Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Slow Down on these HOT and Humid Days!

The hot and sticky days of summer are here. Make sure that you are making some adjustments in your running. Most runners begin to slow down at 55 degrees and start suffering at 65 degrees. Of course, the body can adapt to heat stress and push the threshold up a bit, but you usually can’t run as fast on a 75 degee day as on a 45 degree one. High humidity is also a major problem. It’s like a wet blanket; it doesn’t allow much evaporation or perspiration and your body heat builds up.

If you try to run too hard in hot or humid conditions you’ll hit “the wall” sooner than expected. Trying to maintain a goal pace in heat is like going out too fast early in the race. Temperatures generally increase hour by hour; therefore you must adjust your pace for the temperature expected at the end of the race.

Adjusting Race Pace for Heat: Estimated temperature at finish – Slower than goal pace – 8 min mile becomes…

55-60 degrees – 1% – 8:05
60-65 degrees – 3% – 8:15
65-70 degrees – 5% – 8:25
70-75 degrees – 7% – 8:35
75-80 degrees – 12% – 8:58
80-85 degrees – 20% – 9:35
Above 85 degrees – Forget it… run for fun or hit the treadmill!

(Source: Jeff Galloway)

Monday, July 4, 2011

If you like running, this is for you ...

Happy Fourth of July.

I hope you're having a wonderful weekend connecting with friends and family, and celebrating the liberties that we are all so fortunate to enjoy.

I wanted to share a quick video for all my running friends out there.

When I completed my first marathon with a pretty decent time, a veteran runner asked me what I thought was the key to my success. 

Flattered that one of those "super-fast" guys thought I did well for a "newbie", I was caught a bit off guard by his question, and simply said, "consistency in my training".  

After thinking about it, I realized that showing up day after day for months and months, some good days, some bad ones, with tiny (almost insignificant) improvements day in and day out, over time made a massive difference in my running.  

Yet, the one thing I noticed only a few weeks after adding in, was 3 series of exercises that really allowed my running to kick into high gear.

I want to share those 3 with you.  

If you want to become a better, faster, healthier runner, check this out:  http://www.youtube.com/user/CincyBootCamp#p/a/u/0/kYqi7LOVCNM
(One Note on the first series called "The Triple Threat":  You'll do the Bridge first, then move right into the Leg Curl without resting, and then right into the Hip Lift, again without resting.  All 3 exercises in a row, each exercise for 8-20 reps = 1 set of the "Triple Threat").

If you wanna run fast, these 3 series of exercises are exceptional.  http://www.youtube.com/user/CincyBootCamp#p/a/u/0/kYqi7LOVCNM

Your friend in fitness,

Brian Calkins

Friday, May 6, 2011

Who's the Boss?

Your musculoskeletal system is the REAL limiting factor in training.

By Greg McMillan

You've been taught to "listen to your body" to avoid overtraining.  This listening, however pertains only to the cardiorespiratory system.  You can feel your breathing and know when it changes.  you can even feel the metabolic system when you do hard repetitions on the track.  you can feel the lactic acid locking up your stride.

What you can't feel, however, is the stress on the musculoskeletal system while training.  The muscles never say, "Hey, I'm about to tear!"  Instead, the say after the fact, "Hey, I'm torn."  The bones don't say, "Excuse me, but the stress load along the shin bone is beginning to tear the muscle away from the bone and cause me to micro-fracture."  And the plantar fascia never says, "if you don't stop pounding me, I'm going to start telling you with the feeling of a steel spike to the heel on your first step every morning!"

The musculoskeletal system is too nice.  It doesn't want to interrupt your enjoyment of the run.  It waits for several weeks, when you're in GREAT SHAPE and ready to tear it up; then it speaks up.  But by that time, you're so far into the injury that you're in for a long down time.

Training at the Musculoskeletal Level

Instead of listening to the cardiovascular system, we need to program our training with our musculoskeletal system as the gauge.  As mentioned, the can't be done by listening to your body.   The musculoskeletal system is simply too shy to speak up.  So, we need to plan the training with the musculoskeletal system as our limiting factor.

While the musculoskeletal system may be shy, it's extraordinarily plastic, meaning that i can adapt.  If you stress a bone, for example, it becomes stronger.  That's why weight-bearing exercise is so important for bone health.  The muscles react in the same way.  You stress them and they adapt to better tolerate that stress.  And I don't mean just in the pumping-iron-stress kind of way.

Use the musculoskeletal system guide below to guide your training.  The younger you are (especially high school runners) and the more injury-prone you are, the more frequently you need to plan recovery days and weeks.  If you were blessed with great biomechanics and a highly adaptable musculoskeletal system, then the less frequently you'll need to take rest days and weeks.

I've created this simple scoring system to help you help your musculoskeletal system.  Use it and you'll avoid injury and see your fitness build from month to month, year to year.  Rescore yourself every training cycle, as your body should be more injury-resistant as your mature as a runner.

IF you're a new or young runner, are injured once every three months or have dealt with a chronic injury for more than a year, score yourself with a 1. 

IF you're a newer or younger runner who has "niggly" injuries that pop up every three to six months, or you're determined to avoid injury by preemptively resting your musculoskeletal system, score yourself with a 2.

IF you're an experienced runner who rarely gets injured but does have a lot of life stress and notices that every now and then a common injury pops up, give yourself a 3.

IF you're a seasoned runner who has never been injured, give yourself a 4.  (Lucky you!)

How to use the Musculoskeletal Guide

Your score indicates the number of weeks between recovery weeks.  For example, if you scored a "2," then you can train at your 100 percent volume and intensity level for two weeks, and then should plan the next week as a recovery week.  If you scored a "3" then you'll train normally for three weeks, and then take a recovery week in the fourth week.  The key is to plan for this recovery instead of waiting for an injury to force you to take a recovery week.  I recommend reducing mileage by 10 to 20 percent on the recovery weeks, as well as taking an extra day off or easy day, depending on your running frequency.  Maybe do one less hard workout during that week or back off on the stress of that workout if you maintain all your hard workouts in your recovery week.

Once you get your score, stick with it for the full training cycle no matter how you're feeling.  After all, avoiding interruptions in training is MORE important than doing the greatest training of your life only to be stuck on the sidelines on race day.  The greatest challenge is to rest when you're fittest.  But it's precisely in this peak performance zone when you're most susceptible to overstressing the musculoskeletal system.