Ahhhh, summer. The extended daylight hours beckon runners onto the open roads, but soaring heat and humidity can take their toll on your running mojo.
Here are 6 tips to beat the heat while running this summer.
1. Run Prepared
Summer running might mean you’ll require fewer articles of clothing, but don’t skimp on gearing up. Apply non-drip sunscreen to protect your skin before you head out. Grab a pair of sport sunglasses with nose grips to help with sun glare and to give you a better view of oncoming motorists.
When going on long trail runs on runs in less populated areas, always make sure to tell someone your route and when to expect you back, or run with a cell phone. Stash some cash in case you become overheated and need to stop for a drink or to use for cab fare home.
2. Run Early or Run Late
Experienced runners like to say that the best time to run is when your shadow is longer than you are. In other words, avoid running between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s intensity is at its greatest. If you suffer from respiratory problems, remember that air quality is usually better in the morning than it is later in the day. Plus, early morning runs mean fewer cars and less traffic noise.
If you must run when the sun is up, pick a shady course. Think tree-lined streets over winding country roads. And if you’re running at night, remember your reflective vest.
If you’re running in the heat for more than a couple miles, you will need hydration mid-run. Invest in a hydration pack (found at any running shop), or drive your route in advance and strategically hide partially frozen water bottles along the way (don’t forget to drive back to collect them when you’re done!).
You could also plan a one or two mile route around a focal point, such as your home or Midtown. Run laps of this same route, stopping for a drink each time you pass. Having extra water to pour on your head and neck is a huge psychological bonus, so don’t be afraid to run through a sprinkler when passing!
One of the worst things you can do to your body is dehydrate it. When you overheat, your recovery time will be much longer as your body will need time to heal.
4. Dress for Success
Your old cotton tshirt isn’t the best choice for running in the heat. Technical fibers will move moisture away from your skin, producing a cooling effect. Many of the newer fabrics also have the bonus of built-in UV protection. Don’t underestimate the importance of moisture-wicking socks, either. Keeping your feet cool and dry will prevent blisters.
On long runs in the heat, you need to remember your important friends: sodium and potassium. These and other electrolytes keep your digestive, nervous, cardiac, and muscular systems functioning properly. The more you sweat, the more electrolytes you’ll lose. If you’re running long, consider refueling with sports drinks such as Gatorade or Accelerade during the run, and post-run as well. Recent research, however, suggests that sports drinks, which are often high in sugar, might not be the best post-workout drink, so you might opt for milk, coconut water, or a piece of fruit to replenish electrolytes.
6. Know the Warning Signs
Don’t try to be a superhero. There is a clear line between proving mental toughness and putting your health in jeopardy, and unfortunately many runners allow themselves to cross it. You are not weak for rescheduling a run on a hot day or for stopping early; rather, you are smart.
Don’t expect your pace to be the same as you manage on brisk, mild days. Watch for symptoms of heat disease: intense heat build up, headache, nausea, clammy skim, muscle cramps, and feeling faint. If any of these symptoms strike, stop immediately and head for a drink in the shade.
Enjoy the summer weather and the myriad psychological and physical benefits of running outdoors. Stay safe, smart, and cool and you’ll reap the benefits of running all year long.
We all have holiday traditions, from Aunt Linda’s green bean casserole to fireside carols to the annual donning of the matching sweaters.
However, a lot of our traditions around the holidays focus on heavy, fat-laden foods. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Traditions are important, and the holidays are a good time to indulge as long as we do not indulge to excess.
Still, it is a good time to assess whether your family has any healthy holiday traditions, namely involving physical activity. If not, then why not consider starting one?
Growing up, we watched my father every Thanksgiving morning amble through a Turkey Trot 5k. A former college basketball star measuring 6’8″ in height, he was by no means a runner and it was often humorous to watch him lurching down the final stretch. Nevertheless, he loved how running that race (which was, in fact, the only race he ever ran each year) made him feel on Thanksgiving Day.
As soon as we were old enough, us kids joined him, engaging in a friendly competiton with eachother for place and time. There was something special about knowing no matter the weather — and we had our share of unseasonably warm days as well as days with a foot of snow — we knew where we would be Thanksgiving morning. After an endorphin high of running a race like a Turkey Trot in a huge crowd of like-minded runners, the rest of the day was gravy (pun intended).
There are, in fact, many different ideas for holiday traditions involving fitness, with new opportunities forming each year. It’s not important what you do as long as you do your best to mix the holiday, family and friends (or even pets) with fitness. Here are some ideas for healthy traditions you may not yet have tried:
1. Run a Turkey Trot Next Year
Did you know that the first “Turkey Trot” was started right near us in Buffalo during Thanksgiving of 1896? Back then it had only six runners, but today that same Buffalo race regularly has over 10,000 participants. Now there are Turkey Trots all over the country, of differing lengths and terrains. If running bores you, look for a Turkey Day challenge obstacle-like race. The feeling of having accomplished something will make the food taste that much better.
2. Backyard Touch Football
This is a fun, special tradition that many families have already incorporated into their holidays for generations. Instead of sitting on the couch in a food-induced coma, head out for your own friendly-family or neighborhood competition. Children especially will cherish watching adults take part in a fun family game with them.
3. Take a Holiday Walk
There’s no sweeter image to me on holidays than when I see entire generations of a family out walking down the road in a big pack. The sight of an elderly grandmother pushing a stroller, uncles and aunts engaging in jesting banter, and mixed-age children running ahead just seems to be one of the best ways to unite as a family. Even if it is only you and your dog celebrating this year, take a special walk -perhaps on a nature trail- and enjoy the time to reflect on the holiday and giving thanks.
4. Engage in a Seasonal Activity
The holidays are a great time to let your inner child run free. Whether there are young ones with you or not, there’s no reason you can’t go tobogganing, ice skating, or build a large snowman. All of these activities will have you sweating off enough calories for that pumpkin pie you ate.
Holiday traditions don’t have to be focused only on sugar cookies and stuffing. Embrace a tradition involving physical activity and your holiday will combat stress, lift your mood, and make the time richer and brighter. More importantly, you may not end the holiday season five pounds heavier and feeling like a sloth. It is never too late to start a new tradition!
Does your family have a healthy holiday tradition or story?
With 17 marathons (including 10 Bostons) under his belt, and 15 years of personal training experience, Bruce Hedlund, the Rochester club’s resident running expert, is the trainer you want to work with if you’re preparing for a race.
He graduated from SUNY Cortland with a B.S. in Exercise Science, and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. Bruce also works as Penfield High School’s Strength and Conditioning coach, and did the same for the Rochester Americans for the 2009-2010 season.MORE
A discussion on our Facebook page last week resulted in some interesting member feedback. I asked what kind of information you would like to see featured. Among other suggestions, many members mentioned healthy eating tips and recipes, staff profiles, and member success stories.
The club puts a high value on input from members, and as a result, you’ll soon see many of your suggestions included in our daily social media output.MORE
I am very uncoordinated, which is part of the reason why I enjoy running. It’s basically one foot in front of the other and very hard to screw up. There’s no equipment to use. No complex movements. And unlike a group exercise class setting, there is no instructor to follow when your head knows which way your body should be moving, but your body refuses to cooperate.
And while I’m still uncoordinated as heck, I learned a number of exercises and stretches to not only improve my coordination, but also to take my sport to the next level.
The class was modeled around the idea that running is a full-body sport.
You need strong legs to run (obviously), but you also need balance, coordination, agility, and endurance.
And he knows running like no one I’ve ever met. With 17 marathons under his belt, including 10 consecutive Bostons, he could write a book about the importance of plyometric exercises (specialized, high-intensity training techniques used to develop athletic strength and speed) and how to use them to improve your run.
We performed many drills and exercises, but here are the highlights:
Then Laura took over to cover the stretching portion of the session.
Laura is not only a talented dancer, but she is also an expert on stretching and teaches the Essential Stretch class on Sunday afternoons. I did not stretch enough during my half-marathon training last summer, which may have contributed to my calf-injury, but after listening to and watching Laura, I have now become a stretching machine.
The class moved quickly, but we were encouraged to stop Bruce and Laura at any time to ask questions about what we were doing, which all of us there that night did.
Our class had the personal attention of two awesome trainers for 1.5 hours.
They watched our form and adjusted us when necessary (I needed a lot of adjusting).
They took the time to answer all our questions, long after the session ended.
They addressed our specific injuries (and runners love to talk about their injuries), and what we can do to prevent them from happening again.
And while at times my stretching form was a hot mess, and I could not properly execute the skipping drill to save my life, Bruce and Laura never made me feel inadequate. They were nothing but encouraging, positive, and supportive.
After the session ended, I asked my fellow classmates what they thought of “Ramp Up Your Run.”
Here’s what they said:
“All of the core strengthening stretches and exercises were awesome -I am still feeling it days later.”
”Stretching my calf muscles was exactly what I needed that day! I was pleasantly surprised that they included a lot of yoga-like moves, which is nice (since I do try to do yoga).”
“I’m sold on the exercise ball and will be going today to get one of my own. I can still feel the sore muscles from some of the exercises that utilized the ball and I know those core muscles need some serious work.”
“My favorite bit of advice focused around strengthening my ankles. This is crucial to me because of a recent sprain. I’m really hoping that these suggestions will make me run stronger and longer!”
“The instructors made a great point that a strong runner needs a strong core….I will be working on that.”
The next session of “Ramp Up Your Run” is this Saturday, January 29th, from 12:30-2pm. I loved this class, and if you run, I think you’ll enjoy it too.
2010 is coming to a close. Newspapers are printing their “Best of” and “Worst of” lists, Time has named its Person of the Year, Merriam-Webster has selected “austerity” as its Word of the Year (no surprise there), and people everywhere are reflecting on the year’s top stories.
I thought Midtown should get in on the action, so here are some of the club’s 2010′s highlights:
As for me, the year has been a mixed bag. I’m wrapping up my first year as a member, and I have nothing but positive things to say about my member experience. That’s the good.
The bad? Well, the Rochester Half-Marathon I spent months training for in the spring and summer never happened. Sidelined by a double calf strain, I enjoyed a pity party for one on a weight bench in the club as I watched the clock tick over to 7:45am on September 12th, the time the race was beginning.
However, eight sessions of ART (Active Release Technique) in the fall, followed by a strict regime of stretching put me back in the running business. And I plan on rocking the Flower City Half-Marathon on May 1st of next year.
2010 also marked the debut of this blog and the re-launch of the Midtown RochesterFacebook page.
What have you liked about the posts I’ve run on Meet Me at Midtown? What haven’t you liked? What would you like to see more of, or less of?
We also want the club’s Facebook page to be as useful for you as possible, so please let us know what you’ve liked and haven’t liked, or would like to see more of on Facebook as well.
One current Midtown member who submits their feedback in the Comments section or emails it to me at email@example.com will win this high-quality Midtown Sports Bag!
I will select one winner via Random.org on Tuesday, January 4th, at 5pm, and post the name of the winner on our Facebook page and here on the blog on January 5th.
Happy and healthy New Year!
I set new goals, such as a sub-2hour Flower City Half-Marathon on May 1st, after being unable to run the Rochester Half-Marathon this past September due to injury). I register for local races in pursuit of PRs, one of which I did not achieve in a disastrous (but fun) Pumpkins in the Park 5K this past weekend). And I experience gadget-and-gear-lust as new products hit the market with the promise to make me a stronger, faster, or more effecient runner.
So when Personal Trainer Bruce Hedlund told me about an upcoming seminar at the club called “Ramp Up Your Run,” I was immediately intrigued.
He and fellow trainer Laura Regna are teaming up in early December to present a two-session seminar called “Ramp Up Your Run.”
One class will run on a weekday, and the other will take place on a weekend day. Each day’s session is 90 minutes. The seminar will include:
Bruce and Laura are the perfect trainers to host this seminar. Bruce has run 17 marathons, including 10 Bostons. He’s also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Rochester Amerks and for Penfield High School.
Laura teaches stretching classes at the club, and she specializes in flexibility. She’s also an accomplished dancer.
If you’re a runner and interested in this seminar (of course you are!), Bruce and Laura want to know which weekday time slot best fits your schedule. If you look in the right sidebar of the blog, you’ll see the Running Seminar Poll. Cast your vote for the weekday time slot of your choice. If none of these times fit your needs, please leave a comment and suggest an alternate time.
The weekend session will most likely run from 8-9:30am on either a Saturday or a Sunday.
I hope to see you in class!
Doug holds several certifications, and is a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, as well as a National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer.
Kristi: How did you get started in the field of personal training?
Doug: I began strength-training in high school, which is also when I bought a textbook on plyometrics (a form of power training in which muscles are enabled to reach maximum force in the shortest amount of time). I have a B.S. in Exercise Physiology/Biomechanics, and I’ve always been interested in improving the performance of the human body. Cycling is a passion of mine, and I enjoy racing mountain and road bikes whenever I can.
Reader Question: I’m a new member, and I’m interested in getting back into shape after years of being away from the gym. How do you recommend I start? I’m about 20 pounds overweight, but otherwise, I am in good health.
Doug: The safest and most effective way to start is to hire a Personal Trainer! Many people think they need to “be in shape” to maximize a personal training session. In reality, a trainer will work you out in the appropriate manner especially when you are not in ideal shape. This will ensure you do not do too much, too soon, and get injured or frustrated. A Personal Trainer will also enhance your workouts in small increments as you get stronger. This will increase exercise adherence and tolerance and ultimately improve your long term success.
Reader Question: My current workout regime includes Pilates, weights, and cardio. However, I’ve been doing all three for so long, I’m getting bored. Help!
Doug: Pick up a sport or event in which you can compete. Working out is different than training. When you are training for a goal event or sport, it gives you much more direction and motivation. Your focus and intensity are inspired with a purpose and you will see faster results. The sport may not be your priority, but training for it will accelerate your progress towards your priority goal, for example, losing weight.
Reader Question: I recently read the article posted on the Facebook page about stretching not preventing running injuries. This goes against everything I’ve heard about the benefits of stretching. What’s the real deal?
Doug: The jury is still out on this, and will always be. My opinion is that it is different for every individual. I believe that an appropriate warm-up is critical (which may include stretching), especially for activities completed at high intensity (e.g. a 5k road race) or that require extreme ranges of motion. I also believe stretching will decrease the chance of injury if you have muscle imbalances (e.g if your right hamstring is tighter than your left). For some, stretching gives the feeling of more mobility, improving you efficiency of motion. For others they feel no difference. If after a low-intensity warm-up, you feel “tight,” stretch. If you feel loose and ready, go for the run, and stretch afterwards. You may also want to have a flexibility/mobility assessment done to pinpoint any problem areas, and especially any imbalances.
Reader Question: I’m rehabbing after knee surgery. I want to get back to lifting weights, but I’m unsure and nervous about it. How do I ease back into my workout safely?
Doug: Depending on your surgery you should complete some rehab/strength-training with a Physical Therapist. Once you are cleared by the PT, look for a Personal Trainer knowledgeable in post-rehab and orthopedic considerations. Once again, it is key to progress your workouts in small steps, gradually building mobility and stability, and then strength and power.
Reader Question: My friend recommended protein shakes for muscle development. I’ve tried them in the past and have not liked the side effects. Do you have a recommendation for a good one that’s easy to digest?
Doug: High protein shakes are really overkill for most people. Research does generally agree that athletes involved with a high training load do require more protein than the average individual. If your goal is muscle development, this means at least 1-2 hours of strength-training 4-5 days per week. Otherwise, a normal diet has plenty of protein to meet your needs. As far as recommendations, I would suggest Orgain and Bolthouse Farms’ Protein Plus available at Wegmans in the Natural Foods department and the Produce section.
Thank you, Doug!
If you take group cycle classes, you will not want to miss a new eight-week program Doug is launching in October. Stay tuned to learn about Pscylewerks 2.0 on this blog in the next few days.
You’ve submitted some great questions lately, so if yours was not answered this month, look for it in October’s “Ask the Trainer” post.
And don’t be shy! If you have a question you would like one of the personal trainers from the Fitness department to answer, you can post your question as a comment to this post, or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email the question, I will ask it anonymously on your behalf, and post the question and answer (but not your name) on the next “Ask the Trainer” post. You do not need to be a member to ask a question.
You know you’ve got questions. Send them my way.
Today, I was to pick up my race packet at the Marathon Expo, held at the venue where I had my wedding reception nine years ago.
Tomorrow, my mom was to arrive from Lake Placid to cheer me on during the race. Her husband, a photographer, was to take pictures.
On Sunday, over 1,500 people will run the MVP Healthcare Rochester Half-Marathon, for which I have trained for six months.
I won’t be at the starting line.
Five weeks ago, I sustained a calf strain in each of my legs (the right worse than the left). In early August, I did 11.5 on a Saturday, and when I woke up on Sunday, the nagging calf soreness I had been experiencing for about a week had turned into significant pain. Walking was moderately painful. An attempt at a short three-miler was excruciating.
I immediately launched into panic mode. I set aside my training program, to which I had been adhering like glue. I took a week off from running, implemented the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method of injury treatment, and when running after seven days of rest was still painful, I went a little nuts in pursuit of self-healing. My list of remedies included, but was not limited to:
But last week, after I tried to run again and had to stop just a few miles in because the pain was that bad, I came to the realization that my half-marathon dream, the one for which I had been fighting (and at times, with the insanity of my life, getting my training runs in was truly a fight, both mentally and physically) needed to be shelved.
It was over.
My injury came as a result of pushing myself to my limits (but not beyond them). I did not train to run a half-marathon. I trained to finish a half-marathon in around 1:50. I was clocking long runs at an 8:20 pace. I increased my mileage according to my training plan. I did speedwork with a three-day break following long runs. I followed the rules and I trained hard.
I know I would have finished a sub two-hour half-marathon. I would have met my goal.
Today, I had an appointment with a chiropractor who specializes in sports injuries. He gave me a phone consultation weeks ago, and put me on his cancellation list. I wasn’t able to get in to see him until today. He performed electrical stimulation therapy on the damaged tissues in my calves, followed by ART (Active Release Technique). I have two more sessions next week. He said I should be back running in a week to ten days. He wishes he had been able to see me earlier.
To say I am disappointed does not cover it. What I’m feeling right now requires expletives (and many of them) to even touch the emotions that are swirling. I will spend Sunday either drinking or baking heavily, I haven’t yet decided which.
But if I’ve learned anything over the past six months of training, it’s this:
I can accomplish any damn thing I want to do.
I am now a stronger, faster, fitter, more hard-core runner than I ever was before, even when I was running 30 miles a week, every week, seven years ago. I have an incredibly supportive circle of friends both at Midtown and in my personal life who get what my training meant to me, and who understand how devastating this injury is.
And when I’m 100% again, I’m going to take all the discipline, all the preparation, and all the skills I’ve gained through training for the half-marathon I’m not running this weekend, and turn it into a killer performance in another half, probably in early spring.
And next fall?
I just might try for the full.
“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
This month’s “Ask the Trainer” post features Midtown personal trainer Dave Statt, whom I asked most of the questions I received from last month’s “Ask the Trainer” post.
Dave has been at Midtown for 19 years, and holds an M.S. in Exercise Physiology. He is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and an NASM Certified Personal Trainer. His recent personal accomplishments include competing in the Musselman Triathlon and being a two-time finisher of the Adirondack Canoe Classic (AKA “The 90-Miler”).
Kristi: Tell me about your background and how you became interested in personal training.
Dave: I began lifting weights at age 12, and haven’t stopped since! I began college with the goal of becoming a Physical Education teacher, but I soon realized I loved training and science, so I switched my major to Exercise Physiology. My job is very fun. I enjoy helping clients develop a passion for exercise and achieving fitness goals.
Reader Question: “I am training to run a half-marathon in September, but don’t want to give up my regular yoga practice. What is a good balance? I try to go to 3-5 yoga classes a week.”
Dave: 3-5 yoga classes per week is too much. I would do two per week, and then do two full-body stretch sessions, which may include static and dynamic stretches that are running-specific. In general, yoga is a workout so you have to take that into account with all of the running so you don’t over-train.
Reader Question: “There was a discussion on Facebook awhile back about the ideal number of days to work out per week. Some people said they worked out 4 days, some 5, some all 7. What’s the right answer, and is it possible to work out too much?”
Dave: Frequency of workouts depends on many factors. The more intense you train, the more days off you need. It is a difficult question to answer. You have to listen to your body and if you’re feeling worn down, then take a day off. It also depends on what you are doing. I recommend strength-training 3x per week and cardio 4x per week, but you can do those on the same days as well. I would not train 7 days per week. Always take a day off.
Reader Question: “Which cardio machine at the club is best for burning fat and losing weight?”
Dave: Any cardio machine that uses a lot of muscle groups is most effective at challenging the heart and metabolic system. Here are the cardio machines that are best in terms of calorie expenditure in order from most effective to least effective:
1) Running on treadmill
2) Step mill
4) Cybex Elliptical
6) Precor Elliptical with upper body
7) Precor Elliptical without upper body
Reader Question: “If you could design a nutrition plan for a 40-something male who wants to lose about 50 pounds, what would it include?”
Dave: That is a difficult question to answer on a blog. You may want to meet with a nutritionist or trainer that can assess your current status to provide you with a thorough program.
Reader Question: “I’ve been reading a lot about sports drinks lately. Some research says they’re good for refueling after exercise, while others say water is best. What do you think?”
Dave: The best time to refuel for enhanced recovery is within 30 minutes of completing an intense workout. The fuel should be a 4-to-1 ratio of carbs to protein. Some drinks meet those requirement (e.g. some new products made by Gatorade, Endurox, and even chocolate milk). Water is best for hydration, but not for refueling. They are different. Always rehydrate. Sports drinks are not bad, but some are full of sugar and unneeded calories.
Thank you, Dave!
If you emailed me a question and don’t see it answered here, it will appear in next month’s “Ask the Trainer” post.
As for the rest of you, don’t be shy! If you have a question you would like one of the gods or goddesses of the Fitness department to answer, you can post your question as a comment to this post, or email it to me at email@example.com. If you email the question, I will ask it anonymously on your behalf, and post the question and answer (but not your name) on the next “Ask the Trainer” post. You do not need to be a member to ask a question.
What do you want to know?