So, How Many Hats Do You Wear?

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Pensacola, Florida, United States
Husband. *Dog Dad.* Instructional Systems Specialist. Runner. (Swim-challenged) Triathlete (on hiatus). USATF LDR Surveyor. USAT (Elite Rules) CRO/2, NTO/1. RRCA Rep., FL (North). Observer Of The Human Condition.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Letter From A Friend...

Every once in a while friends and classmates from the great beyond touch base with me, either through social networking sites like Facebook or shoot me a direct e-mail. Every so often it's just to say hello and make certain we're both still alive and running. Once in a blue moon it's a business call. Today, I did my Lucy Van Pelt ("Peanuts") thing and switched my "invisible sign" to say, 'the doctor is in.'

This time, the "patient" is my close friend, Chuck. Followers of this blog know him fairly well; Chuck is the guy I took out for pizza and beer one evening ("Two Runners Walk Into A Pizza Joint") when he came into town...we were going to go run on the beach, then said, 'stuff it. Pizza and beer is more important.' He's the guy who hooked me up with Tiger Jimmy down on Broadway in San Diego, who gave me my first tattoo. No good deed goes unrewarded, I always say.

Chuck asks:

Hey Brother, how you be? Got a question for you. As I start to increase my mileage on the treadmill I am finding my legs more and more fatigued - complaining when I am going up countless ladders and that kind of thing. I'm sure I am missing something in my diet, perhaps potassium, perhaps carbs, not sure. I am only doing about 20 - 25 miles per week and not really pushing the pace too much. Any suggestions on something I might be lacking and how I can get it? I know the question might be kinda vague but I wanted to throw it at you for fun. Maybe I am just getting old? I don't want to add any calories to my diet as I am starting to drop unwanted fat (about 9 pounds now) and would still like to drop another 7 pounds or so. The mess tries to keep fresh fruit for us but the variety is limited - oranges, papaya, avocado and some more exotic stuff like dragon fruit but no bananas. I am eating lots of veggies and really not much junk at all outside of a couple cookies or a bit of chocolate every now and again.

Hope all is well on your end. We don't get to talk much any more but I do see your postings on Facebook when the morale fascists allow us internet connectivity. Anyway thanks for any suggestions, I am off to get my midnight meal. Then to the gym for my "treadmiles."

So, what would I do in this situation?

Chuck doesn't say specifically whether the leg fatigue is calf, quadriceps or hamstring-related, but it might be both a combination of whatever else he does as part of his work tramping around on all those nasty nonskid surfaces, his diet (which actually sounds better than this ol' coach's) and maybe his run routine.

Three things I recommended:

1. Compression wear - when not running, a pair of calf sleeves or tights will help keep the muscles warm and secure, as well as discourage the blood from remaining down in the lower limbs.

2. Diet modifications - his diet is loaded with fruits and veggies, but it's possible he's not hydrating enough. The microtears which occur in muscles undergoing hard training - and in Chuck's case, real life - might need a little help in repair. This can possibly be covered by adding a little more lean chicken, fish, or beef, or mixing whole grains and legumes to make a whole protein. I don't think a little junk food every now and then is a bad long as it's a "little."

3. Change of pace - Exactly that. Put a little kick in the treadmill workouts by changing the elevation of the deck; an increase in elevation can be countered by slowing the belt's pace a little...the cardiovascular system still gets its work, but the muscles are worked a little differently. It's kind of like doing barbell curls with the hands at different positions on the bar, or doing dumbell curls, or doing hammer curls (the ones where the wrist and forearm are rotated during the curl). Same thing, only a little different.

The diet and hydration issue is probably the easiest to change, so I would try it first. If that doesn't work, then I would make a change to the treadmill workout, compression stuff would be last.

When looking for a solution, the smallest or most inexpensive changes are usually the most effective. And if they don't work, then you haven't lost any money on the implementation.

Cheers, brother!

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