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Gazelle Sports

  • Stretching Program

    This packet is designed for education to prevent injury and to promote health. If you experience an injury you should consult with your physician for proper care and treatment. The physicians and physical therapists at K-Valley Orthopedics specialize in sports medicine injuries and understand your desire to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle. Call 269-343-8170 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

     

    Guidelines for Stretching: The key to stretching is consistency over the long haul. You will get more benefit from doing a few minutes each day, rather than spending half an hour one to two days a week. When you stretch you should keep the muscles relaxed and only pull to where you feel a gentle stretch. Do NOT strain. If you pull to hard the muscles will automatically tighten to protect against a muscle tear and you will not improve your muscle length. Do not bounce and remember to relax and breathe easily while stretching.

    Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat twice. Do 1-2 x a day.

    ITB: This is a large tendon which starts at the top of your hip and pelvis and runs down along the outside of your leg and inserts along the side of your knee and shin. Use a rope or dog leash to assist this stretch. Lie on your back and place a loop around the involved foot. With your knee straight, first raise the leg straight up until you have reached waist height and then pull your leg across your body. Keep your back and shoulders flat on the floor the entire time.

    Hip Flexors: These muscles start from the lower spine and the top of the pelvis and insert onto the thigh and knee. Start in a half-kneeling position, with the leg you are stretching behind you. Keep your back straight and lean your hips forward until you feel a gentle stretch across the front or your hip. Do NOT overstretch.

    Quadriceps: This is a group of muscles along the front of the thigh. Stand with your back straight, pull your heel toward your buttock until a gentle stretch is felt across the front of your thigh. If you do not feel a stretch, tighten your butt muscles to increase the pull on the front of your thigh.

    Piriformis: This is a small muscle which runs from your sacrum to your hip. Laying on your back, with one hand pull your knee up toward your opposite shoulder and with the other hand pull your ankle toward your opposite shoulder until a gentle stretch is felt along your hip and buttock region.

    Adductor Stretch: This is the large group of muscles along the groin or inner thigh area. Sit with your legs yoga style but with the bottoms of your feet together rather than crossed, push out on your knees until a gentle stretch is felt along the back of your thigh. Standing with your heel up on a stool, keep your back straight, push your butt back, straighten your knee and pull your toes up until you feel a gentle stretch along the back of your leg.

    Gastrocnemius: This is the large muscle along the back of your calf. Position your back leg with knee straight, heel flat on the floor, toes pointed straight ahead. Position your front leg with knee bent, foot flat, toes pointed straight ahead. Lean forward until you feel a gentle pull in the calf muscles of the back leg.

    Soleus: This is a smaller muscle of the calf that lies under the gastrocnemius. Position your back leg with knee slightly bent, heel flat on the floor, toes pointed straight ahead. Position your front leg with knee bent, heel flat on the floor, toes pointed straight ahead. Lean forward until a gentle stretch is felt in the muscles of your calf on the back leg.

    Hamstrings: This is a large muscle group along the back of the thigh. Place heel on a chair with your toes pulled up towards you, knee straight and push your hips and butt, backwards. Keep your back up straight, DO NOT bend over at the back.

    IT Band: This is a large strap like muscle and tendon that runs from the hip to the knee. Cross right leg over left, stick left hip out to the side, bring left arm up over the top of your head. Repeat the same to the other side.

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  • Fast Abs

    By Alyssa Shaffer

    A generation ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find elite runners paying attention to their abs. Today, it’s practically mandatory. “Our coaches drill the importance of core conditioning into our heads,” Says world champion hurdler Lolo Jones. “We’re at it all the time.” That’s because scientists and coaches now know that you can’t run your best without a strong core, the muscles in your abdominals, lower back, and glutes. They provide stability, power, and endurance that runners need for powering up hills, sprinting to the finish, and maintaining efficient form mile after mile. “When your core is strong, everything else will follow,” says Greg McMillan, a running coach in Flagstaff, Arizona, who has worked with scores of elite and recreational runners. It’s the foundation for all of your movement, no matter what level of running you’re doing.

    The key is to train your core like a specialist. Experts have mapped out precisely how the movements of running draw on the strength and stability of the glutes, obliques, and ab muscles that lie deep beneath the six-pack. They’ve learned how essential it is for runners to engage these muscles to finish fast, reduce pain, and hang tough on long runs. Best of all, they’ve tailored workouts to help them do that.

    All runners – from those rehabbing injuries to elite gunning for PRs-can benefit from this detailed approach. “When all the muscles involved in running are supported, and the muscles in the hips and trunk work together you don’t get as many injuries and can enjoy running more,” says Phil Wharton, a musculoskeletal therapist and co-owner of Wharton Performance Group in New York and the Wharton Health Experience in Flagstaff.

    Quality core work isn’t easy. But it doesn’t require more than 15 minutes a few times a week-an investment that will pay dividends on the road. Just ask Lolo Jones. Even in the off-season, she’s working her core three times a week so that when she races, she’ll have the stamina to retain her status as America’s top hurdler. “When my core strength is at its peak,” says Jones, “I can run more efficiently and maintain the extra edge.

    Here’s How Your Core Works For You On The Road

    Speed. As you enter your stride or quicken the rate of your leg and foot turnover when you’re trying to pick up your pace, the lower abs-including the transverses and rectus abdominis- and lower back are called into action. The stronger and more stable these muscles are, the more force and speed you can generate as you push off the ground.


     

    Uphills

    The glutes and lower abs support the pelvis, which connects to the leg muscles needed to get uphill. If the core is strong, the legs will have a stable plane to push fro, for a more powerful ascent. When you swing your leg forward, the hip-flexor muscles, such as the rectus femoris, pull on the pelvis. As you push off the ground, the glutes and hamstrings are engaged.


     

    Downhills

    When you’re flying down a slope, you need strong gluteal muscles to help absorb the impact and counter the momentum of the forward motion. As fun as it may be to zoom down, without the core strength to control your movement, your quads and knee joints bear the extra pounding of your body weight, which can lead to fatigue, pain, and even injury.


     

    Endurance

    As you’re nearing the end of a race, a solid core helps you maintain proper form and run efficiently, even through fatigue. With strong lower abs and lower- back muscles, such as the erector spinae, it’s easier to stay upright. If your core is weak, you may end up shuffling, slouching, and putting too much stress on your hips, knees, and shins.


     

    Lateral Movement

    Whenever you have to suddenly move to the side-to turn the corner on a track, dodge a pothole, or navigate undulating terrain-the obliques provide stability and help keep you upright. If your core is weak, then you may end up leaning into the movement, which can put excess weight and strain on the joints in your legs and feet.

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  • Stretching 101

    By Rich Morris

    Let’s face it. As distance runners we don’t pay much attention to the basics of stretching. I know that is a generalization, but it is true for most of us. Sure, we probably do some light stretching before a workout or race to loosen up our muscles but we really don’t give proper stretching the attention that it deserves. A proper stretching program will help in several ways. It reduces the risk of injury; decreases muscle soreness and improves performance. There are six basic stretching techniques: static, passive, dynamic, ballistic, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PFN) and active isolated (AI).


     

    Static Stretching

    This is the most commonly used technique. A stretch position is gently assumed and held for 20 to 60 seconds. There is no bouncing or rapid movement. Do not stretch to the point of pain. You should feel a slight pull, but no discomfort. Keep all joints in alignment. Do not twist joints into unnatural positions. The stretch should be felt in the belly of the muscle and not in the joints. This type of stretch works best after your workout rather than before.


     

    Passive Stretching

    The basic technique is the same as static stretching. The muscles are kept relaxed and a gentle stretch is maintained for 20 to 60 seconds. The difference with a passive stretch is that a helper actually provides the forces of the stretch. In a static stretch, you get your body into position and supply the force for the stretch with other muscle groups and using body weight. With passive stretching you relax your entire body, while a helper provides the force to stretch your muscles. The same rules apply here. There should be no bouncing or rapid movement. Do not stretch to the point of pain.


     

    Dynamic Stretching

    A current popular buzzword among athletes is function training. That basically means training that mimics the actibity you are training for. Dynamic stretching could also be called functional stretching. A dynamic stretch is one in which your limbs are moving through their full range of motion. For example, walking with high knees is a dynamic flexibility exercise that stretches your glutes, quadriceps and lower back. Thesestretching exercises are best performed after a warm up and before you begin your activity.
    Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
    Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) was originally developed by physical therapists for reabhilitation purposes. This type of stretch is accomplished by maximally contracting the muscle to be stretched for 5 to 10 seconds. This is followed by a slow passive stretch. This is repeated several times. By contracting the muscle and then stretching, you overcome a tendency for the muscle to resist the stretch, which results in a higher degree of flexibility.


     

    Active Isolated Stretching

    Active isolated (AI) stretching is the latest development is flexibility. AI stretching involves contracting the opposing muscle while the target muscles is stretched. The theory is that as one muscle is contracted, the opposing muscle will relax. An example of opposing muscles are the hamstrings on the back of the thigh and the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh. By contracting the quadriceps as your stretch the hamstrings, the hamstrings will relax to a greater degree, resulting in a better stretch. Many dynamic stretches are a form of AI stretching.


     

    Which is Best?

    With all of these choices, which is the best way to stretch? The recommended methods are dynamic stretching before your training run and either static or AI stretching after your workout. The dynamic stretches do a good job of preparing your muscles for your workout or race without decresasing the energy return potential of your muscles. PNF stretching have been shown to be a high-risk type of stretch. Studies show that AI stretching provides more flexibility than either passive or static stretching. However, all of the stretches are appropriate for beginning runners.

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  • Basic Strength Training Exercises

    Basic Strength Training Exercises


    Single Leg Squat
    Squat down on one foot until your leg is bent about 50 degrees; push back up. "Keep your hips even, and your knee over your foot," says coach Bob Larsen. Once you've mastered the move, add dumbbells (start with 5 pounds).

    Repetition: 2 sets of 10; build to 2 sets of 12

    What it Works: Quads and glutes

    Heel Raises
    Stand on a curb or platform with your heels over the edge. Lift up onto your toes, raise one foot and slowly lower. Once you have the move down, add dumbbells (start with 5 pounds).

    Repetition: 1 set of 8; build to 3 sets of 15

    What it Works: Calf muscles and Achilles tendon

    Wood Chop
    Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 5 to 8 pound ball in your hands. Squat down with the ball between your knees, keeping your heels on the floor, sticking your butt out, and not letting your knees go more than a few inches toward your toes. Return
    to standing, raising the ball overhead, maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Keep your core engaged the whole time, as if bracing for a punch. Do two or three sets of 12 to 15 reps; increase weight of the medicine ball when you can do 15 in good form

    Repetition: 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps; increase weight of the medicine ball when you can do 15 in good form.

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  • Dynamic Flexibility & Mobility

    Dynamic movements are the best way to prepare your body for dynamic workouts.  Contrary to old beliefs, the best time to work on static flexibility is at the end of your workout, and not in the beginning.  After every workout you should follow a 4-6 minute total body static stretching series.The following dynamic stretches will help develop you flexibility, balance, coordination, mobility and strength.

    Walking High Knees

     

    Purpose:  to flex the hips and shoulders, and stretch the glutes, quads, lower back and shoulders.

    Procedure:

    1. Take an exaggerate high step, driving your knee as high as possible and simultaneously push up on the toes of your opposite foot.
    2. Use the proper arm swing; 90° angle at the elbows, hands sing up to chin level and back beyond rear pocket.

    Key Points: Drive your knees up as high as possible.

    Variation - High knees pull: Same as above, but grab your knee and pull it up and in with each stride.

    Arm Swings

     

    Purpose: to relax and loosen the arms, upper and lower back.

    Procedure:

    1. Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with knees slightly bent.
    2. Hold arms out to the side.
    3. Slowly swing arms back and forth across the front of your body.
    4. Repeat this continuous motion for a minimum of 30 seconds.

    Key Points:
    Keep back straight at all times.

    Variation:  Overhead/down and back – swing both arms continuously to an overhead position and then forward, down and backwards.

    Side Bends

    Purpose: Wakes up the breathing muscles in the front and side of the chest and releases tension in the shoulders.

    Procedure:

    1. Stand tall with good posture, feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, knees slight bent with hands resting on hips.
    2. Lift your trunk up and away from your hips and bend smoothly first to one side, then the other, avoiding the tendency to lean either forwards or backwards.
    3. Repeat the whole sequence sixteen times with a slow rhythm, breathing out as you bend to the side, and in as you return to the center.

    Key Points:
    Always try to avoid leaning forwards or backwards, stay centered.
    Variation: Place a toning bar on your shoulders and do same motion as above.

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  • Balance Running and Strength Training

    By Leslie Goldman

    Dieters Strategy:  
    Avoid strength training to keep from adding on pounds.

    Runner’s Strategy:
    Balance running and strength training.

    Dieters often shy away from strength training, such as lifting weights, out of a fear it will make them bulk up.  Others are intimidated by going to a gym.  But for many dieters, the reason is simpler.  They know one hour of intense cardio burns more calories than one hour of strength training.  If you’re pressed for time, it would seem that intense cardiovascular exercise would provide more bang for your buck, leading to a greater weight loss than pumping iron.

    Yet the truth is that taking the time to add strength training to your routine a few days a week has a number of unintuitive benefits that can help boost your weight loss.  Studies have shown that strength training can improve body composition by helping you maintain or increase your lean body mass and can decrease your percentage of body fat, helping you look leaner and burn additional calories.  Here’s how it works.

    Muscle Burns More Calories: “Fat burns almost nothing at rest,” says exercise physiologist Pete McCall, “whereas muscle uses oxygen.  If you increase lean muscles mass, you’ll increase the body’s ability to use oxygen and burn more calories,” Your body typically uses about 4.5 to 7 calories per pound of muscle every day.  If a 160-pound runner with 20 percent body fat increases his muscle mass and lowers his body fat to 15 percent, he’ll burn an extra 36 to 56 calories a day at rest – simply by adding muscle.

    You’ll Be More Efficient:  Strength training can help you run faster, longer, and more efficiently.  A study published last year in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that runners who add three days of resistance training exercises to their weekly program increase their leg strength and enhance their endurance.  Obviously, runners with better endurance can run longer – and burn more calories.  You’ll also be able to recover faster from those long runs because strength training makes your body more efficient at converting metabolic waste into energy.  “It’s like being able to convert car exhaust into gas,” says McCall.

    You’ll be Less Injury-Prone:  “If you increase your strength, you’ll also increase you joint stability, reducing your risk of repetitive stress injuries,” says McCall, citing a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, which showed that incorporating moves such as squats, single-leg hops, ab work into a workout can not only prevent lower-body injuries, but improve performance as well.  Leg exercises are particularly important when it comes to reducing injury:  These exercises strengthen muscles around the knees and hips – two areas that often cause problems for runners. 

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  • How to Use The Stick

    The Stick is a revolutionary device used to segmentally compress and stretch muscle. It is highly effective in the treatment of muscle pain and trigger points.

    The Stick provides the following benefits:
     

    • Prevent & Predict Muscle Injuries
    • Dramatically improve strength, flexibility and endurance
    • Rapidly prepare muscles for physical activity
    • Disperse the effects of lactic acid following activity
    • Accelerate muscle recovery
    General Tips for Use

    • Keep muscles relaxed during rollout
    • Use on skin or through light clothing.
    • The Stick is waterproof and designed to bend without fear of breaking.
    • It is not necessary to hurt the muscle in order to help the muscle.
    • Most effective when used before, during and after periods of activity.
    • For pin-point rollout, slide hands onto spindles.
    • Excessive use may caue muscle soreness.

    General Instructions

    • A typical warm-up for healthy muscle tissue is about 20 progressively deeper passes over each muscle group (about 30 seconds per area).
    • Discomfort or pain is experienced when the spindles locate a bump or tender knot in the muscle - this is known as a trigger point.
    • Muscles containing trigger points are often weak, stiff and sore. They are frequently tight, easily tire and often hurt.
    • Muscles containing chronic trigger points need 20 additional passes over the involved area, and may require attention several times daily.
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  • Dressing for Cold Weather

    To get outside and be comfortable in chilly winter temperatures you need to start with proper apparel,
    which includes fabrics with features that help regulate body temperature and preserve the body’s micro-climate.

    Proper Layering Beats Harsh, Cold Weather
    Proper layering allows you to strike a balance between your body temperature, clothing
    and the outside elements. As the temperature rises and/or your activity level increases,
    you can take off layers. Add layers as you get colder or the temperature drops. Also.
    Taking off your gloves or hat is a quick way to vent. As much as 70 percent of your
    body heat escapes through your extremities.
    Considers The Following Points When Deciding Your Layering Needs

    1. First Layer: Crucial! This layer must move moisture away from the body to prevent chill.
      Bras, briefs, tops and pants should be made of wicking materials.
    2. Insulation: This is the mid layer. These garments also move moisture and trap warm air.
    3. Outerlayer: This layer protects you from wind and precipitation, and completes
      moisture transfer by releasing perspiration into the air.

    How to Dress for the Weather

    Heavy Precipitation Moderate Precipitation Light Precipitation Dry Dark
    20°- 40° Outer shell Waterproof or breathable
    water resistant vest/jacket
    and pant/tight
    Waterproof or
    breathable water
    resistant vest/jacket
    and
    pant/tight
    Water resistant/
    breathable vest/jacket
    and pant/tight
    Breathable vest/jacket
    and pant/tight
    Reflective jacket
    or vest
    20°- 40° First layer
    insulation
    Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight Lightweight
    20°- 40° Accessories Gloves & hat:
    water resistant
    and breathable; yak trax
    Gloves & hat:
    water resistant
    and breathable; yak trax
    Gloves & hat (optional);
    yak trax
    Gloves & hat (optional) Lights, reflective bands
    0°- 20° Outer shell Waterproof or breathable
    water resistant vest/jacket
    and pant/tight
    Waterproof or
    breathable water
    resistant vest/jacket and
    pant/tight
    Breathable water
    resistant vest/jacket and
    pant/tight
    Breathable vest/jacket
    and pant/tight
    Reflective jacket
    or
    vest
    0°- 20° First layer
    insulation
    Midweight and/or lightweight Midweight and/or
    lightweight
    Midweight and/or
    lightweight
    Midweight and/or
    lightweight
    0°- 20° Accessories Gloves & head gear:
    waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Gloves & head gear:
    waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Gloves & head gear: waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Gloves & head gear:
    windproof plus thermal
    Lights, reflective bands
    0°- 20° Outer shell Waterproof or breathable
    water resistant jacket and
    pant
    Waterproof or breathable
    water resistant jacket and pant
    Breathable water
    resistant jacket and
    pant/tight
    Breathable jacket and
    pant/tight
    Reflective jacket or
    vest
    0°- 20° First layer
    insulation
    Midweight plus fleece Midweight plus fleece Midweight plus fleece Midweight plus fleece
    0°- 20° Accessories Gloves & head gear:
    waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Gloves & head gear:
    waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Gloves & head gear:
    waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Gloves & head gear:
    waterproof plus thermal;
    windproof underwear;
    arm warmers; yak trax
    Lights, reflective bands

    Wind Chill Factor 
    10mph wind = a temperature drop of about 15° 
    20mph wind = a temperature drop of about 25° 
    15mph wind = a temperature drop of about 20° 
    30mph wind = a temperature drop of about 35°

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  • How to Choose the Right Shoe

    Foot Type

    The Normal Foot Description: Normal feet have a normal-sized arch and leave an imprint that has a flare but shows the forefoot and heel connected by a wideband.
    Foot Characteristics: A normal foot usually lands on the outside of the heel, and then rolls inward (pronates) slightly to absorb shock. Runners with a normal foot and normal weight are usually considered biomechanically efficient and don’t require shoes with high stability.
    Best Shoes: Moderate stability shoes with moderate control features such as a dual density or medially posted midsole.
    The Flat Foot
    Description: Flat feet have a low arch and leave a nearly complete imprint. That is, the imprint looks like the whole sole of the foot.
    Foot Characteristics: This imprint usually indicates an overpronated foot that strikes on the outside of the heel and rolls inward (pronates) excessively. Over time, this can cause many different kinds of injuries and discomfort.
    Best Shoes: Motion-control shoes, or high-stability shoes with firm, stiff midsoles and control features that reduce the degree of pronation. This type of shoe will usually feature a large of amount of dual-density material in the midsole and will appear to be fairly straight, as opposed to hourglass or peanut shaped, when looking at the bottom. Highly cushioned and neutral shoes should be avoided for this type of foot.
    The High-Arched FootHigh Arched Foot Description: High-arched feet leave an imprint showing a very narrow band connecting the forefoot and heel.
    Foot Characteristics: A curved, high-arched foot is generally termed and supinated or underpronated foot (the terms are synonymous). This type of foot doesn’t pronate enough if at all, causing it to be an ineffective shock absorber.
    Best Shoes: Cushioned shoes with plenty of flexibility to encourage foot motion. Stay away from motion-control or stability shoes that limit foot mobility.
    Basic Foot Motions

    Pronations Explained

    When running, everyone has a unique motion in their legs and feet as they
    approach impact, at impact, and during toe-off…we call this the Running Gait.Typically, the foot starts by turning outward and becoming rigid to prepare for impact. (That is why most people tend to land on the outside of the hell.) At this point, the foot normally loosens up and rolls inward, and then becomes rigid
    again as the body weight is transferred over the ball of the foot, preparing for toeoff.The point at which the foot loosens and rolls inward is call pronation. Pronation is normal and is necessary to some degree for the foot to absorb shock and adapt to running surfaces.
    Over-Pronator: Someone who exhibits excessive inward motion is considered to be an overpronator. Some over-pronators are best served by stability or motion-control shoes, which assist in controlling the excessive inward motion of the foot. Conditions such as flat feet, a flexible arch or an everted heel can cause you to overpronate or roll farther than what is necessary to absorb shock and adapt to different running surfaces. Approximately 70-80 percent of runners overpronate to some degree.
    Under-Pronator: Someone who does not have enough inward motion is considered to be an under-pronator (more commonly referred to as a supinator). Underpronators strike the ground as other runners do, but their foot does not complete the motion needed to absorb shock. Usually, under-pronation is associated with a rigid, high-arched foot. Because the foot is so rigid, it absorbs shock poorly and does not adapt to changes in running surfaces. Approximately less than 10 percent of runners under-pronate or supinate.
    Neutral: Those that are right in the middle are known as neutral. Approximately 10-20 percent of runners pronate normally. By looking at the stride motion of the foot and simply discussing pronation and overpronation, we have only looked at the first portion of your stride when the foot strikes the ground. After your foot has rolled forward past your arch your foot is ready to leave the ground but before it can, your foot needs to roll in the opposite direction of pronation so that the loosened joints will tighten up again. This part of foot motion is called supination. It is necessary so that the foot becomes a more rigid lever to propel you forward.
    Type of Running Shoe
    • Geared toward extreme over-pronators and flat feet
    • Very little flexibility in the midfoot
    • Extremely supportive foundation

    Shop Motion Control Shoes

    • For mild over-pronators
    • Slightly flexible mid-foot
    • Arch support in the midsole for stability

    Shop Stability Shoes

    • For neutral or under-pronating runners with stable feet
    • Very flexible
    • Very little or no supportive technology
    • Provides excellent cushioning

    Shop Cushion/Neutral Shoes

    • Best suited for race days or up-tempo runs
    • Lightweight
    • Highly flexible
    • Very responsive

    Shop Racing Shoes

    • Enhances the runner’s “feel" of the ground  which encourages
      a more efficient and proper running form
    • 4mm drop or less compared to 8-12mm for the average shoe
    • Little or no stability or  cushioning addedLearn more about running in minimal shoes

    Shop Minimal shoes

    Running Shoe Fit
    Fit is the most essential aspect of the marriage between your feet and a pair of shoes.
    Feet are three-dimensional and therefore need to be fit to length, width, height and
    shape. A good fit consists of the following:
    • The footbed of the shoe (midsole/insole) should comfortable and contour the bottom of your feet. The heel should be cupped, the medial arch should be positioned correctly corresponding to your arch, and the balance should feel natural.
    • The fit of the shoe's upper should cradle your heel, wrap securely through the midfoot, and give wiggle room for your toes.
    • The depth of the shoe should match the height at your instep comfortably.
    • There should be no pressure points from seams, insoles or upper fabrics that will irritate you later.
    • The shape of the shoe should match the shape of your feet. Some people have straight feet, some slightly curved. Some people need extra depth, some a very narrow heel. With 26 bones making up each foot there are many variations of shape that need to be accommodated.
    • Different foot lengths are common although usually minor. However when it is more than a half a size it requires the person to fit the larger foot and potentially use a modification for the smaller foot. In all cases try on both shoes.
    Lacing of the upper offers the opportunity to help fit a shoe more uniquely. Recently
    many shoes have added extra eyelets or replaced eyelets with gullies (pull tabs made of
    fabric). These can secure a shoe on a foot by aligning the upper more closely to an
    individual foot shape. Also the use of horizontal lacing can reduce pressure on top of the
    foot decreasing the problem of feet going numb.
    If all aspects are perfect except the fit, it is still not the right shoe for you.
    Fit is the most important factor in shoe selection.Make sure you have appropriate time to try on multiple sizes and styles.
    You should have at least 30 minutes available to select the right shoe. If you
    stand on your feet for much of the day it is important to buy shoes later in the day
    when your feet will be the largest.
    Other Considerations in choosing a shoe
    Socks     The microclimate around your feet plays a large part in the comfort of a shoe. Heat, perspiration, and friction can create discomfort, blisters, and inflammatory pain. And for persons with diabetes the loss of feeling in the feet combined with these conditions can lead to severe trauma. Choosing a sock that is made with performance fibers can avoid these problems while cotton socks will aggravate them. Although cotton socks are comfortable initially, they can absorb up to four times their weight in moisture. The combination of wet fabric and heat or friction is the environment that leads to problems. Socks made out of materials like Coolmax will move moisture away from the foot and will help with thermal regulation. Choosing between a thick padded sock and a thin sock is another consideration. This also can enhance the fit of a shoe. The way a sock is constructed plays a significant role in comfort and function. Today you'll find nonirritating toe seams, Y-shaped heels, ribbing around the arch, and friction free double-layered socks. Most people give little thought to the features of the socks they wear. However, buying a quality sock may be the best investment you can make for your feet.
    Insoles These are often overlooked in the purchase of footwear. However, they play an important role in comfort, shock absorption, and support. Insoles are most likely a very thin foam insert that is glued to the interior of the shoe. Some insoles are removable particularly in athletic shoes. Over the counter insoles are better than most that come in shoes which typically wear out within weeks. Although the technology in shoes can give you cushioning, stability, and support, sometimes it is not enough. Adding a more stable or cushioned insole can relieve pain, reduce fatigue, and prevent a wide variety of injury. Insoles may also enhance fit by taking up additional volume for narrow feet or increasing volume for wide feet. Sometimes insoles available at retail are not enough and orthoses should be fit and made by a doctor.
    Old shoes Keep track of the shoes that work well for you. And the shoes that don't and end up in the closet. Bring this information with you when you are selecting new shoes. Or better yet bring the shoes with you so that the sales clerk can distinguish what features give you the best fit and performance.
    Shoe test Although you should spend time trying on shoes in a store there is a possibility that they may not work well for you. After purchasing shoes try them on again at home and wear them for several hours. You may want to take them to a track and walk a few laps. Most shoes should be comfortable right away without any points of irritation. If you find they aren't quite right, take them back immediately and describe you problem. A good store will always help you find the right product.
    The don'ts Do not allow a marketing campaign to influence you any more than peaking your interest. Some marketing can provide excellent information but it does not mean the product will be correct for you. Do not let a friend influence you to select a specific shoe. The shoe may be from heaven for their feet however it most likely is not the right one for you. Do not buy a "team shoe". Frequently sports teams purchase the same shoe for everyone. This is not a good decision and should be avoided particularly if you have any foot problems or past injuries.
    Running Shoe Construction
    It is useful to understand some basics of shoe construction so that you can discuss and select a quality shoe. The design of each component, the materials used, and the construction of the finished product all contribute to the shoes ability to meet your needs.

    Shoes are built around a last that resembles the shape of a foot. Manufactures spend considerable amounts of research to create lasts that will match the shape of their footwear to specific foot types. The upper of a shoe is generally sewn together by hand then secured to the last and attached to the sole. There are three processes commonly used in the lasting - cement lasting, slip lasting, and injection molding. The shape of a shoe is dependant on the last shape, the lasting process, and the materials from which it is made. The materials in each component of shoes make up its quality. The following describes the basic components.

    Outsole: The outsole's function is to provide protection, traction, and durability. It can also play a role in flexibility, stability, and cushioning. Outsoles are most commonly made from rubber or compounds mixed with rubber. They also may be leather or polyurethane.

    Midsole: The midsole's function is to provide cushioning, support, stability and guidance. Midsoles are made from polyurethane, ethylvinylacetate (EVA), rubber mixed with compounds, and other foam polymers.

    Insole: The insole's function is primarily for tactile comfort although it may add cushioning, moisture control, support, and guidance. Insoles are made from EVA, polyester, thermal plastic, graphite, and foam polymers.

    Upper: The upper functions to position, support, and protect the foot. It also is the primary influence on fit. The upper consists of four distinct parts, the heel and heel counter, the midfoot saddle, the toe box, and tongue and lacing. Materials and design are wide ranging. Some are functional others are simply aesthetic.

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  • Hydration Guidelines

    How Much Water is Too Much?

    While dehydration is a more common concern for exercisers, some experts think the public should be aware of the danger of drinking too much water, which can lead to a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia. Characterized by an abnormally low blood concentration of sodium, it is most often seen at extremely high-endurance events such as ultra-marathons.

    Hyponatremia is more common among women than men, and was responsible for the death of a 43-year-old woman running in the Chicago Marathon last year. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, headache and disorientation, and bloating in the face and hands.
    Research suggests that drinking about two cups of fluid two hours before exercise and another six to eight ounces every 20 minutes can help optimize performance. Some exercisers may opt to measure the amount of fluid they lose by weighing themselves before and after exercise to determine the number of pounds lost through perspiration. For every pound lost, experts recommend drinking one pint of fluid during exercise. Sports drinks may also be a good choice because they help replace lost sodium and have been shown to enhance performance during prolonged exercise.

    New Guidelines for Running and Hydration

    It's summer, you're running a marathon, and you've known ''the rules'' for years: To avoid dehydration, drink as much as you can at every aid station. Drink even if you are not thirsty because thirst is a poor indicator of how much fluid you need to replace.

    Well, those rules have changed. USA Track & Field, the governing body of track and field, long-distance running and race walking, has issued new guidelines for athletes to ''consume 100 percent of fluids lost due to sweat while racing.'' The USATF now recommends that athletes ''be sensitive to the onset of thirst as the signal to drink, rather than staying ahead of thirst.” Being guided by their thirst, runners prevent dehydration while also lowering the risk of hyponatremia (low sodium), a potentially dangerous condition increasingly seen as runners have erroneously been instructed to over-hydrate.

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  • Fluid Replacement

    Type of Event Timing of Consumption Amount & Type of Beverage

    Sports or exercise
    less than 1 hour in duration
    Before: 24 hours Drink adequate fluids
    2 hours 16 oz. (2 cups) cold water
    5-10 minutes 8-6 oz. (1-2 cups) cold water
    During: Every 15-20 minutes 8-10 oz. (1-1 1/4 cups) cold water
    Recovery: Over next 24 hours Adequate fluid to replace losses

    Sports or exercise
    from 1-4 hours in
    duration
    Before: 24 hours Drink adequate fluids
    2 hours 16 oz. (2 cups) glucose electrolyte
    solution (4-8%) carbohydrate
    5-10 minutes 8-6 oz.(1-2 cups) glucose electrolyte
    solution (4-8%) carbohydrate
    During: Every 15-20 minutes 8-10 oz. (1-1 1/4 cups) glucose electrolyte solution (4-8%) carbohydrate
    Recovery: Immediately after
    exercise & every 2 hours for 6-8
    hours following exercise
    Glucose electrolyte solution or glucose
    polymer solution to provide 1gram
    carb/kg body wt.
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  • Eating for the Long Run

    It comes as no surprise that providing your body with the proper nutrition while training for a marathon will help optimize your running performance. We know that good nutrition will help your body to “run” more efficient, enhance your overall health and immune system, aid in preventing/healing injuries, improve your body’s adaptation to training as well as promote speedy recovery. The food you eat and the way you eat it will indeed dictate how well you run! But with so much information out there it can be hard to know what to do and when to do it! Below are some basic recommendations to help you fuel your body for peak running performance. Use this information to guide you, but don’t be ultra concerned about all the details so much that you don’t enjoy eating!!!!! After all we run to eat! Or do we eat to run? Remember what might work for one person, may not work for you. Try to remember that just like running should be fun, eating should be fun too! Practice, practice, practice during your long runs to see what does and doesn't work for you and than follow that on race day!

    BASIC GUIDELINES: Endurance runners should aim for a diet high in carbohydrates (60-70%), moderate in protein (12-20%) and low in fat (20-25%). Food choices should include foods from all the 5 food groups: Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk/dairy and Meat/Beans. Calories should be spread evenly throughout the day (no skipping meals, especially breakfast which is the MOST important meal of the day) eating 3-6 times per day. Women should aim for 2,000 to 3,500 calories/day, men should aim for 2,500-4,000 calories per day. On rest days and shorter run days, aim for the lower end of the calories; on long run days shoot for the upper range.

    CARBOHYDRATES: are truly a runner’s best friend because they serve as the primary energy source for working muscles and help the body to use fat more efficiently. Carbs also help to maintain optimal blood sugars levels. Carbs are stored in the muscles as glycogen, which is the primary fuel you need to keep MOVING. When glycogen stores start to diminish, so do you. This is when exercise intensity reduces and you start to feel pain, cramping and sluggishness known as “The “WALL” take place. This will usually happen after about 90 minutes to 2 hours of running. Going out too fast too soon will also contribute to the deletion of glycogen stores. Therefore, training you body with running as well as carb intake will help avoid hitting the wall. Carbohydrate is also the source of many photochemicals and antioxidants which help us repair, recover, maintain a healthy immune system and prevent/heal an injury. Therefore a diet high in carbs is essential for long distance running performance. Examples of Good sources to fuel your body are: pasta, rice, potatoes, cereal fruit, vegetables, some low fat/fat free dairy products and whole grain product. Remember that 60-70% of your diet should be coming from these carbohydrate sources. One of the rewards of running is being able to sneak in a few sweets/treats now and then. But make sure you avoid “living” off from junk food as your main carb source because these carbs are virtually nutrient free and could end up harming your training efforts. To help figure out the amount that’s right for you, multiply your weight in pounds by 3.2 to give you the number of grams of carbohydrates you should consume per day.

    Examples include:

    • 15 grams of carb =1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta & 1 serving of fruit, 1⁄2 cup of starchy vegetables or 1⁄2 cup dried beans.
    • 12 grams of carb = 1 cup of low fat milk or yogurt or 1.5 oz of cheese
    • 5 grams of carb = 1 cup leafy raw vegetables or 1⁄2 cup chopped vegetables

    PROTEIN: is used to build and repair body tissues including muscles, tendons and ligaments. Protein is NOT a primary source of energy for long distance runners. Your body can only use so much at one time, any excess may be converted to fat. 12-20% of your diet should come from protein. To figure out the amount for you, multiply your weight in pounds by .6 to calculate the number of grams of protein you should consume per day.

    Examples include:

    • 21 grams of protein: 3 oz lean meat, poultry or fish provides
    • 8    grams of protein: One cup of low fat milk or yogurt provides
    • 7 grams of protein: 1⁄2 cup cooked beans, 1 ounce of cheese, 1 egg, 4 oz of tofu or 2 T peanut butter
    • 3 grams of protein: A serving of whole grain product (i.e. 1⁄2 cup cereal, 1 slice of bread)

    FAT: helps a runner sustain prolonged exercise. It is also an energy source that insulates the body against cold as well as helps protect and cushion vital organs. Limit fat for pre run/pre race meals as it exits the stomach slowly and my cause cramping. Fat burns better when combined with carbohydrates. There are three kinds of fat. Saturated fats include butter, hydrogenated oils, coconut oil and palm oil. Polyunsaturated fats include corn oil, soybean oil and margarine. Monounsaturated fats include olive oil, canola oil and peanut oil and are the preferred fat. Peanuts butter (natural) is a good source of monounsaturated fat. Approximately 20-25% of your diet should come from fat, 10% coming from saturated fat.

    FLUIDS: Marathon runners are at risk for dehydration, and hyponatrimia (Low blood sodium levels, a dangerous but easily preventable condition). Dehydration can bring on fatigue, cramps and impair performance. If you drink too much and aren’t properly replacing your electrolytes you lose in sweat you are at risk for hyponatremia (low sodium levels) which can produce symptoms such a nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, headache, disorientation and bloating in face and hands. In general water is sufficient for any runs under one hour.    Any runs 60-90 minutes or longer generally require more than water.(i.e. Gatorade, Ultima, Endurox R4) To figure out your basic fluid needs take 1⁄2 your body weight (lbs) in fluid ounces. (140 # person would require 70 oz/day)


    BASIC GUIDELINES BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER RUNNING:

    Before: A meal or snack should provide sufficient fluid to maintain hydration, be fairly low in fat and fiber to aid in bowel elimination and minimize any GI distress, be relatively high in carbohydrate to help maintain blood glucose, be moderate in protein. Choose foods that are familiar and well tolerated, avoid unfamiliar foods. Drink 14-22 oz of fluid 2-3 hours before a long run and another 7-10 oz 10-20 minutes before the run.

    Pre Race Snacks:

    • 1 small bagel +2 tbsp peanut butter + 1 small banana.
    • 4 oz juice, 8 oz yogurt, 2 slices toast.
    • 1 1⁄2 cup ready to eat cereal or 1 cup oatmeal + 1⁄2 cup skim milk + 1 fruit.
    • 1 fruit cereal bar + 4 oz juice

    During: The primary goals for nutrient consumption are to replace fluid losses and provide carbohydrate (approximately 30-60 grams per hour) for the maintenance of blood glucose levels and to keep muscles primed. 6-12 oz of fluid should be consumed every 15-20 minutes depending on tolerance. Race snacks: gels, cliff shots, bananas, oranges, Fig Newton’s, graham crackers, pretzels, Jelly beans or fruit chews, granola bar, rice crispy squares, raisins.

    After: The dietary goal is to provide adequate energy and carbohydrates to replace muscle glycogen and to ensure rapid recovery. Carbohydrate intake of 1.5 grams/kg body weight during the first 30 minutes (approximately) 60-100 grams carb) will be adequate to replace glycogen stores. Protein consumed after exercise will provide amino acids for the building and repair of muscle tissue. Runners should consume a mixed meal providing carbs, protein and fat soon after a long run/marathon. Drink enough fluids to replace sweat losses during exercise. Drink at least 16-24 ounces of fluid for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

    Recovery Snacks:

    • Fruit smooth: 1 cup skim milk, 1 small banana, 1 cup frozen berries.
    • 1 cup cottage cheese w/fruit and 1 cup grapes and 1 cup orange juice.
    • 1cup low fat chocolate milk, gram crackers and peanut butter.
    • Baked potato with low fat cheese.
    • Pasta with low fat meat/cheese.

    Good eating habits are a lot like good training habits. Remember the big picture: don’t get caught up in the day to day things. A treat in your diet from time to time won’t harm your performance just like taking a break from your training schedule once in a while. In the long “run”, relax, have fun, be consistent, learn what works for you and above all, have fun running and ENJOY YOUR FOOD!

    Sources: Position of the American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and athletic performance, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, National Athletic Trainers Association, USDA My pyramid, Cool Running, Runners world, and American College of Sports Medicine.

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