June 24, 2024

Does Workout Recovery Matter? By Nicole Bryan

Does workout recovery matter?
Do you include a workout recovery plan as part of your racing or workout program? You should! Here’s why: long term sustainable exercise happens through the delicate and very individual balance between exercise (workload) and rest (recovery.) Depending the distance you’re racing or your workout goal, your training program should not end with race day or goal day, it should actually extend anywhere from one day to three weeks after. Ask any athlete who’s been involved in long term racing or sustainable athletics and has remained injury-free, you’ll find the common thread to be that of allowing sufficient recovery from hard racing and tough workouts.

Accept your need for recovery as part of your exercise program. Better yet, program it in. Keep your schedule on the calendar just as you do when in your heavy or building training period, just write “off” or “30 minute jog.”

Here are a few ways how to decrease the stress of accepting and respecting your recovery period as an essential part of your training program:

Cross Train. Choose an entirely different mode of exercise all together. Change the angle at which you’re working your muscles. If you routinely do high-impact, try non-impact exercise. If you regularly partake in exercise over 90 minutes, set a recovery limit of fifty-percent of your average weekly workouts. If you’ve been wanting to try a different workout, now is the time to do it when the new workout won’t interfere with your race program.

Rest. That’s right, rest! Do less, do nothing, do whatever whenever the mood strikes you. Resting not only applies to your body, but to your mind as well. This includes psychological and emotional rest. When we are racing or focused on completing a major fitness goal, our mind works just as hard. Get caught up on movies, sort through paperwork, play puzzles with your kids. Sit. Rest. Relax. Many are afraid of rest for fear that they’ll lose all their fitness efforts over night. Rest assured, you won’t. In reality, the contrary is true, you’ll come back to your sport and fitness with more enthusiasm than before. Let yourself miss your activity!

Tend to the details. During your recovery period is a great time to tend to those tiny details that during your heavy training were tolerable, but just barely. For example, that nagging foot discomfort you’ve been tolerating (go see your doctor), or your slightly-off hydration plan (research other alternatives), or those biking shoes that just getting worn out (try out new equipment.) This is like your rainy-day activity list. Tiny details that you just never have time for during your training. Get them sorted out now, so when your recovery period is complete, you’re ready to go.

Catch up. Catch up with other areas of your life that may have been neglected during your heavy training period. Re-introduce yourself to your spouse, to your children, to your boss, to your friends. Go ahead and make that time active if you’d like, but activity is not the priority. Get caught up on your desk work, yard work, and the kid’s homework, anything other than variables that have to do with your race or goal.

Bask in your accomplishment. You’ve worked hard to reach your goal, why not allow time to enjoy it before darting off to begin your next training period. Read articles on your sport, send fellow athletes your race pictures, share your race report in a blog post, chat with other participants, and plot out your next race or fitness goal undertaking; have some fun with your accomplishment! There are ways to stay connected with your sport, your training buddies and current events, without the physical demands required by logging the miles in race prep. So go ahead, hone your verbal, written and artistic skills for a change. Brag a little. You’ll inspire fellow athletes, and yourself.

Beat the Post-Race Blues by Jason Saltmarsh

A 3-week Plan to Beat the Post-Race Blues

You did great! You just completed a bucket list goal by finishing your first marathon. So, why do you feel so depressed and anxious? That unsettling feeling of emptiness and aimlessness after competing in a big race is common among athletes. But, don’t worry! It’s completely normal.

Sports psychologist Dr. Kate F. Hays says “Completing a major feat, into which you’ve poured a lot of time, energy, intention, and identity —maybe money, inconvenience, and sacrifice, as well —means that among other things, you’ll probably feel some degree of let-down when it’s ended.” And, the one thing that many runners do to deal with stress and anxiety is run, something you’re not supposed to do in the days following a marathon.

How to Beat the Marathon Blues
Week 1
1.    Eat. Refuel and reload with plenty of proteins and healthy vegetables.
2.    Sleep. Sleeping is the most effective way to relieve stress and take care of your body.
3.    Find a new hobby. Take a cooking class, plan a trip, or build a model airplane.
4.    Walk. You can’t run, but you can enjoy a nice leisurely walk in the park.
5.    Share. Talking about the race experience with others is cathartic.

Week 2
1.    Dream big. Research and register for your next big event. Triathlon? Marathon? Relay?
2.    Develop a plan. Consult with your coach, or begin drafting a new training plan.
3.    Return slowly. Run or walk (as you feel) with no more than an hour on your feet. Easy does it.

Week 3
1.    Reverse-Taper. Slowly build your mileage and intensity.
2.    Listen to Your Body. Any signs of injury or discomfort should sound alarms.
3.    Let your spirit guide you. Return to normal training at the end of the month if you’re physically, mentally, and emotionally ready.

Jason Saltmarsh is an RRCA Adult Distance Running Coach and competitive masters runner. He enjoys racing at distances ranging from 5K to the marathon. Jason’s goal is to share with others the benefits and joys of running, fitness and healthy living. For more information, please visit saltmarshrunning.com.

Is Running a Half-Marathon for you? By Lisa McClellan

The half marathon has become one of the most popular distances in the country for many reasons. First off, it’s not as daunting as the full and takes much less time to train for. Second, many people long for the sense of accomplishment and achieving something really big, but doing something like climbing Everest or white water rafting down the Congo river are too out of reach. So what do they do? Something a little more achievable: run a half or full marathon.


TIPS to make running your first half-marathon a success:

1. Find a special race to enter: Ask yourself what is important in a race to you. Maybe it’s a really nice medal, a beautiful destination city, an amusement park, a trail race. Do you need a lot of support from crowds or do you prefer something more quiet? Find the race that appeals to you and plan ahead. Sign up for a race up to a year in advance, generally the entry fee is less and this gives you time to make travel arrangements and plan out your training schedule.

2. Run a 5K and 10K before your Half Marathon: Be sure to work your way up to the 13.1 distance. Have you ever driven 13 miles? It’s a long way. Don’t show up on race day unprepared, you might have a horrible race, or worse, get injured.

3. Have a plan: If you’ve never run before, start with a run/walk plan. Plans are designed to keep you injury free and help introduce you to running in a positive way. Everyone I have spoken with who has tried these plans has not only had a successful race, but has gone on to run in several more events as well.

4. Start with a friend or running group: Sometimes running by yourself gets lonely. Having a friend keeps you accountable, it’s fun to have someone to talk to on your training runs, and accomplishing something big like this together is very bonding and intimate.

5. Don’t have a predicted finish time: Try not to have an expectation of a finish time on your first half marathon, make your goal simply to finish. Most races have a large time limit on the course. Don’t worry if you walk or need to stop at the water stations, in fact it might make it more pleasurable if you do. Don’t beat yourself up for stopping, you’re out there doing it while most people are sitting on the couch or watching from the sidelines. Be proud of what you’re doing and don’t worry about time.

6. Plan a post race celebration: 13.1 is a long way, if you can afford it, plan on pampering yourself post race. Make an appointment for a massage or pedicure. Make reservations for a nice dinner the night after your race. Or it might be as simple as allowing yourself to take a nap that afternoon. It’s a big deal… be proud of your accomplishment.

7. ENJOY: Go across that start line in a place of joy. If you get tired, hot, or something hurts, just slow down or stop. It’s called a race, but times have changed as these events are designed for everyone to enjoy, and we are all out there for different reasons. Your first race should be a good experience, there will be plenty of races in your future to “Race” but cross the finish of this first one with a smile on your face.

By Lisa McClellan. Follow Lisa via her blog www.RunWiki.org

Race Day Success for Runners By Nicole Bryan

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Keys to Race Day Success for Runners By Nicole Bryan

Nothing new on race day. If you haven’t trained with it, don’t use it on race day. And yes, this also applies to the race event shirt. Nothing new refers to foods, hydration schedule, clothing and technique. That’s what your training is for, to practice your race day ideas. By the time race day rolls around, you should have a solid tried and true clothing choice, pre, during and post-calorie choice, hydration specifics (how, what and when details.) Take notes during your training to keep track of what works for you and what doesn’t. No guess-work on race day.

Don’t go out too fast. The adrenaline at the start of a race is powerful. When the gun goes off it seems all athletes bolt out of the corrals leaving their timing goals along the way side, then feeling drained a few miles in. However, sticking to your trained race pace is what will serve you best. So while letting other runners pass you left and right is a challenge for the ego, doing so means you’ll have energy at the end of the race to finish strongly and maybe even ahead of pace. Shooting for a negative-split is always an effective motivation tool to stick to pace in the early miles.

Don’t miss hydration. Water stations are often packed with runners darting here and dashing there. Sometimes we feel great and are spot on our pace, leaving us with the false sense that “missing this one hydration stop won’t make a difference.” But in reality, it will! Racing is a cumulative event, which means early and often hydration is key in longer events. So, stick to your hydration schedule even if it means a slight delay or jockey of position to make it happen. Memorize water station locations along the course and plan ahead by changing your position about 100 yards before to easily allow access to support offered.

Immediate attention. Things happen during a race, especially long distance runs. An athlete never knows what the day will bring, so becoming an artist at being resourceful immediately is essential. For example, if you’re shoe doesn’t feel right, don’t run the next 3 miles trying to work through it. Stop immediately and fix it. Otherwise you’re risking compounding the situation which will lead to further discomfort and interrupting your race, and maybe even injury.

Conserve your energy. Bottom line is, technique counts. Being mindful of form during the race is just as important as during your training miles. Paying attention to how your body is working will insure your muscles are working at full-energy. When you begin to fatigue, do your posture check and your body scan. Reset your posture, adjust your form, go back to basics and then power on efficiently.

5 Tips to Better Racing by Kristie Cranford, CPT

Knowing how to race is just as important as logging all your training. There are specific actions to take, and just as important, specific actions to avoid before you toe the line. Here are your 5 expert tips to better racing:

Do train within your ability

If you truly want to exceed in racing, do train within your ability.  Find the race distance and estimated time that fits within your current or achievable ability.  Training for a pace you cannot realistically achieve can lead to burnout and injury.  Training for a distance your life schedule does not allow time for can lead to burnout and unnecessary stress.  You want to enjoy the training process, not stress about it.  Set yourself up for success, not failure.

Don’t do anything new race day

Experiment with food, drink, clothing, shoes, and everything well before race day.  Have it all down to a science.  You want to be a practiced well-oiled machine race day and not risk digestive, energy or clothing issues.

Don’t start out too fast

Don’t burst out of the gate with all you have, once that energy is expelled you will never get it back.  On the back end of the race you’ll come up short with the extra energy burned during an over exuberant start.

Do pick the right race for you

If you have a specific goal in mind, find a race that will help you to reach your goal.  Find one with an optimal course and entrant size to assist you.  A race that is too crowded or has a lot of elevation challenges may be a fun race, but may put too many odds against you.

Do allow for rest between races

Allow your body recovery time between races.  Your body gets stronger and repairs at rest and recovery.  Too much racing will lead to declining performance, burnout and injury.

This article is written by Kristie Cranford, CPT. A wife, mother, multiple cancer survivor and competitive athlete, Kristie is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer as well as a Certified Running/Triathlon Coach for PRS FIT. Living in Las Vegas, she is 2012 Coolibar sponsored athlete, 2013 Training Peaks Ambassador and Raw Elements Sunscreen Ambassador. Contact information: Email: CoachKristieLV@yahoo.com, http://www.coachkristie.com, www.prsfit.com.