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marathon tips

Forget the post workout ice bath – study suggests hot water, instead

in BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING by

Written by Alex Hutchinson for The Globe and Mail 

The epitome of the hard-core, no-pain-no-gain approach to training is the post-workout ice bath. After pushing your muscles to their limits, you soak them in teeth-chatteringly cold water to speed their recovery before the next gruelling workout.

But there may be a gentler, more soothing path to greatness.

A recent study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports suggests that swapping the ice tub for a relaxing soak in a hot bath can trigger performance-boosting adaptations that mimic how the body adjusts to hot weather. That is particularly valuable for those training through cold conditions – a Canadian winter, say – for a springtime race where the weather can be unexpectedly hot.

Better yet, hot baths actually feel good, points out Neil Walsh, director of the Extremes Research Group at the Bangor University in Wales and the senior author of the new study. “A hot soak is comfortable for aching limbs,” he says, “and there are other supposed health benefits – think Roman spas.”

Walsh’s interest in the topic dates back to his days as a competitive road cyclist. “I’d always taken a hot bath after a long training ride, and it didn’t make sense to me as a physiologist why a cold bath would be helpful.”

The idea that hot baths, beyond being pleasant, might actually boost performance stems from recent research into heat adaptation. After one to two weeks of exercising in hot conditions, your core temperature will drop, your sweat rate will increase and you will produce a greater volume of blood plasma, all of which will enhance your ability to perform in the heat.

A controversial 2010 study from researchers at the University of Oregon suggested that the same process of heat adaptation could also enhance endurance in cool conditions. This idea remains hotly contested (it was the topic of a debate in the Journal of Physiology last month), but the study spurred interest in more convenient ways of triggering heat adaptation.

An Australian study last year found that four days of 30-minute postrun saunas at 87 C produced a large increase in plasma volume.

It’s important to replace the fluids you lose during heat adaptation. SOS works just as rapidly as an IV Drip. Try it here today 

Still, not everyone has easy access to a heat-controlled treadmill or a sauna, so Walsh and his colleagues wondered whether a simple hot bath could provide some of the same benefits. They recruited 17 volunteers to run for 40 minutes on a treadmill for six consecutive days, followed each time by a 40-minute bath submerged to the neck. Ten of the volunteers were assigned to hot baths at 40 C, while the other seven took “thermoneutral” baths at 34 C.

By the end of the study, the hot-bath group had a lower resting rectal temperature by an average of 0.27 C, their temperature stayed lower during exercise and they began sweating sooner. Their performance in a five-kilometre treadmill trial improved by 5 per cent in hot conditions (33 C), though it didn’t change in cool conditions (18 C).

These are compelling results – but it’s worth nothing that the baths were pretty intense. On the first day, Walsh says, only four of the 10 hot-bath volunteers were able to complete 40 minutes, though nine of the 10 were able to complete it by the fifth day of adaptation. He and his colleagues hope to test less-onerous protocols in future studies: “As little as 20 minutes in the hot bath may be necessary to provide heat acclimation,” he says, but “this needs confirmation.”

So, will hot baths replace cold baths as the default postworkout soak? That depends on who you are, physiologist Trent Stellingwerff points out. Olympic endurance athletes such as those he works with at the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific in Victoria already have extremely high blood-plasma volumes, so hot baths may not provide enough of a stimulus to make any difference. Non-elite athletes, in contrast, might see a bigger benefit.

For now, there are few firm conclusions to be drawn. But if you are training through the winter for an event with potentially warm weather, a few hot baths seem like a low-risk insurance policy.

“I definitely felt the heat when I ran the Ottawa Marathon [in late May] in 2009,” Guelph-based marathoner Reid Coolsaet recalls. “It wasn’t even that hot, but I wasn’t used to it at all.”

Coolsaet plans to use a steam sauna to help him prepare for the expected heat of the Olympics in Brazil this year, though the late-summer timing of the Games means that he will not need much help getting used to muggy conditions. “Luckily,” he says drily, “the weather in Guelph in July and August is comparable to that in Rio.”

If you do decide to try hot baths this winter, bear in mind that heat puts additional stress on the body. For starters, stick to 10 minutes at no more than 40 C (a standard upper limit for hot tubs), and get out immediately if you feel dizzy or nauseous.

Hydration On The Run

in BLOGS/RECOVERY/RUNNING by
Adapted from Matt Fitzgerald

Hydration during running is not as complicated as you may have been led to believe.

When you run, you sweat. The more you sweat, the more your blood volume decreases. The more your blood volume decreases, the harder your heart has to work to deliver oxygen to your working muscles.

Sounds dangerous, but it’s really not. Runners almost never experience dehydration levels sufficient to cause major health consequences. But normal levels of dehydration will make you feel uncomfortable and cause you to slow down.

Drinking while you run will limit these negative effects of dehydration. But what should you drink, how much, and when?

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it here

In the past, athletes were encouraged to drink as much as possible during exercise, or at least to drink enough to completely offset dehydration (that is, to drink enough to prevent any decrease in body weight during exercise). However, it is now understood that this is bad advice, for two reasons.

Firstly, it is possible to drink too much during exercise. Forcing yourself to swallow more fluid than your body really needs while running may cause gastrointestinal distress, and in extreme cases it can cause a dangerous condition known as water intoxication, or hyponatremia. Secondly, research has shown that drinking to completely offset sweating offers no advantage with respect to performance or body temperature regulation compared to drinking by thirst.

The new exercise hydration advice is in fact to drink according to your thirst. As long as you keep an adequate supply of a palatable drink accessible during your runs, you will naturally drink enough to optimize your performance if you just drink as often and as much as your thirst dictates.

Dehydration only affects performance in workouts lasting longer than an hour, so you don’t have to drink during workouts that are shorter than an hour. However, you can if you like.

Spilling The Beans on Caffeine

in BLOGS/LIFESTYLE/RECOVERY by

Hydrate, caffeinate, repeat. It’s a way of life for those with an active lifestyle. So what is it about caffeine? Can it really be that good for performance?

Who can benefit from caffeine?

Caffeine can have positive performance improvements across a range of different sports and in both males and females.

Performance improvements of ~3% have been found in the lab, however, it’s difficult to predict precisely the improvements we can expect from caffeine in ‘real life’ training and racing, as other factors such as tactics or weather conditions can influence results. It’s also important to know that individual responses to caffeine are highly varied. Some athletes may find that caffeine can have negative effects on performance while others find that caffeine offers them no benefit at all.

Why use caffeine?

It was once thought that caffeine increased the use of fat as a fuel thereby ‘sparing’ muscle glycogen. However, we now know that the most significant benefits of caffeine come from its effects on the brain. More specifically, caffeine is able to act as an adenosine receptor antagonist. By blocking the action of adenosine, caffeine influences the central nervous system. This can improve your perception of fatigue, resulting in a longer period of sustained work.

In simple terms – you can improve your ability to ‘go harder for longer’ before the effects of fatigue set in, improving your performance.

What caffeine product works best?

Coffee, cola drinks, caffeinated gels, caffeinated gum…the array of caffeine containing products available is huge. But is any one source better than another?

In general, no.

Studies have found that the beneficial effects of caffeine are seen across a variety of different products. Where it becomes tricky is that different products (and even different brands of the same product) have different amounts of caffeine. Knowing how much caffeine you are consuming is important as there can be a fine line between the amount which improves performance and the level at which negative side effects can occur.

It’s important to consider the diuretic effects of caffeine, always remember to stay hydrated with SOS Hydration 

The list below provides some examples of how much caffeine is found in a range of products – be aware though, formulations frequently change so it’s best to double check the packing to be sure.

Product Serve Caffeine per serve (mg)
Instant coffee 250ml cup 60 (range: 12-169)
Espresso Standard shot 107 (range: 25-214)
Iced coffee (commercial) 500ml bottle 30-200
Tea 250ml cup 27 (range: 9-51)
Hot chocolate 250ml cup 5-10
Coca-Cola 600ml bottle 58
Diet Coke 600ml bottle 77
Red Bull 250ml can 80

When to take caffeine?

Unlike some supplements, you often feel the benefits of caffeine soon after consumption (regardless of when levels peak in the blood). Performance improvements have been found regardless of whether the caffeine is taken one hour before an event, split in to doses over an event or taken only in the latter stages of an event when feelings of fatigue are most likely to really kick in.

The duration of the event will obviously have an impact on timing of caffeine intake. In shorter events (e.g. cycling criterium, sprint triathlon) where there is little opportunity to eat or drink during the event, having caffeine before the event is the most useful approach. On the other hand, during events lasting several hours (e.g. ironmanmarathon) having caffeine before the event and/or topping up during the event, or saving the caffeine for the final stages, is more likely to be beneficial. Individuals should practise a variety of different strategies to determine the approach that works best for them.

Regular coffee drinkers can relax – there is no need to stop having caffeine in the days leading up to an event if you want to use caffeine during an event. Withdrawing from caffeine offers no additional benefit and will more likely lead to negative effects associated with caffeine withdrawal (e.g. headaches, irritability).

SOS can be compared to an IV drip. It works just as rapidly but is safer and cheaper at combating mild to moderate dehydration. Try it here

How can I use caffeine during my training?

Here’s a quick summary of how you can use caffeine to help you go harder for longer:

  • More isn’t better. Usually ~1-3mg caffeine / kg body weight (e.g. 70-210mg caffeine for a 70kg person) improves performance. Higher intakes won’t offer an extra benefit and will more likely have negative side effects (e.g. shakiness or increased heart-rate)
  • You are unique! Individual responses to caffeine are highly varied – start small
  • Do the sums. Make sure you have a (rough) idea of how much you are consuming
  • Be flexible. Trial different amounts, types and timing of caffeine
  • Don’t sacrifice sleep. Will caffeine negatively impact your recovery?
  • Practise! Always trial during training to work out the best strategy for you

TRY SOS HYDRATION TODAY

An interview with Steve Vernon – Coach of New Balance Manchester

in BLOGS/INTERVIEWS/RUNNING/SOS PRO'S/UK by

Britain is currently in the midst of a distance-running renaissance not seen for decades. Although there were numerous standout results at the Rio Olympics from British athletes, the true indicator of depth has been the quality of performances at home.

At the British Trials for the European XC Championships this winter, the Top 4 automatic spots were taken by athletes that had either broken 13:10 for the 5,000m, 61 minutes in the half marathon, or 28 minutes over 10,000m.

One of the driving forces behind this progress has been the investment of resources into smart coaching and infrastructure to facilitate a model of group training. With the support of New Balance, Steve Vernon has been able to implement this successfully with his New Balance Manchester squad based in Stockport.

We spoke to Steve about the driving forces behind his team, how he manages the inevitable differences between athletes and what sets NB Manchester apart.

 

Your team seems to follow a similar model to your transatlantic cousins in Boston? 

Professional running teams in the USA have been a proven success ground for world-class distance running over the last 5-10 years. Performance athletes are central to New Balance as a brand so supporting athletes in a team environment is something that New Balance were keen to do as part of their global strategy. The professional Team in Manchester is one of the first of its kind in Europe and we are creating an environment that supports athletes to be the best they can possibly be.
Good communication is absolutely essential and I make sure that I am clear with how training is set out each week. I have a training philosophy that I explain to every athlete that joins the team so they know what to expect from the start. I do however appreciate that not every athlete will respond and adapt in the same way to a particular stimulus so although the majority of the training is group focused the schedules are all individual. We meet every day for training and I give the options for athletes to do second runs alone or with training partners that run at a similar speed on recovery runs.

Putting together a full-time training group is a delicate balance; some athletes inevitably find themselves pushing when they shouldn’t be, and everyone has their own routines. What steps do you take to create a balance that everyone can benefit from, despite having individual strengths and weaknesses?

Distance running is an individual sport but I have a culture where everyone supports each other as a team. When the gun goes they inevitably want to beat each other but I ensure that competitiveness is managed in training and they save it for race day!

The increasing number of professional training groups throughout the world has pushed the level of performance up considerably. What makes New Balance Manchester different from other set-ups?

As I mentioned earlier this group in Manchester is quite unique in Europe as there are very few, but we are starting to see more and more groups emerge in the UK especially. We have an athlete house where 4 of the guys live and then everyone else lives within 6 miles of the NB house and training venues.

The athletes are predominantly supported by New Balance, but also receive some support from British Athletics/Welsh Athletics with regards to altitude training camps. The environment we run in is quite spectacular as we are 10 miles from Manchester on the edge of the Peak District National Park with miles of trails, canals, and parkland to run on. We have the option to run on the flat or up and down hills, which I feel is essential to distance running success. There is a strong club structure in the UK and we are lucky to have the support of the local club Stockport Harriers to use the track and its facilities. 

Stockport obviously has a lot to offer, yet few would argue that it could be easier get out the door in warmer conditions. You recently had a training camp in Spain – is this something you will do on a regular basis? What benefits did you see in your athletes?

The weather in the North West of England has a bad reputation but it’s wet and mild all year round so despite the summers never being amazing it is often a nice (15 – 20 degrees centigrade) temperature to train in. We hardly ever get snow in the winter so it rare we have to change plans because of really bad weather. As long as you don’t mind getting a bit wet and muddy occasionally it’s pretty good. Oregon has similar weather and they don’t do too badly over there!

Despite my positivity of the Manchester weather we do like to get away in the dark winter months and Spain in January was simply a chance to get in some quality training, Vitamin D and a change of stimulus for the guys, which I believe can help during the winter grind. I use altitude training and like to get at least 2 camps in for 4 weeks in each year.

 

The importance of self massage in recovery

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized by

The Importance of Self Massage in Recovery:

Recovery is vital to performance. The body needs time to repair itself. Self massage and proper hydration are the keys to the door.

This month we have teamed up with the team at Addaday who have kindly offered to give away several of their cool massage stix. We have been using one and they rock.  We will also throw in a months supply of the new SOS because you know the importance of hydration in keeping muscles loose!  Share and tag this post #sosaddaday to be in for a chance to win.

 

Perfect mix, SOS with Addaday
Perfect mix, SOS with Addaday

Here Addaday’s distinguished PT, Robert Forster explains the benefits:

 

Every physical therapist wants you to know that your body needs attention every day for it to continue to function properly throughout life. Whether you exercise regularly or not, everyday life leaves your muscles tired and tight, and your joints off center. Stretching and self massage techniques are the key tools to mitigate the physical toll of everyday life, and of your workouts.

With athletes and desk workers alike, much of our work is focused on mitigating the damaging effects of daily activities. Long days, poorly-designed chairs, and poor posture all work to corrupt your alignment and stress your joints.

So why should we use self massage??

 

1) Increase circulation: Manipulation of the muscles causes the blood vessels to dilate and pump more blood into the muscles and fascia.

Benefits:

  • Before Exercise: warms up the tissues and make them more pliable to stretching, and less prone to injury.
  • After Exercise: flushes the residue of exercise (i.e. metabolic waste products) from the muscles to hasten recovery.

 

2) Treats Connective Tissue scarring and muscular adhesions, which result from normal training and body imbalances.

Benefits:

  • Before Exercise: breaks down dysfunctional scarring that forms as your body attempts to heal from the stress of your previous workouts. Helps create functional scarring that makes you more resilient to injury.
  • After Exercise: relaxes tired and tight muscles, works out the knots (muscle spasms) that occur when muscles are overtaxed.

 

3) Sensory Stimulation from the proprietary, textured surfaces of massage tools stimulate the nervous system to create a reflex relaxation of the muscles, much the same way acupressure works.

Benefits:

  • Before Exercise: works out the knots and relaxes the small muscle spasms, known as trigger points, which result from workouts and daily life and interfere with proper muscle and joint function.
  • After Exercise: relaxes muscle spasm that occurs in fatigued or overtaxed muscles.

 

“Recovery is when your body actually grows stronger and more efficient. It is when the benefits of your hard training are realized. Working hard is easy, everyone knows how to work hard, but those who work hard at recover are the ones who win,”

— Bob Kersee, the most successful track & field coach, with over 50 Olympic medal-winning performances.

 

Only during recovery does your fitness grow. Workouts don’t build fitness, they break your body down, and only if you allow recovery time and actively help your tissues heal, do you become stronger and more fit.

 

Hydration the SOS way
Hydration the SOS way

Recovery is not laying on the sofa eating comfort food. There is nothing passive about recovery. Recovery is an active process where light “adaptation” workouts stimulate recovery better than rest alone. Light workouts are akin to the self-cleaning oven, where the heat is turned up to burn off the residue from cooking but no roast is placed inside. Light workouts provide the body the same opportunity to do house cleaning functions without having to recover from the damaging effects of a new workout. With the increased core temperature associated with recovery workouts, your body sets into motion an army of heat shock proteins that immediately go to work repairing an rebuilding tissues damaged by training.

 

With light activity, the vascular system is stimulated to increase blood flow to the muscles, delivering oxygen and nutrients to aide recovery. The muscle cells, stimulated by a release of hormones, step up the reparative functions and grow stronger. Similar occurrences improve connective tissue and bone repair as well. Stretching and self massage efforts before and particularly after light recovery workouts are more productive when unencumbered by the tightness that would otherwise occur following hard workouts. In this way, your stretching efforts go further toward elongating connective tissue and helping tendons and ligaments heal and grow stronger. A good indication of when your structural system is recovered and ready for another hard workout is when the stiffness from the last hard workout is absent.

 

Self-massage, with the use of massage sticks and rollers, is one of the best methods to aide recovery after workouts. Manipulation of the muscles and tissues increases blood flow, breaks down muscle and connective tissue adhesions, and promotes adaptation of these tissues to withstand the rigors of your training as you progress toward your goals.

You will feel the fatigue and tension leave your body. When coupled with stretching and icing sore areas, these self-recovery techniques can make a very significant contribution to the adaptive process you seek, along with increased fitness.

 

Add that to some properly hydrated muscles and your recovery has just gained in effectiveness!

What is Addaday:  Scientifically-designed massage sticks, foam rollers, bodywork balls, and a flexible massage device called the Boomerang, all incorporate varied surface textures and shapes designed to release muscle and tendon adhesions, and provide a daily realignment of your joints.

#sosaddaday
#sosaddaday

 

Run Faster ..Reduce Sugar .. SOS Marathon Fueling

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized by

Run Faster .. Reduce Sugar .. SOS Marathon Fueling by marathon super coach Gaz @Getrunning

We recently caught up with Gaz at Getrunning who has taken hundreds of runners through their first (and subsequent) marathons to talk about his experience of using SOS during a race.

Get that SOS into you
SOS time!

Here are his top 5 tips:

 

  1. Train your body away from excess sugar. Many first time runners are very reliant on sugar as a key fuel to their normal diet, so when they first run for a long distance (60mins plus) many people crave sugar when in reality they should be able to run with less of it. You should be able to get to the 2.0 to 2.5 hour mark before you begin to seriously fuel. Our suggestion is to train the body away from using high sugar drink products. It does not feel great when you first begin to train without using sugar, but trust us, after 6 weeks or so you will notice how good you feel when you run and how moving away from excess sugar can help your running performance over time.
  1. What should I eat after 2.5-3hrs? We have seen the benefit of using prunes, bananas, oranges and dates at this time and using them every 40 mins or so. They are well digested and easy to take on board. Other fuels we have seen are sports Jubes, you can take on smaller amounts of sugar this way, but really you have to learn what fuel works for you. Don’t forget the more hydrated you are, the easier the fueling process becomes.
  1. Race preparation week? Get hydrated the week before and don’t just guzzle it the morning before. Drinking water in large volumes the day before the race wont make you run faster. We believe getting SOS into you the night before and in the week leading up until you are hydrated works very well. If you have hydrated consistently the week before, then the morning of the race you don’t need to over-hydrate – all the work has been done. Take sips of SOS for thirst but you should be fine if the week before has gone well. Nothing worse than finding the toilet on the start line!
  1. Race time? Sorry but many race courses do not provide great products for runners, too much sugar and often causing you to get back into the sugar cycle. Our athletes take SOS in a variety of ways 1) in a fuel belt diluted, 2) as a concentrate in a fuel belt and mix the concentrate with water at a station or 3) in longer races take the powder and mix on the go. Yes, it might not be the most time effective but trust me you will finish faster doing it this way – cramping may even cause you to stop and finish competing. Or if you are really lucky a race will be serving SOS on the course! Lots more races to come next year as well.
  1. Afterwards? It is all about recovery and getting hydrated. A good check is urine volume and colour and if you are smart enough to have weighed yourself before and afterwards then you will have a great gauge on how much sweat you have lost. Replace it 1:1 SOS for sweat loss.
  1. Finally good luck. If you have any questions about your experiences feel free to email us and we will talk you through your hydration plan. Email info@sosrehydrate.com. For Gaz at Getrunning see www.getrunning.co.nz.

And if your stocks are low get your SOS online now  Run Faster!!

Its all about the hydration
Its all about the hydration

SOS Rehydrate Top 5 Tips: starting marathon training

in SOS MAGAZINE/Uncategorized by

SOS Rehydrate Top 5 Tips: starting marathon training

Congrats, your marathon entry has been accepted.  Now the realization dawns that you need to get a wiggle on and start training.

To make the most success of your race, be it your first or your 90th, there are some things that you need to sort before the training begins.  2 lucky readers will get a great pair of Marshall headphones and a months supply of SOS and will be selected from those shared on social media.

SOS is rehydration for runners
SOS is rehydration for runners

The Top 5:

Number 1 and close to our heart:

Hydration Strategy – A 2% loss in body weight through dehydration can lead to a 20% loss in performance.  Probably more important than clothing is your hydration and fueling strategy.  Get used to running with SOS at the start of your program and learn when to hydrate.  This is before, during and after.  So many people start training and forget hydrating after a run, which leads to compounding your dehydration status until it affects your performance.

 

The rehydration drink
The rehydration drink

2 – Running Style – We ran (no pun intended) a blog on running style a few months back (http://sosrehydrate.com/top-5-tips-for-running/) Its key that you get your mechanics moving in one direction. If your body is in line then your injuries will be reduced.  The best time to learn is when starting back or refocusing on training again after a break.

 

3 – Core Strength – Our resident fitness expert Sean Bartram (Core Pilates and Fitness) stresses the need for a solid core.  This keeps your style strong throughout the marathon and you injury free.  Simple pilates routines can help with this.  Check out the blog we ran the other day on his core stability routine.

 

4 – Equipment – Trainers / sneakers that have been properly fitted and that suit your gait are essential.  We suggest buying a few pairs so that you have the same trainers to run in as you train in.  Shoe companies are constantly changing designs and there is nothing worse if the ole faithful trainers you have trained in suddenly go out of stock and you are left with blistered feet in a new pair of shoes.  A good sports store like Fleet Feet Sports, Up & Running and Shoe Clinic all will help you in your quest for good clothing and footware.

 

5 – Mix up the runs – Keep off the treadmill unless you cant run outside due to conditions.  Mix off-road with hills, with speed work, with longer runs and vary the routes.  If aids enjoyment take your tunes with you! We recommend Marshall Headphones and are giving away a pair with a months supply of SOS to 2 people selected from our retweeters and / or sharers of #sosblog @sosrehydrate

 

We will be following up with a few more tips as we progress through our marathon training blogs

Good luck and happy rehydrated running!!

Buy your SOS here and that plan moving right away!

http://sosrehydrate.com/home/buy-sos/

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