Foam Roll Your Butt Off

Mobility is Key

As runners, one of the most important things we can work on is mobility. Our body is an engine, a beautiful and complex engine whose parts all work together. We runners like to push our engine to its max, and often ignore the signals to slow down. We run through soreness, tightness, and pain, thinking we are invincible, until one day the engine breaks down.

If we had slowed down sooner, we might have noticed a series of warning signs leading up to the injury: run, tighten up, lose mobility, keep running, keep running, lose more mobility, keep running, and BOOM! You’re injured.

Runners MUST work on mobility. If one part of the body is not fully functional, the whole engine is affected. To stop the cycle and run longer and healthier, we have to treat our engines well, releasing the daily tension in our muscles and fascia.

Fascia is the connective tissue that surrounds your muscles. It’s a spider-web matrix of collagen fibers that supports your muscles and absorbs shock. And it’s everywhere! From your head to your toes. When you move, your fascia thickens and shortens and can become restricted after lots of movement, forming sore spots called trigger points that inhibit range of motion and can lead to injury.  

Stop reading for a second. Feel around your calves, hip flexors, and quads. Feel a tight, slightly painful spot? That’s a trigger point. That needs to go.

So how do I get rid of trigger points?

Foam roll! Foam rolling, also called myofascial release, uses the pressure of your own bodyweight to work out and release the soft tissue, freeing up the fascia. Foam rolling is a healthier way of stretching and releasing the muscles. It increases circulation and flexibility, enabling you to run and perform with increased mobility.

Foam rolling is a fantastic way to treat your body to a nice massage each day. Spending 1-2 minutes SLOWLY rolling over each large muscle group will help decrease your risk of injury and make you feel a whole lot better! 

But make sure you are foam rolling correctly. If you have a particular spot that always hurts, say your IT band, don’t jump straight to beating up that side of your leg with aggressive rolling. Foam roll the areas around the area of pain. Most often trigger points develop from problem areas in other parts of the body. For example: bad shoes can create aches in your knees or hips or tight hip flexors are because of a weakness in the glutes.

Foam Roll Your Butt Off 

Here are a few suggested foam rolling techniques to get you started. For each exercise, repeatedly and slowly, roll the left side, middle, and right side of each muscle to get all angles. Stay a little longer on tight trigger points (but not too long to bruise!). Roll in slower motions to release the fascia. Foam roll as a warm up before a run, a cool down to stretch out, or after a long day of work to release stress.

 

Upper Back

 

Quadriceps

quads.gif

 

Hip Flexors

 

Piriformis (glutes)

 

Hamstrings

Calves

 

Feet

Rules of the Road: Runner's Edition

On Tuesday morning, Fast Break owner Alan Outlaw was interviewed by the Chattanooga Times Free Press about the death of our co-worker and local runner Cameron Bean. You may have heard Cameron’s story through the Cam Run.

Last September, Cameron was running after work on Mocassin Bend Road when he was hit by a car. He was running against traffic, wearing high-visibility clothing, and was not wearing headphones. The woman travelled two lanes over and hit Cameron. He died two days later.  

We miss Cameron on a daily basis. Words can’t describe the loss of the friend and son and brother he was to so many people. Our hearts go out to the Bean family.

As a local running store, we feel responsible for the safety of our runners. There are basic precautions every runner, walker, and driver should take to protect himself or herself.

Runners, play it smart.

Assume they don’t see you. Pretend that the driver does not know you exist and are running near them. Go out of your way to make eye contact so drivers will notice you. Wave before running in front of a car or stay put until they pass.

Face traffic. Run on the side of the road where the cars are driving towards you (runner's left side).

Be aware. Stay extra alert when passing parking lot entrances and exits, sharp turns, and the peaks of hills. A driver may not see a small human on foot.

Obey the law. Stop at red lights. Stop at stop signs. When a car is pulling out of a parking lot, stop. Wait till the driver sees you and waves you on. Then wave back because you are a nice person.

Wear visible clothing. Bright clothes during the day. Reflective clothing at night. You want to be seen!

Light up the night. Attach small clip-on lights to your shirt, hat, and even shoes. Wear a headlamp, or at least run with a flashlight. Do what it takes to make it obvious there is a human running on the side of the road.

Unplug. Music is an awesome running companion. We all enjoy the beats, but there are certain places and times we need to take out the headphones: high traffic, the side of a road, any night time, and on trails.

Tell a friend. Let someone know where you are and how long you’ll be gone. Leave them a note, send them a text, or yell across the lawn to your neighbor.

 

Drivers, we ask you to pay attention.

Respect runners, walkers, and cyclists. They have the same right as you to be on the road. It is both the drivers and the pedestrians responsibility to obey the law and respect each other.

Don’t text and drive. Give at least 3 feet distance when you pass them. That could be your wife/husband/child/father/aunt/cousin. Pass them like you love them.

Be aware. Your vehicle will always win. Don’t try to prove a point, even if you’re frustrated. Your vehicle is not a weapon.

Be patient. It’s not worth a human life.

Feel free to drop by Fast Break if you have any question on safety while running. We love our runners and want to see you enjoying nature and our favorite sport as long as possible.

Be smart, play it safe, and as Cameron always said,

"Just Go For A Run!"

#NationalCoffeeDay

It’s National Coffee Day and we are honoring our favorite caffeinator by giving you a little dose of info on your favorite (and legal!) performance enhancer. 

Really smart scientists around the world have proven that caffeine improves athletic performances in numerous ways. In common language, caffeine…. 

  • numbs the part of your brain that tells you how hard you’re running
  • makes your brain tell your muscles to contract and relax faster
  • enhances your body’s use of fat as fuel

Recently, those smart scientist even proved that caffeine does not dehydrate you when you run the way it does when you are at rest. 

Bottom line: caffeine + you = fast. 

Caffeine is a great enhancer for your running (or cycling or speed walking or disco dancing). To figure out how much you need, follow this ratio: 3-5mg per kilogram (2.3lb) of body weight. 

So for a 130 pound person: 

130/2.3  = 56.6 kg x 3mg = 169.8 mg of caffeine

To give you an idea of how much caffeine that is, a brewed cup of black coffee on average has 95mg of caffeine in it (depending on the bean, roast style, and how it’s brewed). A shot of espresso, though it has more caffeine per volume, only has around 63 mg of caffeine. 

Caffeine before a race can help enhance your performance by 1.0-1.7% (that could be the 12 seconds to set a new PR). The energy buzz lasts for a little over an hour, but initially it takes time for the goodness to seep into your bloodstream. So for shorter races, take your caffeine 30 to 60 minutes beforehand. For longer races, take caffeine before, during, and after. A study on cyclists proved that caffeine after long rides helps recovery. Other studies have proven that caffeine decreases post-workout soreness. 

Here is our suggestion on how to soak in all the caffeine love: 

Pre-race: Coffee! Coffee! Coffee! Delicious, inexpensive, and full of antioxidants. Black tea if you don’t like coffee. 

Mid-race: Gels. Gels contain useful carbohydrates that you need while running. But check to see how much caffeine is in each gel so that you get enough to actually help. 

Post-race: Chai latte or latte. Your body wants to recover, so give it some carbs and a bit more caffeine and relax because you’re done! 

Go make an appearance at one of Chattanooga’s local coffee shops today, give a barista a hug, then take off on a super fast run around town! 

READ MORE: 

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/the-running-blog/2015/may/21/could-caffeine-help-you-run-better

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19088790

https://runnersconnect.net/running-tips/caffeine-faster-recovery/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17620932

http://www.outsideonline.com/2038671/maximize-performance-caffeine

https://runnersconnect.net/running-nutrition-articles/caffeine-and-running/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26937774

How to Warm Up... Like a BOSS.

Whether it's high school track, marathon training, or 80's aerobic videos... we've all read somewhere to stretch long and hard before we workout. Well, stop. STOP. IT.

Why? I'm glad you asked, my friend. 

Long-hold stretches may lengthen a muscle and increase flexibility, however stretching also reduces muscle function due to loss of power. A really smart doctor told the New York Times that a stretched muscle becomes less responsive and weakened for up to 30 minutes after stretching. That's not how you want to begin a run! 

So what do I do now?!!

Warm up correctly. Loosen muscles and tendons to increase mobility and literally warm up the body. 

To help you get started, we put together a few warm up drills that you can perform before you run, walk, dance, flip, or fly (please don't actually try flying). These drills will make your muscles fire and increase strength and mobility in your stabilizers. Fastbreak owner Alan's advice is to walk, shuffle, run, move for up to 10 minutes to get your heart rate up and blood pumping. Then perform the following dynamic moves at least 2 times for 30-50 meters. 

Forward Leg Swings

Balance yourself against a wall or fence with one arm. Start with both feet under your hips. Swing the inside leg forward then then swing it backwards. Gradually increase the height of your leg swings. Swing 10-15 times then switch sides. Make it more fun by imagining you're in the nutcracker ballet. 

Side Leg Swings

Face a wall or inanimate object (so not your dog), and brace yourself with your arms outstretched and shoulder-height. Swing one leg to the side of your body then swing it across the body to the other side. Increase the range of motion with each swing. Perform 10-15 reps then switch legs. 

A Skip

Remember skipping as a kid? Well turns out it's good for you. Start by walking through this move then advance to skipping. Lift your knee to waist height and keep you back leg straight as you come off your toe. Alternate legs as you move forward. Strike the ground with your forefoot. Swing your opposite arm with you lead leg in a running motion. Too easy? Whistle while you skip. 

B Skip

Perform the same move as the A Skip except extend your shin/lower leg when you raise your knee. The extension dynamically stretches the hamstrings. Emphasize the backward pawing motion as your foot strikes the ground and pulls through. Get into a rhythm by listening to the sound of your feet. Swing your arms in a running motion. 

Side-To-Side Skip

Skip side to side by bringing your feet together then shoulder width apart. Swing your arms to cross in front of your body then up and over your head. Fast Break employee Varina calls these "fairies" (we don't know why), so wiggle your fingers like you're shooting out fairy dust to make you a better runner.

I heard it through the GRAPEVINE

Start by standing upright and facing forward. Move laterally to the right by placing your left leg in front of your right leg. Then move the right leg to the right and place the left leg in front again. Maintain a fluid motion with your arms rotating in the opposite direction from your legs. Travel 50 meters then go to the left, facing the same direction. Too easy? Sing it out loud for Marvin Gaye! 

Running Backwards

Try to replicate your forward running motion, but backwards. Push off your forefoot and pump your arms. You're lunging with your hamstring and making your core muscles stabilize. Focus on form, not on speed. It will feel awkward at first. If you're not super coordinated possibly wrap pillows all around your body. 

There is LOTS information on stretching (or not) and drills that improve your mobility, strength, and fire up the engine before you run. We've included a few links with different perspectives to start your research. 

Have fun and go for a run!