Unbreakable-The Western States 100

I recently had the privilege of screening the documentary movie Unbreakable – The Western States 100 by JB Benna.

A fine film at the least.

It captures the documentary style with a human touch. JB Benna is a talented director with a gifted eye for film. Follow the engaging conviction to win of four endurance athletes: Kilian Jornet, Hal Koerner, Anton Krupicka and Geoff Roes.

I truly enjoyed the movie. Check it out: www.WS100FILM.com

Does Ibuprofen Help or Hurt During Exercise?

I recently read this post in the NY Times while researching information on the “preventative use” of NSAIDs. Many of the athletes I train with pop 2-3 pain killers prior to a workout to prevent the onset of pain or possible inflammmation due to their sport’s activity. This article is a great summation of when NSAIDs are appropriate and when they are not…and why. Please take a moment to read, then practice your new knowledge. Train smart.

Phys Ed: Does Ibuprofen Help or Hurt During Exercise? – NYTimes.com.

Head Strong

Headstrong

How to keep your head in the game when an injury has you sidelined.

 

Whether you are a runner, cyclist, or tri-athlete you share a passion for your sport with fellow athletes. So when an injury prevents you from your passion, it’s hard to stay headstrong.

As an athlete, you may not understand the chemistry of your endorphin high but you sure know how it feels. So when that high is taken away for a week, two weeks, a month or more…it can be challenging to keep your head in the game.

Let’s start by hearing why we feel the way we do:

Endorphins are chemically related to morphine. Morphine is extremely addicting as we all know. When you exercise for extended periods of time, during endurance sports, your pituitary gland releases substantial amounts of endorphins. They are released when you put your body under stress. These endorphins create a state of athletic
euphoria.
A state in which an athlete “feels no pain” and surges through
discomforts and possible injury.  Recent studies have shown that the more physically fit an athlete is, the more receptive he is to endorphins. As intensity and duration of an athlete’s sport increases, so does the release of endorphins. The downside is that increased exposure to endorphins makes an athlete more addicted to their sport and it
allows an athlete to train harder because of their higher pain threshold and increased energy enabled by the endorphins. Unfortunately, this athletic euphoria can sometimes push athletes beyond their physical limits causing them injury. Suddenly sidelined athletes are susceptible to depression, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, weight-gain, insomnia and low self-esteem.

How to cope with an injury:

Athletes react to injuries with a multitude of emotion – anger, denial, frustration, sadness and sometimes depression. Here are a few psychological strategies to help any athlete keep their head strong and in the game.

First, learn about your injury. The more you know, the better you will feel. You will have less anxiety and feel a greater sense of control over your injury. Remember, your injury is not you. It is merely a part of your whole. Ask questions about the cause, treatment and prevention of your injury to your doctor, coach, or trainer.

Next, set appropriate goals for yourself based on your doctor’s diagnosis.
Keeping a positive attitude is going to be your biggest asset in your recovery. Remember back to a race when you had to dig deep…find that courage and remember how it feels. Once you’ve set your goals, stay focused on getting better. Your goals are no longer about performance. Your goals should be about your recovery. Athletes tend to try to speed up recovery by doing too much too soon. Know your limits.

Depending upon the type of injury you have, you may be able to modify your training. Many athletes have secondary sports they use on typical cross training day. Work with your doctor or trainer to create an exercise plan that will help maintain your cardiovascular conditioning and strength. Perhaps you can cycle or swim.

Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude by staying connected.
It is sometimes more natural or comfortable to retreat when an injury has occurred. An athlete may no longer feel a part of his sport community, because he cannot train or compete. DO NOT isolate yourself. Go hang out at the track. Go volunteer at an aid station or call your buddies to vent your frustrations. You may find comfort in knowing you don’t have to face your injury alone. Sign up at Runner’sWorld.com and receive daily inspirational quotes. Pickup a copy of an inspirational read like It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong or Running On Empty by Marshall Ulrich. Whatever you do, stay connected while remaining focused on your rehabilitation.

Armed with the right knowledge and attitude, an athlete’s world does not need to be upside down. The injury is not the athlete’s identity.

Stay headstrong and keep your heart in the game…

even when your body can’t be.

Heaven and Earth

Between Heaven and Earth there is a little bit of Skye.

And I don’t mean the blue kind.

I mean Skye Colclough.

Skye has been a runner her whole life. She ran cross country in high school, then started a family and…well, you know how that story goes. Nearly twenty years, three sons and two cross country moves later, Skye was consumed by her family and career. Until I moved in next door.

I reintroduced Skye to trail running a little over a year ago. She has a natural talent, but running on the trails made Skye a stronger runner. Building her core strength, road racing is almost a breeze.

Skye recently won her age class at the Malibu marathon on Sunday, November 13 and placed a very impressive eighth Female overall.

Congratulations to Skye.

Rest, recover and I’ll meet you on the trails.

Hit the Trails and Run Wild – A beginner’s guide to trail running

One of the first questions people ask me when I tell them I prefer hitting the trails to pounding the pavement is…”Isn’t it so much harder?”

My short answer is no. My long answer deserves further explanation. So let me start by telling you, anyone can hit the trails.

Running like a wild man or woman through the woods nurtures the soul. It satisfies our primal need for movement. Leave your electronics at home. Get outside and get moving in nature.

There are so many benefits to hitting the trails. Trail running reduces your risk of injury. You may be asking yourself how that is possible, because of the uneven terrain – roots, rocks, water crossings. In thinking, you’ve answered your own question. The ever varying trail lessons the likelihood of overuse injuries due to constant, repetitious foot strikes on pavement. The varying terrain also requires you to engage your core muscles. Trail running will make you a stronger runner by building greater balance and better mental focus.  If I haven’t convinced you to hit the trails yet, then ponder this… getting dirty makes you feel way more bad ass than you really are!

 

Here are a few tips for making your trails safe and fun :

(1)    Slow down and take short, light footed strides.
Expect to run slower on the trails. Focus on what feels comfortable, not your pace. Shorten your stride, stand tall and run lightly. You’re gonna roll your ankles, but if you’re light on your feet with shorter strides you’ll be able to go into that “roll” more easily without injury.

(2)    Pick a good line.
Always be looking 5-10 feet ahead of you. Not directly down at your feet. Plan your steps and pick a good line. Try to step over fallen trees, roots and large rocks. Rather than on them. They can be slippery even when they don’t appear to be. Keep a distance between you and your fellow runners as well. It helps if you can actually see the trail ahead of you! In case you need to jump, duck or change speeds.

(3)    Walk if you need to.
Don’t be afraid to walk the hills. Trail runners know it’s more efficient to walk up steep hills and conserve your energy. Be sure to keep your posture tall and pump your arms. It’s harder to get up a hill if you are bent over. Your lungs can’t do their job if they are compressed. Keep your eyes on the crest of the hill as well. Knowing the top is near is a huge motivator for digging deep within.

(4)     Run Wild on the downhills.                                                                               Stop breaking and allow yourself to fly a little. Your knees will thank you later. Use your arms to slow you down if you need to. Extend them away from your body and loosely hang them to draft you. Doing a “bunny hop” kind of run on the down hills will also slow you enough to navigate the technical stuff on single tracks. If you start to lose
control, run like a skier in an “s” formation.

(5)     Be Safe.                                                                                                                Bring a map, plenty of water, fuel and a phone. Phone service is not always available, but you can take a picture with your phone. The views are bound to be worth it. And leave your earbuds at home. Safety is first and if you can’t hear your surroundings, you’re not alert. Unplug and enjoy the sounds of nature. As they were intended.

 

If trails are a metaphor for life, then lead me down the ones with roots and
rocks… with leaves and pine needles covering fallen branches… abundant water
crossings, skyscraping mountains and bird’s eye views. – Erica Gratton