5 TWEAKS IN 5 WEEKS FOR YOUR BEST MARATHON EVER

By CEO Robert Forster, PT

1. ADD WATER

Do one deep water running workout a week and feel your power and speed come up. Running in deep water with a flotation belt for buoyancy allows you to work your aerobic engine but spares the stress on your legs. The magic properties of water allow your muscles to relax better between contractions and they help drive blood flow back towards the heart. The result is a workout and recovery session in one that doesn’t leave you drained.

2. LOSE THE PROCESSED CARBS

“If it is white it ain’t right,” the mantra of the science based athlete. While runners need carbs, they should come as much as possible in the vegetables you eat.

Highly processed carbohydrates like those in rice, pasta, cereal, baked goods and sweet drinks cause spikes in your insulin levels that lead to weight gain and inflammation. Just a few weeks of a processed carb free diet and the bacteria in your gut that helps your body in so many ways, will change to strengthen your immune system, improve absorption of nutrients and reduce inflammation. Phase IV creates science based nutrition and hydration programs for athletes of all abilities.

3. STEP UP YOUR FOAM ROLLER AND STICK MASSAGE EFFORTS

In the final five weeks of training as your long runs increase, your need for recovery increases too. Active recovery workouts where you break a sweat and then stretch and self-massage are critical in helping your body recover better and your fitness to grow.

4. COLD WATER PLUNGE

Once a week take a cold bath to reduce inflammation and lower a stress hormone called cortisol. Your tendons and fascial tissues become inflamed in the course of normal training. Submerging your body in cold water (very little ice is needed; if at all, depending on where you live and how cold the water comes out of the tap) constricts blood flow and drains the inflammation and swelling from the tissues. Cortisol levels in your blood increase with hard training and are counterproductive to your training efforts. Instead of promoting more fat utilization for energy production, cortisol directs your body to store fat and water. Research shows cold baths reduce cortisol levels and jump start recovery.

5. BREATHE

Focus on your breathing, first at rest and then while running. Lay on your back with one hand placed on your belly and the other on your chest. Proper breathing utilizes the muscles of the diaphragm and not the muscles in your chest. Breathe in through your nose and feel your belly rise while stifling any up and down movement of your chest. Breathe out through your mouth and feel you belly fall. Repeat ten belly breaths before you begin your pre-run stretching and then practice this while standing, walking, and then finally while running.

Belly breathing will relax your muscles, focus your mind, and supply a better flow of oxygen to your muscles. This is the simplest way to take time off your marathon PR.

Call PHASE IV to learn about this week’s Marathon specials including personalized Performance Nutrition Programs at (310) 582-8212 or email info@phase-iv.net.

Call Forster Physical Therapy to schedule your Free Injury Evaluation at (310) 656-8600.
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