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Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne

Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne

Must Have's in the Car
glove_box
Even if your runs primarily depart from home or office, running or racing will likely take you to points best accessed by car at some point or another.   Sure, you may not want to have everything in the car at all times, but a few key items left in the car (rather than trying to remember them each time out) can make a runner’s life a bit easier. 

Sanitizer/ Mask

No longer just a suggestion. 

There are bacteria killing hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes easy to use and dispose. A little bit goes a long way after an outdoor bathroom stop, opening a cattle gate, high-five given to a friend or stranger, endless scenarios. 

Maybe you are going to run some errands right before or after your run. Keep a clean mask in the car to use when entering an indoor public space like a grocery store. Keep your face covering clean and dry using these clean masks tips.

 

Blanket / towel (or more than one)

One of these items can provide protection and warmth after a surprise cold rainstorm on a November morning, or a layer between you and the driver’s seat when the air is thick with humidity.  Having a towel or blanket can also make it more likely you will take a moment to stretch or roll, or spend 5-10 minutes adding some core work to the end of your run when you have a spare few moments.  A saved space blanket from the end of a long race can also be an easy to store, useful item as a layer between a gross, sweaty, or wet you and your car.

 

Fuel

Fueling directly after a hard workout or long run is key to regulating your blood sugar and quickening recovery.  Take a moment to stack a few of your favorite bars and some gels for mid run replenishment in the glove box or in a Ziploc in the trunk.  This will ensure you can top off the tank at the end of your run and avoid a midday bonk or rash meal decision due to the sharp pang of hunger + fatigue.  Sometimes, you are coming from a location where you can’t select or prepare a snack to bring with you for before, during, or after.  If you have a snack readily accessible, your chances of success in that workout or run will increase.

 

Water

Even one spare 16 ounce bottle can be of great help if you exhaust your fluids on the run and arrive back at a trailhead with no facilities and a lengthy drive to the nearest gas station or store.  Water can also wash dirt or blood away as needed due to mid-run mishaps.  Pack a dissolveable tablet or two of your favorite electrolyte replacement fluid with your fuel stash, and you will be in even better shape.

 

First Aid Kit

A must.  Even if it includes only some bandaids, Neosporin, and some basic gauze, tape, and perhaps an anti inflammatory, the chance to tend to a mishap directly after it occurs makes a huge difference compared to how that same injury might react hours later.

 

A charger or an adapter

When in remote areas, having a phone charger that works with the car can be of significant help in a tough spot, and with the proliferation of chargers with USB ports, charging a GPS device with the car’s power is now easily possible as well.

 

Hat with a bill, gloves

A running hat with a bill is compact and crushable, but can help keep water from the eyes in a rainstorm and sun from the face when no clouds are in the sky.  Gloves (the cheap throw away kind), can feel like the most precious piece of clothing when they are really needed.  Neither takes up very much space.

 

A Foam Roller or a Massage Stick

Again, if your run is squeezed between other appointments or engagements, or involves a decent length drive to and from, consider keeping a stick in the car.   It takes up very little space, and can be used both to loosen up before the run as well as to start the recovery process without some of the stiffness inevitable on the drive back.

 

Every runner has their particular comfort items, their specific variations of this list that provide peace of mind and care when things haven’t gone well, or even if they have.  A bit of forethought to keep some of these items on hand when driving to runs can clutter the trunk, but can also help our bodies handle the rigors of training well, even while in the midst of our complicated lives.

March 03, 2020

Plantar Fasciitis

PlantarLet's talk about Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Most often felt in the heel,  over 50% of Americans will experience this pain during their lifetime.
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a condition caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes, which can overload the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes), resulting in heel pain.


Self Identify PF:
- Sharp stab or deep ache in the heel
- Pain on the bottom of the foot in the arch
- Worst in the mornings. First few steps out of bed are excrucating
-  Pain experienced during "push off" while running


Common causes of plantar fasciitis:

PF occurs due to a variety of reasons: overuse of improper, non-supportive shoes, over-training in sports, lack of flexibility, weight gain, too much standing. 


Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:

As with any pain ice and rest is the first step. Fill a bucket of water and add ice to it. Stick your foot in. Another option is to freeze a plastic bottle of water and roll your foot with it.
Other options:
- Use a lacrosse ball or golf ball to massage your foot. Gently roll over the pain spots.
- Use an Arch support
- Update your shoes 

If pain is present for more than three weeks, see a medical professional about the problem. Treatment options such as orthotics, foot taping, cortisone injections, night splints, and anti-inflammatories can help.

February 29, 2020

Shin Splints

shinsplintWe are beginning a new column where we will dive into some of the most common running injuries. First up: Shin Splints.

This is the pain felt along the front of your lower leg, at the shin bone. 

Shin splints are common among runners  who increase frequency, volume, or intensity of training, along with improperly fitting footwear or worn out shoes can cause problems. Also frequent running on hard surfaces can cause shin pain.


How to prevent them?

The first thing is to understand what they are.  Then you know what stresses you are putting on your body.  Consider the age and appropriateness of your shoes and review your training to make sure you aren’t making any huge sudden jumps.   Many runners with shin splints also report tight calves and relatively modest strength in the lower leg muscles. Proper stretching and strengthening of the calf muscles can help.   One productive exercise is heel walking.  [Check out our Heel Walking Demo Video here.]


If we feel shin splints coming on, what should we do?

There is an inflammatory component here, so ice can help a lot.  A reduction in training intensity and a change in running surfaces may be required to allow the symptoms to subside.  Anti-inflammatories may be appropriate, but consult your physician to ensure they are a safe choice for you.  If symptoms persist or become steadily worse, make an appointment with your doctor.

The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking.

Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • Keep your legs elevated.
  • Use ice or a cold compress.
  • Wear elastic compression bandages.
  • Use a foam roller.

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.

August 12, 2020

Breathing on the Run

breathing

Breathing on the Run
Originally written by Dena Evans
Updated by Hiruni Wijayaratne

This is a popular question from our athletes - "How do I breathe while running?

Breathing is important because we feel awful when it is ragged and shallow. Conversly, we feel better when we are running easily enough that we hardly notice it at all.

The faster you run, the quicker you will reach a point where you will have to concentrate on breathing to continue at that pace.  That is because the additional strain of the pace over time has caused your muscles to demand more oxygen on a quicker schedule. 

So how do you breathe better?

1) Relax 

Breathing is an art. Stay as relaxed as possible in your upper body. Drop your shoulder, extend your torso and neck, and drop your mouth.

During hard efforts, your body craves oxygen. So, you will need both your nose and mouth to intake oxygen. 

2) Focus on Form

Running posture often falls apart when we get tired – the shoulders hunch over, arms get tense, neck and jaw almost lock. 

Remind yourself to draw your shoulders away from your ears and straighten up nice and tall.  This allows for your lungs to have the maximum room to pack in more air and may be able to help ease symptoms of a side stitch by stretching out the afflicted area.

3) Breathe deeply

You can practice breathing properly even when not running. Start by sitting in a chair or lie down on a yoga mat. Place you hand over your belly. 

Inhale with your nose and feel your stomach/ diaphragm fill with air. You should feel the hand on your belly button rising. Exhale through the mouth.  A deeper breath is like sticking your water bottle directly under the faucet stream vs panting is like splashing it with droplets of water.  Fill up those lungs so they can do what they do best – get air to your screaming muscles!

4) Find a rhythm

Start by doing this on easy runs/ walks. Count your footsteps. Your breathing pattern may be 2-2 or 3-3, that is, it takes two footfalls (one landing of either foot) to inhale and two footfalls to exhale, etc.  

However, when you are tired and air is at a premium, try to spend a bit more time on each inhale than you do on each exhale, for what might end up as a 3-2 rhythm or a 4-3 rhythm.  The most important thing you can do is to fill your lungs with each inhale. Take your time, try to relax yourself generally by the almost meditative counting of your breathing rhythm, and / or let a favorite song guide your brain through the pattern. All of a sudden, you’ll be at the next mile marker or water station.



Breathing is different for everyone. All of us from novice to experienced runners, need to practice techniques in low stress situations before taking them to the streets in the big race.   Listen to your breathing on easy runs to find out what your natural patterns are.  Try to maintain a tall posture and open your chest when the running is easy before forcing yourself to find that position when the running is tough.  Test out a 3-2 pattern or a 4-3 pattern on your next interval or tough workout and see what feels right.  

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