Let’s Talk About The Warm Up; Are You Doing It Right?

typical pre run warm up

What’s a typical pre-run warm up routine for you?

For the longest time I would just walk out the door, do some leg swings – if that – and go on my way.

That was the routine!

However I know better now; the point of this pre run dynamic routine is to thoroughly warm up your running muscles and be ready to get into your run. So instead of taking 5 minutes to find yourself during the run you can warm up more efficiently and save yourself the pain of potential injury.

The more you warm up your hips, glutes and hamstrings the less stress you are putting on a cold muscle during the run.

You are essentially activating that muscle to fire properly so that your stride will benefit!

Check out the video below for a sample of my “A Day In The Life Video” series I’ve been working on. If you want, you can jump ahead to the 3:44 mark where I go through my warm up, touching on my glutes, hips, hamstrings and quads – to make sure that I am ready to go when I hit the road.

 

 

If you watched the whole thing, I hope you enjoyed the video!

Now let’s talk. Comment below about your warm up routine, or lack of and I’d love to see if I can help!

Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to me on Instagram and Twitter if you have any other run-related questions.

Justin

How Many Miles Are Enough For Me?

What's the right mileage for you?

I want to stress that we are all individuals — in that vein there are no magic bullets, no quick fixes, no secret recipes to success. We all have a different training style that suits our body, personality and mental strength.

So a question I’m always asked is:

“How many miles are enough for me?”

 

What's the right mileage for you?

 

It’s a question that has been hotly debated for years! Should I train low mileage-high quality or high mileage-low quality?

To be honest the best answer is found somewhere in between.

In my mind the perfect training plan has you smartly increasing your mileage with a solid mix of high intensity and low intensity.

That’s why mileage is tricky…

Finding what works for you.

So how many miles should you run?

There are runners who are built to run 120 miles per week but there are also runners who can only handle 30 without coming up injured! Those 30 will need to be at a hard pace to make up for the lack of quantity but if done right those runners can still run incredible times.

In a perfect world where every runner is built the same and races happen in a vacuum. But it doesn’t…

I would argue that high mileage (done right) can lead to a bigger improvement than a more low mileage plan. This has to do with the improvements that only happen on a molecular level when you spend hour upon hours on your feet. (I would also argue that there is a mental toughness component that comes from taking yourself to the wall on your mileage training, but I will cover this in a later article.)

We all have a personal peak mileage and a personal peak race — it’s important to find out works best for you individually.

The Aerobic base

Authur Lydiard is the man who popularized building a big aerobic base before moving into more specific training. He coached a group of New Zealand runners, headed up by Peter Snell, that would go on to dominate the world stage. This is when a man by the name of Bill Bowerman brought Lydiard’s training philosophies back to the University of Oregon and the rest is history.

Think of the Lydiard system as a pyramid — the base of that pyramid being the amount of easy runs you put in. That base allows you build the rest of your pyramid, the bigger the base, the bigger the pyramid… hypothetically.

For years this “revolutionary” approach to distance running is how we coaches trained our athletes. Of course there was still a love for the old method that primarily relied on interval training multiples days a week… but the damage had been done and “periodized” training was here to stay.

In my own experience this can be modified a bit and if you’re more of a Jack Daniels (not that Jack Daniels) or Joe Vigil descendant like me than you would know that this philosophy isn’t the end all be all. I feel like the best set up for a training cycle is a steady diet of mileage, tempo runs, and mile pace work to build efficiency .

However, there is no denying that with just easy running alone and spending time on your feet then you will see a big benefit to your general aerobic system as well as:

increased bone density

increased capillary density

tendon development

improved Vo2 max

mitochondria recruitment

improved running economy

usage of fat as fuel

development of slow and medium twitch muscle fibers

mental clarity

mental strength

Mileage has it’s benefits but ultimately it comes down to what your body can handle. This depends a lot on your genetics but with the right amount of experience, trails and testing you can do a lot to optimize your performance.

Trial and error and research and obsess and learn and pass on to others…

So back to your question, “how many miles are enough for me?”

To be honest I don’t know — because I don’t know you, yet! However, I can tell you that more mileage is better than less and there’s no way of knowing until you get out there. With the right plan and progression you should be able to find your ideal mileage within a few weeks.

-Justin

If you have any questions or need help on your training journey, you can add me on snapchat, instagram or twitter — How can I help?

All About Proprioceptors And How They Can Benefit Your Running

All About Proprioceptors

Our bodies are awesome!

Think about it!

We have sensory nerves throughout our body that send feedback to our brains about where we are in space.

These sensory nerves, called proprioceptors, tell our brain about the terrain we’re running on, as we’re running, and our body makes the appropriate adjustments.

If you want to learn more about proprioceptors and see how you can better implement them into your training – check out my latest 5 Minute Barrier;

Thanks for hanging out friends!

If you want to follow along on my journey follow me on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Anchor!

-Justin

Beating The Marathon Taper: PR When It Counts

Marathon Taper Madness

The Marathon Taper — or as I like to call it Taper Madness — is a tricky concept to understand.

Complicated by symptoms of: feeling antsy, restlessness, having an overall energy surplus, being fixated on your race, day dreams about heartbreak hill, and just a general anxiety about training — ok a few of those may just be me.

It is not made any easier by the fact that not everyone will respond the same way to a traditional taper. A traditional marathon taper being cut back on the mileage starting a few weeks out from the race and then a few short and quick workouts marathon pace workouts to keep your legs fresh and race ready.

This brings me to this weeks 5 Minute Barrier; I’ll give you a few tools to beat Taper Madness and recognize if a traditional taper is right for you.

Thanks for watching and don’t forget to thumbs up that video and give me a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat if you liked this info and want more!

Justin

An Industry Built On The Learning Curve – Or At Least My Version Of It

The Learning Curve Of Fitness

Let’s start with Wikipedia:

A learning curve is a graphical representation of the increase of learning (vertical axis) with experience (horizontal axis).

The Learning Curve Of Fitness

A learning curve averaged over many trials is smooth, and can be expressed as a mathematical function.

The term learning curve is used in two main ways: where the same task is repeated in a series of trials, or where a body of knowledge is learned over time.

… the term has acquired a broader interpretation over time, and expressions such as “experience curve”, “improvement curve”, “progress curve”…

Thanks Wikipedia!

My interpretation of this learning curve is that in the early stages, or when one is a beginner at something, there is a steep increase in learning and progress. However, over time that progress reduces and eventually flattens. This flat portion can also be known as a plateau.

Now, what is the timeline in which someone reaches that plateau are we’re talking about here?

In my experience of coaching fitness, the flattening of the curve usually happens within the first 1-3 months. As in, clients can see rapid results for the first 1-3 months and then those results slow down or stop.

Whether this is in increased strength, increased endurance, increased power output, weight loss or reduced body fat percentage, the results slow down rapidly or even stop all together.

Now that the baseline knowledge is out of the way, I want to apply this to my industry: Fitness.

It is my opinion that 90+% of the services and programs that are out there are targeted and marketed directly at this learning and performance curve. They are built within the range of achieving the most success from their customers.

Where do we see this?

  • 30-day challenges
  • 8-week bootcamps
  • P90x – aka 90 day DVD program

Do a search on Intagram for Fitness Inspiration, Workout Motivation or Booty Challenge and you’ll find thousands of accounts with 6 pack abs and peach booty’s with links to their DVD or downloadable programs.

(and no, “peach booty” isn’t a typo)

You’ll also see dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who have had success on that program. However, often those numbers only represent a fraction of the people who actually followed the program. So if you see 100 success stories, it’s likely that thousands of people tried the program. If you see thousands or success stories it’s likely that hundreds of thousands tried the program.

I have no scientific data to prove this, but from my experience observing clients over the past decade, I would bet that at most 10% of the people that do a program get the results you see advertised. That leaves 90% who didn’t even make it that far!

Heck, if you’re still reading this you probably ARE one of those 90%!

My question is always: what data or percentage of success stories would we get if we expanded that out to 4 months, 6 months and 12 months after the program. How many people STILL have the success once the 4, 8 or 12 week program is done?

As I said, the programs are built to fit WITHIN the highest growth rate of the learning curve.

After the program, let’s look at:

How many people have built a habit?

How many people have created a new lifestyle?

How many people actually learned what’s next?

I don’t have exact numbers on these things either, but I’m not sure anyone does. Honestly though, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that no matter the program, 100% of people will experience a flattening of their learning curve at some point in their progress.

100% of people will hit a plateau at some point in their training.

It’s totally unavoidable.

The thing I encourage you to think about from this article is whether or not your program, plan, system and/or training considers and addresses this fate.

Is what you’re doing ready for the inevitable plateau and are there resources available to take you past it?

Or is it designed to end before your plateau and then leave you hanging when you get there?

Deep right?!?

The good thing is that millions of people get 1-3 months of success usually within every calendar year. ( Can you say “new years resolutions” anyone?) Every year people are stepping up to the plate and taking a swing at their health and fitness goals.

The sad thing is that millions of people only get 1-3 month of success usually within ever calendar year.

They then enter a perpetual cycle of programs, challenges and bootcamps with the promise of the quick results we all desire so badly.

If I can leave you with one thought after reading this article it’s this:

The next time you consider and fitness program that lasts less than 90 days, think about your learning curve. I guarantee you that you’ll hit a flat point and plateau. Ask yourself:

How does this program address that inevitable fate and how will it take me past it?

Once you have the answer, you’ll know if it’s really worth your investment.

Thank you for getting this far and reading my article. I love feedback and interaction!

Did you like this article? Did it trigger any questions? Please comment below and let me know what you think.

Also follow me on Snapchat for more frequent ideas and insights.

Chad

Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch

Yoga Can Do Wonders For Runners

If you know me, you would know that I am not the most flexible person in the world — like less flexible than this computer I am typing on — but that doesn’t mean I shy away from anything that involves flexibility.

This hasn’t always been the case though.

In college there was a time when instead of an easy day we opted for a team yoga session, you know active recovery, taking an actual easy day and working on flexibility.

I wasn’t having any of it, I had a strict mileage plan and if I couldn’t fit those miles in during practice… when was I going to get them in? I had a bad attitude about change, I needed those miles! It was tough but I didn’t make it any easier on myself and coupled with thoughts like;

“I’m just naturally inflexible”

“I stretch everyday, what do I need Yoga for?”

and the kicker, “How is skipping an easy run going to make me better?”

Thoughts of a stressed out collegiate runner… Continue reading “Yoga For Runners – The Perfect 1-2 Punch”

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore? Part 1 DOMS & Inflammation

Am I Hurt Or Am I Just Sore

Am I hurt or am I just sore?

This is a common question you might ask yourself, especially the day after a hard workout or starting something new.

I used to be really bad at answering this question, which says a lot about my background and how far my knowledge has come since I was a 5’2″ high school freshman.

I was having a conversation with a friend about this the other day and we decided that it all came down to the old school mentality our coach
instilled.

Sure we were tough and had a “nose down” type of attitude, but this led to the idea that being sore was some kind of weakness. We ran through a lot of warning signs because… that’s just what we did. A mix of not knowing any better and wanting to be the runner with the most grit, but inevitably the injury team could have fielded a Varsity and Junior Varsity squad by the time conference rolled around.

* For the sake of clarity to anyone who didn’t run in high school, the “top 7” runners on the team were the Varsity squad and the next 7 were considered Junior Varsity, we had a small team – ok back to the post

You do need to be able to recognize that soreness is ok! but only within a certain context…

So what are these so called ‘warning signs’?

You can expect soreness after a good, hard workout or after a mileage increase, and that’s fine but be cognizant about where you feel it!
This comes down to DOMS!

DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, is caused by micro-tears in the muscle. These tears are necessary for building muscle/building better endurance in the muscle. All good things!

However, inflammation is an unnecessary byproduct of this process. Inflammation, essentially your muscles’ response to training*, can cause excess tightness throughout your body and can really impact the flexibility of your muscles and joints during this period.

*A more technical definition dealing with inflammation – biochemical processes release proteins called cytokines as “emergency signals” that bring in your body’s immune cells, hormones and nutrients to fix the problem

So if we think of DOMS as a 48 hour window; any pain past that is a cause for concern. I usually follow this protocol with my athletes:

*Soreness up to 48 hours after: probably not serious unless it is near the joint or throwing off running form – monitor the situation and be sure to take care of yourself! Follow The Art Of Foam Rolling!

If it’s over 48 hours and there is still muscle pain, then it is probably time for a cross training day. I would recommend staying active in your recovery to help speed up the process, however if you’re legs are dead…

There is nothing wrong with an off day or two!

If there is still pain after the next 3 days (the 5th day post initial soreness) of taking time off or cross training — call this the next 72 hour rule — then it is time to go see a chiropractor or physio or sports doctor, at this point there is something wrong and the sooner you find the problem, the sooner you can start rehabbing!

So let’s look at a few scenarios –

INJURY TIMETABLE 1: First workout in spikes
Day 1 – Calf soreness/tightness but overall run goes fine
Day 2 – Calf is extremely sore, achilles tendon feels swollen and running is throwing off your gait – take a cross training day today
Day 3 – Feels a bit better but you still bike for the day
Day 4 – Calf still feels tight but after biking, a light jog and foam rolling you feel a lot better
Day 5 – Back to running!!

INJURY TIMETABLE 2: First big increase in mileage
Day 1 – You don’t really notice it but your legs are overall sore from the mileage so you take a super easy day
Day 2 – Your legs feel better but now you feel the soreness in your shin area, painful to the touch – take a cross training day tomorrow
Day 3 – Running is out of the question today, your shins are hurting when you walk
Day 4 – You don’t feel any better today and even biking is causing your shins to ache!
Day 5 – You feel just as bad as you did yesterday (you spent 3 days cross training and it doesn’t seem to be hurting)
Day 6 – It could be a stress fracture or it could be really bad shin splints, so think about going to see a chiropractor or physical therapist or someone in that field as it could be a muscular problem that can be worked out.

As with anything, listen to what your body is telling you! Do not be stubborn and think,”I’ll just run through it” because that mentality will put you on the shelf for a long time.

Thanks for reading friends,
As Always please follow me on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
Coming up in part 2: Rehab and Prehab!

Justin

Welcome To The Anthrophysique Running Club

Anthrophysique running club

Hi friends,

Do you have trouble finding running partners? Are you a busy adult that has to fit their runs in at odd hours? Are you looking for a community to share your accomplishments and meet new friends?

You aren’t alone, trust me!

It can get tough having to constantly push yourself and not having anyone to hold you accountable.

I can’t tell you the amount of mornings that even I have woken up sore/tired and wanting to push my run off. Luckily, for the majority of my running career, I have had coaches and teammates who were relying on me to be there and ready to roll.

Imagine what would have happened if I didn’t have those built in obligations!

That’s kind of our mission here at Anthrophysique, everything comes down to accountability – you can have the best training in the world but if you don’t have the motivation to follow the plan it does not do you any good.

There is a great quote from USA Olympian Breaux Greer, “Even Spartacus needs a coach” – basically meaning every leader/coach/”motivated individual” needs someone to hold them accountable to their actions and motivate them every now and then.

This is the thought process that compelled me to start the Anthrophysique running club, this is a virtual running club designed to help you follow through and accomplish your goals – whether you are just starting a couch to 5k porgram or you have been running for decades.

Partnering with Strava you will be able to post about your runs, keep track of your minutes/miles/kilometers/hours or whatever you measure your workout in, ask the club about their runs, and pick up a tip or two about your training.

We’re here to help you; find inspiration to get out the door, ask for help, brag about your latest run, find inspiration from future friends and above all else – have fun while hitting your goals.

One thing is for sure, at the AP running club:

You Will Never Run Alone.

Come see what it’s all about!

Justin

Don’t forget to follow what I’m doing on Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter!

Marathon Training: Generic Plans Vs A Whole Body Approach Pt. 1

Personalized Marathon Training

As the saying goes, “Marathon training is a cruel mistress”, why else does every marathoner feel the need to tell you about their training regardless if you have asked our not?

It’s a lot of time, effort and sweat equity put into one day, months away, where you will test your mettle on the road…

Which is why you need to be cautious with which marathon training plan you choose!

You need to choose a plan that will work best for you; a plan that will fit within your time constraints but also work with your body and how you as an individual respond to training. However, sometimes it’s hard to tell which plan will work best, especially if you are unsure what to look for!

Take the plan below for instance: Continue reading “Marathon Training: Generic Plans Vs A Whole Body Approach Pt. 1”

Cooking With Fats – Reducing Oil Oxidation

Coconut oil oxidation

In the 1990s, proponents of the low-fat diet craze insisted that dietary fat – particularly saturated fats – led to; obesity, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, and several other medical complications.

By now, most people are aware that fats are an important macronutrient. We know that omega 3 fatty acids can actually reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cholesterol, and benefit people who have hardening of the arteries or high blood pressure. Some of us may even know that there are three types of fat – saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat – and that we should aim for a balance of all three fats in our diet.

What many of us don’t know, however, is that not all fats are suitable for cooking at high temperatures and that we should vary our fats based on the foods we’re preparing.

Since the low-fat craze died down and people became more aware of the need for dietary fats, one oil became increasingly popular – olive oil. We see it in recipes for everything from broiled salmon to sauteed spinach. Although olive oil is a great addition to a person’s diet, there is one problem with some of these recipes – the oxidation of the oil at high heat.

The sciency bit: Continue reading “Cooking With Fats – Reducing Oil Oxidation”

The Health Benefits of Improving Your Sleep

improving your sleep

I like to classify sleep as one of those things we “know we need more of” but fail at actually getting more of (kind of like veggies :P)

There are many health benefits to improving your sleep and without getting too sciencey on you, here are a few quick facts regarding our bodies and their need for Zzzz’s

A lack of sleep can actually cause the body to act similar to a state of intoxication

  • Less sleep can mean more weight gain (due to a lack of time for the regulation of necessary hormones)
  • A lack of sleep can impede any muscle building attempts due to HGH (human growth hormone) not having enough time to release and regenerate
  • While you sleep your immune system restores. A lack of sleep can cause you to become more susceptible to colds and flu
  • There is such thing as sleep debt. While you may function “just fine” on four hours of sleep, your body and hormones do not. Eventually you will have to makeup that time

Now, I won’t bore you with the different kinds of sleep but know that in order to function optimally the next day (increased brain activity, creativity, improved energy etc) you need to have hit a deep sleep (or your REM stage). Continue reading “The Health Benefits of Improving Your Sleep”

Do you have vague goals or measurable goals?

Running a marathon is a measurable goal.

When I ask people for their goals, I oftentimes get vague responses. Most commonly, people tell me that they want to lose weight or build muscle.

Let’s start with the “losing weight” response and let’s first change the terminology.

What we’re really talking about here is losing body fat, right? You can lose weight by simply dehydrating yourself, but I realize that what people mean by “lose weight” is actually that they want to “lose fat.” – if your goal is to simply lose fat, how do know when you’ve attained that goal? Continue reading “Do you have vague goals or measurable goals?”