We Need a Rest Day- Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining

 

Runners know that rest day should be part of the training program. For some runners, rest day is a bit challenging, some feel guilty and don’t add a 100% rest day weekly. Elite runners know that rest days and easy runs are important. Elite runners spend 80% of their training on easy runs and also focus on recovery, rest and even daily naps, massages, lots of sleep, and high-quality, healthy diets. But for normal runners, with a busy life schedule, getting lots of sleep, recovery, super healthy foods is not easy to include in our daily life schedule.

 

What affects how many rest days we need?

The training intensity, our nutrition, our sleep pattern and schedule and our daily lifestyle, can all affect our recovery. If we don’t take a rest day, many issues and symptoms will occur. Our body cannot perform at its best if it is under too much stress, overtraining and not enough recovery. Our running performance will be affected.

 

Symptoms of Overtraining

Overtraining can cause many issues with our overall health, our hormone levels are off, our body might start to hold on to body fat due to increased cortisol, and our training progression will start decreasing.

 

  1. Trouble Sleeping– Poor quality of sleep, or not able to fall asleep quickly is a sign that our nervous system is overloaded. Without regular sleep, the body cannot function properly. Regular, high quality sleep stimulates muscle growth, and repairs and boost the immune system. Lack of sleep affects our training performance and restrains the conversion of carbs to glycogen, which will affect our fueling and energy levels.
  2. Causes Dehydration– If we’re always very thirsty, and our urine is dark yellow, that’s a sign of dehydration. When dealing with constant stress, the adrenal glands start to release cortisol, the stress hormone. That is adrenal fatigue. When dealing with this issue, the exhausted adrenal glands can’t produce aldosterone, the hormone that regulates electrolyte and fluid levels, that causes our body to require more water. Another sign of constant thirst can be due to the body reaching a catabolic state. When the body starts to break down muscle tissue to use as fuel rather than fat and carbs. Without proper fueling and hydration during intense training, the body turns into a catabolic state.
  3. Feeling Slow and Weak During Runs– A tough, or bad run happens to all runners sometimes, but feeling tired during every run is a sign of overtraining and we need to look at our training schedule and readjust it. Feeling slow, weak and not able to follow our regular pace shows signs of fatigue. That means we don’t provide enough time for the muscles to recover, not getting enough sleep and not fueling properly. Our training plan should only include one or two hard sessions per week. The other runs should be easier runs.
  4. Muscle Aches and Pain– When our body is tired, muscles sore and we haven’t slept well in days, it will affect our running form. Running long term with poor form can cause overuse injuries due to stress and strain. When our body is forced to rest due to an injury, that is our smart body that will make sure we rest. After each training or exercise session, the stress creates microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. With proper rest, the muscles have time to recover and repair, but without enough rest, constant running can cause more tears that lead to inflammation.
  5. Mental Fatigue– With normal training schedule and rest days, some days we still don’t feel like exercising or running. Dealing with every day having to force and drag ourselves out of bed feeling both mental and physical fatigue is a sign of burnout. When feeling that mental and physical fatigue, taking an extra day off or week off to recover will be important.
  6. Abnormal Heart Rate– Both elevated or reduced heart rate can be symptoms of exercise-related stress. If the heart rate exceeds 5-10 beats per minute either elevated or reduced, then we need to take some rest. Knowing our regular resting and maximum heart rate helps with performance and recovery, and reduces the risk of overtraining. If our heart rate is above normal in the morning, then we should train easy or rest. An elevated heart rate means that our body is releasing more oxygen to the brain and muscles as a result of stress hormones sending stress signals to the body. The best way to know our regular resting heart rate, is to measure it as soon as we wake up, either using a heart rate monitor or our sport watch device.

 

How to Calculate our Maximum Heart Rate:

Common Method- Fox Formula : 220- age= MHR

Method for Male- Tanaka Formula: 208- (age X 0.7)= MHR

Method for Female- Gulati Formula: 206- (age X 0.88)= MHR

These calculations are great to get estimates, but they’re not always completely accurate. It’s not uncommon for runners to exceed the number, that means that according to your body, the calculated number isn’t your true maximum heart rate. So for some runners, the heart rate might be slightly higher during more intense sessions, but that doesn’t mean there is heart issues.

Some research has shown that dehydration, temperature and altitude or even the time of day can affect heart rate by up to 20%.

 

How Long Does Overtraining Syndrome Last?

The recovery time due to overtraining depends on how intense is the fatigue and side effects. If we are dealing with adrenal fatigue, it could take months to recover by taking a break from running and training to help stabilize the body. To make sure we sleep well and enough, add some nice yoga sessions and walks can be very helpful to start getting back into a much smarter training plan according to our body and lifestyle.

Run, Rest, Recover, Run Strong!

KATIA

How to Prevent “Runner’s Knee” Pain

One of the most common injuries or pain in runners is the “runner’s knee”. It is known as patellofemoral syndrome and it can cause pain right behind and around the knee cap. The runner’s knee is usually due to movements that load the knee joint on a flexed position. If our running form or mechanics are off, every time we hit our stride, we add impact to a bent knee as we leap forward. Running stairs and doing squat exercises can cause the same reaction with a leap forward. When running downstairs or down steep hills and we feel some pain or soreness on the knee, those are signs of “runner’s knee”. Luckily, “runner’s knee” isn’t a structural problem, the ligaments and cartilage are fine, the problem comes from muscles function through repeated movements or impact of a run.

 

Patellofemoral pain is most often due to abnormal mechanics caused by issues up or downstream from the knee, which forces the patella to bump against the femoral groove (the end of the femur). The patella and femoral groove need to run smoothly against one another as they are on top of each other. If they don’t track each other smoothly, and bump against each other, knee pain occurs. What commonly causes this uncomfortable rubbing is muscle weakness and tightness around the legs and core. If some of our leg muscles or core are weak it will affect the smooth tracking of the patella and femoral groove.

 

What causes runner’s knee pain

  1. Weak Hips and Inner Quads

Most runners have strong hip flexors, but often weak gluteus medius. With weak glutes, the femur tends to rotate inward, making the patella strike the edge of the femoral groove, causing pressure and pain. Strengthening the glutes will keep the femur from rotating inward during the weight-baring phase of the running gait.

 

Basic glute strength exercises with a small resistance band around the thighs.

15 Reps each side/ 3 Sets

Clamshell: Start lying down on one side, propped up on your forearm, shoulder over elbow and hips stacked. Externally rotate top hip lifting top knee toward the top, keep your feet together. Lower back down and repeat.

Perform 15 reps on each side/3 Sets.

Donkey Kick: Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists (inline) and knees right under the hips. Extend one leg up and back, raising the hip height with foot flexed. Press the heel toward the top, keep your back flat and knee points straight down. Feel the glute muscles activated when lifting the leg and pressing the foot up. Lower back to hip height and repeat.

Perform 15 Reps each side/ 3 Sets

Fire Hydrant: Start on all fours, shoulders over wrists and knees under the hips. Keeping the knee bent 90 degrees, lift it out to the side and upward. Make sure you don’t drop into the opposite hip. Lower back down to the floor and repeat.

Perform 15 Reps on each side/ 3 Sets

Straight Leg Raise: Lie down face up with legs straight out. Lift your single leg straight up. Hold for 3-4 seconds, then lower back and repeat. The key is to keep the leg straight to make sure you activate the inner thigh muscle (VMO).

Perform 15 Reps each side/3 Sets

Side Leg Raise: Start lying down on one side, with legs straight out. Lift your top leg straight and hold for 3-4 seconds, then lower back down and repeat.

Perform 15 Reps each side/3 Sets

 

  1. Tight Hamstrings or Hips

We know that weak muscles can cause misalignment in running form that can cause “runner’s knee” pain, and so can tight muscles. Dealing with tight hamstring and hip muscles will limit the range of motion and cause some knee issue.

 

Basic Stretches to Avoid Hamstring and Hip Tightness

The best recommendation to avoid and reduce tightness is by working on overall flexibility. The best way is to perform stretching and foam rolling sessions every day.

Stretches:

  • Hamstring- Lie on your back and gently pull one straight leg toward your chest, if it’s too intense, use a yoga strap, resistance band or towel. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  • Hips: Perform a runner’s lunge. With one foot in front, place the opposite knee on the ground and press your hips forward, engaging through your back glutes. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
  • Piriformis: This small muscle under the glute max helps with hip rotation, but if it is too tight it will affect the glutes flexibility and running form.

Perform a half pigeon stretch. Start in downward facing dog position, bring your right foot toward your right wrist, then lower your knee and shin on the ground. Straighten your left leg back- your legs will look like the shape of 7. Align your right knee in line with your right hip, and flex your right foot. Hold for 30-60 seconds each side.

Using a massage ball or tennis ball to roll out the glute muscles, IT Band, quads and hamstrings will also provide many muscle release benefits.

Other factors that can cause runner’s knee issues

  • Women are more prone to runner’s knee due to wider hips than men. That’s why women have to focus on glutes and quads strength exercises.
  • Runners dealing with overpronation- flat feet can also affect the knee cap. Strengthening the feet arches is very important to save any “runner’s knee” pain.
  • Another option to avoid knee pain or injury is to add and switch to different activities like extra yoga sessions or strength workouts on weeks that you feel more muscle discomfort and make sure you take a rest day.

For more intense runner’s knee problems, to get some physio therapy sessions will help with more advanced treatments for knee pain. And taking some glucosamine supplements for joints issues will help strengthening the joints. Consuming turmeric and curcumin will help reduce inflammation. For runners with knee inflammation, to go see a doctor is highly recommended.

Strengthen Your Legs and Core, Save Your Knees, Run Strong!

KATIA

 

 

Benefits of Massage Gun Devices for Runners

 

Massage guns are getting more popular with runners, athletes and bodybuilders. Massage gun devices are technical massagers, providing percussive and vibration therapy. Using these great massage tools at home is so helpful to provide deep tissue massage with a more circular motion. Having access to these at home massage devices is very efficient and easy to use. With busy life schedules, to have access to a device to provide us with deep tissue massages and intense muscle release is incredible.

 

The massage gun is a handheld device shaped and like a nail gun, and similar as well, as the massage tool pushes outward.

 

How the Massage Gun Works

 

  • Uses depth, speed and force to hit muscles that deep tissue massage would with less pain.
  • Allows to work in deeper muscle release than with a foam roller.
  • The force repeats provide vibration therapy.
  • Can be used in all areas of the body, small or larger areas.

 

Benefits of Massage Guns

 

  • Reduces muscle soreness
  • Muscle relaxation as a result of the deep vibration.
  • Increases relaxation which promotes better sleep.
  • Increases blood flow in the areas that are massaged, which helps with muscle recovery.
  • Improves muscle flexibility.
  • Shuts down pain signals to the brain.
  • Progressively increases muscle strength.

 

When to Use a Massage Gun Device

 

  1. To use a massage gun after some stretching or even foam rolling, can be even more efficient with the muscle tension and pain release. To use it before bedtime will be even more helpful, as the muscles will get some rest and recovery during sleep time. Also, the massage gun will relax the body and brain to improve the sleep pattern.
  2. Another option, is to use massage gun devices during Ultra races if you have some support at checkpoints. For runners who are predicting to have some muscle tightness or soreness during long-distance races, to use these massage guns will be so helpful to reduce the muscle tightness and soreness, and also activate some tired muscles.
  3. Massage guns can also be used before a run, for runners having some muscle issues, it can help loosen up some tight muscles and activate some weak muscles to get ready for a more comfortable run.

 

How to Use a Massage Gun Device

For a nice deep tissue massage, first we need to relax. If we are tense due to some areas that are tender, it can make it harder for the device to work if we are more stressed, and it might hurt a bit more. When using the massage gun in very tender areas, start with a light pressure and progress gradually.

 

  • Start with the lowest speed and increase as needed.
  • Use a light touch to allow the vibration to help release tight knots.
  • Hold it on a specific area for 10 secs, and continue to move slowly moving it around.
  • Do not use it on injured areas, strains or sprains.
  • For an intense massage session version, you can use it twice a day, but with a few hours in between to allow the muscles to rest.

 

How Long to Use the Massage Gun for Each Type of Treatment

 

  1. Muscle Activation- 30 seconds: To use the massage gun for pre-run or pre-workout, it can be used to activate important muscles like glutes and quads.
  2. Muscle Reactivation- 15 seconds: The device can be used during some training sessions, or workouts when you start to feel some muscle fatigue. The massage gun vibration creates the muscle distraction to lower pain signals. This is more common in strength training sessions.
  3. Relaxation- 2 minutes: Once your body is fully cooled down from a run or training session or before bedtime, you can use the massage gun in different areas for up to 2 minutes, moving the device around consistently. It will promote relaxation and will work in those tight areas to release fascia.

 

How to Use the Massage Gun Heads

 

  • Large Soft Ball– This is the softer foam, so it can be used anywhere on the body as it is less intense. It can be used with more intense tightness. This supersoft ball can be used on bone areas.
  • Medium Ball– This foam ball is a bit more firm, it can also be used on most of the body areas and it provides more intense muscle work than the large foam ball.
  • Bullet– The smaller ball is a more intense tool designed for specific trigger points. It is often used on the sole of the feet, around the joints and the hip flexors. Just make sure you avoid any impact on the bones.
  • Fork: This ball allows to target areas such as hands, feet (Achilles), neck or spine. But not the bones.
  • Cone: This ball is mostly used to pinpoint muscle treatment, including hands and feet, but not the bones.

 

Most Popular Massage Gun Brands

 

Theragun by Therabody is the most popular massage gun device, which recently released new models we should have access to shortly.

 

Theragun Pro: The most powerful device, includes a rotating arm, 55% less noise, 300 minutes of battery life and a software component to connect to an App, 6 massage attachments, and 5 different speeds.

Theragun Elite: The Elite is the quietest gun, 120 minutes of battery life, software component, 5 massage attachments and 5 different speeds.

Theragun Prime: The Prime is the leaner device with 120 minutes of battery life, software component, 4 massage attachments and 5 different speeds.

Theragun Mini: The Mini device can be used during travelling trips, and can be carried in backpacks to use at the gym, with 150 minutes of battery life and 3 different speeds. This device is very useful to use anywhere.

 

Other popular brands:

ELEELS, Hypervolt and Polaryak Wave

Deep Massage, Muscle Release, Nice Run!

KATIA

 

How to Boost Your Metabolism to Feel Stronger and Healthier

 

Metabolism refers to all the chemical reactions occurring within our body at the same time. Metabolism consists of a complex network of hormones and enzymes that transform food into energy and determine how efficiently that fuel is used, which is very important for runners. The metabolism is part of everything our body does; breathing, moving, sitting, sleeping and everything else in between. The higher the metabolism runs, the more energy we burn, and the more active our body and brain are. To increase your metabolism, will also improve your athletic performance and help keep you healthier for life.

“Metabolism” is a term for a host of chemical reactions going on inside you every moment of every day. It’s what changes the food you eat and the fuel stores you have into usable energy. It’s what breaks down and rebuilds muscle tissue after a hard run. It’s what keeps you living, breathing, and thinking.

 

Genetics play an important role in how our metabolism functions, but even people with slower metabolism, it is very efficient to speed up the rate to feel more active and energetic.

 

Easy Ways to Boost Our Metabolism

 

Keep Moving

 

Sitting has become a bigger part of our lives especially recently. By not moving and sitting for too long, our metabolism slows down, which can contribute to some health issues. Of course our runs are very beneficent, but to stay active daily will be very helpful. Activities such as walking, walking up the stairs, doing stretches, will activate the body and increase mobility.

To Do: Walk more often, carry some bags, take the stairs instead of the lift, even use a standing desk for your office work.

 

Get a Good Night Sleep

 

A lack of sleep can affect the metabolism and slow it down. Sleep deprivation can cause some serious health issues by how it affects the metabolism. Not getting enough sleep can also increase the risk of insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. Not enough sleep can also decrease the fullness hormone leptin and increasing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Those hormone can affect some high-sugar and high-fat food cravings.

To Do: Get enough sleep during the night, aim for 7-8 hours on a regular sleeping schedule to allow the body to recover and function optimally.

 

Drink Coffee

 

Caffeine has been shown to boost the metabolism by 4-11%. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, even one daily cup of coffee can boost your metabolism by 5-8%. Caffeine has also been shown how it provides extra energy and endurance for runners.

To Do: To consume about 200-300mg of caffeine per day is the recommendation (2-3 cups), but to avoid adding sugar can contribute to some more metabolic benefits.

 

Eat More Fiber

 

Fiber is also a great source to boost up the metabolism. Breaking down the fiber, the body expends more energy than with plain refined foods. High-fiber foods decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, supports healthy gut microbes, and reduces inflammation.

To Do: To eat high-fiber healthy foods will make you feel more satisfied and reduce the cravings of unhealthy foods.

 

High-Fiber Foods

  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Quinoa
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Oats
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocado
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Beetroots
  • Berries
  • Apple
  • Broccoli
  • Almonds
  • Flaxseeds

 

Eat Enough Protein

 

Protein is another nutrient that forces the body to burn more energy to digest and process the protein. The body burns twice as much energy to digest protein than high-carb foods. Protein can boost the metabolism rate by an extra 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 1-3% for fat. Protein can help our body feel more satisfied and reduce cravings of processed, high-sugar foods. And for people who perform regular strength training session, to consume enough protein is essential to build up, support and recover the muscles.

To Do: Protein intake timing can make a huge difference, to eat protein for breakfast, lunch and dinner will balance the body and activate the metabolism and provide recovery nutrients.

 

Perform Strength Training/HIIT Training

 

Strength and HIIT training are great options to boost up our metabolism. Increasing the muscle mass will make our body burn more energy for the rest of the day. And having more muscle mass will increase the metabolic rate, even while we rest. To perform a 15 minute strength workout will make our body burn 100 extra calories a day for the following 3 days. So when we perform strength workouts and HIIT workouts regularly, at least 3 times per week, the benefits of metabolism boost will be very efficient.

To Do: Include 3 strength/HIIT workouts per week in your regular schedule.

 

Keep Running

 

To maintain a regular running training schedule will maintain a higher metabolism. To keep moving and performing cardio exercises, boost up our metabolism quickly, and we can feel a big improvement. To go for a morning run, we feel more energetic and active for the rest of the day. After a morning run, our body and metabolism feel more balanced, so we don’t have as much high-sugar processed food cravings.

To Do: Follow a regular running schedule, Make sure you hydrate and drink enough water and refuel your body with healthy nutrient-dense foods

 

Foods to Increase the Metabolism

 

  • Protein-Rich Foods: Lean meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds.
  • Iron, Zinc, Selenium-Rich Foods: Lean meat, seafood, legumes, beans, nuts and seeds.
  • Spicy Food: Chilli peppers, to eat healthy spicy foods can help increase the metabolism and fat oxidation.
  • Metabolism-Boosting Spice: Ginger
  • Legumes and Pulses: Lentils, peas, chickpeas, beans, peanuts.
  • Iodine-Rich Food: Seaweed
  • Antioxidant Food: Raw cacao, dark chocolate (85%+).
  • MCT: Coconut oil
  • Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar
  • Caffeine: Coffee, green tea, oolong tea.
  • Water: Water can boost up the metabolism by 24-30%. Make sure you stay hydrated, especially when running in hot and humid weather.

Boost Up, Feel Great, Run Strong!

KATIA

Benefits of Morning Runs

 

For some runners, early morning runs are enjoyable and not too challenging. For many runners getting up early and going for a run can be tough to get out of bed and go.

Early morning runs have many benefits:

  • You get your workout done in the start of the day, which will make the rest of the day more balanced and relaxed.
  • When you’re training for a race, mornings are the best time to get the training runs done. If you wait to train later in the day, you might have to skip the run due to a change of schedule, feeling more tired, or something happens and you’re not available to run.
  • Runners who train in the morning according to some research, 37% are more likely to stick to their running schedule or training plan.

 

7 Main Benefits of Morning Runs

 

  1. Mental Boost– Research has shown that running first thing in the morning, can increase mental acuity for up to 10 hours post-run. This can be very helpful to kick start the day, to support a busy work and life schedule.
  2. Appetite Control– For some runners, after early morning runs the appetite is more stable for the rest of the day, and they focus on more healthy foods. To start the day in a healthy way by training, it makes you want to continue feeling good, which is a positive mental shift.
  3. Quality Sleep– A morning run increases the chances of better sleep by helping to regulate the hormones throughout the day. Adrenaline will be higher in the morning and naturally tapper off throughout the day, rather than being ignited late in the day or evening, which will affect the sleep quality.
  4. Peaceful Morning– With busy life schedule, work, family, early morning runs offer a bit of quiet and peaceful time to mentally prepare for the day. Running through the sunrise is always so motivating and beautiful.
  5. Consistency– Morning runners tend to be more consistent over time with their routine. Consistency is a Master when it comes to results. As the day progress, life gets in the way, we get too busy, feel exhausted or too stressed to go for our run.
  6. Morning Runs Makes Us Feel Better– Running at the same time each day, signals our body to prepare in advance for the run. Our body and brain will get ready for our run while we’re sleeping.
  7. Depression Defence– The endorphins during the run, might be one of the best way to reduce or avoid depression and handle life stress. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, to make us feel more positive and happier.

 

Guide to Sink Into Morning Runs (Pre-Plan Everything)

 

  1. Plan the Details of Your Run– The first thing to do is to set up the details of your planned run; Distance, Speed, Course. Knowing all the details of your run, once you wake up it’s clear in your head, you’ve pre-establishes and visualized the run. When you wake up, just get up walk out the door and run with no doubts and nothing to think about.
  2. Prepare All Your Gear the Night Before– This is a super helpful plan, you can get out of bed, into your gear, and out to run.
  • Running shoes
  • Socks
  • Top
  • Shorts
  • Cap, visor or sunglasses
  • Music device (optional)
  • GPS device (optional)
  • Mobile phone (if needed)
  • Nutrition or snacks (if needed)
  • Running pack (trail run)
  • Hydration (if needed)
  • House key
  1. Set One Alarm– To make it more consistent set only one alarm, and allow yourself 15-20 minutes between waking up and going out to run.
  2. Keep the Mobile Phone Not too Close– Most people use their mobile phone as an alarm, and tend to check their emails or social media, which can waste time and affect the running schedule. By keeping the phone farther, we need to get up to turn off the alarm, and we can start getting ready to go for our run.
  3. Prepare your Fuel and Hydration the Night Before– Depending on the running distance and intensity, if you need some gels, snacks, chew chomps, and electrolytes, if it’s prepared you can grab and go. Same with a pre-run light snack.
  4. Earlier Bed Time– Changing our sleeping habits to support an earlier morning run is essential to make sure we get 7-8 hours of good sleep.
  5. Keep a Consistent Sleeping Habit– To make sure our body gradually adapts to a new schedule, we need to create and follow a consistent sleeping schedule, so our body wakes up feeling fresh. And we have to add some relaxing time before bedtime to reduce stress and improve the sleep quality.
  6. Limit Caffeine and Alcohol Consumption– Caffeine makes us more alert and energetic, too much caffeine late in the day will affect our sleep pattern. To avoid caffeine by the afternoon is safer. Alcohol does the opposite, it makes us more tired and less alert, which makes it harder to get up in the morning. The night before a run, try to avoid or reduce alcohol intake. But to consume some caffeine before a run can help activate the body and brain to support a better running pace, energy and form!

Run in the Morning, Get Motivated, Enjoy a Nice Run & Nice Day !

KATIA