Spring back into action with these training tips



Minute 1: Athletes need these essential nutrients

At the micro level, nutrition advice gets a little complicated. Someone could throw darts at a periodic table and suggest we eat whatever they landed on. It would all sound the same to me. Luckily, Podium Runner dug through the research for us and broke down the essential “7 Nutrients Athletes Might Be Missing.” Athletes can be especially susceptible to nutrient deficiency, since training burns through your body’s storage fast. Pay attention to your diet and use these tips to restore what you’ve lost. First, those who exercise 6 hours or more per week should watch out for iron deficiency. Iron needs vary depending on age and gender, so there’s no 1 size fits all recommendation, but having some beef in your diet is a good place to start. Next comes magnesium, which is a key for many biochemical operations. Muscle cramps are a common indicator of magnesium deficiency, but any of these magnesium rich foods will get you balanced back out. The other common cause of muscle cramping is potassium deficiency. Bananas are a quick and easy source, but WebMD outlines other “Potassium Rich Foods” that are options as well. Got Milk? Good, because calcium is vital for athletes, especially women. Calcium can be lost through sweat, making athletes susceptible to bone fractures and conditions like osteoporosis down the line. Dairy is probably the best source of calcium, but there are other options, like almonds, beans and lentils, which are among the “Top 15 Calcium-Rich Foods,” according to Healthline. Endurance athletes should pack salty snacks on long outings, as sodium deficiency becomes common during extended periods of exercise. One study found that 27% of Ironman participants required medical attention for low sodium levels. Athletes undergo lots of oxidative stress, so selenium intake should be consistent due to its role in antioxidant function in the body. Brazil nuts are an easy source, but supplements are a good option too. Last, just like sodium, endurance athletes lose zinc quickly as they exercise over time. As a necessary part of our immune system function, having enough zinc is more important than ever as we enter the process of reopening the world. #RenewingEnergy

Minute 2: Spring back into action with these training tips

To those who managed to stay fully active all winter, you’ve earned our respect. Here in Boston, with no marathon in April -- or any other spring races for that matter -- motivation to trudge through the snow, slush and ice was a little lacking. If you stayed inside to wait out the winter, springtime can be a challenge. It's your opportunity to get back out there and move, but you should be sure to check out “10 Spring Training Fitness Tips for Athletes” to smooth the transition out of hibernation. Avoid the dreaded DOMS by easing into your workouts over a period of several days; don't shock your system by going all out the first weekend you get the chance. Come up with a plan to increase training intensity gradually -- no more than 10% per week. Even if you did stick to an exercise routine all winter, but want to switch things up, spring can be a great time to dive into a new sport. Finding a partner or team helps you stay consistently motivated, and even though it’s not an individual sport, runners can benefit from the comradery of a team by joining a running group. Check out: “Everything You Need to Know About Group Running.” A little healthy competition can really draw you back into a routine, and by planning runs together, groups can hold each other accountable to show up and put in the miles. With the end of the pandemic in sight and road races opening up again, it's a good time to connect with other vaccinated runners and work together toward a summer or fall race. #SpringForward

Minute 3: Foods to make your vaccine experience easy

More than 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, and Covid cases are dropping sharply, according to the CDC. That's surely cause for celebration, but you’ve probably heard about some annoying side effects the vaccine may cause. For anyone in the process of vaccination, check out “6 Foods to Eat (And 2 to Avoid) After the COVID Shot, According to A Doctor.” Just as you mom told you 100 times in your childhood kitchen, the first thing you should do is stock up on fruits and veggies. They contain vitamin C, which aids in white blood cell production, and antioxidants, which help reduce your vulnerability to disease in general. Help yourself to some sushi; fatty fish contain omega-3s which decrease inflammation to reduce any aches you experience. For those who experience fatigue after their shot, nothing will nurse you back to health quite like chicken soup. As if you needed another reason to cut out heavily processed foods, Dr. Sonpal tells LIVESTRONG that “Highly processed foods can cause spikes in sugar, which in turn cause the immune system to falter... And when the immune system doesn't work at its full capacity, it's far easier for viruses or other harmful pathogens to enter the body.” Lastly, be sure to eat on the day of your shot to avoid an awkward encounter like the one this Reddit poster shared. #ShotAndACheer

Minute 4: Free yourself of hip pain with these mobility exercises

A wise woman once said, hips don’t lie. That’s especially true for runners, who generate most of their power from the waist down. The benefits of developing hip strength are significant, but we need a balance of strength and mobility to achieve optimal results. Developing hip mobility is a central part of maintaining good running form and utilizing your full range of motion. Men's Health just came out with some essential tips in “This New Program Can Help You Solve Your Tight Hips.” They give a rundown of Dan Giordano’s daily mobility program, which uses stretches and yoga positions to develop your flexibility. Many believe yoga and running go hand in hand, so Dan includes classics like the figure 4 stretch, and some new options, like Pigeon pose. Be sure to hold the positions only until you feel a decrease in tension; you shouldn't push beyond that to the point of experiencing pain. To check out his program’s full videos, visit his page on All Out Studio. You may also enjoy this advice from Fleet Feet: “7 Yoga Moves Every Runner Needs to Know” or CorePower Yoga’s list of “9 Yoga Poses for Runners.” #StretchLikeAColombian

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • We were saddened to learn Atlanta running legend Jeff Galloway recently suffered a heart attack and we wish him a speedy recovery. It’s another stark reminder that even super fit athletes need to heed their body’s warning signs. Fortunately, Jeff did just that. We had the pleasure of speaking with him on the Six Minute Mile Podcast recently, where he shared his experiences as an Olympian, lifelong runner, and trainer. Jeff used his own trial and error, as well as research into human evolutionary history to develop training methods for endurance athletes, and he’s shared his insights over the span of several books. Listen in to find out if his signature Run-Walk-Run method is right for you.

  • Need some inspiration to craft the perfect running playlist? You’re in luck because this “Spotify data reveals the best workout songs.” A UK-based gym sifted through user’s workout playlists and tallied the artists and songs that appeared most frequently. There is some evidence that suggests certain songs are better to run to, given the amount of musical information they contain. Researchers found more was better, meaning that you should select a full band recording over a solo acoustic track for the best results. Additionally, take the BPM into consideration to help settle into proper running cadence.

  • In the past, we’ve advocated for high intensity interval training as a quick and efficient way to get in shape. While it is effective, it can be easy to go overboard if done without caution. CNET set out to assess the risks and ask “Is HIIT bad for you? The downsides of high intensity workouts.” They caution that too much intensity can increase cortisol, the stress hormone, to levels higher than what's healthy. Additionally, the workouts can potentially disrupt sleep and metabolism patterns. For a deeper dive, check out this blog post from the popular workout app Sworkit: “LISS vs. HIIT Cardio — Which Should You Be Doing to Achieve Your Fitness Goals.”

  • We were very pleased to see our friends at the Abbott World Marathon Majors host a successful virtual event on the first weekend of May. Although most races in the series were cancelled last year, AbbottWMM is bouncing back this year, starting with this virtual marathon that attracted runners from more than 75 countries who ran the inaugural AbbottWMM Global Marathon. Athletes aged 20 to 87 from Singapore to Switzerland, the Philippines to Peru, Hong Kong to Honduras donned their race bib, laced up their shoes and completed their 26.2 miles. For more info on earning the prestigious 6 star medal by finishing Boston, London, Berlin, Tokyo, New York and Chicago, check out details here.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

Two years ago, Kenyan long distance star Eluid Kipchoge won the London Marathon in record time. His victory was one of many in a long list of accomplishments, including the world record in the marathon, multiple Olympic medals, and podium finishes at the world championship level. If you’re looking for some inspiration as you set your sights on your own competition, watch his sensational finish in London in the short Instagram video below.