Tri Coach Tuesday: Prevent Injuries and Extend Your season

by Coach Nicole Odell, NEO Endurance Sports

 

Endurance athletes often get overuse injuries. We want to do too much too soon, throw in too much speed work or just log way more miles than the muscles and joints can handle. The body will try to adapt, but if it’s too much, it will protest. The protest usually starts with soreness and tightness, and if ignored, will end in injury.

The keys to preventing injuries are maintaining strong muscles, especially surrounding the joints for stability, proper muscle firing for good mechanics/movement patterns, and flexibility to allow the joints proper mobility.

Even if you are a busy athlete juggling 8 to 10 hours of training a week, or even higher loads of 12-15 hours, does it make sense to work in 30-45 minutes of prevention or “pre-hab” as it is often called into those 10 hours? I can guarantee your fitness will not suffer and you will be better off for it.

Here are some things to make sure you have in your overall training schedule to aid in injury prevention.

 

The Warm-Up
Ease into your training and “wake-up” your muscles to get the blood flowing to them.  Dynamic warm-ups and active stretches are great, as are neuromuscular activation exercises. 5-10 minutes before your run can get those muscles ready to fire in the proper movement patterns. A warm-up routine that is also a strength session that I give to my athletes is from Jay Johnson. I did this routine before every run when I was training for the LA marathon and finished with a negative split and no injury.

 

Strength Training
Strength training is very important! This doesn’t necessarily mean get you have to get to the gym and push weights around, although there are benefits to doing that. Keeping the core and hip girdle strong are key. The scapular stabilizers are also good ones to work on.

If you have 20 minutes two or three times a week you can get in fantastic and effective core and hip stability exercises. My recommendation is to get the book You Are Your Own Gym by Mark Lauren or get the smartphone app. Start with the beginner program, especially if you haven’t done much recent strength training, and you’ll be surprised on how amazing the workouts are.

 

Another thing you can do is get a strength assessment from a sports medicine authority so they can look at those key hip, glute, and core muscles and tell you your weaknesses so you can address those. If you sit at a desk all day, you probably have a weak butt, and a strong butt goes a long way in endurance sports!

 

Post-Workout Recovery
Say you are going for a tempo run over your lunch break. Take the last 5 or 10 minutes of the run and gradually slow down your pace so you finish with very easy running and then walk for a bit. You can then finish up with some stretching (static stretching is OK here, but dynamic stretches like leg swings are great, too) before heading back to your desk. Cutting the run short by five minutes to get in a proper cool down will not affect your fitness.

 

The Recovery Day
Another aspect of recovery is the healing part away from training. Your schedule should have some easy days built in, or complete rest day. Your body needs a break from the training stress. On your easy day find a yoga class to take.  If you don’t want to go to a yoga studio, try netflix, YouTube, or yogavibes.com. At a minimum, learn some key hip & shoulder stretches and do those on your own. In fact, 10-20 minutes of yoga poses in front of the TV while you are winding down for the night can be wonderful for recovery, joint mobility, and injury prevention.

 

There are other recovery modalities that can be used and are important for injury prevention and performance (massage, chiropractic, …) but in the realm of injury prevention, I feel the above are most critical, especially for the time-limited athlete. We want to get fitter, faster, and stronger, and to do that with a reduced chance of injury, swap out a few minutes each day of training time to ensure you are getting in a good warm-up, cool down and recovery, and are incorporating strength sessions into your plan. You’ll feel better, stronger, and probably race better, too.

 

Complete article here

New Year. New Product. New You. Alison Freeman reviews Footbeat

By Alison Freeman

We’ve all been there: It’s Friday, you’ve just finished a tough bike ride, your legs feel like lead, and your coach / training plan has two more daunting workouts on your calendar before you get a recovery day. My prior solution to this problem was to stare longingly at TrainingPeaks, in hopes that if I blinked my eyes quickly enough the recovery day would magically move up and I could breathe a sigh of relief. Shockingly, despite dozens of attempts, it has never worked.

This is exactly the situation I found myself in when my favorite person ever – the UPS delivery lady – rang my doorbell to deliver my Footbeats. I had high hopes that some quality Footbeat time would help me survive until the long-awaited recovery day, and I’m happy to say that Footbeat did not disappoint.

WHAT IS IT?

Footbeat is a pair of moccasins that house insoles that house a little engine-driven bubble, which compresses your arch which then increases circulation and therefore removes metabolic waste – including lactate, which is also known as: the reason your legs feel like crap. Tiny little engine, big freakin’ deal.

Another way to think about Footbeat is that they’ve taken the recovery benefits associated with sequential compression devices (a.k.a., recovery boots) and stuffed those benefits into a smaller, more portable product. Cool, right?

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?

If you’re like me – getting older but convinced you can get faster and beat the pants off your younger self – then you know how important recovery is to your training. Recovery is what allows you to execute your workouts day in and day out and to handle continued increases in weekly training volume and intensity.

As far as recovery products go, Footbeat is your best bet for a cost effective, easy to use, portable recovery solution. You can pop ‘em on for 30 minutes pre-workout, while you drink coffee and catch up on email. And then you can pop ‘em on for 30-60 minutes post-workout, while you download and review your workout details, drink a recovery shake, and answer some more emails. Even more exciting, you can pop ‘em on as soon as you board your flight for your “A” race, wear them the entire time (depending on how long the flight is), and minimize the fatiguing impact of air travel on your legs.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Let me tackle this question in three different ways …

First Question: How does the concept work? As in, how does a little engine-driven bubble in a moccasin promote recovery?

Start with the idea that your circulatory system drives your ability to rebound from tough training days because it delivers products to your muscles that promote repair and recovery. So: increase circulation, speed up recovery.

The question then is, how do you increase circulation? One option is walking – apparently there’s a pump in your foot that stimulates circulation in your legs as you walk. OR you can replicate this exact same foot pump and the corresponding circulatory increase by sitting around and wearing your Footbeats. Hence: sit around and eat bon bons (or maybe a kale salad), speed up recovery.

So, yeah, that’s how the concept works.

Second Question: How does the product work? As in, what buttons do you push to make it go?

It’s actually super simple. You pull out the insoles to charge them using the provided charging cord – a full charge takes about an hour, and you can just leave the insoles on the charger any time you’re not wearing them so they’re always ready to go. When you’re ready for a little Footbeat pre-workout warm up or post-workout recovery, slide the insoles into the moc’s, open up the Footbeat app, (yup, there’s an app for that), and hit “Start.” (You do need to pair the app to your Footbeat before your first use, but that’s just a matter of hitting “Pair” and waiting a few seconds.)

Once you’re going, the bubbles in your arches will inflate every 20 seconds, and all you gotta do is let it happen. They work best when seated, as there’s a little counter-pressure from the floor that helps really stimulate your foot pump. You can get up and walk around if you want to refill your water bottle or grab a snack, and your insoles will note the change in pressure and (usually) stop inflating until you sit back down. (I have noticed that sometimes one foot or the other will think I’m standing when I’m not, and removing all pressure from the bottom of that foot will get it going again.) I’ve even worn my Footbeat while driving to/from workouts, although I’m not sure if that’s totally above board or not.

So, yeah, that’s how the product works.

Final Question: How *well* does the product work?

Often assessing the benefits of a recovery product are tricky, especially if you don’t have sophisticated lab equipment or – even better – a time machine, so you can test your recovery from a given workout both with and without using the product. Footbeat actually has a pretty nifty protocol for testing their product, which both my uber-skeptical husband and I tried out during a 4-hour flight a few days after getting our Footbeats. We each put on only one Footbeat for 30 minutes, then got up and walked around. I’ll be darned if the Footbeat leg didn’t feel noticeably different for both of us – lighter and lacking the obvious fatigue in the non-Footbeat leg.

So, yeah, I’m going to say the product works pretty well.

HOW DO I GET STARTED?

You can set yourself up with a pair of Footbeat direct from the company. They offer a 30-day risk-free purchase option, so what’s stopping you?

Halo free, but a long way to go

By Herbert Krabel  From Slowtwitch.com

 

A terrible accident a few days before the 2017 IRONMAN World Championships took Brit Tim Don out of the race. The Halo (seen below) finally came off, but he is still a long way from being fully recovered. I chatted with him to see how he is doing and what is next.

Slowtwitch: Tim, how are you my friend?

Tim Don: Very happy and a bit stiff, but mostly happy. Halo free and loving it. Just unbelievable really. It has been a tough 3 months for us all, that’s for sure.

ST: The Halo time must have seemed like an eternity.

Tim: Yep it did seem like an eternity – 12 weeks to the day since the car hit me on the Queen K three days before the race. The nights were the toughest especially early on when I was not really sleeping longer than 60 minutes at a time. But onwards and upwards, it is off and I can move on to the next stage of my rehab and move a bit more as well.

ST: How did you sleep with that contraption?

Tim: Not so good to be honest, the first 3 weeks I slept in a chair, upright. As the brace came half way down my back and front, any pressure from leaning back on it put extra force on my screws, which were rather painful. At about 3 weeks I was off all the strong prescription pain killers and moved back upstairs back into a bed, but again upright with about 4 big pillows. The problem with all of these sleeping positions was my legs, they were just pooling with blood and swelling up big time even with compression socks and tights on, and it was neither good nor comfy. At about five weeks we decided to try a bed that can move up and down both for your head and legs and wow, I could sleep a full night! Still upright but as my legs were elevated they felt so much better. Now the Halo is off and within three days I was flat on my back and so happy. Simple things.

 

ST: So what is next on the road to recovery?

 

Read the complete interview here

Original 303Triathlon post from October 2017 here

Iron Deficiency, Anemia and Endurance Athletes

From Training Peaks

Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia are hot topics in many endurance athlete’s circles. Iron, specifically low levels of it, is often linked to feelings of exhaustion and poor recovery.

Iron is a critical nutritional component for all individuals, but is particularly important for athletes, due to the important role it plays in oxygen transportation to working muscles.

Let’s take a closer look at what Iron deficiency and anemia are and how endurance athletes can take charge of their iron consumption to ensure healthy levels during training.

What are Iron and Anemia?

Iron is an essential component of hemoglobin, the protein that carries both oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. It also plays a key role in the transfer of oxygen in muscle cells. ATP, the body’s primary energy source, is also produced with the help of iron.

It’s an essential mineral, as our bodies don’t produce it naturally, so we have to get it from diet or supplementation to ensure we meet our nutritional needs. It’s clear to see how critical iron is for the endurance athlete, but what does it mean to have an iron deficiency?

Iron deficiency is the world’s most common nutritional disorder in both athletes and non-athletes1. Anemia is very simply a lack of iron in the blood. Furthermore, it means that hemoglobin levels are low…

Read the full article

Update from Matt Russell

From Matt’s Instagram: (@mattrusselltri)

Feeling very grateful today. God truly gave me another chance in life.
I have my family, I can walk, the sharpness of my mind is starting to come back. I am physically and very emotionally hurt and shaken up but thankful for so many things. You can not see in the photo but I have stitches on the side of my neck over 7 inches long which was life threatening. Thank you for all of the people that were at the scene that quickly responded to me as I would not be here if it wasn’t for you. Always nice to have my friend and now Ironman World Champ @PatrickLange come visit me. Congrats to all on the day and remember each day truly is a gift from God. Thank you all for the support and even donating. I’m sure everyone has lots of questions but right now I’m going to spend my time with my family and recovering. I’ll try keep everyone updated on this as much as I can. Each day is truly a gift from God.

Three Quick Foam Rolling Tips

By Kate Ripley
From the blog of Boulder Bodyworker

It’s foam roller clinic season and here are a few pointers we like to throw out to participants to answer some FAQ’s….

1) If you are pressed for time, foam rolling post-activity is a more economical use of your time. 10 minutes to roll glutes, hamstrings, quads and low back are usually a great and semi-easy routine to commit to.

2) DO NOT waste your time rolling your IT bands. The muscle that regulates the tightness of your IT band is actually between the ASIS (top bump on your pelvis) and the greater trochanter (head of your hip), it’s name is the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) A more efficient use of your time and energy is to get a lacrosse ball, stand near a wall and put the ball on the wall at the correct height for the TFL and lean your leg/hip/TFL into the ball–with your weight off the leg being worked. We have a video here on the the website showing how to do this…or check out our YouTube channel.

3) Foam rollers are not all created the same. The white foam (in our estimation) can break down and become too squishy very quickly. Which negates their effectiveness. They are great for beginners who are new to rolling, but be aware you will need to graduate to the more firm rollers about 3-4 months after purchasing.

Our fave rollers are the 36-inch, black polystyrene rollers. Fave retailer is Amazon, here’s the link.

Here’s why. The black rollers are made of a firmer/dense foam roller that lasts quite a long time, even with dedicated usage. The size that we chose is due to the fact that you can do more things with the longer version. Our favorite move that demonstrates this best is, when lying with the foam roller parallel to the spine, with one end resting where your skull and spine meet (occipital ridge) and the other end resting at your sacrum (base of the spine) A very small movement (2-3 inches) back and forth (left to right) to each side of the spine is the most awesome feeling and release after a long day on your feet, after a run, long drive, etc. We like to stretch our arms out to each side to stabilize ourselves and open the chest a bit. Throw in some deep breaths and stay here for as long as you like, but at least 2 minutes to give the muscles a chance to “let go.” Try it and let us know what you think next time you are in.

Cheers!

Restore, Regenerate and Recover

Monday Feb, 20

THE FAST LAB, Centennial

 

Join us for this FREE workshop to learn how to best RECOVER from your training and racing. Proper recovery accelerates regeneration, decreases fatigue and enhances recovery. Learn and practice self massage and dynamic stretching techniques designed to help speed recovery by increasing blood flow, relaxing nerves and loosening muscle.
Details and Registration Here

Simple Recovery Strategies For Everyone

By Nicole Odell

http://neoendurancesports.com/simple-recovery-strategies-everyone/

SIMPLE RECOVERY STRATEGIES FOR EVERYONE

I’ve been thinking about recovery strategies a bit lately. It’s something we often neglect (I’m guilty as the next person) as we’re rushing from here to there, to get in the early morning workout, then the kids ready for school, then off to work, then errands, then whatever else we have for the day. We focus on the specific details of our training and our intervals rather than how we are going to recover from said intervals after the fact. But if performance at any level is your goal, meaning you want to give the best performance that you can and stay as healthy as possible, you have to make time for recovery.

1. Prioritize sleep. If you are going to try anything on this list, do this. Are you watching TV, scrolling through facebook, or doing something otherwise not critical before bed? If so, unplug, unwind, and get to bed early. Even if you’re not an endurance athlete, get your sleep! Here are some sleep tips from the National Sleep Foundation.

2. Be Mindful of Nutrition. I’m not talking about counting calories, but rather simply eat your fruits and veggies. Choose real, whole foods over processed. After a hard workout, have a recovery snack ready to go. If you are having a hard time figuring out where you might need to make changes, track what you eat for a week or so on an app like MyFitnessPal.com. A little tedious at first, but it can be eye opening. Eat the donut, but also eat the dark leafy greens. Fuel the machine with quality.

3. Build recovery into your workout time. This might be hard, because if we have an hour to run over lunch, we want to run for that hour. But then we get back to our desk and can tighten up. So run for 50 minutes and then stretch for 10. Your body will thank you.

4. Take a restorative yoga class. If anything, this will force you to slow down for 60-90 minutes each week. Put it on your recovery day, or an easy day of training. It does a mind and body good. Don’t want to get to a yoga studio, search YouTube or check outYogaVibes.com. I know it’s “one more thing” but in our fast-paced world, a little slow time is a good thing.

5. Foam roll regularly. Or at least get regular massages. When I foam roll and stretch regularly (often just right before bed), I sleep better and my body feels better. 10-15 minutes on a regular basis to work out any kinks can be all you need.

6. Take time to appreciate what you can do. Take five minutes each morning while you have coffee instead of checking social media, or the five minutes before you start your pre-sleep routine, write down what you are grateful for that day or week. This might not be a training recovery strategy, but it’ll put you in a more positive mindset, which goes a long way in terms of general health. Here are some tips on keeping a gratitude journal.

You don’t even have to be an endurance athlete to apply the above tips for general “life” recovery and to feel better. Recovery isn’t a side thought, something to squeeze in, but rather an important part of everyday healthy living for everyone.