Top 5 Ways to Recover

Recovery Tips:

You wake up, it’s Sunday morning, and you are tired and sore from yesterday’s long run. You want to head out and complete your Sunday “Recovery” run (or cross training workout) but you need a little help with your aches and pains. Here are a few recommendations that you can do to help expedite the recovery process:

1- Post-Workout Self-Myofascial Release

Self-myofascial work (i.e. using the foam roller) provides relief from muscle pain and soreness; increases flexibility and strength; accelerates recovery; and releases knots, trigger points and adhesions that can result from training.

2- Active 3D Stretching and Mobility Exercises

Complete a functional, 3D dynamic stretching program to help loosen up your body after a long or hard workout to expedite recovery and improve flexibility and joint mobility.

3- NormaTec Compression Sleeves

The so-called “magic sleeves.” The NormaTec compression sleeves are one of the best tools for increasing circulation, decreasing inflammation and speeding up recovery. Particularly beneficial after a long run, intense workout or a RACE, the sleeves use a unique massage pattern to provide dynamic compression to the limbs, thereby enhancing the movement of fluids. Even spending as little as 20 minutes can help an athlete recover faster than waiting for the body to recover on its own. While these are quite expensive to own, Finish Line Physical Therapy have three pairs for athletes to use.

4- Massage Therapy

This may be a “luxury” item for most of us but when it comes to training for an endurance event, massage is an excellent way to enhance both recovery and your overall health. Massage helps to release the soft tissue restrictions that often cause pain and inhibit movement. In tandem with regular stretching, foam rolling and mobility work, massage can promote better blood flow to help reverse the repetitive movements and daily stresses of training. Be nice to your body so it will be nice to you on race day!


5- Contrast Baths

A contrast bath is a form of treatment where a limb or the entire body is immersed in warm water followed by the immediate immersion of the limb or body in cold water. This procedure is repeated several times, alternating between hot and cold. The theory behind the contrast bath is that the warm water vasodilates blood vessels (increases blood flow) while the cold water vasoconstricts (decreases blood flow), essentially creating a “pump” to remove stagnant fluid from the area. Here’s a sample treatment protocol if you want to give it a try: alternate between heat (i.e. hot tub) x 3 minutes and cold (i.e. ice bath) x 1 minute for 20 minutes.

Member Spotlight: Cherie Grimm

Where do you live?
New York, NY

What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2016  TCS New York City  Marathon!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
I’m excited that each mile will help raise money for an amazing cause.

What is your favorite place to run and why?
I love running through Central Park. It’s completely uninterrupted and you can always find great competition there.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
I like to listen to dance music, or rap usually.

What is your favorite post-run meal?
A bagel 🙂

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
It started in high school when my brother (who is running the marathon with me!) joined the track team. I followed everything he did, and so I followed him to the track team.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
The night before I have to have Chicken Parm with Pasta.

Why did you choose to run this event with Team for Kids?
When I was younger, being able to participate in sports, especially the track team, truly helped me become what I am today. I went from being a shy, timid girl, to a true athlete.

I learned about teamwork and leadership as I ultimately became the track team captain. I learned about time management and dedication. I was one of the slowest people on the team when I first started, but after putting in time, effort, and yes, miles, I became the fastest, scoring in many events.

I want to be able to help teach  kids what I learned through running!

Tip of the Week: Top 10 Race Day Tips

10. Don’t forget to pick up your race packet at the expo. Remember to bring a photo ID and your confirmation form.

9. If traveling, pack all of your race day gear in your carry on bag (running shoes, TFK singlet, shorts, socks, etc.).

8. Pack throw-away clothing for race morning just in case the weather is cold or wet.

7. Put your name on the front and back of your race day singlet so people can cheer you on. It really helps during those later miles.

6. Have a race plan and stick to it!!! Do NOT go out too fast!!! Trust your training and your race plan.

5. Have a mantra that works best for you for the later miles (i.e. “Feet fast, legs strong, I can do this all day long”).

4. Prepare your pre-race and race-day nutrition ahead of time. Stick to what you practiced during your long runs. Always have extra, just in case.

3. Don’t do anything new on race day!!! (nutrition, clothes, shoes, etc.)

2. Use Body glide. Do we really need to tell you why?

1. Remember the mission!!! If times get tough during your race think of the number one reason why you are doing this: supporting more than 215,000 students across the nation with free NYRR youth running programs, events, and resources!

Member Spotlight: Ping Wong

What is your favorite place to run and why?

Anywhere there is a great scenery.

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?

I rarely listen to music, but something upbeat is uplifting!

What is your favorite post-run meal?

Veggies & Chicken. Bananas & Apples & Chocolate milk for quick replenishment.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?

During college when I volunteered at a run – seeing people run is inspiring. When I started to run and exercise, I sensed the empowerment,  and independence  that flourished from running.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?

Dynamic stretches, eat light and drink at least a cup of water 1 hr before running.

Why did you choose to run this event with Team for Kids?

To promote benefits of running among friends and family. Help those less privileged and to get people excited about running.

Tell us a little more about yourself.

I enjoy traveling, meeting new people and trying new foods. I like to cooking  and garden. I like to challenge my limits physically, mentally and socially because it’s fun!



Tip of the Week: Cramps (AKA – Stitches)

What do you do if you experience a stitch while running? Unfortunately, runners are prone to developing cramps, (AKA- Stitches) in their upper abdominal regions. Stitches typically occur in the latter stages of either a workout or race (especially with increased efforts). The main culprit: the diaphragm, which is the primary muscle involved in breathing. Traditionally, it was believed that stitches occurred when individuals would try to run too soon after consuming a significant amount of food or liquid. I believe this can be true but only in conjunction with another key factor. If you think about it, cyclists, swimmers, skiers, etc., all place huge demands on their respiratory system (their diaphragm), intake large quantities of food and liquid before and during their activity and seldom develop cramps. So what differentiates running from all of these other sports, and what makes us so much more susceptible to developing abdominal pains?

Well, the answer is easy: IMPACT. When we run the organs inside of our abdominal cavity (liver, stomach, spleen, etc.) bounce up and down like puppets on a string. The “string” is connective tissue, which attaches our organs to our diaphragm. With each foot strike (impact) the organs ascend in the abdominal cavity and then quickly descend. The diaphragm, which also moves up and down with each inhalation and exhalation, can either move in sync or out of sync with our organs. Picture this: as we inhale the diaphragm moves downward, moving in the same direction as our organs, minimizing the forces in our abdominal cavity that occur with impact. As we exhale, the diaphragm moves upward, moving in the opposite direction of our organs, maximizing the forces in our abdominal cavity that occur with impact and thus causing our diaphragm to spasm, creating a painful stitch. Make sense so far?

The majority of stitches occur on the right side of the abdomen. Why? That is where the heaviest organ in the abdominal cavity, the liver, is located. To stop stitches from occurring you need to keep in mind that stitches are a function of ground impact and breathing. The chances of a stitch are maximized when foot strike and exhalation are synchronized on one side of the body. For example, if you exhale as your right foot strikes the ground, your diaphragm is in the up position. Your liver then comes crashing downward creating an increased force on the diaphragm and increasing your chances of developing a right sided stitch. This would not be a problem if breathing occurred somewhat randomly, but most runners coordinate their breathing patterns with striding. Repetition of stride can create an immense pressure on the diaphragm, which can result in a painful spasm.

So what can we do? When you feel a stitch beginning to strike, change your breathing pattern immediately. If the stitch is on the right side, start exhaling when your left foot strikes the ground, and vice versa. Prevention is always the best treatment, so here are a few ways to avoid those unpleasant stitches from rearing their ugly heads:

  1. Alternate your breathing pattern.
  2. Tell jokes and laugh a lot before a race (I’m serious). Increased stress before a race can cause the diaphragm to tighten up. Laughing stretches the diaphragm, which may help reduce the risk of stitching during a race. This is a great technique for those who are prone to stitches.
  3. Strengthen your abdominal muscles. Increased abdominal strength helps support our internal organs and keeps them from excessive excursions.
  4. For those who are prone to left-side stitches, try to reduce the amount of liquid and food intake 2 hours prior to a race. Eating too much too close to the start of a race will increase the weight of the stomach, which will in turn increase the amount of force placed on the diaphragm.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon Prep Tip: Start Making Your To-Do List

Travel and Lodging
If you haven’t made your travel arrangements, book them as soon as possible. Use the Bank of America Chicago Marathon website and click the “Participant Information” tab in the top left, then click “Hotels, Travel and Parking.” If you have made all your travel and hotel reservations, confirm them now.

Start making a list of the things you will need to pack, such as specialized food products you may not have time to purchase in Chicago. Make a pile of potential throw-away clothes for the start of the race. The weather in Chicago at this time of year can really vary, so be sure to check the forecast before you travel so you are prepared and comfortable on race day.

If you need to replace your running shoes, make sure you do so ASAP! (Read coach’s tip last week on running shoes). Wear your shoes on the plane or stow them in your carry-on. You don’t want to risk losing your shoes in lost luggage.

Sightseeing in Chicago
Chicago has many historical sites to see, but save them for after the marathon. Factor flight times into your plans and make sure you are well rested for your race. After your race, there are many ways to celebrate Chicago style! Take a look at a few highly recommended Chicago experiences here.

Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

Tip of the Week: What’s Your Race Plan?

After several months of training the time has come for you to start thinking about just how long you think it is going to take you to run the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Whether your goal is to win or simply to finish the race on the same day you started, EVERYONE needs a race plan. It is extremely important that you look back at your training and be honest with yourself before choosing an arbitrary finish time based on how you thought or wanted your training to go. Pick a goal that is realistic and best reflects your current fitness level. Read on for two options that you can utilize, regardless of your experience or specific time goals.

Race Plan Options:

Option 1: EASY- That’s right, run the same EASY pace that you have been running every Saturday for the past few months. This is a great plan for first timers, or for those whose training didn’t go as well as expected. This pace is your comfort zone, you know it so well you can do it in your sleep. Treat race day like any other Saturday: a conversational paced run through the streets of Chicago. This will ensure you achieve your ultimate goal: FINISH!!!

Option 2: Personal Record (PR)- You are an experienced runner, you started this season with a certain goal in mind and you are not going to let anything or anyone stand in your way on race day. Your training was flawless, and you have only one thing on your mind: PR! This option is perfect for those who have specific time goals.

Pacing Strategy:

Regardless of which race approach you choose, consistent pacing from start to finish is key. Instead of viewing the marathon as 26.2 miles, let’s further simplify things and divide your race into three phases:

1) Phase 1- The Warm-Up: Consider miles 1-10 as your warm-up. Your goals during phase 1 are to establish your pace and, most importantly, make sure you DON’T go out too fast (the #1 mistake of the endurance athlete). During this phase it is recommended that you add a MINIMUM of 10 seconds/mile to your goal pace regardless of whether or not you chose race option 1 or 2.

2) Phase 2- The Race: This is where your race begins. Your focus during miles 11-20 is goal pace. Your body is adequately warmed up, and it’s time to start thinking about that PR.

3) Phase 3- The Finish: It is at this point of the race that you want to run completely by feel. If you are feeling good and your race has gone as planned, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace. There is no reason to hold back now. Go for it as you gradually increase the pace over the last 6.2 miles.

To help clarify with context, here is an example of a pacing plan:

Marathon Goal: 3:30 (8:01 pace/mile)

Miles 1-10:  8:11 pace (8:01-8:21)

To avoid going out too fast, add 10 seconds to your goal pace to determine your pace for the first 10 miles. Utilize  a +/- 10 second window to your goal time to ensure consistent pacing (8:01-8:11-8:21). Since the first 10 miles are considered your “warm-up,” it is more than ok if a few of your early miles are actually slower than an 8:21/mile (i.e. crowds at the starting line, a much needed porta-potty stop, etc.)

Miles 11-20:  8:01 pace (7:51-8:11)

This is where the race begins and where you begin to focus on your goal marathon pace (i.e. 8:01). Once again, utilize the +/- 10 second pacing window (7:51-8:01-8:11) to ensure consistent pacing from miles 11-20.

Miles 21-26.2: Run the last 6.2 miles (10K) completely by feel. If you are feeling good, gradually increase your pace over the last 6+ miles. If everything goes according to plan, you will find yourself running slightly faster than goal pace during this phase.

+/- 10 second window? Why?

Well, the goal is consistent pacing throughout your race. It is nearly impossible to hit the same pace/mile for 26.2 miles.  If you can stay within 10 seconds of your goal pace you are doing great job of being consistent. The more consistent you are with your effort level (i.e heart rate, respiration rate, etc.) the less energy you will waste and the better you will feel throughout your race.