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How To Boost Your Post-Ride or Run Recovery in the Café

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Cycling and running have become synonymous with a café culture that, for some, is the motivation for getting out the door in the first place.

No matter what type of rider or runner, nutrition is a hot topic of conversation rife with some of the most entertaining myths, choices, and habits. No matter who you talk to, social to elite athletes all seem to dive towards food choices they consider to be high in protein, second to their coffee order, as post-training habits.

What many don’t seem to have a grasp on is the portion size required to reach their protein needs, and the best ‘bang for buck’ items on café menus to achieve those needs.

What is recovery?

It’s true that post-training protein is important for muscle recovery after exercise. But so is carbohydrate, water, vitamins and minerals, and of course the most underestimated factor, portion size.

The rule of thumb is to aim for 20-25g protein within the first hour of finishing training with the more serious athletes able to quote it off by heart. Ask them about carbohydrate, however, and you will find a mixed response from those who avoid to those who consume it without consciously knowing it.

To help restore glycogen stores in the muscles a few ratio theories (carb:protein) exist to promote optimum recovery in the post-training hour window. They range from 2:1 up to 4:1. This means a range of carbohydrate from 40g – 80g.

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Eating to match energy needs

Depending on the intensity and duration of training, energy needs could be low to high and should be assessed for each individual.

Advice that won’t change is to select nutritious foods, lower in fat and in particular saturated fat, that are high in both carbohydrate and protein. In the first hour post-training, quickly absorbed carbohydrates (or high GI) have been associated with good recovery strategies.

Choosing from the café menu

With so much to think about when translating this into real food from café menus, here are some common options for you to see which ones fare best for optimal recovery:

Menu item Energy (kJ) Carbohydrate (g) Protein (g) Total fat (g) Saturated fat (g) Fibre (g)
Banana bread
(ave slice 85g)
1980 35 6.8 28.1 13.8 2
Raspberry/blueberry friand
(ave serve 85g, with fruit)
1370 28.6 7.1 20.1 8.8 1
Egg & bacon roll
(1 egg, bacon & BBQ sauce, Turkish bread)
2886 45.8 50.1 28 15 1.5
Berry smoothie
(no cream, reduced fat milk & natural yoghurt, 450ml cup)
1355 70 5 3 1.5 2.5
Egg on toast
(2 poached eggs on Turkish bread)
1540 27 20 15 5.7 2
Yoghurt cup with granola
(325ml cup)
1028 32 16.7 4.2 1 1.5
Regular latte coffee
(reduced fat milk)
504 12 10 2.4 0.6 0

 
And the winners are….

Poached eggs on toast with a regular latte coffee
Yoghurt cup with granola* and a regular latte coffee
Poached eggs on toast with a berry smoothie (high energy needs)

* Granola recipes vary as much as opinions on carbohydrates in cycling circles. Ask if the granola used is low fat as many can add a significant amount more energy that you may not need.

FINAL TIPS

Most cafes serve eggs on Turkish or white toast but if the option exists, wholegrain/multigrain or a seeded bread is always the more nutritious option.

The last thing to remember is spread on bread – ask to have it on the side and, where possible, go without or replace with avocado.

If there are no options that will suit for recovery, simply have a regular coffee and have breakfast as soon as you get home.

 

What Our Perspiration Reveals About Us

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We all know that we sweat when we are hot, anxious or embarrassed – it’s less well known that sweat actually carries emotional messages

In 1934, a British physician named BA McSwiney stood before his colleagues at the Royal Society of Medicine and lamented that most folks didn’t concern themselves with the chemical composition of human perspiration. Instead, they focused solely on the mechanisms by which the evaporation of sweat from the skin’s surface allowed the body to cool itself.

But McSwiney knew that there was more to sweating than just evaporative cooling. Under certain conditions “the loss of constituents of blood-plasma by continued sweating may be considerable”. In other words, other stuff leaves the body in our sweat. But what kind of stuff, and is its loss a good thing or bad?

Some substances in our sweat we probably wouldn’t want to lose. Take chlorides. These compounds – chlorine atoms, often attached to sodium ones to form salt – are important for maintaining the body’s internal pH balance, regulating the movement of fluids in and out of cells, and transmitting impulses across nerve fibres. It’s normal for some chlorides to leak out of the body as we sweat, but there are some instances in which a person might lose too many. Imagine working for several hours in a hot place, for example. Most of us would know to drink water to stay hydrated. But sweat too much and drink too much and you might start to show symptoms of water poisoning. In those circumstances the body just can’t replace the chloride lost in sweat fast enough.

(Credit: Getty Images)
Your sweat contain tiny trace amounts of metals such as zinc and magnesium (Credit: Getty Images)

Also mixed in with sweat is urea, the substance for which urine is also named. By at least one estimate, between 0.24 and 1.12 milligrams of the stuff is dissolved in every cubic centimetre of sweat. That might not sound like much, but given that a person sweats some 600 to 700 cubic centimetres worth of liquid each day, sweat is responsible for up to 7% of someone’s daily elimination of urea. (For comparison, that much sweat would just about fill up a can made for pineapple chunks.)

Then there’s ammonia, proteins, sugars, potassium and bicarbonate. Not to mention trace metals like zinc, copper, iron, nickel, cadmium, lead, and even a tiny bit of manganese. For some of those metals, sweat is an important mechanism for excreting them from inside of the body.

Not all of the things that leak out in our sweat are chemical in nature

Sweat exits the body through one of two types of glands. Apocrine glands are found in the armpits and nostrils and on the nipples, ears and parts of the genitalia. Much more common, however, are eccrine glands, millions of which are distributed over most of the rest of the human body – everywhere except the lips and the genitals. When the body and skin get too warm, thermoreceptors send a message indicating as much to the brain. There, the hypothalamus – a small cluster of cells that controls our hunger, thirst, sleep, and body temperature – sends a message to the apocrine and eccrine glands, which begin pumping out sweat.

There is also a third type of sweat gland, first discovered in 1987. It’s only been found in the same places that apocrine glands show up, but because researchers couldn’t classify them as apocrine or eccrine, they became known as apoeccrine glands. Some think that they are eccrine glands that become somehow modified during puberty.

Tool for communication

Not all of the things that leak out in our sweat are chemical in nature. Everybody has, at some point or other, started to sweat because they ate something spicy, and most people are familiar with emotional sweating due to fear, shame, anxiety, or pain. It’s no wonder that it’s the palms, forehead, and foot soles that are so commonly associated with emotional sweating: eccrine sweat glands there are clustered far more densely, up to 700 per square centimetre, than they are on, say, your back, where there are just 64 per square centimetre.

It turns out that emotion-induced sweating is an important tool for communication. In fact, the scents that we detect in sweat can tell us a lot about how others are feeling.

(Credit: Getty Images)
The scent of people in certain emotional states can also influence the feelings of those that smell them (Credit: Getty Images)

In one experiment, a quintet of Utrecht University psychologists collected sweat samples from 10 men as they watched videos designed to evoke feelings of fear (excerpts from The Shining) or disgust (excerpts from MTV’s Jackass). In order to avoid odour contamination, the volunteers agreed to forego smelly foods, alcohol, smoking, and “excessive exercise” for two days prior to their sweat donation session.

Then, 36 women were asked to see whether they could detect any emotional cues hidden in the sweat samples. The researchers found that when women were exposed to fear-derived sweat samples, their own facial expressions suggested fear as well. And when they were exposed to disgust-based sweat samples, their faces mirrored that emotion too. (Sweat collection pads that remained unused served as controls; these didn’t cause the participants to show any predictable sort of facial expression.)

People who sniffed the sweat of scared skydivers became aroused in response to angry faces

That suggested to the researchers that sweat appears to be an effective means of transmitting an emotional state from one person to another. Importantly, the facial expressions the women made while sniffing the sweat were completely independent of their subjective perceptions of the odours’ pleasantness or intensity. So they might show a look of disgust even if they reported a particular sweat sample as smelling pleasant.

Similar patterns have also been seen in other experiments. In 2006, Rice University psychologists discovered that women exposed to sweat samples collected from fearful donors (this time the sweat came from both men and women) performed better on a word association task than women exposed to sweat produced by people watching neutral videos, or by sweat pads that contained no sweat at all. The fear-related cues gave them a heightened awareness of their environment.

(Credit: iStock)
The sweat of first-time skydivers contained powerful chemical clues of their fear (Credit: iStock)

And in 2012, psychologists and psychiatrists from the State University of New York extracted sweat from the t-shirts of 64 donors. Half of the donors jumped out of an aeroplane for the first time, while the other half exercised really hard. People who sniffed the sweat of scared skydivers became aroused in response to angry faces, but also to neutral and ambiguous ones. Psychologists refer to it as vigilance; the freefall-invoked sweat induced participants to pay attention to whatever possible subtle social cues that they might otherwise have overlooked. Those who sniffed the sweat of exhausted exercisers only became more alert when viewing angry faces, as would be expected under any circumstance.

Yet another experiment conducted by German psychologists and neuroscientists found that sweat from anxious men (who participated in a high ropes course) caused women to make riskier decisions – after spending more time deliberating on their choices – in a computer game designed to assess risk-taking behaviours.

Our ancestors took advantage of the olfactory data constantly flowing into their noses

None of these studies indicate whether people are aware that other people’s sweat has altered their own cognition or behaviour, but they do suggest that sweat might, in some cases at least, communicate important information about our internal mental states. They also suggest that we use the information contained in other people’s sweat to better understand our surroundings.

Perhaps that’s not surprising. Our species may be adapted to verbal and linguistic communication, but language is a fairly new item in our social toolkit. It seems reasonable to imagine that our ancestors took advantage of the olfactory data constantly flowing into their noses – and that they passed the skill down to us.

(Credit: Getty Images)
Even the sight of sweat can reinforce the feelings of perceived emotions (Credit: Getty Images)

Indeed, people seem better able to identify emotions in virtual humans on a computer screen when the animated characters visibly perspire. And not only that, but the addition of sweat seems to allow people to perceive the intensity of a displayed emotion. Sweat, in other words, isn’t just a smelly signal, but a visual one too.

Sweat, in the end, is more than just the body’s air conditioning system. It just might be an emotional weather vane as well, a tool used for broadcasting our innermost feelings to our friends and family.

Original Source

WATCH: Hydration For Runners

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About Elizabeth

An NCAA Division 1 distance swimmer and water polo player, Elizabeth transitioned into triathlon after college and is a multiple podium finisher at the Olympic and 70.3 race distance and a USAT National Qualifier at the Olympic distance.

Elizabeth has an undergraduate degree in Humanities from UCSB, an MA Education in Health Sciences and a CA Teaching Credential in Health Sciences and History.  In addition, she is a certified sports nutritionist from the ISSN (International Society of Sports Nutrition).

Fuel For A Faster Marathon

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The final 10km of a marathon can be a world of hurt. Make it easier on yourself with a fuelling strategy.

Performance in a marathon is about controlling the controllable. Train hard, recover well and the variables associated with fitness are minimised. Practice pace judgement and the likelihood that you reach your goal begins to increase. Fuel properly and you maximise the chances of avoiding ‘the wall’ or the myriad of other names associated with struggling through the last 10-12km.

Fuelling is a strategy of supplementing the bodies diminishing glycogen stores throughout long distance racing. There are two sides to the coin of fuelling: hydration and carbohydrates. The key is maximising the bodies ability to utilise both, so absorption and availability is king.

The general consensus in the scientific community is that the body generally has enough glycogen ‘on board’ to get you to around 75-90 minutes of hard running. However, by implementing an effective hydration and carbohydrate protocol, gains can be anywhere from 2-15% based on where you’re racing.

When it comes to fuelling for the marathon there is plenty of conflicting information floating around, yet there are a few in the scientific community that (a) specialise in this area (b) are runners themselves and work with elites, and finally (c) can communicate this information clearly and concisely. One of the few to be (d) all of the above, is Trent Stellingwerff.

Stellingwerff provides physiology and nutrition expertise to Canada’s national rowing, track & field and triathlon teams, as well as leading their Innovation and Research division. He is currently one of the leading-brains in the field, and below we have implemented some of his recommendations into a “how to” guide for fuelling with SOS for any race where you’re likely to be on your feet for longer than those 70-90 minutes.

SOS athlete Patrick Rizzo finishing the London Marathon in 12th place. April, 2013. Rizzo has found that without effective fuelling he is unable to get the most out of his fitness and regularly practices taking on fluids in training.

Where does SOS fit? 

SOS is an Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and one of the most effective ways to absorb electrolytes outside of an IV Drip, which would be difficult to utilise while racing…

What about the Carbohydrate? 

For the purpose of this analysis we will look at the personal favourite of some of the SOS marathoners: gels. Gels are widely available and are easy to carry on the run or dissolve in water. They’re also available at most major marathons and trail races.

Getting Started 

Although there are some useful ‘general guidelines’, we all have different needs, so it’s always a good idea to complete a bit of an amateur sweat test during training. It is as simple as it sounds: track your weight pre and post run. The metric system makes this a lot easier as 1L of sweat is equal to 1 Kg of body weight. Ideally you will end up somewhere between the 2-5% range. That will give you an idea of how much fluid you will need to get down to keep the tank running. Try it across varying types of weather and distances to get a bit of an idea of how your body is working to keep itself cool.

Laura Thweatt successfully implemented her favourite Mango SOS as a key part of her fuelling for the NYC Marathon in 2015 where she was 1st American.

What type of fuel? 

Gels compliment hydration via SOS pretty well. However, not all gels are created equal, and neither are all sugars. Stellingwerff recommends a blend of glucose and fructose, with studies indicating that this allows between 20-40% greater absorption and delivery of carbohydrate over glucose alone. This is because there are separate transporters for glucose and fructose in the intestine, meaning that a glucose/fructose blend of around 2:1 results in increased uptake of carbohydrate and more delivery to the muscles.

Various brands of gels offer a wide range of consistency and viscosity that is all a matter of personal preference. What is important is the glucose/fructose ratio. Look for maltodextrin (which is glucose as well) or sucrose and fructose as the first two ingredients.

The Rule of 15 

The ‘Rule of 15’ is basically consuming something close to 15 grams of carbohydrate every 15 minutes and 150 mL of fluid. Don’t overthink the exact numbers, the key is being there or there about over the course of an hour (ish), which is around 60g per hour of carb’s and 600 mL of fluids.

In order to limit GI distress and maximise absorption while also working to the guidelines above, we have found that it’s a good idea to separate your fuel and hydration. Rather using a generic sports drink that is trying to be both, alternate SOS and a gel at each available station. This way you can let your body focus on one thing at a time while still getting your fuel requirements.

Separating hydration also allows for a greater ability to modify consumption based on weather without sacrificing glycogen intake. If it’s hot, you can drink more and vice versa. Hydration needs can vary; glycogen requirements do not.

Take your time with your fluids; you don’t need to get your whole bottle down in 30 seconds. It’s not uncommon to see those at the top end of the field sipping over the course of a kilometre. It’s easier on the system and settles with less distress.

Practice makes perfect 

Running is fast can be hard, and drinking while running fast is even harder. With that in mind it’s important to practice your fluids in training as much as is feasibly possible. Set up a foldout table or put bottles on the hood of your car. If you’re carrying bottles, practice long runs and workouts with your fuel belt or bottle in hand. If you are leaving hydration purely up to what the race provides, try and get as efficient as you can with drinking out of paper cups.

Don’t let all the training you have done fall apart because of an inadequate fuelling strategy. You can be as fit as you have ever been, but if the pump from the engine to the tank isn’t working optimally you will almost certainly run below your ability.

How To Successfully Manage Achilles Pain

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Lachlan Chisholm (Physiotherapist) for Runner’s Tribe and The Source

The Achilles tendon is a very common injury area in running and sport in general. Injury to the Achilles has a multitude of potential causes. The most common site of injury is an Achilles tendinopathy to the mid portion of the tendon, the other common site is the insertion to the heel. There are also other pain causing structures around the Achilles including the retrocalcaneal bursa and subcutaneous calcaneal bursa.

The way we treat tendons has changed over the last few years and will continue to evolve as our understanding of tendon injuries continues to improve.  From my experience, each tendon injury responds slightly differently so it is hard to give specifics in this kind of forum. So I will focus mostly on general injury prevention advice and general advice in regards to the current methods of Achilles rehabilitation.

The Achilles connects the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus and plantaris) to the Calcaneus (heel bone) and allows you to plantarflex, or point your foot/ankle. The Achilles is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body, and the tendon can receive a load stress 7.7 times body weight when running, in my case of a 75kg middle distance runner that is up to 577 kg per step! However, if that force is not applied in a longitudinal manner, say a lateral force is applied, it becomes weak and very susceptible to injury. So, as you can imagine the Achilles takes a lot of the load which also makes it susceptible to injury if it is overloaded or loaded in the wrong way.

Prevention

The best way to treat an Achilles injury is to prevent it in the first place, so my main tips for prevention of Achilles injuries are;

  • Adequate strength and flexibility– As a general rule I expect all of my running patients to be able to do 30 (slowly 1sec up 1sec down with good control and alignment) single leg heel raises. I also aim for a minimum of 12cm knee to wall (have your toe 12cm from a wall and keeping your heel on the ground lunge your knee forward to touch the wall).
  • No compressive loads– This means you cannot have anything pressing into your Achilles. Sometimes the back of a shoe, for example, can press into your Achilles and this changes the line of force through the Achilles causing an inappropriate load, leading to Achilles tendonitis.
  • No sudden changes in load– By this, I mean no rapid increases in training volume, type or surfaces, and type of shoes. When it comes time to move through phases of training this must be done gradually over a period of weeks to allow the body to adapt to the new load whether it be increased volume or increased intensity of training. The same applies for training surfaces and your change from normal training shoes to flats and spikes. (The lower heel in your spikes means your ankle range of motion (ROM) increases when you run which increases the time and ROM your Achilles is under load. This also includes getting adequate rest/recovery between sessions.
  • Appropriate footwear- This one can be a tricky subject with the minimalist/maximalist debate. Basically, you need a shoe that fits your foot type and fits comfortably and that is not worn out. I generally find I get between 500-700km out of a pair of shoes before they feel “dead” and are showing significant crush signs on the cushioning.

Injury Rehabilitation

If you are unlucky enough to develop Achilles pain you really should see a physiotherapist or other appropriate health care professional as soon as you can. But in terms of general advice, this is what I give my patients.

Often the first signs of an Achilles tendinopathy is your first step or two out of bed in the morning, the back of your heel feels stiff and sore but after a few steps/minutes the pain goes away and you think no more of it. This is the best time to get onto it and get proactive about treating it. Basically a bit of ice, gentle stretching, self-massage/foam rolling, and a little bit of relative rest (reduced load). You can also make a start on controlled loading i.e. heel raises/strength.

But once you have passed that point you will notice it when you start to run but again it “warms up” so you continue to train as normal. At this stage, I am not against continuing to train through an Achilles injury as long as it is carefully monitored and managed and is improving with the right treatment and management. However, it tends to improve faster in my experience with modified training or cross training.

You should monitor your morning pain and use this as a guide as to how your Achilles is progressing. Monitor how bad out of 10 the pain is with your first few steps in the morning and how long it takes to go away? If it is getting worse you are doing too much and need to reduce the load.

As above, you want to ice and self-massage and some gentle stretching (if part of your problem is reduced range of motion). Then you need to start loading your tendon in a safe and controlled manner. Tendon healing responds to load, if it is loaded correctly, you can end up with a strong pain-free tendon at the end of your rehabilitation. If not you often end up with a stiff sore tendon and long term problems.

At this point you start out with a period of isometric loading in a neutral ankle position (i.e. not up on your tippy toes and not hanging your heel off a step.  Your heel should be held just off the ground or a step – but held at the step height) for 45sec x 3 x 2 daily. Do this on one leg at a time and repeat on the other leg. I use 4/10 as a guide on pain if you are getting over 4/10 pain start by doing both legs at the same time. You will often find that after doing this you have a short pain-free or reduced pain period. It also seems to improve muscle activation. After a week or so you modify this by adding a set of heel raises in between each isometric hold. The number depends on your strength but I often start with 8-10 and progress to 15. As you improve you then reduce the isometric loading to be used as a pain management/ warm up tool and then progressively increase the number of heel raises until reaching 30 single leg heel raises.

You should continue to perform these exercises for up to 12 months once pain-free, as tendon repair and remodelling continue long after your pain has ceased.

About Lachlan Chisholm 

Lachlan is a physiotherapist and was one of Australia’s leading 1500m runners for many years. His 1500m PB is 3:37 and he is a two-time Australian 1500m champion.

Strength Training For Distance Runners

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‘Core work’ is a term thrown around a lot in the world of running, and for a pretty good reason. When firing correctly, the muscles that make up the core can increase efficiency and decrease your chance of injury.

Runners need to be strong, and the key is to perform exercises that are running-centric. Below are 8 movements devised by Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy specifically for distance runners to help you run faster, for longer.

1. Hot Salsa

Step into a wide lunge and reach a weighted ball as far out in front of you toward the ground as you can. Keep the back as straight as possible. Shift your weight forward on your front foot. While keeping the ball forward, lift your back leg off the ground and rise up to a perfect running position.

2. Runner Pulls

Balance on one leg and grab a pulley system or elastic band in front of you with the opposite hand. Raise the free knee up toward your waist while simultaneously pulling the weight down 90-degrees and rotating toward your opposite leg. These should only be undertaken after you have mastered the previous drills, as any lingering hip or core weakness or control deficiency will reinforce the wrong movements here.

3. Side Plank Knee to Chest

Begin in a side plank. Let your shins rest on a BOSU ball and balance on the ground using your lower arm. Keeping your body level to the ground, drive your top knee toward your chest while moving your upper arm back in a running motion. If your left elbow is on the ground, your right knee will move forward in a “high knee” position and the right arm will swing behind, parallel to the ground. The motion recruits the core, scapular stabilizers, and muscles down the leg. Repeat on the opposite side.

4. Reverse Clamshell

These may feel like they are the same as the clamshell, but they control the hip in a different way. Whereas the clamshell opens on the front side of the body, this exercise opens on the backside. Lie on one side with your knees bent and your lower legs behind you at a 90-degree angle. While keeping your knees together, lift your top foot away from the bottom foot as high as you can, hold it for a two-count, and then bring it back down slowly. The target muscle is the deep internal hip rotators.

5. The Clamshell

Lie on your back and bend your knees to 90 degrees, keeping your feet on the ground. Then hold that position and roll onto your side. Keeping your feet together and your femurs slightly in front of the midline of your body, lift the top knee away from the bottom knee using the glutes to drive the action. The upper foot will turn down to “stand” on the other foot and the motion will engage the external hip rotators.

6. Mountain Climbers

Drop to a plank position with your forearms on a medium-sized stability ball. Keeping your core tight, bring a knee to the ball. Try to keep the ball and torso as steady as possible. Alternate knees to the ball throughout the exercise. The movements integrate every muscle used during a stride.

7. Runner Touch

Strike a pose in perfect running position with one leg in high knee position. Balancing on the one leg, bend at the hip and touch the toe that’s on the ground with the opposite hand while the leg in the air rotates under and back. Make sure the standing leg remains stable and as straight as possible while enabling you to touch the ground. Be sure to prevent the moving knee from crossing midline while that leg straightens out behind you. Come back up to running position quickly without losing balance, pause for a second or two, and repeat. Switch legs and repeat.

8. The Jane Fonda

Lie on your side and place your bottom hand behind your head. Put your top hand on your upper hip pressing your pelvis forward to make sure it does not rotate back during the exercise. Use your core muscles to stay steady. Keeping the top leg straight, lift it up and then back using your glutes to lift the leg. By keeping the outside of your foot level to the ground, you should feel the fatigue in your gluteus medius.

The Best Dogs For Distance Runners

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Written for Runner’s Tribe & The Source by Sam Burke – Veterinarian, BVMS.

Lonely on those long runs? Want a training partner who doesn’t speak? Sounds awesome right?! A well-trained dog might be just what you are after. But buyers beware, not many dogs can handle long runs over hilly terrain, on a consistent basis.

I’ve read a lot of articles which list the best dogs for endurance running (not sprinting). As a veterinarian, I tend to disagree with many of the dogs listed in these articles. Vets are the ones who see the dogs when they pull up lame and require new hips or stifle (knee) surgery for cruciate ligament ruptures.

Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Boxers, Beagles, and Golden Retrievers are commonly listed as ideal endurance running partners. I am sure there may be some exceptions here, but as a whole these breeds can’t handle 90-minute runs at a brisk pace over rough terrain. And if they can, their longevity will be limited. Their hips, stifles, or carpal (wrist) joints will soon give way.

Running tends to unravel our biomechanical weaknesses and amplify them; dogs are no different and when you take a dog with underlying hip dysplasia or stifle biomechanical abnormalities, you are asking for trouble.  Orthopaedic surgery or long term use of anti-arthritis medications will more than likely be the result.

But there are many breeds that are incredibly hardy, that can handle 120km weeks or more, and rarely seem to break down with injury. Obviously there are, once again, exceptions. There are countless medical problems any breed can suffer from which will limit their running abilities. But as a general rule, the below breeds will serve you well during your tough, hilly, rocky, endurance runs.

Note: I have listed purebred dogs below for obvious reasons. Generally speaking, crosses of any of these breeds would also most likely result in awesome endurance running pooches. From a genetic perspective, 99.999% of veterinarians would advise a cross-bred dog over a purebred.

  • Weimaraner

Weimaraner’s were made to run. Whether it’s short, quick bursts or long distances. With a short coat they are not as susceptible to overheating as many other breeds. They are tough on rough terrain and trails, and tend to be fearless. Their only weakness is that some can be a little anxious, but with proper training this shouldn’t be an issue.

  • Border Collie

Border Collies belong on farms. But if you, like many, are determined to have a Border Collie, I sure as hell hope you are a good runner, as these guys will run many of our country’s best runners off their feet.  Some Border Collies are born with genetic carpal (wrist) abnormalities which can predispose to arthritis, but if you can avoid that, then good luck trying to keep up.

  • Hungarian Vizsla

Vizsla’s are amazing athletes. Probably my favourite running dog. They are amazing runners (speed and endurance), they can jump, navigate, and they are incredibly easy to train. Their short coat is ideal for temperature control and they are as loyal as can be. If there is a perfect breed, this is it.

  • German Shorthaired Pointer

Bred for hunting, German shorthaired pointers (GSP’s) are true endurance athletes and require a lot of exercise. They are the sort of breed that seems to get stronger the longer the run goes. Some GSP’s can be a little anxious, but this tends to not be a problem when they are both well exercised and well trained.  Their short coat is perfect for temperature control.

  • Kelpie

I have a mate who ran 2:23 at the Boston marathon a few years back. For the 6 months leading into the race his trusty Australian Kelpie did every training run with him.  Another farm dog, they are as tough as nails, easy to train and so loyal they make you feel guilty when you look at another dog.

  • Rhodesian Ridgeback

Rhodesian Ridgebacks were bred many years ago to hunt lions in Africa, so naturally they are pretty decent runners. I’ve seen a lot of snappy, aggressive Ridgebacks, but this is more often than not the result of idiot owners, so let’s not hold that against them. When in a good home, these dogs are just beaut.

  • Australian Shepherd

Another dog that belongs on a farm. These dogs were actually bred in the United States, but hey, they obviously prefer to be called Aussies, damn smart dogs I say.  These dogs can run all day. Their only downside is their longer coat can lead to overheating on those really hot days.

  • Dalmatian

Dalmatians are awesome runners if well looked after. They tend to land heavier than many of the other dogs listed and are therefore more suited to trails than the road. Their short coat is ideal for temperature control.

  • Siberian Husky

As a general rule having Siberian Huskies in hot climates is pretty stupid and at times cruel. As the name suggests, these dogs were bred in Siberia, yes…Siberia. Their thick coats were thus designed to keep them warm, in SIBERIA. Still, these dogs are popular, and the fact that they can run all day is indisputable. I think a perfect solution is to keep their coat short by getting them groomed on a regular basis. Don’t believe anyone who tells you it’s cruel to groom them, I mean just think about it for a second, a groom is just a haircut, and I tend to think that dogs aren’t overly vain.

  • Australian Cattle Dog

I’ve seen a lot of Australian Cattle dogs with hip and stifle problems, so a cross-bred Cattle dog is preferable. But if you are lucky enough to get one with fortunate genetics, then these dogs are awesome for long, steady runs. A little shorter and compact than many of the breeds listed above, but don’t let this fool you, they are machines.

Other Notable Breeds

There are many other breeds that can cover a marathon no problem. Some Belgian Shepherds and various other Shepherd breeds, English Setters, Staffordshire Terriers, some Whippets and Italian Greyhounds, some Malamutes, some Spaniels, some Jack Russell’s for example, and various other breeds. But the above list is a good place to start.

 

Why Does Lactic Acid Build Up in Muscles? And Why Does It Cause Soreness?

in ATHLETES/BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/TRIATHLON by

Stephen M. Roth, a professor in the department of kinesiology at the University of Maryland, explains

As our bodies perform strenuous exercise, we begin to breathe faster as we attempt to shuttle more oxygen to our working muscles. The body prefers to generate most of its energy using aerobic methods, meaning with oxygen. Some circumstances, however—such as evading the historical saber tooth tiger or lifting heavy weights—require energy production faster than our bodies can adequately deliver oxygen. In those cases, the working muscles generate energy anaerobically. This energy comes from glucose through a process called glycolysis, in which glucose is broken down or metabolized into a substance called pyruvate through a series of steps. When the body has plenty of oxygen, pyruvate is shuttled to an aerobic pathway to be further broken down for more energy. But when oxygen is limited, the body temporarily converts pyruvate into a substance called lactate, which allows glucose breakdown—and thus energy production—to continue. The working muscle cells can continue this type of anaerobic energy production at high rates for one to three minutes, during which time lactate can accumulate to high levels.

A side effect of high lactate levels is an increase in the acidity of the muscle cells, along with disruptions of other metabolites. The same metabolic pathways that permit the breakdown of glucose to energy perform poorly in this acidic environment. On the surface, it seems counterproductive that a working muscle would produce something that would slow its capacity for more work. In reality, this is a natural defense mechanism for the body; it prevents permanent damage during extreme exertion by slowing the key systems needed to maintain muscle contraction. Once the body slows down, oxygen becomes available and lactate reverts back to pyruvate, allowing continued aerobic metabolism and energy for the body’s recovery from the strenuous event.

Contrary to popular opinion, lactate or, as it is often called, lactic acid buildup is not responsible for the muscle soreness felt in the days following strenuous exercise. Rather, the production of lactate and other metabolites during extreme exertion results in the burning sensation often felt in active muscles, though which exact metabolites are involved remains unclear. This often painful sensation also gets us to stop overworking the body, thus forcing a recovery period in which the body clears the lactate and other metabolites.

Researchers who have examined lactate levels right after exercise found little correlation with the level of muscle soreness felt a few days later. This delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS as it is called by exercise physiologists, is characterized by sometimes severe muscle tenderness as well as loss of strength and range of motion, usually reaching a peak 24 to 72 hours after the extreme exercise event.

Though the precise cause of DOMS is still unknown, most research points to actual muscle cell damage and an elevated release of various metabolites into the tissue surrounding the muscle cells. These responses to extreme exercise result in an inflammatory-repair response, leading to swelling and soreness that peaks a day or two after the event and resolves a few days later, depending on the severity of the damage. In fact, the type of muscle contraction appears to be a key factor in the development of DOMS. When a muscle lengthens against a load—imagine your flexed arms attempting to catch a thousand pound weight—the muscle contraction is said to be eccentric. In other words, the muscle is actively contracting, attempting to shorten its length, but it is failing. These eccentric contractions have been shown to result in more muscle cell damage than is seen with typical concentric contractions, in which a muscle successfully shortens during contraction against a load. Thus, exercises that involve many eccentric contractions, such as downhill running, will result in the most severe DOMS, even without any noticeable burning sensations in the muscles during the event.

Given that delayed-onset muscle soreness in response to extreme exercise is so common, exercise physiologists are actively researching the potential role for anti-inflammatory drugs and other supplements in the prevention and treatment of such muscle soreness, but no conclusive recommendations are currently available. Although anti-inflammatory drugs do appear to reduce the muscle soreness—a good thing—they may slow the ability of the muscle to repair the damage, which may have negative consequences for muscle function in the weeks following the strenuous event.

What Do You Track? Key Metrics To Monitor And Improve Performance

in AMERICAS CUP/ATHLETES/AUSTRALIA/BLOGS/NEW ZEALAND/RECOVERY/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/SPORTS/TRIATHLON/UK/USA by

“If you’re not testing, you’re guessing” is a revolving yet relevant saying within the world of sport. This isn’t to say that basing training on feel is over, far from it. Perception and ‘sensory data’ of how your body is responding is the most critical and influential piece of the athletic-puzzle. However, in the midst of heavy training it becomes natural to associate tiredness as the new everyday norm, which often makes it difficult to determine when that thin red line has been crossed… until it’s too late.

For decades physiological testing and monitoring was reserved for the few, given its cost and invasiveness. The bio-tech revolution has changed that, putting physiological tools into our hands in the shape of smart-phones and watches. With a few apps, metrics can now be monitored to allow any level of athlete to get closer than ever before to reaching their potential.

Unfortunately your phone cannot (at least yet) draw and analyse your blood or provide physiological testing, so the lab maintains a pivotal place. Still, in terms of day-to-day monitoring there are several key performance indicators which can be tracked, as explained by Dr. Kevin Sprouse of Podium Sports Medicinewho is also  the team physician and Medical Director of the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team.

Daily Measures

I recommend that you track some metrics every day.  For some, this seems onerous.  If you are one of those who are not inclined to delve into daily metrics, I’d suggest you start with some very basic ones.  Here’s a list that starts with the most basic and moves toward the more involved.  Every active person with a goal-driven training plan should be following one or more of these metrics daily!  If you use software like Training Peaks, you can even journal your data for the purposes of trending.

Resting Heart Rate – Simply a measure of your heart rate when you first wake up, before leaving bed.  Can give you information on your overnight recovery and whether you may need to alter your training plan to avoid illness or injury.  You can even get free smartphone apps that will measure your heart rate with the camera!  No excuses!

Subjective Evaluation – What does that mean?  Basically, it’s listening to your body.  Easy, right?  Too many of us start the day by looking at our email inbox and text message stream before even getting out of bed!  By that time, who knows how you are really feeling!?!  Take the first 30 minutes of every day (at a minimum) to ease into the day and get in touch with yourself and your body.  (Sounds like crazy hippy talk!)  Seriously, sports science research shows that your subjective evaluation is very predictive of your current readiness for training.  How did you sleep?  Are you sore from yesterday?  Starting to feel a little sick?  Ready to tackle Mt. Everest?  Those feelings are important.  Even sophisticated software for gauging recovery (like RestWise) puts significant emphasis on this data.  You should too.

Sleep – Many fitness trackers will now also track your sleep patterns, some with much greater accuracy than others.  This is a simple metric which can be collected, quite literally, while you sleep!

Heart Rate Variability – Without going into a long explanation, HRV is a measure of the time difference between heart beats.  A high level of variability generally indicates a high level of recovery.  Measuring HRV is a bit more involved and “scientific” than some athletes care to bother with.  But for those who spend the extra 3-5 minutes each morning, this can be something that can truly help to guide training.  You can now get smartphone apps that do this in a rather inexpensive but accurate manner.  If you are not interested in manually taking the time to collect this data each day, some advanced fitness trackers are now doing this while you sleep.  I’ve been using a WHOOP band which measures sleep, HRV, temperature, physiologic strain throughout the day, and more.  It’s pricier than a smartphone app, but it does all the work for you.  There are other devices that will do this as well (the OURA Ring is one which is less expensive but that I found less reliable when measuring sleep), and many of the more advanced sports watches are starting to implement some of this technology.

Weekly / Monthly Measures

Body Weight – I don’t see much utility in measuring your weight daily, but it can be a useful metric when collected at the same time each week.  If your sole goal is weight loss, you may not want to even check it that often.  But for those athletes who are following a performance-oriented training plan, you’ll want to see that you are not gaining or losing weight too quickly.  Weight gain could indicate water retention and inflammation.  Excessive weight loss could be due to inappropriate nutritional fueling.  Both are undesirable.

Body Composition – With the advent of technology that makes body composition measurement simple and accurate, many athletes will want to follow this monthly.  Most people want to decrease fat mass in increase muscle.  Using something like an inexpensive ultrasound measurement of body fat (MuscleSound) can give you regular data to assess whether your training plan is working.  If you are loosing weight but much of that is muscle, you are setting yourself up for failure.  Take a look to see how you are responding to your training.

Training Load / Training Stress – Most of the metrics I’ve mentioned look at how your body responds to training.  In order to know how to modify that training load, you must have some objective measure of it.  The most ubiquitous measure is TSS (or “Training Stress Score”).  I’d guess that most training software and online training diaries now use this metric, or some variation of it.  We won’t delve into its meaning here, but you can read about it on Training Peaks’ website if you are unfamiliar or need a refresher.  Whatever you follow, you need to know the intensity and duration of your training.  Without these metrics, you’re just making blind adaptations, which probably won’t go well.

Quarterly / Semi-annually

Body Composition – This deserves a place here as well.  If you are not tracking this metric every 4-6 weeks, then you’ll definitely want to check it a few times per year!

Blood Tests – After your initial blood work at the beginning of the season, you’ll surely have some things you need to reassess.  If your iron levels were low and you’ve been supplementing, you’ll want to recheck that.  Likewise, athletes need to ensure that an increased training load has not led to any problems.  A quick test every 4-6 months is warranted for any active individual with a goal of health and athletic performance.

Strength and Movement Assessment – You underwent this assessment at the beginning of the year, were prescribed some personalized corrective exercises, and have been diligent in doing them regularly.  But increased training load and the rigors of competition (and of life in general) can often lead to changing mechanical stressors.  A mid-year checkup is often well worth it!

Physiologic Testing –  Your goal is to get fitter.  You’ve spent months strictly following a training plan with the aim of increasing your aerobic capacity and the speed at which you can compete.  How do you know you’ve been optimally successful?  You need to retest!  A repeat lactate threshold test, +/- VO2max, at mid-season is crucial to ensuring your training plan is responsive and continues to stress you appropriately.

Do You Need To Refrain From Coffee To Get The Maximal Effect Of Caffeine?

in ATHLETES/AUSTRALIA/BLOGS/EUROPE/NEW ZEALAND/RECOVERY/RUNNING/SPORTS/TRIATHLON/UK/USA by

A very popular belief in sports is that in order to get maximum effect of caffeine in competition you need to withdraw from caffeine in the days or even weeks leading up to it. The theory is quite attractive, because it seems to make sense that some caffeine habituation will take place.

It is believed that non coffee drinkers or those that drink very little coffee will benefit more from caffeine. However, a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology appeared recently that seems to dispel this myth.

The study performed at the University of São Paulo in Brazil used a double-blind, crossover, counterbalanced design. Forty male endurance-trained cyclists were allocated into groups according to their daily caffeine intake:

Low (58 ± 29 mg/d or approximately 1 small cup of coffee), moderate (143 ± 25 mg/d or roughly 2-3 cups of coffee), and high consumers (351 ± 139 mg/d or roughly 5 cups of coffee per day). Participants performed 3 time trials (lasting approximately 30min) each before which they ingested a moderate dose of caffeine (CAF: 6 mg/kg body weight), placebo (PLA), or no supplement (CON). Caffeine and placebo were administered in capsules and ingested 1h before the start of the time trial.

Caffeine supplementation improved exercise performance by 3.3% compared to CON and 2.4% compared to PLA. These data are comparable with other caffeine studies. More importantly, performance benefits with acute caffeine supplementation during a ~30 min cycling time trial were not different between the groups with low, medium or high habitual caffeine intake. In other words: caffeine worked equally for everyone, low users, medium users as well as high users.

It is always important to discuss single studies in the context of the existing evidence, because one study does not necessarily mean that our views should change. Recently there was a well performed study that suggested that 4 weeks of caffeine supplementation diminished performance benefits of acute caffeine supplementation in low habitual caffeine consumers (< 42 75 mg/d). However, giving low habitual users caffeine for 4 weeks, may be quite different from a habitual, high intake. The study can also not exclude the possibility that high habitual users can still benefit from caffeine. Finally, it does also not mean that refraining from caffeine products will increase the effects of caffeine.

Athletes are often encouraged to refrain from caffeinated products for up to 4 days before supplementing with caffeine to enhance the efficacy of acute supplementation. Despite this, a study by Irwin, et al. showed similar improvements in exercise with caffeine in habitual consumers regardless of a 4 day withdrawal period. Another study by Van Soeren, et al. (the first study that directly addressed this question) showed equal exercise improvements with acute caffeine supplementation in habituated consumers after no, 2-days and 4-days of caffeine withdrawal. In a study we performed many years ago, I remember the observation that the largest performance improvements with caffeine were actually observed in the athletes with the higher caffeine intakes. We did not publish those findings because the number of subjects was probably too small to make firm statements, but the observation is interesting nonetheless.  

Thus, it is fair to conclude that the balance of evidence suggests that caffeine withdrawal to get a better effect of caffeine is a myth. The recommendation from us is therefore to maintain your normal caffeine consumption during the preparation for your competition. You will still be able to benefit from the effects of caffeine in competition, and you will avoid any possible withdrawal symptoms in the days before.

via MySportsScience.com 

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