorly-designed chairs, and poor posture all work to corrupt your alignment and stress your joints.

So why should we use self massage??

 

1) Increase circulation: Manipulation of the muscles causes the blood vessels to dilate and pump more blood into the muscles and fascia.

Benefits:

  • Before Exercise: warms up the tissues and make them more pliable to stretching, and less prone to injury.
  • After Exercise: flushes the residue of exercise (i.e. metabolic waste products) from the muscles to hasten recovery.

 

2) Treats Connective Tissue scarring and muscular adhesions, which result from normal training and body imbalances.

Benefits:

  • Before Exercise: breaks down dysfunctional scarring that forms as your body attempts to heal from the stress of your previous workouts. Helps create functional scarring that makes you more resilient to injury.
  • After Exercise: relaxes tired and tight muscles, works out the knots (muscle spasms) that occur when muscles are overtaxed.

 

3) Sensory Stimulation from the proprietary, textured surfaces of massage tools stimulate the nervous system to create a reflex relaxation of the muscles, much the same way acupressure works.

Benefits:

  • Before Exercise: works out the knots and relaxes the small muscle spasms, known as trigger points, which result from workouts and daily life and interfere with proper muscle and joint function.
  • After Exercise: relaxes muscle spasm that occurs in fatigued or overtaxed muscles.

 

“Recovery is when your body actually grows stronger and more efficient. It is when the benefits of your hard training are realized. Working hard is easy, everyone knows how to work hard, but those who work hard at recover are the ones who win,”

— Bob Kersee, the most successful track & field coach, with over 50 Olympic medal-winning performances.

 

Only during recovery does your fitness grow. Workouts don’t build fitness, they break your body down, and only if you allow recovery time and actively help your tissues heal, do you become stronger and more fit.

 

Hydration the SOS way
Hydration the SOS way

Recovery is not laying on the sofa eating comfort food. There is nothing passive about recovery. Recovery is an active process where light “adaptation” workouts stimulate recovery better than rest alone. Light workouts are akin to the self-cleaning oven, where the heat is turned up to burn off the residue from cooking but no roast is placed inside. Light workouts provide the body the same opportunity to do house cleaning functions without having to recover from the damaging effects of a new workout. With the increased core temperature associated with recovery workouts, your body sets into motion an army of heat shock proteins that immediately go to work repairing an rebuilding tissues damaged by training.

 

With light activity, the vascular system is stimulated to increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering oxygen and nutrients to aide recovery. The muscle cells, stimulated by a release of hormones, step up the reparative functions and grow stronger. Similar occurrences improve connective tissue and bone repair as well. Stretching and self massage efforts before and particularly after light recovery workouts are more productive when unencumbered by the tightness that would otherwise occur following hard workouts. In this way, your stretching efforts go further toward elongating connective tissue and helping tendons and ligaments heal and grow stronger. A good indication of when your structural system is recovered and ready for another hard workout is when the stiffness from the last hard workout is absent.

 

Self-massage, with the use of massage sticks and rollers, is one of the best methods to aide recovery after workouts. Manipulation of the muscles and tissues increases blood flow, breaks down muscle and connective tissue adhesions, and promotes adaptation of these tissues to withstand the rigors of your training as you progress toward your goals.

You will feel the fatigue and tension leave your body. When coupled with stretching and icing sore areas, these self-recovery techniques can make a very significant contribution to the adaptive process you seek, along with increased fitness.

 

Add that to some properly hydrated muscles and your recovery has just gained in effectiveness!

What is Addaday:  Scientifically-designed massage sticks, foam rollers, bodywork balls, and a flexible massage device called the Boomerang, all incorporate varied surface textures and shapes designed to release muscle and tendon adhesions, and provide a daily realignment of your joints.

#sosaddaday
#sosaddaday

 

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