As I took the final step into the driveway in front of our Sherwood Park home, the Ride GPS app map on my iPhone7 hit the 26.2-mile mark. My long, quiet walk was over, and I had accomplished my goal.
After almost five years of excuses, I finally completed another marathon.
And unlike the first 30, this ‘virtual’ marathon was different in every way.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, everyone entering the 2021 Servus Edmonton Marathon was required to complete the distance between August 15 and 31 and enter their time online.
There was no marathon route to follow, no aid stations and no cheering crowd.
But I was not deterred, thanks to a remarkable octogenarian whose inspiring comments provided the only motivation I needed.
I met Fort Saskatchewan’s Roger MacMillan in 2019 while writing a story for a seniors’ publication as he prepared to enter his 112th marathon in Edmonton.
I made an off-hand comment during the interview that I used to run marathons but had stopped due to damaged, arthritic knees.
Salt continues to be a hot topic in endurance sports. Should runners add or avoid salt in their diets? As with most things, the answer is: it depends.
The Scoop on Sodium
Sodium is a key electrolyte that the body needs to function properly; having either too much or too little in the system can lead to problems. Sodium helps maintain fluid balance in your body’s cells and impacts the function of nerves and muscles, including the heart.
The new year, with all its new beginnings, is the perfect time to set a running or fitness goal. Set an ultimate goal as well as several smaller goals to get you there. Your ultimate goal might be to run a particular race, but before that, you must first train consistently. It can help to set some smaller, shorter-distance races as targets to test yourself along the way. Seasoned runners will tell you that the true reward comes from the training, not the race itself.
Shin splints is a term used to describe an injury to the leg that causes pain in the shin. Before the advent of sports medicine as a specialty, shin splints usually referred to pain occurring anywhere in the lower leg. Terminology has now become more specific to describe different types of shin splints depending on their location and sometimes etiology. Continue reading “Shin Splints or Tibial Stress Syndromes”
Two words that can really stress out a runner: stress fracture. A stress fracture is a small crack in a bone brought on by repetitive loading and strain, resulting in pain and tenderness at the injury site. Stress fractures occur most frequently in the foot (metatarsals), the shin (tibia) and the hip (femur or pelvis). The condition can be accelerated by inadequate muscular support; therefore, maintaining balanced muscle and bone strength is the best way to avoid a stress fracture. Bones are the skeletal structures that provide attachment points for muscles, ligaments and tendons, which exert force in order to generate movement. The bones also receive their strength from the proper use of the adjacent muscles, so any situation where there is muscle weakness or misalignment can lead to the weakening of the bones, which may, in turn, lead to fractures. Continue reading “Stressed Out”
Tranquilizers, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications account for 25% of all prescriptions written. But, as the
t-shirt wisely says: running is cheaper than therapy!
For those who currently run or vigorously walk for exercise, you know the stress release that is generated from a brisk walk or run. The euphoric feeling experienced while exercising is usually attributed to endorphins, which mask pain and produce a feeling of well-being. Researchers believe that running or briskly walking may increase the secretion of chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenalin—neurotransmitters that control our emotions and mood. Continue reading “Relieve Stress with a Run”
We have all seen the t-shirt and chuckled. Fartlek training means getting tired without feeling tired. The runs are intense but different, allowing for variations of speed in an unstructured but demanding run.
Fartlek runs introduce rhythm and power to your training runs and is a great substitute for runners who want to avoid the track. Fartlek runs are stressful and intense, as they combine speed and hills into one workout. As an athlete, you really must focus on controlling the difficulty of the workout to avoid injury. Be sure to include adequate rest between each speed play surge.Continue reading “Fartlek: It’s More Than a T-shirt”
You may have noticed that sometimes there are conflicting results in scientific studies related to the foods we should or should not eat. One day you read that caffeine is good for you but the next day, it’s not. Sometimes carbs are the answer to weight loss, while other days it’s protein. The answer, in part, is because of our genetics. A newer field of study, called nutrigenomics, looks at how individual genetic variations affect a person’s response to nutrients and impacts the risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases. This can help runners take their nutrition to the next level and personalize their diets for optimal health and performance. In other words, while everyone can benefit from a healthy and balanced diet of nutrient-dense vegetables and minimally processed foods, your genetics can help identify specific nutrition recommendations to optimize health, body composition and reduce your risk of certain diseases. Examples of genetic variability include whether or not an athlete will respond to a given dietary intervention such as a moderate to high protein diet, or ability to metabolize starch well. These are key markers for runners to know whether they should be eating a high protein diet, or restricting carbohydrate intake. Another interesting gene is one that has implications for energy balance. Continue reading “Do my genetics influence the way I should eat as a runner?”
Soft tissue injuries are the most frequent causes of back pain. Many muscle units extending from the pelvis all the way up to the neck support the spine. These are the spinae erectae and the quadratus lumborum muscles. Injuries to these muscles can lead to dysfunction and the development of back pain. Injuries are most frequently a result of weak pelvic and abdominal muscles superimposed on a poor running technique. Initial treatment for a runner with a recent injury means resting the back for about a week to let the soft tissues heal (NO RUNNING). Application of ice is a good anti-inflammatory agent without the side effects of oral medication. Ice should be applied with a towel covering for 20 minutes three times a day. Pain that lasts more than two to three weeks could also be treated with oral anti-inflammatories. During all of these treatments, maintaining an activity level is important (active rest). Cycling, walking and general muscle strengthening exercises are to be encouraged. Continue reading “Soft Tissue Causes of Back pain- Muscle, Fascia”