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Utah Running Expert Answers

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I have been running pretty consistent for 2 years and now my knees will have slight pain off and on”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)

Answer!!!

It’s difficult to answer this fully as there are many variables. I’m not sure where your knee pain is located, and under what conditions your knee pain arises? The knees are often the victim to the hip and ankle. Alignment, stride, footwear, core stability and running surface are just a few possibilities. I’d recommend you track more details as to when it occurs related to the run (during, after…), where in the knee it hurts, is there accompanied swelling, and what about other related areas (hip, low back, ankle – same side or opposite)? Possibly stretch after the run and ice your knees; and consider cross training for a change of load to the joints.

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Expert Panel Question???

Question: “I’ve noticed about once or twice a mile I nick my left ankle with my right foot (never the other way around). Is this normal, or do I have a serious problem with my running form?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)

Answer!!!

I hear this type of comment often, and it is quite normal especially on uneven terrain. Consider running imagining a 2 inch line in the center. Have the inside arch of each foot touch just outside the line, but don’t cross it or step on it. We often have a dominant leg that tends to be under our center. We want good alignment of the hip, knee and ankle.

Answers provided by:

Korryn Wiese – Physical Therapist, CMPT

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Resuming Workouts Following Illness

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “Everyone is different, but in general, how long should a runner wait after recovering from an illness, such as a bad cold or flu, before doing a long marathon training run 15 to 20 miles?”

(ask your questions to the UtahRunning.com Experts here)

Answer!!!

(a brief response)

When not taken care of appropriately, a harmed immune system can lead to a cascade of problems when involved in heavy or high-volume exercise training. If you are not careful when resuming exercise following a damaged immune system (e.g. a cold or flu), you can chronically impair muscle tissue function, cardiac (heart) function, and of-course extend or rebound your illness. This is why more experienced runners will always tell you that patience always pays off in the end.

Intensive exercise training should not be resumed until a few days following the complete resolution of common cold symptoms (e.g. sore throat and runny nose without general body aches and fever). To date, research shows mild to moderate exercise (e.g. walking) when sick with the common cold does not appear to be harmful. Some data even suggests mild to moderate exercise during a cold enhances the immune system; speeding recovery.

With symptoms of extreme tiredness, fever, swollen lymph glands, and muscle aches (e.g. following a bout of the common flu), it’s best to allow yourself 2-4 weeks following resolution of symptoms before resuming intensive training. A long training run (e.g. for marathon training) is considered intensive training.

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by on Apr.01, 2010, under Exercise Physiology, Training

Tempo Time

Someone once asked me if I could only do one hard workout for the rest of my life what would it be? In the first place that’s an unfair question, kind of like asking if you could only eat one thing what would it be (my wife’s lasagna), but I digress. The fact is that there is a plethora of workouts that we can do on a rotating basis to help us avoid getting stale or bored and keep us fit and in the position of being able to afford to eat more of my wife’s lasagna. But if pressed for the all time single workout that by itself would do more to positively impact your race day performance I would answer with a clean conscience, the tempo run.

Tempo runs are those runs done at a steady pace at or slightly beyond your lactate threshold. Your lactate threshold is the point at which your ability to buffer lactic acid begins to be surpassed by lactic acid production. Studies have shown that running speed at lactate threshold is the best predictor of distance running performance. By running at least once a week at our lactate threshold we can gradually “push the envelope” outward as we physiologically adapt. The big question for many of us then is how to determine what our tempo run pace should be? Fortunately, there are a few ways to access your tempo time.

Comfortably Hard: I know it’s an oxymoron, kind of like “good grief”. How can something be “comfortable” and at the same time “hard”? Yet that is exactly what tempo run pace should feel like. You are running fast enough to feel like you are working hard, but if you had to, you could keep it going for an hour. If running with a training partner, conversation is limited to a few words here and there but no lengthy diatribes can be tolerated. For that reason I suggest a tempo run with your boss.

80% of VO2 max pace: Odds are you don’t know your VO2 max pace and you don’t have a handy treadmill with a team of crack exercise physiologists to figure it out for you. The speed that you can run a 3000-meter race would be a close estimation of 100% of your VO2max pace. Take 80% of that speed (20% slower) and you know how fast to run your tempo run. I work with a young man who has run 3000 meters in 7:52 which is 63 seconds every 400 meters (the dude is fast). 20% of 63 seconds is 12.6 seconds. Adding 12.6 seconds to 63 gives you 75.6 seconds for 400 meters x 4 equals about 5:02 per mile. 5-minute miles are typically what he will maintain for a 5-mile tempo run (I told you he was fast).

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Personal Hurdles: A Practical Approach for Consistency

About a year ago I read a research study that tracked changes in body weight of people participating in road races (running) for the first time (since there was an observed surge in the number of people running races throughout the U.S.) The study was considered important by the researchers because if more people running races was in any way related to improving the racers’ health, then efforts to increase road race participation might be a good way to improve public health. In other words, the researchers wanted to know if people were signing up for and running races as a motivator to start exercising more, and whether or not they actually were exercising more as a result of running races.

Did racing improve health?

The researchers actually learned that even over the first couple of years following peoples’ first experiences running races, these people generally experienced no improvements in body weight. Now, I think there were several things in this study that could have been done better, but I still think there was a potentially accurate message of great value.

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