I have not been running a lot in 2015 but I have been running more than I have in the past few years, so I decided to go over to my former high school and run one of the local premier road races, the Forks 15K.
After the race I had an opportunity to interview the winner, a fellow NCAA DIII alum and graduate of SUNY Brockport, David Rappleyea. I talked with him about his training following college and his out look for this coming racing season.
Here is the interview:
One of the key points he makes in his ability to improve following collegiate running is his ability to remain consistent.
I have talked about this before, and I have found it particularly important in my own success as a runner. Becoming a good runner is something that involves a long term vision. It takes years of aerobic development to improve your times, not just one season.
Though some find success in the short term, if they want to continue to improve as well, they need to keep at it year after year.
David has something though that not many people have, and that is a ton of self motivation. But if you become consistent in your training, you will find that it is much easier to be motivated. Running almost becomes like an addictive habit that you do daily.
I hope you enjoyed the interview. If you have any questions, leave one in the comments!
Question: What are steps you have taken to become consistent in your training?
In recent years, there has been a huge change in the area of how we run mechanically. Some of this has to do with the barefoot movement. In that movement we have changed our running gait to be one that strikes more with our forefoot rather than our heels. Not everyone has done this, but I have.
With this change, the forces are now being transferred into your Achilles tendon and calf muscles. This was actually how I acquired a couple stress fractures in my tibia and get Achilles tendinitis (I will say tendon “itis” for this one only because I had huge amounts of swelling).
With that said, I wanted to show you a few exercises you can use as prehab to avoid getting hurt due to the transfer of impact forces.
You can watch the video here:
In the video I do explain the simple two legged calf raise, single leg calf raises, Up on two down on one calf negatives, and the use of a step to enhance those exercises.
Question: Do you have any more calf exercises that you use? Have you ever had Achilles tendonitis/opathy?
Let me know with a comment below!
It has been a little while since I have done a review, but I recently purchased a pair of Brooks Pure Connect 3’s because I really needed a new pair of shoes and these were on sale for $43 (which is a steal).
So here is my video:
In one of my previous reviews, I compared the first impressions I had with the PureFlow 3 with the PureConnect 3. This ultimately swayed me when I saw such a great deal on the shoes to pull the trigger and get them.
When I first was trying them on though, they seems to rub on my big toe… which for some reason went away after I purchased them. I wore them out of the store and never had a problem with them again.
The shoe is a minimalistic shoe that has a very low heel to toe drop, and the heel is curved which take some weight off as well as makes the foot strike more comfortable.
The sole is a little stiff but there are absolutely no pressure points to begin with making the shoe hardly noticeable on my foot.
I have worn these shoe for about 50 miles so far and I don’t notice any wear on them yet, which makes them seem very durable.
The only other real complaint I have about the shoes is that the band that wraps around the foot for durability and support seems a little tight when I put on the shoes. They made the lacing system asymmetrical for comfort, but it doesn’t make up for the pressure the band puts on the top of my foot.
Talking about the laces, they are ribbed so that when you tie them up they are less likely to come undone.
This shoe fits my foot very well, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you have wide feet.
If you have any questions or comments, leave one below!
Question: Do you have the PureConnect 3? If so, how do you like them?
So today’s post is coming after a couple weeks of not posting. Sorry everyone, but I have finally had time to create some content worth listening.
I made a video for my running team on the hip strengthening routine that we do in class on Saturdays, but lately I shifted the focus to something different. I still wanted them to do this routine though, so at their request, I recorded it for them and you so everyone can benefit!
Here is the routine:
In this video I go over a series of exercises aimed to strengthen your hips ie. the tensor fascia latae and gluteus medius. It will also hit the glute max and the hamstrings too.
Here are the exercises:
1. Front x 6 and back x 6 lateral leg raises both sides
2. Clam shells x 10 each leg
3. Reverse clam shells x 10 each leg
4. Glute bridge hold – 30 seconds – 1 min
5. Single leg hip thrust x 10-12 each leg
6. Glute medius hold 30 sec each leg
Did you like this video? Share it with your running buddies!
Anything you think I should change? Let me know in a comment below.
The first year I went to college, I experienced the benefits of a athletic training room. In high school, we had absolutely nothing. If we got hurt we went to the coach and if that didn’t help we went to the doctor.
But in college, they had an athletic trainer who would work with us if we needed our ankles taped, or sore muscles massaged, and open access to the ice baths.
We really took advantage of the room on a daily basis. After every run we would go in there, fill the container with water and tons of ice, take off our shoes and socks, and at the minimum, dip our feet in up to the knee for about 10 minutes.
Following the ice, we would either stick our legs in warm water or lay with our feet elevated above our heart to let the blood drain out of the area.
It was really a ritual that we would even carry to our hotel rooms before meets!
The question is: Was this ritual enhancing our performance, or decreasing it, or neither?
First lets talk about what icing does.
Applying ice to an area of the body for 10 to 20 minutes is one of the most common ways to respond to an acute or overuse injury. It is found in the principle R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate).
Typically when you get injured, your body will respond with inflammation, which sends blood to the localized area. Against popular belief, inflammation is not really a bad thing. It is what brings healing properties to the affected area. But what comes with it typically is pain and swelling.
The reason why we ice is to reduce the blood flow to the injured area and get inflammation under control to an optimal level. It also is known to flush the area of left over waste.
What is the purpose of icing following runs?
When we workout or run, we are stressing our muscles. Under stress, we create little micro tears within the fibers. When recovered, those fibers become stronger and more efficient than before. This is essential why we train.
The concept behind icing after every run is to prevent the delayed onset of soreness and swelling in the muscles tissue or what experts say “reduced microvascular perfusion”.
One study showed that taking an ice bath around 46 degree F between hard runs allowed the participants to run 3 to 4 times longer than when doing nothing between the hard runs. The method of the study showed this to be the case when the hard bout of running was within 15 minutes of each other. This means for those of you who are running multiple races within a day, this could be beneficial. This study does not give any evidence to the long term.
I personally will say that icing post workouts has helped me feel more refreshed later on in the day and reduced my muscle soreness.
The concept is almost like supplementing before, during, and after a workout with protein to help with recovery.
But in the long term does this help you or hurt you in terms of increasing performance?
Icing after runs – performance enhancer or inhibitor?
In overuse injuries, inflammation can be out of control causing swelling to the affected area and limiting activity.
In performance enhancement, inflammation is under control and a vital part to recovery of the muscle which is the key to improvements.
Skeptics say that if you are daily icing after runs in order to reduce soreness, you may be decreasing your bodies natural ability to respond to the training that you worked so hard to achieve.
There have been studies, like this one, to see if there are truly negative or positive effects of icing after a workout in the long term. What was found is that there is a slight negative effect to icing consistently after a run. But what the study also shows, the slight effect is so small it is not really noticeable.
The research is really inconclusive about the effectiveness of icing after runs to improve recovery. The studies that have been done leave us with many questions still and it is hard to interpret from a coaching stand point.
In the end it seems as though the effects, whether good or bad, are so small they are hardly noticeable.
My personal experience never showed that it helped with my performance, but I always left the ice bath refreshed and revived. In the short term it felt good, and it gave me more time to bond with my teammates.
I highly suggest taking an ice bath if you are experience abnormal soreness in areas that might be a precursor to an overuse injury so you can keep it under control and decrease the chance of limiting your running.
My Question for you is: What do you think of ice baths and do you think they helped you in your performance?
After moving back to New York, I was given a great opportunity to get a start working at my local YMCA to start a running program there.
One of the first questions that I was asked after starting that program was about breathing.
How am I supposed to breathe while running?
This was a question that sort of took me by surprise because I never considered it. But working with beginners, it has given me the opportunity to really think about things that have become so natural to me over the years.
The question was brought to me by a woman who had said that every time she goes out for a run she always seems to come back very out of breathe. So much so, that her boyfriend questioned if this was even good for her.
Obviously Running is good for her, but what was she doing wrong.
She continued to ask me about things like:
Should I breathe from the chest or gut?
Should I breathe through my nose and out the mouth?
Bombarded with all these questions, I responded that the answer is really more obvious than she thinks.
I told her to slow down.
Breathe Easier By Slowing Down!
Her biggest concern was that she was just breathing so hard on every run and she thought it had something to do with HOW she was breathing.
Instead, when you are breathing hard it usually has to do with your pace.
In some cases, your breathing may be stressed due to illness, whether by a virus, a bacteria, or asthma.
In that case I would suggest to seek medical assistance in determining what could be the issue.
But, for the most part your breathing is directly related to your pace.
So what does this mean for this woman and for others struggling with their breathing?
It does not mean if you slow down that you are not going to get faster or that you are not getting any benefit from your runs. What you have to remember is that there is a structure to your training, with specific training paces for specific purposes.
I am not suggesting that her breathing hard is a bad thing, but if this is an everyday occurrence then it is. If you’re breathing too hard on every run, you will eventually over train which will have negative effects.
Matt Fitzgerald’s book, 80/20 Running, suggests that more time should be spent training at slower speed. This improves recovery from the hard runs and builds aerobic power which is the main focus on endurance running.
One of the great things that I learned from legendary coach Jack Daniels, is when you go out for a run you need to ask yourself, “what is the purpose of this workout?” when this question is asked, it definitely helps you determine what your pace should be like and how your breathing should feel to gauge it.
There are 4 general types of workouts that will result in a certain type of breathing pattern:
Maintenance: Your breathing should be easy and not stressed. You should be able to carry out a conversation easily. As stated above this should consist of about 80% of your training volume. This is typically you pace on long runs as well. It is purely aerobic in nature.
Tempo or Lactate Threshold: I am lumping these two together but I believe they have two different focuses. Your breathing while performing these two workouts though can sometimes blend. They are still mostly aerobic in nature but introduce more Lactate into your system. Your breathing should be stressed but enough to say a couple of words before being separated by a deep breath.
VO2max or Interval: This is where your breathing should start to get stressed. These workouts still are 30 minutes or longer in nature, but they are extremely uncomfortable especially getting near the end of workouts. In college we only did one of these workouts about once or twice every two weeks with a race or two in that time span as well.
Speed or Repetitions: This is your fastest form of training, ranging from 100m to 800m in length. These are near race pace and meant to teach you the stress of a race situation. So, obviously you will be breathing hard in this type of workout. These are going to be done about 1 to 2 months out from your target race.
This should give you a litmus of gauging your breathing to understand what you are achieving with that days workout.
Again remember that the majority of your running is going to be done at maintenance pace and your breathing should not be so stressed day in and day out. If it is you need to check your pace and slow it down.
I am just as much of a culprit as anyone when it comes to picking it up on easy days. I think that because people driving by me can see me running they will think I am slow if I am not running faster. But this is silly of course because the majority of people passing in a car are not runners and think your speedy gonzales anyways!
Remember, if your breathing hard, the answer to calming it down is easier than you think…
Question: do you have a hard time slowing down on your runs? What is going through your mind that prevents you from doing this on easy runs?
or any stationary cardio machine for that matter, is BORING!
when there is nothing but a wall right in front of you, staring at the one discrepancy in the paint for 30 to 60 minutes can drive you nuts.
I can’t imagine anyone asking why the elliptical is so boring.
I feel it is a given.
Being outside is just the best way to pass the time on a run because you always have new scenery to look at. The change of scenery gives you a best sense of a progression of time.
But if you are hurt (like i was for 3 months with Achilles tendonitis), the weather is terrible, or you are supplementing your running with addition low impact cardio, the elliptical can be mind numbing.
In this post I am going to go over the 3 things I did in order to pass the time on the elliptical and made it less boring.
Though I wish there was an easier way to do this, it definitely killed the time quickly for me.
See, I was in college when I had hurt myself and took advantage of the elliptical to cross train. I had to do tons of reading for my anatomy and physiology class as well as western civilization.
So you can guess where I got that reading done… yup, the elliptical.
I say that I wish there was an easier way for this because when I would get off, my eyes still felt like they were going up and down.
To read on the elliptical, I would suggest not using the moving arm bars, but hold on to the stationary handles in front of you to stabilize yourself. When you are about 10 minutes or so from finishing your workout, stop reading and just stare out away from what is in front of you to transition your eyes back.
Again, this was really the best way for me to pass the time on the elliptical. I would get 20 minutes in without even knowing it!
Obviously this one is only if you have access to a TV.
Some of you may have a Ipod or smartphone that you can watch shows on. You may even have some sort of tablet which would be best!
But this one is sort of a no brainer. Watching a TV show that is anywhere around 40 to 60 minutes can get you through your workout with ease.
I mean you probably would have watched that show anyways, you might as well have done something productive while doing it!
This one is common to many of us endurance athletes.
With just about everyone now a days having a smartphone or some sort of media player, again this one is a no brainer as well.
It is easy to get lost in that favorite play list, you almost forget what you’re even doing.
Whether you’re a fan or not, I used to listen to Taking Back Sunday almost daily because just the beat of the music would distract me from the time.
The other great thing you can do is if you have a favorite author or speaker, you can plug into a lecture or audio book that you have been dying to listen to.
I used to listen to sermons that were about 40 minutes long that I couldn’t listen to because I was so busy during the day.
So there you have 3 ways in which to get through the boring of the boring on the elliptical when you need to use it!
Two of which seem to be no brainers, but the one I really enjoyed often was getting some reading done while I was on there.
I believe it passed the time the quickest, and for me I was killing two birds with one stone. I would say that it was the most productive I would be all day!
Let me know what you think with a comment.
Question: What techniques have you used to pass the time on the elliptical?
As I progressed through the years, I used to follow tons of runners in my state and how they progressed through the years.
One of those runners in New York was Kyle Merber.
As a New Yorker I am very proud to see him get to the level he has achieved and I was fortunate to be able to sit down and talk with him about that process.
We cover things like his sponsorship with Hoka One One, his progress of training to get him to where he is now, and what it was like to return from such a long injury.
Here is the interview:
0:25 Introductions, where Kyle is and what he is currently training for.
1:12 Sponsorship with Hoka and how he was introduced to it.
2:28 Kyle talks a little about his training under Frank Gagliano of NY/NJ Track Club.
3:27 What Kyle likes about Hoka One One and how it has helped him stay consistent in his training.
4:44 Kyle gives us some insight from his experience to the new Hoka One One track spikes.
6:06 Kyle comments how Hoka aims to revolutionize shoes and build shoes that runners want.
8:27 Kyle talks about the training he did as he progressed to break 4 minutes in the mile.
9:53 I ask Kyle about any worries or concerns he had about his limits or lack of improvement.
13:22 Kyle Talks about his mileage progression through the years.
15:29 Kyle talks how Erik Van Ingen shaped some of his training philosophy.
17:33 Kyle talks about his 7 month foot injury in college and the road back to health.
21:04 Kyle’s goals leading into the spring and summer track season.
I want to thank Kyle again to take time out of his day and training schedule to sit down and talk with me.
Follow Kyle this season as he races against the top milers the country has to offer as he attempts to represent the USA on the international stage.
If you have any questions or comments, leave one below!