The Women’s Endurance Summit

Wow! What a lot of great information by some excellent speakers. This seminar, put on by USATF as a level-3 Coaches seminar on women’s endurance running was a great success. Covering topics like biomechanics and form analysis, using latest tools like “Coaches Eye” to easily record video and quickly analyze. I will be trying this out to replace Kinovea that we currently use and will keep you posted. Dr Sarah Hickman – a mental toughness program for endurance athletes and who doesn’t need that during your Ironman or marathon, it’s what separates the winners from the finishers! Be in the present when racing don’t dwell on past and don’t try to predict the future, just be mindful – determine your own mantra and use it when the going gets tough. Suffering is part of the sport and maybe the reason we do this anyway! ( Thoughts on that?) Seeing pressure as something to embrace, gather-in and use to aid your performance against all others is very powerful. Check out this BBC short movie Encourage athletes to control the controllable, eliminate doubt and have conviction of your own belief – as Michael Johnson says he is about to go into battle! How about Nutrition as a topic for women in endurance sports? A huge subject and with 3 speakers talking on the topic obviously an important one – Nutrition and the latest topics on Eating Disorders and the female triad – Low Energy Availability (LEA) through disordered eating, Menstrual dysfunction and Low bone mineral density. Several tools exist for calculating LEA where energy balance is below normal or less than 30 Kcal/kg/FFM (Fat Free body Mass) and the problems associated with this low level of food intake. Risk assessment tools can be used if you suspect LEA but a simple way is to look at BMI <17.5kg/m² We focused the discussions on LEA or and the problems that diets with insufficient calories pose for anyone training for endurance events. The discussion on diets continued with Dr Damion Martins, Mary Finckenor CSSD and Sage Rowntree PhD all contributing to the discussion about types of diet and their value in endurance sports – bottom line is a quote from Michael Pollan – “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”
Plenty of advice on eating carbohydrate – consensus at this seminar is please do but protein and good fats are also vital, well that’s nothing new! For those who just can’t get enough of the latest drink – Coconut Water – be aware that as an electrolyte drink it lacks salt, so add a pinch, simple eh! And Whey protein gets a big with valine, leucine and isoleucine an excellent source for recovery drinks, the leucine-cascade supports muscle synthesis faster than other protein sources. Designer Whey is one choice Fish oil got the other big thumbs up from all of the nutrition expertise 1000mg of Omega 3 from good sources like Solgar, Nature Made. So if you want to advise on supplements start with these 3 – Vitamin D3, Omega 3 1000mg (EPA+DHA) daily and Whey protein after a “hard” training session. You define hard and don’t be afraid of it. Wendy Winn Rhodes gave us 4 hours of her time to discuss rehabilitation and form, Wendy is a New York PT specializing in video running analysis and how to become a more efficient runner. Pain is not normal yet so many of the athletes who come to us have pain and need support from us and our network of therapists. Often just some Trigger Point Therapy can help and they can do this themselves or come to us. Simple massage or using The Stick or a TP Roller can help people manage their training stresses as manifested in the muscles and connective tissue. Hip and ankle joints dysfunction can easily derail any training program and lead to stress fractures and other debilitating injuries, when simple massage and trigger point therapy can help immediately. Core control is a BIG ONE and distance runners weak core combined with pelvic anterior tilt (butt sticking out – or “the bucket spilling forward”) leads to very inefficient running form and eventually to STOP and ARGH! Glutes are those lovely gluteals, maximus, medius and minimus and our dear piriformis so many problems with these 4 siblings. Run hills, do yoga, roll and release the hips and roll some more on a good foam roller. Strength and/or muscle activation as it is not always just lack of strength that causes problems, getting the darned things to FIRE-UP can be as much of a problem. So simple exercises to get glutes to work can be taught. Some interesting research on Olympic lifting for distance athletes is worth reading – Dr Brad Deweese physiologist at the USOC has had a lot of success with these techniques for development of power = speed. Finally the idea of running with a stiff leg <10ºof bend at the knee on landing to utilize the inherent energy stored in tendon like Plantar fascia and Achilles. The stiffer leg which means in my terms less “sag” on landing will improve efficiency by reducing energy cost per meter run. Drills like C-skips and double/single leg hops can really help people become efficient but also barefoot running on grass at fast speeds (10x100m for 4 weeks, 3 times each week). Running up and down steps (50-75 at a time) Keeping ground contact time to a minimum and this clip from NYC marathon shows what we mean – go to min 39:00 and watch – We finished with a lot of YOGA chat with Sage Rowntree who gave a free yoga class too early for me – I went running!! Getting the right type of yoga for the season is important: base – build – competition as the needs are different: recovery – strength – mobility. Just getting your athletes to balance on one leg and see if they have imbalances – can they even do this very simple drill. Yoga for runners – . The MYRTL routine is another great idea from Jay Johnson. It doesn’t  have to be difficult to be good for you! All said a really good two days of information, discussion and experts well worth the 14 hours driving!
It wasn’t all work!

Published by Dai Roberts Triathlon

Health and performance focused professional triathlon and running coach since 2010. Coaching runners since 2001. European AG champion and world championships AG bronze medalist. BEMER specialist and Independent Distributor. Coaching runners and triathletes of all ages from youth to world championships level. I trained under the IRONMAN coaching program alongside the US MASTERS swimming, USA Cycling and USA Track and Field program as well as UK Athletics. Lifelong learning, athlete centered and successful. Retired UK Military after 32 years service.

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