Dynamic Stretching For Runners

With all of the running events coming up on the calendar I thought it would be a good time to talk about the benefits of dynamic stretching. As our training begins to ramp up so too does our risk for injury. Many of the aches and pains so common to runners have to do with the limited range of motion involved in running. The main difference between dynamic stretching and traditional (static) stretching is that it is active. The purpose of dynamic stretching is to warm up the muscles and connective tissues by increasing blood flow and taking them through a wider range of motion, preparing them for action. Static stretching encourages the muscles to relax, great for recovery but counterproductive before activity. The intent during dynamic stretching is not to gain flexibility but to simply warm up your body and prepare it for activity.

Here’s a sample routine to try before your next run:

-Hip Circles
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Rotate your hips in circles, clockwise 10 times and then counterclockwise 10 times.

-Lateral Leg Swings
Hold onto a wall or light post for stability. With your feet shoulder distance apart, swing a leg straight out to the side and then across the front of your body to the opposite side. Repeat the motion 10 times for each leg.-Calf Stretch Starting on all fours, raise your hips so the body forms an inverted “V” and you’re supporting yourself on your hands and feet. Slowly pedal the feet, lowering one heel to the ground while raising the other. Keep your leg as straight as possible when lowering the heel and then bending the knee as you raise it. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-Lateral Lunge
Stand with your legs about double shoulder width with your toes pointed slightly outwards. Keeping your back as straight as possible, bend one knee about 90 degrees and lower your self while keeping the other leg straight out to the side, raise up to a standing position and then bend the other knee and repeat. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-High Kicks (Toy Soldier)
Walking forward, kick your leg as high as you can while keeping it straight. Alternate legs as you walk. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-Butt Kicks
Walking forward, kick the heels back into the glutes with each step. Repeat 10 times each leg.

-Walking Lunges
Step forward bending the front knee 90 degrees (take care to make sure the knee cap is over the ankle) while keeping the rear leg as straight as possible (without straining). Lower rear knee to the ground in a controlled and easy motion. Stand up (using your hands if needed) and step forward with the rear leg. Repeat 10 times each leg.Adding a simple routine like this one prior to your workouts and events can do wonders for performance and injury prevention. As always, if you have any additional questions feel free to email us at Science of Speed and we will be happy to answer them.

SoS Coach, Patrick Valentine, on the Podium at Xterra Curt Gowdy!

It is about time!

Wow it has been quite awhile since my last blog post. Here is to a better consistency of updates on my race season. Well last weekend I finally felt like I was back in action with my first Xterra since May of 2012 over 13 months ago! Which race you ask? 2013 Xterra Curt Gowdy!I know what you are thinking were in the world is Curt Gowdy. That my friends is a fabulous question! Curty Gowdy State Park is a hidden gem in midst of the wide open spaces of Wyoming, sitting between Laramie and Cheyenne. To give you a small glimpse of what real wide open spaces look like, here is a shot of the drive to the park race morning.

Race day was absolutely beautiful, not a cloud in the sky and temperature were moderate to warm, much better that they were supposedly last year when the race took place a month later in the year. I was actually nervous for the swim for once as I have only had about 8 swims under my belt since my last triathlon. But luckily working hard the last two to three weeks must have paid off. A couple of Honey Stinger Waffles and chews and I was on my way. I ended up coming out of the water in 1st place with a time of around 16 minutes for a 1200 meter swim. Not a bad start to the morning that is for sure.

Now on to the fun part, the mountain bike! The bike course was rated as a 2009 IMBA Epic Trail system. Basically, that means you better get your butt up here and ride this place because you are missing out on some great singletrack. That also means they have created the trails for mountain bikers by mountain bikers, leading to a fantastic segment of trails to ride on race day. I don’t know what I was most excited about riding my mountain bike fast or getting to try out my new GIRO Helmet and Oakley sunglasses!

I know that words don’t do the course too much just, so here is a snippet of what the course map and ride profile entailed.

After only riding for 67 minutes the bike course was over, quite a shame too as I was just starting to have some fun. However, it was time to wipe the little kid grin off my face and get to the run. Luckily, I had a solid bike with the 2nd fastest time overall and came into T2 in second place only a little over a minute down from 1st.Now for the not so fun part, the RUN! I was a bit worried about the run because I haven’t spend that much time doing actual running. Mainly just riding my mountain bike and having a good old time. That being said I buckled down and hit the first mile hard hoping to wake my legs up from the 13 month hibernation.

The rolling terrain, lack of shade, and the sun beating down on me started to take its toll. On the uphills I tried to just keep one foot in front of the other. However, having a vast array of slick rock incorporated into the singletrack truly made this one of the more exciting runs I have ever done. I just tried to take off and let loose on the downhills and keep my pace up as high as possible. I was pleased to hold off everyone on the run. This my friends is a milestone and step in the right direciton. Because usually I try to just minimize the damage and count the people that are flying by me like I am sitting still. Not today though folks came in at 2nd place overall! This was definitely a great start to the race season and has really recharged my batteries to get some good training during Emma’s nap times.

Big thanks to some of the great folks that are supporting me this season, and helped me through my first race of the year. Honey Stinger, Osprey Packs, Big Agnes, BAP, Oakley, Giro Sports Design, LifeProof, The Adrenalin Project!Next up………….Xterra Mountain Championships in Beaver Creek, COFollow Coach Patrick Here!

Form, Running and Science

Science of Speed, Newton Running Company and Capital City Runners are joining up to provide Tallahassee with a FREE premier running form clinic. Proper running form can increase performance and greatly reduce overuse injuries. Oh, and did we mention that Ironman Texas Female Champion Rachel Joyce will be in attendance. So what will the night entail? Capital City Runner’s owner Kevin Sullivan will discuss how a shoe that is fitted to an individual’s biomechanics can reduce overuse injuries by placing the foot and ankle into the proper alignment. When the foot and ankle are placed into the proper alignment, the knees, hips and back are placed into a better alignment as well, reducing angular stresses at those joints which can lead to many overuse injuries. He will briefly discuss the differences between a traditional running shoe and a minimalist running shoe and the difference between a neutral and stability running shoe. Following a discussion on shoe mechanics, Science of Speed’s Alex Smyth will assist Stephen Pifer from Newton Running Company in taking the group through Newton’s Run Form Clinic. A running form clinic put on by Newton focuses on three things; Posture, Position and Cadence.

  • Posture: Find your proper posture by standing straight and tall, relaxing your shoulders, and looking to the horizon.
  • Position: Level your hips and slightly flex your knees and ankles. Relax your arms and bend them 45 to 90 degrees at the elbow.
  • Cadence: Run in place, with your feet landing as close to your body as possible. Notice how you land relaxed and use your whole foot. Your stride will lengthen as you increase speed, but your cadence should be between 170 and 190 steps/minute for most running speeds. Stride lengthens with improved core strength and stability.

To conclude the evening’s festivities, there will be a Q & A with Professional Triathlete and Ironman Texas Female Champion, Rachel Joyce.   Bonuses:

  • Raffle for a FREE VO2 Max or Lactate Threshold test from Science of Speed.
  • Raffle for a FREE pair of Newton running shoes Capital City Runners and Newton Running Company.
  • Demo pairs of the Gravity running shoe from Newton Running Company to try-on and use during the form clinic.
  • Free food and drinks

So who are these companies? Science of Speed is a Tallahassee based endurance coaching and exercise testing company that uses human physiology and research proven training to personalize and individualize each athlete’s training. Newton Running Company is “a company that exists to inspire the world to run better.” They are a company of runners, teachers, philanthropists and much more. Newton has researched and designed their shoes to provide responsive cushioning and ground-feel to help runners rediscover and strengthen their natural running motion. Capital City Runners is Tallahassee’s premier running store that uses human biomechanics and video analysis to properly fit everyone in the shoe that is right for them. They strive to support, educate and challenge people of all ages to adopt a healthy life style and experience the satisfaction that comes with it.

Killer Abs and a Weak Core:

Becoming a Well Balanced Athlete

So many people dream of that flat stomach and a shredded six pack and do thousands of crunches trying to improve their core strength.  There is one fundamental flaw for this thought process however.  Many people spend their days hunched over their computer at work, slouching in the chairs we sit in and for triathletes and cyclists alike, spare time is spent laid out over their favorite bike.  This routine leads to the rectus abdominis (abs) being worked frequently and many other important stabilizing muscles neglected.  The problem with this neglect is that it leads to an imbalance of weak stabilizing muscles and an underdeveloped core.  So what?  As endurance athletes our core is what stabilizes the rest of our body to do the work that we are constantly demanding of it.  Whether you are on the bike, running or in the pool your core is providing a platform for the extremities to work from and if this is weak we limit our performances before they ever begin. The important part is to remember what all your “core” is composed of.  Not only is it the muscles of the stomach but also the back, neck, obliques, hip flexors, glutes, erector spinae and hip abductors/adductors that are in need of attention and strengthening as well.  There are many workouts that have been designed to help target these specific muscle groups but the sample workouts below are focused on a handful of them that will work the majority of these groups. Try these strengthening exercises after your next workout and begin becoming a more well rounded athlete Plank– Laying on your stomach lift your body off the ground and support your weight with your elbows and forearms.  body should remain straight with knees on the ground.  Hold for 30 seconds each time.Supine Glute push up- Laying on your back with your feet on a medicine ball lift your hips off the ground while keeping your shoulders in contact with the floor.Rotational crunch-  Assume the standard crunch position with your feet flat on the ground.  Raise shoulders off the ground until torso is at a 45 degree angle to the ground.  Rotate upper body 45 degrees to each side (hands should go from one side of body to the other.Side bridge- Laying on your side, Support your body with your forearm and elbow.  Be sure to keep body in a straight line.Bicycles- Laying on your back in a standard crunch position, raise your feet off the ground by bending at the hips.  Make a circular motion in the air with your feet like you are pedaling a bicycle. -Brady IrwinSubscribe to our mailing list

3 FREE months of coaching!

This weekend brings many people to the end of their race/event season with Tri the Rez.  With hundreds of athletes out there mixing it up and pushing themselves to the limit for the last time this season SoS is giving one lucky athlete the opportunity to use the winter months to improve fitness and start next season off at a whole new level! How to enter: Come by our booth the day of the race and get registered.   Cost: $1.00 per entry (no limit on the number of entries) Are you unable to attend Tri the Rez or would like to support the FSU tri club?  Register and pay at Sunshine Cycles before close of business (6pm) Friday October 26th to be a part of this great opportunity!

 What if you don’t win?

Don’t worry, we still have you covered!  SoS is running our Of Season Eliminator discount to help you make the most out of these winter months.  Through November 15th you can take advantage of 1 month of free coaching when you sign up for a 12 month training program! Go HERE for more details!   Raffle money goes to support FSU tri club.

Nutrition: The Skinny on Calorie Consumption and Exercising

Many times people begin running and cycling as a form of exercise to help with weight loss.  These are two activities that we either have fond childhood memories of, or we simply know that increasing our activity level will help reduce our statistics in the ever expanding American waistline. Unfortunately many individuals enter into this new exercise habit misinformed or unaware of what is required for the exercise time frame that they are out there for.  Many of us have heard that to lose weight calories out must be greater than calories in.  The downfall of this is that many have never been taught the timing of this calorie consumption and it leads to many people eating sparingly throughout the day, exercising after work and then gorging on the meal the last meal of the day.  This can lead to consuming far more calories than if we were to more evenly space out our actual calorie consumption taking several things into consideration:

  1. How many calories should you consume throughout the day.  There are many online calculators to figure this out
    1. One more accurate way is a Resting Metabolic Rate Test which we offer at Science of Speed
  2. What your physical activity level actually is
  3. When you tend to exercise during the day
  4. How long you exercise for

So for most people one and two make complete sense and loosely mean “Calories out are greater than Calories in.”  Now 3 and 4 are less common considerations for a great deal of people but here is why they are important.  If you are focusing on improving fitness as well as losing weight you will want to focus on fueling for your workouts.  This includes pre workout, during workout and then your post workout nutrition and is important because your body burns predominantly carbohydrates to fuel your workout for optimum performance.  Once you have this part figured out the next step is your exercise time and your total amount of calories required to lose the weight that you are shooting for. Weight loss information: 3500 Cal ~ 1lb of fat 1-2lbs of weight loss per week is considered healthy¹ To help with your long term success weight loss is not about a “diet” but about a lifestyle change To maintain weight loss, aim for at least 60-90 minutes of daily moderate physical activity¹ ¹http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/aim_hwt.pdf


SoS Coach Brady Irwin is preparing for RAAM 2012 and here is an update on a training weekend that him and his 4 man team recently completed:   

Well to say the least the RAAM training weekend was a great success!  All four riders finished the mileage, no one was injured and fitness is at the level we were expecting for each rider or slightly above where it was expected.  Leading into this weekend, to make things a little more interesting, we put a little wager on Friday and Saturday’s ride.  The two man winning team from the weekend has the privilege of receiving a bike cleaning from the 2 losing riders.  So with something on the line we were off for 3 days of riding. Friday night consisted of a 20k TT.  We fell into line randomly and left in one minute intervals.  With a little bit of peer pressure(mostly from Halsey, persuasive bastard! 


 ) I ended up on a TT bike that I had never ridden and only had about 10 minutes to setup.  In the end it was not that big of a deal and I still ended up with the second fastest time of the four of us.  Jamey put down a blistering second half of his TT and made it evident that he was the strong man for the weekend.  Austin and Halsey both had very strong rides and were not to far off the pace.  With the TT over we calculated up that Jamey and Austin would have a minute head start on Saturday and then we went to hang out talk logistics and eat some great dinner with our crew and families.  Calling it a short night we headed home and began to prepare for the next day. 

Saturday morning came earlier than I had hoped for.  The sky was still pitch black as I loaded up the truck and headed to our starting point for the morning.  This day was set up to mimic what RAAM will be like.  Each two man team had a follow vehicle and each rider did 30 minute rotations.  I chose to stay on the road bike all day long, since I had not put in miles on it before, and Halsey decided to take his aerobars off of his bike.  I think in the end that was the downfall to our day.  As we approached the gulf towards the end of the day there was a constant wind funneling through the trees and battering us and I believe that being in a more aerodynamic position.  Either way… at the end of the day Halsey and I lost a great deal of ground and ended up the losers on the day.  So, that means that the guys will be receiving bike cleanings very shortly.  With Fatigued legs we all headed to Jamey’s house, where Heidi (his wife) made us an amazing meal!  After an hour of story telling and trying to stay awake we departed too get some rest and spend some time with family.  Driving home I was struggling to keep my 

eyes open after a long day of riding but I came home to a quiet house, since Janelle and Katelyn were out, and had my second dinner of the evening and rested and relaxed until it was time to go too sleep. Sunday morning was tough getting out of bed at 5am but I was amazed at how fresh the legs still felt.  Our ride Sunday consisted of a group effort over 100 miles under gray cloudy skies and damp chilly conditions.  Steve B. joined us on the bike that day after graciously sitting in the follow vehicle all day on Saturday and none of us were 

complaining to have an extra rider to do some work.  It took me 15-20 minutes to get the legs loosened up but once they were warmed up I felt like I was firing on all cylinders.  The group hung tough through the 80 mile mark and then riders began to come apart at the seams.  Jamey went to the front with a monster pull and the groans in the group were audible to say the least.  Steve’s fresh legs continued the high tempo effort on the climbs and we finished off a great day and an awesome weekend of riding! This weekend would not have been possible without our wonderful crew of drivers and I thank you all: Jeff Johnson, Lance Hart & Steve Barraco.  You guys were Rock Stars and we appreciate you not running us over more than anything!   Blog from Scalybirdlegs