Inflammation in runners may cause undesired weight gain and overall generalized achiness. Our bodies naturally create inflammation to repair muscular damage which is a healthy healing response however there are also dietary factors that could be causing unnecessary inflammation.
Research has shown that there are 7 common foods that could be causing inflammation in your body. The 7 foods are dairy, gluten, corn, soy, sugar, peanuts and eggs. To uncover if your body is reacting to these foods, I suggest a 3 week diet of eliminating these foods and then gradually introducing 1 of these food groups every 2 days thereafter and monitoring your body for signs of inflammation. Some signs of inflammation are weight gain and joint pain. In 2013, I found out I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos.I experienced extreme malaise, brain fog, weight gain, joint pain and declining running speed. I did some research and discovered how diet can heal autoimmune conditions (and even depression and other mental conditions). I went on the diet as described above and my life and running transformed. I lost 10 pounds of water weight (inflammation) within a week and started feeling energized again. My running speed returned and ran minutes faster in races compared to the year before. I now can consume most of those foods except for dairy and gluten.
If you are experiencing joint achiness or feel like you lost energy or are experiencing other clues that your body is not functioning optimally I suggest eliminating the 7 foods described above. Contrary to common belief, I do not believe joint achiness is related to aging. Science has revealed joint achiness and weight gain could be caused by any of those 7 foods. To reach your highest potential as a runner, I suggest eliminating those 7 foods for 3 weeks and see how much faster you may be and how much more energized you may feel.
Good luck! Please feel free to reach out with questions.
Unlike New Years resolutions which dissolve over time, following a few simple rules will greatly increase your chances of running injury-free in 2017. Understanding why runners get injured, setting realistic running goals, listening to your body, and doing the work it takes to be a runner will result in a successful year.
Why Runners Get Injured
Sixty million people ran for exercise in 20151 Running is a simple, effective means of achieving fitness which is accessible for very little financial investment. Running injuries, however, can be frustrating and expensive to treat. Nearly 80% of runners sustain at least one overuse running injury per year.2 Other than the occasional trip, slip, or fall, the repetitive dynamic forces generated and sustained during running often result in lower extremity injury. Among the twenty common running injuries, 70% to 80% of these injuries occurring from the knee to the foot.3 The most common running injuries include patellar tendinitis, meniscus tears, iliotibial band syndrome, patella femoral pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, hamstring strain, stress fractures, and ankle sprain. The underlying cause of running injuries, however, is functional weakness of the hips and core which causes excessive motion in one or more planes of motion.
Three different planes of motion act on the hips and pelvis while running: Forward/backward motion (sagittal), side-to-side motion (frontal), and rotational motion (transverse). Stabilization of motion in these three planes through targeted strengthening exercises will allow you to run more efficiently while greatly reducing your risk of running-related overuse injuries. A bi-weekly strengthening program must include activation exercises (finding and feeling the muscle working), strengthening exercises (fatiguing the muscle), and dynamic functional exercises (working the muscle in positions which simulate the demands of running). In addition to the gluts, core, abdominals, and lower leg musculature, the upper body and trunk must be strong and mobile.
Weekly mileage increases must be incremental. The age-old 10% mileage increase per week rule is a safe and effective guideline. A gradual increase in your weekly mileage will allow for adequate recovery between runs, allow for muscle strength gains to be realized, and reduce connective tissue (tendons, ligaments, fascia) overload. Remember, rest days are as important as high mileage days. Allow your body to rest, sleep, recover, and be ready to go following your rest day(s). Setting Realistic Running Goals
Motivation and mental fortitude is crucial to achieving training and racing goals. Physical training and a realistic understanding of your physical capacity will allow you to achieve success without injury. Seek the advice of training partners, experienced runners, and coaches to help set realistic racing goals. Once your 2017 running goals are established, create a training plan which includes terrain, elevation, distance, and temperature components similar to those expected in your upcoming races. Test your body and mind under these circumstances to confirm your fitness for your target race(s). Listen to Your Body
Because each of the 60 million runners who ran in 2015 are unique individuals, flexibility must be built into our training routines. Listen to your body when you are tired (How’s my stress level? When was my last total rest day?). Listen to your body when you feel good (What did you eat yesterday? How many hours did you sleep last night?). Listen to your aches and pains (Where do I hurt? Does slowing down my pace help?) Does increasing my cadence help? When did I last strength train? Do I need to see a professional so I don’t get sidelined?). Running through exertional pain is very different than running through injury pain. Listen to your body and get advice to learn the difference. Doing the Work
Running alone will not prevent running injuries. Less than ideal running biomechanics combined with repetitive motion associated with high mileage can stress muscle, connective tissue, and joints to the point of failure. Build up running durability through cross training, strength training, and adequate recovery. Have your running mechanics evaluated with a 2D video running analysis to document and visualize your biomechanics. Target your strength training to your individual needs rather than following a cookie-cutter program found online. Failure to do the work will greatly increase your risk of a running overuse injury.
Sapphire Physical Therapy is here to help you reach your 2017 running goals. Call us or email your questions and Happy New Year!
John Fiore, PT
Sapphire Physical Therapy
Can you run a PB even as an experienced masters runner at age 40 or 50 or even 60? The answer is yes! As the ageless Ed Whitlock and Meg Keflezighi have proved age is just a number. Ed recently broke 4 hours in the marathon at age 85 and Meb ran 2:12 to make the 2016 Olympic team at age 41.
Through my personal experience as a national competitive masters runner, researching the latest science and helping numerous masters runners achieve PB’s, I have discovered 5 strategies that can skyrocket your fitness as a masters runner.
1. Run Faster By Running on Hills.Run hills at a minimum of once every 10 days and run a variety of grades (4 to 12%+). Run a variety of hill workouts such as short 15 sec hill sprints, 10 x 1 min hills @3k effort and 40-60 min hill @ HM effort.
2. Incorporate Circuit Training. Combine this with hills and maximum strength/plyometrics for 6 weeks 2+ x year. A well designed plan which includes circuit training can boost fitness by naturally elevating testosterone, human growth hormone levels and running economy.
3. Focus on a Plant Based Diet.You can do this by limiting added sugar and avoid dairy and gluten. Sugar, dairy and gluten have been shown to cause inflammation which can result in increased recovery time needed between harder workouts, water weight gain and more frequent colds and infections. Plant based diets build muscle and are rich in antioxidants which reduces inflammation thus allowing the runner to recover faster between hard efforts.
4. Run Your Easy Days Easy. Do this by objectively wearing a heart rate monitor running 70% or less of maximum heart rate (MHR) or run 2:45+ min slower per mile than 5k training pace. A runner becomes faster on their easy running days so running an easy jog the day after a hard workout is crucial for speed optimization and injury prevention.
5. Believe and Visualize.Every faster running workout visualize yourself achieving your goal and feel that ecstatic feeling of accomplishing your goal. Capture that elated and confident feeling. Replay that focused awareness and unyielding determination throughout your training and most importantly believe.
Using the 5 strategies above you have the tools to combat the effects of aging, blast past your competitors and even run a PB as a masters runner!
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of participating in Sapphire Physical Therapy’s new 2D Real Time Video Running Gait Analysis and I’m excited to share my experience. Sapphire has been a major partner in the Montana running community for many years and they continue to show their commitment to keeping us healthy and running strong as the only PT clinic in the Northwest to have an on-site 2D Running Gait Analysis System.” -Mike Foote, RE employee & The North Face ultra runner
What does a 2D Running Gait Analysis involve?
For all the amazing and detailed data you can collect from this analysis, the process is actually quite simple. The Sapphire staff just asked that I wear running clothes for the appointment. Upon arrival we discussed my running history and any current or chronic injuries I struggle with. I then hopped on the treadmill and ran while the surface was flat for a couple of minutes and also on an incline for a couple more minutes. Meanwhile they filmed me from two different angles with cameras which picked up on the LED lights they had taped to my body. These highlighted the actual angles of my joints as I ran in each phase of my running stride. After finishing, we then watched the video together in slow motion. Frame by frame we were able to see objectively what occurs in my running form.
What I learned about my form:
I went into the analysis with no current injuries, though, I have struggled with tendonitis in my right achilles and left posterior tibialis tendons. Through this clear data we found that my hip drops slightly on my left side, which led to an asymmetry that stressed my lower leg. We also found that my ankle dorsiflexes a little beyond the average angle. This too can cause unneeded stress on my lower legs and also cause me to be less efficient in my form. If this doesn’t lead directly to injury, it will indeed keep me from reaching the full potential of my competitive goals. We then discussed certain exercises I can do to address these issues.
Sapphire’s 2D Running Gait Analysis System is a fantastic tool in learning about what may be causing an injury or even exposing certain deficiencies which could lead to injury down the road. Though the amount of data produced in the analysis can feel overwhelming, the staff at Sapphire PT do a great job of breaking the information down into bite sized pieces for you to understand. They also then highlight a few actionable things you can do to address deficiencies and strengthen certain areas.
Who can benefit from this running analysis?
This is for all runners who have either been injured, are struggling from an injury or would like to avoid injury. Yep, that’s pretty much everyone! So, if you would like to utilize this great tool to improve your running and ward off injury, I highly recommend you schedule an appointment with Sapphire PT today. Check out their website explaining their Running Analysis and give them a call at 406-549-5283 to schedule an appointment.
“My favorite piece of music is the one we hear all the time if we are quiet” said John Cage, American music composer. Have you tried meditation? Since I started meditating in 2014, my life and has transformed. I have become morecalm, happier, confident, focused and faster.
There are over 4,100 scientific studies on Pubmed indicating the efficacy of meditation. Meditation can help you become more focused, live longer, look 12 years younger, reduce inflammation, increase happiness, decrease stress, reduce pain and anxiety, improve sleep, increase optimism and so much more. Here is a link to 76 benefits of meditation.
According to neuroscientist Richard Tanzi and co-author of Super Brain, “When people frown and tell me that they don’t believe in meditation my response is they must not believe in the brain, because four decades of brain research have proven that the brain is transformed by meditation and now newer evidence suggests that genetic output also improves with meditation. That is the right genes get switched on and the wrong ones off.”
In my opinion, to become your fastest running self a daily practice of meditation is as important as choosing a healthy diet. A runner can run adequate on an unhealthy diet but to flourish a runner chooses to eat healthy. In the same way a runner can run adequate without meditating but to gain that extra edge and transform your running meditation is essential.
In a future Runners Edge article I will describe how to meditate and provide a few suggestions for guided meditations.
In the October RE article I revealed that maximum strength training for master’s runners can boost fitness by improving your running economy. I will now expand on this concept by presenting research on the benefits of circuit training to naturally increase hormone levels.
Circuit training involves combining running specific exercises with short interval running. Shalane Flanagan who earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games 10000m revealed one third on her training for that exceptional bronze medal performance was circuit training.
In 2003 Godfrey et al, demonstrated that high intensity short interval circuit training naturally increased human growth hormone (HGH) levels. Research has shown high intensity short interval training to increase HGH up to 530%. HGH maintains lean body mass, reduces recovery time between hard workouts, and increases muscle strength.
Kraemer and Ratamess report to maximize testosterone release a strength workout should include whole body exercises such as squat jumps and burpees.
And finally, a 1992 study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolismtested low-intensity and high-intensity exercise protocols, each lasting one, five, or ten minutes. Blood HGH levels were only elevated after the high-intensity ten minute bout of work.
In summary, to design a training plan to naturally increase your hormone levels and running economy for optimal performance the workout should include maximum strength running specific whole body exercises combined with high intensity intervals lasting 10 minutes and that ideal workout is circuit training.
Below is an example of a circuit training workout which if performed 2x week will increase your strength, coordination, efficiency and speed and subsequently overcome the effects and beliefs of aging. I suggest performing this circuit 6 to 8 weeks before your goal race and you might set a lifetime PB even as a master’s runner! Think Strong, Become Fast!
Example of of a hill circuit. After a thorough warm up begin “Strength Power Hill Circuit”.
Run 30 sec hill @ 3k effort
4 to 8 reps each leg 1 legged squats then 40 sec’s each leg One-Leg Hoppers
Run 30 sec hill @ 3k effort
4 to 8 reps each leg step ups then 10-20 Explosive Step Ups
Run 30 sec hill @ 3k effort
30 to 60 sec squat thrusts
Run 30 sec hill @ 3k effort
4 to 8 reps each leg walking lunges then 6 to 10 split scissor jumps
Run 30 sec hill @ 3k effort
4 to 8 reps each leg calf raises then 5 one legged hops each leg up a hill
Repeat 1 more time
DREAM * BELIEVE * TRAIN * CELEBRATE Nicole Hunt Journeysoulrunning.com
Please contact me anytime with questions