Tag: Issue 18 Jan/Feb 2014

Staying Hydrated in the Winter

By Kathy Ireland, MS, RD, LDN

issue 18 cover full size 12.31.13During the warmer months, runners tend to be diligent about staying hydrated. It tends to be easy to do since the warm weather keeps our thirst mechanisms in check and our bodies tell us to drink regularly. In the winter though, it can be more of a challenge. Cold weather stifles the thirst mechanism even though we’re likely sweating just as much.

So, here are some tips to ensuring you are adequately hydrated this winter training season:

1. Check your urine. Monitoring your urine color is a more effective means of determining your hydration sta-tus than sticking to a set number of ounces of fluid per day. Urine should be a pale yellow color (like lemonade). Darker shades of yellow and amber may mean you’re de-hydrated or approaching it. (Clear urine means you’re over hydrated and should ease-up on the fluid intake.) Frequency of urination is important to track too. You should be urinating every 2-4 hours throughout the day—urinating less frequently could be another sign of dehy-dration.

2. Hydrate before, during, and after your workouts just as you would in warmer months. Again, in warmer months your body does a better job of telling you when to drink during a workout. If you typically run with water or plant it along your route, then do the same in the winter. Your body needs it just as much, if not more. If you’re chilled to the bone post-workout, no need to guz-zle cold water, try sipping some non-caffeinated warmer beverages instead, just make sure you consume enough to replenish any fluid loss dur-ing the workout.

3. Drink throughout the day. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for some people the winter just doesn’t have you feeling thirsty. In the colder months, reach for warmer beverages to warm you up while keeping you hydrated. Instead of grab-bing an extra cup of coffee, herbal and decaffein-ated teas are better choices because they provide hydration without the jolt of dehydrating caffeine. If your diet plan allows for a treat, reach for hot chocolate or warm apple cider instead of a brownie or slice of apple pie for extra fluid and fewer calories.

4. Choose water based foods for extra fluid con-sumption. Since you can’t chug back a cup of herbal tea as easily as you can a bottle of water, sometimes turning to foods that are high in water content is your next best bet to staying hydrated in the winter. Soups are an obvious choice and quite enjoyable in the winter. Choose low-sodium varieties whenever possible or better yet, make your own using low-sodium broth or seasoning with herbs and only limited salt. Have a cup or bowl alongside your lunch or dinner daily for extra fluid. Fruits and veggies are also loaded with wa-ter. Hopefully you’re eating plenty of them anyway, but adding an extra serving of each won’t hurt.

So, seep in these tips as your winter running starts heating up.

Kathy Ireland is The Level’s hydration expert. This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

Day in the Life: Jill Maguire Trotter

 A Trotter in Name Only

Trotter issue 18

Jill Maguire Trotter at this year’s Manchester City Marathon.

Jill Maguire Trotter has hopped for east coast to west and back east again, getting a little bit faster with each successive leap. Growing up in the Worcester suburb of Millbury, MA, Trotter played youth soccer, softball, and most notably field hockey. She intended to play the latter sport in college (Babson) just like she did in high school (Notre Dame Academy), but those plans never came to fruition. After a brief stint as a sedentary person, Trotter became antsy and joined not the field hockey team but the cross country one. Although she “lacked the mental toughness” (her words) to be competitive, she stuck with it up to and through graduation.

After moving to San Francisco in 1995, she joined the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training and starting ramping up for her first marathon on the trails of Mt. Tam. In June of 1996, she ran 3:33 at the Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska and qualified for Boston. Of course, this led to a return trip to the east coast in both ‘97 and ‘98 where she ran 3:33 and 3:30, respectively.

Finally, in 1998, after all those trips from the City by the Bay to the City of the Beans, she settled for good (so far, at least) in the Merrimack Valley. She married, started a family, and took a break from marathons but not running.

She gave birth to her first son in 2001, then a daughter in 2003. Having missed the 26.2 distance, she started up again and ran a 3:22 at the 2005 Boston Marathon while unknowingly pregnant with her 3rd child, and a mere 9 months after giving birth to #3, she won the 2006 Baystate Marathon in 3:11. Three children under the age of 5 led to the purchase of a treadmill, and like many a dedicated runner/parent she snuck in her runs while the kids napped.

In 2007, with her children almost out of diapers, Trotter got serious. Encouraged by her Baystate performance, she joined the Greater Lowell Road Runners and recruited Nate Jenkins for coaching duties. Her goal: run sub 3:00. About enlisting Jenkins as coach Trotter says, “I credit Nate for teaching me how to train for the marathon; he instilled in me that it is about hard work and I should have confidence in my marathon goal times since they are based on results that I’ve achieved during workouts.” Her hard work paid off. Trotter ran 3:00 at the Vermont City Marathon in 2008 and then 2:58 at Cal International later that year. In addition to Jenkins, she credits Jim Rhoades with a valuable assist as they did most of her long runs together.

Trotter turned 40 in 2012 and has been one of the best master runners in the region. She considers her best event the marathon, and her competition would likely agree as she placed 1st in the masters division at the USATF-NE GPS Manchester City Marathon. Her time: 3:09. She is inspired by Kara Haas, Trish Bourne, Liane Pancoast, Nancy Corsaro, Cathy Pearce, and Barbara McManus and credits them for contributing to her success. She says, “I find that while I like to be competitive with women from other clubs, I also want them to succeed in their own goals; the New England running community is amazingly supportive.” Beyond running, Trotter aspires to be a good influence on her 3 children. Above all, she wants to teach them that if they work hard they can achieve their goals. I’d say that’s on The Level.

5k – 18:42 @ Hollis
10k – 39:55 @ Tufts
15k – 61:37 @ Boston Tune-up
Half – 1:28 @ Hyannis
Full – 2:58 @ Cal International

Trotter issue 18 profile

This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).


the effects of (in)flexibility

By Ian Nurse, DC

I’ve been stretching my hamstrings all the time, but it doesn’t seem to help. I still can’t come close to touching my toes and it seems to make my hamstring feel worse!”

This is a statement that I hear from runners on a weekly basis in my practice. It’s not a big surprise considering that we have been instructed to stretch since the beginning of our athletic careers. I still have images of my youth soccer coach yelling at us at the start of practice, “Go take a lap and then circle up to stretch!”

Stretching and running have always gone hand in hand as the cure for sore, overused muscles and the “must do” in order to stay injury free. That’s why I tend to get a lot of blank stares when I tell these same running patients, “You should stop stretching.” It’s as if I have told them Santa doesn’t actually exist.

Over the last few years, as we have learned more and more about our bodies and running economy, the role of flexibility and stretching in terms of long distance running has become unclear. To stretch or not to stretch has become quite the controversy in the sports and rehab arena. Some sources say stretching is good, but only at certain times. Others say never stretch. Is dynamic stretching better than static? When should one stretch? Some say never before you exercise, only after. With so many differing opinions, many runners are completely overwhelmed. Unfortunately, this article may not give you a definitive answer you are looking for. We are all experi-ments of one, and what works for someone may not work for others. Hopefully what this article will do is shed some light on the current research and give you some alternatives to stretching.

Issue 18 Nurse graphicMost recently, Matt Fitzgerald, a leader in the running/sports science world, wrote an article relating to a specific gene that is linked to both inflexibility and running economy. The Cliffs Notes version of his article is that scientists have found a specific gene that accounts for how flexible muscle tissue is. If you have this certain gene, COL5A1, not only is it less likely you’ll be able to touch your toes, but you are also MORE likely to beat all those people who don’t have it at your favorite 5K. Yup, inflexibility and speed actually go hand in hand. Fitzgerald states, “Muscle fibers are like rubber bands. Some are tight and others are loose. The loose ones stretch more, but they can’t store and discharge a lot of force. The tight ones can’t stretch very well but they can store and discharge a lot of force.” As runners we need tight muscles to help store and release the energy needed to propel us forward.

Unfortunately, not all of us have this gene. However, not all is lost if you are not the proud owner of COL5A1. As many of you have probably noticed, the more you run, the less flexible you become. This is your body’s way of adapting to your training. Just as our lungs expand, our muscles learn to store more glycogen and our bones become denser with training, our muscle fibers are also adapting by becoming less flexible in order to become more economical. While we used to think of this as a negative side effect of running that we must try to combat through excess stretching, we are slowly realizing that it is actually a benefit to our running.

Now here comes the tricky distinction that needs to be made: inflexibility and immobile joints are not the virtue of runners but rather the muscle fiber elasticity associated with the inflexible muscles. It’s important for run-ning economy to have normal ranges of motion in your joints, especially your hips. So how do you keep your joints mobile and maintain that elasticity? One possible solution is to ditch the excess stretching and increase the foam rolling and mobility exercises.

The key to healthy tissue and mobile joints is twofold: blood flow and movement. Our muscles need blood and movement in order to heal. After vigorous exercise they crave that blood and all the nutrients and oxygen that come along with it in order to replenish what has been lost and to restore normal tissue. As much as we have be-come accustomed to sitting on the living room floor strug-gling to hold the same stretches we learned when we were 6 years old, 15-20 minutes of both foam rolling and mobility exercises are a great alternative to keeping your body healthy and limber but not losing your muscle elasticity. I recommend foam rolling of all the major lower leg muscles, glutes and low back at least 4 times a week in order to improve blood flow throughout the tissue and to workout any specific patches of scar tissue that inevitably form during our sport of choice. In addition, performing hip mobility exercises such as the Myrtle Routine 3-4 times a week after a run will help maintain the necessary range of motion that we need for proper form and that is so easily lost due to our tendency to sit all day during our jobs.

I don’t know about you but I haven’t been able to touch my toes since the 1990’s, in fact, I’m lucky if I can get half-way down my shins. Apparently, despite what my youth soccer coach told me, that’s not all that bad of a thing but rather a sign of my body adapting to my training and trying to make me as efficient of a runner as possible. In-stead of trying to fight that inflexibility with stretching, embrace it but also make sure you are being proactive in maintaining your mobility and giving your body what it needs to heal.

Dr. Ian Nurse is The Level’s resident body expert. This article originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

Jan/Feb 2014 : Issue 18

Check out our cover art by Allison Lynch.  Appropriate.  We’ve been running in some frigid conditions the last few days, and guess what? It’s been fun. Let’s keep it up, get in great shape, and set PRs when it’s time to race. Enjoy the issue and be sure to tell all your friends about it.  As always, the digital copy of the magazine is free, but if you would like to purchase a hard copy you may do so via the hp MagCloud site.  In either medium, get reading!

January/February 2014

Issue 18

Table of Contents

issue xviii

Click cover to start reading

The Warm-up
• Editor’s Note
Level Communications
• Electronic Epistles
Body Shop
Legion Profiles
• Binney Mitchell
• Neel Tarneja
• Nicole Casey
• Best of 2013 by Joe Navas
• Snowshoe Season by Dave Dunham
• Frenemy by Muddy
• Equal Rights and Lefts by Ray Charbonneau
Book Excerpt
History of the Greater Boston Track Club by Paul Clerici
Level Art
• Running Tattoos by The Legion
• Photograph by Scott Mason
The Cooldown
• Learn the Legion


Contact Form Powered By : XYZScripts.com