Coach’s Blog #5

MAY 15, 2014

no obstacles

I hope your first week of training is going well and you are getting your runs in.

I know it has been a bit miserable out there dogging the rain this week. I find it refreshing to run in a soft drizzle. Remember to dress lightly and in layers.

Friday is a rest day before your first long run of 5 to 7 miles. I promised an update on some recommendations for stretching this week, but, before I do this, I want to address a great question I received this week “what to eat before a long run and what supplements to consume during a long run?”

Before a long run I recommend that you eat 90-180 calories 90 to 120 minutes before your run.

Yes – this means getting up a little earlier than usual and not flying out the door with an empty stomach.

I typically have a banana and a ½ a bagel and cream cheese or with peanut butter. Yogurt and fruit or as a smoothie with spinach and kale is also a great choice an hour or more before your run. For real long runs >13 miles I like oatmeal with nuts and raisins as this helps to sustain me longer.

The key is to eat something light and to begin practicing this each Saturday to learn what your body will tolerate and which foods upset your stomach during your run. You want to work all this out before you get to a long run of >16 mile and especially by Marathon day.

With respect to fueling during a run, your body has about 90 min of glycogen stores to convert energy during a run. So there is no need to consume additional supplements, other than water, during a run of 90 min or less, especially if you have had something to eat before the run. So as a rule of thumb for runs of 9 miles or less you do not need to consume gels, gus, etc. It is good practice to train your body to deplete these glycogen stores and to teach your body that your will routinely replace the energy stores after your run. If you keep your pace easy you can trigger your body to burn fat stores during these long runs.

Once we get to long runs of 10 miles or more it will be time to begin to test various fuel supplements. Again everyone is different so my chosen fuel may not be one that agrees with you. I will have much more to say about this later in the training. Suffice it to say eat lightly before, drink water- Hydrate – during your run and have a recovery drink after your run. It is a good idea to consume a recovery drink that contains both carbs and protein (e.g. chocolate milk, slimfast or protein shake) within 30 min after your long run.

One statistic to keep in mind is that “~70% of all runners will experience an injury annually that will cause them to take time off from running”. One way to keep you in the 30 percentile is to incorporate Stretching as part of your work out. Running puts a lot of stress and strain on your body and your muscles will tend to tighten up over time.

Stretching will help with flexibility and to relax your muscles to help them recover. The best time to stretch is when your muscles are warmed up. I don’t recommend static stretching before a run when your muscles are cold. Dynamic exercises like leg swings and knee lifts or an easy slow jog for a mile or so is a better way to warm up your muscles.

Stretching is best done after a warm up jog, after an easy run, or after a hot shower. After a long run, allow your body cool down for a few minutes by walking and then stretch.

What to stretch is very dependent on you, how you are built, and how fit you are.  A few muscle groups consistently needing stretching for most runners are given in the Table below.

Muscle group Recommended Cool Down Stretches

Calf muscles Calf stretch, heal drops on stairs, soleus stretch,
Hip flexors / Glutes  Hip flexor stretch, Piriformis Stretches
Hamstrings Lower Hamstring and Higher Hamstring Stretch, or use a foam roller
Quadriceps  Quadricep stretch with or without a chair
IT band  IT band stretch using a wall or use foam roller
Others  Seated hurdler stretch, lower back stretch, groin stretch

Search the recommended stretches given on Google or U-Tube for details/demonstrations on how to do these stretches. Spend 10 -15 min to stretch and select one or more stretches for each muscle group. Hold each stretch for ~20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times. nI can provide specific resources for you for any of these or if you have a particular muscles that feels tight.

“Tip of the Week”:

How to dry those wet running shoes. In the event that you have only one pair of running shoes and they get wet during your run here is a simple way to dry your shoes so you can run in them within 24 hrs. Remove the insoles of the wet shoes and then stuff your shoes with newspaper. Let the paper wick up the water for about 2-4 hr and then remove the wet paper and replace with fresh dry newspaper for another 2-4 hrs. This should do it. Replace the insoles after allowing them to sit out and dry overnight. (If your shoes are still wet then repeat a third time, but I have rarely needed to do this).

On Sunday I will post the training plan for week 2. Please send me an email if you have any questions or if you need some guidance on adjusting the plan to meet your current running ability.

Happy Running.


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