You Don’t have to Run in Drenched Clothes

 So everyone is putting together their fitness plans, picking out their next race, and preparing their training schedule. When putting thought into your goals, don’t forget to give careful thought about your wardrobe as well. That does not mean if the pink shoes will match the shorts and headband but more so if you have the right apparel for the hot and humid days ahead of us. Save your cotton tanks your casual outings with family and friends and make sure the shorts and shirts you run in are technical moisture management apparel that will make your workouts much more comfortable and less risk of chafing and have wet, heavy clothing sticking to your skin the last hour of a workout!

So you ask, why technical apparel. What’s so great about it?

Basically technical apparel is what some refer to as moisture management fabric which pulls sweat from the skin and spreads it out into the garment so that it will dry faster. This description is called “wicking” but understand that even cotton (the frowned upon fabric among athletes) wicks (pulls) moisture faster than synthetics, BUT it holds onto the moisture not allowing the moisture to spread out. This causes wet clothing they will cling while working out. Technical garments take much longer to saturate and will dry more quickly never giving you a heavy, soaking wet feeling.

So what’s the big deal about a heavy, wet piece of clothing while working out? Aren’t we suppose to be drenched is your next thought right?   Well, this feeling/effect can cause other problems.

  • In cold temperatures working out in cotton and having the layer of apparel closest to your skin get wet with little ability to dray can cause hypothermia.
  • When cotton is super-saturated, it has the effect on your skin that lying in a bath tub does—you (your skin) becomes prune-like. This is bad because when you add heat and movement to your already sensitive skin, the likelihood of blistering, chafing, or callusing is very high.

Polyester and nylon may have a bad rap with casual clothing, but for the an athlete they are the fabric of choice. There are plenty of advantages to polyester and nylon. It’s light, durable, smooth against the skin, and has tremendous moisture managing properties. It keeps you dry, and keeps you from chafing and blistering. Polyester is a very light and thin material, so it can be molded and fit into many types of clothing. It can be a light singlet or a t-shirt as easily as it can be included in a heavy winter “shell” jacket. Due to polyester’s great moisture managing properties it will keep you dry, which keeps you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter—all without causing skin abrasions that you end up nursing long after the chafing happened. If you are trying to pick between the two fabrics (which many times the apparel will be a blend of both) nylon is more durable (typically) and holds the color in the fabric after various washes a little better.

Fit

Last, when selecting your fitness apparel, make sure you purchase your apparel the correct size. Wearing shorts that are larger than you need can cause chafing simply due to having too much fabric between your legs and causing it to rub against your skin when exercising. Technical garments work best when fit closer to the skin but as more manufacturers evolve new technology has allowed for the fit to be looser and still be effective for moisture management, warmth and cooling.

CK SPORTS 

CK SPORTS carries various brands of technical apparel for both men and women.  The brands range from Pearl Izumi, Brooks, Under Armour, Mizuno and much more.  Visit our store and our staff will help you select the best fit for your body type and exercise needs.   When making these purchases you will want to take care of your apparel since it is an investment.  Unlike cotton fabric, technical fabric does costs a little more.  If you wash/dry it correctly, it will last a long time and remain effective.  

Did you say Pickle Juice before my Run?

Pickle Juice??  What the heck?   You want me to drink some pickle juice before my run / ride / walk???   Why can’t I stick to some GUs, Gels or Chomps and just eat a pickle when I order my sandwich that comes with a pickle?   Well, good question but if you google pickle juice and the athletic and health benefits of it, you might be surprised the amount of information and studies you will find.  Some studies adamantly say pickle juice is beneficial in helping stop cramps and others are hesitant to say that cramping is even caused by dehydration and/or lack of salt intake.  So we created this blog to give you some insight and let you come to your own conclusions on whether or not you want to venture out and give it a try.

Pickle juice is the liquid substance used to give cucumbers their salty, sour taste.  In most cases, it is made of water, salt, calcium chloride and vinegar (acetic acid), and occasionally contains flavorings like dill or “bread and butter”.   The use of pickle juice as a defense against muscle cramps first attracted headlines when the Philadelphia Eagles credited pickle juice with their cramp-free win over the Dallas Cowboys in the over-one-hundred-degrees Texas heat.  Rick Burkholder, the Eagles’ head trainer, called it his “secret weapon.”  Pickle companies (such as Mt. Olive Pickle, Vlasic Foods and Golden Pickle) claim that pickle juice is similar to an isotonic beverage and can prevent muscle cramps caused from strenuous exercise.   Mt. Olive Pickle asserts that “an athletic trainer from the University of Northern Iowa” uses pickle juice to avoid muscle cramps in athletes. (http://www.mtolivepickles.com/Picklemania/PickleJuicePower.html)

Golden Pickle has even created a sports drink, appropriately named “Pickle Juice Sport” which you can purchase at CK SPORTS.  Golden Pickle claims that Pickle Juice Sport has “approximately 30 times more electrolytes than Powerade and 15 times more than Gatorade.” (www.goldenpicklejuice.com). It is even endorsed by Dallas Cowboy Jason Witten.

So why would pickle juice work?  Exercise induced muscle cramps are can be caused by dehydration from exercising in hot weather and not drinking enough fluids.  When you sweat during exercise, you can lose a lot of salt from your blood.  These salts are also known as electrolytes.  The loss of electrolytes can cause muscle cramping, especially in hot, humid weather.  Cells in the body use electrolytes to maintain voltages across their cell membranes and to carry electrical impulses to other cells. In this case, these impulses are responsible for muscle contractions. Pickle juice has a very high salt, or electrolyte content.  Therefore, drinking pickle juice before exercising could possibly provide your body with enough salt, that your muscles will not cramp.  Other studies claim that your body gets enough sodium through the foods you eat and pills, juice, etc are not necessarily needed.

One study (resource provided below) compared pickle juice from Vlasic Pickles to the carbohydrate sports beverage Gatorade. The two beverage samples were analyzed in a food-composition laboratory to determine the amount of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium in each product.  Pickle juice was found to have considerably more salt than the carbohydrate beverage.  Dale et. al. concluded that pickle juice can be used as a remedy for muscle cramps. However, the study also warns of the danger of ingesting too much salt as well so be smart when training and see what works for you, your workouts and your climate.  In most articles two ounces is the suggested serving size of pickle juice.

There was even another study that took two groups of men and put them through strenuous enough exercise for them to lose 3% of their body weight through perspiration (mild dehydration) and then s contraption was put on the big toe of their unexercised leg, and the tibial nerve in the men’s ankles was electrically stimulated, causing a muscle in the big toe to cramp — ow??    The procedure causes some discomfort, making it too painful to use on larger muscles, like the hamstrings or the quadriceps.  The duration of their cramping was about 2 to 2.5 minutes.   The volunteers rested and did not drink any fluids. Then their tibial nerve was zapped again.  This time, though, as soon as the toe cramps began, each man downed about 2.5 ounces of either deionized water or pickle juice, strained from a jar of ordinary Vlasic dills.  The reaction, for some, was rapid. Within about 85 seconds, the men drinking pickle juice stopped cramping.  But the cramps continued unabated in the men drinking water.   hmmmm….so you see….one has to wonder?  Can pickle juice work for you and your workouts?

And if pickle juice isn’t your thing – no worries.  There are various supplements made from various companies (Shark Salts, Hammer, Salt Stick, etc) also provided at CK SPORTS that provide a source of salt for athletes.  Whatever direction you go to increase your salt intake do remember that too much of a good thing.  And if you are on a salt-restricted diet, you may want to look elsewhere for a muscle cramp remedy.   Medical professionals believe that salt plays a major role in preventing dehydration that causes muscle cramps, but it does not necessarily have to come from pickle juice or other salt tablets.  In fact, Kurt Spindler, the Director of the Vanderbilt Sports Medicine Center, suggests that athletes just conscientiously salt their food at their meals to avoid muscle cramps.

RESOURCES

Muscle Cramps. (2005) A-Z Health Guide from WebMD. Retrieved September 18, 2006.  http://www.webmd.com/hw/health_guide_atoz/sig239850.asp

Dale, R. B. Leaver-Dunn, D. Bishop, P. (2003).  A compositional analysis of a common acetic acid  solution with practical implications for ingestion. Journal of Athletic Training. 38(1) .57.

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/09/phys-ed-can-pickle-juice-stop-muscle-cramps/

Tips For Running the Boston Marathon on Monday – 2012

by Dick Beardsley

Congratulations to all of you who are running Boston! It is a race like no other in the world!   From the time you step off the plane you will feel the electricity in the air, that’s all everyone is talking about! As you know, Boston starts in the small town of Hopkinton and winds through different towns along the way into downtown Boston. The first half mile is a pretty good downhill that you will want to be careful on! Between the early downhill, all the runners, along with all the spectators it’s easy to go out too  fast and you will pay a big price for that later in the race. If you think you’re going slow enough at the start, your probably are  going too fast!

The course has some rolling hills during the first half of the race. The first BIG attraction is when you’re coming into the town of Wellsley.  It is the home of Wellsley Girls College and they will be out there in droves screaming their heads off for you. It’s unbelievable!

The course flattens out for a couple of miles after that until you come down a very long steep downhill into the town of Newton Lower Falls but remember what goes down must come up! I think one of the toughest parts of the course is the very long gradual up hill coming up out of that town. No one talks about that one much but in my opinion that is where the hills really begin! At the fire station at mile 17 you turn right onto Commonwealth Ave and this is where the infamous set of hills begins ending with Heartbreak Hill!  The toughest part of that series of hills is coming down the backside of Heartbreak, it can be brutal on your legs! 

Once you’re down that hill you will make a left hand turn and start heading for downtown. When you see the big Citgo billboard you will then know you have about a mile to go to the finish!  You will continue on Commonwealth Ave. and then make a right turn onto Hereford Street. This street is about 3-4 blocks long with a gradual rise. You get to the top of Hereford St. and make a left and then its about 500 yards straight to the finish!

Some other tips:

  • I know the expo is lots of fun but I would not spend too much time on your feet there. Get your packet, make a quick trip around the expo and then get back to your hotel and get off your feet!
  • Make sure you are well hydrated before, during, and after the race!
  • Don’t worry about the weather! So many people psych themselves right out of a good race because they are so worried about the weather! Yes check the forecast so you can be dressed properly but there is nothing you can do about the weather so PLEASE don’t worry about it!
  • Last but not least, HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I wish you all the best!

Dick Beardsley

 DICK BEARDSLEY

A very short bio about Dick Beardsley.  He is a “running legend,” but perhaps the most amazing thing about him is his climb back to health after becoming addicted to pain medication for more than four years.  (read more at http://www.marathonandbeyond.com/camp/beardsleyinfo.doc). 

dickb2
Dick Beardsley

Dick is best known for his incredible race in the 1982 Boston Marathon, which this year marks the 40th anniversary of this famous Boston Race which was dubbed the “Duel in the Sun” as he battled world record holder Alberto Salazar down to the finish line. Both broke the American record: Salazar won in a record time of 2:08:51, Beardsley’s time was 2:08:53! He was at the height of his professional running career.  Take a look at the famous race       

Then tragedy struck in November 1989. While using an auger to lift corn into a bin on his Minnesota farm, Dick became entangled in the machine; it began to literally tear him apart. Not expected to live or walk-much less ever run again-he managed to survive.  

What is Active Therapy?

by Tim Hines-
Elite Performance Chiropractic located in McKinney, Tx.

ART is a patented, soft-tissue mobilization technique preferred by many of today’s top athletes. The goal of ART is similar to sports massage, in that it aims to remove scar tissue from the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Chronic and repetitive injury causes scar tissue to form in the body. Over time this scar tissue becomes adhesion that limits function and can became very painful — even leading to more injury.

Active Release is a very focused approach to aiding the body in recovering from the effects of these chronic injuries. Most often practiced by chiropractors, some have likened ART to a chiropractor’s approach to sports massage. While the end goals may be similar, the techniques are quite different. Swedish massage treats the body with a broad, full-body approach. Sports and therapeutic massage are more focused approaches, treating problem areas. ART is even more focused. Certified practitioners of ART are trained to find the source of the problem, go right to it and treat it directly.

How does it work? A simple way to describe it would be a pin-and-stretch. The ART practitioner finds the adhesion that is limiting the function of the muscle, joint, etc. Pressure is applied to the problem spot, and the muscle, or ligament, or tendon, is stretched while pressure is increased. The effect breaks up the adhesion and frees the surrounding soft-tissue. As a massage therapist who is certified in ART, I look at it as another tool in the tool-box of therapies.

Sometimes, all it takes is a screw-driver to fix something — other times, you might need a hammer — often, both a hammer, screw-driver, and even a wrench are needed. ART is great because it can treat injuries quickly, and creates a faster recovery. It can be a crucial part of your overall care. I find that combining ART with chiropractic adjustments and massage, along with proper conditioning and important things like the right fit of shoes, or a properly balanced bike, all work in conjunction to help you perform at a top level.