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Nutrition & Hydration for Running: Ready, Set...GO!

3/25/14 4:08 PM
By this point in the month, if you have been keeping up with these running tips you are on your way to proper running training...you have the right shoes, you know how to breathe better and you have stretched & strengthened your body. Now it's time to fuel up.

Treat your body right when you are training and give back what you take from yourself. Proper nutrition and hydration are a HUGE component of running a race at your peak performance.

Nutrition:

  • If you are going to run a long distance (generally greater than 40 minutes) you should bring some sort of fuel with you, such as one of those goo gel packs.
  • Re-fueling should occur every 30-40 minutes along with hydration every mile. Of course, in weather conditions of extreme heat and humidity you should do this more frequently.
  • While you train, eating one hour before a run is ideal. This allows time for digestion and absorption of the nutrients for use during the run. This should include complex carbohydrates, glucose and protein. (It almost goes without saying, but also should include lots of good old fashioned H20!)

Not sure what to eat? Pro-tip: Here's a list of good foods to eat while training...
  • Complex carbohydrates: whole grain bread & pastas, quinoa, starchy vegetables, legumes and potatoes.
  • Protein: Lean meats, legumes, low-fat milks, yogurt, low-fat cheeses.
  • Vitamins & Minerals: Fruits, Vegetables (greens and reds are best), electrolyte beverages

Hydration: 

  • Making up about 70% of your body, water is your best friend. When you exert and sweat while you run (which we all do!), it is critical to rehydrate and restore your supply. Sweat is more than just water leaving your body though. You are also losing and depleting your electrolyte supplies (sodium, potassium, etc). These elements are critical to organ function and to your body's movement capabilities.
  • Ever get that feeling of side "stitches"? That is your body's way of telling you it needs help and is dehydrated. 
  • During your workday, ditch the sugary drinks and sodas. Sip on plenty of water  throughout the day. Electrolyte drinks (sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade) are great to drink before and after a run to load up and replenish your electrolyte balance.
  • When preparing for a race, start hydrating one week prior to the race - don't wait until the day before. Start consuming electrolyte or sports drink the day before the race to build up an ample supply to start the race with.


Feeling healthier and more energized already? We are too. Ready, set, go! Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: healthy habits, tips, stretches, sport specific, running

Every Runner Needs Both: Stretching AND Strengthening

3/18/14 4:12 PM
The title for this week says it all -  every runner needs both stretching and strengthening. No one wants to hear it, but deep down we all know it's true.

Let's dig into Stretching...

No matter the length or intensity of a run, stretching is a very critical piece of preparing for and cooling down from that run. 

  • Warm up stretching should be minimal and non-aggressive prior to running. Follow the run up with some more extensive and aggressive stretching.
  • Major muscles and muscle groups should be stretching at both times. These include: quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, hip rotators, shoulders and upper/lower back.
  • Each of these groups are important and involved in running. Keep them happy and they will keep you running happily.


What about Strengthening?

Most runners have an urge to satisfy and want to get out there and just RUN, right? However to be a really good runner, you should supplement your running routine with a strengthening regimen to improve your performance and reduce risk of injury. 

  • Forward movement in running is partially generated by bending at the hip to bring your leg forward (pro tip: this is called hip flexion). This movement is accelerated by your gluts/buttocks contracting to extend your leg behind you (another pro tip: this is called hip extension). 
  • These motions also require stability to land on your foot properly with each stride - which is supplied by the total package that is your hip musculature. Good strength and control in your hips (and many other areas of your body) is one of the key components to good, strong running.



Check out the video below for some simple stretching/strengthening exercises you can do at home to get started. These are all compound exercises to improve (primarily) hip and knee strength.

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: running, exercises

Breathing Techniques: Maximize your Performance, Decrease Risk of Injuries

3/13/14 4:29 PM
Breathing. You do it every single day, all day long. But did you know that proper breathing makes a world of difference in your running performance? It seems so simple: inhale, exhale and then repeat. But what most people don’t know or even think about is the timing of it all. Aligning your stride and your breathing can significantly reduce your risk of injury and allow your body to perform at YOUR maximum peak level.

Budd Coates, author of "Running on Air," is an inspiring runner, instructor and coach of competitive and non-competitive runners; Olympic hopefuls and everyday recreational runners. In his book, he describes the sequencing of the inhale/exhale and foot strike to avoid injury and improve performance. Simply put, alternate which foot hits the ground with each exhale.

Let's break it down...

When you inhale, your lungs expand and your diaphragm contracts... 
When you exhale, your lungs retract and the diaphragm relaxes... 
As the diaphragm relaxes, so does the entire core...
The core is at its weakest point when it's relaxed...
Your foot hitting the ground is the point of highest impact to the body...

Sequencing your foot hitting the ground with the time of exhale will put the point of greatest impact right when your body is at its weakest point...the perfect storm!


If you tend to inhale/exhale in a pattern similar to your left foot/right foot strike, you are always landing on the same foot with every stride you take. This creates a lot of impact on one side, and none on the other side - putting you at higher risk for injury. Budd Coates touches a lot on breathing techniques. One technique in particular, he likes to call the "Rythmic Breathing Effort" (RBE), which utilizes a 5 count, or a 3:2 ratio.

5 - number of steps in the sequence. Inhale for 3 steps (left--right--left) and then exhale for 2 steps (right--left). Because of the uneven number of steps in the pattern, your first step on the exhale cycle will alternate. This will distribute the impact evenly from left to right and minimize the likelihood that one side is experiencing all of the stress.

You can try it by marching your feet while reading, or better yet...try it out on your next run and report back! Read More
Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips for children, running, exercises

Foot Type: Where the Foot Meets the Ground

3/5/14 4:35 PM
At one time or another, most of us have considered taking up running. Some of us have have tried, some have kept it as an annual New Year's resolution, and some of us have become addicted to the sport altogether. With the good weather around the corner (finger's crossed!), most runners in Central New York are itching to break out from under the snow and ice to get some miles in. 

Before you tackle that training schedule and hit the road or trail this spring, check your shoes first!

Do...

    • DO go shopping for and purchase shoes at the time of day you would normally run. Swelling in feet and lower legs can occur throughout the day and can affect the fit of the shoe. Shopping at the time you would normally run will help you get the best fit.
    • DO test out the shoes at the store. The right store will let you do this and offer their tips!
    • DO purchase shoes at a store with a sales rep trained to fit you correctly. We recommend Fleet Feet Sports of Syracuse for a great fit and customer experience. (They have two locations now. Dewitt for the East of Syracuse area and North of Syracuse for the Clay and Liverpool area)
    • DO pay attention to any discomfort in your shoes. If your shoes hurt to weight bear or run/walk in, they might not be the right shoe for you.


Do Not...

  • DO NOT out run a pair of shoes. Shoes should be traded out every 300 to 500 miles to ensure continuous, adequate support. Take a look at your old shoes. Are the wear patterns even from the left to right side? For the most part, shoes should display the same wear and tear on the sides and bottom.
  • DO NOT try to be a trendsetter. We know those flashy new colors look pretty sharp on a new pair of shoes, but do not purchase a pair of shoes based upon looks, style or color. (Believe it not, they won't make you run faster like your inner child wants to think!) Fit and appropriate support are the most important selling points!
  • DO NOT assume what size is best for you. Always try shoes on and if available, have a proper fitting performed.



*Pro Tip:

It helps to know what type of foot you have. Take a look at the types below. On the middle you will see a foot with a normal arch, meaning a typical foot that has a sufficient arch. 

On the top, a high arch, which means just that. A high arch requires adequate support in the right places. It is quite common for those with a high arch to land on the outside of their foot when running which can lead to various issues. The proper support will minimize that asymmetrical foot strike.

And on the bottom, a low arch. It is also possible to have no arch at all (or a flat foot). A low arch or flat foot also requires adequate support. As this foot hits the grounds, it lands flat which leads to over-stretching of the plantar fascia (in the bottom of the foot). This over-stretching can lead to...you guessed it, plantar fasciitis. Sometimes an over-the-counter shoe insert can be a simple solution. 

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Written by Mary Smith.

Mary Smith, PT is currently practicing as a Physical Therapist in our Baldwinsville office. She specializes in (and enjoys) treating injured runners to get them back to their craft, or simply reaching their best.

Topics: tips, shoe fitting, running, foot type