Importance of Recovery
By: Unnu Shuka
If you’ve registered for the Longhorn Run, you know that training season is upon us (Haven’t signed up yet? No worries, check it out here). As important as training is, however, recovery is essential to any workout/training regimen. Check out what Chrystina Wyatt, the director of the Fit/Well Program at UT RecSports, has to say about the importance of recovery.
Why do we cool down after workouts, and what's the best way to do so?
The purpose of a cool-down after workouts is to allow your heart rate, breathing rate and oxygen consumption to gradually decrease to resting levels. A proper cool-down prevents blood pooling, DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), and decreases your risk of injury. If you are doing cardiorespiratory training (i.e. Running, jogging, etc.), it is important to begin your cool-down with activities that can gradually decrease your heart (I.e. walking) before sitting or beginning to stretch. A good cool-down for cardio training includes post-cardio movements and static stretching (holding stretches for 15-60 seconds) for the large muscle groups. Muscle groups runners should try to stretch after every run include quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, calves, and the core muscles.
Why is recovery important (especially from a training perspective)?
Recovery time is an important part of training because it allows your musculoskeletal system time to repair and rebuild from the stress of vigorous activity. Overtraining can occur when you don’t allow the body sufficient time to recover. Symptoms of overtraining include (but are not limited to) fatigue, stress-related injuries, prolonged muscle or joint soreness, and decrease in performance.
You can prevent overtraining by cross-training and planning rest days in your training regimen. Cross-training, varying your training activities, can include taking a group exercise class or sprint workout instead of long distance running 5 days a week. You want to be specific and purposeful if you are training for a 5K or 10K (i.e. running workouts), but incorporating cross-training can help decrease your risk of injury or overtraining and can help improve your overall performance. On rest days, days in which you give your body time to recover, you can incorporate flexibility training or take a Yoga class. Flexibility training impacts joint mobility, muscles suppleness and flexibility, and reduces muscle tension. Stretching regularly overtime can improve your posture, enhance coordination and help limber your body, making movement easier.
What is foam rolling?
Foam rolling is another great technique to reduce your risk of injury and improve flexibility and performance. Foam rolling incorporates Self-Myofascial Release(SMR) techniques that can help release tight muscles, fascial adhesions, and improve blood flow. You can foam roll before and after workouts to improve your movement during the workout and to aid in recovery after.
What are your favorite ways to recover after a good run/workout?
After a run, I would begin walking briskly and gradually decreasing my pace so my heart can decrease safely. Then, I would perform foam rolling techniques for my quadriceps, hamstrings, IT Band, peroneals, Tibialis anterior, calves, and feet. Finally, I would end with static stretching for the muscles I worked during my run and some upper body stretching for a full body flexibility segment.
Favorite post-workout snack?
I like to refuel and rehydrate with water, bananas and carrots!
meet the 2016 influencer team
By Unnu Shukla
We had so much fun welcoming our 2016 Influencers to the Longhorn Run family last week!
Read what some of them have to to say about why they love running (and why you should too):
I run because I really do enjoy it and it’s great way to enjoy the outdoors while also being healthy. I also love to run with other people and have quality time and conversations with them. - Zachary Wieland (UT Flying Club, Texas Creative)
I run because I love challenging my body. I'm not a natural "runner" so I have to train hard to get faster. Whenever I'm training for a race, my exercise program changes up for a little while which is always refreshing and keeps me feeling like an all-around athlete. - Megan Burwell (Nike+ Training Club Trainer, Texas Lasso, ALDPES)
I LOVE RUNNING! Running brings me peace of body, spirit, and mind. It has the ability of letting me release any stress or taking my mind off of things. Not to mention, it's a great way to stay healthy and active.Going on a light to moderate run leaves me energized (the total opposite of tired). The best thing about running is it can be done at any time, anywhere, for as long as you want. This could be 50 minutes or 5 minutes. It doesn't matter as long as you keep moving forward! - Grettel Ruiz (Nike+ Training Club Trainer)
Longhorn Run Volunteer Coordinator Erik Solorzano and Assistant Director Julianne Perry flip through the Nike Spring 2016 Style Guide
I don't run anymore because I tore my meniscus. I go on walks now. I walk because it's an effective way to read, converse, and think while staying healthy. - Ed Hunt (Texas Blazers, Punjabbawockeez, Communications Council)
For that "on top of the world" feeling. I love pushing myself to the limit and becoming mentally and physically stronger through running! - Mandy Renfro (Texas Lonestar, TeXercise Instructor, Texas Pre-Pharm)
Best Places to run in Austin
By: Unnu Shukla
It’s no secret that Austin is full of fitness junkies. On any given weekend morning, one can see runners and bicyclists cruising down roads, trails, and sidewalks, fitting in their Saturday workouts before heading to the abundance of farmer’s markets we have downtown. Austin, TX was ranked on the top 10 fittest cities in America, and is the 7th best city for runners, according to Forbes Magazine.
Here’s a look at some of the most enjoyable places to run in Austin, from the popular, well-trodden, to the hidden gems:
1. Lady bird lake hike and bike trail
Every Austinite’s go-to place, and it's suited for all types of runners. For beginners, the 3.2-mile loop from the South First Bridge down to the Mopac Bridge is the best. The trail also offers 7 and 10 miles loops for the more well-seasoned among us.
2. Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail
Although not as well maintained as Lady Bird Lake (aka be wary of rolling your ankle here), the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail is a great three-mile track in Central Austin. I recommend picking up the trail from the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike between Cesar Chavez and Lamar Blvd for a great six-mile round trip.
3. Congress Avenue and Travis Heights
Running down Congress Avenue right before sunset is one of the most beautiful Austin cityscape experiences. There are lights that line the trees year round, and running down Congress Bridge provides more offshoot options: you can continue on into SoCo, or Travis Heights, where residential running meets hills: steady running, no interruptions. My personal favorite.
4. McKinney Falls State Park
The McKinney Falls State Park is a beautiful, historic scenic area in Southeast Austin.
During the right season, jogging past waterfalls makes your run *that* much more bearable. Both running trails, the Onion Creek Hike and Bike Trail, and the Homestead Trail provide several miles of hilly terrain. There is an entrance fee of $6, but it’s definitely worth going at least once!
5. Barton Creek Greenbelt
The unique thing about the green belt is that there are so many options of how to run it, and there’s always some new route to explore. Bonus points: it’s dog friendly, and there are so many other activities to do in the area - whether it is people watching, cooling off with a swim, or picnicking in the area.
With a plethora of options, it’s time to start running!