How massage therapy helps running performance



Minute 1: Vegans, protect your bone health with these key nutrients

While a vegan diet provides a feast of benefits for both our bodies and our planet, there are some downsides. According to a reputable UK study last year, vegans have a 43% higher risk of bone fractures compared to their meat-eating peers. Details are in this Science Daily story from last fall: “Vegans, vegetarians and pescetarians may be at higher risk of bone fractures.” But before you switch from Impossible Burger to Burger King, remember that with proper supplements, you can compensate for missing nutrients in a vegan diet. This finding comes from “Vegan Diets Do Not Increase Risk for Hip Fractures with Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements.” The article is short and sweet, but it left us wondering, what supplements are best? So we found “The 12 Best Vitamin D Supplements of 2021” to make the search easy for you (scroll to the bottom of the article to see the recommended vegan option). The problem about vitamin D is that it can be hard to come by, especially during winter. Most of our vitamin D comes from sun exposure, so cloudy days or long winter months are the cause of most people’s deficiency. Calcium, on the other hand, is readily available in a lot of foods. If dairy is off the table for you, don't worry, here are the “Top 10 Vegan Sources of Calcium.” Plant milks are one of the easiest ways to meet your daily requirement of about 1000 mg, since they’re often fortified with added calcium. While we’re on the topic, you may want to check out the “Benefits of plant based milk” whether or not you’re a vegan. #SupplementalBenefits

Minute 2: Should THC be a banned substance for athletes?

Even the most casual fan of the U.S. Olympic Trials has probably learned of the heartbreaking case of Sha’Carri Richardson: “American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson apologizes for positive marijuana test.” Richardson was well aware of the consequences of her actions, but seemingly slipped up after learning that her biological mother had died while the sprinter was at the trials. After apologizing to her fans on Twitter, she received lots of support, and garnered the attention of advocates working to reduce marijuana-related penalties for athletes. Even President Biden weighed in, expressing admiration for Richardson’s honesty, adding: "The rules are the rules. Whether they should remain the rules is a different issue, but the rules are the rules." It's been a heated debate in recent years, and you can read about it from a legal perspective in this story from the American Bar Association: “It’s Time to Get Real about Marijuana and Professional Sports.” A major issue is consistency. Some states prohibit all marijuana use, 15 of them allow recreational use, and the rest stand somewhere in the middle. There’s no obvious precedent where athletic regulators should stand, and the problem is even worse for international events like the Olympics. Critics of the marijuana ban for athletes argue that the rule is unnecessary, as THC typically doesn’t make athletes faster or stronger. That fact prompted NBC News to offer this perspective: “Advocates say THC does not enhance sports performance. So why is it banned?” However, marijuana does have some effect on the mind and body, which can be both a good and bad thing for an athlete. If you want to see how, check out “9 ways marijuana affects your athletic performance.” #InTheWeeds

Minute 3: Losing your shoe doesn’t mean losing the race

Receiving the dreaded flat tire as you walked through your middle school hallways was embarrassing enough, but it could be worse. Just ask Sean McGordy who was on the receiving end of a shoe mishap you can see in this video of the steeplechase semi final at the Olympic Trials on June 21. Despite the setback, he persevered. Read about it in “Don't Panic: Lessons from Trials Mishaps.” About halfway through the race, his shoe was stepped on, nearly pulling it from his foot. As he struggled to pull it back on, Sean dropped from 2nd place to 15th. Only the top 5 spots per heat are guaranteed a place in the next round. He could have given up there, but he carried on, working his way up the field and sprinting to a 9th place finish in the heat. Luckily, his time was fast enough to advance to the next round. His stoic comeback had paid off. McGordy’s struggle is one of many ways a run can go wrong. Alongside gear malfunctions, injuries are among the most common setbacks you’ll likely experience mid race, so check out these “6 Tips to Avoid Running Injuries.” #LooseLacesLoseRaces

Minute 4: Treat yourself to a massage: Here are the best kinds for runners

You don’t need to fake an injury or book a spa weekend to rationalize booking a massage appointment. Even for the healthiest of runners, massage can deliver a big range of recovery benefits according to this new piece from Sport Coaching: “Massage For Runners - Guide To Trigger Point Therapy For Runners.” There are 4 general categories: active release, Swedish massage, trigger point, and deep tissue. The Swedish massage is the least intense, and it's more about relaxing and promoting blood flow. That means it’s a great option if you have a race a couple days out. The other 3 are more potent, breaking up tissue and knots that come from muscle strain. Deep tissue massages are great overall recovery, while trigger point and active release massages can target specific injuries. Whichever kind you choose, it's best to do it after a workout, as getting a massage right before exercise can cause you to become overly relaxed and worsen performance. Not everyone has the ability to get a massage on demand, but foam rolling is the next best option. Learn why in “Foam Rolling Versus Massage For Performance and Recovery.” Unlike a massage, you can foam roll before or after a workout, since the effort it requires actually stimulates your muscles to an extent. In addition to recovery benefits, foam rolling can also improve flexibility. #4NewMassages

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Taking the first steps of your running journey can be a daunting task. For inexperienced runners, you can’t find a program more tailored to your needs than the Couch to 5K. However, beginners and experts alike could probably learn a thing or two about training from the C25K founder, Josh Clark. CNN interviewed him recently, asking about the origins of the program, the keys to success in running, and more. See what he’s about in “The Couch to 5K founder reveals tips for running beginners.”

  • Pro-probiotics are a proven way to improve your gut health, which brings all kinds of benefits. When paired with prebiotics, you can receive a serious microbiome boost. Never heard of prebiotics? To put it simply, they are the “fuel” for our good gut bacteria. You can read about the details, and the best options for prebiotics here: “Everything Runners Need to Know About Prebiotics.”

  • Be honest, over the course of the pandemic, you checked into at least one virtual workout class and proceeded to apply the absolute minimum effort to get through it. No, just us? However your home workouts have gone, we’re all grateful gyms are returning to normal and getting us in the right mood to pump iron. That's not just a placebo effect, because fitness instructors are reporting that “You Really Do Work Out Harder at The Gym.”

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

When was the last time you met an endurance athlete past the age of 30 who said: “My hips are just too darned flexible and pain free.” Yeah, that’s what we thought. Most runners and cyclists are pretty good at stretching quads, hamstrings and calves, but often neglect the hips. Maybe that’s because you really can’t work your hips on the sidewalk in front of your place or at the trailhead. We need to do some homework if we’re going to ensure healthy hips and core. This video on hip strength, pain avoidance and flexibility is a great place to start.