Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ask the Doc

Hi ~ I just started running 1 month ago. Should I take glucosamine or anything else for injury prevention?  Also, it there a powder/drink mix you recommened, as well as a certain gel, for the longer runs? Thx ! g

First off, good for you! It’s always exciting to hear about someone taking the first steps towards fitness.
Secondly, I don’t really know about Glucosamine…other than my general perception that it comes free with a prescription of Viagra for 60 something retired overweight dudes who eat lunch at the costco food court, and golf with their buddies between acting as general managers for their fantasy football teams, and camping out on the couch for endless hours of Mad Money with Kramer. I did do a quick google search and did not come up with anything immediately reinforcing the fact that Glucosamine has the ability to stave off injury. The information that I came across tended to point to the fact that it has the potential to alleviate joint pain; what that joint pain stems from is entirely subjective and in most cases seems to be linked to arthritis…which is hopefully not something that you struggle with.
I hesitate to suggest to anyone that they should consider “taking” something. At the most I am growing in my notion that one might consider taking a Vitamin D supplement, and some Omega 3 supplements to maintain OVERALL health and to help round out the parts of our diets that may be lacking. I have been known to occasionally take some NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs—advil, ibuprofen) on occasion as I am going about healing an injury, but rarely do I continue using them past a few days. The absolute best ways to stave off injury are as follows (taken from here):
Include rest days into your training plan by taking a complete break from training both physically and mentally. Get off your feet, rest your mind, rest your body for the day. I recommend training no more than two weeks consecutively without resting. Novice and/or masters athletes may require “off” days more frequently. Recovery weeks, typically less hours spent exercising or less miles trained, should be included every third to fifth week. Recovery days, easy non-intense training, should follow hard training days.
There are a number of ways to incorporate recovery into your routine. Biofoam rollers and massage sticks help sore, achy or stiff muscles recover from exercise. Watching movies, spending time with family, reading, listening to music or socializing with friends can all be effective relaxation strategies that allow you to disassociate from physical exercise and reduce tension while developing positive mood states of happiness and calmness.
Essential for physiological growth and repair, routinely physically active individuals are encouraged to aspire for 8 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. Cardiovascular performance can be compromised by up to 20 percent with sleep deprivation while reducing reaction time, the ability to process information and emotional stability. Naps are always icing on the cake.
The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, improve hydration and repair muscle tissue. You should eat 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, preferably as soon as possible, when the muscles are most receptive to fuel. Muscle replenishment and tissue repair can be accelerated if you combine carbohydrates and protein together in a ratio of 4 to 1.
Weigh yourself before and after exhaustive exercise to determine how much water you lost. Stay hydrated by consuming at least 24 ounces per pound of body weight lost within six hours after exercise. Performance begins to decrease after only a two percent loss in body water. Include electrolytes to eliminate the risk of hyponatremia if engaging in activity for more than four hours.
A proper warmup is a key component to preparing the body for the demands of any training session or competition. Developing a pre-race warmup is unique to each individual. Performing a warmup will elevate heart rate, VO2, and increase blood flow to the connective tissue and local muscles to be trained. This in turn will raise muscle temperature and help decrease joint and muscle stiffness, therefore improving range of motion. Warm-up periods of five to 15 minutes are recommended with the effects lasting up to 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of inactivity, re-warming may be needed. On the other side of the coin, the recovery process and preparation for the next day’s training begins with a proper cooldown. Low-intensity aerobic exercise, such as aquatic-based training, light jogging or cycling, are effective cooldown activities for clearing lactic acid and lessening the severity of muscle soreness.
Strength training is essential for preparing the body for the rigors of training and racing. It facilitates bone health and enhances injury resistance, including factors that contribute to overuse injuries. It can help bridge the metabolic power gap between swimming, biking and running by boosting lactate tolerance, as well as assist with delaying fatigue.
Correct equipment minimizes unwanted stress. A bike should fit you, not you fit the bike. Cycling posture and position is individualistic for maximizing aerodynamics, power, efficiency and comfort while minimizing injury potential and discomfort. Running shoes should fit your gait pattern. The road will wear your shoes faster than running on trails. How to know if it’s time for a new pair? New shoes may be in order if the grooves on the outsoles are worn smooth, or the upper appears stretched causing the foot to slide off the midsole. Note that midsole foam may take up to 24 hours to recover from a run, so training with a second pair of running shoes may provide more protection for your body.
Increase annual training hours, or training volume, by ten percent or less. For example, if you ran 20 miles this week, your total mileage next week should not exceed 22 miles. If you are training according to time, for example, and your triathlon program called for 15 hours of training this week, it’s recommended training hours not exceed 16.5 hours the next week.
The last one, the 10% rule is a huge…being that you are just starting out you may not be facing the temptation to go out and really abuse your body, but nonetheless it is an important factor in reducing injury. Another thing that is not mentioned above but is something that I tell just about everyone who is embarking on a newfound desire to improve their health/fitness is to go hike. Hiking (especially over relatively exhaustive terrain) is great on many levels, in fact I have read articles about the Chinese Olympic marathon team spending time early in their season hiking with heavily laden packs in order to build aerobic fitness, strengthen supporting muscles, strengthen tendons, as well as ligaments and connective tissue all as a means to reduce injury and increase potential for performance and reduce potential for injury once they move into the subsequent phases of their training cycle.
Regarding drink mixes and gel’s…I like to use Hammer Nutrition Products, but it really mostly comes down to what flavors are available…most all of them are built around the same components—sugar (usually in the form of maltodextrine, or fructose) and electrolytes. I would recommend (especially if you live in the San Luis Obispo area) to just go into Running Warehouse ( ) and ask for Trevor or Eric (tell them Brandon sent you in) and ask what they recommend and why…then tell them you want the RunningGrrl Team discount!
-Run ‘till it’s fun!

Website Update

Hello ladies!  
As you may have noticed we've added an "Ask the Doc" section to the website.  It pops up as a form where you can enter your questions, and we will get back to you with the Doc's response.  It is noted that our Doc is not an actual physician, but an experienced runner lending knowledge to help our team.  We will be posting those questions and responses over here on the blogspot blog. 
The website is a continuous project.  We've been finding out what works and what doesn't, what we want changed and what we don't.  We want to use both the blog on the website and the blog here.  We have both and would like to utilize both.  We're just still a little unsure of how it all is going to work, and the only way to find out is to try.
So I ask you to please be patient with me!  I like for things to be perfect, so there may be a lot of changes.  =)

Thank you!