Author: Mike McCluskey

Mike McCluskey - Born in U.K. Apr 1st 1946 - Retired and enjoying life in Wasaga Beach As a GTRC road coach I am delighted to share with you nineteen years of road running experience and six years of developing and assisting in Learn To Run clinics at Beach Chiropractic and Wellness Centre. I started distance running inadvertently while rehabbing my sore knees from soccer and poor training techniques. I went from not being able to run a kilometre to doing the NYC Marathon ten months later. My focus is on training to improve and have fun running while minimizing risk of injuries. My joy comes from seeing beginner runners develop and complete their first 5K and from hearing of the goals and accomplishments of all runners during group training runs. In all I have completed 13 marathons including 7 Bostons the latest being the 2012 Boston Marathon, interspersed with 4 ATB 30Ks, 3 Halfs and mixture of 10Mile, 10K and 5K races. I am extremely passionate about running and helping develop and promote running sports in the Georgian Triangle area while combining this love with charitable fund raising.
Hydration Myths Busted

Hydration Myths Busted

A great article on hydration From Runners World.

Coach Mike

From Runners World
August 2013
8 Hydration Myths Busted
Don’t get swept up in a tidal wave of hype.
By Dimity McDowell;
July 9, 2013

At its basic level, hydration is simple. Feel thirsty after a run? Drink something. Heading into an epic meeting? Bring along a water bottle. Despite this simplicity, there’s an ocean of misleading information out there that leaves runners confused. Eight glasses a day, or not? Drink before you’re thirsty, or only when thirst hits? Does coffee really dehydrate you? Knowing the answers is vital, since hydration is key to your performance. “Water is necessary for every metabolic process in your body,” says Penny L. Wilson, Ph.D., R.D.N., a dietitian at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Institute. “It transports nutrients to your cells and takes waste away from them. It’s like oil in a car.” We dove below the surface of some myths to uncover the facts and make the truth about hydration as crystal clear as the water you drink.

Myth: Drink eight glasses of water a day.
Truth: You do need a healthy dose of hydration daily, but how much is an individual thing. “The eight glasses a day is totally arbitrary,” says Susan Yeargin, Ph.D., assistant professor of athletic training at the University of South Carolina. “Everybody, especially athletes, has different needs.” The Institute of Medicine guidelines are more specific, recommending 91 ounces per day for women and 120 for men. But the institute notes that “the vast majority of healthy people adequately meet their hydration needs by letting thirst be their guide.”

Myth: Pee clear to be hydrated.
Truth: Clear urine is a bit excessive. “As long as it is a pale yellow, like lemonade, you’re hydrated,” says Yeargin. If it’s completely clear, it just means you’re full to the brim; what’s going in is coming out. On the other hand, if your pee is the color of apple juice or darker, or particularly smelly, you need to drink up.

Myth: Caffeine dehydrates you.
Truth: While caffeine provides a performance-boosting edge, it also acts as a diuretic, right? Not exactly. “Recent research shows that caffeine doses between 250 and 300 milligrams—about two cups of coffee—will minimally increase urine output for about three hours after consuming it,” says Yeargin, “But the research also shows that exercise seems to negate those effects. If you run within one to two hours of drinking coffee, you don’t pee more.” Most likely, during exercise, blood flow shifts toward your muscles and away from your kidneys, so urine output isn’t affected, Yeargin explains. In addition, if you always have a latte in the morning or a soda at lunch, your body is acclimated to the caffeine, so its effect, on both your physiology and performance, is minimal.

Myth: Thirst isn’t a good hydration tool.
Truth: Thirst is definitely a very strong predictor of hydration needs—and some experts would argue it’s the only one you need. “Our thirst mechanism is pretty accurate,” says Yeargin. “But it’s always a good idea to have some other methods to ensure you’re hydrated.” Knowing your sweat rate is one way to track your needs, particularly for long runs, says Doug Casa, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut and COO of the Korey Stringer Institute. To calculate your sweat rate, weigh yourself naked before and after an hour run. Keep track of how many ounces you consume during the run and factor that into your calculation postrun. Every pound you lose translates to about 16 ounces of fluid. “Your goal isn’t to match your sweat rate,” says Casa, “but you should try to get as close as is comfortably possible. For some runners, that may mean replacing two-thirds of the fluid they sweat during the run.” He adds that you shouldn’t try to consume more fluids than you’ve lost.

Myth: Pure water is best for hydration.
Truth: Although water is a great way to hydrate, it may not be the best choice in all situations. For an easy, hour-long run on a coolish day, sipping water is fine. But if you’re running 10 miles on an August morning and are a salty sweater (you have white salt streaks on your face or clothes postrun), you need to ingest some sodium as well. “Salt helps you retain water,” says Yeargin. “You’re less likely to pee it out.” A sports drink, such as Gatorade, and water enhanced with electrolytes, like Nuun, are good options; taking high-dose salt tabs before a run is less so. “There’s no way to ‘preload’ with sodium to negate sodium loss,” says Yeargin. “You just pee out anything you don’t use.”

Myth: You can’t drink too much.
Truth: “You absolutely can drink too much,” says Casa, “and it can be deadly.” Too much water can cause symptomatic hyponatremia, a condition where the sodium levels in the blood become dangerously low. Although Casa estimates that fewer than one percent of marathoners develop symptomatic hyponatremia, certain groups are more prone to it, including smaller runners; those who finish marathons in more than four hours; and those who do a significant amount of walking and running in cooler weather (when your sweat rate isn’t as intense as it is on warm days). “For recreational runners, the best way to prevent hyponatremia is to listen to your thirst,” says Casa.

Myth: Drinking lots of water is a good way to “detox.”
Truth: “There is no evidence that excess water makes your body more clean,” says Dr. Stanley Goldfarb, M.D., a professor of medicine in the Renal, Electrolyte, and Hypertension Division at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine. “If anything, drinking too much water can slightly impair the ability of the kidneys to filter blood.” He adds that the only people who should drink more water with a focus on their kidneys are those who have had kidney stones.

Myth: Staying hydrated eliminates your risk of heat stroke.
Truth: Heat stroke is a life-threatening condition where your body temperature rises above 104°F. Dehydration can make you more prone to it. “People who are dehydrated are hotter,” says Casa. In fact, in a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, Casa determined that for every one percent of body mass lost through sweat, your body temperature increases by half a degree, “which makes hydration hugely important for preventing heat stroke,” he says. But there are still a number of other factors that play a role. Body size, exercise intensity, fitness level, and age as well as humidity and air temperature can affect who does or doesn’t develop heat stroke, says Casa. Certainly staying hydrated is a good call and can reduce your risk, but paying attention to the whole picture is a better predictor.

A Guide To Winter Running

A Guide To Winter Running

From Runner’s World, Jenny Hadfield (Ask The Coach)

 Running outside in winter? Although cold weather and the holidays can really play havoc on your running regimen, it is one of the best seasons to be a runner. The weather is cool, the path isn’t crowded and the running outfits are adorable! It’s easier than you think. All you need are a few key strategies and a firm running goal and you’ll be running in any kind of weather.

  • Set a specific goal: There is nothing more motivating than to train for a race or goal. Set a goal to run a 5K, half marathon or reach a number of miles every month! You’ll have instant motivation in knowing you have to train for the race or hit your target mileage. Reward yourself with a treat when you reach your goals and set another one.
  • Run With a Buddy or Group: Make it safe and social. Run with a buddy or join a group. You’ll have a built in motivational source, a friend to chat with along the way and it is safer to run in numbers. It is a great time of year to run. If that’s not enough motivation, reward yourself with a fun race destination like Arizona, Florida or even Mexico!
  • Accessorize: The best part of winter running is the shopping! Having the right apparel makes all the difference in the world. Layering is the key to avoiding over or under dressing. A layer that blocks the wind, pants/tights and top that wick the moisture away from your skin and for the coldest of days a mid-layer that fits more loosely like fleece that insulates and moves the moisture from your base layer away from your skin. Your winter running wardrobe should include a running jacket, hat or headband, gloves, tights and a few long sleeve shirts. Your body temperature increases as you run, so you don’t need many layers in most winter conditions.
  • Dress for 15-20 degrees Warmer: Over-dressing is easy to do in winter running. Dressing for 15-20 degrees warmer than it is will allow for your body temperature to increase and reduce the risk of overheating and excessive sweat. You should feel chilled when you walk out the door. If you are toasty warm, remove a layer. Less is more.
  • Run During Light and Warmer Times of Day: If possible, run during the light hours to absorb that needed sunshine we rarely get in the winter. You’ll get your miles in during the warmest time of day and come back with a smile on your face.
  • Be Seen: If you run in the dark hours, wear a reflective vest or flashing lights so you’re seen in traffic. In snowy weather, wear bright clothing. Run with an I.D. or a runner’s I.D. in your shoe just in case.
  • Hit the Treadmill: When the weather gets bone chilling cold and icy, hit the treadmill. Treadmill running is a great way to stay fit and you’ll get in quality miles without the risking an injury slipping on ice.
  • Gear Up: Wear trail shoes or a traction device like Yak Trax. They will give you better traction and stability in the snow. I used these to tackle the Antarctica Marathon and they worked really well on the snow and ice. Note: Avoid wearing the Yak Trax indoors or on roads without snow. Keep them in your pocket until you hit the snow.  Unless of course you want to do a spontaneous triple sow-cow on the slippy floor at home 
  • Stay Low: Shorten your running stride and keep your feet lower to the ground. You will run more efficiently and reduce the risk of slipping, falling or straining muscles. When running on snow, choose the fresh snow over ice or packed snow. You will get better traction on fresh snow and reduce the chance for slipping. Watch out for snow-covered cracks and holes in the road.
  • Take Extra Time To Warm Up: Your body will warm up more slowly in the cold weather, especially if you run in the morning. Take at least 5 minutes to walk briskly before you start to run. It may take 10-15 minutes of running before you are completely warmed up and in your running tempo. Take a hot shower to pre-warm your muscles or put your clothes in the dryer on hot for a few minutes then head out for your run.
  • Hydrate: It is just as important to drink fluids in your winter runs as it is in the summer. Make sure to hydrate before, during and after your runs to avoid dehydration. Use warm fluids in your water bottle to avoid freezing or tuck it under your jacket.
  • Start Into The Wind: Start your run in to the wind, so you have the wind at your back on your way home. You’ll avoid getting chilled by the wind after you’ve been sweating.
  • Keep it fun: Mix up your route, run through the neighborhood holiday lights or run a holiday race. It will get you outside and enjoying winter rather than cursing it.

Have a great Winter running season

Boston Mike (Run Coach)