So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?
Friday, September 24, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Here's a list of some of the most common running-related (overuse) injuries, causes & treatments:
Symptom: Swelling & pain around joint (i.e., ankle).
Possible Diagnosis: Sprain.
Possible Cause: Applying weight to foot in a rolled position, while running or jumping on an uneven surface.
Treatment: Rest, ice, compression & elevation for 7-10 days. Anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and inflammation. Gradual progress to weight-bearing exercise as tolerated. See a doctor if injury does not respond to treatment in two weeks.
Symptom: Pain at back of ankle.
Possible Diagnosis: Achilles tendinosis.
Possible Cause: Tight or weak calf muscles. Too much training, hill running or speedwork. Excess stretching can aggravate the problem.
Treatment: Reduce/stop hill/speed work. Gently stretch calves after exercise, & ice the tendon area. Strengthen the calf muscles (toe raises, balancing on your toes, wall stretching). Cross train on some “easy” days.
Symptom: Muscle pain, soreness or stiffness.
Possible Diagnosis: Delayed onset muscle soreness.
Possible Cause: Microscopic tearing of the muscle fibers from exercise. Eccentric muscle contractions, like downhill running, going down stairs, and squats cause this most.
Treatment: Rest, ice, compression and elevation for 7-10 days. Anti-inflammatories to reduce pain and inflammation. Drink more fluids.Symptom: Pain along the outside of the knee and lower thigh, especially when going down stairs or getting up from a seat.
Possible Diagnosis: Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome.
Possible Cause: Common in runners who run only on one side of a crowned road. Biomechanical abnormalities, muscle tightness or lack of flexibility in the gluteal (buttock) or quadriceps (thigh) muscles.
Treatment: Rest, ice, compression and elevation. Anti-inflammatories to reduce pain. Decrease mileage. Consider a physical therapy visit for leg strengthening exercises.
Symptom: Pain under or around kneecap, worsening with activity, while descending stairs, etc.
Possible Diagnosis: Patellofemoral pain syndrome.
Possible Cause: Likely the way the patella tracks along the groove of the femur, depending on muscle strength and balance, use, & tracking. This means the cause may be from a variety of different factors, to include muscle imbalance & shoe breakdown.
Treatment: Rest. Non-impact exercise, like swimming. You may want a physician or physical therapist to coordinate your treatment with additional strengthening & stretching.
Symptom: Pain under the glute/buttocks.
Possible Diagnosis: Piriformis syndrome
Possible Cause: Shortening of the muscle and compression of the nerve. Overuse of glutes & other hip muscles can also cause piriformis muscle spasms. Other factors include gait problems, poor body mechanics & posture.
Treatment: Stretching & strengthening of the core and glutes & the best treatment for piriformis syndrome.
Symptom: Pain in the heel, especially during the first steps in the morning/of a run.
Possible Diagnosis: Plantar fasciitis
Possible Cause: Flat feet, high arches, excess pronation, weight gain, tight achilles’ tendons, sudden changes in workout intensity/time/type/surface, poor shoes.
Treatment: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Stretch the achilles’ tendon. Massage the sole, achilles’ tendon & calf with a roller. Walk/run in proper footwear – no barefoot walking or running.
Symptom: Pain at front of lower leg, along shin bone.
Possible Diagnosis: Shin splints.
Possible Cause: Improper stretching, lack of warm-up, hard surfaces, improper footwear, biomechanical problems.
Treatment: Rest, ice, compression & elevation for 7-10 days. An anti-inflammatory can help reduce pain & inflammation. Gradual progress to pain-free weight-bearing exercise. See a doctor if injury does not respond to treatment in three weeks.
So when it comes to increasing the amount of mileage or time you spend running, the best rule is to not increase by more than ten percent; and that ten percent should be stretched across the week as much as possible. When looking at pace and effort, the percentage of maximum heart rate multiplied by time can provide a training stress score which can be tracked over time. Lastly, when dealing with hill/bridge repeats, err on the side of caution; easy paces and cautious increase in volume.
If at first you don't succeed in learning how to wisely increase your workout volume, don't worry. Your body will let you know it's time to try, try again.
Friday, September 17, 2010
The first measure I've talked about in the recent past, VO2max. VO2max is defined as the maximum capacity of an individual's body to transport and use oxygen during exercise; the more physically fit you are, supposedly, the higher your VO2max. A person's VO2max can be affected by age, gender, fitness, training, altitude change, & action of the muscles involved in breathing. It's a measure lots of runners strive to improve - I've had runners come to me to help them improve their VO2max - the first thing I tell them is that VO2max is a relatively poor predictor of running performance.
Guys like my buddy Mike - who is now what John L. Parker, Jr. described as "Once A Runner" because of knee injuries - & a lot of my contemporaries are confounded in their efforts to drop those few extra pounds by the very nature of their lifestyle. Believe me, I'm preaching to myself on this one, too; my love of beer & pizza has to be continually moderated with a (renewed) love for lean meats & veggies.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The following week was a road trip down into central Florida for the Road Runners Club of America convention. I felt pretty good for a couple of morning runs; nothing stellar, but good...good being defined as state of fitness a week after bicycling and running 69 miles. A swim at a local pool showed the fatigue was still there, though. And then, reality set in after the second mile of a 10K on Saturday. I was reduced to alternating walking & running sections, in the same manner I got through the 70.3 run course. After finishing in a time which was nearly a minute slower than my average performance, I knew it was time to take some time away. A month of easy workouts on the elliptical trainer & swims in the pool were good, but the aches & pains I had getting up every morning were disconcerting. Feeling like a person who is much older & much slower than you prefer to be is not fun. So, Vicki's concern about my dental health, added to the state of mental health - burned out - were possibly little more than manifestations of a greater problem of overreaching or overtraining.
As I've started looking at the training plan for Rock n' Roll/Mardi Gras 2011, the mantra less is more is making sense. I guess at 48 we take a little bit longer to recover from our indiscretions than at 28. Ibuprofen is no substitute for the occasional rest day. And there's no nutritional supplement that can help you perform when your mind just isn't into it.So far things seem to be going well. An extra day of rest, & listening to the need of my body to do only the amount of training necessary for the next event (why train for 14 hours a week if you're 9 weeks out from a half-marathon?) has felt wonderful, both during the two-or-three cross-training sessions I'm doing each week, as well as the workouts. I'm not eating ibuprofen like candy, either.
Every so often, like Shawn Colvin's "Sunny," we have to sit down, take a hard look at what we're doing to ourselves, & make a few small repairs.
Monday, September 13, 2010
I got to the point where I suspected I would make it to, then turned back to catch back up with my wife. Once she caught up with me I turned back around and decided it might be a great idea to get the striders from the assigned workout in at half-mile points; eight 20-second striders over the course of four miles? Should be no problem, right?
The first four or so were wonderful. But once I got to the last two miles of the loop, number five and six reached out to grab my attention. Wasn't that I couldn't get the cadence as high as I needed to...far from it...but I could tell I was starting to get very DRY. Not so much my clothing, but the fluid on my outside wasn't helping my insides a bit. Most everyone who knows me knows I have a heavy sweat rate; I kill unprotected electronics on a regular basis. Ziploc baggies are required uniform items for me...if you can double bag it, so much the better.
I stopped at the dog beach at the bottom of the park - it's a sad state of affairs when your city parks only have working water fountains in the dog areas - to try & rehydrate before walking back up to the car at the top of the hill. Even then, I was in no mood to dawdle at the car. Next stop, the nearest convenience store for a pint of lowfat chocolate milk & a bottle of ginger ale.
So if you don't mind, I'll be heading off to the water fountain now.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I like the idea of being a hands-off coach for an athlete after a year or two. But, like almost every other idea, it's not quite so smooth or comfortable when the reality arrives. Most people are not good at communicating the "why" when it comes time to leave, mostly because they don't like the conflict or wounded feelings which follow. Makes perfect sense to me; because the departures & separations have been traditionally more permanent than temporal I'm the type of person who hates goodbyes of any sort. Even my mother considers me the kind of person who would rather have everyone as my friend. Keep your friends close & your enemies list short.
Donna Reed: [trapped naked in a bush] Shame on you! I'll tell your mother!
Jimmy Stewart: [thoughtfully] My mother's way up on the corner there.
Reed: I'll call the police.
Stewart: They're way downtown. Anyway, they'd be on my side.
Corleone: Where does it say that you can't kill a cop?
Hagen: Come on, Mikey...
Corleone: Tom, wait a minute....I'm talking about a...crooked cop who got mixed up in the rackets & got what was coming to him....
Corleone: And the newspapers might like a story like that.
Hagen: They might, they just might.
Corleone: [to Sonny] It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business.So, you have the choice of emotionally responding to conflict, and hope the antagonist responds in a rational manner. Or you can emotionally detach yourself from what might be described as an unsavory response to a conflict...
But, clear & honest communication between athlete & coach can head off potential conflicts at the pass. It's strictly business.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
To determine your VDOT score, which Daniels explains is an estimate of a runner's VO2max at velocity, you'll need the results of your races (1,500 meters, mile, 3,000 meters, 2-mile, 5,000 meters, 10,000 meters, 15,000 meters, half-marathon or marathon) from the past year or so; if you have a variety, so much the better. Find your time for the particular race on a Daniels VDOT Values Table, then look at the number under the VDOT column. A list of best performances over more than one race distance will provide a more-accurate calculation; if you race more long events, focus on the findings based on those results and not so much on the shorter races. I'm one to err on the side of a lower VDOT score, personally, as your body can adapt to a training intensity that is a little too low better than it can an intensity which is too high. Once you have a VDOT score, a second table shows the training intensities based on that particular score for distances from 200 meters up to the easy/long run for the week, depending on the intensity level. For example, the athlete I talked about when I wrote about heart rate monitors has a VDOT score of 44 based on her recent 5K racing. She's training for a marathon in November - given the right conditions, a VDOT of 44 equals a 3:32 marathon performance prediction, but that's another story. Based on that performance I recommended she run her easy runs & her weekly long run at a sliver over nine minutes per mile. Her runs to prepare her for the pace she'll need to run in the marathon would be a little over eight minutes per mile, & the pace I recommended for tempo runs on the track is a little slower than a 7:30 mile. Once the runner knows their specific paces, they can use one or more of a few good 60-minute workouts for the treadmill-bound runner. I recommend one long run, one tempo & one repeat workout per week, with easy runs filling the remainder of the time available. If the athlete finds the workouts a little difficult based on perceived exertion or heart rate, we adjust the pace/s downward or extend the recovery period a little:
Progressive Tempo - 30 minutes at Easy/Long pace, increase speed by .1 mph every four minutes until Marathon Pace is reached. (Runners training for half-marathon or shorter races can continue on to Threshold pace.)
Long Repeats (improve lactate threshold) - 2 miles at Easy/Long pace, increase to Threshold pace for up to five minutes, followed by Easy/Long pace (recovery) for up to two minutes.
Short Repeats (improve economy and speed) - 2 miles at Easy/Long pace, increase to Rep pace for 30 seconds to one minute, broken up by Easy/Long pace (recovery) for up to two minutes.
How do you know when you're ready to move the intensities higher? Daniels says race performances are the test of when you're ready to move up...under no circumstances does he recommend trying to beat the training intensities for specific efforts.
While many persons will say a treadmill (simulation) workout is not as good as getting out on the road or the track, I consider it an "eighty-percent solution" for those days when the weather conditions are less than optimal or the runner has a limited amount of time available to train.