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Coffee? Good, bad? With/Without caffeine? before a run?

Expert Panel Question???

Question: “Coffee? Good, bad? With/Without caffeine? before a run?”

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


To caffeinate or not?

Many runners enjoy a cup of coffee before running or racing and the current research shows that this may enhance performance. Though the exact mechanism of action is not known, current theories suggest that caffeine may alter our perceived exertion, such that we are able to run harder without feeling that our effort level has changed OR caffeine may directly stimulate the neural activation of muscle. Whatever the mechanism, ingesting small amounts of caffeine before and during endurance exercise may give you an added boost. While some is good, more is not necessarily better. Improved performance and concentration can be seen with as little as 1 mg caffeine per kg of body weight. For example, for a 170 pound runner (77.3kg), consuming ~75-80mg caffeine (about the amount in an 8oz brewed cup of coffee) would do the trick. If you are not a coffee drinker, coffee in the morning may act as a diuretic and other sources of caffeine (sport nutrition products) may be a better option. (Many gels, and sport drinks/bars now contain caffeine).

In general, caffeine can be a good thing for us …remember that anything to excess can become dangerous, but up to 400mg of caffeine per day is considered safe and healthful.

by Kristi Spence MS, RD, CD Sports Dietitian

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by on Mar.03, 2010, under Expert Answers, Nutrition

Why Strength Training is Important to Runners

Imagine a scenario that places you at the starting line of the Ogden Marathon. The past nine months has been a trying ordeal of 4:30 a.m. training that included tempo runs, interval training, and fartleks, all aimed at producing a marathon personal best of 2 hours and 50 minutes.

You have been unwavering in your commitment to weekend long runs despite missing birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and your kid’s soccer games. You’ve even developed an appreciation for gels and look forward to sneaking a few during your lunch break at work. Fast forward to mile 22 of the marathon, you survived the “wall” by logging massive training miles and a smart nutrition strategy but you begin to notice that your once eloquent stride of a 6:30 pace (think antelope on the Wyoming high desert) now resembles an oil pump jack that has you slogging at 10:15 pace. The last four miles of the race are a test in mental fortitude, that PR of 2:50 turned into 3:30 and some change. After the race you sit down and analyze your training plan. It seems all there, the mind numbing tempo runs, the vomit inducing intervals, and not to be forgotten, a near addiction to vanilla-ginger gels. You’re dumbfounded and disgusted with yourself. You make a vow to never race again, especially the marathon distance.

How could this scenario have been turned around into that personal best? Simple–strength training. In the past, runners have eschewed barbells and dumbbells for fear of “bulking up” or that the extra time devoted to strength training would be better spent on improving ones VO2 max. These fears and ideas have been supplemented by quality research showing that concurrent endurance training and strength training produce a more efficient and faster runner.

Read More….

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Should I weight train my legs to help my running?

Perhaps a better question would be “should I strength train my legs to help my running?” Weight training implies use of machines or free weights while strength training could also include body resistance exercises, Pilates, Swiss ball exercises, plyometrics, hill repeats, etc.  For this article, however, I will just address weight training.

In general, my answer to the question would be “yes”.  I believe that weight training can be a big benefit to all runners.  How can it help provide an advantage?

  • A good, consistent, overall program can improve running posture and mechanics.
  • Running speed is the result of stride frequency x stride length.  Stride length can be improved through increased muscle strength and flexibility.  Various “quick” or “explosive” lifts can also help improve stride frequency.
  • An increase in strength can help improve joint stability and balance.  This results in less “sinking” or “collapsing” with each ground contact.
  • Stronger muscles are more efficient.  Over the course of a long race, this can be a huge advantage.
  • While this question concerned weight training for legs, a good program would also incorporate lifts that provide overall strength training improving core strength and posture.  It is impossible to separate upper and lower body efficiency.

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Utah Running Races

Running is of the most focused physical activities that you could ever take on. It not only challenges your body but also your mind and your will. The ability to concentrate and find a rhythm in putting one step in front of the other is what running is all about. While to some runners Utah running races are about winning, to others they are about the accomplishment of finishing the race. If you are a runner, then Utah is the place you should be headed for the Utah running races.

The state attracts all kinds of runners, from professionals to people who are running a Utah 5K or a Utah marathon for the first time. With its diverse land forms the Utah land is a great challenge to run on. Also the fact that many of the cities in the state offer running routes help professionals and amateurs train for the many Utah running races held here. Utah running includes marathons, half marathons and family races. This makes it possible for virtually anyone who is interested in running to train and participate in Utah running races. Whether you live in Utah or are visiting you are sure to find a Utah marathon or Utah half marathons on at some part of the state, all through the year.

Some of these marathons require you to register much in advance. So do check for the details in order to avoid any disappointment. Utah running races offer a diverse terrain and it is best to train accordingly. Running is a sport that helps build confidence in one self and adds to the self concept one develops. It is a great way to bring discipline and order into one’s life and is recommended for all age groups. And the best place to go running is Utah, the state that goes all out to support runners.

Typically Utah running races will have the competitors broken up into divisions which will be male and female, and then also various age groups. Utah running races tend to be a wide variety of different lengths; therefore, they require a different array of athleticism. The good news is that you can get out and participate in Utah running races even if you are a beginner.

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Utah 5k Running Races

When you are out on the road, running, it is just you and the forces of nature. Running is personal. It helps you face some of your greatest physical and psychological challenges. It is something that sets you apart and gives you something common to share with every runner who is training hard for the Utah 5K.

Utah running offers its residents and visitors tremendous opportunities. The terrain is varied and the climate excellent for running. There are more Utah running races on offer than you could ever imagine. A glance at the state’s race calendar is sure to confirm this. Whether you are interested in a Utah half marathon, in Utah half marathons or family races, you will find them all through the year. So whether you participate in a race as part of training or register for one of the many Utah 5k races, there is something for you to look forward to.
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by on Jan.06, 2010, under Utah 5k, Utah Running

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