Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Post-race recovery tips

Thanks for running with us at the Eversource Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, Team 26.2 Relay and Charity 5K on Saturday!  You may have met some of our League of Injured Runners support team in Bushnell Park after the race, this new community is available to help runners get through the mental and physical challenges associated with injuries - whether short-lived or a longer term issue (join us on Facebook too!).

Experts from Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center were also available on Sunday morning to answer questions about the aches or pains you may have felt.  We wanted to share a summary of their insights with link to tips and demo videos should you ever be impacted by similar issues.

Lower Back Pain

Q) My lower back, right side only, keeps stiffening up when I run. Started hurting around mile 7 or so yesterday...any tips?

Back pain that localizes to one side – in your case the right – can indicate muscular spasm and irritation, possible problems with the sacroiliac joint (SI joint), problems with the hip, or a problem with the low back itself. It could also indicate some muscular irritation from core weakness. Heat and foam rolling are both great ideas. I would recommend a core strengthening and low back stabilization program. Make sure you are stretching your hamstrings. It may be worthwhile to consider a running evaluation to look at your mechanics. Finally, if your symptoms don’t improve I would recommend seeking a medical evaluation. Physical therapy may prove helpful. I hope that this helps! 
-Dr. Scott Bissell, CT Sports Medicine Institute at St Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Outer Knee Pain/IT-Band Tendonitis

Q) I was having a great run until mile 11 when the outside of my knee starting hurting. By the end of the race I could barely run. It's swollen. Can you tell me what happened and what should I do?

Pain on the outside of the knee is due to IT-band tendonitis. I would suggest rest and applying ice to the area. Stretching is often helpful. We have some great info on IT band tendonitis and stretches (video). If your symptoms persist you might want to see a sports medicine physician to make sure it is not more serious.
-Dr. Jay Kimmel, CT Sports Medicine Institute at St Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Leg/Calf Cramps

Q)  I ran the full and experienced cramping in both calves at mile 21 and could not finish the race. I’ve never had this before, how can I prevent it in the future?

If you were experiencing the cramping at mile 21, you may be dehydrated. Hopefully you have been drinking through the race, however you may be somewhat depleted in micronutrients such as sodium, etc. Water should be replenished after the race, but supplement with a sports drinks along with stretching and rolling will be helpful.
-Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital

More hydration tips here.
Q) I paced the marathon and there were few runners in my group that were getting cramps in their legs. I also experienced it in my calves. I use salt pills during the race to help prevent this and also made sure I stopped and drank water at each water stops. My calves are pretty tight and I've been rolling them to loosen them up. Any advice you can provide would be great.

Cramping can also be related to changes in your running form as the race progresses. Make sure your training includes good core strengthening and focusing on hip extension. Calf cramps in particular can be related to compensation for lack of hip strength – as your hips get tired your body recruits the calf muscles to maintain your pace. 
-Dr Scott Bissell, CT Sports Medicine Institute at St Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Ankle/Heel Pain

Q) Stiff ankles and the great debate: how often should running shoes be replaced?

Depending on whether you are a soft or hard pounder and you run on average 3 miles per day, you should change your shoes every 5- 6 months or so. Always check the shoes soles for excessive wear. Running with worn shoes may be the cause of this stiffness you’re experiencing and may lead to other issues. 
-Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital

Q) I could not run this year because of an Achilles heel injury. Last year I did my first Hartford half. Around mile 9 my right arm and hand swelled and felt really tight and never found out why, anyone know? Thanks

That is a tough question about your arm swelling. There can be a lot of reasons for that but it would require a very thorough evaluation. If that persists I would definitely suggest seeing a primary care sports medicine physician. As for your Achilles I hope it heals up soon. 
-Dr. Jay Kimmel, CT Sports Medicine Institute at St Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Foot Pain

Q) I have pain in my left foot somewhat on top but lateral side almost a thumbs distance down from my left ankle. Putting pressure on the area is tender but makes it feel a bit better. Any thoughts what it could be?

There are a few possibilities as to what this might be. It may be tendon irritation from the long run. There are joints in that area that may be inflamed. Thankfully most of these problems should improve over the next several days with supportive care such as rest, wearing good supportive shoes, and icing (10-15 minutes on 3-4 times per day with the skin protected). If your symptoms don’t improve this could indicate a more significant injury and a medical evaluation may be necessary to rule out a stress injury. 
-Dr. Scott Bissell, CT Sports Medicine Institute at St Francis Hospital and Medical Center

Q) I experienced blisters on the balls of both feet. One blister popped at mile 13. I finished but had trouble walking after. I have a full coming up in a month. Any ideas on how to treat and prevent this in the future?

I have always left the torn skin in place for protection if possible, you can purchase some blister pads from your local pharmacy that can be applied to help reduce pain of walking. Going forward for your next race, I would make sure that you good cotton socks to help reduce the friction while running. 
-Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital

Preparing for the next race

Q) I have another half marathon 4 weeks from now...should I start right back into week 9 of a 12 week training plan or take this week off to stretch, crosstrain, rest, etc? And then back into training week 10?

Yes that sounds like a good plan, I would take the week as an active recovery week, with a focus on re-hydrationstretching and alternative exercise such as crosstraining, before you start back to training. 
-Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital

Q) How long do you recommend resting before jumping right back into running? I ran the half on Saturday, a little sore/tight today but overall feel great.

Today I would focus on re-hydration, nutrition reload, but may go for a walk, bike ride or do something active. This is always good to reduce any delayed onset muscle soreness. I would get back to running Tuesday maybe. 
-Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital

**Thanks to our experts, Dr. Jay Kimmel, Dr. Scott Bissell and the athletic trainers from Saint Francis Hospital - we appreciate the insight. Please visit our League of Injured Runners community on Facebook and watch the full set of demo and tips videos HERE 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Demos for dollars

While you are at the Total Fitness Expo, take two minutes to do some good for Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, thanks to Total Fitness Equipment, a great local company and sponsor of the expo.

Throughout the Expo on Thursday and Friday, hop on a piece of equipment for two minutes at the Total Fitness Equipment booth to earn a dollar donation to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.  You’ll be guided on how to use the best in fitness equipment and help a great local cause. 

Fundraiser demos will be available on:
            Cascade Indoor Cycles/Spin Bikes
            Helix Lateral Trainer
            Precor Elliptical or Treadmill

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Race day essentials

While we don’t recommend trying something totally new on race day, being prepared and planning ahead for weather and race conditions can present some unexpected questions.  With more than 50 booths and countless experts available to answer those questions, the Total Fitness Expo is open Thursday and Friday at the XL Center in Hartford from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm (note packet pick-up runs until 9:00 pm on Friday).

We can’t tell you enough to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate (early and often!). Our friends at Fleet Feet West Hartford have put together an outline of other considerations for your gear, apparel and nutrition needs.

What to Wear
The current weather is calling for a morning low in the upper 50s with temps rising to the mid-70s, which means it could get a little warm out there, especially for marathon runners.  An old "Runner's Rule" says to dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. Therefore when planning your outfit, dress like you would for temps in the 80s and 90s – think singlet/sleeveless shirts and shorts. If you are chilly at the start, wear an old long sleeve shirt that you can toss once the race starts (all tossed clothes are donated), or make a pair of arm warmers by cutting out the toes in a tube sock.

A few of our other race day essentials:
BodyGlide: Whatever the conditions, BodyGlide can prevent chaffing and blisters. Use it anywhere that you anticipate irritation... it can save you some serious pain. Trust us.

Nip Guards: Men can avoid discomfort and embarrassing race photos by using these comfortable, specially-designed adhesive pads on their chest. The bonus over regular bandages is that they also come off painlessly after the run.

Lock Laces: During a marathon, your feet can swell up to one full size. These triathlete-loved elastic shoelaces stretch with your feet to keep them from getting squished.

KT Tape: Great for pre-race or during your run, KT Tape also works well for recovery because it helps to increase blood flow and decrease inflammation.

Compression Sleeves/Socks: There is a reason why many Olympic athletes wear compression - it increases oxygen flow to your muscles which acts like super-fuel for your muscles. They also provide shin and calf support which is really nice around Mile 19. Go with the sleeves if you are particular about your sock.

Hat: Shielding your face from the sun and UV rays protects your skin and eyes, but also helps conserve energy since you won’t be squinting.  Choose a hat with a dark underbrim to reduce the glare and need to squint even more.  Bonus: soak your hat at water stations to help keep your head cool!

Nutrition: Carry your nutrition if you have specific preferences - GU, Sport Beans, Clif Shot Blocks, Chomps, Swedish Fish etc. This way you can time your own nutrition with exactly what you want.  NOTE – on-source support details for MARATHON and HALF MARATHON

Race/Nutrition Belt: A race number belt can serve several purposes: Save your favorite running top by affixing your number without safety pins.  Keep your number visible no matter how many layers you have on (or take off) which is important because your official race photo is tagged with your bib number. Additionally, you can use a belt to carry your nutrition and hydration comfortably.

Salt Tabs: The warm, humid conditions mean an increased sweat rate. Replenish the sodium, electrolytes and other valuable minerals (potassium, magnesium, calcium and Vitamin D) you are losing with specially formulated salt tabs for runners (Salt Stick & S! Caps are two great options). This is actually the one “nutrition” product we recommend using on race day even if you’ve never tried it before.