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Keira D’Amato Is Trying to Break the American 10-Mile Record on Monday. It Could Cost Her Thousands of Dollars.

Since 2011, Keira D’Amato has been part of the race committee for the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run, the famous Washington, D.C. road race held along the banks of the Potomac River. She’s held a few different roles over the years; recently she’s been responsible for coordinating speakers for clinics at the race expo. This year, Molly Huddle was one of the scheduled speakers, and D’Amato told her she believed Huddle could break the women’s-only American record of 52:12, set by Janet Bawcom at Cherry Blossom in 2014 (coincidentally, D’Amato held the finish line tape for that race). After telling Huddle about the record, D’Amato realized something: I can run that fast too.

Over the following six months, as D’Amato has risen from obscurity to one of the best distance runners in the United States, that statement has become blindingly obvious. After running a personal best 2:34:24 to finish 15th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February, the 36-year-old has spent the summer and fall demolishing her pbs, from a 15:04 time trial 5,000 on the track in June to a 32:33 10,000 at the MVMNT Race Series in July to a 68:57 to win the Michigan Pro Half Marathon on October 28.

On Monday, D’Amato will try to back up her claim from the spring: she’s going for Bawcom’s record at the Up Dawg Ten Miler, where she’ll face a five-woman professional field that includes Olympian Molly Seidel. And that leads into one of the oddest statistics of a very odd year.

If D’Amato had broken the record at Cherry Blossom in April (which cancelled its 2020 edition due to COVID-19), she would have earned a $10,000 bonus.

If D’Amato breaks the record on Monday — or even if she doesn’t — she could end up out around $8,000.

That’s because D’Amato is covering most of the costs of the Up Dawg Ten Miler, which will take place in an undisclosed location in the DC area. Even though D’Amato is staging a race for five athletes rather than Cherry Blossom’s typical 17,000, several key expenses remain: getting the course USATF-certified and measured, securing park permits and road closures. It can add up quickly.

And then there is drug testing. USATF rules state drug testing is only required to ratify American records in events for which World Athletics recognizes an official world record. Since 10 miles is a “world best” distance, that means drug testing isn’t required to ratify an American record at the Up Dawg Ten Miler — but D’Amato is leaning toward including it anyway to avoid all doubts. However, based on the quote she received from USADA, it would run her an extra $3,000-$3,500. She hasn’t made a final decision yet.

There is an online store selling race merchandise to help offset the cost of the event. And around 20 members of the CUCB organizing committee have also chipped in a total of $2,000 — and, more importantly, their time — so that D’Amato can chase the record.

“If there was a way to measure intensity per person, this race would be much more intense [than the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run],” says CUCB event director Phil Stewart. “We’re not dealing with getting 17,000 people entered in the race and moving them around or ordering as many porta potties or things like that, but this is a group of special individuals. I’ve spent a lot of time being consumed by making sure that we have all of the conditions set for the record to be accepted if the record is broken. If Keira or anybody breaks the record here, the worst nightmare would be that there was some little USATF rule that I didn’t know about that was required for an American record to be set.”

Stewart knows that feeling all too well; last year, Stanley Kebenei thought he had broken Greg Meyer‘s American 10-mile record at Cherry Blossom, only for it to be revealed that a set of cones had been improperly placed, making the course 240 feet short (CUCB still paid Kebenei the $10,000 bonus).

With no mass race entries to fund the Up Dawg Ten Miler, CUCB will lose money on the event. But it’s worth it to Stewart to support D’Amato, whose meteoric rise he has followed first-hand — Stewart was among a group of CUCB committee members who traveled to Atlanta to support her in the Trials in February.

“One of the things that has been fun about [this event] is that in a time when there’s so much downbeat news, I think a lot of people have gotten excited about working on something that’s upbeat,” Stewart says.

And D’Amato? Well, in keeping with her carefree, laid back demeanor, she’s trying not to think about the cost and electing to focus on the positives. Five fast women (Susanna Sullivan, Bethany Sachtleben, and Emily Durgin round out the field) are gathering on Monday at 8 a.m. to race 10 miles. There will be a free live stream, with commentary, on the CUCB Facebook page. This should be fun, right? No. This will be fun.

“For me, it’s not about the money at all,” D’Amato says. “Right now when everyone’s starving for motivation and opportunity, I felt like this would be a service to the running community. And it fell in line really perfectly with my training too.”

Keira D’Amato’s return to competitive running began with a joke. Which, if you know anything about D’Amato, could not be more fitting.

D’Amato loves all things humor. The name of Monday’s race, Up Dawg, was her idea — a nod to a joke from The Office. When D’Amato joined Strava a few years ago, she began using jokes or puns to title her runs. Sample entry: November 16. My cousin, a magician, decided to incorporate the use of trapdoors in his shows. But I think it’s just a stage he’s going through. She used to rely on her children’s popsicle sticks for material or by asking her Amazon Alexa, “Tell me a joke.” As she amassed Strava followers (she’s over 2,600 now), she began receiving suggestions from fans — which delights her to no end.

“You have no idea how awesome it is that when people hear a funny joke, they think, Oh, I need to send this to Keira,” she says.

D’Amato’s impishness was on display during Christmas 2016, when she decided to gift her husband, Anthony, an entry to the 2017 Shamrock Marathon, held in March in Virginia Beach.

“Who gives someone a gift of a marathon entry?” D’Amato says. “Because that means you have to start training a lot. It’s kind of a backhanded compliment gift, I guess. But then I felt a little bad, so I signed up too.”

D’Amato was no stranger to running. A four-time All-American at American University under coach Matt Centrowitz, she finished 6th at the 2005 NCAA XC champs as a senior, ahead of future stars Amy Cragg, Molly Huddle, and Jenny Simpson. She remains friendly with the Centrowitz family, and is even in a fantasy football league with Olympic 1500 champ Matthew Centrowitz — let’s just say both D’Amato and Centro are better runners than fantasy football managers.

“I think at one point, I was in second-to-last and he was dead last,” D’Amato says. “But I also think Centro does a whole bunch of them, so maybe in his other leagues he’s doing better. But it was either the first or second week, I played him, and I crushed him.”

After graduating in 2006, D’Amato (then known as Keira Carlstrom) spent a few years running for DC Elite, a post-collegiate group coached by Scott Raczko — better known as the coach of Alan Webb. By 2008, she had lowered her 1500 personal best to 4:22, but was in constant pain, beset by a series of stress fractures and ankle pain. Her issues were the result of a condition known as a tarsal coalition — an abnormal bridging of bones in the foot — but the surgery to correct it was not covered by her insurance.

So D’Amato “retired” and got a job at mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Even after undergoing surgery to correct her condition in 2009 (her new job had better insurance), D’Amato ran sparingly for the next seven years. In her first run back after giving birth to her daughter, Quin, in August 2016 (she also has a six-year-old son, Tommy), D’Amato couldn’t make it through a three-minute run without walking. Yet she steadily built up ahead of Shamrock, and despite hail, sleet, and brutal winds on race day, D’Amato blew past her pre-race goal of 3:25.

“I couldn’t run slow enough to do that pace,” says D’Amato, who ran 3:14.

D’Amato felt there was a lot left in the tank, and took her next marathon, in Richmond in November, more seriously. After running 2:47 there — just two minutes off the Olympic Trials standard — she knew it was time to return to serious training. She reunited with Raczko, and steadily dropped her times while balancing running with her career as a realtor. When she ran a pb of 2:34 to finish 15th at the Trials at age 35, it looked like the culmination of a remarkable three-year journey.

In reality, D’Amato was just getting started.

Since the Trials, D’Amato has run personal bests over almost every distance. Her 15:04 5,000 doesn’t officially count because it came in a time trial rather than a race, but it’s faster than the Olympic standard of 15:10 and would have ranked her 6th in the US during the 2020 outdoor season.

Her most impressive performance came in last month’s Michigan Pro Half Marathon, where she clocked 68:57, 47 seconds ahead of runner-up Emma Bates, a 2:25 marathoner who finished 7th at the Olympic Trials. That made D’Amato the second-fastest American half marathoner on the year, behind Sara Hall, and 10th on the US all-time list. She is now in very elite company.

(11/22/2020) Views: 112 ⚡AMP
by LetsRun
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Does running on a treadmill change your stride?

Treadmill running can alter your gait in small ways, here are the potential differences for runners to be mindful of

The treadmill is a training tool that almost all runners have used in their lives. Whether it’s a time-efficiency measure (you never have to stop at lights on a treadmill) or a controlled conditions choice (the weather is never bad indoors), the treadmill has its place in everyone’s training program. However, one small change in someone’s training can make a big difference over time – especially if it alters how you run.

Research suggests that there could be small differences between how your body works on a treadmill versus how it runs outside. While the differences are slight, having an insight into minor changes is one of the best ways to keep yourself injury free and moving smoothly.

Surface stiffness

The biggest difference between the treadmill and running on the road is surface stiffness. Authors report that most runners get their miles in on concrete, which is notably harder than a treadmill surface.

For most, a softer surface can provide runners’ legs with a bit of a break, however, researchers point out that this isn’t a benefit across the board.

In runners with lower-limb stress fractures (in their feet or shins), returning to running on a treadmill could improve recovery. On the other hand, for someone who’s dealing with an Achilles or a calf issue, the softer surface isn’t ideal. Treadmill running has been connected with higher strain on the soleus (muscle in the calf), which could aggravate both conditions.

The surface you’re running on matters, so if you’re returning from an injury, be open with your medical professional about where you run most often.

Belt speed variation

Belt speed was another factor that contributes to biomechanics. On older treadmills, the speed can become inconsistent, especially when running fast. If runners are looking to do a hard workout and running outside is an option, it seems more reliable in terms of pace and form than running indoors.

If indoors is your only choice, run by feel and worry less about speed – especially if you’re using an older treadmill.

Comfort level

This may sound like a non-issue, but runners who are accustomed to the treadmill are less likely to alter how they run. By contrast, individuals who weren’t avid treadmill users showed a tendency to alter their stride and also had a slight increase in energy cost, meaning a typically comfortable pace would feel a little more difficult. This discomfort can lead to higher turnover and shorter stride lengths. Basically, if you’re not used to the treadmill, it’s normal for it to feel a little difficult and awkward to start.

While runners are encouraged to use the treadmill as a training tool, if you’re not accustomed to it, start slowly, place extra emphasis on recovery and work your way up, as it can alter the way you run.

(07/18/2020) Views: 156 ⚡AMP
by Running Magazine
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Nike’s Investigation of the Oregon Project is Complete

After Mary Cain alleged emotional abuse as an athlete under Alberto Salazar’s coaching, Nike conducted an internal probe of the professional running group.

Nike said on Monday that it is planning to take multiple actions to better support its female professional athletes, following an internal investigation into the now-defunct professional running group, the Oregon Project.

The company started the probe in November after former Oregon Project athlete Mary Cain went public with a New York Times op-ed piece about her experiences as a young track star under coach Alberto Salazar, who is currently serving a four-year ban from the sport for doping violations. (Salazar denies the charges and is appealing them—Nike said in an email to Women’s Running on Monday that “we support Alberto in his decision to appeal and wish him the full measure of due process that the rules require.”)

Cain joined the Oregon Project as a teen phenom, foregoing NCAA eligibility in 2013 to sign a pro contract with Nike. She moved from Bronxville, New York, to Portland, Oregon, at age 17, as a national high school record holder—the youngest athlete to ever represent the U.S. in a world-championships competition, where she raced the 1500 meters.

In the documentary, titled “I Was the Fastest Girl in America, Until I Joined Nike,” she described the pressure that Salazar and the all-male Oregon Project staff put on her to become thinner in order to perform better. Cain said she was weighed in front of her teammates and publicly shamed by Salazar for not hitting the goals he demanded—allegations that were later corroborated by former members of the group.

Now 23 years old, Cain said while training with the Oregon Project and during a period afterward, she suffered five stress fractures and didn’t menstruate for three years, which are symptoms of RED-S (relative energy deficiency in sport), a syndrome of insufficient caloric intake, with symptoms that can include excessive fatigue, amenorrhea, and decreased bone density. It can have serious long-term health effects like cardiovascular disease, infertility, and osteoporosis. Before she left Oregon to return home in 2015, she said she felt so isolated and trapped that she had suicidal thoughts and cut herself.

After the New York Times piece was published, Salazar denied any abuse or gender discrimination at the Oregon Project and added, “I may have made comments that were callous or insensitive over the course of years of helping my athletes through hard training.”

In the email to Women’s Running on Monday, Nike said the results of the internal investigation will not be made public, but “we are using the findings to identify areas where we can do better in supporting female athletes.” It was not confirmed who was involved in leading the investigation or who participated in it.

The initiatives that Nike identified include:

• Investing in scientific research into the impact of elite athlete training of girls and women

• Increasing the number of women coaches in sports

• Hiring a vice president of global women’s sports marketing in the coming weeks to have “strategic oversight” of Nike’s female athletes

• Creating an athlete think tank to help the company understand the opportunities and challenges faced by female athletes

• Partnering with Crisis Text Line, a free, confidential text messaging service for people to ask for help when in crisis

During a phone interview with Women’s Running on Monday, Cain said she was contacted in the fall by phone and email by a Nike lawyer, but opted not to participate in the probe because some of the people involved were Nike employees whose participation in it made her feel uncomfortable.

“There was no real transparency in the process, so I became very frustrated with the fact that there was no clear-cut person in charge, it was Nike investigating Nike, and seemingly some of the people involved in the process were investigating themselves,” she said.

Upon hearing the actions that Nike—the biggest sponsor of the sport’s governing body, U.S.A. Track & Field (a deal that goes through 2040 with an estimated value of $500 million)—wants to take as a result of the findings, Cain said she supports anything that promotes women’s health and opportunities in sports.

“It’s great to push money and push opportunity into the future—I whole-heartedly support that,” she said. “But the vagueness and no ability to see the report makes me worried that they’re hiding behind gestures that will almost make people forget the issues.”

Runners and other athletes have identified with Cain’s experiences since she shared them, creating a public conversation about the destructive culture underlying sports, where antiquated training philosophies perpetuated by a male-dominated coaching profession often result in eating disorders and worse for athletes.

“I have this renewed love of the sport that I only really found in the last few months because I do have so much hope in what women’s sports can and will become—so anything that’s generating interest and investment and research, I’m all for,” Cain said. “What I hope can happen through some of this work is that Nike can start hearing more voices.”

Still, Cain is hesitant to put too much stock in the proposed initiatives.

“It looks both weak and cowardly that as a corporation they won’t release what they found,” she said. “There’s a certain point where people would have a lot more respect for them as a broader institution and respect what they’re now trying to do if they also admitted what they did wrong. I can’t look at a future brightly if I can’t see them reflecting on their past.”

Since November, Cain has returned to training after about three years away, with the goal of making the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials in June. She most recently raced the 3,000 meters on Saturday at the Armory in New York, finishing in 9:24.38.

In December, she told Women’s Running that advocating for women’s sports and healthy coaching practices is her new dream.

“Due to lack of education and inappropriate societal norms, many people have a poor understanding of how to address topics such as women’s cycles, weight, and training appropriately,” Cain said. “My goal is now to create educational programs that coaches and athletes must take on these subjects.”

(02/02/2020) Views: 361 ⚡AMP
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Nike employees protested at the Beaverton, Ore. headquarters on Monday following the reopening of the building named after Alberto Salazar

On Monday, the day that the sportswear giant Nike reopened the Beaverton, Ore. headquarters building named after disgraced coach Alberto Salazar, Nike employees staged a protest regarding its mistreatment of women, and were threatened with termination if they spoke to the media.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, “A flier circulating among employees read, “Join us for a campus walk to celebrate what women bring to sport and to raise awareness of how Nike can support our female athletes and employees.”

There was another flier circulating ahead of the protest–this one was also distributed by Nike employees but had a different tone. It read, “No employee is permitted to speak to news media on any NIKE-related matter either on- or off-the-record, without prior approval from Nike Global Communications.” The policy continues, “Failure to comply with NIKE’s media policy could result in termination of employment.”

Nike spokesperson Greg Rossiter said to The Willamette Weekly that this cautionary flyer was not officially distributed by the company. “We respect and welcome employees’ feedback on matters that are important to them. The flier prepared by some employees was not officially distributed by Nike.”

The US Anti-Doping Agency banned Salazar in September for four years following a years-long investigation and secret arbitration case. The details appear in a BBC report and a statement by USADA outlining the specific charges, which include trafficking in testosterone (a banned substance), illegal methods and evidence-tampering at the Nike Oregon Project’s Beaverton, Oregon headquarters. Salazar is former coach to Mo Farah and Kara Goucher and current coach of marathoner Galen Rupp and the newly-crowned 10,000m champion Sifan Hassan, among others.

Nike shut down the NOP training group 11 days later. Salazar’s athletes have since found new coaches and training groups.

Following the dissolution of the NOP, American prodigy Mary Cain came forward and told her story about her experience with the group. According to Cain, the NOP’s “win at all costs” mentality involved Salazar and his assistant coaches (who are not named) pushing her to take birth control pills and diuretics to lose weight, weighing her and verbally abusing her in front of her teammates. Cain’s success on the track came at a huge price: she didn’t have her period for three years, which weakened her bone health so much that she endured five stress fractures. Her success dwindled, and when she left the program, nobody really knew why.

On Monday, protesters signs read, “We believe Mary.”

(12/10/2019) Views: 460 ⚡AMP
by Madeleine Kelly
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Jordan Hasay will headline the women’s race in the 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Jordan Hasay has announced that she will target the American women’s marathon record this fall in Chicago.

Rupp’s Nike Oregon Project teammate, Jordan Hasay, offers incredible inspiration when it comes to successful comebacks. After a storybook 2017 season that saw her run the American debut marathon record, 2:23:00, for a third-place finish in Boston and then post the second-fastest time ever run by an American woman in Chicago (2:20:57), she shut down her 2018 season due to two stress fractures in her foot.

She announced her comeback with confidence this spring in Boston, acquiring another podium finish and posting a swift time, 2:25:20. Hasay hopes to take down Deena Kastor’s long-standing American record of 2:19:36. “I am honored to return to the streets of Chicago,” said Hasay. “I love the fast course and exciting atmosphere, which I believe can lead to an attempt at the American record. I look forward to being at my best again and giving it all I have in October.” 

In its 42nd year on Sunday, October 13, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon welcomes thousands of runners from more than 100 countries and all 50 states, including a world-class elite field, top regional and Masters runners, race veterans, debut marathoners and charity runners.

The race’s iconic course takes runners through 29 vibrant neighborhoods on an architectural and cultural tour of Chicago. Annually, an estimated 1.7 million spectators line the streets cheering on more than 40,000 runners from the start line to the final stretch down Columbus Drive.

As a result of the race’s national and international draw, the Chicago Marathon assists in raising millions of dollars for a variety of charitable causes while generating $338 million in annual economic impact to its host city. The 2019 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, a member of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, will start and finish in Grant Park beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, October 13.

(05/11/2019) Views: 874 ⚡AMP
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Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon is the pinnacle of achievement for elite athletes and everyday runners alike. On race day, runners from all 50 states and more than 100 countries will set out to accomplish a personal dream by reaching the finish line in Grant Park. The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is known for its flat and...

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Here are some tips to help you recover after running a marathon

It’s safe to expect you won’t be doing any hard running or intense training for several days. Your goal is to gradually get back to running at your normal training pace without stiffness or soreness.

All of us get warning signs of over-training. Keep a training journal to track ache, pain and fatigue that lingers. If you have developed an injury, seek professional medical guidance.

Ask your doctor for a medical check-up before embarking on any strenuous training program. If you get the all clear, I recommend you treat your body right with proper nutrition and training regimens. This will help minimize any damage to your body.

Practice taking fluids every two to three miles and fuel during your long runs in preparation. Pick the right running shoes that are a good match for your feet. Most shoes can max out at 300-500 miles. The wrong shoes may cause damage to your body, including stress fractures.

In the coming weeks, as your physical and psychological recovery is underway, make sure to replenish your body with rest, good protein and carbohydrates.

You want to slowly incorporate stretching, cross training that includes cycling, swimming, walking, light jogging and maybe going easy on a stair climber into your regimen. Soon enough, you’ll be ready to do it all over again.

The next top MBR 100 marathon coming up is the Houston Marathon.  

(01/02/2019) Views: 704 ⚡AMP
by Dr Syed Rizvi
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Will an extra does of Vitamin D boost your running performance?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that regulates some 1,000 processes in the body, and doctors have long known its importance to bone density and preventing the related illnesses like rickets and osteoporosis. Now researchers are beginning to study its role in athletic performance. While an extra dose of vitamin D might increase muscle strength and endurance, the science is far from settled. Still, many athletes are eyeing the vitamin for possible performance gains. Given that the science is still young, is it worth hitting the drugstore?  The main sources of vitamin D are sunshine and certain foods, including salmon, cod liver oil, and fortified cereal and dairy products. The USDA suggests an intake of 600 International Units per day, or 800 IU for adults over 70. You can easily meet that recommendation by spending 15 minutes outside on a sunny day. In athletes, a vitamin D deficiency increases your risk of stress fractures, anemia, and a weakened immune system—all of which can hurt performance. In a study of 214 NFL players, scientists observed more muscle injuries in athletes with lower vitamin D levels. There’s no clear consensus about how widespread the deficiency is. In 2015 review, scientists found that about 56 percent of athletes had inadequate levels of the vitamin. Still, in a large-scale review, researchers at the National Academy of Medicine (then the U.S. Institute of Medicine) observed that, on average, Americans’ vitamin D levels appeared fine. One cause of this discrepancy is that scientists don’t agree on the definition of “adequate” when it comes to vitamin D levels. The most common test for the nutrient measures a precursor version of its hormone form—the form of the vitamin that is actually used by the body. Sometimes this precursor doesn’t predict how much vitamin D exists in hormone form. Certain researchers, like those with the Endocrine Society, argue for higher concentration thresholds than than those of the National Academy of Medicine.  The effects of vitamin D supplementation on health are uncertain.  A 2013 review did not find any effect from supplementation on the rates of disease, other than a tentative decrease in mortality in the elderly. (09/11/2018) Views: 2,168 ⚡AMP
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The Dangers of Under Fueling can effects your health and performance

Experts contend that pushing the calorie-cutting envelope can potentially backfire and actually lead to negative effects on both your health and performance. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) is a condition that can affect athletes of any age and sex. RED-S occurs when an imbalance in energy intake and energy output has detrimental effects on bone health, menstrual function (in women), metabolic rate, immune function, cardiovascular health, and psychological health. Recently, an expert panel brought together by the International Olympic Committee, examined this. Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport, or RED-S, was coined to describe health and performance issues that arise when athletes don’t eat enough to cover both training and daily life activities. How is RED-S different from eating disorders? RED-S may overlap with an eating disorder or serve as a risk factor for eating disorder onset, but not necessarily. Even when RED-S does not overlap with a typical eating disorder presentation, energy deficiency can cause major problems with physical and psychological health. One concern in those with RED-S is osteoporosis. Poor bone growth as a result of energy deficiency in young people can lead to stress fractures. In addition, individuals with RED-S evidence increased risk for injury, decreased endurance, and reduced muscle strength, along with decreased coordination, impaired judgment, irritability, and depression. The bottom line is that sports participation should be beneficial, not detrimental to your body. Correctly estimating and addressing energy needs is the single best way to equip your body for the rigors of training. (04/07/2018) Views: 1,066 ⚡AMP
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These simple foods can help you recover from a stress fracture

Stress fractures are an overuse injury, often caused by repeatedly running long distances or drastically increasing mileage. Primarily affecting the bones in the lower legs and feet, stress fractures occur when the muscle becomes fatigued and transfers undue stress to the bone. To help recover or to help prevent a stress fracture, Take Calcium and vitamin D. Milk does a body good. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that runners get at least 1,000 mg of dietary calcium—an 8-ounce glass of milk has about 300mg. Also regularly eat kale, broccoli, spinach, and soy products. The best way to get Vitamin D is from sun exposure, but also eggs, tuna, cod liver oil, and mushrooms are also a good source for vitamin D too. (02/15/2018) Views: 1,090 ⚡AMP
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