With March upon us it’s time to start thinking about training for the Missoula Marathon! But how do you start a run training program while snow is still falling, streets are icy, and ski season is alive and well? Here’s a few tips and tricks we’ve picked up over the years….

  1. Ease into it – whether you’re coming from a winter of skiing or a few months of enjoying dark beer and warm cookies, running will add an extra stressor on your body. Give your muscles and tendons time to adjust! Maybe start by running every other day, or significantly fewer miles than you think you can handle. A run/walk approach is also a good option. Take that transition slow and monitor how your body responds!
  2. Keep that traction handy! – today it’s an easy decision: take those traction devices with you. But in two weeks when the roads may be much less icy you may be tempted to put away your traction for the summer. We encourage you to keep traction devices accessible so your decision to take spikes is never determined by what is easily accessible.
  3. Talk to other people – if you are participating in the Run Wild Missoula marathon training class you have plenty of people sharing the road (and the pain!) with you. If you’re not participating in the training class, find a buddy to share the road (and the pain!) with you. Running with others makes the miles fly by!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – on the surface running a marathon seems easy: the gun goes off and you run until you cross the finish. But there is more to it! Nutrition, shoes, body glide, hydration, and what color sweatband to wear all come in to play. Not to mention the training! No one runner knows all the answers, or what is best for you. Ask questions, play with different options, and figure out the puzzle to the perfect marathon!

As always, feel free to come by Runner’s Edge and ask any of our knowledgeable staff for their marathon (or other distance) training tips. We love to talk running!

By John Fiore, PT
Sapphire Physical Therapy

Icy and snow-packed roads and trails synonymous with winter in Montana are here. While Missoula runners often trade running shoes for ski boots, January marks the beginning of training for the 2019 running season. Runners have numerous ways to transform running shoes into traction beasts to tame the worst winter running conditions. Traction can be added via sheet metal screws, Due North traction devices, or Kahtoola Microspikes. While all of these options will dramatically improve traction, they also place increased stress on the foot. Protecting your feet from the focal pressure points secondary to running shoe traction devices will increase winter running enjoyment and reduce foot injury.

Ice is as firm as concrete. Add wire and metal traction devices between and icy surface and the foot and the stage is set for metatarsalgia. The term metatarsalgia is used to describe “pain in the metatarsal bone(s) of the foot. The metatarsals are located in the forefoot between the bones of the midfoot and toes. Metatarsals are long, slender bones which function to absorb impact and allow the foot to accommodate to uneven surfaces. When a metatarsal becomes irritated due to high, repetitive impact, a bone inflammatory response occurs. Reducing impact, pressure, and weight bearing will reduce metatarsalgia symptoms. A simple rock plate can be made at home to reduce the risk of developing metatarsalgia secondary to running with winter traction devices. Below are several photos and a description of how to make any pair of running shoes into a pair of metatarsalgia-proof winter running beasts.


  • Flexible cutting board (purchased for $4.99 at Ace Hardware)
  • Sharpie pen
  • Scissors
  • Running shoes
  • Traction device (Kahtoola Microspikes used for example)


Step One:

  • Remove running shoe insoles and place on flexible cutting board
  • Trace insole on flexible cutting board using Sharpie pen
  • Cut out new rock plate with scissors



Step Two:

  • Trim rock plate as needed to fit inside running shoes
  • Insert rock plate in running shoes
  • Place insoles back in running shoes on top of rock plate


Step Three:

  • Put running shoes on and attach Kahtoola Microspikes
  • Enjoy winter running without associated metatarsalgia pain



This article was created Personal Injury Help (www.personalinjury-law.com), an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only.

While running is one of the healthiest forms of exercise, the fact of the matter is that you’re much smaller and harder to see than a car. If you ever run alongside traffic, staying visible is key to having a safe and incident free run. Here are some top tips you can use to stay seen by cars, cyclists, and pedestrians:

Tip #1: Cater Your Attire to the Time of Day
Some clothing is more visible depending on what time of day you’re running. When you’re running in the daytime you should opt for something that’s fluorescent. Lime green is the most striking color to wear, but bright yellows, oranges, and pink all work very well. If you’re running at night it’s not really important to wear fluorescent clothing because motorists won’t see you anyway. What you should wear is something that’s reflective. This allows you to stand out when a car’s headlights pass over you. When a car is far behind you, its headlights will only reach your torso at best, so consider purchasing sneakers with reflective strips. These will be easily visible for motorists from afar.

Tip #2: Run Against Traffic
Sidewalks were not built for runners. Uneven sidewalk and broken bricks are just as dangerous as motorists, if not more so. If you’re forced to run directly in the road, be sure to run against traffic. This will give you a couple of extra seconds to react to reckless driving if need be. When running in traffic it’s always important to follow all local traffic laws and regulations.

Tip #3: Use a Flashlight
If you’re running at dawn or dusk you should always have some kind of light on you. Flashlights are a great option for keeping your path visible as well as alerting motorists to your position, but you can also clip flashing white or red lights to your clothing if you’d prefer to run hands-free. Headlamps may not be the most fashionable option, but they’re a great way to see any hazards in front of you as well as making yourself stand out from afar to motorists.

Tip #4: Run in a Group!
Two runners are always more visible than one. Running in a group essentially guarantees that everyone on the road will see you and give you ample space while passing. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t run more than two abreast—otherwise, you run the risk of becoming a road hog. Running in a group also gives you the added benefits of accountability buddies. Many studies have shown that those who exercise with friends will work out longer and run faster than they would on their own.





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.

Nicole Murray (formerly Nicole Hunt)

Journey Soul Running: Science Based Holistic Coaching
~Working Together we can turn your Dream into Reality~

*Image from Google search Images

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!

Nicole Murray 
Science Based Holistic Coaching
~By working together, we can turn your dream into reality~

*Image(s) from Google search images