Saturday, August 27, 2011

"And In The Sticks We're Running Free Like It's Only You And Me"

Cross training is important when it comes to efficient running. When only running and not lifting weights, your body decreases in lean weight (muscles) and body fat percentage relatively increases. I'm not saying runners who don't lift weights or cross train become fat. What I am saying is that when you only do one form of exercise your body adapts to that one movement. Think about it in the sense that if you don't lift weights and only run, then your body doesn't think it needs those other muscles for strength. Therefore, your body uses the unused muscles as fuel for running, decreasing your muscle mass. However, there have been countless studies showing how cross training (lifting weights, swimming, tennis, cycling, etc) correlates a positive effect on running. You gain more strength, your muscle mass stays constant or increases, and you use other muscles that you wouldn't use while running. This helps you become stronger, faster, and able to run further distances. Overall, an more efficient runner.

While training for an endurance event (half marathon, marathon, ultramarathon, etc), cross training is meant to keep your muscles fresh and used as an active rest day. This means not to completely fatgiue your muscles so when you go for a long run you don't feel worn down and exhausted. You may experience some soreness, but that's normal. You don't want to experience soreness/fatigue to the point where it alters your performance. Now, when you're not training for an event, cross training is a useful tool to build strength. It's okay to completely fatigue the muscles. This will help you increase lean body weight and aid in performance. Your runs are typically shorter on the off season, so you are able to push through the soreness with more power. Then once you start training for an event you will have built up more strength and endurance, hopefully, allowing you to train harder and faster than the previous time before. At this point, you will then decrease the intensity of cross training back down to endurance building.

Right now during my marathon training I am using strength training and spin class as my cross training. It recently clicked with me that I may be over doing it. I run 5 times a week, lift 3 times a week, and spin 2 times a week. That may seem like a lot of exercise, but it's not so much the amount of exercises I have discovered to be effecting me negativity, it's the intensity. I love exercise, that's a given. I want to be the best and work my butt off each time. However, since starting marathon training I have not decreased the intensity of my lifts. My intensity is heavy lifting, while I am enjoying seeing my muscles grow, it's defenitly affecting my runs. I experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for about 3 days after my workouts, and notice my body has been aching while running. While I give people professional advice on exercise regimens daily, I forget that I am not invinsiable and I am only human. Sometimes we have to learn the hard way to correct the obvious. It clicked with me during one of my runs that my body ached, my running gait was off, I was leaning forward, and my breathing was off. I was compensating for my soreness. My point is, when training for an endurance event, lifting is important for strength, power, and getting faster. However, it's imperative to know that you don't want to do as much heavy lifting opposed to endurance lifting. Meaning, using lower weights and more reps. This way you are still fatiguing the muscles and keeping your strength, but not completely tearing down the muscle fibers to cause the type of soreness that last for days. Endurance lifting aids in keeping your muscles strong and blood flowing to them since you don't primarily use your other muscles while running.

The Old Biltmore Building shining on a Saturday afternoon. I usually pass the historic building during my runs in Midtown.

Training Exercise: Latter (agility) Runs. Being quick on your toes is important as a runner. Although for most endurance runners we run in a straight line for the most part. However, being quick on your toes and able to make sudden movements helps build strength around your knees, therefore, decreasing any chance for knee injuries. You never know, you may need to quickly move over to dodge a snake or dead animal. Trust me, it'll happen if it hasn't already.

Latter (agility) Runs
  • Lay out a latter, rings, or even cones. Something to make spaces. Make a pattern each time.
  • Run the course as fast as you can making as little mistakes as possible.
  • Run sideways, quick toes, football drills, long strides, etc.
  • This will help your running gait,work on stride lengths, posture, speed, etc.

Training Tip: Protein! After a long run you want to nourish your body and muscles with protein. When running over an hour, your body starts to break down muscle fibers causing you soreness. Consuming protein will help repair your muscles more quickly and efficiently. It will keep your body from "destroying" your muscle fibers. Good sources of protein include protein powder, bars (you want a bar low in sugar less than 6grams, and low in carbs), string cheese, greek yogurt, or even some nuts.

Training Songs: I've adding some old school 90s, songs we have forgotten about, and some now music! Enjoy!

1. Home- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
2. Faster- Matt Nathanson
3. Pump It- The Black Eyed Peas
4. Neutron Dance- The Pointer Sisters
5. Gonna Make You Sweat- C+C Music Factory

Training Lagniappe: These people inspire me. 36 hours of running, yea, why not?!

Happy Running,
Jayme Bergeron, BS
ACSM Health Fitness Specialist

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"I'm Running Like The Devil, 'Cause He's Hot On My Heals"

Week 7 of marathon training is closing in after tomorrow's 15 miler. Yes, 15 miles of nonstop running. Scared? Yes, I won't lie. No matter how physically fit you are, it's still a mental battle. Training this time around has been a challenging journey. This is my second race I have trained alone, this being my first marathon training alone. It's a different feeling. There are countless positive and negatives to training alone. For me, the hardest part is not having someone physically there supporting me mentally (if that even makes sense). On the flip side, I believe it makes anyone mentally stronger training alone. It a true testament of how much you believe in yourself, and how much self discipline you have. It's always easier to stop or cut your run short and tell people you did X amount because who would know the difference. Self discipline kicks in when that little voice tells you "no more", and you push right through it. Your body is capable to conquer more than you can imagine. I would go out on a limb and say 90% of physical activity failure is due to mental blockage. Sometimes it's hard to wrap your mind around the fact that you are capable of doing, lets just say, 15 miles, but you are. You have to imagine yourself doing the act and believing. There is no reason to sugar coat it and say it's easy, it's not. Some people may ask "why do something that hurts and that is crazy?" . I simply tell people "It's a good hurt. It leaves me wanting more."

I've said numerous times, our bodies are made for moving. So get up and move. How you move and what you do is up to you. The harder you push yourself, the healthier you will be mentally and phyically. When you push through a plateau and accomplish something "hard" you begin to see yourself in a different mirror. You become more positive, have higher self esteem, and realize you are capable of doing whatever you put your mind to. My point is, always stay positive even when you see nothing but dark clouds. You will always break though the rough spots. When you accomplish your goals, it's an amazing feeling. That's why I run.

Training Exercise: Bosu Sit up/ Stand up. This is one of my favorite new exercises. Not only does it work your core (the sit up), but it also adds in some cardio elements (stand up). It's important for a runners to have a tight core for effieiecnt breathing and decrease the chances of stomach/side cramps. Then of course, the cardio aspect is important to help your muscles push through those 15 miles when you feel it is impossible.

Bosu Sit up/ Stand up
  • Place the bosu on the ground with the ball side up.
  • Find your setting by sitting on the Bosu with your back placed on the bosu where it slopes down.
  • Place your feet in front of you on the ground about shoulder width apart.
  • Lean back on the bosu, with your hips up (like you are bridging on the bosu). This is your starting position.
  • From there, you will do a sit up on the bosu.
  • Keeping your feet placed on the ground, push all your weight through your heals and stand up.
  • That is the end position.
  • Now return to the starting position and repeat. *Remember your feet will never leave the ground and the Bosu will never move. Ideally, you are returning the same spot each rep.*
  • Repeat for 20 reps.
Training Tip: Variety! It is important to change your route at times. Doing the same route can cause boredom and suck the fun out of training. When doing the same run on the same course over and over you will begin to feel like it's a chore. It takes the excitement out of new scenery and challenges. Your body and mind needs to be challenged. Also, running the same course is a red flag for overuse injuries. You are never changing the force/impact on your muscles by running the same course. Having many options allows your body to adapt to different terrains and elements. If you feel stuck in your training, map out a new course and give it a try. I promise it will bring a fresh new feeling to your runs. You'll have a new spark!

Training Songs: I have a new list of songs! I'm kind of all over the map, but I think it's a good mix up! Enjoy!

1. Heaven- O.A.R.
2. King- O.A.R. ft Russell Simmons & DJ Logic
3. Stereo Hearts- Gym Class Heros ft. Adam Levine
4. Something To Believe In- Parachute
5. You Make Me Feel- Cobra Starship ft. Sabi
6. Otis- Kanye West & Jay-Z

Training Lagniappe: All I need is 11 more people, a witty team name, 2 creatively decorated vans, and car paint to record our (road) KILLS. Takers?! I'm for realz, I want to do this. Seriously.

Happy Running,
Jayme Bergeron, BS
ACSM Health Fitness Specialist