Friday, February 8, 2019

3 Foam Roller Exercises Every Runner Should Do


Runners know that stretching and foam rolling are imperative to training, but don't always know the best techniques.

Andrew Judd from soundRUNNER provides some great tips on how to loosen up the entire rear leg chain using a grid ball - check out his step-by-step on releasing from the piriformis down to the hamstring and calf.  Note - he is using a Triggerpoint grid ball but any kind of foam roller works.



Thursday, January 31, 2019

Protect yourself in winter temps!

These temperatures have been downright unbearable for outside exercise! Even though we’re expecting to rebound into “normal” winter temps soon, we wanted to share some great reminders from Dr. Jeff Brown, MD for the CT Sports Medicine Institute at St. Francis Hospital. Post your questions or experiences through the League of Injured Runners group on Facebook – request to join here.


Dr. Jeff Brown, MD for the CT Sports Medicine Institute at St. Francis Hospital. 

Hypothermia occurs when core body temperature dips below 95 F. Symptoms include: The "umbles": Grumbles (irritability), Mumbles (slurred speech), Stumbles (coordination problems), and Fumbles (dexterity problems). Also, uncontrollable shivering, lethargy, decreased heart rate, pale face and extremities, dizziness. 

Treatment includes removing wet clothing, warming with dry, insulating blankets, cover the head with hat or scarf, get to a warm environment.
  • Warm the core of the body first, then extremities
  • Have warm beverages, but not hot
Prevention:
  • Wear several layers of clothing 
    • 1st layer: wick moisture away from body (Dry Tech, Under Armour, etc.)
    • 2nd layer: trap heat and block wind - fleece
    • 3rd layer: wind and water resistant 
  • Cover legs with running pants designed to insulate, then top layer with wind pants or nylon shell 
  • Wear mittens or 2 layers of gloves and Hat 
  • Use face and ear protection (40% of heat loss is from head and neck)
  • Wear moisture wicking socks, not cotton
  • Also, hydrate, avoid alcohol and caffeine before run. 
  • Warm up before a run and run with a partner when possible 
  • Follow the weather closely 

In addition to hypothermia, we all need to be on the lookout for frostnip/frostbite - both are actual freezing of body tissues

Frostnip is when the top layer of the skin is frozen, but not permanently damaged. It's a precursor to frostbite. Symptoms include:
  • Dry, waxy skin
  • Burning/tingling of the skin
  • White/gray/blue patches
  • Swollen extremities
  • Aching, red, or painful extremities
  • Feels cold & firm to touch 

Frostbite is actual freezing of the skin and deep tissue that typically occurs on the extremities (fingers and toes) and face (especially the nose and ears). Symptoms include the same as frostnip and+:
  • Skin can turn black with purple blisters 
  • Intense aching, throbbing or shooting pain
  • Lack of feeling and movement in the area
  • Muscle and nerve injury is possible 
Treatment:
  • Get to a warm area, preferably inside 
  • Remove all wet clothing
  • Re-warm slowly in warm water (not hot) 
  • Avoid friction/rubbing tissue 
  • Seek medical treatment if symptoms do not resolve quickly in a warm environment 
Prevention:
  • Wear 3 layers of clothing (see hypothermia info above for details) 
  • Cover face and ears. Face masks work well 
  • Wear heavy mittens or glove liners under thick gloves - heat warmers can also help (follow their specific Instructions)
  • Wear moisture wicking socks 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Light up the Night


We know you’re always up for a run - even when the sun isn’t! Our friend Amy Frey, coach and FleetFeet team member, put together some safety tips for running in dark conditions.
Whatever time of day we run, we are sharing the roads. The cardinal rule is that we want to see and be seen. This holds true both in broad daylight and dark evenings. 

Wear the right clothes
Wear bright colors (neon yellow, pink), white and/or apparel with integrated reflective elements (e.g., stripes on pants or shirt). Many pieces of apparel appear “flat” to the eye, but light up when a light bounces off the fabric. Most running pants tend to be dark, so make sure you’re wearing something bright for balance.

Light yourself up like a Christmas tree 
Small and often magnetic blinking lights can be affixed almost anywhere. They're versatile, relatively inexpensive and they will definitely increase your visibility. Attach them under the laces of your favorite running shoes and you won't even know they’re there. The movement of your feet as you’re running means drivers will notice you. Some brands to look for are Nathan and Amphipod.

Add a blinking ankle or arm band to further increase your ability to be noticed on the road.

Invest in a reflective vest (often with lights and other reflective elements).

Add a headlamp, a handheld light or a light to your running cap. Handheld lights offer the ability to guide your way and can be used to alert a vehicle that you're there by gesturing with it, and they often have a red blinking light, too. (Plus you won't blind your running buddy when you turn to talk to them!) Many of these lights are now rechargeable, which is a great feature. Headlamps by Petzl, Nathan, Amphipod offer great options; Nathan's Zephyr 300 is a lightweight and powerful handheld.

White lights allow you to see where you’re going (and often have blinking modes for low-light situations) and red lights allow you to be seen.

Lights and/or reflective gear should be put on the minute the daylight dims. This includes dusk, early morning, night, and cloudy days.

It's a foggy day
Fog is a particularly hazardous condition, but, if you must run, wear brightly colored clothing, have blinking lights on, possibly a headlamp or handheld for added safety and don’t run in the road! Drivers are unable to see far ahead of themselves, so they likely won’t see you ‘til they’re upon you. If you can’t see more than a few feet ahead of yourself, consider what could happen if a driver can’t see you. Fortunately, in this area dense fog is a rare occurrence, but it does happen.

Night Time is the Right Time
Well, almost anytime is the right time to run, but running at night does bring challenges.

If you're in the road, run single file or no more than two abreast. 

Don't just dart across the road - wait! You think you can be seen, but drivers aren't necessarily looking for a runner being out there in the dark. MAKE EYE CONTACT with the driver.

Take out one earbud or use a headphone like Aftershokz that lets you stay in tune with your surroundings. 

Let someone know where you're going if you're alone. Consider Road ID or WearSafe.

And, most important: Remember, you want to SEE what’s ahead of you, but you also want to BE SEEN. I always want to light up the night. Run Safe.


Thanks to our friends at FleetFeet for providing this guest post. We'll be bringing you tips on the blog every month from experts in the community - please tell us what you want to hear about, info@hartfordmarathon.com.