Running Rewired

Good morning folks!

Super star, running expert, researcher and overall good guy Jay Dicharry has a new book out: Running Rewired. From the latest Run to the Top podcast, it sounds like a researched based approach to injury prevention and performance strengthening guide for runners. If you are like me and love terms like triple extension, neural drive, proximal stability and periodization this maybe a page turning thriller.

My copy is on order and I am sitting in my hands. The anticipation is like the last Harry Potter book.

But in all seriousness, check out the podcast and listen for yourself. I am a big fan of Jay’s first book: Anatomy for Runners. Highly recommended to my patients and clinicians treating or coaching runners.

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2018 Race goals

I’ve seen a fair number of injuries from poor training and poor planning. Most running coaches will ask you to pick an A race – the one race this running season that you want to finish/PR/place then a B race – a race you want to finish/PR/place but not as bad as A race.

You can do more races, just plan accordingly. Is one race too close to another? I always plan no more than one race a month. As good as I am to sticking to a training plan, I am a competitor. I know for myself that if it is a race, I am all in. No holding back. So I give myself a month in-between races to recover and prepare for the next one. The exception is if I am using a race to prep for the next one. For example doing a 10K two weeks before doing a 10 miler would seem appropriate if you have enough miles down for the 10 miler.

Here is my plan so far for 2018:

A) St. Michael’s Half Marathon May 19

B) Annapolis 10 miler  August 19

A few other races on my list:

Spartan Sprint May 12 in DC. Anyone interested in putting together a group? May 12

Spartan_Race_logo

Dawnson’s Father’s Day 10K  June 17

Wyoming Buffalo Stampede 10K (great race in Wyoming Delaware) July 21

I am sure there will be a few more on my list. What is your A race and B race? Any other fun races out there?

First Crossfit Workout

I hope everyone had a great Holiday weekend. While spending time at my in-laws this past weekend, I had the opportunity to try out CrossFit at Crossfit 1806 in Smyrna, DE.

It was so fun! So I hate the gym: the traditional big box gym with the set of lined up cardio equipment, the TVs all around, the meat heads grunting around the dumbbells and making all sorts of bedroom sounds. It just sucks. But I advocate all runners should be lifting weights, doing something outside the realm of running, biking, swimming. Not only does it help prevent injury, but it also helps performance.

Here is a nice break down from a more recent study (out of the hundreds of thousands of studies) that demonstrates this truth: STRENGTH TRAINING FOR MIDDLE- AND LONG-DISTANCE PERFORMANCE: A META-ANALYSIS

YMLSPORTSCIENCE does a great job with his info-graphics on the basics of the article.

  1. Resistance training shows moderate improvement for middle and long distance performance.
  2.  Maximal exertion and intensity leads to better outcomes vs other intensities.
  3. It doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of athletic performance. Everyone benefits.
  4. Resistance training makes you more efficient and overall more fit.
  5. The evidence suggest a minimum of 2x a week for 24 sessions to show improvement.

Here is why I loved this CrossFit workout:

1. It was fun. It was called the 12 days of Christmas. Each day corresponds with the number of reps. You work with a partner alternating the days until you reach day 12. It was cumulative, meaning by day 12, you and your partner are running through the whole list.

  • Day 1- rope climb
  • Day 2 – squat and overhead press
  • Day 3 – pistol squat
  • Day 4 – power clean
  • Day 5 – toe to bar
  • Day 6 – KB swings
  • Day 7 – KB Snatch
  • Day 8 – Pullups, strict
  • Day 9 – Box jumps
  • Day 10 – ball to wall
  • Day 11 – Burpess
  • Day 12 – Weight lunges

2. Everyone works together. It is a community in the truest sense. I was the new guy and I got high fives, fist bumps and cheers. The guy that was my partner turned out to be someone my wife went to high school with.

3. Equal opportunity. Check out the picture. It is equal men and women, all age ranges, all levels of fitness.

4. Coach Michael is a stickler for form and technique. Exercises were only available to me if I could demonstrate them. I couldn’t do any of the barbell stuff since it was my first time, but at least I could modify with the kettlebells.

Here is a Facebook Live video of how the fun chaos went down: https://www.facebook.com/1806Crossfit/videos/1487631508022381/

Foot and Ankle Mobility

We all seem to age from the bottom up. Your feet and ankles get stiff, the calves get weaker, the knees hurt, then the hip, etc. Some of my older sedentary patients walk with absolutely no plantar flexion because they can’t. They cannot get up on their toes. They have to pick up their feet using their hip flexors and they wonder why their back hurts.

Here is how I keep my feet loose and comfortable:

  1. Every morning I roll my feet out with a LAX ball.
  2. 3 way heel raises throughout the day
  3. Work the soleus with wall sit heel raises. This is specific to my own individual right calf weakness. But the soleus is surprisingly a very necessary muscle and does take on a lot of force absorption and arch control in 70 to 90 % of the stance phase of running.
  4. Find comfortable shoes that allow your foot and toes to spread out. See previous post.

If I had a hard run or if they at sore:

  1. Roll out the calves. Here are the various ways that you can do that
  2. Stretch the gastrocsoleus complex, ankle capsule and plantar fascia.

Here is a nice < 2 min video on the process. Thanks Kayla for being a great tech and model.

Stocking stuffers for runners

Winter warriors : that is what I call runners who can keep running through the winter. This weekend I am with the family in Boston and already I have already seen 5 runners out getting their miles in with a high of 35 today.

Here our my favorite stocking stuffers for those winter warriors:

1. Lacrosse balls – they are cheap, fun to bounce and the perfect tool for loosening up stiff feet, sore spots, crinks in necks and low backs.

2. Socks – every runner loves a good pair of running socks. My favorite are Belega Socks and Swiftwicks.

3. Good SPF 30 lip balm. Try Rocket Pure.

4. The Stick – no explanation needed here.

5. Yoga strap – to really get a good stretch.

6. Head lamp – an essential part of winter training because it gets dark so early.

7. Foam Roller – everyone needs one of these.

8. Jay’s book Anatomy for Runners – the best guide out there for runners going through injuries or for those looking to avoid injuries.

9. Spikes to keep from slipping on the ice. I have tried yaktraks. They are a little bit too clumsy for running but work great on boots for hiking or for walking the dog. I recommend using a kit like icespiketm or getting some small sheet metal screws to put on your shoes. Here is a good video on it. Fleet Feet offered a service like this last year as well.

10. A good Gaiter – these are great since they can be used to just cover your neck, head and neck and/ or around your nose to help keep the air moist while you warm up. I discovered these two years ago and love mine. They are also great to keep around your wrist in the summer to wipe sweat.

How to make sure your shoes are not crushing your feet

When I was training for my first Annapolis 10 miler a few years ago, I was running in Nike Frees. They were great, especially the Flyknits. I still wear them to  walk the dog (a.k.a the graveyard for my running shoes). I also used them to slowly, over a 4 month period, transition from a neutral shoe to the Vibram five fingers.  At the time of the race, I was doing 3-4 miles in the Vibrams, but anything over 6 miles I would wear the Frees. Two days after the race, my left big toe was so painful right at the MTP joint, I could barely walk. What was more interesting was that it didn’t hurt to walk barefoot and it didn’t hurt to run in my Vibrams.  Conclusion: The Nikes were too narrow for my feet. As my wife says, I got monkey feet. I do have enough dexterity to peel a banana with these toes.

After hosting the Healthy Running course at Anne Arundel Medical Center and having my feet measured appropriately by the good folks at Fleet Feet, I came to the conclusion I need a shoe with a wide toe box.

An easy way to assess if your shoe is too narrow for you is to take out the insole and step on it. Does your big toe or any part of your foot hang over the edge of the insole as you balance your full weight into it? Does your insole accommodate the natural splaying out of your toes? I ended up running the Army 10 miler 5 weeks later in some Altra’s with no toe problems (however I did get an IT Band issue, but more on that later).

Update with pictures on how to assess shoe width (excuse my winter dry feet):

 

 

10 Running shoes with a wide toe box:

  1. Altra’s *
  2. Asics 33-FA
  3. Brook’s Ghost*
  4. Hoka one
  5. New Balance Fresh Foam 1080
  6. Topo Athletics*
  7. Vibrams *
  8. Mizuno Wave Rider
  9.  Brooks Addiction (walking shoe)
  10. Xero Prio
  • Shoes I own

Finding time to run

It is not always easy to find time for yourself. Being a supervisor of a busy clinic, father to a very active toddler, dog owner, cat bitch, I have responsibilities. Yesterday was beautiful. 62 degrees and sunny and I ran. My patients have helped me realize that running is a gift. I run to clear my head. I run because I respect my body. I run for my patients who can’t run. I run for inspiration to be an example of living a healthy lifestyle. It felt great!