6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

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The Ultimate Guide to Compression

The Ultimate Guide to Compression

It has been a while, and I have a ton of ideas that I am anxiously awaiting to share with you. Unfortunately, time has been getting away from me. Between training myself, a full-time job and being at capacity with 15 individual clients I am struggling for time to post. I promise I will figure out a way to make time. I am so lucky to have such great people to bounce ideas off of, that sometimes, by not posting, I feel like I am letting all of you down, so I promise to post more even if the posts end up being a lot shorter than usual. (Which the length is probably not your favorite part of it anyway. I know I ramble.)

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my personal opinion of compression, a disclaimer.
I am not a medical professional. The opinions that are shared on this post come from research, my own experiences and the experiences of athletes I have personally witnessed and information I have researched. Every athlete/person has a different body and some products and/or methodologies may be advantageous for some and may even be dangerous for others. This post deals with my beliefs and my research. (Was that clear?)

Lately, most of the questions from other athletes, including clients of mine, have asked about compression. This usually centers around calf sleeves, but does include some of the other compression apparel as well.  My answer is usually, for recovery and for temporary use they are great, but not for training.   Why?  Great question.

I am going to use calf sleeves as my example.

While running, biking, swimming or any major activity using the legs, the muscles are constantly in motion.  That motion is what naturally makes the muscles stronger.  The muscle moves and is loaded with either more repetitions, or with weight.  The full range of motion of each muscle is imperative to the strengthening of the muscle.  Compression holds that muscle in place and limits the movement therefore limiting the range of motion.  While compressed the muscle cannot fully develop while training.   Let’s take a look at the anatomy of the lower leg in the running position.

As you can see the gastrocnemius muscle and Achilles tendon, when the knee is flexed, both constrict and then elongate when the knee straightens.  Here is the epitome of the range of motion naturally occurring when running.  The more flexion and constriction that take place the more they are stretched causing the breakdown of the fibers.  After the recovery period the fibers wrap tighter and in more abundance aiding in a strength and endurance.  Now imagine that gastrocnemius muscle remaining constricted due to a calf sleeve.  It seems to me that this would dictate that it would not have full range of motion also causing the Achilles tendon to remain stretched without the full ability to absorb the impact.  This could unintentionally damage the Achilles tendon, the gastronemius muscle and the soleus muscle.  If not damage, it will limit the ability to be strengthened.  This is why I personally do not recommend calf sleeves during training workouts.

Recovery
I do however do not mind wearing compression while in recovery to include immediately following the cool down of a workout.  I mentioned the healing of the fibers earlier.  In order for the fibers to heal and become stronger after the breakdown, blood must be pumped through the muscle and with it water for hydration.  Compression does help to isolate that area helping to keep the majority of the blood and water being pumped through the body to the point of  the compression.  With the legs either elevated or even walking around and at that point limiting the movement, it would allow for the blood to pool in that area helping to re-hydrate the muscle thereby helping to heal faster.  In turn, an occasional training run or race, with compression at the tail end of an injury, might also benefit, but in a very limited quantity, and duration.

Carpe Vitam! 

IronGoof

The Goof Guppy – Swimprove #2

The Goof Guppy – Swimprove #2

In my recent post, Effortless Swimming-Goof Out#1, I gave a summary of the introductory lesson in Effortless Swimming’s Mastering Freestyle Course.  This course is located within the Swimprove program hosted by Brenton Ford and his Australian company Effortless Swimming.  I continued with that lesson for a week which was dedicated to balance and streamlining within the water, and I recently continued with lessons 1 & 2.

Lesson 1 was specifically geared to the feel of rotating from your hips.  I did this workout 3 times and I want to nickname it the Core Killer.  I never thought working out in the pool with so little movement would cause such a tightness in my abs and core, but nevertheless, my abs, obliques, quads and hammies where a little tight the next day.  It consisted of 1800 meters of drills, plus a warm-up and cool down making it 2400 meters total.

The Workout

WU: 300m any stroke
MS: 300m Kick on side w/ shoulder to chin
300m Kick on side w/ hand-to-face
300m Kick on side w/ switch
300m Kick on side w/ arms at side
300m Kick on side w/ arms across chest
300m Kick on side w/ blockhead arms
CD:300m Easy Free

I do not have a strong kick, so I continued to use my Zoomer fins to reduce my worry of propulsion since I knew that was not the focus of the workout.  Lucky for me, Brenton actually suggests the use of fins in both the written material and the videos that accompany this course.

Throughout the workout, I noticed that when it was more difficult to rotate from my hips, I was not streamlined, however when I engaged just my core, and lengthened myself, rotating the hips became a lot smoother and I did move faster to the other end of the pool.  I also learned more about breathing, because when you have one shoulder out of the water and you are look at the bottom of the pool, once in a while it is nice to turn your head and breathe.  The breath is quick, so I started to breathe out during the drill and breathe in when I rotated.  This was never natural for me and I know it caused a lot of anxiety for me.  It still isn’t natural, but it makes a lot more sense.  Once I finish the lessons, I will be able to develop a relaxing pattern with this new revelation.

Lesson 2 added the arms.  I kept the fins with these drills, but because there were only three drills, I dropped them afterwards and swam one thousand meters without them.  I was still slow, but I noticed it was quite a bit easier.  I also developed a patter of breathing for myself, which I still am not consistent with but, when my position is streamlined and I am keeping a high elbow, it is a lot easier with the new breathing patter. It makes for an interesting alert.  If I begin to feel like my breathing pattern is off, most likely it is because my swimming technique as fallen apart.

The Workout

WU: 300m any stroke
MS: 300m Shark Fin Drill with pause & return
300m Shark Fin Drill with practice entry
300m Shark Fin Drill with switch
10×100 Free Form Focus
CD: 300m Easy Free

This weekend will be the test.  My first triathlon of the season is Sunday at the HITS Ocala Olympic Triathlon.  I still have one more module of the Mastering Freestyle Course, but that will have to wait for next week.  I am going to use my last workout this week to continue with the lesson 2 drills.  We will see what happens. I am really excited

You can checkout the Swimprove program at www.swimprove.com

Carpe Viam!

Don’t Swim in Open Water

Don’t Swim in Open Water

Unfortunately, the triathlon season started on a tragic note this past weekend at the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. Not long after diving into the frigid 50-degree waters of the San Francisco Bay, 46-year-old Ross Ehlinger, from Austin, Texas, suffered a fatal heart attack despite the heroic attempts made by the San Francisco EMS.
Unfortunately, Ehilnger was not the first to die of heart problems in the open water swim portion of the Escape From Alcatraz Triathlontriathlon. Deaths have been on the increase in triathlons and the vast majority of them occurring during the open water swim leg. This post is not intended to scare into never swimming in open water or ever competing in triathlons, but provide information about the precautions to prevent these types of accidents from occurring.
1. Check yourself: If there is knowledge of health and/or heart problems or genetic predisposition to cardiac irregularities, get cleared by a physician before starting a training program and then again before racing.  An EKG(Electrocardiogram) will depict any irregularities that may be cause for concern.
2. Warm up: Enter the water before the start to acclimate to the water temperature. If it is not an option, do jumping jacks, push-ups or jump squats to get the blood pumping. 
3. Prior Wetsuit Swimming: If this is the initial open swim in a wetsuit, make sure to get some experience swimming in it to understand its somewhat constricting feel. Even a few laps in the pool helps.
4. Practice in open water: Open water swimming is very different from swimming in a pool and can be quite frightening  It is therefore important to get some experience in open water; it might help unburden the uneasiness and nerves. Make sure to swim with others and there is a lifeguard nearby.
5. Work on the mental game prior to the next open water triathlon. There are a lot of things people tend to stress about, but with a little mental preparation, most situations that appear will not come as a surprise and can be dealt with.
These are a few small details I have gathered from Kevin Koskella, Tri Swim Coach, which are mostly common sense, at least to most triathletes, but if it can help one athlete be more prepared, I will quote Kevin and every other swim coach until my fingers fall off. (Then I’ll use my toes, and then my tongue.)
There have been deaths surrounding not just triathlon, but marathons and other endurance races as well.  In my opinion it comes to preparedness.  Evaluating skill, fitness and injury should take president over our ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ attitude.
Of course after the evaluation is complete and the fear of finishing has been quelled, ‘GHGH’ is  a great mind frame.

“Just don’t DO IT…Do It RIGHT!” 

Carpe Viam!