Monday, November 30, 2009

He said....He said...Compression wear

Other than the fact that is looks kind of dorky, is there really something to compression-wear? Well, after my own experimentation, I would say that it is worth the money in what it does for recovery. I figure that it is one more tool in the recovery tool chest to add to Trigger Point Therapy and a GREAT sports massage therapist. But, don't take my word for it, Seth and BJ have their own opinions on compression and which brands is their favorites. If you want to look at more info and research, then click on the brand links. Oh, and looking for a great gift idea?

Seth: Compression is another modality that can be used to speed recovery and minimize wear on muscles. For years runners have been using the other modalities; icing/icebaths, elevation, and rest, to speed recovery. These methods are all effective, but I am not patient enough to sit around and wait for my legs to recover. I was lucky enough to have BJ introduce me to compression. The Zensah calve sleeves helped me throughout the hard winter training months as I wore them under my pants to work.

BJ: Compression has been used for many years in the medical community as way to speed recovery, promote healing, and decrease the risk of clotting. Many of us are familiar with the R.I.C.E method of treatment when it comes to injury treatment. It is only recently that compression is gaining strength in the world of athletic performance.

Seth: Zoot was the first compression brand I tried. They worked great, so I was skeptical about the other compression brands. I decided that Skins had put out some pretty good products and that their technology was advanced enough to really work. I slid on the Skins Active use tights. They stayed on me for three days, excluding showers…etc. They are super comfortable. The Skin Fit technology, a precision fit based on your body mass index (BMI) algorithm, helped the sizing feel ideal.

BJ: Regardless of what sex you are, the compression garments made by Zoot are sized based on circumference measurements on the calves, quadriceps, and hips. Using this method makes it possible for the tights to provide the appropriate amount of compression along the muscle. We don’t want it too tight or too loose. I use the recovery tight mostly so I sleep in them so they need to fit comfortably so that I can sleep through the night.

Seth: With wearing the Skins tights so often I am often asked, “Don’t they get stinky?”. This is another important aspect of compression clothing that must be addressed. If a company only goes up to meeting the minimum manufacturing standards for making compression, then yes the compression clothing will trap bacteria in its fibers, and when those bacteria die they will cause the clothing to maintain a stench even after washing it in detergent. But Skins is made with Skin fresh, antibacterial and antimicrobial treatments discourage growth of bacteria and help prevent odor. So, no the Skins don’t stink.

BJ: The antimicrobial effect found in Zoot compression is provided by silver thread found throughout the clothing. This a natural bug zapper on a micro level and actually helps with thermoregulation as well keeping you comfortable all day and night.

Seth: Why wear Skins during your runs? Ongoing testing of elite athletes have proven that Skins BioAcceleration Technology creates marked improvements in reducing the build-up of lactic acid immediately after periods of sustained exercise (2 hours and 15 minutes up to 37% ), and allows for more rapid return to normal levels (up to 38% at 20 minutes).(1) You experience less fatigue, minimize soreness and recover faster. With less lactic acid buildup I am able to run further without cramping up.

BJ: Wearing the compression during a workout has been shown to reduce blood lactate levels by approximately 30% particularly in runs lasting around 1hour or longer. It has also been shown to lower your Rate of Perceived Exertion by about 1 point. This means I don’t feel like I am working as hard at a higher intensity.

Seth: Skins are able to decrease the lactic acid buildup by enhancing circulation from engineered gradient compression. They fit tighter at the ankles and gradually become looser as it comes closer to the heart. This improves the blood flow in the veins. Most veins have one-way flaps called venous valves that prevent blood from flowing back and pooling in the lower extremities due to the effects of gravity. The graduated compression increase the pressure to push blood back to the heart helping flush away the lactic acid, avoiding unnecessary buildup.

BJ: Like Skins Zoot uses a graduated compression formula where it is applying close to 30 mmHg in the ankles and move up to 20 mmHG in the thighs. Using the graduated compression makes the venous return more effective.

Seth: I love to wear the skins on my way traveling to and from events. I wear the compression tights immediately after completing an event and for several days after the event to decrease the amount of recovery time before I can feel great working out again. I love using the compression clothing because I can use it all day at work, and be ready for my workouts after work.

BJ. I was turned on to compression a few years ago and have found it to be an essential tool in my training and racing. I always regret not sleeping in my tights after a hard workout when I know I would have felt better had I done so. I also will travel wearing the tights and feel it is mandatory after long strenuous races. It only takes one night in compression after a hard day for you to become a convert. Compression comes in a variety of modalities what is important is you find one that fits and use it, you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Going Gluten Free, Is it for you?


Not many people like the thought of giving up something they love to eat. But, what if what you are eating is making you sick, slowing you down or stopping the fat loss process. Ultimately, food should do the opposite. It should nourish, revitalize, invigorate, heal and speed up the metabolism. So, to anyone trying to be healthy and perform well, it is obvious that some foods are destructive by nature like sugar, white flour, fried foods, saturated fats, preservatives and etc. If you’re already eating healthy whole foods and still are not getting the results you’re after, some not-so-obvious dietary changes may be worth considering. One of these changes is the idea of going gluten free. Gluten is the protein found in wheat and other grass-based grains like spelt, barley, rye and triticale. Gluten can also appear in “non grain” foods where it is being used as a food additive to flavor, thicken or stabilize.

You don’t have to be diagnosed with full blown celiac disease to ponder the elimination of gluten. Some of the population unknowingly has gluten sensitivity. This sensitivity creates some minor health problems that are not usually associated with what they are eating. The health issues to look for after eating a meal containing gluten are: digestive problems, bloating, intestinal issues, headaches, skin rashes, itching, sleepiness, and/or increased heart rate. Additionally, gluten often interferes with a person’s immune system, which can include these systemic problems: mucous production when not sick, seasonal allergies, foggy thinking, fatigue, aching joints and recurring infections. In a nutshell, a gluten-sensitive person just doesn’t feel energized after eating gluten-containing meals and is plagued with some of the minor health problems listed. If you are suspicious of gluten intolerance, then eliminate it from your diet for three weeks. At that point, it should become more apparent if you are feeling better. Sometimes, after avoiding gluten for a period of time, symptoms will flare noticeably when reintroducing gluten food back into your diet. That is another indicator of gluten intolerance.

So what is a person to eat for carbohydrates after striking gluten off the list? Well, the good news is that maltodextrin, the main source of carbs in your high quality during and post event sports drinks, is filtered enough to remove the gluten even if wheat was used as the source of carbohydrate. Also, many U.S. companies use corn as the source of maltodextrin anyway, and corn is gluten free. So the during and post workout liquid replenishments stay intact, but what about whole food meals? Instead of bread, pasta, bagels and etc, try potatoes, brown rice, hard squashes, fruit and vegetables to meet dietary carb needs. As long as you refuel properly, you will meet your energy needs for the rest of the day without the gluten products. Strive to keep your meals balanced with lean proteins, healthy fats and produce based carbs (with occasional brown rice). This approach will help minimize the difficult adjustment away from your favorite gluten rich comfort foods. It is a tough adjustment for some, but feeling and performing at optimal levels is well worth the sacrifice. And serving your favorite meat sauce over baked winter squash instead of pasta is a yummy place to start. Or in place of your favorite warm, chewy and buttery sourdough dinner roll, you could try…

Chili Pepper Potatoes

4 medium sweet potatoes or yams diced

¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. pwdrd garlic

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp red chili pepper

1 tsp yellow curry pwder (optional)

Sea salt/ground pepper

Dice potatoes to desired bite size pieces or cut into wedges. Peels optional. Place rest of ingredients in a Ziploc gallon bag. Mash bag to mix. Add in potatoes and mix until well coated. Pour all contents onto baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes or until done to desired tenderness.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Crossfit Kool-Aid

So, one of the endurance athletes I have coached for almost 2 years, has decided to mix it up a bit in the weight room. Yep, Mike, is going to take Crossfit for a spin around the 'ol weight room block. Seriously, here is a guy who HEARTS the weight room, but hasn't given the functional fitness routine a go. Well, I warned him. It may look like it is for girls, but it's like the hardest tempo run going on steroids and forcing you to go lactate with 100 pounds on your back. I don't think he understood the accuracy of that statement until well...until yesterday.

So, if you are curious about this beast, then don't walk into the lair without reading the following words from Mike. He will update us over the next month as he gallantly drinks the ever so power concoction of Crossfit. Here is his pre-workout take and then his first real workout that came charging and snorting like a red eyed beast right into Mike's body. time, don't forget a shield!

Crossfit Kool-Aid

Let me start off by saying that I have been racing triathlons hard for the past 6 years. Numerous M-dot races, numerous 70.3 races, numerous, ahh well, you get the idea. After the debacle of torrential rain that was IM Lake Placid last year, I needed a break, a LONG break from the 3 sport sport. Needless to say, my break is still occurring. Not sedentary, but merely a break from the three headed monster! Enter, weight room!

Last winter I finally got back into the weight room seriously. First time since college Rugby in the late 90’s. The testosterone rush was addicting. I actually hit the pitch (rugby jargon for field of play) again and realized, that stuff really hurts when you can’t wash the pain away with numerous hours at the pub! I decided to hang the boots up and still have fun in the weight room. I did, to the tune of 14 lbs of pure muscle mass!

I had great hopes for this tri season, that is, until I started training! My mind was not fully recovered yet. I guess it takes some people longer than others! Did I mention that Lake Placid was rainy, yeah, to the tune of 4 inches during that hellish day!

Fast forward through the summer, lotsa running, no swimming, and barely any biking. Time for another off-season romp in the weight room. So, I started my first week of lifting 3 weeks ago and it just wasn’t doing it for me. That is when Deb and my good buddy from Ohio, Red, told me about crossfit. Deb had mentioned trying a few workouts, Red had told me to jump in and hold on for the ride.

The next few weeks I am going to chronicle the adventure that is Crossfit. I went to the first class on Saturday, Nov 14th and heard their philosophy. Intense anaerobic workouts that last from 5 to 20 minutes and completely kick your butt. Yeah, right! A 5 minute lift kicking my 200 lb butt that thrives on the weight room? c’mon man!

Well, I decided I needed a new fitness fix, I have decided to drink the Crossfit kool-aid. I signed up for 1 month. I am going to totally dedicate and immerse myself in this crossfit program to see if it will make me a better 3 sport monster, or at least get me ripped like Arnold!

But, I had my first experience with some functional triathlon crossover and I haven't even officially started. On Saturday, my crossfit coach taught me a new squat technique, putting my big ol butt below my knees. WAIT!!!! Isn’t that supposed to be bad for your knees? You ask. Well, the way he explained it is as follows. “When are you ever going to squat to parallel or less.” Good point I thought, and dropped my butt down. He then asked me to sit on a low box and stand with NO momentum. I couldn’t. I was humbled, embarrassed, and a little peeved! He was pointing out the fact that one can be very strong in many aspects, but lack what crossfit terms, “functional fitness”. Maybe that is why I never really have that biking power I want?

To read more about this functional fitness and crossfit, check out this website . I have my next session on the 16th at noon. I will blog again later this week to see if this “10 minute of hell” routine is all it is cracked up to be. Apparently this week I learn how to power clean, dead-lift, jerk, and other Olympic lifts the crossfit way. We will see if the kool-aid tastes as good as I remember!


Now, get ready for blood and carnage boys and girls.

A Whole New Flavor

So, I am almost done with my first week of crossfit. Gotta say, I have really never seen the point in squatting below parallel, using momentum to do a pull up, and other “functional” movements. That is as the crossfit world says. I used to giggle at the “girly men” at the gym that would kip (a form of crossfit hip thrust as you do a pull up) when they do a pull up. I would point at the muscle head that would squat till his trash touches the floor. Well, let me tell you something. It ain’t as easy as it looks.

First off, just trying to get my hip thrust to get a pull up done has caused a mass amount of confusion for my body. Squatting below parallel, well, lets just say that my hips are not quite that flexible. Now, on top of that, throw a 10 minute time limit, box jumps, push ups, and kettle ball swings and a coach yelling at you that there will be no gains unless you go balls to the wall! Lets just say that my guts were on the floor already in my crossfit journey.

So, the week started with a warm up of squats and jogging. We talked some correct form so I would not tag out of this game early, and then onto the workout. My first workout was ten 36 inch box jumps, followed by 10 20 lb kettleball swings, followed by 10 push ups in 10 minutes. The goal was to get as many as I could. And that I did. BUT, let me tell ya something, crossfit is a new game. Total lactate threshold work. I was expecting to blow my coaches hair back. And that I did, with the chunks spewing from my mouth after my last set. SERIOUSLY!

So, the week has progressed, today (Thursday) was my rest day, and I just (read that as 30 minutes ago) am now able to fully flex and extend my arm again. Yep, full on not able to even pick my own nose. G’times. At to think that all of the workouts so far have only dealt with body weight moves. Absolutely zero added weight, apparently this is telling me something. Still trying to figure out what that is!

After almost finishing my first week, gotta say. The kool-aid tastes pretty damn sweet. It has been tough to swallow, but once down, I am liking the taste. I have not puked from a workout since my college rugby days. And to tell you the truth, I like it, I like it a lot. The workouts are intense, full body, 30-50 minute workouts with the hardest part lasting anywhere from 10-25 minutes. I love the feeling of busting my gut with all I have and being able to see results immediately, even if it is simply boogers that I can’t pick;)

Alright, next week I will give more detail on the whole crossfit mind set and let you know if any of my muscles are adapting to the new moves. My guess is that workouts are going to be so varied they will not have the time to adapt. I believe there in lies the benefit of this new cult!

Until then, I’m pouring another glass, or 6, for the next week!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Park City Half Marathon by Jesus Castaneda

Just want to say thanks to Jesus, one of our SLRC employees, for sending in this race report. I am sure it is no surprise that one of my favorite things about this post is his nutrition choices for dinner the night before and breakfast. Great stuff! No wonder you ran so much faster!

Seriously though, isn't it great to remember our race experiences? What worked, what didn't and why we do it? Time to think back at 2009 and start planning for 2010. Maybe more Half's for Jesus. How 'bout you?

So there I was at the starting line of the park city half marathon. It was a chilly Saturday morning and weeks of training were about to pay off. It was my second half marathon of the year and I was eager to better my time from my first one.

The course of the half marathon was nice and very challenging for me at times. With great views of the area that made me feel sheltered by the mountains as I run as fast as I could. The first half of the race was pretty much all uphill which meant that the second half was gonna be all pretty much downhill, so I took it a bit easy the first few miles just to make sure I was gonna have enough gas on the tank to have a strong finish.

At mile 9 I took my last gel and I was ready to start my strong finish so I started pushing a little bit harder in every stride. Up to that point I was pretty comfortable with my performance and I didn't have any major set backs (no upset stomach or bathroom breaks). I attribute that to a great dinner the night before, my father in-law grilled some salmon and served it with grilled sweet potatoes (it was delicious). For breakfast I had a bowl of quinoa with hemp milk and a sweet potato from dinner plus lots of water. It was great to see my wife Jenn with my kids at the finish line and even greater when I looked at my watch and realized that I had improved my previous half marathon time by almost 10 minutes. I love running, I love the good days and the bad days and I am most thankful for the people who make it possible for all of us to compete in such a great environment. My goal was to better my time and to set a good example for my kids. Their smiles and big hugs at the end was the best feeling after a great event. Thanks to everybody involved in the Park City Marathon and ½ Marathon. I am looking forward to making it a tradition for years to come.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Essential off season leg stability work

I am sure many of you out there have gone through a knee, hip or ankle problem. Joint issues are very common among endurance athletes,but the good new is that you can dramatically reduce your chance of getting one of those kinds of injuries! Strengthening weak muscles, stretching tight ones and relieving muscle tension should become not just an off season, but year round mantra of any one who doesn't want to get injured.


Most joint injuries are a result of muscle instability. That means that certain dominant muscle are much stronger as compared to weaker large muscles or weaker stabilizing muscles. If this happens then joints, like hips and knees get yanked on too much in one direction by the stronger muscle and not equalized because the weaker muscle groups are too weak to do their job and pull it back into alignment.

For knees and hips specifically, working your abductor and adductors are two of what I consider to be the essential injury prevention exercises. There are some others like different types of lunges, but start with these first. These can be added to your existing leg routine or done at home with stretch cords. I prefer that people do this on cable machines though like the videos below show.

How many? Well, if you have never done something like this before, then start with 2 sets of 10 reps on each leg for about 4 weeks and then add another set to make it three. Or if you are really time crunched, the use this exercise as your warmup for leg day and do one set of 15.


There are numerous resources that have effective stretches. There are now multiple DVD's and Books on stretching and Yoga for athletes. These are great because they show you poses that you can do when you are tired and don't need any more strength or power work. Just relax and stretch. Flexibility Training is one of my favorite DVD's. It is a great 25 minutes stretch routine and has some good leg stretches as well. Do this once or twice a week will really help your body unwind.

For relieving muscle tension and knots, you either need to have a really good sports massage therapist you see once or twice a month AND/OR you use something like a Trigger Point Therapy kit. You can read that post here.

Oh and, this quick video demonstrated the yoga stretches that target specifically the adductor/abductor muscles we are concerned with today. ACTUALLY, you will have to just do what this video says and then drop your leg the other direction as well(across your body.) to get both sets of muscles.

So, just remember that injury prevention should be a staple part of your year round program. Happy strengthening, stretching and relieving of muscle tension!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Jena's Journey

Thank you so much Jena for sending us your story. It seems as though that no matter who you are, your goals, your experience or your natural talent level, the dedication it takes to get where you want to go is unchanging. It is so inspirational to talk to all kinds of people and be motivated by their own sacrifices and passionate pursuits through this race we call life.

My name is Jena, I am 31 years old, I have a 7 year old daughter and a 3 almost 4 year old daughter. I got married 12 years ago in May. Before I got married I ran almost every day and I enjoyed running local 5ks. In Junior High and High School I ran Track and Field and Cross Country. A year after High School I got married, and my Husband and I started focusing on having a family. The first 7 years of our marriage we found it was not easy for us to have children and we experienced many failed pregnancies but eventually were able to have our two amazing daughters. During this time, I focused on my children and Husband and I forgot about me. I didn't realize I could balance both taking care of myself and taking care of my Husband

and Daughters. When my youngest turned 18 months old, I decided to make a change. I wanted to be the best Mother and Wife I could be and in order for that to happen, I realized I needed to take care of myself and lose a lot of weight and live a more healthy life style.

In August 2007 my Journey to a healthier happy me began. My oldest was 5 and she had just started school. Her school is 1 mile away from our home so I decided to walk her to school and home everyday, 4 miles a day. Then I started jogging to school while pushing my baby in a jogging stroller with my oldest riding her bike right next to me. I started getting stronger and stronger. I later found some friends to workout with a few times a week and that was very motivating. I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon so I began training by running almost everyday.

On March 28th 2009 I ran my first half marathon in Riverton, Utah and my time was 3:08. After 11 years of not running I was hooked and hitting the pavement again and I ran and completed a half marathon. My husband ran by my side and some good friends followed us around the race with our kids so that they could see us accomplish this goal. It was an amazing feeling to accomplish this. On June 13th 2009 I ran my second half marathon at Bear Lake and my time was 3:09.

As many of you know, Salt Lake Running Co. hosted the Nike+ Human Race on Saturday, October 24th 2009. My Husband and I participated in this awesome race and finished in 1:23:09. This was an amazing race because I saw a lot of people supporting one another. I witnessed friends who had finished who ran back to find friends who still needed to finish and helped motivate them and get them to the finish line. I personally had 2 friends come back and find my husband and I and it was a great feeling to have that kind of support. I came to the practice training runs that Salt Lake Running Co. provided for us the weeks previous to the race and loved the encouragement and support I received from everyone in the running group. The running community is such an awesome bunch of people and running with a group is a great way to stay motivated.

My daughters are part of my workouts. They watch me lift weights at home and they go on most of my runs with me. I have made a point to tell them that I need to be a healthy happy mommy and so they support me and never complain. I know that my example will be something that they take with them throughout their lives. They enjoy eating the healthful food I make them and they also like to exercise and be active. My husband is also eating better and trying to be more active. He is helping me reach my goals by encouraging me, being very supportive, and he runs in every race that I enter, I love having him there. I am working with a friend who is a personal trainer and nutritionist and she is also helping me reach my goals, thanks Brynnly!

Since my weight loss Journey started in Aug. 2007, I am happy and excited to say that I am 50+ lbs lighter than I was then. I still have 70 lbs to lose to reach my goals and I know I can and will reach my goal. The message I would like to share with whoever reads this is simple. Your Mind is amazing and you can do anything if you say you can. I hear a lot of people out there making a lot of excuses. Excuses keep you on the couch and keep the pounds on! Surround yourself with a support group, let people know what you are doing, eat better and exercise more and start saying you can, make it happen.
It is not always easy, but I can tell you from experience that it is a lot harder to start from scratch.
Here are a few things that help me stay on track and will help you:

-Weight loss doesn't happen overnight, it is a long Journey , but you will benefit greatly by doing it right.
-Exercise often, get your heart rate going!
-Find a group or friend to workout with or run/walk with.
-Keep a Food Journal, you will be surprised at how many calories you consume in a day.
-Avoid eating out, if you eat out make wise choices and don't finish your plate.
-Weigh in once a week with someone, it helps to have someone other than yourself to answer to.
-Stay Positive, tell yourself you can, your mind is much stronger than you think.
-Set small goals that add up to a bigger goal.
-Reward yourself when you meet your goals, new running socks, some new music on iTunes...
-If you have a bad day get right back to your plan the next day.
-Teach your kids, explain what you are doing and why and they will be a huge motivation and support to you.
-Don't start next week, Start Today!

I just want to say thank you to the Salt Lake Running Co. for sharing my story. I hope that it will inspire many to get out there and make a change. You can do it!

-Jena Marston