Tag Archives: marathon training

Running In Summer: Tips To Stay Hydrated

11 Jul

runner-rests-under-a-treeWe’ve all done it, especially when we were young runners. We stepped out the door into sweltering 90+ degree heat and humidity thick as a blanket, and we didn’t miss a beat. We took off, worked our way into a sprint and spontaneously decided to push a little further than usual. It just felt good to test ourself.

Until we were suddenly gripped by a crippling nausea and felt like we were going to faint. We were miles from home and knew we couldn’t make it back in this condition. So we sat under a tree to rest and cool off. And then breakfast came up. A truly terrible way to start the day.

Who hasn’t suffered the summer double whammy of heat stress and dehydration at least once in their running life? It’s not exactly a badge of courage, in fact it’s quite the opposite and can be downright dangerous, landing the runner in a hospital hooked up to an IV drip for a few hours or more.

Every athlete has unique hydration needs. Some can go for hours in brutal, jungle-hot weather, others… not so much. But one thing is certain – we all need plenty of water.

Hydration guidelines for runners

It’s important that we are well hydrated before our run. And that process starts hours before we step out the door in our shorts and Asics. The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends that you drink 1 ounce of water for every ten pounds of body weight four hours before running. If you tend to perspire heavily, you should drink an additional 0.6 ounce per ten pounds of body weight 2 hours before you run.

Hydration Formula for 200 pound runner

200 pounds = (1 oz x 20) = 20 ounces four hours before run

Adjustment for heavy sweating = (0.6 oz x 20) = additional 12 ounces two hours before run

Total hydration = 32 ounces (1 quart)

+ Bathroom appearances

But when we sweat, we lose more than water, also salt and certain electrolytes: sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Loss of these electrolytes through sweat is a very individual thing – some athletes lose a lot, some a little, depending on how much one perspires. If you’re a heavy sweater on a long, hot run, it’s wise to carry an additional source of electrolytes with you, like Gatorlytes, Pedialite, or Salt Stick. Maintaining these minerals will reduce fatigue, muscle cramping, and help your body cool itself (thermoregulatory response).

How do you know if you’re properly hydrated? Note the color and volume of your urine. Dark colored urine in small amounts is an indication that you don’t have enough water in your system and is a strong message that you need to increase your hydration schedule.

Running: How To Build Endurance Safely

21 Jun

You get too eager, you push yourself to do the extra mile or five, and you pay the price: sore muscles, maybe even an injury like plantar fasciitis or heel pain that keeps you sidelined for a month or two. If your body isn’t ready for what you demand of it, your body will definitely fight back – or snap, strain, or break.

running summerNot that you shouldn’t push yourself – that’s always a good thing. But you need to ease your body into longer runs and more distance gradually. Here then is some great advice from Runner’s World on the smartest ways to increase your endurance.

1. When adding miles to your routine, slow your pace. This saves energy for the bonus miles. A good rule of thumb is to add 90 seconds to 2 minutes for each additional mile. You should also increase miles gradually, no more than one to one and a half at a time. If you’re an experienced marathon runner, you can push that a bit.

2. Run/Walk combo is okay. When you’re building endurance, it’s okay to take walk breaks during your run. You’ll still get the cardio benefits, and eventually you’ll be able to run the entire distance. But don’t make the walk breaks longer than one minute, or you may cool down too far.

3. If you’re running for more than one hour, especially in summer, take fuel with you. Gels and chews that are high in carbs and electrolytes will keep your blood sugars in the normal range and help you avoid fatigue. You also need to drink water with these products to avoid stomach upset and to keep you hydrated. Dehydration is an extremely serious problem when running in the heat, and can deliver many ill effects. Don’t tempt fate.

4. If the distance you want to achieve is intimidating, break it up into more manageable segments – think of a 10-miler as two 5-mile runs, or five 2-mile runs.

5. Use an outdoor track to extend your run, so you’re close to lavatories. This is a safety net in case you can’t make the distance – you won’t be stuck far from home or transportation. Having to walk a few miles back to your starting point when you’re exhausted is full of risks.

6. Be patient. Your body doesn’t adapt overnight, especially as you reach middle age. Push slowly but consistently.

Five Post-Run Stretches To Save Your Legs And Speed Recovery (video)

29 May

We’ve written a lot over the years about how important stretching is before and after running or any workout. Some recent articles we’ve seen dismiss this step, but we’re firmly convinced that proper stretching not only minimizes potential injuries – everything from toes to neck – but also speeds recovery time.

running stretches

Quad Stetch

The idea is very simple: before placing stress on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, they should be warmed up so they can better handle that stress. It is a fact that most injuries occur in the early stages of a workout when muscles and connective tissue are cold. Post-run stretching forces blood again into these tissues to speed the process by which they cool down (a complicated fluid and gas exchange between the tissues and bloodstream).

Sports injuries are not to be taken lightly, as even a minor glitch can sideline you for the season. It’s wiser to protect yourself with these simple stretches than to be sitting on your couch icing your foot or leg for one month… or worse.

Here are the most effective post-run stretches:

**Note that there are a number of ways to perform these stretches, including sitting or lying on your back.

1. Quad Stretch: Standing on one leg, grab your opposite foot and pull it towards the rear of your body. Hold for about ten seconds until you feel tension in the quadricep (front of your thigh). Release and repeat. Keep your knees aligned and your back straight while performing this stretch. If you have balance problems, hold on to a stable object.

2.  Calf Stretch: Stand on a step or an object the height of a street curb. Place the toes of one foot on the edge of the object and lower your foot until you feel a stretch in your calf muscle. Bend both knees to deepen the stretch.

standing hamstring stretch

Hamstring stretch

3. Glute Stretch: Cross your ankle just above the opposite knee. Now gently push down on the knee, lowering yourself slowly into a squatting position.  If you have balance problems, hold on to a stable object while performing this stretch.

4. Standing Hamstring Stretch: Place your leg straight out in front of you. Bend your opposite knee and press down gently on your thigh. Now extend and lower your hips back as if sitting in an imaginary chair, while keeping your heel grounded.

5. Chest Stretch: Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, head and eyes straight ahead. Lace your fingers behind your head, just above your neck. Squeeze your shoulder blades together while bringing your elbows out to the sides and as far back as possible. Hold.

You can see a video of how to perform these stretches on the Runner’s World website

Jenny’s story of how her terrible heel and arch pain was cured

8 May

Meet Jenny.

Jenny is an athlete – a marathon runner – and her chronic plantar fasciitis caused severe pain from her heel through her arch. Her plantar fascia tendon had developed tendinitis, causing pain with every step. She tried to push through it, but eventually had to reduce her training to a very minimal schedule.

Her podiatrist’s first treatment method was to inject the plantar fascia with cortisone to reduce the inflammation. This is a typical first approach, and is frequently successful.  The inflammation in the tendon is reduced by the cortisone, allowing the tendon to heal. Unfortunately for Jenny, the heel and arch pain returned after only a few weeks.

The second step in Jenny’s treatment was a PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection. At first, the PRP treatment reduced her pain considerably, but her tendon didn’t respond as her doctor had hoped, and her pain returned once again.

Jenny and her doctor then chose the FAST Technique to relieve her heel pain.

In her words, the procedure was “seamless”.  She had no pain at all during or after the very short procedure and her plantar fasciitis is now completely gone. Jenny has resumed her normal training schedule and is delighted that she can get back to her pre-pain level of activity.

The FAST Technique is a remarkable improvement for treating heel pain and has been found to be 95% effective in eliminating chronic pain resulting from tendinitis or tendinosis. East Penn Foot and Ankle Associates is the only podiatry practice in the Lehigh Valley to offer this innovative approach to relieving heel pain.

Read more about the FAST Technique on our website here.

Watch Jenny tell her story:

Shin Splints: Not Just For Runners

30 Apr

shin splintsEvery athlete gets shin splints eventually, not just runners. Dancers also get shin splints, as do people just running to catch a bus.

The pain we refer to as shin splints occurs when the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around your tibia (the long bone that runs from your knee to your foot, aka your shinbone) become overworked and inflamed. Felt along the inside front of the shinbone, pain can appear on a wide spectrum, from a dull ache to excruciating, can’t-walk-two-feet-without crying pain. Medically, shin splints are known by various terms, such as medial tibial stress syndrome (MTSS), soleus syndrome, tibial stress syndrome, periostitis, exercise induced leg pain or chronic exertional compartment syndrome.

Shin splints aren’t a specific medical problem, they’re a symptom of a larger problem, usually irritated and overworked leg muscles, stress fractures in the shinbone, or overpronation  – when the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse, placing stress on the muscles and tendons. They aren’t a serious problem, but they can definitely ruin your game, putting you on the sidelines for anywhere from three weeks to six months, depending on severity.

Shin splints usually appear right after you’ve intensified a training schedule or switched from exercising on a soft surface to hard surface. Therefore, you need to condition your legs with proper warm ups and cool downs when making these changes.

Shin splints can be avoided if you follow these guidelines:

  • Always wear properly fitted athletic shoes which have been designed for your sport or activity
  • Always warm up before exercising to get the blood flowing to your legs and muscles
  • If you can avoid hard surfaces, do so. Training on grass or an outdoor track is much easier on your legs
  • Increase training intensity gradually
  • Custom desiged orthotics worn in your shoes balance your feet and provide support

Read: How to choose the right running shoe

How to treat shin splints

  • Rest until the shin splints have completely healed
  • Ice your shins for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for two to three days until the pain subsides
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain medicine like ibuprofen (advil), naproxen (aleve) or aspirin
  • Light stretching exercises to work the muscles in your leg and speed healing

It’s very important that you don’t resume training before the shin splints have completely healed, because they’ll return with a vengeance. To test the injured leg, do some walking or light jogging for a few blocks to determine if the injured leg feels as strong and is as flexible as the healthy leg. If there’s even a shadow of doubt, hold off on resuming training and take up some low impact exercise like swimming to stay in shape.

Cold Weather Running: Seven Safety Tips

12 Oct

safety rules winter running

For serious runners, training isn’t only a March through October activity. For them, it’s year round, regardless of temperature, ice, or snow.  But running in winter is very different than running the rest of the year, not only because of the obvious weather conditions, but because of the effect on your body as well. Here are seven safety tips to keep in mind before you start your winter training.

1. Dress in Layers

If the temperature outdoors is 41 degrees, heat loss in wet clothes is double that when you’re dry. Dress in clothing that wicks moisture away from your body, which means no cotton if at all possible.

  • The layer closest to your skin should be tight and lightweight, such as a Tech shirt. Avoid cotton for this layer, as it will trap perspiration against your skin. The outer layer should be a looser, medium weight fabric, and once again, not cotton. This layer should have a zipper at the neck so you can regulate your body temperature while you run. Cover your legs with Lycra or polar fleece. If the wind is blowing or if it’s bitterly cold, add a shell layer made from Nylon or Gore-Tex, resistant to wind and water. This layer should also have a zipper to help it breathe.
  • Socks should be made from a material that not only keeps your feet dry, but warm as well. There are many good synthetic materials, but make sure they have plenty of cushion to protect your arch, heel, and forefoot .
  • A lot of runners don’t consider their hands when running, which is a mistake. It’s important to not only keep them warm and dry (a lightweight pair of gloves will do), but you’ll also need hand protection if you fall on the ice or snow. If it’s extremely cold, wear mittens and tuck disposable heat packets in them.
  • Pay attention to the top of your head. You lose a significant amount of body heat from your head, so keep it covered, including your ears. Wear a hoodie, wool cap, scarf, whatever works for you.

The actual amount of clothing needed to stay warm and dry will differ significantly between individuals. There are no hard and fast rules, so wear what you’re most comfortable in. Experts say that you should feel a little cold when you first start running, because your body heat will build to make you feel about twenty degrees warmer than the actual temperature.

Frostbite Warning: In bitter cold, certain parts of your body can suffer frostbite (hypothermia), whether they are exposed or not. This happens when your body loses more heat than it can produce. Your chances also increase when your skin is wet – in fact, you can suffer frostbite faster when you’re damp in 40 degrees than when you’re dry in 25 degrees. Pay special attention to your nose, cheeks, chin, tips of your ears, fingers, and toes. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, itching, cold or burning sensation, and skin which may be red, white, pale, hard, or cold to the touch. If you suspect frostbite, get indoors immediately and SLOWLY warm yourself. Do not immerse the suspected area in warm water, as this could cause serious damage to the skin. Remove any wet clothing (having dry skin is important) and warm yourself in a seventy degree room with blankets. If you start to feel pain in the suspected area as it warms, you may indeed have frostbite and you should seek emergency medical care. A more thorough explanation of frostbite is on the Mayo Clinic website.

2. Warm up before you run 

With the uncertain terrain that winter can bring, it’s important that your legs, ankles, and feet are flexible and loose when you begin running. Follow these stretching exercises to get warmed up.

3. Be easily seen

Don’t dress in dark colors after sunset. You can’t expect motorists to know you’re there unless you alert them to your presence. If you’re running at night, make sure you’re in a well-lit area and wearing reflective clothing which can be easily seen. If you run on the street, make sure you run against traffic.

4. Find a route protected from wind

Running on a wooded trail that’s protected from wind, like those in public parks, can be a beautiful experience in the winter. In urban environments, buildings won’t protect you from wind, in fact they create wind tunnels. If you’re running on a city street, choose the sunny side to stay warm. Jason Glowney, M.D., an internist with the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Colorado adds, “If possible, run into the wind on your way out and with the wind on the way home. Running into the wind when you’re sweaty will subject you to much greater stress and cold exposure.”

5. Stay Hydrated

Winter weather can be quite deceiving where hydration is concerned. The air tends to be drier, which makes you less aware of the amount you’re perspiring, and the cold also makes you feel less thirsty. If you’re not properly hydrated, you could have a serious problem during your routine, so drink plenty of water right before you run.

6. Watch your footing

Run on surfaces free of snow and ice and wear properly fitting running shoes. Falling on ice is never a pleasant experience, especially when you suffer an ankle fracture or sprain. Watch where you plant your feet and beware of obstacles hidden by snow.

7. Protect your lungs

When you begin a run in extreme cold, you may start coughing or feel a burning sensation in your chest or throat. That’s your body reacting to the incoming cold air – your  respiratory system is working harder to warm and moisten it. You can avoid this reaction by doing a less vigorous run, or covering your nose and mouth with a ski mask, scarf, or neck gaiter to warm the air you inhale. Contrary to urban legend, your lungs or windpipe won’t freeze.

However, don’t run if you have a head cold, sinus infection, or respiratory infection. You may have heard that you can “sweat it out”, but that’s a fallacy. While you may initially feel somewhat better, you’re just experiencing the affect of adrenaline clearing up your stuffy sinuses, and your run may actually make you much worse. Take a few days off from your training and get rest.

Meet East Penn Foot and Ankle’s i-Run Pigs 5K Team

7 Sep

Thanks to everyone who sent emails asking to join the East Penn Foot and Ankle team for the i-Run Pigs 5k. Our team members are from all over the Lehigh Valley, range in age from 35 to 62, and one carried the Olympic torch for the Atlanta games. Some will be walking, some will be running, some are first time runners and some are hardcore.

lehigh valley iron pigs i-run logo

East Penn Foot and Ankle is sponsoring the Iron Pigs i-Run 5k and Piglet run September 16th at Coca-Cola park in Allentown. The race is open to runners, walkers and kids under 12 (Piglet run).

The East Penn Foot And Ankle i-Run Pigs 5K Team:

Kelly Walbert

Kelly is 42, lives in Allentown, and is a 12 year veteran police officer for the City of Bethlehem, currently assigned to Liberty High School. He has run ten 5k mud races in the past two years. Kelly says, “When I’m not chasing students around the campus I enjoy running 5k mud runs through the tri-state area. I just don’t want to wake up one morning being a fat doughnut cop so that’s why a run.”

Heather Mastropieri

Heather is 35, lives in Whitehall, and this is her first 5K. Heather had Gastric Bypass surgery in 2010 and has since lost 160 lbs(!) Losing that much weight is no easy feat, so we’re delighted that Heather is choosing our event as her first (of many, we hope).  A 5k has been on her bucket list since she had the Gastric Bypass surgery. Heather is a stay-at-home Mom and says she’s a little nervous about running her first 5K, due to leg and ankle issues. But she says she’ll do her best, even if she comes in last place (that’s the spirit, Heather!)

Jackie Hollan

Jackie is 52 and lives in Laurys Station.  Jackie has been a pharmacist and hardcore runner for 15 years, competing in marathons, half-marathons, 10K’s and 5K’s all over the country. She loves the way running makes her feel and is training for the Runner’s World Half Marathon Hat Trick and the Big Sur International Marathon. Jackie is also the running coach for the Lehigh Valley chapter of Team in Training/Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Jackie would like you to know that Dr. Teichman performed bunion surgery on her in April of this year and she fully returned to training in June.

Mary Ellen Rudoi
Mary Ellen is 38, lives in Macungie, and is a Chemical Engineer for Air Products. She’s been a runner most of her life, but as a busy Mom of two, she only gets to do a couple of races a year, just enough to stay motivated.

Kristen Wassel
Kristen is 36, and lives in Macungie

Deb Stewart
Deb is 58 and lives in Allentown, where she is a teacher. She is also a grandmother to a very active one year old named Vincent and is getting back into walking after having foot surgery two years ago.

Kevin Dolan
Kevin is 62 and lives in Nazareth. By day, he’s the Administrator of the Northampton County Children,Youth, And Families Division, responsible for the protection of the children of Northampton County. When he’s not at work, he’s the race director of the Tortoise and Hare 5k, and has run 32 marathons and over 40 half marathons. Kevin figures he runs about 30 races a year. Notably, Kevin carried the Olympic Torch for the 1996 Olympics (Atlanta ) – his part was through the Philadelphia area. He says that running gives him time to think of work action plans and is a respite from stress.

Kevin is also a patient of East Penn Foot and Ankle and says that he was having very serious foot pain that was making running unpleasant. Kevin says, “Besides hoping the pain would go away I began researching for an excellent physician in the Lehigh Valley who would understand an athletles zeal for activity ( I also cross train ). Dr. Teichman was wonderful and had me back running pain free immediately . I recommend him to all my fellow athletes and cannot say enough positive things about him.”

Dr Teichman
Dr T is 40 and will be running with the team. His two children will participate in the piglet run.

In addition to the Iron Pigs swag bag, chip timer, and I-run pigs 5k commemorative t-shirt, each of our team members will receive a customized East Penn Foot and Ankle Tech t-shirt which they’ll be wearing during their run. Good luck, everyone!

More information and registration for the i-Run Pigs 5k is here.

For Kids and Walkers – Training for the i-Run Pigs 5k and Piglet Run

28 Aug

East Penn Foot and Ankle is sponsoring the Iron Pigs i-Run 5k and Piglet run September 16th at Coca-Cola park in Allentown. The race is open to runners, walkers and kids under 12 (Piglet run).

More information and registration for the i-Run Pigs 5k is here. This post is for Piglets (kids under 12) and Walkers.
kids running

Whether you’re running or walking, we want you to join the East Penn Foot and Ankle team! Details on how to race for free are here.

Walking the 5K

No one should ever start a 5K cold. Just because you’re not running, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t warm up and condition your muscles before the race. For some, walking 3 miles/5k is a breeze – a literal walk in the park. For others, it will be strenuous activity. In either case, you should condition your body beforehand with a proper diet, a stretching routine and a practice course. And it goes without saying that you should wear a good pair of athletic shoes.

Follow our runners diet plan

Even though you’re not training for a marathon, our diet plan for runners is the best way to get the proper balance of nutrients your body needs to perform. It’s also very low in fat and high in protein. Say no to all fast food and focus on fresh food prepared in your home. When you prepare it yourself, you know what you’re putting in your body.

Don’t forget to stretch

Stretching exercises warm up your muscles, which makes them less likely to strain during exercise (or any other time). Stretching also strengthens your muscles, so it’s a simple way to take care of your body. Learn some basic stretches on our exercise page.stretching before running

Warm up mentally and physically

Know what you’re in for by charting a 3 mile course around your neighborhood or a favorite park and walk it a few times before race day. If you’ve been sedentary for the past year, the amount of effort required may surprise you. As we age, or if we have a health crisis, it becomes more difficult to stay in shape and to get back in shape, and we assume we can do the same exercise routine as we did previously… until we can’t. So take things slowly and ease yourself into it. Start walking today.

For Piglets (kids under 12)

Whether your child is active or sedentary, they should know what to expect on race day. Children frequently overestimate their physical abilities, so have them tag along with you on your course a time or two before the race. The Piglet run is only one mile, so if they can comfortably walk your course, they should be able to do the Piglet run. Walking will also help to warm up and condition their muscles.

Running is the simplest form of exercise for a child and the competition between the kids helps to build confidence. Keeping their bodies fit while young will serve them well as they grow into adulthood.

See you at the run!

Previous posts in this series:

Part 1 Training for the i-Run Pigs 5K: Lessons for first-timers

Part 2  Start your running diet plan now

Part 3 Time to train harder

Part 4 Time to sweat

Part 5 Training for I-run Pigs 5k and Piglet Run – week 5

Part 6 Increase your stretching routine

***Health check: If you have a history of heart disease, obesity or lung ailments, please check with your physician before training. 

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