December 20, 2011

I am continually getting the question, “what is the overtrained state, or what does overtrained mean?”

Entering this state is often precipitated by continually high volume and or intensity without adequate rest, and includes performance decline with other typical stress-related psychological, psychosomatic, and physiological symptoms and signs that can be graded from mild to severe. A mild form includes psychological and psychosomatic symptoms (e.g., anger, fatigue, tension, loss of appetite, lethargy, or sexual unwillingness), some short-term sleep problems, and muscle fatigue. It can also include immune system and or hormonal disturbances such as upper respiratory infections and menstrual irregularities. Severe forms include symptoms such as depression, severe long-term insomnia, and long-term muscle soreness. If any of this sounds familiar or commonplace, you need to take a step back and seriously analyze what you’re doing while you take the next 2-3 days off. If you conclude that you’re at the more chronic/severe end of the spectrum, I highly recommend you seek a professional coach – one who’s degreed, certified in numerous areas, and has years of racing and coaching experience. This person can get you back on track and salvage your season, not to mention your health. Don’t ignore these signs – as it can become very serious to your health future performance potentials.

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Utilizing Active Release Therapy (ART) and Transverse Friction Massage (TFM) on specifically weak or injured muscles or tendons to break down adhesions on the soft tissues can be very effective in reducing pain and dysfunction. Performing basic massage to the tight muscles is the easiest way to address the issue without getting overly complex. Coupled with some strategic stretching and light strength exercises, these can be effective avenues to easing your pain and discomfort, as well as increasing your ranges of motion and subsequent quality of life.

IT Band Friction

December 10, 2011

IT band friction syndrome is often the result of overuse, training errors or faulty biomechanics. It is most common in runners and may be linked to situations that cause unbalanced exercise. One such example is running only on one side of a crowned road. Most roads slope off to the sides and running along the edge causes to the outside foot to be lower than the inside foot. This in turn, causes the pelvis to tilt to one side and stresses the IT band.
The biomechanical abnormalities that may lead to IT band problems include: excessive pronation of the foot, leg length discrepancy, lateral pelvic tilt, and “bowed” legs. Muscle tightness or lack of flexibility in the gluteal or quadriceps muscles may exacerbate IT band injuries. For cyclists, generally caused from a leg length discrepancy – where the shorter leg has to continually over extend, causing an excessive stretching of the ITB on that shorter leg side.

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Too Long of a Stride?

December 9, 2011

If you’re striding too long, tilt your entire body ever-so-slightly forward from the ankles (and not from the waist) as you run. Visualize and feel as though you’re almost running downhill or falling forward. This little tweak forces your foot to land flatter and closer to your center of gravity. Correcting the over-striding flaw makes it easier to maintain proper stability in your hips and pelvis on impact and reduces the likelihood of injuries, including iliotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome and runner’s knee. This “bending” from the ankles will also facilitate an increase to your stride rate. Remember, bend at the ankle and not the waist. Focus, make small changes, and sense how your body responds. Good Luck!

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Losing Mass or Tone?

December 5, 2011

Losing muscle mass or tone while training/exercising regularly?

If you’re losing muscle mass, tone, and strength throughout the month while training and simultaneously trying to lose or maintain your current weight, increase your protein intake from the normal .8 grams of protein per kilogram(kg) of bodyweight, increase intake to ~1.2 grams/kg. By utilizing whey protein supplementation, fish, and skinless chicken or turkey, you’ll find it easier to achieve this increase without adding much fat or excessive calories. For your primary carbohydrate source, obtain by incorporating more fresh fruits and vegetables rather than pasta and white breads. It’s a “total package” to get it right – that’s Train Smart and Eat Smart. Good Luck, Coach Parker

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