Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Wed, 26 Jul 2017 00:01:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 http://running.competitor.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/06/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-32x32.png Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com 32 32 Cherry Mojito Popsicles Make The Perfect Cooldown Fuel http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/nutrition/cherry-mojito-popsicles-recipe_166480 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:33:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166480 Cocktail-inspired popsicles work recovery-boosting tart cherry juice and protein-laced Greek yogurt into your post-workout routine.

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A raft of research trumpets the antioxidants in tart cherries for improving exercise recovery, mainly by limiting inflammation and muscle damage in the body. These cocktail-inspired popsicles are a refreshing way to work both recovery-boosting tart cherry juice and protein-laced Greek yogurt into your post-workout routine. They are also a great treat for kids after a sports practice. On the flip side, if you want to make these slightly boozy, mix a couple tablespoons of rum into the cherry mixture.

Cherry Mojito Popsicles Recipe

Freezer-Friendly, Gluten-free, Paleo-friendly, Vegan or Vegetarian
Servings: 6
Active Time: 15 min.

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1¼ cups tart cherry juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Stir together yogurt, honey, and lime zest. In a separate bowl, stir together cherry juice, lime juice, and mint.
  2. Spoon two alternate layers of yogurt and cherry mixture into each popsicle mold. Insert popsicle sticks into the molds and freeze until solid, about 6 hours.
  3. To unmold the popsicles, run the mold under warm water for a few seconds, being careful not to thaw the pops. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

Note: You can also use tart cherry concentrate for this recipe. Simply combine 3 tablespoons of the syrupy concentrate with 1¼ cups water.

RELATED: 3 Simple Smoothie Recipes To Fuel Your Run And Recovery

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Alysia Montaño Shares Her Top Stroller Running Tips http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/alysia-montano-stroller-running_166476 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 21:13:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166476 Pro runner and six-time US champion Alysia Montaño shares her best strategies for getting the most out of your stroller running.

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Alysia Montaño at the Stroller Roller 5K in San Francisco.

Alysia Montaño isn’t just an Olympian and a six-time USA Outdoor champion in the 800 meters. The speedy elite athlete also happens to be a stroller running expert. Montaño, already the mom of almost 3-year-old Linnea, is expecting her second child in November. Stroller running has been a staple in training that allows her to bond with her daughter and maintain fitness during her pregnancy.

This past Sunday, Montaño, with the help of BOB strollers, led a group of runners through the Stroller Roller 5K in San Francisco. Using the new BOB Revolution Flex Lunar stroller, she raced through the hills of the city with her #BOBTeamSF group. Along the way, Montaño shared training tips and the importance of exercising with your children.

“This is just a way of having people recognize how deep the running community is, how important it is for parents to continue an active lifestyle to show their children that active lifestyle and how to include them in it,” she said.

To make the most out of your stroller runs, follow these expert tips from Montaño.

Forget about time

A stroller run is not the place to fret over pace. Pushing the weight of a stroller and a child is a huge full-body strength challenge. Start at a slower pace than you are accustomed to. Don’t be afraid to stop and walk if needed. Montaño modified many of her 5K interval workouts to include longer rest breaks once she started using her BOB stroller. The most important part of your run is just that you are out there moving with your child. Enjoy the experience together instead of obsessing over pace.

Be up for a challenge

Runners can do a lot more than just a slow recovery run with their stroller. Montaño posts workout challenges on both her Instagram page and YouTube channel to help inspire other runners. For her #BOBTeamSF group, she created various stroller-specific workouts including mile repeats, fartleks, hills, and a track workout. And if you want the ultimate challenge, sign up for a race that is stroller-friendly.

In addition to her challenges, Montaño and her husband Louis document their lives, including their stroller runs, on their channel The Montaño Life. She hopes to include strength training exercises runners can do with their entire family soon.

“He’s the magic behind the videos,” said Montaño. “I am the talent. I come up with the workouts and do the workouts and it’s family magic.”

RELATED: 6 Do’s and Dont’s For Running With a Stroller

Don’t forget about yourself

In the rush to get children prepared for stroller running with snacks and toys, parents often forget about their own needs. Montaño made it a point to remind her team to fuel themselves, as well as their children. “Because honestly you can’t be bonking when you’re trying to wrangle your kids and you’re running a 5K pushing a stroller,” she said. In addition to eating and drinking pre-run, be sure to pack snacks and water bottles in the stroller for both you and your little one.

Be flexible

Every parent knows how unpredictable a child’s mood can be. This certainly applies to stroller running. One moment they could be screaming with delight. Then the next second they are crying tears of frustration.

“The cool thing that I like to say is when they have their little meltdowns—when, not if—when they do, it’s also really interesting to think about where you are and going to where they are,” Montaño said. “When those meltdowns happen, that’s when you have to change it up like, ‘Okay we’re not doing 400 meter repeats anymore.’ ”

In addition to amending your workout, running parents can try involving kids in their workout, talking to them about their surroundings or offering up a snack. If nothing is making them happy, don’t feel bad about heading home and trying again tomorrow.

RELATED: 6 Time-Saving Tips For Busy Mother Runners

Have fun

Runners don’t have to be as rigid about their workouts when their children are in tow. Instead Montaño suggests involving them in an interval workout. Ask your child to pick a spot in the distance—a sign, tree, mailbox, etc.—and tell them you’ll run to it. Once you make it, take a short break before having them pick out a new target.

Above all, stroller running should be a time to laugh and bond with your children. It brings them into your running community and shows them the importance of being active.

“It brings it back to the essence of activity in general,” said Montaño. “Being active and healthful can and should be fun. And it brings us back to the basics of life, which is movement. It can harness and bring positivity and goodness and good endorphins. It’s about taking that on and passing it on to your kids.”

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What Happens When A Mid-Packer Runs In Nike’s Fastest Race Shoe http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/shoes-and-gear/mid-packer-runs-nike-fastest-race-shoe_166470 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 18:59:11 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166470 Shoe tester Sam Winebaum tries the newly released Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% and determines if it actually makes the average runner faster.

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Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%

This past spring, the exclusive Nike Zoom Vaporfly Elite was worn to run the fastest (unofficial) marathon ever recorded by Eilud Kipchoge in 2:00:25 as part of Nike’s Breaking2 project. It’s also the shoe worn by both the men’s and women’s 2017 Boston Marathon winners. Now, the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250), a slightly modified version of the Vaporfly Elite, is available for purchase.

The Vaporfly is a heady mix of thickly stacked, super light ZoomX Pebax foam, a curving embedded 100 percent carbon fiber plate, topped off by a sleek minimal breathable upper. Screaming exotic race machine, is this marvel only for the best of the best or can it also shine for mid-pack runners? I’ve set out to discover the answer.

Since the Vaporfly was created for Nike’s Breaking2 attempt, it is engineered to be the lightest possible shoe with plenty of responsive cushion and dynamic propulsion. The goal for the design is to improve running economy by 4 percent. My pair of men’s size 8.5 weighed 6.56 ounces with a 10mm heel-to-toe drop (31mm heel/21mm forefoot stack). The upper is a single, super breathable layer of Flymesh with internal arch bands.

Unlike other race “flats” typically worn by elites in marathons and Nike’s own Zoom Streak 6, the ZoomX midsole makes the Vaporfly 4% one silky cushioned shoe with a claim of up to 85 percent energy return. It has a race shoe narrow rear platform, so wide, flat feet, heavy heel strikers and severe pronators may struggle to stay on the platform. To help tame the softer foam, a full length 100 percent carbon plate is embedded in the midsole, running not far under the sock liner at the heel and curving down so that the plate is just above the outsole rubber at the forefoot. This seems to have a similar function as that of a spike plate.

Due to the plate, the shoe feels stiff and according to Nike this is meant to provide a sensation of propulsion—the feeling of falling forward then a smooth toe-off. The sensation is a softly tempered one and is in no way harsh on the road. Except for very steep uphill running, I never would have known the shoe was as stiff as a board.

RELATED: 3 Fast Shoes Perfect For Middle Distance Runners

This is a shoe designed for marathoning, and while my first race in them was a downhill 10K, I was amazed by the cushion. All that 31mm of softer heel didn’t give a sinking feeling due to the plate. (Except at one point during a very steep downhill due, I think, to the pointy rear heel landing zone.) And I felt an effortless transition to toe-off with the 21mm forefoot—the forefoot cushion softening the push off but without losing much zip. My toes formed to the foam, making the shoe respond a bit slower than a conventional firmer race shoe. Yet, when downward forces met that stiff plate under the outsole I was instantly propelled up and away. Hence, a great shoe for Boston’s hilly course. No wonder it was worn by both 2017 Boston Marathon winners!

I received a pair of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% the day after release and tested them at my faster tempo paces at 8:11 for 4 miles on a hot day at 6,800 feet. My effort on the tempo run and comparisons to other runs on the same roads indicates that, at least for me, the claim of a potential 4 percent improvement in running economy may be in the ballpark. Three days later, and a bit tired, I raced them in a downhill 10K race in Salt Lake City at 4,800 feet. I averaged 7:07 per mile and won my 60-64 age group in almost the same time as my finish five years ago and only a minute slower than eight years before when I was in superb shape and ran two 1:35 half marathons.

At $250, the Vaporfly 4% is among the most expensive of running shoes. Its design and price mirrors the trend in cycling and skiing where ever costlier, lighter, higher performance materials and new designs can provide distinct advantages to elites as well as recreational athletes. Faster runners may stay with more conventional race shoes for sub-marathon distances. When it comes to marathoning, finishers from the Breaking2 level to 4 hours should consider the Vaporfly as a very special race shoe. Mid-pack runners can certainly also appreciate its comfort and performance at sub-marathon distances.

RELATED: These Shoes Are Built To Collect Your Running Data

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How To Choose The Right Race Corral http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/choose-right-race-corral_166465 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 17:17:59 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166465 Choosing the right corral at a race can often be more complicated than it should be.

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It happens at every race. You start running and end up passing people going minutes per mile slower than you. Meanwhile someone else much faster sprints by. How did so many people at different paces get mixed together?

Corrals are supposed to sort runners into appropriate pace groups, especially at large races. They help to manage the flow of runners and guarantee that everyone moves forward at the same speed, without roadblocks. Often this requires runners to either estimate or provide proof of a previous finish time. Then either the race or the individual runner can choose what corral or pace group corresponds to their time.

“Be honest,” says Susan Paul, training program director for Track Shack in Orlando. “And you have to kind of hope that everyone else is honest too.”

Being honest means you should not try to start in a faster corral than the pace you plan to run. This includes positioning yourself within that corral. If you think you’re at the slower end, go to the back. For runners who plan to go faster, then stand to the front of the corral.

“If you’re not lined up in the corral you should be in, it can affect others,” says Madora Mak, an event manager for the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series.

If you’ve raced recently, this can be a fairly simple process. You likely know approximately what finish time you should expect. If you have never raced before, then Mak recommends doing some long runs at race pace or even a shorter practice race, so you know what your predicted time is. For example, you might run a half marathon a month or so before your goal marathon.

Paul also agrees that a practice race is a good idea if your goal race requires proof of time to get into the corral you want—as many big races do. You can often change or update your corral in the days leading up to the race or at the expo.

RELATED: 3 Pacing Strategies To PR Your Next Race

That doesn’t mean you can’t run faster than you predict. If you’re going for a PR that’s much quicker than your previous or predicted times, then you will likely want to be near the front of your corral. Most corrals have a wide range of runners within them. Plus, if you have to start out slightly slower, it could actually lead to a better race.

“Think of the corral as setting yourself up for a negative split,” Paul says.

The danger on the road comes when people’s predictions are exceptionally far off. Some runners often practice poor race etiquette, such as running multiple people abreast, blocking the road for faster runners behind them or not being aware of other athletes. Just “respect others,” says Mak.

If you do want to run with a friend who’s slower than you, you almost always have the option of moving back a corral.

Race corrals help manage the flow on the road, but it can certainly seem complicated. At big races, you often have to arrive to your corral early. This can involve going through a checkpoint, so allow plenty of time. “Be prepared to maybe stand or sit in that corral for awhile,” Paul says.

Before heading to your corral, do a warm-up, use a port-a-potty and bring a water bottle and warm throwaway clothes. Be sure you know what corral your bib number assigns you to. Finally, let your spectators know when they can expect you to finish, based on your corral assignment, and where they can meet you. And then start running.

RELATED: 5 Lessons I Learned After My First Marathon

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Why Fatigue Is A Necessary Part Of Training And How To Manage It http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/fatigue-training-manage_161245 Tue, 25 Jul 2017 16:00:15 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=16038 Learning how to manage fatigue, and understanding the role it plays in endurance training, is critical to improving as a runner.

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Training is like trying to walk a tightrope. You need to balance putting in workouts and mileage with the ability to let your body recover. Favor one aspect too heavily and you’ll either have a poor performance from lack of training or get injured and overtrain from doing too much. That’s why learning how to manage fatigue, and understanding the role it plays in endurance training, is critical to improving as a runner.

Why fatigue is necessary

The basis for all training theory is what we call the workout and recovery process. Running first breaks down your muscle fibers. The harder you run, the more muscle fibers you damage. Your body then works to rebuild these damaged muscle fibers, and if the recovery process goes well, these muscle fibers are repaired stronger than before. That’s how you become faster and stronger through training.

But, as you may realize, it’s nearly impossible to recover fully from a workout in 24 hours. It might be possible following a very easy day of running, but any type of speed, tempo or long run is going to require anywhere from 2 to 14 days to fully absorb and recover.

That means, unless you want only to run two or three times per week, training while fatigued is necessary —especially since slow, easy mileage is the foundation for running performance and the best way to build aerobic endurance. The trick is finding that balance between running enough miles to build your aerobic capacity without overdoing the fatigue. Herein lies the “art” of training.

However, there is also a way that we can utilize this fatigue to make your training more effective.

RELATED: Do This Sprint Workout To Build Up Leg Speed

How to utilize fatigue to run faster

In training vernacular, coaches use a term called “accumulated fatigue”. This theory posits that fatigue from one workout accumulates and transfers to the next run. You’re always starting a workout or a long run a little tired from your previous training.

This is important for longer distance races like the marathon because it’s nearly impossible to run the full distance of the race in daily training. Furthermore, if you were to start every workout fully recovered and fresh, it would be difficult to simulate how your body feels late into a race.

As such, we can strategically implement the theory of accumulated fatigue to better target the specific demands of your race.

For example, during marathon training, one of my favorite methods for introducing accumulated fatigue is to buttress the long run against a shorter, but steady paced run the day before. For example, you would run six miles at marathon pace on the Saturday before your Sunday long run. Because of the harder running on Saturday, you start Sunday’s long run not at zero miles, but rather at six or eight miles, since that is the level of fatigue and glycogen depletion your body is carrying over from the previous run.

How to find the right balance

Training would be much easier—and runners much happier—if you could just train hard and be fatigued all the time. But, you can’t simply continue to accumulate fatigue and constantly run these types of workouts (although some runners certainly do try). There needs to be a balance.

First, try to keep the specific accumulated fatigue workouts to once every two weeks. Only schedule them during the race-specific portion of your training schedule. This ensures that you don’t overdo it and that you will not get burnt out long-term.

Be sure to keep your easy runs slow. One of the most common mistakes runners make is running their easy day mileage too fast. This hinders your ability to recover and doesn’t provide any additional aerobic benefit. Research has shown that the most optimal aerobic pace for an easy run is about 65 percent of 5K pace. For a 20-minute 5K runner (6:25 pace for 5K – 7:20 pace marathoner), this would mean about 8:40 per mile on easy days.

Finally, don’t be afraid to take a down or rest week every five to six weeks. In these weeks, reduce mileage by 65 to 75 percent and reduce the intensity of workouts. Down weeks help you fully recover from and absorb previous weeks and months of training so that fatigue doesn’t build-up too much.

Hopefully, this lesson on fatigue and how you manage it will help you train more intelligently for your upcoming races.

RELATED: How To Start Running Again After A Short Time Off

Originally seen on runnersconnect.net

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Injury-Proof Your Body With This 10-Minute Strength Routine http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/10-minute-strength-routine_166293 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 23:41:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166293 This is a do-anywhere, run-specific strength routine that works the glutes, hips, obliques, lower abdominals, quads and hamstrings.

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Below is a 10-minute, do-anywhere, run-specific strength routine that works the glutes, hips, obliques, lower abdominals, quads and hamstrings.

Do this whole routine two to three times per week (ideally, never before a run). More advanced runners—or those who are particularly injury-prone—should complete two sets.

RELATED: This Training Structure Is The Key To Injury-Proofing Your Body

Pistol Squats Side Plank Lateral Leg Raises Modified Bicycle Bridge Clamshells Hip Thrusts

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This Training Structure Is The Key To Injury-Proofing Your Body http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/training-structure-injury-proofing-body_166276 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 23:12:29 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166276 With the following coaching advice you can run regularly and say goodbye to long layoffs.

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Photo: Nick Isabella

If consistency is the secret sauce to successful running, what is the top reason for failure? The answer, of course, is injury.

Depending on the study, about 60 to 75 percent of runners reportedly get injured every year. In other words, a higher percentage of runners will get injured this year than pro football players! The silver lining is that most running injuries are not long-term, permanent or career-ending. And the best part is that most of them can be prevented from happening in the first place.

Some of the most common injuries—IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis—are repetitive stress injuries, meaning they are the culmination of repeated stress over a long period of time.

To combat injuries, you must first make sure that you’re running with sensible progressions of mileage—and mixing in both long runs and faster workouts. This removes one of the most common reasons for injuries: training errors.

Next, you should strengthen the body with runner-specific exercises to guard against the repetitive impact forces of running.

The result? You become a healthier, stronger— and faster—runner!

RELATED: How Running Surfaces and Speed Influences Your Risk Of Injury

Training Structure 101

The first step is to not succumb to the “Three Toos” of running: too far, too fast, too soon. This might be more important than any other element of prevention.

While you can structure your running schedule in countless ways, there are universal truths every runner must remember:

  • Always start where you are, rather than where you were or where you’d like to be.
  • Give yourself enough time to train effectively for your goal race (rushed training is risky training).
  • Build mileage gradually by adding about 5–10 percent every two weeks.
  • When in doubt, sit it out! Don’t turn niggles into injuries by being stubborn.
  • Every fast workout should have a purpose and be appropriate for your ability.

 

This is simple stuff —but often, it’s hard to execute. Many runners are Type-A personalities who need to hit a certain mileage, long run or workout split. We’re numbers people.

But training is not always linear. Nor should it be! Sometimes it’s necessary to run less overall mileage or reduce the intensity of a workout. Other times, a long run should be cut short. Listen to your body and err on the cautious side. You might occasionally lose a few miles—but that’s better than missing weeks or months of consistent training.

Strong Runners Are Healthy Runners

Once the general training structure is established, runners should then focus on getting stronger.

Running is catabolic. It breaks down muscle at high enough volumes and intensities. But strength training is anabolic. It builds muscle.

To prevent injuries, runners should focus on basic, compound movements in the gym like squats and dead lifts. These are highly specific to running and provide a lot of strength gains. But just as important, runners should include glute- and hip-oriented exercises since these two muscle groups are the main drivers of the running stride. Weakness, imbalance or poor firing patterns in these muscles are also main contributors to injuries.

RELATED: Injury-Proof Your Body With This 10-Minute Strength Routine

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Can Antidepressant Medication Affect Your Running? http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/antidepressants-affect-running_166407 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 22:55:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166407 Here's what to ask your doctor about the pros and cons of antidepressants—and what to know about seeking treatment as a runner.

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If you are taking—or thinking of taking—antidepressants, what should you know about how it can affect your performance? Talking to your doctor is the first step.

“It’s important to note that, as with all other classes of psychiatric medications, antidepressants have only been studied in athletes in small studies of short duration, so there’s not a lot of research at the moment that can clearly indicate what, if any, impact they have on performance,” explains Dr. Simon Rego, Chief Psychologist at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “Therefore, the discussion with their doctor should be about the relative costs and benefits of starting them; for example, if they improve mood/energy/motivation, it may help with performance. If it is a professional athlete, it’s important to make sure they are not on a monitoring list of banned substances.”

Of course, it is important to note that antidepressant medications aren’t the only solution. When talking with your doctor, you should also discuss skills that can be learned to lessen feelings of anxiety and depression. Nancy Rappaport, part-time associate professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School notes that this involves becoming familiar and aware of the thoughts that can make you feel worse or bring on feelings of anxiety or depression.

“Antidepressants can help you function better if you are sick enough to warrant a trial,” she adds. “Someone who may benefit from a trial of medication may not be sleeping, lose weight or gain weight and have low energy. If these symptoms improve, they may have better running performance.”

RELATED: 10 Mental Health Benefits Of Running

The benefits of the medication—such as improved sleep—don’t happen to everyone, however, so discussing any negative side effects that can occur is important. If you experience suicidal thoughts, a dramatic change in personality with increased irritability or pressured speech, you should notify your doctor immediately.

Before you start taking medication, understanding the pros and cons are key. Knowing all of your treatment options can help you treat your depression or anxiety from multiple angles. Of course, exercise has been found to be a great alternative method to lessen the affects.

“Getting outside at least half an hour and exercise is very helpful,” shares Rappaport. “When patients are anxious or depressed they can have low energy and then drink coffee. Than they can have a tough time sleeping. Exercise can make people feel better and sleep better.”

Of course your decision to take antidepressants should not be based on performance alone. Though runners do have some other factors to consider when it comes to the side effects, as well as pros and cons of treatment, taking care of your mental health is not something to be taken lightly.

“Don’t forget the big picture—while performance is important, treating anxiety and depression is just as important,” stresses Rego. “If medications are not possible, there are a number of non-medication, psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that the research has shown to be just as effective as medications for anxiety and depression.”

For more information, you can visit the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for free resources.

RELATED: Why Running Is Good For Addiction Recovery

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The Science Of Cramping Might Be In Your Head (And Stomach) http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/news/science-cramping_166409 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:44:25 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166409 Sports drink company HOTSHOT is changing the way we view, treat and even prevent cramping on the run.

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Nothing cramps your running style like a … well … a cramp. Rarely are they bad enough that you have to pull out of a race or completely stop a run. And yet cramping on the run never seems mild enough that you can just power through without any interruption.

In a word, cramps are: annoying, vexing, bothersome, loathsome, irritating … OK, that’s five.

But did you know that recovering from cramps, minimizing their damage or even preventing them all together could actually be in your head? Well, sort of. Your digestive tract is involved too.

At least that’s what the folks at HOTSHOT are banking on. The Boston-based company is diving into the neuroscience behind cramping. Gone are the days of the high school gym coach in the undersized shorts with the oversized whistle telling you to just eat more bananas.

Nothing against the good people at Chiquita, but that conventional wisdom is from a bygone era.

The major contributors to cramping are conditioning (or lack thereof), hydration/electrolyte balance and neural stimulation. It’s that last one that HOTSHOT is focusing on.

These days it’s about neuromuscular performance—in other words, how your brain and muscles communicate. In the human mouth, stomach and esophagus there’s something called the Transient Receptor Potential channels (TRP). Cramps are believed to occur when hyperactive motor neurons send repetitive signals to the muscles. The end result is a cramp.

Stay with me …

The folks at HOTSHOT postulate that by activating the TRP channels through its spicy formula, it will send impulses through the spinal cord to inhibit the repetitive signals being sent to the distressed muscle.

In layman’s terms, it’s a liquid shut-off switch.

RELATED: How to Beat Marathon Muscle Cramps

This idea to focus on neuromuscular performance came about when Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Rod MacKinnon, who is also an endurance athlete, was ocean kayaking (like, can’t-see-land-anymore-ocean-kayaking) with Harvard Medical School neurobiologist Bruce Bean. At some point, both started cramping in their forearms, and thus neither could help the other. Fortunately, swells weren’t bad and the sharks weren’t circling and both were able to eventually continue unscathed. But as they sat adrift, it was an ah-ha! moment to tackle the cramping issue from a neuromuscular angle. HOTSHOT is the result.

The proof of concept already exists. And triathlete Tim Reed swears by its results. Reaching the podium was an issue for the Aussie—who categorizes himself as a “twitchy, crampy sort of guy.” He started using HOTSHOT before he became one of their endorsed athletes because he said the results were substantial. In the one year he’s used the product, he’s gone on to win the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, IRONMAN Australia and the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. The company has also paired with IRONMAN and is available on course.

“It’s been a real game changer,” said Reed, who visited the Competitor headquarters in San Diego last week. “I seem to be far more prone to cramping than most people. I had tried everything—from different conditioning of the muscles, maintaining a better electrolyte balance, fascial release and much more. I saw a few minor improvements, but definitely no breakthrough results until HOTSHOT.”

Bob Murray, the co-founder and director of the Gatorade Sports Science Institute from 1985-2008, is also working with the HOTSHOT team and told Competitor that studies to determine HOTSHOT’s ability to increase performance and aid recovery are expected to be completed by the end of the summer. They are also expecting their first patents in the U.S. and Europe to come through in 2018.

It’s also noteworthy that the brand isn’t just for endurance athletes. It’s made its way into the NFL space and is also being used for medicinal purposes for patients with muscle disorders who suffer from cramps.

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The 5 Worst Smells Encountered While Running http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/tips/worst-smells-running_166430 Mon, 24 Jul 2017 19:05:28 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166430 Nothing is worse than a stinky run. However these five smells may be among the worst scents you can encounter while on a run.

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We have all been there. You are standing among hundreds of runners at the starting line of a race, waiting for the signal to begin. Somehow you find yourself placed next to a woman who decided to pile on the perfume. Perfect. When we run, we breathe in so deeply that smells affect us much more than if we were to encounter them out of the context of exercising.

Here are some of the worst smells that can be offensive while out on a run.

Body Odor

No one enjoys body odor at any time. But when I’m racing and get behind someone that has forgotten their deodorant that morning, it sometimes makes me want to gag.

Perfume

As I stated before, perfume really bothers me while I’m racing. I am a fan of perfume on a normal day, but running through a thick cloud of it can almost stop me dead in my tracks. Save your spritz of fragrance for post-race.

RELATED: Running Gear That Stops The Stink Before It Starts

Smoke

When I’m running down a rural road, and people are burning yard debris or the leaves in their ditches, I try to hold my breath and sprint past the giant gray cloud. This also goes for smokers that pass me in their cars or on foot. It’s hard to believe that one cigarette can create so much odor when you are out in the open air, but it seems to hang in the air forever.

Dead animals

During the summer, when the ditches don’t get mowed down on a regular basis, dead animals can be completely hidden in the tall grasses. You don’t know they are there until you run right up on them. On a hot and humid day, the odor from one of these rascals can be enough to knock you down!

Manure

Living in a country setting, it is a commonplace to have farmers spread manure on their fields several times a year to help the crops grow. Smelling it when I’m in my yard is not bad. However, while running, it can completely be overpowering at times. I have grown used to it, but there are those really hot days where it brings tears to your eyes. City and suburban folks are not immune from this smell either, especially during springtime.

I’ve learned a trick to keeping some of these smells at bay when I’m out running. A small layer of Vicks Vapor rub right under the nostrils can make everything smell much better.

RELATED: 11 Truths New Runners Must Accept

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13 Tips For The Aging Runner http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/13-tips-master-runner_161605 Sun, 23 Jul 2017 18:58:32 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=3439 Even though you may be slow, there are many things to look forward to as an aging runner.

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A wealth of documentation proves that running well into Grand Masters age categories brings far more benefits to the body than risks, particularly since the reality of degeneration is inevitable. Running can delay and reduce many of the impacts of aging in exponential measure. A Stanford University study supports these anecdotal conclusions. Master runners who experienced heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers, and neurological ailments had those ailments on average 16 years later than non-runners. As a group, they experience better mobility, coordination, weight control, bone density, muscle strength, and an overall sense of well-being. So forget the calendar years and bring on the future with these tips for success as a senior runner:

For your body

1. Take extra care in selecting your shoes. Fit seniors tend to have lower body fat. One place of critical effect is reduced padding on the bottom of their feet. It’s a good idea to get fitted at a specialty running store. Don’t hesitate to ask to test newer cushioned rides.

2. The fit of your running gear is key to more than just comfort. With your body softening around the edges, the size of your jog bra and style of your shorts shouldn’t be left to chance. Bouncing isn’t fun for men or women.

For your performance

3. STRETCH before and after every run. Every run. Every run.

4. Pay attention to your body signals, and act on them. Don’t try to tough it out and run through specific pains or illness.

5. Plan rest and recovery days. Don’t cheat on them by doing yard work or garage cleaning. Rest (and specifically adequate sleep) gives the body time to actually strengthen itself.

6. Vary the workout. Running is joyful, but some yoga, swimming, cycling and hiking can maintain fitness while balancing the specific body-part, muscle-group exertion.

7. Choose less (but higher quality) speed workouts and more sustained distance/time efforts to counter the natural decline in aerobic capacity.

RELATED: What Is The Best Age For Running Marathons?

For your mind

8. Senior runners can typically take the time to enjoy many more of the fringe benefits of running. This helps to keep motivation, satisfaction, and general well-being high.

9. Consider scheduling a race every so often to set a timeframe for fitness preparedness and to be able to work towards achieving measurable goals.

10. Join a running club to add the special social aspects and camaraderie to your running.

11. Plan a family run. Add it to the next family reunion, wedding event, graduation get-together. See what setting a great example introduces.

12. Pick running courses and race venues that will take you to new places and different vistas. Make your run an adventure.

13. Volunteer at a running event on your rest day. The excitement will be contagious and a great motivator.

Regardless of the reason for lacing up a pair of running shoes, masters runners are making strides in achieving the greatest physical and mental well-being possible. For an overall excellent quality of life, hit the roads and trails.

RELATED: Wise Tips From Masters Runners On Staying Fit and Injury-Free

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5 Rules To Help You Run Strong In The Summer Heat http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/rules-run-strong-summer-heat_166404 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:15:43 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166404 To acclimate to this new oven you’re living in and get your running on track, use the following strategies on your body and your workout.

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The weather is hot…but your running is not. Don’t stress. There are biological reasons you’re slow on those first hot days. All of a sudden, your body has to turn its natural air-conditioning system—sweat—up to full blast. And just as cranking AC up takes a toll on your home energy bill, the sudden heat change costs your body extra energy too.

If you’re training consistently, your body is used to delivering blood and oxygen to your working muscles. On hot days, you’re asking it to deliver blood to the skin too, so it can shed heat, create sweat and chill you out. The price of this sudden multitasking is that your body says, “Hey! Slow down!” until it gets the hang of doing both things at once. It can take as long as two weeks to get good at it.

To acclimate to this new oven you’re living in and get your running on track, use the following strategies on your body and your workout.

Keep Your Body Cool

Wear the right stuff.
Got a sleek new fitted running tank? Today’s not the day for it. You want a tech shirt that ’s a little loose in the torso, so any type of breeze—from what you’re generating when you run to any ambient air movement can get in there and evaporate your sweat, says Roberto Mandje, manager of runner training, education and products at New York Road Runners. The exception: high-tech cooling sleeves. “It looks counterproductive to have a tank top and sleeves on,” he says. But these can be useful for wicking extra sweat away from you, he says, and many have UPF sun protection built in. And don’t forget a hat or visor.

Put water in you before you put it on you.
Scientists say that drinking water is a first choice over dumping it over your head. In fact, pouring it on your head can make you feel cool and run faster—which makes you produce more heat and could run you into heat exhaustion if you’re not paying attention. Not only do you not want to get dehydrated for your health’s sake, it can also affect your running performance. Even if you don’t need a lot of water on a regular day, you do on a hot one.

RELATED: 7 Accessories To Help You Adjust To The Heat This Summer

Keep Your Workout Smart

Make friends with the gym—or the morning.
Speed work in the heat won’t do what it’s supposed to, since you can’t hit your splits. Take it indoors or get used to doing your workouts early in the morning when the day is coolest, says David Allison, founder and head coach of Marathon Coaching in Phoenix, where triple-digit temps are common. Bonus to getting up crazy early: Ozone levels tend to be lower.

Train by effort.
All those extra demands on your body drive your heart rate up higher than usual when you’re out in the heat. So, for instance, you might be doing 7:15-per-mile pace at an effort that used to turn in 7-minute miles, and you have to adjust your expectations, says Mandje. Focus on feel, not what your watch says.

Break it up.
If you’re training for an important time goal and hitting your splits is critical, break up your workouts, says Randy Accetta, director of coaching education for the Road Runners Club of America. “If, for example, you were supposed to do 5×1 mile, do 10×800 instead, and cut yourself some slack during the recovery,” he says. “Stand in the shade and drink fluids. Expect to still be slower—studies show it could be 3 to 19 percent slower than usual—but do the effort and turnover as best you can. And don’t think you’re a horrible athlete because you can’t manage it perfectly.”

These coaches all agree, if the heat bothers you: Don’t freak out. If you train smart and hydrate, you’ll get your groove back.

RELATED: Why Runners Should Train In The Heat

Know the Signs of Heat Illness

If you’re sweating heavily but your skin feels cold and clammy, you feel weak, have a fast, weak pulse, and have nausea, vomiting or feel faint—symptoms of heat exhaustion—get to a cool spot, lie down and loosen your clothes, while applying cool, wet cloths to your skin if you can. If, however, you have a super-high body temperature (above 103) and your skin is hot, red and especially if it’s dry, you’re at risk of heat stroke. Ask someone to call 911.

 

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Americans Hasay And Rupp Will Race Chicago Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/news/hasay-rupp-chicago-marathon_166401 Fri, 21 Jul 2017 19:00:17 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166401 The elite field was just announced and includes 18 Americans, including legend Joan Benoit Samuelson who will try for an age-group record.

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Hasay and Rupp race the 2016 Boston Marathon. Photo: Photorun.net

Yesterday, the elite field for the 40th annual Bank of America Chicago Marathon—taking place on Oct. 8—was announced and two top Americans are set to lead the pack.

Two-time Olympic medalist Galen Rupp and American marathon debut record holder Jordan Hasay will compete against a deep field. On the men’s side, this includes NCAA champion and record holder Sam Chelanga, Luke Puskedra, Jeffrey Eggleston, Aaron Braun, Diego Estrada, Andrew Bumbalough, and debut marathoners Chris Derrick and rising star Noah Droddy. The women’s race will see Becky Wade, Sarah Crouch, Alia Gray, Danna Herrick, Dot McMahan, Kristen Heckert and Michelle Lilienthal toe the line.

Rounding out the elite field is 1984 Olympic gold medalist and 1985 Chicago Marathon champion Joan Benoit Samuelson, who will toe the line in an attempt to set an age-group world record.

“Storytelling is important to me and it’s how I motivate myself,” Samuelson said in a press release. “My race decisions often reflect my narrative. Once I turned 60 I knew that the Oct. 8 Chicago race would represent the next chapter in my career.”

This World Marathon Major race hosts more than 40,000 runners from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, while an estimated 1.7 million spectators line the streets of the Windy City.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why The Chicago Marathon Rocks

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How To Start Running Again After A Short Break In Training http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/short-break-training_166384 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 22:20:23 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166384 Sometimes life commitments cause us to miss a run—or weeks worth of runs.

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Training for a distance race takes months of commitment. So it’s not surprising that there are times where you miss a run…or multiple weeks of runs. We often expect injuries to derail our training, but most of the time we take a short break because of other life commitments.

Busy schedules often call for runners to readjust their priorities. That means some weeks running can get moved further down our to-do list—or knocked off entirely.

Whether it’s work, family, brief illness, vacation, or just a short burn out, we have all missed a few goal runs in our training schedule. However, there is a big difference between just missing quality days (workouts and long runs) and not running at all. So can you hop back into your training plan after a short break or should you start looking for a new goal race? Follow our plan below to see where your training fits in.

You skipped 1-2 weeks worth of workouts but still did easy runs

If you missed one week of workouts or long runs, but still got in a few miles, don’t panic. Just move on to the next week of your training plan.

“If you missed your big days, just continue on,” says John Kenworthy, head men’s and women’s cross-country and track coach at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. “Don’t try to make up anything you missed, but don’t feel like you need to adjust training for the next week.”

If you miss two weeks of quality runs, return with a slightly more conservative approach. Run 1-2 easy days before moving back into normal mileage. The most important step is to listen to your body. See how your legs respond to easy runs before deciding when to attempt a workout.

“If you haven’t done a workout or a real long run, but you’ve run 4-8 times during those weeks off, then it’s really just about getting some good runs in before you decide to work out,” says Kenworthy. “It could only take 4-5 days, but it could also be 7-8 days, depending on how your body bounces back.”

You haven’t run at all in 1-2 weeks

Even if you’ve been unable to lace up your shoes at all, runners shouldn’t let go of their goals just yet. The first step is to slowly build your mileage. If you have only missed one week, start out with 1-2 easier runs. Kenworthy notes that it shouldn’t take runners long to feel comfortable at their previous training volume.

“It might take a day or two to get your body back moving. At the end of the week, you should feel comfortable running your full volume.”

If you’ve taken a two-week break, begin with 4-5 days of easy running before moving back into your training schedule. Adjust your long run, so it is still your longest run of the week, but a bit shorter than what your schedule originally called for. By the start of your second week back, you should be back to your normal daily mileage and can probably complete a workout by week’s end.

RELATED: 5 Tips For Sticking With Your Training Plan

You skipped 3-4 weeks worth of workouts but still did easy runs

Good news: runners who have missed their quality runs for almost a month may still be able to race. Bad news: they will have to readjust their goals. With so many long runs or workouts skipped, it isn’t reasonable to expect to run a personal best.

“You’re probably in the position where you can make the decision to race if you give up on the idea of going after some sort of performance goal,” says Kenworthy. “You won’t necessarily be out of it preparedness-wise but you just might not have the fitness you want when that race comes around.”

Marathoners should use a bit more caution when deciding if they should still complete their race. This is especially true if your race is in six weeks or less. A better solution would be to find a shorter race to avoid injury.

Some runners would rather give up on their time goals for a race. If you want to be competitive and set a personal best, Kenworthy urges his runners to restart their training.

“It would be a better use of your time to look 16-20 weeks and find a new race, than to reset your time goals”

RELATED: How Many Weeks Do You Really Need To Train For A Marathon?

You haven’t run at all in 3-4 weeks

“If you miss 3-4 weeks cold turkey, then your mindset should be I just took a good biannual break. And then I’m going to start looking at races that might be 16-20 weeks out,” says Kenworthy.

After a month-long break, it is not advisable to pick up where you left off in your training plan. Instead the healthier option, both physically and mentally, is to start over. Wait until training better fits into your life and pick a new race goal that you can fully commit to.

If you really don’t want to bail on your race, you can run it for fun—as long as it is a half marathon or less. After a month off, you are more susceptible to injury if you go from zero to 13.1 with nothing in between. Check with your race to see if you can defer to next year.

Just remember training plans are written in pencil, not pen. Sometimes readjustments are needed. Running isn’t always the most important thing in life. But when you are ready, there will be a new goal race out there waiting for you.

RELATED: 5 Things The Most Successful Runners Do Every Day

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This Hill Workout Will Help You Finish Your Next Race Strong http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/hill-workout-finish-strong_166375 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 18:47:09 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166375 When your body is tired at the end of the race, it needs to be strong to help you reach your top speed. This workout will get you there.

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One of my pet peeves is hearing people talk about not having any speed at the end of a race. Granted at the top level in tactical races, the runner with the best sprint tends to win the day. But for most people hanging on for dear life in an all-out effort, the ability to finish off a good race has more to do with strength than speed.

At the end of a tough race, your body is tired, so it needs to be strong to produce top speed. But your body is also working at close to VO2max, aka your aerobic capacity, before you even try to sprint, so you also need good oxygen uptake and some anaerobic tolerance. You get strength from long runs on the hills, and you develop VO2 max and anaerobic tolerance by doing good speed work. But to develop the ability to finish fast, you have to develop all facets at once. How? Intense hill work!

If you are training for runs longer than 10K, then hill repetitions at anaerobic threshold are useful, because they emphasize endurance. If you are training for distances up to 10K, hill reps at VO2 max emphasize maximal oxygen uptake more than endurance.

RELATED: How To Become A Beast On The Uphills

The Workout

Time | Distance Description
10 min.—Easy running RPE 1 (Easy effort; Slower than normal training pace), with a few moderate sprints RPE 2
(Moderate  effort; Normal training pace)
4–6 × 5 min.—For 10K training: uphill running at RPE 4 (Hard effort; 10K race pace). Jog downhill between reps.*
10 min.—Easy running RPE 1

*NOTE: If you are training for a 5K or shorter, try 6–8 × 2-min. hill reps at slightly harder than 5K effort.

The gradient should not be super steep: a hill that allows you to run close to normal training pace at this intense effort is best so that you’re able to retain something close to normal running form. This session should be done as part of your tempo and speed-work training but never within two weeks of an important race. Recovery is important, so never do more than one of these sessions per week.

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Running Community Rallies To Support Gabe Grunewald’s Cancer Treatment http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/news/gabe-grunewald-cancer-treatment_166354 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 17:12:17 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166354 She's battling cancer for a fourth time, and the running community has come together to support her in an incredible way.

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Last week, elite runner and cancer survivor Gabe Grunewald posted the heart-breaking Instagram update that her body did not respond to chemotherapy.

Do you want the good news first or the bad news? Don’t you hate that question? All I want is the good news, always. . Well the good news is that my summer of chemo, after two rounds, is over! Never thought I’d have to retire #chemorunners so early, but I’m done with chemo because of the “bad news,” or what I’ve come to consider in my unique cancer world, simply “news.” I didn’t respond to chemo. At all. In fact, my cancer grew a bit and I think there is a new tumor or two. Yikes. We knew chemo was far from a silver bullet for patients with ACC mets but there is always hope that your specific case will be different. I’ve found that one of the hardest parts of dealing with an ongoing cancer battle is building up all of your hope in a specific treatment or course of action and having that balloon of hope deflate pretty quickly… and then having to blow up another balloon all over again. 🎈 It’s exhausting. But it’s essential. If you have metastatic cancer you are living life on the edge, praying for a breakthrough. On the road to finding a treatment that works for you, you’re probably going to fail a treatment (or quite a few treatments!) along the way. That doesn’t mean you’re out of the race. You just have to brush yourself off and keep running. The race we’re in doesn’t have a finish line or a course map. You’re just running toward what you can see — the steps directly in front of you. The rest will reveal itself in time. 🎈🏃‍♀️ . The other good news is that even though I’m well off the beaten path of cancer treatments, there are still cancer centers and researchers working on new options. This is a huge blessing! For me, the next step will be enrolling in an immunotherapy trial (Hi #immunotherapyrunners!) @sloankettering and yes, hoping for the best (a miracle?) that I will respond and we can start getting this recurrence under control. There are still liver-directed therapies that could be helpful for me at some point, but I’m now fully under the care of Dr. Ho are we are still ‘in it to win it’ -- not giving up on the idea that we can treat and control the disease itself, rather than just manage the tumors. . (Post continued in comments below.) . 📸: @urimiscott

A post shared by gabriele (anderson) grunewald (@gigrunewald) on

Gabe is currently battling a rare form of cancer for a fourth time, and she continued to run and race competitively in between infusions. Following the 1,500-meter first rounds at the U.S. outdoor championships this summer, every competitor created a ‘prayer circle’ around Gabe to wish her well in her continued treatment. But unfortunately, the track runner is now seeking new treatments to hopefully beat this cancer for a fourth time…which of course comes with a massive financial undertaking when it’s all said and done.

The outpouring of support Gabe and husband Justin have received since her announcement has been overwhelming. Athlete Biz, a nonprofit website that supports the careers of our country’s top track and field athletes, created a fundraising page to assist the couple with medical bills, and as of July 19, nearly $33K has been raised against the $50,000 goal. The page, which has been shared around on social media dozens of times already, includes a touching message about the courageous runner:

Gabriele has been inspiring us all with her grit, determination, grace and resolve as she has continued to train, race, and share her story through her fourth bout with cancer in eight years. Most recently, she competed in her eighth USA Outdoor Track & Field Championship in the midst of chemotherapy, the crowd rising in standing ovation as she crossed the finish line and her fellow competitors surrounded her in a hug of solidarity. As Gabriele (fondly known as Gabe) announced on July 12, her cancer has not responded to chemo. She and her husband, Justin, are turning to specialists at Sloan Kettering Memorial hospital in New York City to figure out a next course of action that includes emerging therapies beyond the standard treatments she has tried thus far. Over the coming months, there will be frequent trips to NYC from their home in Minneapolis, medical expenses, and many unknowns. As friends, family, fans, admirers, and supporters of Gabe and Justin (#TeamGabe!), we do not want them taking on these expenses alone. Let’s all come together to support Team Gabe and make sure she has the means to pursue the best treatment options available. Consider making a donation and/or using the hashtag #BraveLikeGabe to show Gabe how she has inspired you to be brave in your own life. Any funds not used for treatment will go towards Gabe’s dream of starting the “Cure Cancer Run Club,” a foundation dedicated to supporting cancer causes through organized running events. We love you, Gabe! #TeamGabe #BraveLikeGabe

And of course being the class act and humble person she is, Gabe has already tweeted, “I promise if I can get through this, you will find my giving my life back.” She’s just the brightest star in running right now.

If you’d like to support Gabe’s fight against cancer, you can visit the donation page here.

This story originally appeared on Womensrunning.com.

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9 Reasons Why Having Running Friends Is Amazing http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/tips/reasons-running-friends-amazing_161578 Thu, 20 Jul 2017 01:45:51 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=16148 From lending support to eating with you, running friends are pretty cool. Here are 9 reasons why running friends are the absolute best.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Runners are just good people. That means running friends are the absolute best. But if you need a list of reasons of just why running friends are so amazing, I’ve got you covered.

You always have someone to run with.

Your running  friends are there for you during the three-mile shakeout that you just didn’t really feel like doing. And they are also there for that 20-miler that would have been completely boring without company. It’s so helpful to have a number of people who are always happy to join you.

You get to meet an awesome variety of people.

My running friends range in age from 20 to their 60s. They are employed in a wide variety of different careers. But running brings us together.

They’re supportive.

Your running friends understand what it’s like to accomplish a long run, set a new personal record or finish a marathon. It’s awesome to have the support of people who truly understand the sport.

RELATED: Buddy Up—The Benefits Of Training Partners

They want to hear you talk about running.

It’s a win-win situation, because you probably want to hear them talk about running, too. Not everyone wants to hear every split for your last speed workout, but you can bet that your running buddy will listen.

They want to see you post about running.

The Facebook posts and Instagram photos aren’t going to like themselves. And what is the point of even having Strava if not to review and like all of your friends’ runs. Training partners make it okay to take that sweaty selfie after a great run.

RELATED: A Runner’s Guide To What Not To Do On Social Media

You can talk it out with them.

Often you’re running together for two or three hours together, so you’re going to have to talk about something. You can be there for your friends, and they can be there for you. Both you and your running buddy will emerge from your miles with solutions to any problem.

They’ll eat with you.

Waffle cones, anyone? One of my friends and I will sometimes get waffle cones together at TCBY after an evening run. I love food, and it’s nice to have friends who will work out with you and then indulge.

You have someone to enjoy races with.

Racing with a friend helps ease those starting line nerves. Plus you don’t have to be alone at the post-race party. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, it’s time to celebrate!

And even if you don’t go to a race with a friend, you’re bound to know someone.

One good thing about runners is that there are a lot of us. If you participate in a race local to your hometown, you’ll likely see someone you know. And even if you don’t know anyone, runners can be pretty social people. I bet you’ll leave the race with some brand new running friends.

RELATED: 10 Amazing Benefits of Running You Might Not Have Known

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Couch-To-5K Apps To Get You Up And Running http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/training/couch-5k-apps_161560 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:46:28 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=8812 These Couch to 5K apps send training plans right to your phone to help you tackle your first 13.1.

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If you’ve been out recovering from an injury or have resolved to start running for the first time, the idea of running for miles and miles (or even 15 minutes) every day might seem daunting. You might hurt yourself or get burnt out. Luckily, great running minds have been toiling away to create some fantastic “Couch to 5K” plans that can get you moving. With tons to choose from, you’ll want to look for a couch-to-5K plan that has challenging but attainable daily and weekly goals, gives clear direction and is encouraging. After doing a little research, I have found a few that I love:

C25K (Couch-to-5K), $5

This top-rated app for either the iPhone or Android spreads the training over eight weeks. Each week contains three workouts that combine both walking and running. The great thing about this app is the capability to play your own music, whether from your phone or other music apps, while C25K provides directions for when to warm up, walk, run and cool down. The app allows you to track your distance and calories burned as well. If you feel ready to move up, there are apps for 10K through marathon.

Cool Running Couch-to-5K, $3

This app is designed to help beginner runners get up and going, without the fear of starting out too quickly. The nine-week plan focuses on three run/walks per week that range in total from 20 to 30 minutes. You can also choose from four different virtual coaches who give you cues while you workout. It also has GPS for mileage tracking. What’s wonderful about this plan is that it’s only just the start of an amazing program you can get from Active.com. Once you’ve completed the Couch-to-5K program, you can easily move onto another one of the plans. Before you know it, you’ll be using the marathon training program!

RELATED: 7 Must-Do 5Ks In The United States

Easy 5K with Jeff Galloway, $4

Olympian Jeff Galloway has created top-notch run-walk plans and put together tips that will keep you training toward any goal. Galloway partnered with lolo to create an app that details his 7-week plan. It has Galloway sharing tips, encouragement and tons of other great tidbits to keep you motivated to the end. The app’s beat-sync technology matches the tempo of your music to your running pace. Once you’ve done your first 5K, the app also includes an advanced plan to help improve your time. Note: this is only available for iPhone.

No matter which plan you choose, be sure to stay consistent and stick with it. You’ll feel proud of yourself for accomplishing a new goal, as well as feel better physically.

RELATED: 5 Weeks To Your First 5K

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Super Easy Slow Cooker Meals For Busy Runners http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/nutrition/easy-slow-cooker-meals_161491 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:14:03 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=9406 Being healthy has never been this easy! Try one of these simple slow cooker meals for when you are on the run from a busy day.

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Not everyone can spend hours in the kitchen to yield a nourishing dinner every night. As a result, people will often turn to fast food, delivery or frozen meals. The result is often a poor diet lacking in nutrients. Thankfully, there exists a magical object which can yield healthy meals with minimal effort. It’s called a slow cooker!

Even if you’ve heard of them before (which I hope you have), you may not be using your slow cooker to its full advantage. To kickstart your obsession, here are five easy and healthy recipes.

Mac & Cheese

The key to making mac and cheese in the Crock-Pot is to cook the pasta separately. Dried pasta cooked in a slow cooker just disintegrates so boil it separately.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups skim milk
  • ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 16-ounce package of elbow macaroni, cooked separately

 

Combine all ingredients except cooked pasta in a sauce pan over medium heat until the cheese is just melted. Pour into Crock-Pot, along with cooked noodles. Cook on low for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Shredded Buffalo Spinach Wraps

Crock-Pot chicken is amazing because it just shreds apart. Prepare the buffalo chicken in the slow cooker, and then assemble the wrap with baby spinach and fresh sliced mozzarella.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I like Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • ½ tablespoon dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh sliced mozzarella
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • Spinach wraps

 

Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine hot sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, parsley flakes, dill weed and salt in a small bowl. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours. Using two forks, shred the chicken right in the slow cooker. Place chicken on spinach wraps and top with mozzarella and spinach.

RELATED: Must Have Items For Any Runner’s Fridge

Apple Pie Filling Dessert

Apple pie is delicious, but, despite the abundance of fruit, isn’t know for being nutritious. This recipe mimics apple pie filling, and pairs well with vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients:

  • 10 apples, peeled and cored
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Stevia

 

Mix together all ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 3 ½ to 4 hours.

Mexican Taco Stew

This is a diverse dish, because you can either add two extra cups of water and make it into a soup, or keep it the way it is and eat between taco shells or tortillas.

  • ½ pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 16-ounce jar salsa
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 16-ounce can black beans
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 cups chicken stock

 

Cook ground turkey in skillet until done. Drain and place turkey into slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients, stirring to combine. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is delicious, but standing and stirring over the stove for an hour is exhausting, especially if you ran that day. Made in the Crock-Pot, it is just as tender and flavorful without the knee cramps.

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ of a yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

 

Swirl olive oil around large pan. Cook onion, garlic, and mushrooms until softened, around 5 to 7 minutes. Add rice and cook one more minute. Transfer mixture to slow cooker. Add in broth and white wine. Cook on high for 2 ½ to 3 hours or high for 1 1/2 hours. Stir in parmesan cheese.

RELATED: Stay Cool This Summer With Healthy Cold Treats

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5 Running Brands That Show Off Your Personality http://running.competitor.com/2017/07/shoes-and-gear/running-brands-show-personality_166339 Wed, 19 Jul 2017 18:46:25 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=166339 Say goodbye to blasé and hello to bright colors and loud prints thanks to these apparel companies offering unique gear for runners.

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When you are in the middle of what seems to be the longest run that will never end, every little bit helps, from the perfect playlist to the perfect outfit. If you are looking for a way to showcase your creative side out on the roads and trails, these brands have you covered.

We rounded up five apparel brands that are pushing the envelope and offering some truly off-the-wall prints, colors and graphic-tees to help you show off your personality, no matter where you choose to run.

RELATED: 6 Small Running Brands Making Big Impacts

running brands INKnBURN VIM & VIGR Running Funky Sarah Marie Design Studio

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