Running - General

#BigDamJourney WEEK 3

#BigDamJourney WEEK 3

Welcome to Week 3 of our #BigDamJourney training schedule! We're now less than 6 weeks away from race day! If you haven't started training yet, it's not too late to hop into this plan, enhance your endurance, and come prepared and injury-free to the starting line! 

Just like the first couple of weeks, Week 3 alternates between Rest Days and Run Days. This week, we're intruducing something we call "fractions" on the run days, which is another variation of run-walk intervals. For the fractions this week, you will begin by running 1/4 mile, then walking 1/8 mile. Next, you will run 1/2 mile and walk 1/4 mile. After that, you will do another 1/4 mile run and 1/8 mile walk. Finish the workout with a 1/2 mile jog. Basically, the walk will be half the distance of each jog set. 

For at least one of your rest days this week, try finding a new activity or hobby to try. If you've always been curious about yoga, plan ahead and sign up for a class! Or if you've been meaning to catch up with a friend, suggest taking a walk together—you'll get in quality conversation and easy-impact activity too!

Keep up with our complete #BigDamJourney training plan here!

#BigDamJourney WEEK 2

#BigDamJourney WEEK 2

Welcome to Week 2 of our #BigDamJourney training schedule! Don't worry if you missed the first week—there's still plenty of time to jump right in! Follow this plan, build your endurance, and feel prepared and injury-free come race day! 

Just like Week 1, Week 2 alternates between Rest Days and Run Days. The “on” days consist of 90/90/3/3 interval repeats. This means that you jog for 90 seconds and walk for 90 seconds, and then jog for 3 minutes and walk for 3 minutes. Go through this process two times.

By this second week, your body may still be getting accustomed to using its "running muscles," but you should feel the process starting to get a little easier as you work your way through the schedule.

Keep up with our complete #BigDamJourney training plan here!

Runner's Guide to Dealing With Muscle Soreness

Runner's Guide to Dealing With Muscle Soreness

After your “runner’s high” fades away, you may feel your legs starting to become stiff and sore, or you may hop out of bed the next morning only to find that your quads really don’t want to move. You might experience pain that ranges from mild discomfort to fatigue that makes climbing a staircase seem like a Herculean task. 

If you frequently deal with muscle soreness following a workout, there are a number of preventative measures, stretches, and pain alleviating strategies that could easily fit into your workout plan. This brief guide will share some of the best ways to get a solid workout without overworking your muscles, and how to distinguish between regular muscle soreness and more serious running injuries. Let’s get started! 

Recognizing Pain: Soreness vs. Injury

Some level of soreness and discomfort is expected when someone begins a new exercise regimen or increases the intensity of their workout. “For muscle strength to increase, the muscle must see some increase in stress over what it is used to experiencing, and this stress is usually perceived as the ‘burn’ in muscle during activity,” doctors Edward G. McFarland and Andrew Cosgarea explain. “This pain should be short-lived and resolve soon after the activity ends.” 

The short-term pain described by McFarland and Cosgarea is typically categorized as “good pain.” It signifies that you’re being challenged without pushing yourself to the point of actual injury. If you feel sore or fatigued right after a run, or if you experience delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) a day or two after a workout, you can follow the strategies listed below to alleviate your pain. However, if your muscle becomes too sore to move much, begins to swell, or you feel excessively fatigued for a number of days, you need to contact your doctor to check for potential injuries. Severely overworked muscles may develop permanent damage if not treated properly right away. 

Strategies to Relieve Soreness

The most critical part of treating any ache or pain after a workout is to reduce or stop exercising your sore muscles for a short length of time. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to skip all of your workouts; simply focus on different muscle groups as your body recovers. For example, the day after a difficult run, you could do mostly upper-body exercises. The key is to not force yourself to do anything that further aggravates your sore muscles.

Aside from resting your tired legs, you can relieve soreness by:

 

  • Using ice. Applying an ice pack to your sore muscles for just 15 minutes can reduce swelling and pain, providing some level of immediate relief.
  • Elevating your legs. Propping your legs up so they’re above your heart will reduce blood flow to the muscles, which can ease pain and reduce swelling.
  • Doing gentle stretches. Stretching out stiff hamstrings and calf muscles for about 30 seconds may help improve your recovery time.
  • Massaging the area. Whether you use a foam roller, massage your legs yourself, or visit a professional masseuse, it can help alleviate DOMS by up to 30%.
  • Going for a light jog. Keeping your muscles moving a bit can speed up the recovery process and improve muscle strength. Of course, this is only recommended if your pain doesn’t increase with light exercise. If you feel pain, stop!

 

Prevent Pain with a Recovery Plan 

Now that you know how to manage soreness from running, what steps can you take to prevent severe pain in the first place? Coaches from Runners Connect suggest this recovery strategy to alleviate pain right after a difficult run and prevent your pain from worsening in the days following your workout: 

  • Keep yourself hydrated. You should try to take small sips of water throughout your run and then replenish your electrolytes with a sports drink after working out.
  • Have a cool-down routine. Let your muscles relax with a short walk followed by some simple stretches that focus on the major muscle groups. Gently stretch your muscles for about 30 seconds without bouncing your legs or rushing through the movements. Give yourself time to cool off.
  • Replenish with plenty of protein. “Eat foods high in carbohydrates and proteins,” recommends Susan Paul, a running coach and exercise physiologist. “High-glycemic foods like baked potatoes are a good choice because they are absorbed into the bloodstream quickly. Protein should be from lean meats, eggs, dairy, or vegetable sources.”
  • Take a bath. Ice baths, while they can be a shock to the system, can relieve sore muscles and numb pain for hours afterwards. If you don’t think you can handle submerging your legs in freezing cold water, you could try a warm bath using Epsom salts.
  • Listen to your body. If you feel too sore to workout the next day, take a break. Don’t put further stress on your body as you recover. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, get proper nutrition, and put your overall health first. You’ll be back to running in no time!

#BigDamJourney WEEK 1

Big Dam Run Journey Week 1

Welcome to Week 1 of our #BigDamJourney training schedule! Even if you’re not a regular runner or you’ve never completed a 5K before, this plan is for you! It’s designed to build your endurance and work your muscles at a gradual pace so that you’re primed for race day without getting too worn down or injured! 

As you can see from our chart schedule, Week 1 alternates between Rest Days and Run Days. The “on” days consist of 60/90 interval repeats. This means that you jog for 60 seconds and follow up with 90 seconds of walking. You can repeat this until you reach 20 minutes total.

Starting off slow and easy is a good strategy to prevent injury and get your body used to working muscle groups it doesn’t normally utilize.

Keep up with our complete #BigDamJourney training plan here!

Find the Best Running Watch for You

Find the Best Running Watch for You

If you’ve been thinking of investing in a running watch (or adding it to your steadily-growing Christmas wishlist), you should know that there are plenty of other options out there besides Fitbits and Apple smartwatches. There’s a wide array of high-tech fitness trackers that can monitor your pace, exact distance, heart rate, cadence, and other elements that can impact your performance. 

With 2020 just starting, this is the perfect time to look back and highlight some of the best running watches that people have raved about the previous year. Whether you’re a beginner with a tight budget, a marathoner, or an avid triathlete, this list will help you select the best watch to meet your needs:

Best Budget Watches

  • Garmin Forerunner 25. This watch is simple, light-weight, and can handle all the basics with ease. It comes in two different sizes, an array of colors, and it can seamlessly sync data to your smartphone. Users can program it to set run/walk intervals and “pace alerts,” which will tell you if you’re going above or below your ideal speed. In addition, it can track your everyday activity, such as number of steps and hours of sleep, and even set reminders for you to get up and move. Best of all, it’s perfectly budget-friendly, listed at just $79.99 on Amazon.

 

  • Polar M200. This waterproof watch costs just under $100 and can track your heart rate, sleep, and calorie expenditure 24/7. Your data can easily sync to your smartphone, and it can even build a customized workout plan to help you reach your goals. Additionally, the integrated GPS tracking will ensure that your speed and distance are both measured accurately. 

 

Most Durable Multi-Sport Watch

 

  • Fitbit Versa 2. This sleek fitness tracker is water-resistant up to 50 meters, can easily track your sleep cycle, activity levels, and number of steps, but it also comes with Alexa pre-installed. With a press of a button, you can get answers from your virtual assistant in no time! Even if you elect to have the screen “always on,” this watch can still power through 2 full days of usage before you need to recharge. 

 

Top Watch for Long-Distance Runners

 

  • Polar M430. The M430 can track all the essential elements, including pace, distance, speed and cadence, but it can also track your heart rate from your wrist, track your daily activity, and monitor your sleeping habits. It also offers GPS tracking, fitness tests, and recovery time advice based on your performance, and you can sync your data to the Polar Flow app to gain even more personalized information and insights. The battery is said to last up to 20 days if you use the watch simply to track activity and tell time, so you definitely won’t have to worry about running out of battery during a marathon!

 

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