...but we gave it a shot anyway, didn't we? Topspin, that is, at the big Marathon Dynamics "Tween Seasons" Party last weekend at SPiN Toronto--the funky new downtown TO hotspot. Thanks to all of you who joined us for a super fun evening of drinks, snacks, laughs and ping pong! What a "smashing" way to wrap up yet another sensational running season!
MDI Top Performers Harvey Foote and his "running wives" Michelle Clarke (l) and Josi Mori-Stoodley (r) mug for a pic amidst fierce ping pong action at SPiN Toronto
We're eagerly awaiting this weekend's Philadelphia Marathon, where the last of our crew will test their mettle, before enjoying a short off season recovery break with the rest of us. Good luck "Phillies"!
Special Congrats Fall 2012 "Baker's Dozen" Highlight Performers (not necessarily the fastest, but the best efforts, in alphabetical order)
- Michelle Clarke - 2:57 @ Waterfront Marathon (15 min PB, 3rd Canadian!)
- Laura Dale - 3:37 @ Waterfront Marathon (6 min PB, 3rd in age cat)
- Kristin Dalzell - 1:34 @ Waterfront Half (PB, 14min faster in 1+ years w/MDI)
- Harvey Foote - 3:00 flat @ New York City Marathon (2nd 3hr flat this year!)
- Rodrigo Lara-Gonsalves - 1:23 @ Waterfront Half (12 min PB!)
- David Hill - 1:30 @ Waterfront Half (7 min PB)
- Paul Jamael - 3:17 @ Waterfront Marathon (6 min PB)
- Janine Moffett - 2:58 @ Hamilton Marathon (2nd overall!)
- Eric Morris - 3:41 @ Waterfront Marathon (14+ min PB)
- Ken Moscoe - 3:14 @ Waterfront Marathon (5 min PB)
- Jennifer Salter - 1:35 @ Waterfront Half (all time PB, 7th in age cat)
- Peter Speight - 3:04 @ Hamilton Marathon (4+ min PB, 6th in age cat)
- Tanya Wharton - 3:25 @ New York City Marathon (all time PB)
"Being coached by Marathon Dynamics has been the one of the BEST experiences of my life. They provided the right tools to work with to help me achieve my personal best. Since joining MDI I went from a 3:12 Marathon to a 2:57 Marathon. I wouldn't have been able to achieve that without the preparation and planning that MDI offers with personalized training plans and great coaching support." Michelle Clarke
Michelle Clarke (at left) continues her dream season, running toward a HUGE Marathon Personal Best at the 2011 Waterfront Marathon, placing 3rd Canadian woman in a time of 2:57!
Overwhelming Evidence for Injury Prevention & Performance
By: Dr. Trevor Vander Doelen BSc (Hon), DC @ Absolute Endurance
Due to the repetitive nature of any sport, cross training with strength training in Body Planes is recommended to challenge the body in ways that the athlete’s main sport cannot offer. Strength training not only offers benefits of injury prevention for runners, but can also benefit running performance.
Cross training corrects the inevitable structural imbalances that occur with the repetition of an athlete’s main sport. These structural imbalances are found in the length/tension relationship of muscles, ligaments, and tendons across specific joints. Certain muscles, tendons, and ligaments predictably become overused or underused. These predictable imbalances can be observed and or palpated by a trained individual familiar with proper biomechanics. Running is a sport that is performed completely in the sagittal plane. This means the runner is always moving forward (sagittal plane), not moving laterally (coronal plane), or rotating (transverse plane). See the “Body Planes” picture to help understand this concept. This also explains many of the injuries that are experienced by runners, listed in order of prevalence below.
• Patellofemoral pain syndrome
• Iliotibial band syndrome
• Plantar fasciitis
• Meniscal injuries
• Tibial stress syndrome
• Patellar/achilles tendinosis
• Gluteus medius tendinosis
Cross training for runners should be heavily focused on stressing the athlete in the coronal and transverse plane’s as these are the motions that are neglected while running. Overuse injuries result from a complex of training errors including lack of specific strength and flexibility, inappropriate surface and terrain, biomechanical lower extremity misalignment, and inappropriate footwear. Cross training with strength exercise can positively influence two of these four variables.
Strength training for running performance has been heavily researched in the past ten years. Running performance is determined by maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), lactate threshold, and running economy. These factors were traditionally thought to be improved simply through aerobic endurance training. In the past, endurance athletes have been hesitant to try strength training because of concerns of possible negative side effects of hypertrophy on capillary density and energy production. Research has shown that strength training does not negatively affect the VO2 max, but rather can be very beneficial for running performance if done effectively.
While all three of the above factors for performance can be increased through strength training, it is running economy that is positively affected the greatest with strength training. So what exactly is running economy? The concept of running economy can be understood by examining two runners at the same speed. The runner that is working at a lower VO2 (oxygen consumption) at this speed has a better running economy. Resistance training is thought to affect running economy by three proposed mechanisms:
1. Functional strength improves mechanical efficiency, muscle coordination & motor recruitment patterns
2. Increased total body strength leads to advantageous mechanical changes in running form
3. Increased muscular strength and coordination may reduce relative intensity
Strength training has consistently been shown to improve running performance in amateur runners, but these results have been questioned in highly trained runners. More recently, a systematic review of the effects of strength training among highly trained runners suggests that strength training improves long-distance running performance in this group as well. Running economy has consistently been shown to increase by 3%-8% with strength training, which can drastically affect your performance when extrapolated into a long distance race like a marathon. Specifically, the use of explosive plyometric strength training, due to increased musculotendinous stiffness, has been shown to have a significant effect on running performance, most notably in the 3km–5km distance.
The inclusion of a well-structured and periodized strength training program can be beneficial for both injury prevention and running performance. The program should include circuit training (short breaks between exercises), traditional functional strength training (squats, lunges, deadlifts, etc), sport-specific high intensity training, and plyometric based cross training. The athlete’s goals are very important when designing a strength training program and a functional assessment and gait assessment should be done by a trained professional prior to starting a resistance training program.
Happy strength training!
Trevor Vander Doelen works as a personal trainer at Absolute Endurance, training athletes from weekend warriors to elite. He is trained as a Chiropractor and thus has extensive knowledge of biomechanics, physiology and anatomy that he applies to his program design and implementation.
It’s about the friends you meet along the way!
By Michelle Clark, Marathon Dynamics Runner & Coach
Runners come from all walks of life and with all our differences we share one thing in common – running. At least that’s what we think as we chase down our times during our 800 m repeats or on our long run on Sunday morning waving and smiling to others who also got out of bed at 8am during a snow storm.
When I started back to running it was a very solitary event. No one I knew was running and they had no interest in starting. Everyone in my life thought a 5 km race was a marathon and having to explain the difference was becoming less and less funny. I enjoyed some of the time by myself, having room to think but I always felt there was something missing. I started meeting other runners through races and running groups. Slowly my list of “running friends” grew.
Racing was one way I slowly got to know more of the running community. I would recognize faces and sometimes chat along the way. It was when I joined Marathon Dynamics that I found a home. Here was a group of runners who embraced me with open arms and from day one I was amongst friends. Every Wednesday we showed up for workouts--in blistering hot temperatures or freezing cold ice storms--and worked together to get through our hardest and fastest runs of the week. I'd see many of the gang again early on Friday mornings. Even though the sun was often not yet up, we always waved and smiled and yelled encouraging words. The "have a great weekend" as we passed by each other was the best part of my Friday mornings.
Sunday’s were another day for us to get together. This was a longer runs were we could really settle into a pace, chat and get to know each other even more. It was always on these runs that I learned the most about a person and that running wasn’t the only thing we had in common. I met great people and more and more my little running community grew. Finally I knew other people that talked about running as much as I did!
The last two seasons have been my personal best, and although I trained hard I know that a lot of it has to do with the people who run in front of me, beside me and behind me.
A favourite memory is waking up with my boyfriend (a fellow MDI runner) insanely early, and in the cold and dark, driving to Mississauga to meet up with our coach and two other runners, then on to Guelph for a 15km race. The 5 of us got our race bibs and warmed up together, and arrived at the start line, then cheered each other on as we passed one another throughout the race. That was a great race day for me as well as those 4 other runners. Having your running partners there with you from beginning to end can bring out the best in you. Firstly you have to finish the race – others are counting on you, waiting for you, cheering you on. Secondly, you can’t wait to tell them what happened at 9K when you went up that hill and passed two guys on the way.
Another race that sticks out in my mind, was one of the best and smartest I've ever run--the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington (2011). Days beforehand we collectively agreed to meet so we could warm up together and get to the start line. Overnight the GTA was hit with one of the worst storms of the season. The morning was dark, cold and wet, but we all got out of bed, contemplating our sanity and wondering why we do this. We were depending on each other to be there and so I pushed off the blankets and knew I had to do this. When we all arrived and got to the start we had learned that almost half of the runners that had signed up for race didn’t actually show up. I never really said it to anyone but I was really proud of my Marathon Dynamics running partners because every single one of us showed up as we promised. As a group throughout the season we had run in some pretty crummy weather so this dumping of snow was not going to scare us away.
As the gun went off we all went our separate ways getting into our pace and finding our groove. Fairly early on my friend Harvey caught up to me and we discussed racing strategy--turned out we were hoping for the same time so we decided to work with each other. Harvey gave me great tips on getting through the slush and we would take turns cutting the wind and giving our legs a break. Harvey soon left me and went into another gear. I watched him slowly get farther away while I stuck to my pace and carried on. I gradually moved up into 3rd place, then into 2nd. People from my running group were screaming out my name, cheering me on, and I felt exhilarated and cheered back. By this time, I had bunched up with a group of strangers who now knew my name (from my running buddies screaming it!), and since they knew there was only one more girl to catch, they worked together in front of me, beside me and behind me to push me to not give up. I picked up the pace and could see her getting closer and with only one km to the finish I passed her swiftly. These strangers were so happy for me and excited by me potentially being the first female to cross the finish line. Then I saw Harvey.
With about 400m to the finish line we came shoulder to shoulder. When he realized it was me--the race was on (in a friendly sort of running way). We both kicked into our highest gear we could muster and ran like hell laughing all the way until we crossed the threshold and I got to finally break the tape. We caught our breath and waited for our friends and congratulated everyone for not only showing up but also doing such a great run in the worst weather imaginable.
I know that showing up for the workouts with my group every Wednesday in good or bad weather, prepared us for anything Mother Nature could throw at us on race day. But it was the other ingredient that I truly believe is the reason for my success and continued passion for running--my great friends, my fellow runners.
I have learned over the many years of being part of a running group how special runners are. It’s a growing, worldwide community, but no matter how big it's mass it still has that small town feel for me. We seem to always be there for each other in good and in bad times. Whether we succeed or fail on race day, the people who will pat us on the back and congratulate us for our tremendous effort are those who were running in front of us, beside us, and behind us, from start to finish.
Michelle Clarke is a competitive runner (5K to marathon) sponsored by Mizuno, with recent personal bests of 2:57 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (3rd Canadian woman), and 1:22 in the Half Marathon. When not ripping up the roads, she enjoys mountain & road biking, yoga, snow shoeing, skiing, baking and spending time with her dog Kona
A Phenomenal Season - Baker's Dozen Highlights!
Old Lion Not Dead Yet! - Coach Kev wins Ontario Masters Marathon Champs
Get Stronger--Run Faster - By Dr. Trevor Vaner Doelen
I Had An Affair! - By Coach Jennifer Faraone
It's About More Than Miles - By Coach Michelle Clarke
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KILLER BANANA BREAD!
A favourite for pre-long run & marathon carb stock-up, and for snacking during long-distance bike rides and hikes.
3 large, well-ripened bananas
1 egg or 2 egg whites
2 tbsp oil, preferably canola
1/3 cup low-fat milk
1/3 to ½ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups flour, preferably 1/2 whole-wheat & 1/2 white
Preheat oven to 350 F. Mash bananas with a fork. Add egg, oil, milk, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Beat well. Gently blend the flour into the banana mixture and stir for 20 seconds or until moistened. Pour into a 4-inch by 8-inch loaf pan that has been lightly oiled, treated with cooking spray, or lined with wax paper. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes before removing from the pan.
Nutrition per serving (1 slice): 135 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 24 g carbohydrates, 3 g protein
From Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook
Kristin Dalzell after her 1st year with MDI
MDI Rocks! Why? The Personalized Training Plan and the Weekly Group Coaching. I did both. The result? 18 weeks later I qualified for Boston! The Plan was personalized for me, advocated cross training combined with a sensible number of non running days and was easy to follow. So I was realistically able to manage life outside running. And bonus...when I needed my Plan to be tweaked (due to really rough winter weather) it was easily done.
The Weekly Group Coaching got me ‘out there’ with other runners (of all abilities) and my professional MDI Coach. The coaches are runners too and were adept at keeping me on track (literally!) with my Plan by providing encouragement, advice (by email, phone or in person at the weekly workouts) and good jokes! Boston here I come!
MDI Runner Katie Thomas improved her marathon PB by over 15 min and qualified for Boston
“Even more important to me is that Kevin works really hard to foster a friendly and supportive team environment throughout training and coaching sessions... As a result, I have been able to establish incredible new friendships with some great people that share my passion for running.”New Marathon Dynamics Runner Harvey Foote
"Marathon Dynamics’ training program showed me that if I run the race the right way, I can break 3 hours.
My first marathon was painful, but the training for it was a lot of fun, and I would definitely recommend Marathon Dynamics to anyone. Whether you’re aiming for a particular time, or your goal is just to finish, the coaches will design a program that will help you safely and enjoyably reach your goal"
"8 months ago I was immobilized on an hospital bed with severe injuries suffered in a horrible motorcycle accident. I just ran my half marathon in 1:29--an 8 min PB!
This would not have happened without MDI's help. The personal plans are very effective at keeping you focussed & the camaraderie of the group running sessions and coaches push you to the limit without you even noticing it!".