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Tag - Ultra-Running

Ultra-Running in the age of coronavirus: What to do now?

Right now, everyone has a lot on their minds, and there are few who would argue that any public event is more important than the recommendations we shelter at home, keep a 6-foot distance from others, and take seriously all hygienic precautions in an attempt to flatten the coronavirus curve. But for professional athletes like ultra-runners, accustomed to daily workouts encompassing substantial miles on foot, cancellations and self-quarantine are as challenging as any slippery hillside or uphill climb.

Virtually every major sporting event for the next 30 days has been cancelled, many with barely a few days of advance warning, impacting athletes who may have been training for months. This can’t help but feel like a massive disappointment for such folks, who may be able to commiserate with those around them who’ve had birthday parties, guitar lessons and work mixers similarly cancelled, but it isn’t quite the same. We’re all hoping and praying that the COVID-19 threat goes away as quickly as possible with as little impact as possible — but while birthday parties and guitar lessons can easily resume, if an elite athlete sits in a house for a month or longer largely inactive, resumption is not so easily achieved.

There is also the issue of separation. Many athletes train with one or several coaches and mentors, people who they speak with day in and day out, and who come to know them as well as any member of their blood family. Now, common sense dictates that they must stay apart to preserve their health — but every fiber of their athleticism yearns for their wisdom, camaraderie and support. On top of that is the loss of community — runners are typically a tight-knit group, seeing each other regularly at events — and to suddenly have that infrastructure taken away can be difficult.

These days, we all have to remember: You are not defined by which event you are training for.

“Races don’t determine what kind of athlete you are or who you are for that matter,” coach and trail athlete Anna Mae Flynn of Marble, Colorado recently told Trail Runner. “Health and safety are always the number one priority.” 

On the other hand, perhaps athletes are better equipped for this crisis than others. In addition to the health advantages of being physically fit, athletes have been trained to encounter adversity, conquer it and move on. They know that there will be bad days, but all that means is a good day must be right around the corner. They know to support others around them, and to work as a team — whether they are part of a running group in training, or a family of five co-habitating in the same house for multiple weeks.

Also, like so much in life, perspective is everything. While the pessimist may feel defeated by the prospect of weeks indoors, the optimist could see the same situation as an opportunity. If you have a good treadmill/bike/workout room at home, there has never been a better time to become closely acquainted. How many sit-ups will it take to finally achieve the 6-pack you’ve always wanted? How much base building can you do while not training for a specific race?

“Even though there are bigger issues in the world, caring about races is a great thing,” coach David Roche tells Trail Runner. “But also think about why you race in the first place. I like athletes to frame events as a means to structure the day-to-day process they love, rather than the end goal.” 

Another thing to keep in mind: modern technology is your friend. Numerous organizations online are offering fitness classes, training sessions and pretty much anything else you can imagine via video conferencing. FaceTime with your coach, group-chat with your running buddies — once you get beyond the inevitable glitches and the one guy who can’t seem to get the mic to work on his laptop, it’s amazing how much goodness you can still get from human interaction, even if the humans aren’t in the same room with you.

Along those same optimistic lines, there is perhaps no sport better-equipped to weather the coronavirus storm than competitive running. If the goal is to avoid proximity with others, there are few options as effective as heading out into the woods and running alone. Be smart, stay up on the latest precautions, and when all this is finished you may just find that it’s made you stronger — both mentally and physically.  

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Shoe Review

Salomon S/Lab: A Shoe Review

A premium shoe which fits the toughest trail adventures, Salomon S/Lab line is the luxury material and geared shoe for competitive runners and professionals. This mean pair of shoes are for treacherous trails and high mileages of running, so Quad Rock runners should definitely go ahead and make this investment!

Stats:

Stack: Moderate

Weight for Women’s shoes: 9.5oz

Heel-To-Toe-Drop: Moderate | 6.2 mm

Heel Cushioning: Firm

Forefront Height: Moderate | 23.5mm

Forefront Cushioning: Firm

Flexibility: Stiff

Stability Features: Some

Energy Return: Moderate

Features:

Progressive Stack Height- A variable stack height for the S/Lab Ultra helps standarie the shoe’s drop and offset as it wears. The stack increases for larger shoes and ensures the standard ride for all.

Hydrophobic Materials- The XA Amphib within the shoe helps maintain the weight of the shoe despite moisture.

Energy Save- EVA foam in the forefoot that does not pack out over time.

Adaptive Sensifit- The shoe warms up as your foot does so when you are in the race it adjusts around the swelling of your foot.

Premium Wet Traction- The outsole contains the same lug pattern as Salomon’s previous collections. Therefore, the sticky rubber compound is there.

Inside the Women’s Salomon S/L Lab Ultra Framework:

The shoe features an internal sleeve that wraps the foot entirely, allowing the foot to be comfortable and snug. This new updated version of the Ultra also contains “detached wings” on the upper, which helps with adaptability over the arch and midfoot.  In the midsole, the S/Lab line is covered in polyurethane foam in the forefoot, adding cushion and durability.

The outsole itself contains deeper lugs which makes it s a rugged outsole. It glides on technical trails where leaves, rocks, tree roots and loose gravel or stones. 

Ultra features a “Skinguard construction”, which helps seal out moisture and protect against gravel, stones, etc. It’s upper larger tongue, extends higher up the foot to shun dirt and leaves. A lace-stowing pocket is included as well.

The Endofit technology makes the internal fit of the shoe almost custom. Combined with the Ortholite open-cell mold, it fits any person’s foot perfectly.

Consistent Features:

The shoe uses the same high-rebound compound which allows the superior energy return and durability in high mileage. It complies with Salomon’s “play and progress” motto for their S/Lab Vision.

Improvements:

The quick-pull lacing system is questionable when it comes to safely inserting them away.

The unisex sizing makes it difficult to distinguish between women and men sizes.

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Riboflavin: How This B-Vitamin Could Change the Sport of Ultra-Running

Riboflavin: How This B-Vitamin Could Change the Sport of Ultra-Running
By: Amy Tribolini, MS, RD, LD
You may not be familiar with riboflavin, but it is likely you have heard of or even supplemented with B-vitamins.  B-vitamins have been marketed as “energy enhancement vitamins” and added to sport supplement bars and drinks for years.
Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, has stayed relatively under the rug and gained little attention by itself, but all that may be changing after a recent study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine proposed that supplementation may have significant benefits on muscle pain and soreness both during and after completion of ultra-running events.  
In 2016, researchers performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial on participants at one of the most iconic ultra-marathons of all time: The Western States 100-Miler.  Researchers split up participating runners into a control group or a placebo group.  The controlled group received a riboflavin capsule both before the race and again at mile 56, the other group received a placebo at both intervals.  Participants in the study rated their soreness and muscle pain before the race, during, immediately after, and for 10 additional days.
The results were significant.  The runners that received the riboflavin reported significantly less muscle pain and soreness during and immediately after the race.  While this is newer research into this area, the findings suggest that riboflavin may be a highly beneficial supplement to decrease soreness and aid in the performance of ultra-runners.  
 
Riboflavin
 
What Does Riboflavin Do in the Body?
Riboflavin plays an important role in metabolism and protecting against cell damage.  Essential to ultra-runners, riboflavin is involved in the process of energy metabolism.  Without adequate riboflavin, the enzymes needed to break down nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats) do not function as efficiently.  This can lead to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue in an athlete.    
The second essential role riboflavin plays in athletes is enhancing oxygen delivery.  Hemoglobin, the protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the body, requires riboflavin in order to synthesize.  Having adequate oxygen transport allows athletes to perform better with less fatigue.  
How Much Should I Take?
In this research study, participants were given a 100mg supplemental capsule of riboflavin twice during the race (once before the race and another 56 miles into the race).  According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, this far exceeds the estimated daily needs of healthy athletes- 1.2mg (men) and 1.1mg (women).  But, because riboflavin is water soluble, healthy individuals will excrete excess out through the urine instead of storing it in toxic levels.
B-Vitamin
Can I Get Enough Riboflavin in the Foods I Eat?
It is easy to meet your estimated nutritional needs by selecting foods high in riboflavin.  However, in order to experience the decreased soreness that the Western States athletes reported, supplemental riboflavin may be needed.  
Foods High in Riboflavin:
Riboflavin occurs naturally in foods and it is also fortified into many grains.  If you are looking for natural ways to enhance your intake of riboflavin during a race, these handy grab-and-go snacks are good sources:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified Grains, Crackers, and Breads
  • Fortified sports bars and supplements
  • Almonds
  • Sun-dried tomatoes
  • Yogurt

 
Conclusion:
With new research suggesting that increased riboflavin intake may be a significant component of decreasing soreness among ultra-runners, there is likely to be more chatter in the ultra-running community over this topic.  While more research needs to be done to identify optimal dosing and benefits, the preliminary research seems to point to this B vitamin as a nutrient that may be changing the field of ultra-running.   
References:
Hoffman, M. D., Valentino, T. R., Stuempfle, K.J., & Hassid, B.V. (2017). A Placebo-Controlled Trial of Riboflavin for Enhancement of Ultramarathon Recovery. Sports Medicine – Open, 3(1).
Denny, S. (2014). Vitamin Needs of Athletes. Retrieved April 5, 2017, from https://www.eatright.org/resource/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitmains-and-nutrients/vitamin-needs-of-athletes
Zempleni J, Galloway JR, McCormick DB (1996). Pharmacokinetics of orally and intravenously administered riboflavin in healthy humans. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The American Society for Nutrition. 63 (1): 54–66.
About the Author:
Amy Tribolini currently works as both a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Instructor. She lives, trains, and competes as an ultra-runner out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Amy specializes in fueling endurance athletes, athletic performance, and plant-based diets. Amy holds both a Bachelors Degree in Dietetics and a Masters Degree in Human Nutritional Science from the University of Wisconsin
Instagram- @ultrarunningdietitian
Email contact: [email protected]
 

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