AORTA News: June 17th, 2019


June 18th: Club Meeting @ Chappy’s Deli!

Mark your calendars and join us for our quarterly AORTA club meeting to be held at Chappy’s Deli!  This will be an informal social gathering to allow current members, new members and non-members to mingle and hobnob in a non-running environment.  You’ll also be able to meet with board members, find out more about our club, hear about future events, and pick up an AORTA sticker for your car!  If you plan to attend, please signup through the SignUpGenius link below so we have an idea of how many plan to attend.
Date: Tuesday, June 18th
Time: 6:00-7:00 PM
LocationChappy’s Deli in Auburn - “Partition” Room in the Rear
RSVP: Please signup through SignUpGenius

Weekly Whimsy



6 Ways to Take Your Running to the Next Level

It’s one thing to dream of that momentous breakthrough—and another to create it. At some point you need to ask: What elements are missing from my training? What bad habits have I let sneak in? What have I resisted changing in my lifestyle? If you're looking to take a big leap too, here are 6 foolproof ways to get serious about your running.

1: Emphasize Endurance
Increasing your mileage comes with a host of benefits: increased capillary density, greater numbers of mitochondria, better usage of fat as fuel while running fast, muscle fiber adaptations, and higher glycogen storage. These cellular-level changes allow you to maintain a desired pace for a longer time by making your body more efficient with oxygen usage and energy production.

Increasing your mileage takes time. To make a 25 percent increase in volume, a person accustomed to running eight hours a week would now be running 10 hours.

Adding volume does increase the risk of overuse injuries such as IT band syndrome and tendinitis. To lower the risk, Ben Rosario, the head coach of Northern Arizona Elite, has two recommendations. “First, make sure you’re running on soft surfaces for the majority of your mileage,” he says. “Second would be to put an even bigger premium on postrun recovery; foam rolling, flexibility exercises, and massage are three big ones.”

Rosario also says that when trying to develop the aerobic system, patience is a virtue. You may not get faster for a while, but workouts will get easier over time. “Sometimes it’s just about trusting what you’re doing,” he says.

What to Change: Run more miles, even if you’re training for the 5K.
Why: Upping your mileage safely is the best-known way to improve your aerobic capacity, which increases speed endurance or how long you can sustain a pace during a race.
The Challenge: Making a jump in mileage requires patience.

2: Make Recovery a Priority
Mike Caldwell, Greenville's track club-elite head coach, has his team's recovery runs limited to 45 minutes total, twice a week. That’s it. For elite college runners used to averaging 12 to 15 miles per day, this sounds downright crazy.

“I think a lot of people just don’t understand recovery,” Caldwell says. “Our recovery days are vital to our system. We’re able to run hard on our hard days [because] we only ran 45 minutes on [recovery days].”

Lowering your mileage on easy days can be difficult mentally, as higher mileage spells higher fitness. Training volume is certainly a big factor in performance, and lowering it too much on your recovery days can be detrimental if the total aerobic stimulus is too low. Runners who are hesitant to lower their recovery day mileage significantly should consider slowing the pace. This reduces stress on the body while allowing for more volume. Because all fitness gains occur during recovery, it’s critical to find a personal balance between the volume and intensity of hard days and easy days.

Some groups may opt to go longer or run twice a day on their easy days. Some research says doing two runs on your easy days will increase growth hormone production and thus speed recovery. There’s no one answer that works for all.

Ensuring adequate recovery comes down to more than just distance and pace. Eating a nutrient-rich diet, training on a multitude of surfaces, and wearing proper shoes can all reduce the wear and tear on the body and speed your recovery from harder sessions. Rosario says there’s one other ingredient that runners of all levels neglect. “Sleep, sleep, sleep,” he says.

It’s not just tired muscles that need sleep, either. According to a 2014 review article published in Sleep Science, sleep deprivation reduces your ability to maintain attention and increases perceived exertion. It also affects your ability to thermoregulate, making it more difficult to perform well in adverse conditions, and increases cardiac effort. In this state your central nervous system is too depleted to produce the effort needed to run fast. Generally if you’re not getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night, you’ll be hard-pressed to run your best.

What to Change: Lower your recovery day mileage and/or slow your recovery pace, and get more sleep.
Why: Failing to recover sets you up for injury and burnout.
The Challenge: Sport is rife with messages that say to get better you have to work harder. Cutting back on recovery day mileage seems counterintuitive to getting faster.

3: Become a Complete Athlete
In the 1970s and ‘80s, runners rarely thought about strength: The weight room was a scary torture chamber where hulking football players worked out. In the last decade, if you wanted to sound like an informed member of the running world, you threw out one simple word about strength: core. Developing those magical muscles in your abdomen, trunk, and lower back was touted as the most vital ancillary work you could do.

Core stabilizing muscles are certainly important, but so are the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the lower and upper body. Several studies have found evidence that lifting heavy weights, especially with the lower body, improved race times for well-trained distance runners.

Attention in the strength and conditioning world has moved away from raw strength and more toward reducing the discrepancy in strength and flexibility between paired muscles. “Functional movement is really the buzzword,” Rosario says. “We make sure to address any biomechanical inefficiencies. We make sure their strength is equal on each side.”

While exercises targeting the abs, obliques, lower back, and hips are still included in this program, so are exercises that work on the quads, hamstrings, calves, Achilles tendons, shoulders, and chest muscles. Rosario’s athletes use mostly kettlebells and their own body weight. Other coaches add in balance boards, medicine balls, and elastic bands. The goal is addressing strength imbalances and applying them in a running-specific manner. To lower the risk of injury, Rosario’s athletes are not permitted to move on to heavier weights until they have mastered good form.

Another option to develop strength and power is to train on steep hills. One recent study found that hill runs developed stronger hip flexors, which could be related to better form, efficiency, and faster times. John Goodridge, Eastern Michigan University coach, says hills sprints are just as effective as lunges or squats.

Many coaches find that explosive hill reps of seven to 10 seconds on a steep grade (20 to 30 percent) are equally as effective as squats and lunges in building lower-body power.

What to Change: Strength train your whole body, not just your legs or midsection.
Why: You need full-body strength to run with your best possible form, using your full range of motion and power. Strength also reduces injury risk. You can’t get all the strength you need just by running more.
The Challenge: Strength training takes extra time and energy on top of running. It tends to be a tedious discipline with none of the joy or clearly visible progress of running.

4: Switch to High Octane Fuel
Let’s be honest: Runners have a strange relationship with food. Running double-digit miles each week can make you as ravenous as a 14-year-old boy during a growth spurt. But what’s good to eat? Every day batches of articles circulate the internet extolling the virtues of eating like a caveman, abstaining from sugar, eating more fat, eating less fat, going raw, and everything in between. Experts on TV lambaste “Big Food” for poisoning the masses with GMOs but offer few viable solutions. It certainly takes all the fun out of a postrun treat.

Emily Brown, a registered dietitian at the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and a former elite runner, says it would be better if runners looked at the performance-enhancing qualities a food brings to the table rather than how it can hurt them. “I always try to address nutrition from the standpoint of the positive influence it can have on health and performance, versus focusing on the negative,” she says. “An optimal diet can benefit an athlete by increasing energy, both for training and everyday activities, as well as enhancing recovery from exercise.”

One small way to start getting better fuel for performance is by packing your own snacks, Brown says. Healthy and convenient snacks that provide quick energy include whole-wheat crackers with nut butter, trail mix with dried fruit and seeds, and fruit smoothies. Minimal processing is good, because the additives found in many commercially produced foods can negatively impact your performance. Simple sugars increase the production of cortisol, a hormone that can inhibit recovery from workouts if it’s constantly flowing through the bloodstream. Man-made fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), have been linked to increased inflammation, high cholesterol levels, and poor cardiovascular health—definitely not the side effects you want if you’re in serious training.

That doesn’t make all processed foods bad, Brown says. Consider cereal, for instance. “Some choices are very obviously sugar bombs disguised as a health food,” she says. “But some breakfast cereals are low in sugar and fortified with a number of nutrients that athletes may struggle to get enough of, such as B vitamins, vitamins A and D, iron, and zinc.”

What to Change: Increase your intake of healthy, nutrient-rich foods to improve your performance.
Why: Food is more than calories to burn for energy. Real foods contain nutrients that can improve cardiovascular health, speed recovery, protect you from disease, provide more consistent energy, and result in prolonged periods of better health.
The challenge: Processed foods are convenient, inexpensive, and well-marketed. Eating habits are tied to lifestyles and emotions. Runners may feel immune from the need to monitor their intake.

5: Embrace Positivity
“Run joyfully.” It is Goodman’s mantra, her website’s name, and what she tries to personify when she opens the door every morning to put in her miles. 

Controlling your mental outlook is no New Age gimmick, nor a call to abandon concrete goals. You can be a positive perfectionist. Eminent German psychologists Arne Dietrich and Oliver Stoll have published recent studies that show how perfectionism falls into two categories. Positive-striving perfectionism leads you to set high standards and benchmarks for your performance and helps you achieve your goals. Self-critical perfectionism, on the other hand, leaves you in a state of constant worry and disappointment and is correlated with anxiety, stress, and depression. Despite all their attention to detail, self-critical perfectionists were less likely to achieve their goals because any minor setback was seen as defeat.

This is one reason why experiencing running as an autotelic experience (one that’s enjoyed for its own sake) may be the key to running faster. Putting in more miles, doing quality work, and experimenting with different workouts become rewards, not chores, when pleasure is found in the act itself. That doesn’t mean every mile will be wonderful, Goodman says. But if you take a moment, even in the middle of a raging nor’easter or a tough workout, to remind yourself how fortunate you are to be running in the first place, then you’re more likely to appreciate the process.

“We don’t have the power to change an experience—an experience is what it is,” Catalano says. “But we do have the power to change how we experience that experience. You can let those dark voices [in your head] overwhelm you and have a bad day, or you can make the voices focus on all the good stuff, and it turns out to be a pretty amazing day. And the thing is, it’s the same damn day.”

What to Change: Enjoy running for running’s sake, not just for its outcomes.
Why: A happy, positive runner performs better and feels more satisfaction.
The Challenge: Runners are competitive—we use the numbers to convince ourselves of our worth. It is difficult to accept the relativity of our performances and reframe our perspective. Plus, some days running just doesn’t feel good, and positive psychology can feel like a load of you-know-what.

6: Be Persistent and Consistent
Tolstoy said, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.” Distance runners understand this, but can be lulled into forgetting it when life gets busy and goals feel distant, perhaps unattainable.

Year-in and year-out consistency can make all the difference in the world when it comes to making a big jump in performance. “Distance running takes patience,” says Art Siemers, head cross-country coach at Colorado State University. This can be a challenge in the age of instant gratification, but those athletes who possess patience and a strong work ethic usually succeed.”

This same type of patience applies to noncollegians as well. It can be hard to keep training when it seems like you’ve plateaued, but staying consistent creates the changes that lead to new levels of performance down the road.

What to Change: Make running a default part of your life: every day, week, month, and season.
Why: Big leaps in running come about only by transforming your body, and those transformations only occur over time.
The Challenge: It’s hard to measure the progress of one day and too easy to convince yourself it doesn’t make a difference. It’s also easier to negotiate the time and find the willpower for a hard, short-term push than to adopt a long-term lifestyle change.

Link to Runner’s World article


Quote of the Week
   “In a marathon I never let myself think, I’ve got 26.2 miles ahead of me. You have to think of your race as it is then and there. At the same time you keep in mind the prospects for the future."

                          - Bill Rodgers


Video of the Week
8-Year-Old Runs a 3:32 Marathon AFTER Chemo! (4:13)

Nate Viands was diagnosed with leukemia in 2014.  After years of chemotherapy, he started running with his father. In the fall of 2018 he joined a cross country team and won the national age group championships.  A week later he ran the NRC Trail marathon finishing in 3:32 and 55th place overall!
** AORTA provides this informational video to its members as a courtesy and does not endorse any particular product, process or service.


Ongoing Events

Summer 5K Series - Opelika
Here we go, time for another season of Summer Swing 5K runs! Our first run was on Tuesday May 7th. You can find details for the run in the link to the right named "Click here for run details". This year will feature 13 runs in 13 weeks - we will not be taking a break for the 4th of July week. Pretty much everything else remains the same - a low registration fee of $10 for the entire series, or $1 per week, pay as you go. Hamburgers and hot dogs - at cost as usual. Runners 18 and under, free! There is a link for a map of the course in the right column. Anything else you might like to know, feel free to email me at durunforfun@yahoo.com, or give me a call at 334-524-5021. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon! Doug

Summer 5K Series - Auburn
The Auburn Summer 5K (and 1 mile Kids Run) Series started Wednesday, May 29th and runs through June 26th. The event will be held at the Auburn High School campus. Join us for 5 weeks of friendly competition and a fun boost to your racing. The 1-mile Kids Run will start at 5:50 pm followed by the 5K run at 6:15 pm. Pre-registration for all 5 weeks is $40 with a T-shirt ($20 without the t-shirt). $20 for kids under 12 for the 5K with a cotton t-shirt.  Kids 1-mile is free! Entry fees on a weekly basis is $5 for the 5K (everyone).  Results will be posted each week.
* Link to registration form

Have Gently Worn Running Shoes?
Are your running shoes past their useful running life? Most are normally good for 300 to 500 miles but can still have a lot of “sole” left in them!  If yours are ready for retirement, bring your gently used running shoes on Saturday where we’ll collect them for a fantastic organization called “Sneaker4Funds”, a social enterprise that ships them to developing nations for micro-entrepreneurs. In return, AORTA will be compensated based on the number of shoes sent.

When you bring them, please check for the following:
1) Gently worn means they are clean in usable condition and have no holes.
2) Soles are intact and not too worn, cracked, or breaking apart.
3) Laces intact, in good condition, not frayed, and tied together.

Time to Join or Renew your Membership!

If you’re still not an official member of the BEST running club in the Auburn-Opelika area, don’t put it off until tomorrow… do it today!  While the bulk of membership fees offset the costs associated with local races, a small portion goes to various local charities, bi-annual club parties, and 600/1200 Mile awards.

How to Join/Renew
- Click on the RunSignUp logo at right to signup as an AORTA member online.
- Annual fees are $25 for individuals, and $30 for families with the membership period running for one year from the day of membership.

Early Morning Running Group Weekly Schedule

Due to popular demand, we've created a daily group running schedule for our early birds!  Interested members and non-members are welcome to meet, rain or shine, at the following locations at 5:00 AM and typically complete around 6 miles. Runs are canceled during severe weather (tornado warnings, lightning, etc).
Mon: Chappy’s @ Glenn/Dean
Tue: Auburn University “old” track (near Samford Ave / Biggio Dr)
Wed: CVS Pharmacy on S. College St. (park between CVS and Newk’s)
Thu: Downtown at the “old Big Dog” store next to Halftime Bar & Grill
FriCVS Pharmacy on S. College St. (park between CVS and Newk’s)


Volunteer Gift Card Drawings!
To show our appreciation for volunteers, AORTA members who sign up for a water stop or as an AORTA race support volunteer will be entered into a drawing for a $25 gift card for various local restaurants and shops! The drawing for water stop volunteers will be held on a monthly basis while the one for supported races will be held at the race itself!  To be eligible, you must be a club member (sign up through the RunSignUp link above) then click on one of the sites below.











Recent Volunteer Gift Card Winners!
- March Water Stops: Kathryn-Ruth Sasser
- 2019 Unity Stampede: Stephanie Kendrick
- April Water Stops: Damion McIntosh
- 2019 Royalty Run: Gary Leung
- 2019 RehabWorks: Bob Banks
- May Water Stops: Mari Wilkes


Archived Posts

AORTA Posts 2019
AORTA Posts 2018

AORTA Posts 2017
AORTA Posts 2016
AORTA Posts 2015
AORTA Posts 2014
AORTA Posts 2013
AORTA Posts 2012
AORTA Posts 2011
AORTA Posts 2010


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