serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

Is Gatorade good for Trail Running Hydration?

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

gatorade-hydrationHydration and energy are essential for successful Trails Runs, but is yours being sabotaged by sports drinks?

Sports drinks were originally developed by scientists at the University of Florida in 1965 to help the school’s football players perform better during their 3-hour long games in 100-degree heat. Sound like your Trail Runs? Didn’t think so. Most of us have trail runs that last from 1 to 1 ½ hours at a moderate pace. The American Dietetic Association explains that unless you are an elite athlete or engaged in vigorous activity for more than 1 hour, plain water works perfectly for hydration.

There are two main components of sports drinks that aid in performance and hydration: carbohydrates and sodium. The carbohydrates come in the form of sugar to sweeten the drink and to add calories for energy. The sodium works to replace the sodium lost in sweat. However, neither of the components are necessary in drinks used for thirst and hydration for moderate runs that last less than 1 hour. In fact, drinking sports drinks when they are not necessary can add extra calories to your diet. The usual size 20-ounce bottle of a sports drink has an average of 140 calories, which means that you will have to run an extra 15 minutes just to burn it off!

Instead of drinking regular sports drinks, here are some healthy options:

- Flavor regular water with lemon, lime or orange slices

- Use lower calorie versions of sports drinks such as Gatorade G2 (71 calories per 20-ounce bottle), Propel Fitness Water (25 calories per 20-ounce bottle) or Powerade Zero (0 calories per 20-ounce bottle)

- Dilute your favorite sports drink with regular water

I know what you are thinking. “But I always drink Gatorade during races. It makes me feel better.” And you are right! There are instances when you do need to replace needed calories and energy during or after trail runs. I know that when I am training for half marathons, I tend to get leg cramps at night. What does that say to me? I am losing too much potassium through my sweat and need to replace it better. Ways to do that are through potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, oranges, or sports drinks! Consequently, I usually end my long runs with a large glass of Propel, berry flavor to be exact. The 45 minutes directly after your run is the best time to replenish the body’s losses.

Essentially, think of your body as a night club. As the night goes on, more and more cabs line up to take people home. Just like as your muscles work, they need to be replaced by what they lose, so transporters in your body line up to bring those lost elements from your bloodstream to your muscles and tissues. After the night club closes, people linger for awhile, so the cabs stick around for another 45 minutes or so to assure that everybody is brought home safely. Similarly, in your body, those transporters stick around for about 45 minutes to bring every needed mineral and nutrient available to replenish the muscles and tissues, which help to prevent soreness and cramping.

Moral of the story: Sports drinks work magnificently to replace your body’s losses if you are trail running for longer than 1 1/2 hours, hit that wall during a trail race when you feel your energy bottoms out, or are in need of extra calories and electrolytes. Otherwise, water is your best bet. It will quench your thirst without adding excess calories that you just worked so hard to burn off.

Happy Trail Running and Hydration!

-Lanier Thompson, M.S.

Moji: The Smart Icing Alternative

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010


For many running related injuries, a good regiment of RICE techniques (rest, ice, compression, elevation) can cure the aches and pains without having to see a doctor.  The only problem is finding the time to go through the entire RICE routine after every run.  The answer is to multi-task with Moji compression and ice products!

The use of ice, or cryotherapy, for musculoskeletal injuries has been a primary treatment approach by health care providers and runners for many years.   Today, cryotherapy use continues to be a proven and beneficial adjunct to manage soft tissue injury.  When used in the proper clinical situation, cryotherapy can diminish pain, metabolism, and muscle spasm, thus minimizing the inflammatory response and improving recovery after soft tissue trauma from running.  Research has shown that icing is one of the simplest, safest, and most effective recovery techniques for muscles, helping runners recover faster from training and injuries.

In conjunction with cryotherapy, effective compression lowers the temperature of local tissues, resulting in reduced local blood flow, inflammatory markers, cellular metabolism, and nerve transmission.  Moji uses a body-part-specific cold compression product that allows you to have both ice, and compression on your ailing joints, giving you the maximum effectiveness for your recovery time.


Moji products are able to make icing and compression more effective, easy to use, and comfortable through their patent-pending two-peice construction, which incorporates the Moji Cold Cell and the Moji Compression Wrap.  The Moji composite of individual cold cells that conform to the body provide maximum flexibility and comfort allowing freedom of movement.  The Moji Cold cell is a soft, pliable ice pack that attaches to the Moji compression products with Velcro.  The Compression wrap is made of stretch fabric which is adjustable so you can control your compression and freedom of movement.

Moji products include both a knee and back wrap to cover all of your recovery needs.  The wraps are very comfortable and easy to use when doing any normal activities around the house.  The cold cell is easy to use too.  It only takes throwing it in the freezer in order for the cold cell to be ready for use.  The individual cells work well to cool the areas that need cooling without freezing your entire body.  If you are looking for a easy, convenient way to practice RICE techniques then give the Moji products a try!

Why Do You Have More Energy After Running?

Friday, April 24th, 2009


All runners say the same thing, “When I’m tired, I go for a run and feel I have more energy when I’m done.”  This doesn’t make logical sense.  How can you get more energy by expending energy?  There are two main reasons.

Runner’s High: No, not like the runner in the picture above smoking something, it’s the euphoric feeling you get from running.  Attaining a Runner’s High makes you feel like you have more energy and highly positive feelings.  It is a mental state as a result from physical activity.

Technically, a Runner’s High is associated with the release of endorphins in the brain.  Endorphins are any group of opiate proteins with pain-relieving properties that are found naturally in the brain.  The word endorphins comes from two parts: endo- and -orphin; which are short forms of the words endogenous and morphine, intended to mean “a morphine like substance originating from within the body.”  Knowing that human cells have receptors for this drug suggests that the body produces its own morphine like substances which it is believed can be attained by running long distances and gives us the feeling of a Runner’s High.  It’s science.

So even though you have expended a lot of energy running you feel better.  Think of it like consuming alcohol.  Alcohol is a depressant and should make you tired, but it also releases endorphins, giving you the feeling of more energy.  That’s why there are laws for how late establishments can serve alcohol, because people would be able to stay there forever consuming it.  Likewise, this is why alcohol is served 24 hours in Las Vegas, NV; it’s the endorphin capital of the world!

Runners are Healthy: The other reason runners feel better after exercising is the secondary behavior of typical runners.  Runners typically engage in healthy activities because they know they have to run and need to be fresh for it.  Therefore, they usually get better sleep, eat healthy, and engage in less unhealthy activities which gives them the ability to recover quicker, feeling the benefits of running sooner after the run.  The more you run, the healthier you will be, the better your body is able to recover, giving you are great feeling after every run.  The more you run the more energized you feel after running.  I’ll post the regression later so you can really see the relationship.

You can’t make running love you, but you can teach your body to love running.  Go ahead and teach your body how to love again.  It’s been a while.

I Have a Fever and the Only Cure is…more Running.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

dad-on-couch1You’ve been running a lot lately.  You are training for a big race and more importantly, you are a runner, that’s just what you do.  You run; everyday.  Even if you are feeling a little sick or maybe tired, you still go for a run.  Running cures everything.  “I have a fever and the only cure is…more Running.”  Sorry Christopher Walken, but that’s just not the case.

Many runners hate taking a day off from running; conversely, skipping rest is the most common over-training injury.  Weird.  Your muscles need rest.  Running puts strain on your muscles which causes microtrauma and small tears.  Your muscles gain strength when your body is able to rest and repair them.  Without recovery, these tears become more susceptible to injury and over-training.  We as Americans never over-eat, over-analyze, or over-heat (I’m a blog artist, interpret “over-heat” however it strikes you) so why do we over-train?

It is because we live in a go fast, work-hard society which I am all for, but we need to have some perspective on this.  For instance, if you are sick, it isn’t a good idea to exercise heavily.  A good rule of thumb to keep you from overextending yourself is if the symptoms are from the neck up, like a head cold, you are fine to run.  If the symptoms are below the neck, like a chest cold or diarrhea, it’s better to not exercise and stay inside…perhaps close to a toilet.  If you are sick, you need to rest and get the sleep you need.  One common mistake is to give up sleep to exercise when you are feeling ill.  It has been proven for centuries, the best thing for any illness is sleep and rest.  I mean, we all know that “Doctors” were created by Universities who just wanted to charge students tuition for 12 years rather than the standard 4.  It increased college tuition revenue by 200% but it didn’t change the fact that the universal cure for any illness is rest.  So rest.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to run everyday.  I read a runner’s blog today who had been running for 6 years and a month straight, without one day off.  His 1-mile PR was just under 7:00 min and his other PRs were about at that same level of accomplishment.  According to these PRs, I think he would have benefited from a day off.   Give your body a rest and take the day off.  A good alternative is to stretch or do some light exercise.  You can go for a walk with your significant other or children, play a friendly tennis game, or play some B-ball down at your local YMCA.  You can still exercise without straining the same muscles you do everyday when running.

I know you are a Serious Runner.  You’re on this website aren’t you?  It’s fine though.  Swallow your pride, put on your comfy pants, sit on the couch, make a bowl of peanut butter and take a rest day.  It’s really not that hard.

If it makes you feel better, do like this guy did.  Put on your running shoes and clothes and fall asleep on a palm tree patterned couch.  Then, wake up and tell yourself you just came back from a 6 mile run!  Repeat as necessary.