Saturday, August 25, 2012

Low Carb for Athletes

Sound familiar?  "supplementing with simple carbs effectively turns off one's ability to access fat stores and use them for fuel"

Very Low Carb Performance with Peter Attia

Conventional wisdom says you need to eat lots of carbs to exercise. As you probably know that’s not true. But how low carb can you go — and are there even benefits to performance from eating extremely low carb?
Peter Attia is a medical doctor and an endurance athlete. He’s learned from the world’s biggest experts on keto-adaptation (such as dr Stephen Phinney) and in the last few years he has relentlessly self-experimented.
Here dr Attia shares his insights on very low carb (ketogenic) diets and physical and mental performance.  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Foot Strengthening by Mobility WOD

K Star and Brian fly through these mobility movements that are great lower leg looseners.  Watch this video a few times to get the gist, and find your own nightly mobility movements that work for you.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Polar RC3

This watch looks pretty awesome.  I've had such good luck with Garmin products that I feel some brand loyalty, but the price is right on this Polar device!   
Today Polar announced their new RC3 integrated GPS watch – the first fully integrated GPS watch coming from Polar.  This unit primarily targets runners with a bit of cycling, though it can also be used in some multi-sport scenarios.
And for clarification, here’s a quick refresher on similar sounding watches from Polar:
Polar RC3 = This watch, simplified running watch with integrated GPS Polar RCX3 = Simplified running watch (not GPS integrated, but supports G5 GPS pod) Polar RCX5 = Triathlon focused/advanced watch (not GPS integrated, but supports G5 GPS pod)


"First Look" style review here

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Crossover Gait

Just be more stable!  The first time I considered where (in relation to our hips) our feet should fall is while watching "Running the Sahara".  In this documentary, the elite, amazing runners complained that in running in the desert, they would frequently have to run in the tire track of the support vehicle.  That meant their feet would follow a narrow line and that was contrary to their normal running style.  That comment rang in my head while i'd run i'd purposely "straddle" sidewalk seams to ensure my feet landed below the hip sockets from whence they sprout.   

I know my efforts in a slightly wider landing led to my 5km PR - there are indisputable torsional benefits gained by not crossing over. 

Walk on a piece of string or along a seam in the concrete or walk on the lane dividing lines on your local high school or college track. What happens ? If you walk on a single line you will find yourself more unstable as compared to walking with a foot fall directly under your hips and knees the way it is supposed to occur. The limbs are a pendulum and economy and biomechanical efficiency as well as injury reduction will occur when the parts operate in the most effective manner.
We have all of our cross over runners, as you see her doing in the first half of this video before she corrects to anti-cross over (ie. natural), first walk on a line. In our case we use the metal drainage grate outside our office that you see in the video for just that purpose, they walk the grate. Then they run the grate. We ask them to feel ....... want to read the rest ? head over to our blog here for the entire article.

Here are the other related cross over links here on youtube:
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

^^Thanks Gait Guys for articulating what I had to learn the hard way :)

This Is America's Sugar Addiction - An Infographic

Nursing Your Sweet Tooth
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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Improve Running Performance With CrossFit

Improve Running Performance With CrossFit

How to Balance CrossFit With Running

The tricky part is programming CrossFit workouts into your running schedule. Your goal should be to supplement your running with CrossFit workouts, not the other way around. Keep in mind that CrossFit’s motto is “not specializing;” the workouts are about being good at everything and not great at one thing.
This is why programming your CrossFit workouts remains incredibly important. You need to perform WODs that are metabolically relevant to running. Doing 5 sets of 1 rep of back squats with hopes of setting a personal record isn’t the right type of workout. But a WOD that involves rounds of 4 to 5 different exercises at a moderate weight will more closely resemble the energy system used in a 10K or half marathon. Throw out your junk mileage days and replace them with CrossFit workouts.
By incorporating CrossFit strategically into your weekly workout plan, you can reduce the volume of mileage and replace it with a strength-training day, done in a circuit style fashion, at an anaerobic pace. These workouts can be fun and beneficial, and will build the mental toughness and conditioning that will make you a better runner. One to two CrossFit workouts a week are all that you need, depending on your level of fitness and race goals.
CrossFit workouts will improve fitness for runners of all distances. If you are new to running or cross-training, or even if you are a veteran, start with one CrossFit workout a week for 4 to 6 weeks. As your fitness level progresses and your body adapts to the new stress, you can add an additional workout each week.
If your race goals are to have fun and finish the event, complete two CrossFit WODS a week. If you are an experienced runner or a novice and you are looking to set a personal record in an upcoming race, start with one CrossFit WOD per week; build up to two workouts a week.
If you’re training for a marathon, one CrossFit workout a week is all that is needed because the demands of marathon training require more rest. Four to six weeks before the race approaches, cut back to one WOD per week. This will allow your body to recover fully.

How to Manage High Volume and Intensity

There are two ways to improve your endurance: with low-intensity long runs and high-intensity intervals and cross-training. You do not want to limit yourself to only one way. CrossFit is high-intensity training that uses sprints, weights and gymnastics. Many running coaches and purists believe in high volume mileage training followed by intensity. Your training program needs both volume and intensity in running and cross-training.
The running off-season presents an opportunity to accomplish these needs. When you’re not training for a specific race and focusing on building base mileage, the amount of total weekly mileage should be higher and the volume of cross-training workouts should total two per week.
Keep in mind that there are dangers that could result from high volume and high intensity in both running and cross-training. Overuse injuries to bones, tendons and joints, and general fatigue symptoms are common problems that come with hard training. Learn to read your body—our bodies give us warning signs, so listen to them. Lower your mileage, cut out, or cut back on the CrossFit WODs as necessary. It is always better to miss a week of training rather than a month or more because of an injury.
Many runners and coaches will not agree with me, but don’t be afraid to give CrossFit a try. Done correctly and planned properly, your running performance will improve.

Friday, August 10, 2012

B2R Shoes, yay! (First Look)

I was happy when my former running coach, Eric Orton, said he had a line of shoes coming out.  Eric taught me the importance of cadence, running economy, running-specific leg, core and glute strength (in other words, everything I know).   I am all ears when Eric suggests a shoe, so him 'making' a shoe! Even better!  <<--in summary, I had high expectations.  

The first Born2Run shoe is road shoe available in red or flourescent yellow.  The zero drop (0mm heel to midfoot differential) has become a requirement for running shoes for me.  The shoe is very lightweight at about 7ounces, comparable to Merrells or the latest Vibrams.  When I saw the stack height I feared there would be little ground feel.  The split toe, or cloven sole, seemed novel.  I have Vibram five fingers and Zem Gears so I'm no stranger to having things between my toes.  

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I chose a true to size for me.  Sizing is a little bit of a science to me.  It's not about where your toe lands in the front of the shoe, it's about lining up the flexible part of the shoe with the flexible part of your foot <see pic>.  My toes' bend lines up with the natural bend in the shoe (as measured from the heel) perfectly.  <In summary the distance from your heel to your toes' hinge point should match the hinge point of the shoe>.  Fortunately, in this case, this shoe is flexible enough that if you're off a bit it won't matter.  

Putting the shoe on I first noticed how thin the material between my toe was!  It was unnoticeable.  As is explained repeatedly on, the gap between my big toe and the rest of my toes gets bigger as my feet get stronger - the cloven shoe helps with that.  Some people with weaknesses or tightly crammed toes may not find this as natural a fit as I did.  I then noticed even though the stack height is tall, the material is thin enough that I had great ground feel.  I could tell if I was standing on a quarter.  The shoe comes with two pairs of tabi socks, so i paired them together.  I then tried my injinji toe socks and found them to also be a great fit, unobtrusive even.  

My first day of wearing them, I took them though a crossfit workout that included box jumps, rope climbs, weightlifting, and running with weights.  The shoe performed very well and didn't slip when sweaty. In fact, the upper gripped the rope well!  The shoe also gave good lateral stability and didn't roll across my foot the way Softstar runamocs, or Zem Gears do for such workouts.

So far I have run in them on paved trails, roads, sidewalks and track for 5-9 mile runs.  My feet felt a little tight post-run; I think I'm calling upon more foot muscles with these shoes than I need for my Merrell trail gloves.  Whenever I feel sore, I'll change shoes the next day and swap back and forth.  I haven't needed to do that in my B2Rs.  I've ran with them for 4 days in a row and counting, hill repeats, hard intervals, recovery.  All good!  

Fit, ground feel, flexibility are all A+.  No seams inside to annoy me, achilles tendon guard is low and flexible.  Can not be improved.  My two tiny complaints: 
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a.) my laptop cable has once gotten caught in between the toe seam! I took a couple steps and yanked the cord out (thank goodness it was a Mac - magnetic connector!)

b.) this little liner at the bottom worked its way out of the shoe as I ran! <see pic> it was travelling up my heel during my speed workout day.  Funny that i'll blame the shoe, although it's probably my form - my problem!  ;)

I look forward to beating these shoes up some more and talking more about their longevity. 

Below is a quick, unnarrated vid showing the difference in heft and flexibility between the Brooks True Grit and the B2R Road shoe.  Notice the True Grit's split toe is really artificial, just a slice in the tread.  


Monday, August 6, 2012

Gluteus Medius: Weak buttocks ruin the runner

Gluteus Medius: Weak buttocks ruin the runner

Gluteus medius weakness, Sean Fyfe says, is a likely culprit in many overuse injuries
The gluteus medius should be considered in every running injury. So many athletes with running overuse injuries of the lower limb present with poor gluteus medius function that I have come to the view that the strength and function of this muscle is probably the most important active component in the achievement of a biomechanically efficient running technique. This is not so surprising when you consider that during running you are always either completely in the air or dynamically balanced on one leg. All sports injury practitioners should, I believe, be able to assess and retrain gluteus medius function.
The gluteus medius muscle originates at the dorsal ilium below the iliac crest and inserts at the top outside surfaces of the greater trochanter. It is the major abductor of the thigh. The anterior fibres rotate the hip internally and the posterior fibres rotate externally. The muscle is innervated by the superior gluteal nerve (L4, L5, S1) and gains its blood supply via the superior gluteal artery.
During closed kinetic chain actions, such as the stance phase of running, the normal role of gluteus medius as a mover muscle is reversed, causing it to act as a pelvic stabiliser. So, for instance, during right stance phase, the muscle contracts to slow the downward motion of the left side of the pelvis so that the pelvis doesn’t tilt more than seven to eight degrees from parallel to the ground. If the gluteus medius is not functioning well enough to achieve this control, the athlete is said to have a ‘Trendelenburg gait’. Often, but not always, you may see the same weakness in walking (producing a waddling motion or, in extremis, a limp), and the dysfunction will then be more marked when they run.
The therapist should analyse the function of gluteus medius dynamically and manually. This is not easy. The assessor must be properly alert to the adaptations to running technique that an athlete can adopt to offload a weak or fatigued gluteus medius muscle. To scrutinise the dynamic function accurately, you will need to use video analysis.