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Balancing Conflicting Emotions – Women’s Running

Practice holding two seemingly incompatible emotions at the same time and balancing them, to break out of feeling like a situation is all-or-nothing.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series that explores the psychology of “rebounding” from setbacks in life, and provides four mental skills that you can use to help sharpen your response to injuries or other disappointment. 

There’s no doubt about it: Getting hurt sucks. It’s painful, of course, but it also involves far more than muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments—it’s a full-body physical, mental, and emotional experience. And it’s often the mindset to which you approach the disappointment that will determine how quickly and successfully you bounce back.

Experts have long studied the psychological impact of injuries and other life setbacks, and through their research and work with athletes, they have identified mental skills and tools that can help anyone build more strength and resiliency in the face of any challenge.

In our book Rebound: Train Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger From Sports Injuries, we provide 15 essential mental skills for injury recovery—plus hundreds of stories and interviews with athletes who have been there—to help you chart a more positive comeback. This is one of those simple skills you can put into action right now.

Mindset to Master: Holding Both Good News and Bad News

Contrary to what we’re told in TV commercials and social media quotes, we aren’t supposed to be happy all of the time. We aren’t supposed to be anything all of the time. However, sometimes you’ll feel as if you’ve been hijacked by your emotions and that you are stuck in them; as much as you want to feel differently, you’re trapped. Unsticking yourself involves making sense of those moments when you’re experiencing conflicting emotions. For this mental drill, take any challenging situation and see if you can fill in the blanks to the following two sentences:

1. Well, the bad news is …
2. But the good news is …

Here are a examples of this drill in action

The bad news is … I have to bow out of the race this weekend because my hamstring flared up.
The good news is … I’m going to get the chance to binge-watch my latest Netflix obsession.

The bad news is … I’m not going to be able to take the field until my shoulder heals.
The good news is … I’ll have more time to study tape and truly understand my role in critical plays.

The bad news is … I may be looking at the end of my athletic career as I know it.
The good news is … I’ll be able to help younger players from an experienced perspective.

Click the links below to continue reading more mindset tools:

Mindset to Master #1: Labeling Your Emotions

Mindset to Master #2: Going FAR

Mindset to Master #4: Seeing Through the “Funhouse Mirror”

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How Long Should You Wash Your Hands?

Every cold and flu season, doctors never fail to remind us that one of the best defenses against the common cold, flu, and other illnesses—like the current coronavirus pandemic—is as simple as it gets: washing your hands.

But believe it or not, one study from Michigan State University found that only 5 percent of 3,749 people washed their hands long enough to kill germs after using the bathroom. Even worse: 33 percent didn’t use soap and 10 percent didn’t bother washing their hands at all. And before meals? People fail to wash their hands properly 97 percent of the time, according to 2018 research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

While it seems like no biggie, even a quick rinse leaves you pretty germy, explains microbiologist Donald Schaffner, Ph.D., professor of food science at Rutgers University. Your hands can be contaminated with millions of pathogens (a single gram of poop can contain one trillion germs!) and even one microorganism can cause illness.

So next time you head to the sink, follow these guidelines closely to keep your hands squeaky clean—your body will thank you.

How to wash your hands correctly

how to wash your hands correctly - how long should you wash your hands?

Nontapan Nuntasiri / EyeEmGetty Images

First, get your hands wet.

Wet your hands under clean running water. Despite what you’ve heard, hot water isn’t your only option. “There’s no difference in cleaning power whether the water is 60°F (that’s cold), 80°F (pretty comfortably warm), or 100°F,” says Schaffner. If you can tolerate hot water for only three seconds, it’s completely okay to switch to a cooler temperature so you can keep your hands in the H2O longer.

Then, lather up.

That soft, gooey bar soap may look as if it’s hosting a germ field day, but any soap is better than none. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says it doesn’t matter if you use liquid or bar soap at home or in public places—both do the job, as does foam soap, an aerated version of the liquid variety.

Get to scrubbing.

It’s the time your hands spend under the faucet that really matters, says Schaffner. How long should you wash your hands? His lab tested washes of different lengths and found that 20 seconds was more effective than five seconds, so go for at least 20 (or the amount of time it takes to hum “Happy Birthday” from beginning to end twice.) Once you’ve lathered up for long enough, rise your hands thoroughly under clean, running water.

Dry your hands properly.

A recent study from UConn Health found that after people held clean hands under a dryer for a minute, new bacteria could wind up on hands. The dryers stir up bacteria already in the bathroom, depositing some of it on once-clean mitts. But don’t freak out: “The vast majority of bacteria are not likely to be harmful to someone with a working immune system,” says study coauthor Thomas Murray, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor at the Yale University School of Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Infectious Disease. Bottom line? If there’s a towel option, that’s a good first choice.

When should you wash your hands?

The CDC says certain situations should always be followed by proper hand washing, including the following:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

    In general, if your hands feel dirty—say, you just got home from work after taking public transportation or picking up groceries—it doesn’t hurt to give them a good wash.

    Hand soap vs. hand sanitizer: Which is more effective?

    If your hands are visibly dirty, old-school soap and water is the way to go, because the action of rubbing and rinsing dislodges bacteria and viruses. “Hand sanitizers must contact germs to damage and kill them,” and dirt can be a barrier, says David Berendes, Ph.D., epidemiologist with the Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch of the CDC.

    [Stay injury free on the road by getting on the mat with Yoga for Runners.]

    But if soap and water aren’t available and your hands aren’t filthy, does hand sanitizer work? Yes, an alcohol-based sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol can do the trick in a pinch. Cover all surfaces of your hands, and keep rubbing until they’re dry (don’t wipe it off!).

    Additional reporting by Alisa Hrustic

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Is Your Sleep Position Contributing to Your Injuries? – Women’s Running

Injuries are often the sum of all stress placed on the body.

Athletes tend to think of injuries as isolated incidents: A two-hour long run equals knee pain or cross-training in the weight room is to blame for an achy back. But injuries are often the sum of all stress placed on the body. According to chiropractic sports physician John Ball, poor sleep position can be a major contributor to the injury equation.

“People think of sleep as a passive activity: lie down, close your eyes, and wake up eight hours later, ready for the world,” Ball says. “In reality, sometimes the way you’re draping that leg across your body and off the bed, or holding your arm under the pillow, can often be the final factor that pushes you over the edge of injury or keeps you from recovering fully.”

Arm under your head
holds the shoulder muscles on the extreme end of their range of motion, increasing risk of impingement.
 Draping one leg over the other
twists the pelvis and lower back, stretching the hip musculature for extended periods of time. Favoring one side can also contribute to muscle imbalances.
Turning your head to the side
 to breathe is a necessity, but it’s also a hazard, contributing to stiffness and neck pain.
Stomach sleeping
especially on softer beds, can hyperextend the low back, setting the stage for discomfort on the run.
Plantar flexion
or “pointed toe” position, can contribute to plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinopathy.

People gravitate toward the position that they’re most comfortable in, but the body can be “trained.” Ball suggests small changes—a pillow between the knees to keep the pelvis stacked, or repositioning the arm upon waking—over drastic changes, which may detract from overall sleep quality.


From Triathlete

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Self-Care During Coronavirus | Coronavirus

These are sad, scary, stressful times. We’re worried about our loved ones. We’re worried about ourselves. We’re worried about our jobs and financial well-being. Amidst all this stress and distress, our usual coping outlets—training, racing, and group runs— are being disrupted or canceled.

Depending upon your circumstances and where you live, you may still be able to get out for a safe solo run. Or maybe you’re a single parent at home with three wall-climbing kids and your only outlet, when you can get it, is a quick couple of miles on the treadmill or core workout. No matter who you are, your new normal is anything but.

For those of us who use endurance sports to anchor ourselves and manage our mental health during the best of times, having our routines disrupted during this enormously stressful (and sometimes surreal) period is an added blow to our well-being.

While getting exercise may feel insignificant in the big picture of a global pandemic, for long-term health and wellness of not just our individual selves, but society at large, self care is very important during these stressful times, says Brandon Alderman, Ph.D., department of kinesiology and health at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

“To save lives, we’re doing the right thing right now,” Alderman says. “The work on our mental health also needs to begin immediately, though, or the risk of other problems with depression, addiction, and alcohol abuse will develop that could be very long lasting.”

So while flattening this curve is paramount, taking care of yourself right now will help prevent a spike in mental health problems that linger for years after the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has run its course.

Here’s what experts who specialize in both exercise and mental health recommend.

Let Yourself Feel the Feelings

We tell our kids that you can’t control your feelings, but you can control what you do with those feelings. As adults, we tend to tell ourselves that we shouldn’t even be feeling the feelings. That ultimately makes us feel worse, setting up a vicious cycle of sadness, anger, and guilt that can be hard to break.

“People are feeling an enormous amount of disappointment and loss as their worlds are turned upside down,” says Marshall Mintz, Psy.D., consulting sports psychologist for Atlantic Health System’s Atlantic Sports Health and managing partner of Springfield Psychological Associates.

“You can’t just shake it off and go on. Unless you address it, it lingers like an app playing in the background on your phone, draining your energy,” Mintz says.

“Instead of trying to harden up, sit with it a bit, acknowledge your loss, and accept your grief,” he says. “Connecting with those emotions allows you to deal with them, so you can think rationally and adaptively in a healthy, problem-solving way and pivot to your alternatives and move forward.”

Move for Mental Health

If you typically go for a run, try to maintain that habit while adhering to the CDC guidelines, Alderman says. That may mean going alone, being on the treadmill, or even putting your ’mill in the yard or on the porch if you can’t leave your premises.

“Whatever it is, do it and don’t feel guilty at all. This is the time we need to be active. By spending time taking care of ourselves, we are staying healthy and helping society,” Alderman says.

This is especially important for endurance athletes who thrive off endorphins, says professional triathlete Jennifer Lentzke, R.D., C.S.S.D., owner of Salt Lake City Wellness, where she specializes in nutrition, training, and mental health, particularly eating disorders.

“Sitting around too much can lead to depression, hopelessness, and general lack of direction that trickles into other aspects of your life,” she says. “Do something every single day. It helps regulate the neurotransmitters in your brain.”

Set Fresh Challenges

As endurance athletes, we can be a little (okay, maybe a lot) stuck in our training ways, but this is a good time to broaden your fitness horizons, Lentzke says.

“When this started, I was searching for a lap pool so I could still swim. There was nothing and I was down to my last straw, Googling places and even searching on Rentler for apartments with pools where I might be able to swim,” Lentzke says. “Finally, my boyfriend was like, ‘Jen, let it go.’ It’s funny how our view can get very microscopic. This is a chance to broaden our perspective. You don’t have to force something that’s not meant to be right now,” she says.

Endurance athletes tend to be very goal-oriented and chances are your goals are pretty up in the air right now, so it’s a good time to set some new, short-term goals. It can be as simple as holding planks or doing squats, Mintz says.

“Log your time and work on improving. Set quantitative goals and challenge yourself to find ways to be more active around your home,” Mintz says.

Your goal might even be finding new workouts, he says. “There are dozens, if not thousands, of exercise routines you can find online. Make it a goal to find new ways to get your heart rate up or new ways of building leg strength,” he says.

Those goals won’t just get you through the here and now, but they also may be useful down the line when you find yourself out of your normal routine for more mundane reasons.

[Run faster, stronger, and longer with this 360-degree training program.]

Take the Opportunity to Reassess

Among all the disappointment and sadness of the shut downs and cancellations, you actually might be feeling quietly relieved—not for the pandemic of course, but for the break. That’s okay, too, Lentzke says.

“I had a client who said, ‘You know, I breathed a sigh of relief,’” when her event was cancelled,” Lentzke says. “The silver lining here is that this has stripped down everything: the obligation, the social influence, the ego, and doing things for other’s approval. It’s allowing people to get introspective and figure out where they really are on their journey. Some people are super tired and need a break from the training and racing cycle.”

If you’ve had nagging injuries or have been a little burned out, this is an opportunity to fully heal and let your mojo return.

“It’s a good time to get down to the core of why you do what you do and focus on what will enhance your well-being,” Lentzke says. “You might come out of this with an entirely new mindset and sense of purpose.”

Stay Connected with Your Community

Isolation is one of the worst things for mental health, so be sure you stay in touch with the people who are important to you, Lentzke says. Even if you can’t see them, make human contact and call them or stay connected in other ways.

“If you find yourself feeling off, find someone you can talk to,” Lentzke says. “Racing and training can be a very, very strong mask for other underlying issues that go unaddressed. If you’re struggling with troubling feelings, find yourself not able to eat normally, or otherwise not okay mentally, reach out to a professional, who can help you address that while you may be out of your normal routine and have some time.”

By taking time for all the self-care you need now, you’ll be better equipped to come out stronger, mentally and physically, once it’s time to start moving toward normalcy.

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How Social Distancing is Impacting Elite Training – Women’s Running

Although each state and county is going to have slightly varying ordinances around slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, the special White House task force is continuing to hone in on guidelines for social distancing with the hopes to slow the spread in 15 days. The latest update includes working from home if possible, avoid social gatherings of more than ten people, utilize drive-through and takeout options at restaurants, avoid unnecessary travel, and don’t visit nursing homes.

For many, it’s a majorthough necessarylife change taking place in a mere matter of days. And elite runners are no exception. Much like the rest of the running community (and frankly, the world), pros have been forced to navigate this new normal of social distancing in a time of the coronavirus pandemic—from gym closures and group run cancellations to now handling home schooling of their children. 

For the past few days they’ve been sharing their thoughts, concerns, and training updates on social media, and it’s been a refreshing reminder that, while we’re social distancing, we’re still all in this together.

Like many of us, elite runners are leading by example, practicing social distancing by working out alone. 

Some (okay, Des Linden) don’t seem to mind the isolation. #IntrovertsUnite

Most professional athletes have had to make some kind of modification to their usual group training routines to better align with the country-wide health recommendations. Alexi Pappas, for example, shared that her team is only seeing each other and moving their drills to more removed locations. 

While world champion steeplechaser Emma Coburn shared that her Boulder-based training group, which is coached by her husband Joe Bosshard and includes fellow female runners Laura Thweatt, Aisha Praught Leer, Corey McGee, and Dominique Scott-Efurd, have stopped all group practice.

“Joe made the decision to suspend all group practice,” Coburn wrote on Instagram. “We are all training still, but we will do workouts solo or maybe with one teammate. We are adapting. We are respecting this new reality and hope everyone else is respecting it too!” 

A few have even tested some, we’ll say creative, solutions should any further social-distancing or isolation restrictions be put into effect. [Editor’s Note: While we find Olympian Paul Chelimo’s “bathtub treadmill” hack hilarious, and a much-needed moment of levity, we don’t actually recommend trying this one. Hospitals have enough to worry about right now.]

Pros with kiddos like Stephanie Bruce have offered a glimpse into what it’s like trying to keep everyone in their house moving and healthy during a pandemic.

(We’re not sure, but Bruce’s NAZ-Elite teammate Kellyn Taylor may have just one-upped her? On Tuesday, Taylor shared on Twitter that they have taken in two foster children under the age of two.)

But most importantly, with all the uncertainty, cancellations, postponements, and changes to hard-and-set routines, elite runners have been reminding all of us that it’s okay to be disappointed, or thrown off, or upset. But it’s also more important than ever to focus hard on why you choose to run, and look for every bright side possible.

As pro trail runner Sally McRae so eloquently stated: “I know…as I have learned dozens of times beforethat my life is meaningful and full of purpose far beyond standing at a START line; medal or not; recognition or not. And so, to YOU, precious heartsit’s ok to be upset about altered plans & it’s ok to be frustrated about all that hard work you put in whether in training or in the office, only to watch it fade away. It’s ok to be upset.”

“But don’t let it keep you from being YOU,” McRae continued. “Don’t let it keep you from growing; from trying; and from being the best you can be. THIS my friends, is where character is built and strength is refined. I promise youthere is a bright side.”

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2 races cancelled and waiting to hear about 2 more. It’s so easy to focus on myself- I’m a prideful person & I want my hard work to pay off. Me- mine. But I’ve been here before- plans I had laid out carefully and with such dedication- only to be flipped upside down and dismissed. Ouch- my pride. Me-mine. And then I inevitably ask the question, “Well what do I do now?” And I’m beckoned to answer the revealing questions, “Who are you when everything falls apart?” If I don’t race- who am I? If I don’t run- who am I? If things I love are taken away- who am I? Ugh. I don’t like those questions, but they’re good & I need them. Because I know…as I have learned dozens of times before- that my life is meaningful and full of purpose far beyond standing at a START line; medal or not; recognition or not. Those things don’t make me Sally. Who am I when everything falls apart? How will I respond? How will I treat others? Will I bravely embrace what’s in front of me? I believe my whole life has been a journey of answering those questions to the best of my ability…and goodness, I don’t always do a good job. I’ll never stop growing. And so, to YOU, precious hearts- It’s ok to be upset about altered plans & it’s ok to be frustrated about all that hard work you put in whether in training or in the office, only to watch it fade away. The financial stress; the tighter parameters; the cancelled trips & gatherings…it’s ok to be upset. But don’t let it keep you from being YOU; don’t let it keep you from growing; from trying; and from being the best you can be. THIS my friends, is where character is built and strength is refined. I promise you- there is a bright side. ************************************* Sending big love, virtual hugs and comfort to ALL of you tonight. We are in this together. Be kind. Give smiles. Help your neighbor. Be a light. #yougotthis 🐻💛

A post shared by Sally McRae (@yellowrunner) on



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Coronavirus | What Is Coronavirus?

  • The coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China, has caused over 173,000 illnesses and more than 6,500 deaths so far.
  • In the U.S., more than 3,100 cases have been confirmed as of March 12.
  • Here’s what runners should know about the coronavirus symptoms, risk factors, and precautions to take, especially if traveling for races.
  • This is a developing story and will be updated as frequently as possible.

    The first U.S. case of coronavirus was confirmed in January—the man from Washington state was one of around 173,000 confirmed with infection from the virus since December. And while more than 6,500 people have died so far, this most recent strain is less severe than others in years past, and there are plenty of ways to protect yourself against the virus.

    To find out more about what the coronavirus is and how to stay at the top of your health game, we talked to David Nieman, Dr.PH., health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, to get the lowdown on what runners need to know about the outbreak.

    What Is Coronavirus?

    There are seven types of known coronaviruses in the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which have often started in animals such as camels and bats. Usually, these coronaviruses don’t infect humans, but three newer types—SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and 2019-nCoV—have.

    The 2019-nCoV strain of coronavirus of this most recent that spread in December 2019 is thought to have originated in snakes, according to a research article published in the Journal of Medical Virology on January 22. However, the CDC states that it still isn’t known why certain coronaviruses spread to people and others don’t. This most recent outbreak originated from a market in Wuhan, China, that sold seafood and live animals. (The Chinese government has since closed the market, Business Insider reported.)

    What Are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

    Most coronaviruses cause upper respiratory tract infections, Nieman said, which include symptoms such as a runny nose, headache, cough, sore throat, or fever. However, more severe coronaviruses—such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV—can lead to pneumonia or bronchitis, according to the CDC.

    MERS-CoV symptoms typically include a fever, cough, and shortness of breath. SARS-CoV symptoms typically include a fever, chills, and body aches. While human cases of MERS-CoV still occur—mostly in the Arabian Peninsula—there have been no cases of SARS-CoV anywhere since 2004, the CDC reports.

    The 2019-nCoV coronavirus is thought to be less severe than SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, with patients reporting a mild cough and shortness of breath, according to CNN.

      Can Coronavirus Be Treated?

      So far, the new 2019-nCoV coronavirus has infected around 173,000 people and killed around 6,500 people. There are currently a total of over 3,100 cases in the U.S. However, there are currently no vaccines to prevent against coronavirus, and no specific treatments to target it.

      “Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own,” the CDC states, but you can take medications like Aspirin to alleviate your symptoms. The CDC also recommends getting plenty of fluids and rest to help you recover. And if you’re concerned about your symptoms or they seem to be getting worse, see your doctor immediately.

      To prevent contracting coronavirus in the first place, the CDC recommends taking precautions such as washing your hands often (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds), not touching your face with unwashed hands, and avoiding close contact with anyone who is sick.

      “Viruses are spread from people sneezing into their hands, coughing [and not covering their mouths], and touching doorknobs and keyboards. You touch those things and then you touch eyes, nose, or mouth and it’s called self-inoculation,” Nieman said. “Get out of that habit of touching your face with your hands. Especially in crowded spaces like airplanes or trains, those droplets will float around, and you breathe them in and get sick.”

      The CDC has three levels of travel alerts:

      1. Watch – Level 1, practice usual precautions
      2. Alert – Level 2, practice enhanced precautions
      3. Warning – Level 3, avoid nonessential travel
        1. As of right now, the CDC recommends level 3—avoiding any completely unnecessary travel. Airlines such as Delta, American, and United have suspended all flights to China. In addition, certain international airlines have done the same.

          “Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan, including buses, subways, trains, and the airport,” the CDC states.

          Should We Be Worried?

          People at the highest risk for the 2019-nCoV coronavirus are the elderly. Runners who are training normally don’t have to worry any more than the average person, but Nieman points out that runners who have just finished a long race—such as a half marathon or marathon—are at a higher risk.

          “In general, for runners who are going through their normal training—and not overtraining—the training program enhances the ability of the immune system to detect and deal with pathogens. Runners are, in fact, less likely to get ill with an upper respiratory tract infection like coronavirus,” Nieman said.

          [Smash your goals with a Runner’s World Training Plan, designed for any speed and any distance.]

          Runners—and others who exercise regularly—are generally less likely to get sick with these types of infections than people who aren’t active, Nieman added. The exception? Those who are overtraining or who have just completed a race.

          “When you get to the high end of training and/or a postrace situation, then you are more vulnerable to infection,” he said. “For example, after a marathon, runners are six times more likely to get ill with a respiratory infection than in people who didn’t race, because in a race you will always push harder than you would in training. This causes a lot of stress to your immune system, which increases your risk of coming down with an infection in the coming weeks.”

          However, just because you, a healthy runner, might not be at a high risk of getting coronavirus, the bigger concern is spreading it to those who are at high risk, such as the elderly or immunocompromised. While it’s still safe (as of now) to run outside, if you’re sick or at-risk of spreading the virus, you shouldn’t go out.

          As we previously reported, social distancing is the answer right now, according to Nieman. “Experts are still trying to figure out how long the virus lives on objects, and the problem is that it appears to be highly contagious, spread easily by coughing and sneezing, and can be spread by people who don’t think they’re sick. That’s why hand-washing and not touching your face are so important.”

          How Coronavirus Is Affecting Running Events

          Below is a list of races that have been either canceled or postponed:

          • Tokyo Marathon: Held only for marathon elites and wheelchair elites
          • Great Wall Marathon: Canceled
          • NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships: Canceled
          • NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships: Canceled
          • USATF Masters Indoor Championships: Canceled
          • New Balance Nationals Indoor: Canceled
          • NYC Half Marathon: Canceled
          • Barcelona Marathon: Postponed to Sunday, October 25
          • Carlsbad 5000: Postponed, date TBD
          • Rome Marathon: Canceled
          • World Half Marathon Championships: Postponed to Saturday, October 17
          • Paris Marathon: Postponed to Sunday, October 18
          • Boston Marathon: Postponed to September 14
          • London Marathon: Postponed to October 4

            This is a developing story. It will be updated as frequently as possible. For the most up-to-date information, check resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regularly.

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    Color Code Your Workouts to Fine-Tune Your Recovery

    This fun, easy method for recording how each workout feels can help you track training patterns, avoid overtraining, and reach your peak.

    When she was in high school, Lyndy Davis realized that instead of writing lengthy descriptions in her training log about how she felt during each training run, she could simply color-code her runs with appropriately chosen highlighters.

    “The training journal already stated the facts: distance and pace,” she says, “[but] I was trying to figure out what workouts made me too tired, and what my week looked like before a good race versus a bad race. Color-coding was fun and helpful.”

    A dozen years later, she’s blossomed into a 2:39 marathoner and moved her handwritten logs onto the Internet, but she’s never forgotten her original brainstorm. Not that she hasn’t refined her system over time. At one time, she rated her recovery/energy level on a 10-point scale. Now, she figures that six categories are enough, with the colors chosen along a spectrum that easily reflects how she feels.

    The Color Code Recovery Key

    • Green: Fresh as a berry. Very well recovered/highly energetic and race ready.
    • Blue: Smooth. Well recovered/somewhat energetic.
    • Purple: Double days (morning and evening workouts) are fine. Moderately recovered/average energy.
    • Magenta: Healthy Tired. Hard workout yesterday or the day before but somewhat recovered/energy lacking.
    • Orange: Decline/Possible Need for Rest Day. Not well recovered/somewhat tired.
    • Red: Sore/Pain. Very poorly recovered/extremely tired.

    Ideally, Davis says, “I want to hover training in purple or pink, then go to blue before the hardest workouts, and green for the race.”

    color coded recovery chart

    Snapshot of Perceived Fatigue

    Coaches often say that they learn from their runners. I’ve been coaching Lyndy for five years, and her teenage brainstorm has become a major part of my routine, not only for her, but for others.

    At one level, it’s not all that different from what many coaches normally do before a workout. “I like to ask the runner how they feel—a one to 10 number—as they get to the track,” says Portland, Oregon, coach Bob Williams, who adds that he’ll ask the same question again after the runner has warmed up.

    A one to three, he says, means “go home.” A four is “somewhat recovered” but definitely not ready for a hard session. “Five is okay, but not fully recovered. Six to seven is feeling ‘kind of’ good and ready for a session, but [you] might need to modify it. An eight if feeling pretty good, and a nine to 10 is feeling fantastic.”

    But useful as it is, that type of self-appraisal is simply a snapshot: An assessment of how you feel on the track, just prior to a workout. That’s important—especially for pulling the plug on hard workouts that might better be postponed.

    Easy-to-Spot Trends

    But Davis’s color-coding scheme also helps you (and your coach, if you have one) spot patterns. Sure, you can track the same information with words, numbers, or emoticons. But colors leap off the page. “I can easily spot trends,” Davis says. “What if I had a great workout (on paper) but had been exhausted for four days after? These are the details that color-coding helps reveal.”

    It’s also useful for understanding what’s normal for you. “For example,” Davis says, “I usually turn ‘orange’ for two days after a hard workout, but bounce back to ‘blue’ by the third day.”

    charting your run recovery

    Tweaking Tapers

    This is particularly useful in orchestrating tapers, especially for long races, like marathons and half-marathons. If you’re a week out from a marathon, and tired enough to be in Davis‘s orange/yellow, you need more rest, now.

    But if ten days out you’re already in the blue, you might want a medium-hard workout in order to keep from going flat before the race. The goal is to hit the green on race day, not the week before.

    This isn’t the only way this system can be used to spot trends. A couple of years ago, when Davis was in the first trimester of pregnancy and continuing to race, I spotted an intriguing pattern.

    Thanks to the pregnancy, we weren’t seeing any green, and not a lot of blue. But somewhere along the line, I realized that she tended to feel her best the day immediately after a speed workout. I had no idea why, but the pattern was replicable.

    So I threw normal taper rules out the window and had her run harder than normal the day before a couple of races.

    Why this worked, I have no clue. But without the color-coding system, I’d never have noticed the pattern. (Even with the color-coding, it was pretty subtle.)

    Individual Recovery Responses

    Other patterns you might be able to spot this way have nothing to do with normal training.

    Vacation trips, for example, especially if they involve higher-altitude exercise like backpacking, bicycling, or cross-country skiing, can give you big aerobic boosts when you come back home. But how much higher-elevation exercise produces that, and how long after the return is the ideal time for a race?

    The answer is probably highly individual, but with the right type of logging, you might be able to spot your pattern and coordinate your vacation and race schedule to get the PR that’s been eluding you for years.

    At a more mundane level, too many “unhappy” colors are a warning sign that you might need more recovery time. “Color-coding helps me avoid getting over-trained,” Davis says.

    How, exactly, you code your log is up to you. What matters is that the color scheme makes sense to you, and is easy to spot. I have runners who write their entire description of each day in the relevant color…and others who are more subtle, such as putting a line of color-coded hash marks (#####) across the bottom of each day’s online entry.

    This is, of course, no substitute for a face-to-face chat with a coach. But most runners self-coach…and even if you have coach, such a scheme can be extremely beneficial to both of you.

    From: Podium Runner

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    A$AP Ferg Honored His Dad by Training for a Marathon

    You might know A$ap Ferg for his hits like “New Level” and “Plain Jane,” but what you might not expect is that the musician also has a hell of a health conscience. Men’s Health recently caught up with the rapper at his New Jersey home, where Ferg (alongside his adorable puppy) gave some insight into his diet and workout routine.

    The first thing you wouldn’t expect to find in the rapper’s fridge is a shelf dedicated to one of his favorite foods: pickles. “I’m a pickle fanatic,” he said, revealing two huge jars of pickles. Other staples in his fridge: strawberry jelly (for the nostalgic factor, of course), water bottles, and three cartons of almond milk, because “I just don’t like regular milk.”

    For a rapper whose life consists of being on the road, his diet is actually pretty simple. Ferg tries to stay away from all the carbs and chooses to eat leaner cuts of meat, whether it be turkey bacon, chicken, or salmon. Sometimes, if he’s feeling “a little freaky,” he’ll choose to eat some mussels. As for the things that you will never find in Ferg’s fridge: lard, cakes, candy, or pastries. If he’s looking to satisfy his sweet tooth, he’ll go for dried fruits or some grapes to get the sweetness he’s looking for.

    Ferg’s healthy lifestyle wasn’t always on his radar. “It was when my dad got sick,” he said. “It just made me think about food in a whole different way, especially after he passed. I was like, ‘Wow. You can actually die from what you’re not putting into your body and what you do put into your body.’”

    After finishing up his fridge tour, Ferg took Men’s Health on a run with him and explained that he was inspired to train for a marathon after seeing Diddy do one. “I was hearing that people run for different things, so I wanted to run for my dad,” the rapper said. “I knew he’d be proud of me for doing that.”

    [Smash your goals with a Runner’s World Training Plan, designed for any speed and any distance.]

    Ferg also opened up about how his workout routine has changed and its psychological benefits. “I feel like working out is a meditation for me. It brings me to a calm and I get a high from it. Then everything else in the day or night is easy because you know you worked out and you feel really good about it … Getting fit just helped me as a person in general. I think working out helps your body mentally. You have to be able to do it mentally before it turns physical.”

    Other fun tidbits? He’d love to have a protein shake with Tupac and go for a run with Biggie Smalls.

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    Running After Her Goals. Lina The Track And Field Star.

    Hello everyone. We had the chance to interview the amazing Lina. Lina has a interest for Running. She is nineteen years old. She participates in Track and Field at the University of Physical Education. Lina is a very talented runner who has big plans for herself. She is a dual threat because she is balancing her education and sports at the same time, that shows her commitment to craft. She is definitely a good person for teenage girls around her age to look up to as a role model. We hope nothing but the best for her because we know she has the potential do do amazing things and go far far in life. Make sure you check out her instagram page. She currently has 8.1k followers lets try to get her to 9k.

    How old are you?

    I’m nineteen years old.

    You participate in Track and Field. What events do you run?

    Yes, I do athletics.  I’m running a sprint, specifically 100 and 200 meters.

    What are some of your goals in the future for track?

    I study at the University of Physical Education, namely a track and field coach, so I’ve connected my whole life with it.

    What’s your favorite race you’ve ever ran?

    Every competition is important to me.

    How far would you like to go with track and why?

    As an athlete I plan to finish my activity, but as a coach I want to go to the end.

    What are some of your major goals for your life in the future?

    Bring up a sports generation, open your own fitness center.

    Do you have any advice for teens in your field?

    Never give up and do not lose heart!  everything will turn out if you really want this, well, you need work above oneself.

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    Daylee The Dual Sport Athlete (Basketball & Track)

    Hello Everyone. We’d like to intorduce you to Daylee. She is a High School Dual sport Athlete. She currently plays basketball and track. She has commited to Frenso State University for both sports. Everyone make sure you catch a few of her college events and check out her insta.

    How old are you?

    I’m 17

    So you play basketball what position do you play? Also who do you base your game off of?

    Really just myself but if I had to choose I base my game off of a couple different people I guess. Shooting wise Steph and Klay I use to shoot a ton a 3’s but not anymore. I’ve developed a mid range game too and a lot of people use to say that’s KD’s and Maya Moore’s game. I love defense! I love Alana Beard defense I wanna be like her when I grow up 😂.

    You do track as well what events do you do and describe your best track experience. 

    I’m a hurdler I do the 100m hurdles and 300m hurdles in high school. I also run the regular 400m and in college I run the 400m hurdles. My greatest track experience I would have to say would be when I was in the six grade. I placed in Nationals for both AAU and USA in the 800m. That experience was awesome because I got to be on the podium at such a young age.

    So your recently commented to Fresno state for basketball and track what was that like? 

    It was AMAZING! I can’t describe the feeling because to know my story and what kind of journey I’ve been through from getting bullied and speaking up about it to being cut because of it my Jr year to having to transfer to a new school mid year wasn’t easy. But with the grace of God giving me strength I continued to show people how strong I am. It took a lot of hard work and mental focus. I had a lot of wonderful schools and colleges that recruited me but Fresno State coaching staff have been recruiting me for such a long time since the 8th grade that it just felt like home! This seemed like the right fit for me. They got to know me as a person and knew how much I love track and worked really hard in getting the track coaches involved.

    How do you manage both track and basketball especially them being back to back seasons?

    It’s definitely not easy and takes a lot of hard work and discipline. As soon as basketball season is over I rest my body a lil but then I go straight into track mode. I never really stop basketball because I’m always still training even while I’m in track season. 

    What are some of your athletic goals for college?

     My goal in basketball is to win our league the mountain west and try to make the NCAA tournament. Same thing in track to win league and make it to the NCAA’s in track. 

    Do you have any advice for teens in your field?

    My advice is to always bet on yourself and believe in yourself. Be your own trendsetter. My entire life some people has always told me I should just pick one sport not two but years later my hard work has finally paid off and I’m going to go to college for not one but two sports I love. Stay strong you may experience hardships but you’ll persevere!

    For more interesting news checkout Durrelliott.com!

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