Blisters are a big deal! I have made the mistake of thinking otherwise but, blisters can impede the ability to train and participate in athletic adventures as much as an injury or illness. My advice is to take blisters seriously especially of you feeling one heating up under foot.
Here are a few of my go-to treatments and prevention tools:
The answer is that it could be both. Muscle cramps are general caused by tired muscles, which is inevitable in distance running. They can also be caused by a sodium imbalance and dehydration.
Staying hydrated is a tricky proposition because there are so many variables that impact how much fluid and sodium you sweat out during your run. Intensity, fitness, heat, humidity and altitude are some of the things that will impact how sweaty you get. How much any body sweats can vary between ten to eighty ounces per hour!
That is a high amount of variability. The concentration of sodium in that sweat also varies greatly with an average concentration of about one-thousand milligrams per thirty-two ounces. In other words if you lose two pounds of sweat you may have also lose around one-thousand milligrams of sodium that needs to be replaced by drinking and eating sodium!
Of course these numbers are highly variable with the environment and individuality. Determining your sweat rate can be a useful tool in bench-marking how much sodium and fluid you need in different conditions. Sweat rate is determined by measuring how many pounds of fluid you might lose in different types of environments. You do this by weighing yourself before your run and then again right when you get back. For every pound lost you would need to replace it with sixteen ounces of fluid (roughly). You could then use this number as a benchmark for how much fluid per hour you should be drinking to replace sweat. If you are a salty sweater you then match about one thousand milligrams of sodium per hour from electrolyte drinks, salt tablets, and salted CLIF BLOKS. Of course this is always going to be dependent on you, as an individual but, practicing different scenarios in different environments can help you learn your personal best strategy for fluid and electrolyte balance under different environmental and physical circumstances.
If you are like me and always feel like you are in state of dehydration, you can head it off before your run by drinking .068-.14 ounces of water with salt per pound body weight two to four hours before your run.
Pickle juice has come into view as trending “sports drink” and an aid station item at ultra running event. This is primarily for the salt and perhaps to meet some kind of strange endurance-runner palate craving . The craving and electrolyte may have little to do with why some athletes benefit from pickle juice according to this interesting research.
Cramping continues to be pretty allusive and an unsolvable problem for many athletes. I think some cramps, the kind that start as small tingles and grow into major cramp, are likely to be triggered by lack of hydration/electrolytes.
Ion muscle-channel activators found in pickle juice and mustard that may serve as an “anti-cramp” by helping to relieve the dramatic, sudden, and paralyzing-type cramps that occur in sport.
I workout first thing in the morning, and lately I’m increasing my workout ( adding strength training and interval training). Normally I don’t eat anything before, but I’ve been feeling wiped out during the longer workouts. I’m wondering when you would recommend eating and of that might help me?
It is no wonder you are feeling wiped out! An increase in intensity and duration of a workout can increase your energy needs, and after an eight hour fast (while you were sleeping), you have little fuel available in your blood stream for immediate use by those muscles. You need to get some quick fuel in to fire up the muscles to work better for you! High in carbohydrate food eaten or drank before you get started can make a big difference in the quality of your AM workouts.
If you roll right out of bed and into your workout clothes there will be little time for foods containing fiber, fat, and protein to digest. So keep it simple to limit stomach aches. My appetite isn’t all that first thing in the morning so I grab eight ounce glass for juice and a banana. This will provide quickly digested energy that will go straight your super-energy highway (your blood stream) to be delivered to the muscles for energy
If your workout is longer than one hour sip on a sports drink to give your muscles a continuous supply of energy.
Be sure to follow up your morning workout with other healthy breakfast items that are rich in both carbohydrate and protein such as bowl of cereal milk and fruit, or an egg with toast and yogurt. This will prepare your body for consecutive daily workouts by helping to promote faster recovery.
There was a disturbing time for me when running was more about burning calories than it was about feeling energized and free. It wasn’t entirely my fault. My Mom and Dad’s eating and activity behaviors showed me that calories were something to restrict and burn and, to limit them at all costs. So when a dietitian told me that calories could help improve my running performance I was confused. I actually was so distrusting if this skinny woman with glasses that I had to become a dietitian to study this for myself.
Yes, it is true you don’t want to eat more calories than you burn unless you want to put on weight (SOME people DO benefit from putting on weight). More importantly for an active person already at a healthy weight is eating enough calories to energize the body’s potential to run far and sometimes fast(er). Timing those calories has proven beneficial to me as well. That brings me to the topic at hand. I recently did an interview where they asked me this question:
Should you eat before a workout?
The simple answer is yes. The complicated answer addresses when, how much, what, and why you should eat before a workout. Here are some general rules of thumb that I employ. Also, I have come to believe that calories are my friend, not my enemy and after several years of struggling we have learned how to play well together.
Why eat before a workout? If you are eating on an empty stomach because you heard you would burn more fat you most certainly are cheating your workout and your body. Working out on an empty stomach may lead you down the path of a shorter workout time at lower intensity than you liked simply because you don’t have the energy on board to do what your training plan is asking of you.
Eating a light snack before exercise maximizes your workout by providing quality energy to your body so you can complete all sets and reps in the gym or run your entire 5K loop in the appropriate heart rate zone. Depending on how your body digests food, it is recommended to consume a high-carbohydrate snack 1-2 hours before exercise that is lower in total fat and protein.
Here are some rules of thumb to try and see if they work for you:
How much protein a pre-workout snack should have is dependent on how soon before your workout you plan to eat and whether or not you are doing a strength training work out or a more cardio workout:
If snacking three hours before your workout 7-15 grams of protein is about right. The shorter the amount of time between eating and your workout, the less protein you should consume and if you are eating a snack 30 minutes before a cardio workout you should be eating little to no protein. Save it for after your workout.
How many carbs? Carbs get your energy engine (muscles) up and running. If you are doing a one hour work out eat about 15-30 grams of carbohydrate 1-2 hours before. Organic Energy Food Oatmeal is a great choice here. If you are 30 minutes I out I would recommend Organic Energy Food Banana Mango Coconut
Should you avoid fat and fiber? If your workout is lower intensity some folks can tolerate some fat, but if you are going hard you definitely what to limit the amount of fat you eat to as little as possible in the 1-3 hours before your workout. It will take longer for you to digest fat and having fat in your stomach during a high intensity workout could give some GI distress. Same thing goes for fiber: Keeping fiber under 3 -5 grams in a pre-workout foods eaten around the three hour mark is a good place to start. Everyone responds differently when it comes to digesting so you may be able to tolerate more or less than that amount.
Are there any micronutrients (e.g. calcium, potassium, sodium, etc.) that are important to get before a workout? In general micro nutrients should be coming from the foods you eat all day long to prevent inadequate consumption of any one nutrient to prevent deficiencies that in the long run will hurt both your health and your workouts. However, sodium which is the primary mineral lost in your sweat can give you a leg up on hydration. Sodium will not give you energy but it will help you with fluid absorption and retention, especially if you are a heavy sweater. CLIF SHOT electrolyte drink before your workout will give you three nutrients in one to support your efforts: carbohydrate, fluid, and sodium
Some people can eat a burger and hop on their bike while others need food to be totally digested before the can even think about exercise. Eating 1-2 hours of prior to your activity seems to work for most but, try out different timing and different foods to see what your stomach says are best. Some pre-workout foods: half a whole wheat bagel with 1 tablespoon organic peanut butter; CLIF Bar; 1 cup of nonfat yogurt with a banana; or 16-ounces of CLIF Electrolyte Drink.
Bottom line is to eat and/or drink something before you workout to improve the quality of your exercise!