All Posts by Kyle

When is the best time to run?

Let’s talk about when is the best time during the day to run.

I found a really awesome article from Buffer. They have an article titled Why Most Olympic Records are Broken in the Afternoon and your Body’s Best Time for Everything.

This article is all about timing, “one thing we’re obsessed about here at buffer is obviously the best time to share on social media”, and they talk about the best times to do other things as well. When they talk about running they actually do a really good job of talking about athletics here, so I wanted to touch base on this a little bit. Typically for most people I’m a big fan of morning runs. There are many reasons that in general running in the morning is going to be ideal, however technically speaking the afternoon or the evening is actually better for performance for athletics.

So in the article they talked about how most almost every world record in track and field’s and cycling events have been broken in the afternoon and evening. Is this because most events are done in the afternoon or evening or is it because we perform better in the afternoon or evening? I’m not sure it could be with scheduling-wise with the Olympics and World Championships that they happen to be in the afternoon because you can’t schedule all your events in the morning. When you look at running, like the Berlin Marathon, it’s in the morning so it’s an interesting thing to think about. Anyway, this article goes into some details about how body temperature peaks later in the day, giving us a natural type of warm up throughout the day versus in the morning when our core temp our body temporal temperatures are lowest. Blood pressure can also be a factor in our exercise routines. In the first three hours after we wake up our blood pressure rises the most out of any point in the day, our blood vessels open up more to allow for blood flow later in the day as well. So they’re saying as your blood flows better in the afternoon and evening so you can move oxygen and nutrients around your body better after you’ve been up for a few hours. In the evenin, however,r exercise was found to reduce blood pressure by 10 to 20 percent and then exercising in the morning was found in an experiment to either increase blood pressure or not make a difference. Physical performance is higher and risk of injury is lowered between 3 and 6 p.m. according to Michael Smolenski who wrote with The Body Clock Guide to Better Health.

Muscle strength tends to peak between 2:00 and 6:00 p.m. and additionally our lungs function 17% more effectively after 5 p.m. than at midday according to one study of 4,700 patients. 

When is the best time to run? When do you prefer to run? →

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“How do I return to running?”

Today’s topic is about returning to running after a period of rest.

It came up in conversation on Twitter and this individual had a cold and has taken some time off and my suggestion to him is when returning to running look at the two to four weeks before you are forced to rest, be it vacation, illness, laziness…. look at the four week period where you were training. Take the average from that and sort of meet it in the middle between what you have been doing and what you were doing.

Find the middle ground. Let’s say you got you got a cold, you were not running at all for two weeks. You take the average between zero and let’s say you were doing 20 miles a week on average before getting ill, maybe start back with just a ten-mile week. All running should be easy and after a week you can probably be back to where you are at a pre-break.

If you’re following a specific training schedule and you are forced to take a week or two off it’s usually best to continue on the training schedule as written because you probably have a goal race that the training is leading up to. However, it’s still important to not jump right back into the schedule with full volume & full workouts so in that case it might be wise to transition. Let’s say there’s a midweek tempo run, it might be wise to take that tempo run and shorten it a little bit if there’s a long run (let’s say it’s 15 miles) and you haven’t ran in two weeks and last long run you did was 12 or 10 maybe meet in the middle somewhere with that long run. After that you should be pretty good to go to continue on the schedule as written!

Here is some great advice on how to return to running after a break! →

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Nathan Speedshot Plus – Review

I’m pretty pleased with this.

It’s insulated so it can keep your beverages a little cooler and Nathan is nailing their designs right now. It has a really nice cap its a durable cap and I haven’t had any issues with it thus far .

But I wish this was a little wider. Let’s say I wanted to pour like if I have a large like container of a Gatorade type beverage the scoop isn’t much smaller than this so bottles need to have a larger mouth than any scoop.

That’s something that brands need to me bindful of.,  That’s a complaint on my end, but that’s a pretty universal complaint for many brands. It would be a big bonus for Nathan if it was a larger mouth.

One thing is that it’s not around a bottle, which I really like. It’s flatter so it fits really well in your palmn and since this is a 12 ounce it’s small enough where you can run and you really don’t have to hold on to it. 

Here's a great little handheld option from @NathanSportsInc →

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What causes cramps?

Today’s topic is about cramping and electrolytes, specifically salt.

Typically you take electrolytes to prevent muscle cramping and while this does seem to work in some people it doesn’t necessarily mean that electrolyte loss through sweat causes muscle cramping.

I’ve never experienced cramps caused by electrolyte loss, I don’t really experience cramps while racing or running, BUT I just found a really cool study that touches touch base on this and the title of the study was a comparison of characteristics of those with and without cramping during a 161-kilometer ultra marathon.

So this was a low-intensity event but what’s really cool is that, and I quote, “that 100-mile ultramarathon runners with muscle cramping had higher post race plasma creatine kinaseconcentrations than those without cramping and this provides evidence that those developing cramping are placing greater demands on their muscles relative to their current state of training” so like I’ve said in the past the best way to prevent cramps during the race is proper training before the race and proper pacing during the race!

Now there’s a reason that cramps most likely occur in the calves and hamstrings during the last third of most events and it’s because up to that point you’re farther in training than you habitually gone very often in the past and if you’re not you’re running harder at that distance then you probably ever have outside of other races, so you’re you’re asking your body to do things that it has very rarely done depending on your training level, your miles per week, your pacing for the first third half of the event, that will all dictate if you get cramps or not.

Remember, cramps are a protective mechanism of the muscle to prevent further damage and this study shows just that people most likely to experience cramps during this ultra-marathon had the most muscle damage!

Here is a FREE way to prevent cramps during #running races →

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Are Softer Surfaces Better?

you hear “Oh run on a soft surface it’s better for your knees” and I want to address that because it’s not necessarily true.

Like running form, there’s no better or worse running form, only different. It’s the same with surface, there’s no better or worse running surface, only different running surfaces and that means that there are benefits and negatives.

Too much soft too much hard surface etc and a couple reasons for this is that if you’re running on a soft surface your muscles will actually tense more immediately prior and during ground contact and you’ll hit the ground a little harder. While running on a soft surface your body kind of has an impact loading rate that it does well with and your brain will kind of set you at that point.

Areally interesting study was that these runners are put on a (I think of a) long treadmill and somehow they were running and then the surface switched to a softer or harder surface and after a few steps the body (without the runner realizing it) adjusted to how hard or soft it was striking the ground based on how hard or soft the ground was. So if you have a soft tissue injury, we’ll say like an achilles twinge, running on a harder surface might be better because your calf might not have to tighten up or tense quite as much immediately prior to impact.

There is a time and place for softer & harder running surfaces →

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When to Use Gels?

I typically recommend a gel or whatever your calorie source is, 100 let’s say 100 calories every 30 minutes so.

Anything longer than maybe 90 minutes should probably start taking in some calories and the important thing to remember is that if you’re training for a marathon and you’re doing a two-hour long run you can run easy for two hours without any nutrition but you can definitely train the gut to better take in calories so you need to do this while doing these long runs leading up to a marathon.

For example, so your gut gets better at taking in these calories, you can practice taking in calories so you know what products, what interval, etc works.

Here is when you need to start using gels in training! →

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Consistency in Running Knowledge

I want to talk today about a newsletter I received from the peak performance newsletter.

This is from the authors of a book Peak Performance, it’s a good read check it out.

Today I want to talk about consistency. Not consistency in your training like running every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday, but consistency in what you’re doing for your training. In the newsletter, they talked about a couple East African runners who recently have competed in the Berlin Marathon but Bekele dropped out of yet another marathon and Kipchoge crushed it.

There was an article on LetsRun about Bekele’s training and how he receives advice from numerous people and he’s not consistent in what he does for training. Kipchoge, on the other hand, is getting his information just from his coach. His coach gets all this information but then filters it. He’s the filter and passes on what Kipchoge needs to know –  But Bekele on the other hand isn’t so consistent with the advice he’s receiving and putting into practice and I wanted to talk about this because it’s something that I’ve considered in the past as well.

I’ve suggested people who aren’t working with the coach, people who are following a training schedule, that they don’t follow it just one time. I suggest they follow it three or four times and tweak it and tune it every time you repeat it. But you’re basically following the same format &  same schedule for three, four or five times over a number of years and this makes sure that you’re progressing the same way in the same path year after year now.

Of course you shouldn’t just follow a half-marathon plan five times in a row, I suggest doing maybe a 5k training schedule in the winter if you’re training for a full or a half in the summer or fall.

An issue I have with Runners World, for example, is that they come up with a new edition & new magazine every month and that’s a new pile of information of strength training routines and running advice every month for people and that’s the opposite of what we’re talking about right here!

Switching up your training every two or three months isn’t ideal, it’s the consistency over time following the same training, the same strength routine, for three months. Not just one month and don’t switch it up next time you get a new Runners World edition.

One of the benefits of having a coach is that the coach is the filter and tells you what to do most optimally and keeps you on that path that keeps you from seeing a squirrel or it keeps you from getting analysis paralysis and not being sure what to do. I spoke with someone recently who I was preparing a RUNDOWN for and he said during his last training time for a marathon he basically switched training schedules mid-training because he heard the Hal Higdon plans were good. Of course, the plan was not right for him and he ended up having some issues!

Why doing what the latest runners world magazine says is a bad habit →

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

Do you have pain UNDER the kneecap? Here's patellofemoral pain syndrome resources →

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What it's NOT

It is important to know that Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (pfps) is not Patellar Tendonitis. Patellar Tendonitis is discomfort under the kneecap in the tendon running from the kneecap to the shin.

What it IS

While many runners who experience any sort of knee pain may suggest they have "runner's knee", patellarfemoral pain syndrome is actually Runner's Knee. PFPS is an ache or pain behind or around the top of the kneecap. 

What is Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome?

From Sports Injury

PFPS occurs when the patella (kneecap) rubs on the femur bone underneath. It is often thought that incorrect tracking or rubbing of the patella over the femur bone is a significant factor and results in damage or irritation of the articular cartilage underneath the patella.

Patellofemoral pain is common in people who do a lot of sport and in particular adolescent girls. It can have a number of causes but damage to the cartilage itself cannot directly cause pain because there are no blood vessels or nerves involved. However it can lead onto other problems which in turn result in pain. These include synovitis (inflammation of the synovial membrane or joint lining), erosion of the cartilage and bone under the patella, soft tissues injury or irritation for example to the lateral retinaculum and the infra patella fat pad.

The initial cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome is likely to be overuse. This may be from external factors for example a sudden increase in training, or performing high intensity jumping and knee bending, or it can be from internal factors such as poor patella tracking. Identifying the cause is and important part of treatment.

How to Treat PFPS

When you're in the middle of experiencing this discomfort, using heat can help. Michael Conlon, owner of Finish Line Physical Therapy in New York City suggests "If you don’t have severe acute pain, steer clear of icing. Cold restricts blood flow, which you need for tissue to repair itself. Heat, such as warm baths or heating pads, are a better idea.  "

As with most injuries somehow linked to training load errors and muscle/tissue weaknesses, rehab is going to be a combination of rest to allow the tissues to regenerate + practicing some general strength and mobility for increasing blood flow, strengthening the body, and preventing future recurrences.

I suggest visiting my strength routine page for a number of videos that walk you through some superb bodyweight routines targeting the hip and legs. These should be done 3x weekly at the minimum! If you're reading this article, I hope you take your injury as motivation to get on track with doing this! 

A stretching and foam rolling protocol can be a nice ancillary activity to the strengthening routines, as well!

Studies, Quotes, and Further Reading

Is combining gait retraining or an exercise programme with education better than education alone in treating runners with patellofemoral pain?A randomised clinical trial | British Journal of Sports Medicine | "Even though gait retraining and exercises improved their targeted mechanisms, their addition to education did not provide additional benefits on symptoms and functional limitations. Appropriate education on symptoms and management of training loads should be included as a primary component of treatment in runners with PFP."

Females with patellofemoral pain syndrome have weak hip muscles: a systematic review | Australian Journal of Physiology | "Females with patellofemoral pain syndrome demonstrate a decrease in abduction, external rotation and extension strength of the affected side compared with healthy controls."

Exercise for treating patellofemoral pain syndrome | Cochrane Database for Systematic Reviews | "There is some very low quality evidence that hip plus knee exercises may be more effective in reducing pain than knee exercise alone."