On Friday 14th November thousands of runners will descend upton dowtown Dubai for the We Run DXB 10km race. Competitive for some and a bit of fun for others, Nike running coach Tom Woolf has some tips that will help every runner achieve their PB.
What tips have you got for runers in days preceding the race?
Rest. Sleep well. Eat plenty of leafy vegetables and lean proteins.
What kind of exercises do you recommend during this final period?
Unless you are a very experienced runner/athlete I would avoid running or strength training. Get in the pool, do a yoga, barre or pilates session or take a spin class. Keep your body fresh and active, but don’t smash yourself.
When should runners practice the full distance?
Your last 10km trial should be at least 7 days pre-race day. You should rest actively for 48 hours pre-race. That doesn’t mean doing nothing, but it means staying fresh.
What do you recommend eating the night before and the morning of the race?
Eat light on the evening before the race. Steam vegetables, sweet potato and grilled chicken is my favourite on the night before. On race day I have a piece of fruit and half a granola bar, and 500ml of coconut water about 3 hours before race day.
What are the ideal hours of sleep the night before the race?
You should aim to have the same amount of sleep that you normally have. They key thing is patterns, so make sure you wake up at the same time that you will on race day in the 5 days leading up to the race. This will allow your body clock and circadian rhythm to adjust.
What is the best way to avoid injury before and after the final race?
Flexibility and hydration are two critical elements that if you manage both properly will dramatically reduce your risk of injury pre and post-race.
— Nike Middle East (@NikeMiddleEast) October 19, 2015
Any tips to keep in mind for a smoother run?
Relax, the more tense you are the more energy you will burn needlessly. You will get through your race, that I have no doubt. So embrace the challenge, absorb it and thrive on the atmosphere.
Any other advice you would like to share with our readers?
Remember that your running journey only starts with #WeRunDxb – Join us for the Nike Running Club across Dubai where our expert coaches will support you to become leaner, stronger and enjoy your running more. www.facebook.com/NikeRunningMiddleEast
The sports season is well and truly upon us: cricket this week, golf coming up, tennis at the end of the year and all the running, swimming and cycling events scheduled for the season.
Unfortunately, with sport comes injury and apart from trauma, the most common reason for injury is muscle imbalance.
Why do muscle imbalances occur? Muscle imbalances occur when a muscle or group of muscles are over used, creating weakness in the opposing muscles or side of the body.
A good example of this to which we can all relate is poor posture. Sitting most of the day at a desk stretches the back muscles, but the hip flexors (crossing the front of the pelvis and top of thigh) and front of shoulder muscles become short and tight.
Over time, these imbalances change posture and we end up with rounded shoulders and a posterior tilted pelvis which will cause back pain in the future and perhaps other problems.
— Kaye Sharp MS, PT (@sharp_PT) October 14, 2015
Weight lifters/body builders and those who frequent the gym and do not follow a balanced workout often end up overworking one area of the body, creating an imbalance. I’ve had many clients ask me if we can focus on one part of the body for aesthetic reasons which again will cause muscle imbalances and eventually injury.
For most of us, chronic pain or a niggling injury is an annoyance, but for the sportsman, athlete or even the weekend warrior, it signals at the very least a loss of form, often time out for treatment and rest and in some cases, medical intervention, resulting in a serious interruption to their season and in severe cases, it can even mark the end of their career.
Assuming you haven’t reached the injury stage, you will notice that some muscles are stronger than others which is only to be expected in “one sided” sports – anything where you are hitting something with something (tennis, cricket, golf, boxing, basketball, boxing, etc).
Even sports which use both sides of the body such as running, swimming and cycling can cause muscle imbalances. You will notice that some parts of the body are tighter and perhaps you feel the need to stretch those areas more.
This brings us to the controversial subject of stretching. I’m always alarmed when I hear people recommend stretching an injured muscle.
It seems that most sports medicine therapies and techniques focus on stretching tight muscles to release them or what has become popular in recent years, use myofascial release techniques. Perhaps a better approach is to identify the weak muscles and work on strengthening them.
According to Dr John D Hasenbank, a chiropractic sports physician, “The reality is that muscle imbalances occur in patterns of threes throughout the body and are always present in sports injuries; therefore, if you only treat the area that is causing obvious pain, you’ll miss the muscles that are critical for fully resolving your condition and preventing reoccurrence.”
The concept of cryogenics is one that, for many people, still feels a little bit sci-fi. Whether it be in classic films such as 2001: A Space Odyssey or the more questionable Tom Cruise flick Vanilla Sky, the idea of freezing oneself has fascinated folk for years.
For fans of the futuristic, a visit to Cryo at FitRepublik may be slightly disappointing; the facility is not about suspended animation, but rehabilitation. The use of ice spray and ice baths has been popular with sportsmen and physios for years. Cryo is at its essence a hi-tech extension of these methods of tackling injury.
Scepticism abounds when first entering the ‘cryo chamber’. What greets visitors is what can only be described as a vertical metallic coffin – not the most welcome sight for someone already a little concerned about being accidentally left to freeze for 1,000 years, a la Fry from animated TV series Futurama.
A chat with one of FitRepublik’s resident ice experts soon eases the fear, however. Remarkable as it seems, a simple three-minute stint in the chamber provides a myriad of benefits. It can boost the metabolism to aid weight loss and can speed up muscle recovery after training.
Cryotherapy works by blasting seriously sub-zero liquid nitrogen at the body, which releases endorphins that reduce inflammation and pain, and increase cellular survival and the flow of energy.
Sports stars as diverse as golfer Padraig Harrington and boxer Floyd Mayweather endorse cryo treatment, with the latter visiting his local centre religiously during training camps. Having recently taken up boxing and immediately on the back of a 90-minute session, I was keen to test the benefits; if it was good enough for ‘Money’, it was good enough for me.
Looking like an Eskimo who had lost a bet – wearing boxer shorts, mittens, socks and nothing else – I stepped into the cryo cylinder, which whirred into life, giving the dimly lit room the feel of a cheesy 90s nightclub overly reliant on its smoke machine.
“It takes people longer to cool down on their first go,” FitRepublik’s glacial guru informed me as I stood, gently shivering. “Your blood is pumping faster and the adrenaline courses through you the first time because you don’t know what to expect. Some people seem to think they’re going to be permanently frozen!”
What a ridiculous thing to, ahem, suggest. As each of minute passes, the body temperature cools, causing it to shiver more vigorously. Only in the last 20 seconds or so does it begin to feel slightly uncomfortable, though – it was certainly a relief to step out of the chamber when the time was up.
Clothes back on and feeling defrosted, the usual post-workout aches and pains had impressively actually dissipated. Even the next day, when the effects of sprays or painkillers would have usually worn off, there were no noticeable niggles.
The science behind the boosting of the metabolism was lost on me a little but there was also a welcome suppression of appetite in the days following the Cryo experience. As a tool to battle weight, it is a little faddy. The appeal is obvious, why spend hours at the gym when three minutes can help shift the pounds?
It makes the Dh275 cost per session (less when bulkbooked) seem pretty reasonable for what seems to be a miracle cure. In reality, though, cryotherapy works best when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
In terms of recovery, Cryo is certainly a favourable alternative to traditional methods like ice baths, given that it is less time consuming and the change it temperature comes more gradually, eliminating that most offensive of feelings when body enters frozen bath.
What: The Big Chill
Where: Cryo at FitRepublik
Verdict: There is no question that Cryo is a deeply effective quick fix, establishing itself as 21st century science’s answer to the magic sponge.