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Results for category "Triathlon Training"

RUNNING INJURY PREVENTION – TRICKS OF THE TRADE.

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Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Sports Physiologist

ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach.

At some stage or another, just by its very nature – full weight bearing high impact – running is going to cause you an injury. With a little pre-thought and some sensible alterations to your training there are a number of things you can do to (i) lower the incidence of injury, (ii) speed your recovery from running related injuries and (iii) ensure you don’t suffer the same ailment again.

So here’s a simple “what to do” checklist to consider.

BUILD A BASE. Before doing an “quality” (high intensity training) make sure you have a foundation of low intensity longer miles in your legs.

SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE. Athletes over 80kg should only increase their total running volume by about 10% per week to ensure their bodies can absorb the impact loads to avoid overuse injuries.

TRAIN “SMARTER” NOT JUST “HARDER”. You can’t train a tired or injured body. Back off when you need a break. 12-24 hours of recovery can make all the difference.

Runners stretch-Rod CedaroSTRETCH. There’s an old rule of thumb around running circles – 10% of your total training time should be spent stretching. Stretch all your major running muscles and hold at the point of stretch for at least 10-15 seconds minimum.

YOU CAN’T TRAIN A TIRED BODY!

Over training leads to burn-out. Monitor your morning heart rate. If it is elevated by more than 15% have a rest day, 10-15% keep the training aerobic, 5-10% above normal, train normally but be on the lookout over the coming days to make sure you’ve adequately recovered.

WORK ON YOUR FUNCTIONAL STABILITY.

A great way to do this is by swapping your chair at work for a Swissball – it may look a little out there, but all day long while you’re sitting at your desk you’re training your functional stabilising muscles – this’ll pay off in your running form.

STAY ON TOP OF YOUR FEET – DON’T OVER-STRIDE.

Your feet should be hitting the ground underneath you, not out in front – overstriding increases ground reaction forces and the instance of overuse injuries like stress fractures.

Run on grass - Rod CedaroRUN ON SOFTER SURFACES.

Vary the terrain on which you train. Staying off asphalt and concrete and running on grass and natural trails will save your legs.

workouts and terrain for muscle balance

WARM UP FOR AT LEAST 5-10 MINUTES.

Increased muscle temperature improves range of motion and helps prevent injury. The colder the day, the longer your warm up. Do a few efforts at least at or greater than, race pace.

TWO PAIR OF TRAINING SHOES. Switching shoes after each running session means your shoes last longer (they dry out between sessions) and you can avoid putting undue stress on one particular area. If there’s a particular brand/style you like get two pair and alternate them.

IF YOUR TOE NAILS ARE BLACKENED LOOK AT YOUR SHOES.

Blackened toenails indicate that you’re jamming your toes against the toe-box of the shoe. Consider a slightly larger size and/or a different model.

BE ON GUARD FOR EARLY WARNING SIGNS.

Listen to your body and don’t train through niggles as they can escalate into full blown injuries. Identify the cause and treat it. You may drop a day’s training by doing so, but it’ll save you 4 weeks of down time due to injury.

INTENSITY – USE IT SPARRINGLY. The top distance runners in the world don’t do much more than 20% of all their training intensely. If you’re logging 50km per week in total that means no more than 10km should be quality work.

BUILD YOUR TRAINING SLOWLY AND PROGRESSIVELY.

Sudden increases in training volume of more than 10-20% per week can cause injury as your body struggles to adapt to the additional training loads.

CROSS-TRAINING IS A BLESSING. bike rod cedaro

If you’re scheduled for another run and your legs are still feeling a little trashed, the beauty about being a triathlete is you can jump on the bike and go for a recovery spin to speed the rate of recovery without having to load your legs. Use cross-training to speed your running recovery.

WORK ON YOUR FUNCTIONAL STABILITY (CORE STABILISERS).

Improving functional stability muscles lowers the incidence of back pain and lower limb injuries by enhancing your running form.

STAY COOL.

After a hard training session cool your legs with ice and stick them into a cold bath. This lowers the amount of inflammation and speeds your recovery rate.

RECURRENT INJURIES?

Do you seem to get over an injury only to have it flare again? Chances are you have a biomechanical shortcoming of some sort. Have your gait analysed by an appropriately trained professional like a sports podiatrist.

WALKING CAN HELP

If you’re suffering from a long term injury that has kept you out of running for an extended period of time – WALK. This will help your muscles, tendons, bones and ligaments maintain some strength and integrity so that when you’re able to return to running at least you won’t be starting behind the 8 ball.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES AREN’T LOLLIES!

Anti-inflammatories mask the pain but don’t remove the cause of the injury. Without the warning signs you can actually make the injury (and long term consequences) worse. Anti-inflammatories (or at least extended inappropriate use of them) can have other implications (e.g. They can produce significant gut problems). Use them sensibly and under medical direction.

WHEN TO CAN IT

Again listen to your body. If you have a cold keep training – provided it is only a head cold – once an ailment goes through your entire system or settles on your chest, pull up stumps, go home and catch a movie.

REGULAR MASSAGE Rod Cedaro sports massage

A regular massage can help keep your legs supple and injury free, they can promote blood flow, alleviate pain and speed recovery. Have one booked for after a hard training session or a race.

R.I.C.E.

The R.I.C.E. principal (Rest, ice, compression and elevation) is still the best immediate treatment for any injury you sustain when running, but don’t ice the affected area for more than 15-20 minutes at any one time.

So there you have them, some tips to help you navigate your way through the coming season with the least hassle possible.

Rod Cedaro

 

METATARSALGIA – A MOUTHFUL TO SAY SORE FEET

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Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.) Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach (DUNCAN)

The human foot is a remarkable piece of engineering design. It is a shock-absorber like no other. When you consider, even running at a moderate pace a 70 kilogram athlete will put something in the vicinity of 126,000 kilograms through each foot every kilometre they run, it really puts things into perspective as to why the foot is vulnerable to injury if something goes astray.

With each stride, the five long bones that run from your arch to your toes, your metatarsals, act as shock-absorbers. As you toe off when running, your body weight is transferred directly onto your metatarsals. If that resultant weight distribution is uneven when it hits the road for whatever reason (e.g. Poor shoe mechanics, tight calves, etc.), the metatarsals can become irritated and inflamed, resulting in the dreaded “metatarsalgia”.

Rod Cedaro metatarsalgia

Many people describe this irritation as feeling like a burning, stabbing, or aching pain at the “head” of the bone, just beneath the toes. Some describe it like feeling that they have a stone stuck in their shoe. It is generally worse on standing, walking and especially running and subsides when you sit or lie and take the load off the region. While the ailment can come on abruptly after working on hard surfaces and running hard in poorly cushioned shoes, it tends to develop over time and effects all foot types equally.

How do you go about preventing metatarsalgia? The answer is often as simple as appropriate shoe choice. Athletes with neutral to flat feet should look for shoes with a wide toe-box and a dome-shaped metatarsal pad, these will protect the metatarsal heads from pounding. If on the other hand you have high arches – which is a foot type known for poor shoe absorption, you may benefit from a shoe that provides extra cushioning that deflects pressure from the bones. While shoes play a considerable roll in lowering the incidence of this ailment, improving your own foot mechanics won’t go astray either! Strengthening the sole of the foot helps to prevent it from flattening, which protects the metatarsals from impact. Strengthening through the plantar muscles will help to control excessive over-pronation which is one of the major causes of metatarsalgia. Try some of the following exercises:

[i] Pick up a marble with your toes, hold for a count of five, and release. Start at the big toe and repeat, working your way down to the little toe. Repeat three times.

[ii] Screw up sheets of newspaper with your toes, hold the movement at the end of the paper screwing for 10 seconds and repeat 10-15 times. If you do develop metatarsalgia, initially give your feet a break – it is an “overuse” injury – so stop the use, comeback to training initially with lowered volume and run on softer surfaces like a golf course to lessen the impact shock. If you do experience pain in the front part of the ball of your foot, get on to it early! Treat such symptoms aggressively with the “RICE” principal (rest, elevation, ice and compression) during the first 24 hours and take anti-inflammatories if need be.

Then see a sports physician if need be and/or a podiatrist if your symptoms persist. At that point you may need to have a callus shaved, a metatarsal pad inserted or appropriate orthotics designed. Untreated this syndrome can become chronic and debilitating leading to joint swelling, bone bruising, chronic stiffness and loss of joint range which can create a vicious cycle. As per any ailment, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of treatment.

 Rod Cedaro

Rod Cedaro – Balanced Running

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Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.)

Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach

Rod CedaroAside from everything else that triathletes need to build – strength, power, endurance, flexibility, they also need to improve their balance and functional stability and nowhere is this more important than out on the run when you’re already tired from the previous two disciplines. Think of running as a one-footed balancing act. Unless you’re well balanced and in control when you’re running you are (i) lowering your performance potential and (ii) increasing your chance of injury.

For a triathlete being steady on your feet means you can more efficiently transfer propulsive forces into the ground – driving you along the road faster, while at the same time absorbing ground force reaction impact more effectively, hence lowering the chance of injury from each foot-strike.

Unfortunately, like any other skill “balance” declines with age if you don’t work at it or if you’ve had a debilitating injury. So what exactly is “balance” in relation to the triathlete when running? It is all about a process called “proprioception” – in other words knowing precisely where your body is in space. Running, particularly when fatigued off the bike really inhibits this process whereas improving your balance can increase your proprioceptive abilities helping you to run smoother and faster.

To train this proprioceptive ability you literally have to work from the ground up.

Try standing barefoot on one leg and focus on how your foot feels on the ground and what its natural inclination is. Most people tend to shift their weight to the centre of their foot. When you do this you become more stable and agile and less likely to become injured, however when you run, repeating this process, in motion is about the last thing on your mind. As your weight is shifted around, literally thousands of times every kilometre you run your body is forced to compensate and overuse injuries result.

To improve your balance when running start by getting comfortable being on one foot, after all, when you run only one foot is in contact with the ground at any one time. Activities like yoga and pilates can be ideal in helping you achieve this objective as they are “functional” activities, in other words, exercises that work multiple muscle groups as you move, rather than isolating a muscle in a static position such as you do when undertaking traditional strength training (e.g. Weight exercises like a squat). Consequently you’ll get much better “carry over” from such functional exercises to your running, as running is a dynamic activity requiring the integration of multiple muscle groups in rapid fire succession.

At the end of the day, balance training is about improving your running. A stable body moves more efficiently, allowing you to run faster and longer with less effort.

Some suggested exercises:

Rod Cedaro balance poses(i) Stand barefoot on a stable surface. Lift one leg and bring the bent knee toward the chest while maintaining an upright stance (don’t move your hips). Balance on one leg for 15 to 20 seconds then change legs. You can make this exercise more difficult as you master the basic movement by (a) closing your eyes, (b) raising and lowering your arms and (c) standing on an unstable surface (e.g. An almost completely deflated basketball).

 

(ii) Stand on one leg on a slightly elevated, stable surface. Bend your knee and swing your leg forward while maintaining an upright stance. Control the momentum by holding each end position for one second. Keep your knee bent throughout the swing. Do 10 reps on each side.

 

(iii) Use a “wobble” deck. Stand on top of a wobble deck and try to extend the period of time you are able to hold the wobble deck in a balanced position. To make it harder juggle two tennis balls whilst you’re doing it or try closing your eyes to remove your visual reference points.

 

(iv) Balance on your left leg; lift your right leg behind you. Lean forward; reach your right hand to your left toe. Return to an upright stance, staying on the left leg. Do 10 reps on each leg, then build to 20 reps. To make it harder close your eyes.

 

(v) See-saw balance board. Stand on a balance board built over the top of some PVC piping secured underneath the board and work in the same manner as per the wobble deck. (vi) Swiss ball exercises – there are literally hundreds of functional stability exercises that can be done from a Swiss ball that’ll help to improve your dynamic balance and hence your functional stability for running.

Rod Cedaro

CREATINE – IS IT WORTH THE WEIGHT WHEN YOU RUN?

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CREATINE – IS IT WORTH THE WEIGHT WHEN YOU RUN?

Text by Rod Cedaro (M. App. Sc.)

Consultant Exercise Physiologist ACC Accredited Level III Triathlon Coach

Pieta Cedaro (APD) Consultant Dietitian

It never fails to surprise me just how much misinformation still exists around the athletic training circles. My wife works on a consultancy basis as a dietician with many of the athletes we coach. One of the services she provides is a complete dietary review whereby the athletes provide her with a comprehensive 3-day diet review of everything that goes into their mouths. She then provides them with feedback as to how to optimally modify their diets to optimise their recovery, performance, etc. Time and time again what comes across is the incredible amounts of money triathletes are spending seemingly adhoc on nutritional supplementation and one of the most exploited myths is that of creatine. With this in mind I thought it timely to consider just what you are potentially doing to your performance – running in particular because of its weight bearing nature – if you are creatine supplementing on a daily basis.

So let’s look at the physiology behind creatine. When athletes consume creatine be it from meat and fish or in supplementary form, some of the creatine will be absorbed from the blood into the muscles. Once there, creatine can be combined with phosphate to form phosphocreatine, a vital—but very limited—source of energy for brief, high-power activities such as sprinting and resistance training. It follows that creatine users should have more phosphocreatine energy available to perform these kinds of activities, leading to improved performance – at least in sprint and power events – already distance running off the bike associated with triathlon isn’t looking to benefit too much from this form of supplementation now is it!?

This rationale sounds great, and a whole industry has been built upon it with many millions of dollars worth of creatine supplements sold every year. But even after the completion of several hundred scientific investigations, many questions remain about the value of creatine supplementation for performance of various sports and about how much and when to use creatine—if it should be used at all. Here is some of what we now know from the current research:

* Supplementing the diet with 20 grams of creatine daily (four X 5-gram doses) for 4-5 days (i.e., “creatine loading”) will increase muscle levels of creatine in some, but not all, individuals. When consumed in amounts greater than 20 grams per day the balance is excreted via the urine.

 

*2 grams of creatine ingested daily for 30 days is just as effective as the aforementioned loading regimen in regards to the concentrations found in muscle at the end of the loading phase.

* Consuming carbohydrate with creatine increases creatine uptake by muscles marginally.

* Creatine ingestion generally results in weight gain by a couple of kilograms, some of which will be extra muscle and the rest extra water. This additional weight is likely to be detrimental to your running performance.

* Most lab studies of high-power tests lasting 30 seconds and/or repeated high power tests show slight (but signficant) improvements in performance in creatine users.

* Lab testing between 30 and 90 seconds duration suggest some positive performance with creatine supplementation. As test durations exceed 90 seconds, creatine users show little or no change in performance compared to non-users.

 

TABLE 1. Evidence for and against the use of creatine in different events. Type of Testing Ergogenic (Performance Enhancing) Effect or not?
Intense Brief Exercise (e.g. Laboratory tests; <30 seconds e.g. Sprint cycling – the shorter the better) Established performance benefits.
Intense exercise in lab setting for exercise bouts of 30-90 seconds to 3 minutes duration (e.g. Rowing ergo). Established performance benefits.
Intermittent style intense exercise bouts in the lab of 30 seconds to 3 minutes duration (e.g. Laboratory tests simulating mountain biking – stop-go-stop-go style intermittent efforts.) Supported by “some” research.
Intense exercise of longer than 3 minutes duration (Lab and field studies – e.g. Endurance based activities such as distance running.) No supportive evidence available for the use of creatine.

 

IN SUMMARY FOR THE TRIATHLETE:

* When consumed in moderate doses, there doesn’t appear to be any adverse health effects with the supplementation of creatine in healthy adults.

* There have been no studies reviewing the effects of creatine supplementation on growing children so it would be prudent NOT TO use this supplement with athletes under the age of 18.

* Since the manufacture of supplements isn’t tightly regulated there is no guarantee that what is stated on the bottle is what is actually in the product. As was the case with the Bek Keat issue there have been incidents where supplements are “spiked” with stimulants or prohormones that are banned by sport governing bodies – so ensure that the product you are using is from a reliable source.

* Endurance athletes such as triathletes have little if anything to gain (and particularly during the run leg, much to lose) using creatine because of the associated weight gain due to increased muscle mass and fluid retention.

* Dietary supplements won’t make you a champion! The key to great performances is dedicated intelligent training over time coupled with a genetic predisposition to endurance sports, recovery and sensible dietary habits. Get all of these ingredients in place and them search for the 1%ers to give you that edge – creatine for the triathlete doesn’t fall into this category.

 

 

 

Rod Cedaro: My Brisbane Marathon Race times!

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With the Brisbane Marathon on the horizon again this August 3rd 2014, I thought I would share my race times on the Brisbane Marathon Honour Roll.Rod Cedaro Brisbane Marathon

The times are here: Rod Cedaro Brisbane Marathon

There are several events on the 3rd of August, including the 42km marathon, a half marathon, a 10km run as well as a 5km. The smaller distances are ideal for beginners and enable you to experience the buzz of the event whilst competing. It’s a fantastic event, with great people in a wonderful  city.

Find out more about the marathon in this video: