The Chicken or the Egg?

A question I get asked every time I start with a new running client is, “Do I run before I lift or lift before I run?”

Basically, the “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” question for runners.

Apparently, this guy is running the NYCM, too.

The general school of thought is that you do your primary exercise before your secondary if you are doing them back-to-back like I often do. Theory: you don’t screw up your form by having tired, overworked muscles and you get a proper running workout (your primary goal) before you hit the weights.

I tend to think there’s a better way to go about doing a double.

 

  1. Split your workouts into morning and night. I still recommend running first.

    Dawn Patrol running in Central Park. My favorite time to run.

  2. Do your serious (heavy/hard) leg workout on a day that you don’t run at all.

    Leg workouts are serious business & need their own special day of the week.

  3. Lift on a cross-training cardio day, like one when you swim or spin for cardio training instead of running.

    Spinning = VO2 max training = faster runner. It’s science.

  4. If you must do it back-to-back, do a dynamic leg workout following your run–plyometrics. That way, your muscle fibers are consistently doing one form of exercise.

    Running = jumping, so keep the same muscle fibers active in the gym & JUMP to avoid injury.

  5. Only do upper body lifting on a double day.

    Strong runners have strong upper bodies. Don’t ignore the other half!

Overtraining is the main cause of injury in runners. Don’t be “that guy”! Rest, recover, spread out your workouts throughout the week. But whatever you do, be sure to get your strength training in so you can protect your joints and get to that start line!

Now go out and run!

Good Gossip

Congratulations to all of my runner friends and Team Challenge family who completed the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon on the Vegas strip last night! I hear it was a great race (unlike the Hot Chocolate 15K and 5k in D.C.–wow, what a disaster!) and Team Challenge raised over 4 million dollars for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

You do remember that it’s still Crohn’s and Colitis Awarenss Week, right? Get informed, write to your congressperson, and hug a C & C patient today!

Onward.

Two weeks ago, I ran a marathon. Since then, I’ve been running FAST and entirely pain-free. No tightness. Just me and the cool morning road in Central Park. I gotta tell you, I recovered super-fast from the Philly Marathon. I think there were a few reasons for this:

#1. I cross-trained like a crazy person and stuck to my running schedule. No more, no less.

#2. It was my 9th marathon.

#3. I basically did nothing the week of the marathon.

#4. I walked back to my hotel after the race, which was at least a mile.

#5. Dr. Shure.

First, let me say this: I try a new fitness class/health-related something almost once a week here in New York City. I read about new classes, instructors, businesses and am sometimes invited to partake in free trials and I love that about my job. I don’t write about all of it because it’s not all good. You read about the stuff I love here on the blog but there is plenty that doesn’t land in the “things I recommend” pile and I don’t like to write about those less-than-positive experiences because that’s not what I’m about.

Now, given that disclaimer, #5 needs an explanation.

I was contacted by the folks at Madison Square Chiropractic and Wellness about my blog and my work as a trainer. Dr. Shure invited me to come to his office post-marathon so he could treat whatever aches and pains I had acquired during those 26.2 miles in Philly. It was such a great experience that I want to tell you all about it. Yes, it was complimentary but I would never ever promote something I didn’t find to be beneficial. It’s not how I roll.

Dr. Shure spent about 10 minutes getting to know my history and exercise habits before he evaluated my posture and alignment. He had me plop down on a traction table that moved my body so as to mimic warming up my muscles while he poked around at my tight right-side QL, left-side gluteus medius attachment and both adductors (the places he felt needed releasing, given my verbal and physical evaluation). I felt very safe as he manually released my muscles and stretched them back into alignment. No pain at all.

Unlike so many other chiropractors who push and force your joints and limbs into proper alignment without addressing the muscles that are restricting them, Dr. Shure and I both agreed that the most beneficial way to realign anything is to start with the tight muscles and let the adjustments happen naturally. I have been of this mind regarding alignment for many years now and love that I found a chiropractor who works this way because they are so RARE!

After about 45 minutes, I left his office feeling like a million bucks and had minimal soreness the next day where he had released some muscular adhesions. Best part? I was immediately and completely pain-free, unlike some of my running friends and colleagues who suffered from painful IT bands and lower backs in the week or so following their respective marathons. Sweet!

Seriously, Dr. Shure rocks. I am going back. You should go, too. His involvement with Team In Training and his regular volunteer work at the ING NYC Marathon finish line is just another added bonus to those of you endurance athletes out there. It’s refreshing to speak with a chiropractor who is as passionate about getting and keeping people moving as I am. I’m all about the Good Gossip and this is definitely someone you should ALL be talking about!

If you are going to be an endurance athlete, it is imperative that you find a team of experts you can rely on to keep your body healthy. It’s virtually impossible to do on your own and seeking out these experts: sports medicine doctors, running coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, chiropractors, nutritionists can mean the difference between running for the rest of your life and being sidelined by a stress fracture you just can’t shake. Do a little research and ask around for experts people love. Take good care of your body and it will take good care of you!

Thanks to Dr. Shure and his staff for reaching out and getting me back on my running feet pain-free. You guys rock!

Now go out and run!

Q & A: Speedy Recovery Tricks

Q. I’m pooped after my long run! Should I take the next day off from working out and lounge around all day?

A. I’d advise against that. It’s counterintuitive, but you’ll actually recover faster from a brutal workout if you do a short, easy workout the next day. Remember the Shake Out Recovery Run? This is the time to do it. You might be a little sore when you start, but by gently moving your body and increasing the blood flow to your muscles, you are providing your muscles with the nutrients they need to rebuild and recover. Take the day after that off to rest and recoup. Maybe you use that easy run to catch up with a friend who’s a little slower or enjoy the scenery. Whatever you do, take it easy but get up and move!

Q. All I want after a hard workout is get into a hot shower and stay there. For hours. That’s cool, right?

A. You know what’s better? Suffering for juuuuuust a few more minutes (10-15, to be exact) in an ice bath and then sit in your hot, steamy shower for as long as your little heart desires. The thing about the ice bath is that it gets your body to chill out and not swell up. When you’re out there running for a while or killing it during a really tough run, your blood is a-pumpin’ and your body’s fluids are moving at a faster rate than normal. When you stop, your body takes a while to slow back down and you can build up fluid (edema) in your extremities (legs!!) which is seriously uncomfortable and hinders your recovery. Ice bath first, hot shower second.

Q. I don’t really need to stretch after a long run, right?

A. Wrong. Right after a run is when your muscles are the most warm and your joints are the most lubricated. Prime stretch time. As you get older (ahem, I am not old, just old-er), these problems become more apparent. You youngsters probably don’t feel creaky just yet, but wait a few years. You will. In order to promote muscular recovery and prevent injury YOU MUST STRETCH AFTER YOU RUN. Seriously, I just watched Spirit of the Marathon, a documentary film that follows various athletes through their marathon training leading up to the 2005 Chicago Marathon. Deena Kastor won that marathon and in the film she talks about the importance of stretching after a run. So much so that, despite her confessed “laziness”, she has her husband stretch her because she knows how crucial that component of training really is. Treat it like your workout: make the time for stretching.

Now go out and run!