Should I Wear Sunglasses When Exercising?

Do you often wonder why you don’t see more athletes wearing sunglasses when they are training and/or racing outside in the sun?  Some feel that the glasses are cumbersome and get in their way.  Others just have problems finding the right sunglasses that don’t slip on their nose, don’t fog and are the right weight for them.  Well sunglasses are just about as important as good running shoes if training outside on a regular basis.

Depending on the time of day you are exercising, direct sunlight can cause unnecessary strain on your eyes.  Sunglasses are a form of protective eyewear which protects ones eyes from bright light and damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR).  Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the natural radiation found in the invisible light spectrum. There are 3 ranges of UV: UVA, UVB and UVC.  Prolonged exposure to UVA and UVB rays can even increase the possibility of significant eye damage, including temporary discomfort to long-term vision problems such as cataracts.
Runners, cyclists, swimmers and walkers that exercise outside on a regular basis can face visual problems due to prolong exposure to sunlight if they are not wearing some type of visual aid.  Health professionals recommend use of sunglasses not only for protection against bright light and UV rays but also to prevent drying of retina and protect eyes from the entry of foreign body.
When selecting your sunglasses you will have a wide variety of lens tint options to suit your preference and outdoor lighting condition. Smoke lenses show the least amount of color distortion and are perfect for use in full sun conditions. Brown lenses are great for bright sunlight and enhance color.

AC (All conditions) Red lenses offer an enhanced view in cloudy or foggy weather. Red lenses will also provide contrast in mid to low lighting conditions.  Yellow lenses offer an extremely bright view in overcast or rainy conditions.

Clear lenses enable the wearer to have protection at night, or other extremely low lighting conditions. Although clear, the Tifosi clear lenses will still offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

CK SPORTS can help you find sunglasses that fit your face and that will meet your needs as a runner, walker or cyclist.   We carry the Tifosi brand ( the Italian word referring to a super-fan, an enthusiast) that have specific lens for your sport and provide you with various options as far as lens tint/color.   Their mission is to design eyewear for all sports and outdoor activities that include swimming, biking and running as well as golf, tennis and fishing to mention a few other sports.   These sunglasses (pictured in this article) are  lightweight and can fit all face sizes.

Stop in and try a pair on.  CK SPORTS is located at 121 and Custer in McKinney, Tx and we are opened seven days a week.

Endorphins Make Me Feel Good…

So what is an endorphin?  How do you explain or describe it?  

Well, Wikipedia’s definition is:

I will have a bowl of endorphins please

Endorphins (“endogenous morphine”) are endogenous opioid peptides that function as neurotransmitters.[1] They are produced by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus in vertebrates during exercise,[2] excitement, pain, consumption of spicy food, love and orgasm,[3][4] and they resemble the opiates in their abilities to produce analgesia and a feeling of well-being

ummmm…..what???  They are endogenous opioid peptides?   Okay then.  Lets start with an easy statement about endorphins.  They are supposed to make a person feel good – that simple.   Some people say it’s in our heads while others have done research and say it is a chemical released in our body that makes us happy, content, settled.  The articles side all over the place – they are not real, they are very real, research has proven, research has not “scientifically” proven…..so read on and you make your own decision.

For runner’s and/or endurance athletes they often are heard describing it as a “runner’s high”.  You know, that good feeling you get after a long run, a roll in the hay or a good laugh?  It’s not just because you’ve relieved exercise guilt, had a wham-bam orgasm or heard an absolute knee-slapper.  That elated feeling, which can last up to 12 hours for some people,also  has a scientific explanation.  It comes from a release of endorphins.   And it’s an “all natural” way of getting high.  Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine.     This  feeling,  is often accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.   

Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters referenced in the Wikipedia definition outlined in this article earlier.  The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines.  However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.

Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD, family practitioner and author of  “Eat for Health” and “Eat to Live” notes that the science of endorphins-from-exercise is controversial, and that some medical professionals believe the positive feeling you get when you meet a physical challenge, rather than the exertion itself, is what stimulates the endorphin release. Several articles that were researched indicated that endorphins are indeed real and provide benefits to us that include:

Relief of pain
Enhanced immune system
Reduced stress levels
Postpone aging process
Modulated appetite
Lowers blood pressure
Influences calm or euphoric state of mind

 But whatever the cause and benefit, exercise has been proven to enhance the mood.  So lets not speculate any longer.  Get outside, find your sport and start feeling good……endorphin or no endorphin.  In Dr. Fuhrman also recommends prolonged activities such as cross-country skiing, swimming, tennis or a long cardio workout for the best effects. So try to catch an endorphin  see what cha think!  

References;

Endorphins 101: Your Guide to Natural Euphoria
Dr Joel Fuhrman; MD Family practitioner and author

How Do I Use a Foam Roller?

Tips for Using a Foam Roller

  • Always check with your doctor before using a foam roller for myofascial release

  • Perform foam roller sessions when your muscles are warm or after a workout.

  • Position the roller under the soft tissue area you want to release or loosen.

  • Gently roll your body weight back and forth across the roller while targeting the affected muscle.

  • Move slowly and work from the center of the body out toward your extremities.

  • If you find a particularly painful area (trigger point), hold that position until the area softens.

  • Focus on areas that are tight or have reduced range of motion.

  • Roll over each area a few times until you feel it relax. Expect some discomfort. It may feel very tender or bruised at first.

  • Stay on soft tissue and avoid rolling directly over bone or joints.

  • Keep your first few foam roller sessions short. About 15 minutes is all you need.

  • Rest a day between sessions when you start.

  • Drink plenty of water after a session, just as you would after a sports massage.

  • After a few weeks you can increase your session time and frequency if you choose.

  • Do not use a foam roller without your physician’s approval if you have any heart illness or chronic pain condition.

More About Techniques With the Foam Roller

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  • Find a tender spot on the area you are working and keep the roller on this spot. Wait for discomfort to diminish by 50-75%. This could take some time and be uncomfortable.

  • When this area is no longer sensitive then begin to see if there are other sensitive areas and repeat.

  • When this area is free of pain and can be rolled over, then continue rolling regularly to keep the area relaxed.

  • Use the roller as warm up prior to activity and also for warm down after exercise

  • There is some freedom for experimentation and “feel” when using the rollers. See what works best for you and manipulate the roller to the correct position.

Maintaining Your Foam Roller

Due to how foam rollers are manufactured, all foam products will have some surface imperfections. Imperfections such as surface bubbles, dimensional tolerance and differences in color are normal. These imperfections will not affect the performance of the foam roller and other foam products.

Normal use will cause indentations or pressure points. Pressure points may slowly re-cover, however, continuous pressure lasting several hours should be avoided. Do not store objects on top of foam items. Foam performs best if stored flat, away from sunlight and within temperature ranges between 75°F – 125°F.

 Cleaning:    

Use a mild soap and water mixture or Isopropyl Rubbing alcohol.  DO NOT use bleach solutions, oils or other chemicals as they can cause softening, discoloration and distortion of shape.

CK SPORTS carries all types of foam rollers; full, half size and even the new GRID.  Stop in and let us set you up with the best foam roller for your sport. 

Triathlon Transition Tips

Article written by Poseidon Triathlon Coach, Jim Brown 

Practice – Both mentally and physically. It’s much easier and quicker to shave a minute or even more off your overall time than to try to improve your swim, bike or run by the same amount.  You can improve your transition times by this much with just an hour or two of practicing. In contrast, it could take as a long as an entire season (or longer) to shave a minute off a 750m swim or a 5K run. Visualizing a quick, clean transition before the race and at the end of your swim and bike legs can help your performance.

Get in Gear Put your bike in the right gear for the course before you rack. You won’t want to be in a high gear if there’s a big hill ready to greet you immediately out of T2! Do your course recon first!

Make your transition spot a clutter free zone –For sprint and Olympic distance triathlons, you don’t need socks or a lot of other clutter. Eliminating unnecessary items will help you and others around you.

Bike shoes in the pedals – Put on your bike shoes while riding the course at 18 mi/hr instead of standing still in transition. (Unless T1 exits is on a big hill!) You can clip your shoes into place with rubber bands. There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating this technique.

Run with your bike – After putting your helmet on, run upright with good form on the left side of your bike holding your seat with your right hand.

Flying Mount – Learn a flying mount & dismount. It’s good to practice on a trainer or a soft track surface first. There are lots of Youtube videos demonstrating this technique.

Your bike is your Sherpa—Tape Gels, and sunglasses (sometimes they’ll fit on the outside of your helmet), and whatever else you may need to your bike.  It’s a waste of time to rummage around the transition area looking for these items and packing them for the ride.

T1 and T2 are not fitting rooms – Any clothing changes, especially on a wet body takes lots of time. Triathlon suits are designed for swimming, biking and running, so you shouldn’t need to change clothes.

Location, Location, Location – Know where your bike is located, where the bike and run exits are, and the quickest route to them.  In huge transition areas, it’s sometimes a good idea to use a bright colored marker (I’ve seen balloons, teddy bears, old swim caps, chalk marks, etc.) to help you find your bike.

Stand up/Spin up/Stretch—The last few minutes on the bike should prepare you for the run. Stand up and pedal in a high gear first for a minute or two to shunt blood from your quadriceps to other muscles in your legs.  Stretch out your hamstrings and calf muscles, to get them ready to run.  Spin up in an easy gear at high cadence (90), which helps activate your neuromuscular system for running.

Use lace locks or speed laces (and body glide/baby powder)—Tying shoe laces takes time. Body glide or baby powder put in your shoe ahead of time can allow for quick foot entry into your shoe. It’s also faster to put on your shoes while standing as opposed to sitting down and getting up.   All of these race items can be found at CK SPORTS, located at 121 and Custer in McKinney.

Hit the road fastIn T2, grab what you need and go. Put on your hat, fuel, and race belt/bib while you are running.  Even if you are running slightly slower through transition, it’s better than standing still.


Never try anything new on race day!

ATTEND THE TRANSITION CLINIC AT CK SPORTS ON TUESDAY, MAY 15TH AT 6:30PM.  They are located at 8880 State Highway 121, McKinney, TX 75070

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.