Recover from Injury with Common Nutrients

A little dose of R&R and mother nature’s healing can get you back on your feet in no time.

When you have been faced with an injury and want to get back on your feet as quickly as possible, a little rest, relaxation and proper diet are all you need. Along with allowing yourself to heal while refraining from pushing yourself too soon, eating the right foods or nutrients can help to boost your healing process. Below are some common nutrients that are known to help with specific types of injuries.

When Knee Surgery Strikes

Whether your surgery is to replace your knee or your ACL or meniscus need a little work, specific nutrients can help bolster your wound.

Protein is important for runners who are immobilized by surgery. Aim to get about 0.9 grams per pound of body weight on a daily basis – or about double the daily recommended intake for a healthy individual at your weight. Excellent protein sources include meat, fish, dairy, beans, legumes, seeds and whole grains.

Another important source that can help to heal post-surgery is collagen, a wound-healing connective tissue. You can find this in lean meats including fish, chicken, pork, and turkey. It is important to know that too much saturated fat can actually delay recovery as it causes inflammation.

Zinc is another important mineral in the process of recovery. A zinc deficiency can actually slow recovery time so grab foods like dairy, whole grains, meat, fish and chicken to get your daily doses.


Arthritis is an inflammation located in the joints. Fifty million Americans suffer from creaky knees and other arthritic symptoms. Although there is no cure, diet can play a huge role when it comes to alleviating arthritic pain.

Collagen is a great supplement that helps to improve symptoms of arthritis. If you supplement for 24 weeks with 10 grams of collagen, you may experience less joint pain, according to one study.

Stress Fracture

Overuse injuries like stress fractures affect the bones, feet and lower legs. Stress fractures take place when the muscles are fatigued and undue stress is thus transferred to the bone.

Get in plenty of calcium and vitamin D if you have a stress fracture. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), athletes with stress fractures should strive to get a minimum of 1,000 mg of dietary calcium in daily. One glass of milk (8 oz) contains about 300 mg. If you get tired of milk, you can also get calcium from other sources including broccoli, kale, bok choy, spinach, turnip greens, fortified orange juice and soy products.

Vitamin D also plays an important role in the healing of stress fractures. Get your daily dose from sun exposure as well as foods like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, egg yolks, cod liver oil, catfish, and mushrooms. If you are severely deficient in vitamin D, your doctor may subscribe a supplement.

Remember to take it easy while you fill your body with good nutrition in order to heal as quickly as possible so you can get your feet back on the trail (or pavement) as quickly as possible.

New Research Finds Another Way Running Keeps You Younger

According to new evidence, running even affects what is inside of your bones – in a good way!

You may already know that running can help you age better by improving your mental health, giving you cleaner arteries and denser bones and by strengthening your heart and lungs. But now you can add to the list the fact that it can keep your spinal marrow tissue healthy. In fact, every six miles you run per week can take a year off of this crucial tissue’s age, according to new research published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.

The study examined spinal marrow adipose tissue (MAT) in four different groups of people: runners averaging 12 to 25 miles every week, runners averaging a minimum of 30 miles per week, cyclists averaging a minimum of 90 miles per week and sedentary people. Each group had about 25 people in it, with a total of 101 overall (54 being women). The average age of the subjects was 30. Interestingly, the key finding was that the two groups of people who were runners had the lowest MAT levels of all, which is a good thing. Even though the cyclists were highly active, their MAT levels were similar to the idle group.

So why is this important? According to lead researcher Daniel Belavy, associate professor at the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University in Victoria, Australia, “Humans are born with predominately red blood cell producing bone marrow; however, with age, this converts to a yellow fatty marrow. This can negatively impact blood and bone metabolism in areas such as the pelvis, vertebra, thighs and hips, and contribute to other chronic conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis.”

Marrow is like a type of regulatory organ that has an impact on what happens throughout the rest of your body. When you have more MAT, your body has less space for marrow to produce red blood cells. MAT levels are also believed to influence fat stores in other areas. When your marrow tissue is fatty, the regulatory processes slow down.

According to Belavy, the runners who were most active, running over 30 miles per week, had the healthiest tissue. Their marrow tissue was eight years “younger” than the people in the sedentary group.

According to researchers in this study, when it comes to this discovery about adipose tissue, it is not simply about runners being leaner than other people. The study did include cyclists who were highly active, riding at least 90 miles each week. The point is that “Marrow fat is governed by different rules than the fat stores under the skin,” according to Belavy. It is about much more than just burning calories.

So keep your mileage up to keep even more areas of your body as young and strong as possible!


Determine How Many Miles a Week to Run or Walk

Follow these rules to figure out how many miles you can safely aim to get in.

Whether you are preparing for a 5k, 10k or a marathon, proper training is important. Many runners mistakenly think more mileage is better overall. Instead, there is a catch. More mileage is better but only up to the point where you can achieve your potential. Once you reach that point, if you exceed it you are only increasing your injury risk. Below are some rules to keep in mind when determining your mileage range.

Mileage Requirements Increase In Correspondence to Performance Goals

If your aim is to merely reach the finish line of a race, you can run fewer miles when training. But if you aim to finish a race with the fastest time possible, your mileage requirement will increase.

Allow Your Body to Adapt

When you plan to up your mileage, take it slow in order to allow your body the necessary time to adapt to the increase in workload. It is generally considered safe to add a mile to each run you do per week as long as you run at least two weeks at that level before adding more. If you run three times a week, you can then up your weekly mileage by three miles. If you typically run five times a week, up your mileage by 5 miles. Then stick with that increased level for another week (two weeks total) before advancing another 3 or 5 miles.

Some Miles Count More

Depending on how you are working out, some of your weekly miles can count as more than others. Workouts that include tough track workouts, short repeats and/or tempo runs are harder to recover from than the same amount of time spent doing easier aerobic running. When you do harder workouts, decrease the total mileage a little to make up for the added stress on your body to keep yourself from doing too much and risking injury.

Additionally, the farther away your pace is when running at race pace, the less your miles will help when it comes to racing performance. The principle here is that you become good at what you do during practice. If you tend to run slower when training at longer distances but your race is a short distance, fast-paced trek, chances are you are not going to do as well during the race. On the other hand, if you are sprinting short distance runs when preparing for a 10-15 mile cross country race, your training will do little for you. Try to train in a way that will help you achieve your overall race goals. If you plan to participate in a 50-mile race, go on five or six our slow runs. If you want to smoke a fast 5k, train accordingly. This will help you achieve your overall goal.

Remember that high mileage totals do not do you any good if you end up injured and have to sit on the sideline during a race.


Why Runners Need Upper Body Strength

Improve your efficiency and prevent injury by strengthening your upper body.

Many runners fail to make time for strength training. Many runners feel that it is unimportant or simply do not have the time while others just flat out hate it. But pumping iron for runners is incredibly important – not only for increasing your efficiency when it comes to running but also for preventing injury! Below are a couple of reasons why along with a few exercises you can do to start building strength.

It is important to note that the end goal is not to add a ton of muscle that will negatively impact your performance and pace. Instead, you are simply increasing your strength by increasing your neuromuscular adaptation, or the ability for your muscles to work together. When you strengthen your upper body, you become a more balanced runner.

Now here is why.

For Efficiency’s Sake

Every time your feet hit the pavement, you use not only your legs to push you forward but also your arms, chest, torso and back to improve efficiency and balance. Your arms pump when you run, enhancing your forward movement. So, the stronger your arms are, the more efficient they will be in your forward movement.

Prevent Injury

Have you ever suffered from aches, soreness, cramping, strains and/or inflammation after running? Has it happened in your shoulders, neck or arms after running regularly? If it has not, it does not mean it will not. This is not an uncommon occurrence and is typically the result of poor form.

What is more is you can be fine for miles and miles and suddenly something can switch, causing a kink in the kinetic chain. A number of factors may contribute to this: rounding your shoulders, shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, holding a cell phone or water bottle or swinging your arms too widely.

A strong upper body can help you to maintain proper position and posture as you work out. It is important that you develop and maintain this strength. This can help you to run longer without fatiguing so easily as well as prevent that hunched, painful look toward the end of your race.

Upper Body Exercises for Runners

Pushups: You can start out doing pushups – as many as you can for one minute. Advance this toward to minutes as you are able.

Once you feel like you are ready, try single-leg pushups. Get in pushup position. When dropping down, lift your right leg 8 to 10 inches from the floor. Return to starting position. Descend again, raising your left leg this time. Do this as many times as you can in one minute.

Man Makers: Get in a pushup position with one dumbbell in each hand. Bring the dumbbell in your right hand up to the side of your chest. Lower it to the floor. Repeat with your left arm. Next do a pushup. After the pushup, tuck your legs in toward your chest and stand, lifting the dumbbells into an overhead press. Reverse this pattern, heading back into starting position. Do this as many times as possible for one minute.

Try to get some upper body workouts in before your next race. Pay attention to how your body responds and you may be surprised.


Couch to 5k in 10 Weeks Plan with Virtual Pace Series

An easy plan for any beginner!

Running for rookies can seem like a huge feat at first. With a successful training plan, you can remove the guesswork while taking your fitness up a couple notches! By the end of 10 weeks, you should be able to run a little over 3 miles! All you need to get started running are some comfortable clothes, a pair of running shoes and a watch.

Weeks 1 and 2
Three Days Per Week
For these first two weeks, you are going to focus on moving for 30 minutes straight. Simply walk outside and head in one direction for a total of 15 minutes. Then turn around and head back to your destination, which should take another 15 minutes, give or take. During this 30 minute stretch, follow these tips:

  • Walk for the first 5 minutes of your workout. This is your warm-up period.
  • Walk for the last 5 minutes of your workout – you always need to cool down.
  • In those 20 minutes between, jog or run – whichever you prefer. Be careful to not push yourself. Many beginners like to alternate between jogging and walking by jogging until they feel tired (or for 30 seconds at minimum). Once they feel tired (or the 30 seconds are up) they walk until they feel recovered and repeat the process.
  • Aim to do this three times per week for two weeks.

Weeks 3 and 4
Four Days Per Week
This time you are going to walk out of your door and travel in one direction for 18 minutes, turn around and head back. This makes your workout total 36 minutes. Follow these tips:

  • Walk for the first and last five minutes of your workout.
  • During the middle 26 minutes, run or jog as you please. Go at a pace that is comfortable for you; do not push yourself. Rather than 30-second intervals, this time aim for 45-second intervals between walking and jogging.

Weeks 5 and 6
Four to Five Days per Week

This time around you will work out for 40 minutes total, going 20 minutes in one direction and 20 minutes back to where you started. During your workouts, follow these tips:

  • Walk for your first five minutes and your last five minutes of each workout.
  • During the middle 30 minutes, run or jog, keeping an easy pace without pushing yourself. Alternate between walking and jogging/running for a minimum of 60 seconds.

Weeks 7 and 8
Four to Five Days per Week

This time you are going to work out for 46 minutes total, heading 23 minutes in one direction and 23 back.

  • Walk for the first and last five minutes of every workout.
  • During the middle 36 minutes, run or jog at an easy pace. Alternate between jogging/running and walking every 90 seconds (you can stretch this more if you want to). You should be able to hold a conversation while running. If you cannot, slow down.

Weeks 9 and 10
Five Days per Week
Rev things up a bit by heading in one direction for 25 minutes and 25 back, totaling at 50 minutes.

  • As usual, walk the first and last 5 minutes of each workout these weeks.
  • During the 40 minutes between, jog or run at an easy pace, going until you start feeling tired at a minimum of two minutes. Walk until recovered and start again.

Consider recruiting a family member, spouse or friend. Running often is easier with someone by your side! Remember to stay hydrated while running as well!

How to Recover After a Race

You train and hustle, working hard to prepare for a race. After the race, what do you do? Do you take time to recover or do you hit the ground running again? Many runners fail to take the right amount of time to adequately recover after a big race. Why is taking a break such a big deal?

When you run a big race (especially a marathon), your body faces various different effects. Some of the issues you may find yourself dealing with are:

  • Physical or mental exhaustion and burnout
  • Stress fractures
  • Injuries from overuse, such as runner’s knee, shin splints or tendonitis
  • Weakened immune system or increased susceptibility to sickness as a result of an exhausted body
  • Inability to reach peak training levels

This important, yet neglected part of training plans takes time. Allow yourself at least one day off every 7 to 14 days to restock glycogen stores, reduce fatigue and build strength. If you fail to give yourself time to rest, your one day of rest can turn into a several-week-long forced break. If you dive right into recovery right after a race or tough workout, you can improve your recovery process drastically.

Signs that You Are Not Recovering Adequately

Your body will give you signals if you are not giving it the rest it requires. This can lead to injury. Common signs that you need to give yourself a rest day may include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Dehydration
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Illness
  • Pain or soreness
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Bad workouts
  • Poor sleep

If you experience any of these symptoms, consider taking a break or at the very least, an easy day.

Replenish by Taking it Slow

If you want to keep moving, consider slowing things down a bit. Run at a slower pace for one to three days after a hard workout, allowing blood to flow to your muscles while flushing away broken down proteins. This can also enable new proteins to develop to rebuild damaged tissues and carry carbs to replenish depleted stores in your muscle cells.

Recovering After a Marathon

Marathons can take a huge toll on your mind and body. Recovery does not just naturally happen. You need to help it along – especially if you plan to run again.

Many of us find it difficult to slow down our pace after a race, wanting to stick with a fast-paced, regimented schedule. Instead, follow these tips for the first 72 hours post marathon.

The first 24 hours:

  • Refuel with a high carb drink and a small amount of protein immediately following a race.
  • Eat frequent snacks high in carbs but also contain 25 to 30 grams of protein for the first 24 hours.
  • Gentle foam rolling and compression can help to remove toxins from the muscle and improve blood flow. Aside from this, relax.

25 – 72 hours:

  • Wear compression clothing but try light exercise. Active recovery helps the body’s natural repair process by delivering more oxygen and nutrients where it is needed.


Why You Should Be Virtual Racing

A great option for those who want fitness and convenience

Are you motivated to toe the line with other athletes but there are no upcoming races near you? Or are you busy on race day and cannot make it? A virtual race may be the option for you! Skip the pre-race nervousness with other runners and enjoy this new trend in the running world.

With virtual racing, you can sign up online and complete any challenges on your schedule. You can even choose your own starting time. You will still get the benefits that come with competition in person including community support, competition, and rewards for taking place in a virtual race.

Register online and receive a race bib just like you would in a live event. Once you are finished racing, upload your finishing time and you will receive a medal in the mail.

Here are some more reasons why you need to be doing virtual racing!







Less Stress

You can easily work around whatever comes your way with virtual racing. Is the weather bad? Don’t sweat it – or do by hitting the treadmill! Are you feeling tired? Take it easy and just enjoy the distance. Are you sick or had a hard night of sleep? You can simply reschedule (a benefit you never get with real-life 5ks).







Flexible Scheduling

Let’s face it. Life is busy. You probably want to run more races than you can fit in your schedule with work, family, and travel. Stay motivated by setting goals with virtual racing.








By joining a virtual race, you can get geared up and in the racing mindset. Knowing you will be sharing your results, you may surprise yourself with how well you do! You might even set your own distance personal record because of your newfound motivation.







Race Anywhere

Is your city filled with trails and fitness centers you have wanted to check out? By signing up for multiple virtual races, you can give yourself a reason to take advantage of each of those places! Or do you already have a favorite place to run? With virtual racing, you have the option of running on your favorite trail every time you race!








Virtual racing offers runners opportunity to experiment with new training methods and plans to determine what works best for you when it comes to hydration and nutrition before and during a race. You can also work out the details with what resting time is best for you before and after a race, which supplements work best for you and even which apparel works best for you and your time.







No Embarrassment

One reason many people fail to get into running races is out of fear of embarrassment. A virtual race enables you to treat yourself like the runner you are without worrying about running with other people or the fact that others looking at you.



3 Mental Barriers That Hinder Your Running Success

Disappointment, stress, and fear are feelings that can affect our enjoyment as runners. Some races or workouts may present a mental barrier that is harder to overcome than a physical one, leading you to struggle with even getting your laces tied to run. If you have ever faced this kind of challenge, read on to learn how you can overcome these mental hindrances to your success on the pavement (or trail).

Comparing Yourself to Others

It is sometimes difficult to not compare ourselves to runners we think are better and/or faster. Although having other runners around to compare yourself to can be motivating, enabling you to set realistic goals, there will almost always be someone faster than you. The trap of comparison occurs when one takes this too far, potentially hitting a wall of disappointment head-on. Not all runners are created equally, meaning we do not all have the same genes or resources, time or training. If you find yourself making self-defeating comparisons on a regular basis between your pace and those of runners who are faster, stop – right away. Are you putting in all you can? If you are, find encouragement in the fact that you are putting great effort into your workouts and that you have likely improved greatly in comparison to your pace before. Motivate yourself by your own times!

Fear of Failure

Although fear can be a driving factor, it can also do just the opposite. Many runners end up overwhelmed, giving into fear, which may result in anxiety, a lack of confidence and a running experience that is less than our best. When fear begins to creep up on you, acknowledge it first and then begin to take steps to positively change your thoughts. Set realistic goals, taking small steps in achieving them. Practice relaxation techniques. Develop positive affirmations toward yourself. Be willing to risk failure in order to succeed. If you don’t get up and try again, you will not ever make it. Be the best you can be when you make a commitment to reach a goal or win a race and keep your expectations in balance. Celebrate by looking up at what you have achieved instead of down at what you have failed to accomplish in your eyes.

Constantly Trying to Beat Your Record

Setting and beating your own personal record is a great delight when it comes to running. But some runners get caught in a cycle of constantly trying to beat their own personal record. This can lead to disappointment and burnout in some. Instead, enjoy your runs regardless of whether you are beating records or not. That is not to say you should not strive to succeed and achieve growth. Just simply change your outlook and look for other rewards as well – not just gaining the fastest time.

Ways to Help Others Join in Your Fitness Goals

2018 is your year to be the best you that you can be. No more abandoning your goals for the New Year — start this year off strong and finish stronger! Make this year about facing challenges head on and conquering them. One way to help you reach your goals is encouraging others to get involved too. This way you can have a support system to help others keep you accountable for your goals. Here are a few tips that can help you show yourself the love you deserve and to help others get involved.

Find support

We already mentioned the value of finding a friend to accompany you in your goals — but remember that your support network can be more broad and diverse than that. Participating in an internet community centered around your topics of interest and asking your family to support you in your goal are both good ideas, for example. Signing up for an event related to your new goals can also be a tremendous motivator that connects you to a wider community of people interested in the same kinds of self-improvement as you. A 5k is the perfect race for beginners and it is something that you, your friends and family can train for together.

Make the time

Perfectionism and procrastination sometimes go hand in hand. It is important to understand that there will never be a perfect time to start working toward goals — and those who wait for such a moment often end up waiting forever. (Remember that perspiration counts more than inspiration, after all!) Talk to your family or friends about finding time each week when you can just go and run. It doesn’t need to be for hours at a time, just a half an hour can make a difference. Text or call each other to coordinate times when you can get together to train.

Reward yourself

Having a reward of some sort to look forward to will help push you to keep it and meet your goals. It is important to be kind to yourself, and indulging in a special treat once you succeed is an excellent way to do this. Also, who doesn’t love spending time with people that they love? When your support system is able to reach goals together, you have the chance to celebrate together. Go out and do something that you all love doing together.

Find a Race that You Will All Love!

Each of our races has a different theme. Work together to find a race with a theme that your entire group is a fan of. This way, when you get your medals, you will always be happy to show them off to let others know what you have accomplished. A virtual race could be the perfect way of staying focused on your new year’s goal of getting into better shape. Visit Virtual Pace Series online today to see what race will be best for you and your loved ones!

6 Things You Need to Get Started Running

Running is one of the easiest ways to exercise. It can be done alone or in groups, almost anywhere, and requires almost no special gear or equipment. That being said, it does take some preparation to run safely and effectively, especially when you are training for a race. If done wrong, running can be uncomfortable, and even dangerous. Here are a few of the most important things you’ll need to have on hand if you want to get the most out of your running, and avoid getting hurt.

  1. Good Running Shoes

There’s a reason that this is number one on the list. Old, broken down, or badly fitting shoes can wreak havoc on your feet. If you’re going to start running, invest in a new pair of running shoes, and make sure that they fit well. Some runners even have two or more separate pairs of shoes that they use for different types of running (short distance vs. long distance for example). If you have particularly bad feet, you might want to consider purchasing inserts as well.

  1. Socks Made from Synthetic Material

Regular old cotton socks just won’t cut it. If you want top performance with minimal risk of blistering, synthetic socks are the way to go. With cotton socks, moisture is absorbed into the material and if your feet sweat, they will stay wet. This can get particularly uncomfortable in extremely hot or cold temperatures, and put your feet at risk of fungal infection.

  1. Sunscreen

Running long distances without protecting yourself from the sun can result in uncomfortable and dangerous skin damage from sunburns. A sunscreen with a high SPF is a must for runners, particularly in the summer when skin is exposed and the sun is at its hottest.

  1. Proper Clothes

As with socks, synthetic materials in clothes are important for keeping cool/warm and dry in extreme temperatures. Keeping sweat off can prevent chafing and make for a much more comfortable run. For women, proper clothing also includes a good sports bra.

  1. A Roller for Stiff Muscles

Particularly for those new to running, a good run can result in stiff and painful muscles for days afterward. While warming up and cooling down before runs and not pushing yourself too hard can be good ways to prevent this, it is also important to be able to massage yourself to work out stiffness. Foam muscle rollers, available in most sporting stores, can be a lifesaver when your muscles are cramped and swollen

  1. Water

This may seem like a no-brainer, but dehydration is no joke. On a hot day, water is vital to prevent heat stroke and replenish moisture lost through perspiration. In the cold, staying hydrated is important because it helps you retain heat and prevents chapped lips from low humidity. While a plain old bottle of water works fine, some people prefer camelbaks or other alternative methods of carrying water that does not require you to hold water in your hands the whole run.