Arthritis and Running

We’ve invited readers to send in topic suggestions for this column, and we received this question from David: “Is it possible to run or jog when one has a chronic and painful condition of the knee, like arthritis?”

To begin, there are many causes for “arthritis.” I’m using quotation marks since the patient has to be satisfied that the diagnosis of arthritis is correct in the first place. Arthritis of the knee should definitely be confirmed before any alterations of activity or lifestyle are made. Continue reading “Arthritis and Running”

Eating Well as a Vegetarian Athlete

by Lisa Podlecki

Athletes may choose to eat vegetarian or vegan for a variety of reasons, such as environmental considerations, animal welfare, personal preference, and/or religion. While eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet can have a number of positive health outcomes—including lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and hypertension—athletes may also believe that becoming vegetarian may be a way to lose weight, improve their performance and help with recovery. As with any diet, cutting out a particular food group can result in insufficient calorie and nutrient intake, which may lead to potential nutritional deficiencies and decreased performance. With the proper guidance, however, vegetarian athletes can be just as strong and healthy!

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I Did It!

by Alice Bohlen

I never really considered myself a runner or someone who has the “running bug.” But, all of that changed when I volunteered at the legendary Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2015. The people were cheering, upbeat music was playing and there was a lot of diversity in the crowd. It was the hidden community of running that I always seemed to be drawn to. So, two years later, on the occasion of Canada’s 150th anniversary, I completed a 10K race with my cousin. In this first run, the thing that made the biggest difference for me was the atmosphere. It certainly was the best source of adrenaline that I could have.

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Lake Maggiore Marathon

by Karen Warrendorf and Steve Mattina

A playground for the rich and famous, Lake Maggiore in northern Italy is a truly stunning place to visit. On the south side of the snow-capped Alps, Lake Maggiore (meaning “major” or “large”) is the second largest lake in Italy. Since the climate is mild year-round, the area is filled with Mediterranean vegetation and provides ideal conditions for running. In November 2018, we had the good fortune to travel to Lake Maggiore for the Sportway Lake Maggiore Marathon. We flew to Milan Malpensa Airport and with an easy drive of less than an hour, we arrived in Stresa. Continue reading “Lake Maggiore Marathon”

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Running…But Were Afraid to Ask

In running, there are plenty of unexpected little things that can pop up on a training run or in a race. If you’re wondering about something, ask—no matter how silly or embarrassing it may seem. I enjoy meeting runners at race expos and answering quirky running questions, such as:

How do I get rid of a side stitch?
Typically, the dreaded side cramp or “stitch” is an indicator that you’re running too fast or too far for your current level of fitness, causing your diaphragm to work too hard. To alleviate some of the discomfort, ease up on your pace, stay relaxed, and concentrate on pursing your lips and exhaling fully with each breath. Continue reading “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Running…But Were Afraid to Ask”

The Science of Injury Invariability

by Dr. Reed Ferber, Ph.D. CAT(C)

In my last article, I described how rotating multiple shoes and engaging in cross-training activities are both strategies that reduce your risk of injury, based on increasing the variability in the loads being applied to your body. Here, we’ll continue this discussion and give you some strategies to help reduce your injury risk based on biomechanical research.

My research group first introduced the concept of stride-to-stride variability as an indicator of a running injury nearly 10 years ago. We showed that when a runner has reduced gluteus medius muscle strength (the muscles on the side of your hip), your knee is not properly controlled when you run. Subsequently, the weakness leads to increased variability and an unpredictable running pattern. For example, the knee might slightly collapse outwards during one footfall and inwards for the next. However, once those muscles get stronger, a more predictable pattern and reduction in stride-to-stride variability occurs, so your body knows what to expect during the next footfall. Continue reading “The Science of Injury Invariability”

A Life Sentence

I could not tell you the exact moment, event or even potential series of events that led to the extreme shifts in my mood. I can only tell you that there was a time in my life that I spent many a day and night contemplating death. It went on for years. I was unreliable, sad all the time, and absolutely without any energy. It had been too many days, weeks, months and years of the same thing that I had lost any hope that I would ever wake up feeling any better. Not being here seemed like the best option. As a result, I ended up hospitalized after a deliberate overdose, at age 27. To say that the whole incident was completely terrifying would be an understatement. I was lower than low.

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Running Through the Bush of Ghosts

by Tim MacKay

Crunch, crunch. Breathe. Crunch, crunch. Breathe.

The snow underneath my feet responds to my pace with a rhythmic crunch, matched by a parallel rhythm in my breathing. There’s great comfort in the rhythm. It’s soothing, healing. It’s important. Maybe essential. The rhythm—the consistent beating—is what keeps me going. It marks the mental space I find the most comfort in, with a steady ‘left, right, in, out’ bringing calm and peace. And when set along a trail in the woods, the forest bathing me in solitude and simplicity, this healing rhythm is as close as I can come to perfection. Continue reading “Running Through the Bush of Ghosts”

Why It’s Better to Over-Fuel Than Under-Fuel

by Megan Kuikman, RD

Most athletes are concerned about how nutrition can help them recover faster, perform better or reach an ideal body composition. However, adequate calorie intake should be a main focus for all athletes, as the negative consequences of under-fuelling can be more detrimental than over-fuelling.

Under-fuelling means not eating enough calories to cover the calories burned through exercise, plus the calories to simply get through the day. Energy from calories is required for the heart to beat, for the lungs to breathe and for the brain to think. Even if a person was to sleep all day, they would still require calories. If not enough calories are consumed, there are metabolic and hormonal changes that occur (in both females and males) that are detrimental to one’s health. Continue reading “Why It’s Better to Over-Fuel Than Under-Fuel”