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We Need to Celebrate More!

Why Don’t We Celebrate Our Own Accomplishments?

“We don’t celebrate what we did, we punish ourselves for what we didn’t do.”

~Christina Castro

Damn.

That one cuts deep.

I am definitely guilty of beating myself up over the littlest of imperfections, even in the face of real success.

It sucks, but I do it far too often

The Struggle with Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome

The ladies from the Ultra Ordinary Running podcast did an episode recently talking about Imposter Syndrome.

Impostor syndrome, in case you’re unfamiliar with that term, is basically the feelings of inadequacy even though the feelings may be completely unjustified.

Impostor syndrome manifests just about everywhere, from academia to business and just about everything in between. And in this case, in between definitely includes running.

And it’s something that I struggle with on an almost daily basis. Read more

Real Talk about Lactic Acid

Quick Tip: The Truth About Lactic Acid & Distance Running


I really don’t have a lot of issues that just make me lose my mind, climb up on my soap box, and rant like a maniac.

If you listened to the Listener Q&A Episode from February, however, you know one issue that gets me hot under the collar in just a matter of seconds.

After that episode was released, a couple of folks from the Facebook group had some additional questions about said issue, so it only made sense to try and set the record straight today on the topic of lactic acid.

Real Talk about Lactic Acid

What is It?

Most runners have probably heard of lactic acid, but I’m not sure how many runners actually know what it is.

So let’s start there.

To try and keep things simple, cause this can get complicated quickly, lactic acid is a by product that is created during anaerobic energy production at the cellular level.

What Does It Do?

Lactic acid can actually be used by the body to create additional ATP (which is ultimately the thing that powers everything that our bodies do).

That process is not very efficient, but in short bursts of intense exercise it gets the job done.

The longer the duration of the exercise, however, the more lactic acid builds up within our muscles.

And that build of lactic acid causes one thing: muscle failure.

What It DOES NOT Do

Lactic acid does not cause muscle soreness.

Please, allow me to say that again because I know at least one person glossed over that.

LACTIC ACID DOES NOT CAUSE MUSCLE SORENESS!!!!

If you’ve been told that before, and I know that most of us have heard this running fable at some point along the way, please get that idea out of your mind.

Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic energy production and has absolutely nothing to do with why your muscles are sore after running a marathon.

Nothing.

As in, not a damn thing!

Nothing!

(Sorry to be so dramatic, but I just want to make sure my point, aka the truth, is clearly communicated!)

You Know What Really Grinds My Gears…

I lose my mind when I see massage therapists or companies pitching their “recovery” products touting how their product or service helps to remove the lactic acid from your muscles, which will help to relieve your soreness after the race.

That is complete and utter bullshit.

Remember, the soreness you experience after a marathon, an interval session, a hard workout, or anything else has nothing to do with lactic acid. Nothing.

When you see that kind of marketing, you are being straight up lied to. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

They are lying to your face and hoping that you don’t know what they are doing.

Now you do.

And to be clear, I’m not saying that a post-race massage (or compression, or ice, or any of the other products that could fall into this category) is a bad thing.

I’m not even saying that it won’t help to minimize your soreness after a race.

What I am saying is that their claim that the lactic acid in your body is going to cause you to be sore the next day, and that their product/service can help you remove the lactic acid, is a lie.

Let’s Talk Truth

During an easy run, your body produces virtually no lactic acid. If you’re running at a conversational pace, you are producing the energy you need aerobically, which does not produce lactic acid.

During a hard run, say a tempo run, you are running hard enough that your body is definitely creating some lactic acid but not so hard (if you’re pacing correctly) that it builds up and forces you to slow down (remember, lactic acid causes muscle failure).

During a hard run, like high speed intervals, you are creating lactic acid in your muscles which is why you’re hurting so badly after each hard effort. But after a brief recovery, you’re able to go again. Why? Because while you weren’t exercising as intensely your body was able to process and remove the built up lactic acid from your muscles!

That’s all well in good in a training run or a workout, but what about during a race?

If you’re running with the pedal to the medal in a race, no matter the distance, lactic acid build up can become a problem.

But most of us aren’t running an entire race with the pedal to the medal.

And if you’re running a marathon, you definitely aren’t.

Even at the highest levels, like the guys running 2:05s, they aren’t often running above a tempo pace. So they probably aren’t running above their lactate threshold.

And when they do go a little too fast at that level, they get dropped like a bad habit as soon as their blood lactate levels climb too high.

What You Need to Know

  1. Lactic acid does not cause muscle soreness. If you get nothing else from my blog, this post, my podcast, or anything else that I have ever created, please remember that!
  2. In endurance events like half/full marathons, unless you’re truly an elite or unless you go out WAY too fast, lactic acid build up is not something that should concern you on race day.
  3. Anyone trying to tell you they’ve got the secret to helping you get rid of lactic acid as a means to reducing any potential muscle soreness is trying to sell you something. And they are full of it and/or lying to you.

Period. End of story. That’s a wrap.

Thanks for coming out!

*Getting off the soap box*

Hope the rant helped. And if you haven’t already listened to the audio component of the quick tip, please go back to the top of this post and press play.

It’ll be worth it…

Learn the #truth about how Lactic Acid impacts runners. #runchat #runners Share on X

What Other Lactic Acid Related Questions Do You Have That I Can Help You With?

Adding this post to the link up hosted by some great running coaches and bloggers  Running on HappySuzlyfeCrazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs!

Many Runners Want to Know the Truth About Stretching

There is so much conflicting information when it comes to the truth about stretching for athletes, especially for runners.

Some experts swear that stretching prevents injuries, while just as many say that stretching has nothing to do with injury prevention. Some runners include stretching as a vital piece of the warm up, and some only stretch after their runs. Some believe in static stretching, while others only hold each stretch for a few seconds.

Who’s right?

The truth about stretching is that there are no cut and dry answers to anything related to stretching. Stretching has been studied time and time again, and ultimately there have been very few (if any) black and white conclusions that have been drawn, especially in regards to injury prevention.

Here is the Truth About Stretching

Stretching HAS NOT been shown to reduce injuries. That said, maintaining adequate flexibility by stretching regularly does allow your joints to operate within their full range of motion which can put less stress/strain on your muscles and tendons. Excess strain on the muscles and tendons can cause irritations (such as tendinitis, bursitis, and any other itis), so it could be seen as logical that regular stretching CAN reduce the risk of injury over time, yet it is far from conclusive.

Stretch Armstrong, Truth about stretching

Stretch Armstrong

It has long been believed that effective stretching requires holding your stretch for 15-30 seconds (or more). Going hand and hand with the static stretching theory is the assumption that bouncing while stretching is a sure fire way to pull or tear a muscle, which is an even worse injury than any itis you were trying to prevent in the first place. So what’s the truth? Static stretching is a fine way of increasing your range of motion, but should only be done as part of a cool down. Dynamic stretching is also a great way to improve ROM, and is fine to do before or after your run, but make sure your muscles are warm before you begin. The key is to hold each stretch for 2-6 seconds before releasing it. As long as your muscles are already warm, and you’re not reaching too far, dynamic stretching is safe AND effective.

My Take on Stretching

In my experience, both me personally and with the runners I’ve worked with, regular stretching is a good thing when done correctly. I almost always wait until after the run/race to do my stretching, but will occasionally do a minimal amount of dynamic stretching after my warm up but before the race.

Gumby, Truth about stretching

Everyone Loves Gumby

 

My preferred method of stretching, however, is to pop in a yoga DVD on days that I’m not running as part of a recovery day. I don’t do this as often as I’d like to, but whenever I do I feel better and my next run is usually better as well.


What do you do when it comes to stretching? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, pro or con, when it comes to stretching.

And if you’d like to hear me expound a little bit on the virtues of stretching and elaborate a little more about what I talked about here in this post, just press play on the player below.