Ryan and Sara answer your health quesitons!

We at Steps want to make sure everyone has a healthy and happy New Year so for 2012 we are answering your questions every Friday. We’ll send out a reminder early in the week and then Ryan and Sara will choose a few questions to answer and we’ll post them on the website.


1) I would like some tips on pushing past “the wall”. I listen to the wrong side of the brain at about mile 19 or 20. I must get pass this barrier! Any suggestions? You know how to push the limits!


Ryan: My recommendation is to be fully present in the mile that you are on at the time- don’t think what’s ahead.  I’ve been hurting in some marathons at mile 13, and if I were to listen to “that side of the brain” I would never have run some of my fastest marathons.  You have to just be in the moment and know that if you get through this one, you will have what it takes for the next one

Sara: A mantra that I often use to run through the pain is “relax and roll”.  I relax my breathing, relax my form, try to run as relaxed as possible while maintaining the pace.  Though I’ve never run a marathon, I would do the same thing at mile 20!


2) How can you tell the difference between a pain you can push through and a potential injury you should stop for?


Our rule of thumb is usually if it hurts after you stop running, when you are walking around, etc. then it is not just a pain from the running itself but something that is inflamed.  Depending on the injury, there are different ones that you can more successfully run through.  Plantar Fascitis, for example, can kind of come and go, and taking time off doesn’t necessarily help the issue always.  So sometimes it can be ok to run through whereas a stress fracture will only get worse.  It’s important to find a good massage/physical therapist who knows athletics injuries and can help you discern.


3) How and when do you begin your taper?


I usually do my last really hard long effort 2 1/2 weeks before the goal race.  After that, I will still do hard workouts, but the distance will decrease.  I keep the intensity the same so that I am not flat on race day.  My mileage doesn’t drastically decrease, but my last week before the marathon I will cut out most of my 2nd runs and just run once a day 45-60 minutes.  Tapering is individual though, so experiment with it!


Cooking for nutritious meal suggestions that are runner specific:


We don’t use any cookbooks or websites personally, we see cooking as an art more than a science and like to create healthy meals from what we have in the fridge.  Our meals are basically heavy on leafy green vegetables, whole grains carbohydrates like rice and sweet potatoes, and lean meats (usually beef, fish, or pork).  We buy a variety of things in these categories and just create from there, adding in some healthy fat like avocados or olive oil and always finishing with dark chocolate.  We are thinking of writing a cookbook though, so be on the lookout for that in the future!



Is it ok to run 6 days a week : I run on a treadmill 8k in 33 mins.


I (Ryan) only run 6 days a week now.  For a long time I ran every day and rarely took a day off, but I got very rundown and overtrained.  So now, I like to follow the commandment, “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”.  I don’t believe this is something that everyone needs to follow now, but it works for me and I feel like God was emphasizing the need to rest.  I like to have a day that I don’t do any running-related things- no stretching, running interviews, etc. It helps me create balance in my life since my job is kind of all-consuming.

. Posted by Steps Foundation.