Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:30:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Fast After 40: Master Your Balance http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/training/fast-after-40-master-your-balance_120038 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/training/fast-after-40-master-your-balance_120038#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:23:47 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120038

Ingrid Walters, 42, who ran 2:54:58 at the 2014 Chicago Marathon, balances on one leg. Photo: Diana Hernandez

Do you have a balance problem?

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Ingrid Walters, 42, who ran 2:54:58 at the 2014 Chicago Marathon, balances on one leg. Photo: Diana Hernandez

Do you have a balance problem?

I was 44 years when I noticed that running downhill on trails had suddenly become unsafe. The uneven surface was jarring. The switchback turns were too tight. The narrow paths and precipitous drops at trail’s edge screamed, “Danger, danger, danger!” I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. My leg strength was good. My eyesight was fine. And changing shoe models didn’t have any effect. Then I got plantar fasciitis. As part of my therapy, I performed some simple balance exercises. The PF got better. And lo and behold, so did my trail running.

Turns out I’d never had a trail-running problem. I’d had a balance problem.

By the time we turn 40—or 50, 60, 70, or 80—most of us have spent decades letting inanimate objects manage our balance for us. We walk in stable, flat-bottomed shoes; spend 50-75 percent of each day sitting in chairs or sleeping on beds; run on even surfaces like sidewalks and roads—or, worse yet, on completely stationary treadmills, elliptical machines and stair climbers. Simply put, we’ve spent decades deactivating two systems required for efficient movement through our environment:

Balance: Balance allows you to stand or move without toppling to the ground. Think that’s easy? Then watch a child learning to walk. Or consider this: It took tens of millions of dollars and decades of research to create, in 2013, a two-legged robot—Boston Dynamic’s Atlas—that could actually walk over rough terrain. When you run, you not only have to stay upright, you have to do it while leaping from one foot to the other.

Proprioception: This is your body’s ability to track its position relative to the outside world. Proprioception lets you walk without looking at your feet. It lets you type without watching the keys. Proprioceptive nerves relay position, tension and stretch sensations to your central nervous system. Your CNS then triggers correct muscle contractions to hold or alter your body’s position.

RELATED: Master Your Cross-Training

Like most things physiological, if you don’t use your balance and proprioception, you lose them. But lucky for you, they’re easy to revive and then to improve. In fact, a 2006 study on football players found that just four weeks spent balancing on each leg for five minutes, five days a week, reduced ankle sprains by 77 percent.

Masters runners looking to improve their balance and proprioception would do well to start with the following six exercises.

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Out There: A Runner’s Letter to Santa http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/out-there/out-there-a-runners-letter-to-santa_120100 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/out-there/out-there-a-runners-letter-to-santa_120100#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 16:42:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120100

Susan Lacke wants her non-running friends to become runners and join her on the road. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Columnist Susan Lacke isn't looking for material gifts this year.

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Susan Lacke wants her non-running friends to become runners and join her on the road. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Columnist Susan Lacke isn’t looking for material gifts this year.

Dear Santa,

I know we haven’t been on speaking terms for about 25 years, when you failed to deliver a pony on Christmas. I said some pretty harsh things back then about you and your waistline, and in hindsight, I probably could have dealt with the situation a little differently. Consider this my apology. I still think you could lose a few pounds, Santa, but now this sentiment comes from a place of love and support, not judgment.

My nieces and nephews tell me you’ve got a pretty good track record these days with filling Christmas wishes, so I figured I’d give you another go-around. My pony phase ended back in 1990, so that’s off the list now. To be honest, I don’t have much to ask for—I’ve got a roof over my head, a job I love and a handsome husband waiting for me at every finish line—so I’ve got it pretty good, Santa.

But there are still a few gifts I wouldn’t mind finding under the tree this year. They’re not material things; I guess you might call them gifts of fortitude. I know it’s an odd request, but the kids tell me you can make anything happen (except a pony, apparently … no, really, I’m over it now) so I figure it can’t hurt to ask. Here’s my wish list, Big Red:

Patience

I’m told I lack this virtue, and my impatience has gotten me in trouble on more than one occasion—mostly with my coach. Speaking of Coach Dude, if you have a little extra patience lying around, wrap it up and send it to him. I think he might need it more than I do, but for different reasons.

IDGAF

My friend Carlos tells me the only way I’ll improve as a runner is if I stop overthinking and stay out of the comparison trap. As he puts it, I need “a healthy dose of I Don’t Give A F***” before I hit the track. I’m not sure how IDGAF is administered—do I spread it on the skin like sunscreen, or is it consumed in gel form? I trust you’ll package my IDGAF in a suitable delivery method, though after all the doping scandals in track and field this year, it might be best to stay away from syringes.

RELATED: The Holidays, A Time To Eat

Core strength

Contrary to what I have long believed, my doctor says I do not have a soft, nougat-filled center like a Milky Way. Apparently, I have “core muscles,” and they are supposed to be “engaged” at all times. I struggle with this concept. When I try to engage my core muscles, my abs don’t do anything while my face looks like I’m pooping. I’m not asking for six-pack abs, Santa, but If one of your elf mechanics could flip the switch to “engage” these “core muscles,” that’d be rad.

Grace

Has anyone in your workshop figured out a way for me to do form drills without looking like I belong in a Fatboy Slim video? I know these drills are important, but the neighbors look at me funny when I silly-walk on my front lawn.

Optimism

I’m usually a positive person, but this year has been a rough one. I only did one disappointing race—only one!—this year before an injury and surgery ended my season. I’m finally beginning the process of rehabilitation, but my aforementioned lack of patience really isn’t working in my favor. Starting over feels daunting—even impossible—and I slide into self-loathing pretty easily when things get tough. A positive attitude would really make rehab tolerable. At the very least, it’d keep me from knocking over the 95-year-old granny with her engaged core muscles at physical therapy. Nobody likes a showoff, right?

RELATED: Help, I’m a Stubborn-holic

Momentum

This year, many of my non-running friends followed the Boston Marathon for the first time. They laughed. They cried. They Twitter-stalked race coverage. They yelled at the TV. This was the first time they actually cared about a running event, and were even inspired to talk about taking up running “someday.” Can you finagle a little magic to turn them from watch-ers to do-ers? I’d love for them to experience finish-line euphoria firsthand. Gaining more running buddies—well, that’d just be icing on a very delicious sugar cookie.

Thanks for reading, Saint Nick, and I hope I haven’t taken up too much of your time. Tell the wife I said hello, and give Rudolph a scratch behind the ear from me. If you’re looking to take up some light exercise to burn off those Christmas cookies, you just give me a call in January. Merry Christmas!

Love,
Susan Lacke

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About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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Video: Alternate Leg Skipping http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/video-alternate-leg-skipping_120095 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/video-alternate-leg-skipping_120095#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 07:18:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120095

This is a great drill that builds speed and explosiveness in your legs.

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For this drill, focus on one leg at a time. Make sure you maintain an upright posture and get a rhythm going so that you’re immediately going into the next skip.

Do 12-16 skips on each leg per set, and do 2-4 sets total.

RELATED: The Elongated Monty Python Walk

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The Everyman: All I Want for Christmas http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/staff-blog/everyman-want-christmas_120086 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/staff-blog/everyman-want-christmas_120086#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:43:30 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120086

Earning a ticket to the Boston Marathon is on Jason Devaney's bucket list. Photo: www.photorun.net

Jason Devaney's holiday wish list doesn't have the usual gear, nutrition and electronic items.

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Earning a ticket to the Boston Marathon is on Jason Devaney's bucket list. Photo: www.photorun.net

Jason Devaney’s holiday wish list doesn’t have the usual gear, nutrition and electronic items.

It seems that everyone has a holiday wish list these days, and they’re filled with things like running shorts, running shoes and stocking stuffers like packets of GU and speed laces.

Here’s my list:

Finish Line Tape For Everyone

Last year I wrote about wanting to break the finish line tape just once in my life, knowing full well I’ll never win a race. Why can’t race organizers hold up the tape for every finisher? In last Sunday’s Dallas Marathon, a relay runner upstaged the women’s winner by beating her in a finish-line sprint and breaking the tape. Her relay team finished sixth. So it appears we’re making progress.

A Boston Qualifier … Someday

Maybe this will happen when I turn 50. It’s almost guaranteed I won’t earn a BQ next year, but stranger things have happened in the sport of running. I suppose I could get a nice speed boost by using a jetpack to qualify for Boston. Anyone know where I can get one?

A Sub-2 hour Marathon

I have absolutely zero chance at doing this, but someone else could break the barrier and make history. I hope it happens. People thought a sub-4 minute mile wasn’t possible, but it was. The new magic number is the 1:59 marathon. Recent talk suggests it might happen sooner than we think.

No More Dopers

This doping thing has to stop. Cycling’s new doping scandal gives haters another reason to continue to dislike the sport. It’s sad, really. And we have another doping scandal happening in the running world. Why can’t these people play by the rules? Do they realize they’re doing more harm than good?

Faster Runners

I’d love to see the average race times continue to drop. The average men’s marathon finishing time, for example, was 3:32:17 in 1980, according to Running USA. As the sport grew, that number climbed to 4:20:01 in 2002 and 4:20:29 in 2005. In 2013 it was 4:16:24 — let’s keep the momentum going, people!

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Workout of the Week: 200-200-400 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/training/workout-week-200-200-400_120071 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/training/workout-week-200-200-400_120071#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 22:02:39 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120071

The only way to lose your speed is by forgetting ago stay in touch with it in the first place. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Don't lose touch with your speed when training for longer distances.

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The only way to lose your speed is by forgetting ago stay in touch with it in the first place. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Don’t lose touch with your speed when training for longer distances. 

One of the biggest fears troubling many runners who are thinking about training for a longer race such as a half marathon, marathon or even an ultra is that they’ll lose their speed amid a steady diet of long runs, bulky workouts and high weekly mileage.

A simple, surefire way to quell those concerns, however, is by not losing touch with shorter speed workouts such as 200 and 400-meter intervals run faster than your 5K race pace. While not a key session for long-distance racers, an occasional set of short, speedy repetitions is an essential ingredient of a well-rounded training program.

RELATED: Don’t Let Marathon Training Steal Your Speed

“We are primarily a long distance group so we don’t do a ton of workouts like this, but they’re important,” says coach Ben Rosario of the Flagstaff-based Northern Arizona Elite team. “Touching some speedier work now and again keeps us from getting stale and keeps our form snappy.”

At least once during a training segment, Rosario has his marathoners do three to four sets of 200 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters at 1-mile race pace with an equal amount of jogging recovery after each repetition. If you’ve never raced a mile or are unsure of what you could run one in right now, the McMillan calculator is a handy tool that uses a recent race result to calculate equivalent race times at other distances.

“[The 200-200-400 workout] works well to plug it in somewhere between a lot of long, hard workouts as a change of pace…literally!” says Rosario.

This workout is best done on a track, but it can easily be performed on a measured stretch of road, a treadmill or just about anywhere with some assistance from a GPS watch. Regardless of where you do it, the key is to keep your wheels spinning so they don’t go flat on you. The only way to lose your speed is by forgetting to stay in touch with it in the first place.

RELATED: Speed Workouts During Marathon Training?

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Tennis Star Wozniacki Putting Marathons on Hold http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/tennis-star-wozniacki-putting-marathons-hold_120070 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/tennis-star-wozniacki-putting-marathons-hold_120070#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 19:26:50 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120070

The tennis star ran a 3:26 on minimal training, but she's sticking with tennis.

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The tennis star ran a 3:26 on minimal training, but she won’t be switching sports.

Just a month after a Boston-qualifying marathon debut at the New York City Marathon, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki said she won’t be running any more races until she retires from tennis.

“I have done one marathon and would definitely like to do another one. I actually qualified for the Boston Marathon, but we will be in the middle of our season,” Wozniacki told GulfNews.com before an event in Dubai.

She added that tennis is now her sole priority for the foreseeable future. Wozniacki is currently ranked 8th in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association and has earned $3.3 million in prize money in 2014.

“I am very happy to be playing tennis and I am focusing on that,” she said. “I’ve done one marathon and for now that’s enough.”

Wozniacki surprised many by running a 3:26:33 at the NYC Marathon on a cold, windy day last month. She admitted that due to her tennis schedule, her longest training run was 13 miles, leading to speculation on her potential with better training.

That won’t be happening, though—at least not yet.

“Maybe after my tennis career ends I might do another one or even try my hand at triathlons,” she told GulfNews.com. “That would be a really good challenge.”

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Video: Quest For The Podium http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/video-quest-podium_120061 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/video-quest-podium_120061#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:02:18 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120061

Billy Yang follows top ultra runners in their quest for a podium spot at the recent 2014 NorthFace Endurance Challenge Championship.

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In this video, L.A.-based filmmaker Billy Yang follows Sage Canaday, Tim Tollefson, Alex Varner, Dylan Bowman and Timmy Olson in their quest for a podium spot at the recent 2014 NorthFace Endurance Challenge Championship.

RELATED:

The Inside Lane: The Challenge of Enduring

Video: Western Time

Video: Why Run 100 Miles?

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Shoe Of The Week: Saucony Xodus 5 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/shoes-and-gear/shoe-week-saucony-xodus-5_120057 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/shoes-and-gear/shoe-week-saucony-xodus-5_120057#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:52:03 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=120057

The latest version of the Xodus trail shoe is burly enough for rugged trails but still agile and flexible enough for running with a smooth gait.

The Saucony Xodus 5 is a super durable trail shoe for rocky, rooty trails.

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The latest version of the Xodus trail shoe is burly enough for rugged trails but still agile and flexible enough for running with a smooth gait.

The Saucony Xodus 5 is a super durable trail shoe for rocky, rooty trails.

The latest version of the Saucony Xodus blends cushioning, aggressive outsole lugs and a form-fitting upper into a shoe capable of tackling the gnarliest terrain out there.

The first thing you notice when you lace it up is a new upper that’s lighter, more form-fitting and more supportive, features that help give the shoe a twinge of agility on more rugged terrain. But the most obvious thing about this shoe is its top-end protection from big and small obstacles out on the trail. A full-length rock plate, a modestly reinforced toe bumper and the robust Vibram outsole—with jagged directional lugs throughout the heel, midfoot and forefoot—do an excellent job of keeping a runner’s feet out of harm’s way. But those protective features, combined with the thick, double layer of cushioning (one softer layer, one firmer layer) create a decidedly stiff sensation.

It’s a burly shoe that can tackle very rugged terrain, but it really only has one speed. The traction is exceptional on all types of terrain, from large rocks to small pebbles, wet, muddy or dry. (However, a few testers did report the outsole collecting sticky mud on occasion.) It’s not light or particularly agile, which is fine on the rocky, root-strewn trails it was designed to tackle. But our wear-testers unanimously agreed it was too much shoe on smooth trails.

This shoe is for you if … you want a durable, protective shoe with aggressive traction for sloppy terrain or semi-technical to very rugged trails.

Price: $120 (A Gore-Tex version, Xodus 5 GTX, has a $140 price tag.)
Weight: 10.8 oz. (men’s), 9.3 oz. (women’s)
Heel-Toe Offset: 4mm; 23.5mm (heel), 19.5mm (forefoot)
Info: Saucony.com

RELATED: Icebug Spirit 4 OLX

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How To Grow A Runner: Pistol Squats http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/how-to-grow-a-runner-pistol-squats_119939 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/how-to-grow-a-runner-pistol-squats_119939#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 16:47:37 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119939

This challenging exercise demands balance and strength to execute properly.

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This challenging exercise demands balance and strength to execute properly.

What do carnival rides have to do with your running goals?

For both you need to be “tall enough” to make it to the starting line.

Being “tall enough” can mean a lot of things. It can mean that you have to do the right training, you have to build up slowly and patiently to tackle your desired distance and, specific to today’s discussion, you have to be strong, mobile, coordinated and athletic enough to handle all the the physical challenges that running throws your way.

So why do you continue to get hurt while others are cruising pain-free? Why do you struggle with increasing your mileage or reaching a new PR while others effortlessly accomplish these goals? And why do your efforts to run further or faster result in frustration and injury? Chances are you’re missing something in your training!

Fortunately, we’ve been discussing common running injuries and how to prevent them throughout this video series. So far we’ve hit banded side-steps for strong hips, glutes, and knees. We’ve broken down squatting and lunging to develop coordination and improve leg strength. Then we challenged you with greater range of motion and balance in a high box step up, giving you the single-leg strength to run faster without the IT Band wobbles.

RELATED: How To Grow A Runner: Step Ups

These exercises come together nicely as each exercise progresses in skill, mobility and strength from the previous one. Further, we’re reinforcing an athletic skill set that goes way beyond just running!

Which brings us to the single leg pistol squat, demonstrated in the above video. Do you have the strength, mobility, balance and coordination to handle the volume, hills, intensity and training it takes to achieve your goals without breaking down? The pistol squat will let you know!

In other words, are you tall enough to get on this ride? The pistol represents the ultimate combination of everything we’ve done so far to grow you into a happy, strong, sustainable runner. Give it a try!

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About The Author:

Nate Helming coaches strength and mobility for national and international-level road cyclists, mountain bikers, triathletes and ultrarunners at San Francisco CrossFit, as well as elite-level amateur runners and triathletes outside the gym. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter and check out his videos on The Run Experience YouTube channel.

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The Inside Lane: The Challenge of Enduring http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/staff-blog/the-inside-lane/inside-lane-suffer-suffer_119948 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/staff-blog/the-inside-lane/inside-lane-suffer-suffer_119948#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 23:56:37 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119948

"One minute you're high on life, soaking up the euphoria of an effortless pursuit and the next minute you want to curl up in a ball on the side of the trail, wondering how you're possibly going to make it to the next aid station," writes senior editor Mario Fraioli. Photo: Steve Anderson

Senior editor Mario Fraioli recounts working through a few rough patches in a recent race.

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"One minute you're high on life, soaking up the euphoria of an effortless pursuit and the next minute you want to curl up in a ball on the side of the trail, wondering how you're possibly going to make it to the next aid station," writes senior editor Mario Fraioli. Photo: Steve Anderson

Senior editor Mario Fraioli recounts working through a few rough patches in a recent race. 

The long, stair-laden descent to Pirates Cove 11 miles into the North Face Endurance Challenge California 50K course rewards runners with some of the most beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Marin Headlands it borders. But before you can have a chance to truly appreciate the breathtaking scenery surrounding you, the route promptly kicks you in the ass with a short, steep climb to the top of the Coastal Trail, one of the race’s main intersections. It was at this point of my nearly 32-mile adventure two weekends ago that the doubts began to surface in my mind.

“Can I hold on for another 20 miles?” and “Do I want to hold on for another 20 miles?” were the two questions I kept asking myself as my legs begged me for a break. I was running in third place and it was too early to be drowning my mind in negative thoughts, but having already tackled three challenging climbs in the first third of the race with the worst yet to come, the temptation to call it a day was becoming more appealing with every stride. In 18 years of racing various distances, I’ve learned that suffering is an inevitable ingredient of competition—it’s up to you how much of it you want to endure, and on this day, my second-ever 50K, I wasn’t sure I wanted to put up with another 20 miles of it.

At that point, I decided to soldier on, knowing that a mile or so later I would see my wife Christine and our friend Steve before the nearly 1,400-foot climb to the top of Heather Cutoff. Surely they’d let me crawl into the car if I felt like retiring from the race, I thought to myself.

Well, I thought wrong. Despite my whining, there was no way they were letting me call it a day. Their encouragement got me up the series of switchbacks to the next aid station and course turnaround, where I stopped for a solid minute to reassess the situation and get my head on straight.

Coming back down Heather Cutoff a little over 18 miles into the race, I was running head-on into a steady stream of 50K and 50-mile racers who were in the middle of their own long climbs up the hill. Their bodies laden with mud, the effort visible across many of their faces resembled the gnarly grimace I was sporting up the same sloppy singletrack grade just a few minutes before. Some words of encouragement were exchanged, which I appreciated, but it was mostly a silent sense of camaraderie that graced the trail. I felt privileged to be sharing my morning with these people.

After traversing a small grass field at the base of the descent, I ran down the road toward Muir Beach, knowing a long, steep climb back up Coastal Trail was waiting for me. Running and power hiking the relentless ascent with the Pacific Ocean watching me from behind, I suffered in silence until Sage Canaday, winner of the 50-mile race, came charging past. He was screeching like a hyena in pursuit of prey. I was hee-hawing like a donkey who was ready to be done for the day. It was a beautiful juxtaposition.

Approaching Tennessee Valley 26 miles into the race, my legs screaming at me from the vicious descent down Fox Trail, I contemplated how—or if—I was going to tackle the final long climb up the Marincello fire road and finish the race. I couldn’t have cared less if anyone passed me at that point. I was in a bad place and almost asked my friend Brad, who was screaming at me from about three feet away, for a ride back to the finish line. As I topped off my water bottle at the aid station and took off up the hill, feet aching, breathing labored and arms in defense mode, for the first time all day—after nearly 3-1/2 hours of running—it hit me: I signed up for this—willingly! I had chosen to be out here. My suffering was voluntary and it was nothing compared to what other people deal with in their own lives on a daily basis. I had the good fortune to test myself against a group of great runners over some of the most beautiful terrain in the country and I spent the last 15 or so miles thinking about how to waste this incredible opportunity. My perspective changed in an instant and all of a sudden none of the shit I was experiencing on the trails that day seemed so bad.

I thought about a lot of things over the final 5-6 miles of the race, but for the first time all day I didn’t think of quitting. I thought of my wife, who was having surgery the following week and was really nervous heading into the procedure. Be strong for your wife. I kept thinking of the many friends I was sharing these gorgeous trails with on this brilliant December day, most of whom were running the 50-miler and had to endure an additional 19 miles of hills, mud and hurt. Fight with your friends. I thought of my Mom, whose life was unexpectedly cut short six years ago, and my Dad, who has sacrificed so much for me and my siblings. Make Mom and Dad proud. I remembered the image of my stubborn grandfather, my hero, fighting for his life in a hospital 13 years ago as colon cancer ravaged his once strong body. Be tough for Nonno.

It’s crazy, the thoughts and emotions that will pass through your head during a long race when you’re trying to dig yourself out of a dark hole. One minute you’re high on life, soaking up the euphoria of an effortless pursuit and the next minute you want to curl up in a ball on the side of the trail, wondering how you’re possibly going to make it to the next aid station.

The last 5-6 miles passed in a blur of indescribable emotion I’ve never before experienced in a race. Crossing the finish line never felt like more of an accomplishment than it did that day. It was a good reminder for me that in racing, as in life, two things you have complete control over are your attitude and your actions. When the going gets tough, you can choose to back down and avoid the reality of the situation, or you can accept it for what it is, work through the difficult moments and keep moving forward with a positive attitude.

Enduring is a challenge, but that’s the whole point, right?

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Katherine Hopper: Trust in Your Training, it’s GO time! http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/saucony-26-strong/katherine-hopper-trust-training-go-time_119974 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/saucony-26-strong/katherine-hopper-trust-training-go-time_119974#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 21:25:10 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119974

Katherine Hopper organizes her race gear two nights before race day. Photo: Katherine Hopper

Katherine Hopper stays organized by packing early, organizing her race gear ahead of time and getting enough sleep.

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Katherine Hopper organizes her race gear two nights before race day. Photo: Katherine Hopper

During my taper and the week leading up to my marathons, my natural tendency is to morph into a giant bundle of nerves.

…Did I run enough miles?
…Did I do enough strength training?
…Hmmm. I forgot to do much speed work, does that mean I’m going to have a slow marathon?
…Am I eating enough? Or am I eating too much?

I find myself questioning my entire training process.

However, race week is the time to actually put all those doubts and fears aside and trust in your training. Remember those 20-mile runs at 4 a.m., your high weekly mileage and the runs where you were consistently hitting your goal paces? Glance at your training log to remind yourself that you ARE ready.

In order to put my mind at ease and get into the best mindset for my marathons, I like to follow these simple guidelines:

Sleep

Get at least 8-9 quality hours of sleep during the week leading up to the marathon, especially two nights prior to the race. Race nerves may make it a little tricky to get in a solid night’s sleep the night before the race, but that shouldn’t be a problem as long as you don’t already have a large sleep deficit.

Nutrition

Start incorporating more healthy carbs into your diet during the second half of the week leading up to your race. I don’t overdo it with a giant meal the night before the race because it makes me feel sluggish and it’s better to gradually build up your glycogen stores. My favorite pre-marathon meal is a non-greasy homemade pizza, which offers a nice combination of carbs and protein.

Packing

Two nights before getting ready for a race, I like to set out my racing gear and goodies to make sure I’m not forgetting anything.

For a warm weather marathon
— Racing shoes (with at least 30 miles on them)
— Garmin 910XT watch (and charger!)
— Sparkly Soul headband
— SPI belt (for holding nutrition)
— 5 gels (I like vanilla Hammer Nutrition gels, salted caramel GUs and Roctane GUs, every 5-6 miles during a marathon)
— iPod shuffle and headphones (with a playlist already created)
— Running sunglasses (I just use cheap $15 dollar sunglasses from Target)
— My favorite running socks
— Running singlet & sports bra
— Iron-on letters to put my name on my shirt
— Permanent marker to write mantras on my hands
— Shorts
— Compression socks for after the race (or for the airplane if it’s a destination race)
— If it’s going to be cold at the start of the race, I’ll bring a set of “throw-away” pants/long sleeve top
— Bib number pickup paperwork (or with the Boston Marathon, “the Runner’s Passport”)
— Lots of my favorite high-protein granola bars and snacks to avoid hunger in the day(s) leading up to the race

The night before the marathon

I set out EVERYTHING, including breakfast, and I pin my race bib to my top. I also make sure to write emergency contact phone numbers of people who will be at the race with me on the back of my bib and come up with a plan to meet my friends/family after the race. Unfortunately for me, the bib phone numbers came in handy when I had exertional heat stroke after the Boston Marathon in 2014—you never know what’ll happen, no matter how prepared you feel.

The day of the race

All the preparation has been done. It’s now time to relax, trust in your training and let your body and mind bring you through the 26.2 miles. I always write mantras on my hands (“you can do hard things,” “loose and fearless” and “how badly do you want this?”) to center my mind to get me through the toughest miles of the race.

For more on the Saucony 26 Strong program, which pairs up 13 coaches with 13 marathon rookies, visit 26Strong.com.

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7 Questions With U.S. 10,000m Champion Kim Conley http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/7-questions-u-s-10000m-champion-kim-conley_119964 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/7-questions-u-s-10000m-champion-kim-conley_119964#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:35:20 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119964

Kim Conley's strong 2014 included a 4:24 indoor mile at the New Balance Games. Photo: www.photorun.net

The California-based runner has big plans for 2015 after a strong 2014 season.

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Kim Conley's strong 2014 included a 4:24 indoor mile at the New Balance Games. Photo: www.photorun.net

The California-based runner has big plans for 2015 after a strong 2014 season.

Kim Conley has a flair for dramatic finishes.

At the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore., she went past Julia Lucas in the final step of the 5,000-meter final, finishing third and surprising herself with an “A” standard qualifying time of 15 minutes, 19.79 seconds and a spot on her first Olympic team. In 2013, Conley qualified for the world championships in the 5,000m after clawing her way back into contention at the U.S. Outdoor Championships with less than a lap to go. And last June, the Sacramento, Calif.-based Conley earned her first national title in front of the hometown crowd at Hornet Stadium after re-claiming the lead from Jordan Hasay in the final stretch of the 10,000-meter final.

We caught up with Conley recently to look back on her whirlwind year and chat about 2015 plans, which will include her first appearance at the U.S. Half Marathon Championships on Jan. 19 in Houston.

Congratulations on a successful 2014! How do you feel overall looking back, especially getting your first national title in the 10,000 meters at the U.S. outdoor championships in front of a hometown crowd?

Pretty happy. Since it wasn’t a world championship year, there were two things I wanted to accomplish—most important was I wanted to win a national title. I felt no world championships made a U.S. championships the pinnacle of the season. That was a really big, special moment to me—and like you said, with it being in Sacramento, that was really exciting. With family and friends being there and cheering me on, it was a cool moment. And the other [goal] is we wanted to use the winter to experiment with my speed and run some indoors and drop down—just hit a good mile and 3K. That went really well too; I was really happy to run a solid PR in the mile. (Ed note: Conley ran a 4:24 indoor mile at the 2014 New Balance Games, a 3-second PR.) So that puts a really good card in my hand for future races over 5K and 10K.

RELATED: Kim Conley Wins First National Title

You won the 10,000 meters in a similar fashion that you qualified in the 5,000 meters back in 2012—in a thrilling final stretch to the finish. These were two very different races, so how would you compare those last two finishes?

Yeah, very different races, even if that last 50 meters looks similar! In the 5,000 meters back in 2012, late in the race I kind of thought, because of the time, there was no way I was going to hit the [qualifying] standard, so I wasn’t even thinking about trying to make the Olympic team anymore. So I was really just trying to get on the podium because I would have been proud of a podium finish there. It was all about re-gaining composure after falling off the pack and getting back into that third spot. So I guess you could say it was all about looking ahead and seeking spots ahead of me, whereas I was a lot more nervous at the end of the 10K. I was doing all the leading, and Jordan [Hasay] was just sitting there. I knew at some point she was going to go around me, so I was waiting for that moment and trying to keep one last gear in reserve for when it happened. And when it did happen, I was telling myself over and over that I had to maintain contact so when I got my moment back I could try to squeak by her right when I needed to.

Your career has been on this upward trajectory of shaving seconds off and maintaining an underdog status at many races. It seems very methodical—is this success part of a larger goal? How do you build off of past performances to continue getting faster?

I’m very process-oriented, so I really try to take things one step at a time and improve upon what I’ve done before. That way, I can keep climbing the ladder one rung at a time. After [the London Olympics], I was pretty bummed to not make the final, even though I was really happy to be there and get a PR. There were a lot of positive takeaways, but it left me really hungry to get back to that level and continue to move forward. So then in 2013, my big goal was to make the final [at the world championships] and redo what I hadn’t been able to finish in London. I did make the final, but then in a similar fashion to London, I finished 12th in the final and I felt like I had better than that in me. So I was disappointed in that. So winning the national title this year was a step I needed to take and a goal I needed to accomplish. I’m certainly not stuck on the 5K or the 10K—I’m going to wait and see I guess when we get into the spring. Whatever I decide, the goal will definitely be to improve upon the 12th-place finish [at the Olympic Trials].

Do you have any thoughts on Molly Huddle’s 5,000-meter record (14:42.64)?

At this point, I have to take things one step at a time. My PR right now is so far off that, so I just need to focus on breaking 15 minutes. I don’t even like to say that because I don’t respond well to chasing times. My best races happen when I stop chasing times and just compete. I would like to just focus on beating people I haven’t beaten before, and hopefully fast times will happen also.

RELATED: Record Run For Conley At NYC Armory

Last winter you focused a lot of training energy toward the mile. This winter you finished second at the Healdsburg Wine Country Half Marathon, and you’re competing in your first U.S. Half Marathon Championships in January. What are you hoping to gain from racing 13.1 miles that will help with your pursuit of the 5,000 meters and 10,000 meters in 2015?

It’s kind of going toward the opposite end. We developed the bottom end of my range last winter, so we decided to extend my range beyond the 10,000 meters to the half marathon this winter. I ran Healdsburg just as a tempo when I was coming down from altitude. We actually did it as a 12-mile tempo, so I just used the first mile to warm up into it. I wasn’t trying to hit a pace, and I ran the last 12 at a pace that was pre-designated. So it wasn’t really a race, it was just a workout. But then Houston is definitely going to be a race, so that’s what we are gearing the whole winter around—doing well in Houston.

What are you looking to do in Houston?

Getting on the podium is the most important outcome goal for me there, but obviously if I can run fast in the process, that would be even better. It’s just so hard to know at this point what the field will look like, what the conditions will look like. So I’m not sticking myself to a time goal, but we’re training to be around a 70-minute time.

There’s been talk that you’re looking at the marathon in the future. Will we see you in any marathons next year?

It will definitely be in the next Olympic cycle sometime, but beyond that there’s nothing specific planned.

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Spartan Race World Championships Moving to Lake Tahoe http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/spartan-race-world-championships-moving-lake-tahoe_119958 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/spartan-race-world-championships-moving-lake-tahoe_119958#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 20:12:51 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119958

Photo: Courtesy of the Spartan Race

The championships are heading to California after three years in Vermont.

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Photo: Courtesy of the Spartan Race

The Spartan Race is making a move.

The popular obstacle race series announced this week that the 2015 World Championships will be held at Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe in California. Championship weekend is scheduled for Oct. 3-4, 2015.

For the past three years, the Spartan Race World Championships were held in Killington, Vermont, near where the first Spartan Race took place back in 2010.

“Continuing to challenge our athletes is part of the Spartan DNA,” said CEO and founder Joe DeSena. “Bringing our World Championships to one of the nation’s most spectacular and rugged backdrops will make for the most challenging events the obstacle racing community has experienced, and an unforgettable test of mental and physical strength.”

The World Championship Beast will take place on Oct. 3, 2015. It is a 13-plus mile course with more than 25 obstacles.

Also new for 2015 is the addition of invitations to qualify for championship prize money, which will total $100,000. While past world championships dangled the prize money for anyone signed up to grab, the 2015 race will have the prize money only eligible for the “Elite Heat” that is limited to 300 men and 300 women.

To be part of that 600, racers must qualify at Spartan Race events throughout the year. Racers who finish in the top-5 at a Spartan Race will receive a Spartan Coin that acts as an Elite Heat ticket. But racers can only get one coin, so a “roll down” effect similar to Ironman is implemented if repeat winners emerge. If a Spartan Race winner already has a coin, then places 2-6 earn a coin instead.

Other ways to qualify are at a global qualifying championships (details TBA) that have 20 coins to hand out, and by being in the top 50 of U.S. points leaders.

Participants in the open heats do not need to qualify to race in Lake Tahoe. Registration opens on January 5 at Spartan.com.

 

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Fuel Buzz: Artichoke Water http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/fuel-buzz-artichoke-water_119944 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/nutrition/fuel-buzz-artichoke-water_119944#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:30:19 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119944

Is this the new coconut water?

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The coconut water craze got the gears spinning for new ideas in the healthy drinks industry.

One of the latest additions to the market is Arty Artichoke Water, made by a company in Southern California called Arty Water Company.

The artichoke is a popular vegetable that is usually eaten by removing the leaves and pulling the top layer of each leaf off with your teeth. It is very healthy— phytonutrients like Silymarian and Cynarin serve as antioxidants that can help the liver, skin, immune system and more. Artichokes also have ample Vitamin C and potassium.

Arty used a patent-pending process to take the entire artichoke and extract the water, nutrients and all. The result is a plant-based beverage using fresh California artichokes. The finished product has eight ingredients—filtered water, artichokes, pandanus leaf, spearmint, blue agave nectar, natural flavors, monk fruit concentrate and traces of lactic acid.

Sounds good—but how does it taste?

We had an artichoke lover and a non-artichoke lover try it. The artichoke lover liked the drink, saying it tasted like an “artichoke-flavored tea.”

The non-artichoke lover was less enthused, though he did say it had a sweet taste that was easy to drink. To him, the artichoke water tasted better than actual artichokes.

An 8-ounce bottle is vegan-friendly and has 40 calories, 55mg of potassium, 2g of dietary fiber and 9g of carbohydrates.

A pack of four 8-ounce bottles is available on Amazon for around $11.

RELATED: 8 New Sports Drinks for Runners

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New Exercises For Fixing Achilles Injuries http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/injury-prevention/new-exercises-fixing-achilles-injuries_119928 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/injury-prevention/new-exercises-fixing-achilles-injuries_119928#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 19:07:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119928

The Achilles tendon. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Avoid chronic issues by strengthening your tendons and making them more resilient.

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The Achilles tendon. Photo: www.shutterstock.com

Avoid chronic issues by strengthening your tendons and making them more resilient.

Despite its broad width and significant length, runners injure their Achilles tendons with surprising regularity.

In a recent study of 69 military cadets participating in a six-week basic training program (which included distance running), 10 of the 69 trainees suffered an Achilles tendon overuse injury. The prevalence of this injury is easy to understand when you consider the tremendous strain runners place on this tendon (e.g., during the push-off phase of running, the Achilles is exposed to a force of seven times body weight). This is close to the maximum strain the tendon can tolerate without rupturing. Also, when you couple the high strain forces with the fact that the Achilles tendon significantly weakens as we get older, it is easy to see why this tendon is injured so frequently.

Anatomically, the Achilles tendon represents the conjoined tendons of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Approximately five inches above the Achilles attachment to the back of the heel, the tendons from gastrocnemius and soleus unite to form a single, thick Achilles tendon.

These conjoined tendons are wrapped by a single layer of cells called the paratenon. This sheath-like envelope is rich in blood vessels necessary to nourish the tendon. The tendon itself is made primarily from two types of connective tissue known as type 1 and type 3 collagen. In a healthy Achilles tendon, 95 percent of the collagen is made from type 1 collagen, which is stronger and more flexible than type 3. The strong cross-links and parallel arrangement of the type 1 collagen fibers give the Achilles its strength.

Unlike the vast majority of tendons in the body, the Achilles is unique in that at about the point where the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles unite, the tendon suddenly begins to twist, rotating a full 90 degrees before it attaches to the back of the heel. This extreme twisting significantly improves efficiency while running because it allows the tendon to function like a spring, absorbing energy during the early phases of the gait cycle and returning it in the form of elastic recoil during the propulsive period.

In spite of its clever design and significant strength, injuries to the Achilles are often difficult to treat and tend to become chronic. Depending on the location of the damage, Achilles injuries are divided into several categories: insertional tendinitis, paratenonitis and non-insertional tendinosis. As the name implies, insertional tendinitis refers to inflammation at the attachment point of the Achilles on the heel. Fortunately, this type of Achilles injury is relatively uncommon and its treatment is reviewed here in a previous article of mine.

The most common type of Achilles injury is paratenonitis. This injury represents an inflammatory reaction in the outer sheath of cells surrounding the tendon. The inflammation results in a visible lump that forms about two inches above the Achilles attachment. This mass represents localized thickening of the paratenon in response to microtrauma. If running is continued, the size of the lump increases and it eventually becomes so painful that running is no longer possible.

Treatment for Achilles paratenonitis is to stop running for 10 days and reduce the swelling in the paratenon with frequent ice packs. Cross-training with cycling is great but swimming should be avoided as it can tighten your Achilles. A night brace is often helpful because tendons immobilized in lengthened positions heal more quickly.

When you first return to running, you have to significantly reduce your stride length. Speed workouts have to be avoided until the Achilles is no longer sensitive to touch and if you are a midfoot or a forefoot striker, you should consider temporarily striking the ground along your outer heel.

If caught in time and the problem is corrected, Achilles paratenonitis is no big deal. If untreated, however, this injury can turn into a classic Achilles non-insertional tendinosis. This injury involves degeneration of the tendon approximately 1-2 inches above the attachment on the heel. Because this section of the tendon has such a poor blood supply, it tends to heal very slowly. Unlike insertional tendinitis and paratenonitis, non-insertional tendinosis represents a degenerative noninflammatory condition (i.e., the suffix -osis refers to wear and tear, while -itis refers to inflammation).

In response to the repeated trauma associated with running, specialized repair cells called fibroblasts move inside the tendon, where, in an attempt to heal the injured regions, they begin to synthesize collagen. In the early stages of tendon healing, the fibroblasts manufacture almost exclusively type 3 collagen, which is relatively weak and inflexible compared to the type 1 collagen found in healthy tendons. If everything goes right, as healing progresses, greater numbers of fibroblasts appear and collagen production shifts from type 3 to type 1.

Unfortunately, many runners don’t give the tendon adequate time to remodel (which can take up to 6 months) and a series of small partial ruptures begin to occur, which can paradoxically act to lengthen the tendon—resulting in an increased range of upward motion at the ankle. At this point, pain is significant and the runner is usually forced to stop running altogether.

Various factors may predispose to the development of non-insertional tendinosis. In the previously mentioned study of military recruits, the recruits developing Achilles injuries were overly flexible and had weak calves; it is likely these two factors create a whipping action that strains the Achilles tendon.

The good news about non-insertional tendinosis is that there is an exercise intervention you can do at home that’s been proven to be effective. Referred to as heavy load eccentric exercises, this treatment involves wearing a weighted backpack while standing on the edge of a stair with your heels hanging off the stair, as seen in the exercise demonstrated on Page 4 of this article. Using both legs, you raise your heels as high as possible and then remove the uninjured leg from the stair. The injured leg is then gradually lowered through a full range of motion. The uninjured leg is then placed back on the stairway and both legs are again used to raise the heels as high as possible. Most runners should perform 3 sets of 15 repetitions daily for 12 weeks. The orthopedic surgeon who first published the eccentric protocols, Hakan Alfredson, recommends the eccentric protocol be continued unless your Achilles pain becomes “disabling.” I find Alfredson’s approach a little extreme, so I tell athletes to reduce the weight while exercising if the pain exceeds more than 4 on a scale from 0 to 10 (0 being no pain, 10 being unbearable pain).

While the 3 sets of 15 protocol works well for recreational athletes, competitive runners have to work harder to heal a non-insertional Achilles injury. In a recent study evaluating tendon resiliency with different strengthening protocols, researchers from Taiwan discovered that high-level athletes have no change in tendon resiliency unless they perform 4 sets of 80 repetitions. This research explains why elite athletes do not do as well with conventional eccentric protocols as recreational athletes. (Almost all studies on eccentric exercise use the 3 sets of 15 protocol.) I recommend the 4 sets of 80 repetitions protocol for runners averaging more than 50 miles per week.

In addition to eccentric exercises, non-insertional Achilles injuries also respond very well to the strengthening exercises illustrated here on Page 5. In a recent study comparing three-dimensional motion between runners with and without Achilles tendinopathy, researchers from East Carolina University determined that compared to controls, runners with Achilles tendinopathy failed to rotate their legs outward during the pushoff phase. The authors theorized that weakness of a specific calf muscle (tibialis posterior) forced the leg to twist excessively, which in turn increased strain on the Achilles tendon. These exercises encourage outward rotation of the leg during push-off.

Another great exercise for lessening stress on the Achilles tendon are the flexor digitorum longus exercises. This muscle, which originates along the back of the leg and attaches to the tips of the toes as shown on page 6 of this article, lies deep to the Achilles and works synergistically with the Achilles to lift the heel during propulsion. Contraction of the flexor digitorum longus muscle while running can significantly reduce strain on the Achilles tendon. The exercise to strengthen this muscle is simple to perform. I recommend three sets of 40 repetitions performed daily.

In order to strengthen the flexor digitorum longus, it is also important that the runner forcefully curl the toes downward into the insole during the push off phase of the running cycle. This naturally strengthens the muscle and reduces strain on the Achilles tendon. It’s easy to see if you have weakness in this muscle by looking at the insole of your running shoe. Normally, when the flexor digitorum muscle is strong you will see well-defined indents beneath the tips of the second through fifth toes, whereas a weak flexor digitorum produces no marks beneath the toes and shows signs of excessive wear in the center of the forefoot only.

Besides strengthening, an alternate method for improving Achilles function is deep tissue massage. The theory is that aggressive massage breaks down the weaker type 3 collagen fibers and increases circulation so healing can occur. To test this theory, researchers from the Biomechanics Lab at Ball State University surgically damaged the Achilles tendons in a group of rats. In one group, an aggressive deep tissue massage was performed for three minutes on the 21st, 25th, 29th and 33rd day post injury. Another group served as a control. One week later, both groups of rats had their tendons evaluated with electron microscopy. Not surprisingly, the tendons receiving deep tissue massage showed increased fibroblast proliferation, which would create an environment favoring tendon repair.

A more high-tech method of breaking down scar tissue involves extracorporeal shock wave therapy. This technique involves the use of costly machinery that blasts the Achilles with high frequency sonic vibrations. Recent research has shown comparable outcomes between shock wave therapy and heavy load eccentric exercises in the treatment of non-insertional Achilles tendinosis. As a result, shock wave therapy is typically used only after conventional methods have failed.

It’s important to emphasize that runners with Achilles injuries should almost always avoid cortisone injections because they weaken the tendon by shifting the production of collagen from type 1 to type 3. In a study published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, cortisone was shown to lower the stress necessary to rupture the Achilles tendon and was particularly dangerous when done on both sides, because it produced a systemic effect that further weakened the tendon.

An overview of the management of Achilles tendon disorders can be summarized as follows: With mild injuries, warm the Achilles tendon up slowly by running at least one minute per mile slower than your usual pace for the first mile and try to remain on flat surfaces. In all situations, try to run with the shortest stride length you find comfortable, since long strides are notorious for stressing the Achilles tendon.

If you are a midfoot or a forefoot striker and you’ve been troubled with chronic Achilles pain, consider switching to a rearfoot strike since this reduces strain in the Achilles tendon during initial contact. Because they increase strain in the Achilles by effectively lengthening the foot, runners should avoid wearing heavy motion control running shoes. In my experience, runners with Achilles injuries prefer flexible running shoes with duo-density midsoles and high toe springs. If you’ve been plagued with recurrent Achilles injuries, you should consider performing the strengthening exercises described in this article at least three months out of the year. These exercises may be tedious, but they can produce long-term changes in tendon strength and resiliency.

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About The Author:

Dr. Thomas C. Michaud has been treating elite and recreational runners in the Boston area for more than 30 years. He has written several technical textbooks on clinical biomechanics, and has recently authored the book “Injury-Free Running: How to Build Strength, Improve Form, and Treat/Prevent Injuries,” available on Amazon.

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Dynamic Warmup for Runners: High Knee Stretching http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/dynamic-warm-high-knee-stretching_119917 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/dynamic-warm-high-knee-stretching_119917#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 23:39:49 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119917

This is a great way to stretch out your glutes before a run. It’s important to concentrate on your posture, though as the video

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This is a great way to stretch out your glutes before a run. It’s important to concentrate on your posture, though as the video explains, you can tweak this warmup slightly to target different areas of the muscle.

Do 10 reps of each leg; 2-3 sets total.

RELATED: The Lunge and Twist

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Athletics Schedule for 2016 Rio Olympics Announced http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/athletics-schedule-2016-rio-olympics-announced_119895 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/athletics-schedule-2016-rio-olympics-announced_119895#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:20:31 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119895

Photo: PhotoRun.net

The marathons will be one week apart on Sunday morning.

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Photo: PhotoRun.net

The women’s marathon at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will take place Sunday morning, August 14, 2016. The men’s marathon will take place exactly a week later, on Sunday morning, August 21, 2016.

The IAAF released the timetable for all athletics events at the 2016 Olympics today. The 10 days of events will have at least one final take place during each morning session except for August 20th, which doesn’t have a morning session. The first final scheduled will be on Friday, August 12, 2016, when the women’s 10,000 meters will be held.

The men’s 10,000 meters will be in the evening session on Saturday, August 13.

Other events of note:

- Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase: Monday, August 15 (morning)

- Men’s 800: Monday, August 15 (evening)

- Women’s 1,500: Tuesday, August 16 (evening)

- Men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase: Wednesday, August 17 (morning)

- Men’s 1,500: Thursday, August 18 (evening)

- Women’s 5,000: Friday, August 19 (evening)

- Men’s, 1,500: Saturday, August 20 (evening)

- Women’s 800: Saturday, August 20 (evening)

- Men’s 5,000: Saturday, August 20 (evening)

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Monday Motivation: Finishing 26.2 Miles in Slow Motion http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/monday-motivation-finishing-26-2-miles-slow-motion_119877 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/monday-motivation-finishing-26-2-miles-slow-motion_119877#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 20:42:06 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119877

The marathon looked at differently—in extreme slow motion.

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The marathon looked at differently—in extreme slow motion.

The most important, inspiring and fleeting moment of any race is the finish line. Whether you finish first, dead last or somewhere in the middle of the pack, it just feels good to complete a race.  This is essentially what photographer and videographer Ben Garvin hoped to capture when he filmed the Twin Cities Marathon finish line in slow motion this past October.

“There’s a certain inhuman quality to it,” Garvin says on his blog about how he filmed the piece. “Running 26 miles is crazy! My hope was to create a piece that allowed for the sort of reverence and awe I feel when I watch people flood across the finish line.”

As runners, we prefer fast finishes—it’s what makes the sport of running exciting. However, Garvin’s video certainly depicts speed in a much slower fashion that is raw, dramatic and at times a bit surreal like watching a dream unfold in real time. According to his blog, the video was shot at 720 frames-per-second on a high speed Fastec TS3. American middle distance runner and 2004 Olympian, Carrie Tollefson is even briefly caught on film.

Watch closely and you’ll see details at a marathon you’ve never noticed before.

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Dallas Marathon Winner Upstaged by Relay Runner http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/dallas-marathon-winner-upstaged-relay-runner_119870 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/news/dallas-marathon-winner-upstaged-relay-runner_119870#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 17:36:24 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119870

A relay runner out-sprinted the women's champion at the finish line of the Dallas Marathon.

A member of a relay team out-sprinted Shitaye Gemechu at the finish line and broke the tape.

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A relay runner out-sprinted the women's champion at the finish line of the Dallas Marathon.

A member of a relay team out-sprinted Shitaye Gemechu at the finish line and broke the tape.

The women’s champion at the Dallas Marathon had a few surprises at the finish of Sunday’s race.

For one, Shitaye Gemechu had to avoid a race vehicle as she turned onto the finishing straight, reports Culture Map Dallas. And if that wasn’t enough, Gemechu was upstaged at the finish line by an apparent relay runner, who out-sprinted the Ethiopian and broke the tape.

The runner, identified by Culture Map Dallas as Janice Moore, was part of a relay team and happened to be in the same place at the same time as Gemechu. Workers holding the finish line tape stood their ground as the two women sprinted to the line, with Moore edging Gemechu to the line.

Moore won the women’s race with a time of 2 hours, 46 minutes, 46 seconds. The winning relay team, Team Luke’s, finished in 2:30:40.

The Dallas Morning News reports that Moore was part of The Incredibles relay team, which placed sixth in 2:46:36. Moore’s bib number, 30417, matches the number given to The Incredibles on the results sheet.

“I was disappointed a little,” Gemechu told the Dallas Morning News. “For a moment, I thought I lost. I didn’t know where she came from.”

Gemechu said Moore apologized about the incident.

Jessica Harper of Austin, Texas placed second in the women’s race with a time of 2:50:23, while New Zealander Liza Galvan took third in 2:53:20.

Kenya swept the men’s marathon podium, with Kimutai Cheruiyot winning in 2:17:11 ahead of James Kirwa (2:18:11) and Stephen Muange (2:18:34).

Sara Hall took the women’s half marathon title in 1:12:26, with Caitlin Standifer (1:24:18) taking second and Jordan Bloesser (1:28:12) claiming third.

Logan Sherman (1:08:21) won the men’s half marathon ahead of Tanner Fruit (1:08:28) and Colby Lowe (1:09:51).

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Why Run 100 Miles? http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/run-100-miles_119866 http://running.competitor.com/2014/12/video/run-100-miles_119866#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 05:53:45 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=119866

We asked several top ultrarunners a simple question — why run 100 miles?

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We asked several top ultrarunners a simple question — why run 100 miles?

Their answers are insightful and revealing. See for yourself.

RELATED: The Essence of Running 100 Miles

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