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Spring is associated with new beginnings, so why not start the season with some fresh additions to your training routine? These 6 fitness ideas can help mix up your routine and get the most from your training. Plus, they are all highly effective and can help you reach your fitness goals.

spring fitness ideas

1. Fartlek Training

Running is a great workout on its own, but try making it more interesting and efficient with Fartlek training. Fartlek combines intervals of faster running efforts with periods of slower running efforts. Unlike typical interval training, there aren’t any periods of complete rest or a set structure. Instead, you set your own starting points based on how you feel. Some common markers used to signal the start of a speed effort are things like trees, light poles, or the chorus of a song. Fartlek training is an effective way to increase speed, improve endurance, enhance mental strength, and keeps things exciting. As previously mentioned, it’s also an adaptable workout that can be easily tailored to your needs.

2. Plyometric Exercises

Plyometric exercises are another form of interval training that add in an element of explosiveness. They include maximum force exerted in a short period of time. Some common examples include squat jumps, burpees, and plyo pushups. Incorporating plyometrics is ideal for sport specific training and people who workout for health or fun. Some benefits include improved performance, speed, power, muscle strength, and cardiovascular health. It’s also a great way to torch calories.

3. Use a Fitness Tracker

Recently, fitness trackers have become very popular. If you’re serious about your health and don’t already have one, it might be worth looking into. Using a fitness tracker can help you hit your goals by providing concrete metrics to work with. There are a lot of different options for fitness trackers out there, but most will record heart rate, calories burned, activity duration, and sleep.

spring fitness ideas

4. Jump Rope

Jumping rope isn’t just for the playground. There are a ton of benefits to adding jump rope into your routine. With the weather starting to feel a little more pleasant, it’s the perfect time to grab a rope and get outside. Once you get started, you may find that while it can be tiring, it’s also a lot of fun. Jumping rope is excellent for boosting athleticism, fat burning, developing muscle tone, and improving body coordination.

5. Strengthen your Core

While having a nice set of abs is high on most people’s list, a strong core has many benefits beyond looking good. Core muscles are important for stability, proper technique, athletic performance, and injury prevention. Planks are a great place to start, but you can find some other core strengthening exercises here.

6. Improve your Post Workout Recovery

Workout recovery is one of the best things you can do for your training routine. The training component is no doubt important, but without proper recovery your body can’t handle all the stress that comes from training. Overtraining diminishes your performance and drastically increases the chance of injury. In order to keep your body going and feeling good, it’s imperative to add in tools like Marc Pro.

spring fitness ideas

Marc Pro is the most effective tool for improving recovery and getting you back to feeling your best. Using exclusive technology, it’s the only tool that produces non-fatiguing muscle contractions – which is the body’s natural facilitator of the recovery process.

baseball recovery

Turns out icing isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Research now shows that icing delays the recovery process and even causes additional damage – which is bad news for many baseball players. Recovery is still a must, so what can be done to actually improve the process?

The Problem with the RICE Procotol

The most recommended protocol for healing in western medicine is the RICE protocol – rice, ice, compression, elevation. Most of us have used the RICE method, or at least some component of it, to help improve our recovery. It’s been ingrained into our brains, especially if you play sports or stay active. The interesting thing is, after talking to the experts and reading the literature it turns out the protocol is wrong. The Harvard trained doctor who developed RICE has since recanted his statement saying that ice not only delays healing, but also causes additional damage.

Why is Ice so Harmful?

Muscle damage is an inevitable part of all sports and physical activities. Congestion builds up around the damaged site after exercise. The quicker you can get rid of the waste, the quicker you can recover. Using ice after a workout traps congestion and prevents the natural flow of oxygen and supplies to the area. Even worse, sitting with a bag of ice on your arm won’t just delay the healing process, it will make the situation worse. Ice causes additional swelling that wouldn’t have normally occurred.

baseball recovery

Why Did Ice Become a Staple for Baseball Players?

Icing became popularized for baseball players thanks to a photo that was taken of Dodger’s pitching legend, Sandy Koufax, with his arm in a bucket of ice. All the world saw was the star player icing his arm, thinking that must be how he keeps his arm healthy. In reality, the story is much different, as told from those who were there when it happened.

Koufax’s arm was in pain and he refused to take any more needles. He told the training staff to figure out a different way to stop the pain. To comply, athletic trainers put a wetsuit-like sleeve on his arm and stuck it in ice. Thus, the myth began that putting ice on your arm after throwing was somehow going to make you recover. However, Sandy was using ice for his arm pain. No doubt, ice can make the pain go away temporarily, but it doesn’t facilitate healing.

So if ice is wrong, then what should you be doing to improve recovery? The short answer is low-stress movement, better known as active recovery.

How Marc Pro Improves Recovery

Marc Pro is a recovery tool that uses the muscle as a pump to move nourishment and waste, which is what facilitates healing. Similar to doing ankle pumps for a sprained ankle, Marc Pro provides the movement your body needs to decongest the area and bring in necessary supplies to the damaged site. However, the difference with Marc Pro is that it won’t cause fatigue and you can sit back and relax. If needed, you can use it for hours on end to solve the problem.

baseball recovery

3 Different Groups Who Benefit from Marc Pro

Professional Players

Two-thirds of all major league pitchers use Marc Pro, along with players from every team. Before winning his 2nd Cy Young award, Corey Kluber did an interview on Marc Pro. He said it makes his arm feel the best it ever has and that if you have the chance to use and you don’t, you’re making a mistake. He also mentioned that he doesn’t ice because it makes his arm feel stiff.

Amateur Players

It’s no secret that amateur players train hard and will do whatever it takes to get to the next level. Marc Pro gives amateur players the chance to get to that next level. If you’re someone who has a dream in front of them and hopes to continue playing, Marc Pro is a must. Here’s why: no matter how good you are, if you aren’t able to play because of an injury or a fatigued arm causes you to underperform, you’re hurting your chances of getting to the next level. Using the right recovery technology can be the difference between reaching your goals and ending your season or career. Marc Pro allows you to recover better and stay injury free, so you can play at your best and continue to progress.

Active Individuals

Whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, if you’re tired and sore Marc Pro can help. Even for those of us who aren’t trying to get a college scholarship or make it as a pro, we all have our own fitness goals; maybe that’s being able to run 3-5x per week or increase your weight at the gym. Marc Pro allows you to continue your activities while feeling good and staying injury free.

Another workout absolutely crushed at the gym! Endorphins are flying high through pumped muscles that just put in a ton of work. But then you wake up the next day, barely able to walk. Sound familiar?

doms

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) typically occurs 6-8 hours following strenuous or unaccustomed activity, peaks around 24-48 hours, and can last up to 3-5 days. Many people love muscle soreness because it’s proof they are putting in the work. But, DOMS can dampen workouts and slow progress. The American College of Sports Medicine points out that reduced range of motion, joint stiffness, local swelling, tenderness, and diminished muscle strength, all diminish performance and training.

Let’s Look at the Science

In the paper, “Is Post Exercise Soreness a Valid Indicator of Muscular Adaptations?” Schoenfeld and Contreras point out, “DOMS appears to be the product of inflammation caused by microscopic tears in the connective tissue elements that sensitize nociceptors and thereby heighten the sensations of pain.” It is shown that eccentric exercises (exercises that lengthen the muscle) have a much more significant impact on producing delayed onset muscle soreness.

There are a few things that differentiates DOMS from typical muscle soreness. Most prominently, DOMS is much more intense. Not only is it more painful and potentially debilitating, DOMS lasts much longer. Acute muscle soreness usually presents itself shortly after activity, while DOMS may take a full day or two before showing up.

doms

Muscle Soreness: Not Required for Gains

Muscle soreness is an imperfect and inconsistent indicator of muscle growth. While the microscopic tears of DOMS may stimulate repair to build back stronger, the process that rebuilds and strengthens muscle tissue post-workout can happen without the same degree of damage. Breaking muscles to the point of soreness is unnecessary to make significant gains. Most people think that damage is required for muscle growth, but Exercise Biology points out, “Muscle can grow with just tension and no damage.”

Proven Cure for DOMS

Laying on the couch seems like the perfect prescription for a body so stiff that stairs may be fatal. The “rest and relax” method however is potentially the slowest route to eradicating DOMS. Stillness bypasses many of the innate bodily systems designed to assist in repairing muscle tissue.

Four key processes occur during recovery, all facilitated by muscle activation. Muscle contractions activate the passive lymphatic system and increase blood flow/nutrients to the area. Muscle contractions for the intent of recovery should not further stress or fatigue, commonly known as active recovery. Regularly performing active recovery, will normalize recovery and in turn decrease or eliminate DOMS.

There are a lot of different techniques and products claiming to cure DOMS. However, research shows that active recovery one of the most effective methods. The many studies on massage, cryotherapy, drugs etc., provide no consensus on a consistent therapy that works. Unfortunately, active recovery may be hard to fit into a busy life. Enter: Marc Pro.

doms

Marc Pro generates muscle contractions that provide all the same benefits as active recovery, but can be completed while watching TV, working on a laptop, or participating in other daily activities. Additionally, Marc Pro doesn’t put stress on tendons or joints, won’t burn energy, and is easy to set up. In a peer reviewed research study published in the Journal of Exercise Physiology, Marc Pro was shown to significantly reduce the soreness and fatiguing effects of DOMS and improve the recovery process.

If DOMS or a lack of recovery is hindering your performance or leading to overuse injuries, discover how Marc Pro can help you achieve your goals.

The World Wood Bat National Championship is one of the largest tournaments of the year in amateur baseball. This Perfect Game event held in Jupiter, FL hosts 100 teams from across North America, with over 700 scouts and coaches in attendance. It’s the place to be seen for serious high school baseball players.

With science and technology becoming a standard component of training, this year’s event included a recovery zone provided by Marc Pro, Perfect Game’s Official Recovery Technology Partner. Players were able to stop by to take advantage of the recovery tool used by every team in Major League Baseball.

What is Marc Pro?

Marc Pro is a muscle stimulator that creates muscle contractions to provide active recovery benefits. Throw Marc Pro on whatever muscle group you’re sore in – whether that’s an elbow, shoulder, etc – and rather than icing to constrict blood vessels, the device actually brings in fresh blood and flushes out waste. Marc Pro uses a patented set of parameters to send the electrical current through your skin, which allows Marc Pro to deliver nutrients and flush waste without ever causing fatigue.

perfect game baseball

“Honestly, this is the best investment I’ve bought for throwing. I love it…I use it all the time after I get done throwing. I feel like this would be a great investment for any pitcher or thrower.” – Patrick Sullivan, Perfect Game Baseball Athlete

How Does it Help Baseball Players?

If you’re throwing a lot, adding Marc Pro to your routine is going to help get your arm back to feeling good so you can keep throwing immediately, without soreness or stiffness. It’s also going to help prevent overuse injuries and keep your muscles fresh. Players who throw and throw and don’t put in the proper recovery time are setting themselves up for injury.

For athletes dedicated to progressing to the next level, every advantage is necessary. Baseball players push their bodies hard and Marc Pro is a tool that helps these athletes prevent overuse, reduce arm stiffness and soreness, and gets them back on the field quicker, feeling better. This is what Marc Pro does better than anything else.  

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rotator cuff tendinitis

The rotator cuff is made up of tendons and ligaments that surround the joint of the shoulder. When these tissues become inflamed and painful, it’s likely a sign of rotator cuff tendinitis.

With sports or activities, it’s easy to push past our breaking points in the hopes of reaching our goals. We go, go, go and don’t stop to think about what repercussions that may have on our athletic performance and health. Often times, we’ll overwork our bodies and not give them the tools they need to rebuild.

What are the Causes of Rotator Cuff Tendinitis?

One of the main causes of rotator cuff tendinitis is excessive use of the shoulder with little to no recovery. Typically, repetitive overhead motions are the culprit. Microtears form and when they aren’t able to heal, they continue to break down and become worse. This is when inflammation and pain become a factor.

Prevention Tips

Since rotator cuff tendinitis is typically related to overuse, the good news is that prevention is possible. Recovering from an injury can be expensive and time consuming. Taking preventative measures is cheaper and more efficient in the long run. At the first sign of overuse, make sure to do all you can to prevent injuries from setting in.

1. Gradually Strengthen & Condition

Properly conditioned muscles can handle more work before they break down, meaning overuse then becomes less of an issue. While doing strengthening and conditioning exercises, just be sure not to do too much too soon. The key is to gradually build up and develop strength.

2. Warm Up

Getting your shoulder warmed up is an important component to injury prevention. Spending time to warm up brings blood to your muscles and joints so they can move more efficiently. Raising your body’s temperature helps muscles activate easier so you can perform tasks that are harder with less stress. Also, it allows for better range of motion so your body can move with proper mechanics.

3. Active Recovery

Active recovery is one of the most effective methods for keeping your body healthy. By participating in light movement (ie. walk, swim, jog), you can facilitate each stage of the body’s natural recovery process. No other method impacts recovery the same way. To be considered “recovery”, the movement needs to be low stress and shouldn’t cause any additional fatigue.

Strenuous or repetitive activity creates microtears in your muscle tissue. After such exertion, your body needs time to repair itself. When you allow your body to recover in between workouts you can help ensure overuse doesn’t become a problem. When you don’t recover properly, these microtears continue to break down and become worse – leading to overuse injuries like rotator cuff tendinitis.

That’s why many athletes use a Marc Pro device for active recovery. With Marc Pro you get non-fatiguing active recovery that’s convenient and easy to use.

The Marc Pro shoulder pad placement is a great way to target overuse in the shoulder. Simply place the pads as shown and turn the intensity up. As long as the area is contracting, benefits are being delivered.

active recovery

The language of the fitness world is constantly changing with new terms and buzzwords: biohacking, red light therapy, nootropics, massage guns, etc.

As the boundaries of fitness evolve, one of the most constant and enduring elements of health remains: active recovery. What does ‘active recovery’ mean and how can you use it to your advantage to excel at your sport or enhance your own workouts?

How Does Active Recovery Help?

Strenuous workouts and exercise damage muscles. The body responds to damage with various mechanisms that make up recovery. Muscle recovery includes:

Active recovery is the activation of muscles (mechanical stress) to optimize tissue repair, without producing more fatigue or damage. Light jogging, swimming, cycling, and yoga are all viable options.

active recovery

The difficulty with these activities is that they can easily pass the point of recovery and descend into a workout. Instead of promoting muscle repair, muscle damage and resource consumption increases. This is why Marc Pro claims to have perfected active recovery.

Active Recovery Perfected

Both the Marc Pro and Marc Pro Plus are muscle stimulators that harness the power of active recovery. The specific parameters of the Marc Pro waveform activate tired and sore muscles for all the benefits of muscle activation without the risk of further damage or fatigue. Instead of running or swimming, which may put additional stress on tendons and joints and burn energy, Marc Pro averts the potential downfalls of active recovery and cuts straight to the benefits.

Muscle recovery without built-up fatigue rewards athletes with proper biomechanics, decreased risk of injury, and superior performance. Psychologically, the Marc Pro has a significant advantage as well. Athletes thrash themselves daily with demanding workouts, why not take a break with a favorite TV show and still reap recovery benefits.

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core strengthening exercises

Why does the core section come up in almost any conversation about fitness? The core, or midsection, is the body’s fulcrum and is crucial to stability, proper lifting technique and power transfer. A strong, flexible core improves movement, prevents injuries, and contributes to athletic performance.

What is your “core”? The core is much more than six pack abs, it’s all the muscles throughout the abdominals, lower back, and hips. This grouping of muscles connects the upper and lower body and cannot be understated in its importance.

Due to the critical role the core plays, it’s wise to strengthen it as part of a workout regimen. Focus on strengthening the core aids athletes and office workers alike. Here are some guidelines and techniques to help you get started.

The Best Exercises for the Core

Plank: The classic plank exercise provides massive benefits for core reinforcement, but should be performed properly. When settling into a plank tight abdominal muscles and aligned shoulders above the elbows are a must. Proper form should also maintain body alignment, with a neutral neck and spine, while looking down at the floor. Tucking shoulders down and back, and making floor contact with only toes, forearms, and hands complete the plank’s points of performance.

DON’T: Look around and compromise your head and neck position.
DO: Stay strong through the spine, with no sagging torso.

core strengthening exercises

Squats: In a standing position, start with knees, hips, and toes pointing forward. Without allowing your chest to dip forward, lower your buttocks until your hip crease is below the top of your knees. Pushing the knees out and screwing feet into the ground can provide additional stability. Always keep the abdominal muscles pulled in and maintain alignment in your spine.

DON’T: Drop too quickly with little to no control.
DO: Reach full depth without losing tension.

Tips on Core Strengthening for Specific Activities

Special Techniques for Runners

Foregoing core strengthening is a common mistake made by runners. Weak core muscles can lead to injuries because of their inability to adequately support the stomach, back, and hips. Without proper support, runners are asking for sub-par race performances and potential injury implications. By regularly performing the previously described plank and squat exercises, runners can prehab their bodies.

core strengthening exercises

Advice for cyclists

Cycling is another sport that commonly focuses on strong leg muscles and cardio, but not core strength. Holding center mass over the bike frame and retaining spine alignment is the best way to avoid fatigue in the midsection. Cultivating posture through core strengthening is essential. Less slouching from a strong core will pay dividends in reduced fatigue.

Any Athlete can Benefit

Regardless of which sport or activity you enjoy, core strength has benefits for all athletes:

These tips and techniques on strengthening your core should help you place proper focus on this area, which will impact fitness levels throughout your body. Remember however that any vigorous workout, including one for the core should be matched with proper recovery methods to avoid injury and improve strength adaptation.

best baseball recovery

Baseball is a game of repetition, lots of repetition. The high reoccurrence of similar movements is a key reason baseball players of all levels use Marc Pro to prevent arm fatigue and overuse injuries. Players who train hard, throw often, and swing consistently will see real recovery results.

Marc Pro fills the gap of active recovery by providing non-fatiguing contractions to move fluid in and out of tired muscles. Removing stress on tendons and joints, eliminating energy burn, and coupling recovery with relaxing activities makes Marc Pro a perfect tool for any serious athlete. Below are a few suggested pad placements specifically designed for baseball players to recover from their sport.

Mid Arm Recovery

Activating muscles above and below the elbow is crucial for protecting grip strength and combatting the strain of throwing. This placement is a mainstay for pitchers but will benefit anyone with discomfort in the elbow or forearm.

baseball recovery

Shoulder Recovery

Shoulder health is a critical element of maintaining velocity, throwing across the infield, or assisting an out. Use this placement to increase ROM and protect the complicated joint.

baseball shoulder recovery

Opposing Lower Back Recovery

Arm care doesn’t stop at the shoulder. Most throwing motions produce strong forces on the lower back when the lead leg impacts with the ground. This rapid deceleration often leads to sore or tight lower backs, especially on the opposing side from the throwing arm. Addressing the lower back with this pad placement is vital.

baseball lower back recovery

Note: This image is an example of where to place the pads. Move the pads to surround the area where you feel sore or tight.

Leg Recovery

Legs are the foundation for nearly every movement in baseball. Increasing strength and performance for leg muscles is important for all positions, especially catchers.

Hitting and Rotation

Taking a lot of cuts during practice or extending at bats? These pad placements loosen up the muscles involved in swing rotations.

Armed with the placements above and daily use of the Marc Pro, ballplayers can confidently hit it hard to get to the next level.

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Need Help? Schedule your Free Coaching Call

swimmer's shoulder

When it comes to swimmer’s shoulder, prevention is possible. Don’t wait until it’s too late! The majority of our healthcare tends to be on treating problems after the fact instead of preventing them in the first place. But, wouldn’t you rather never have to deal with an injury? Being proactive is less costly, painful, and time consuming. Even better, the strategies that can help prevent the condition from arising will also help you become a more efficient athlete.

What is Swimmer’s Shoulder?

Swimmer’s shoulder is an overuse injury that causes inflammation of the tendon and ligaments that surround the shoulder joint. It’s typically caused from repetitive shoulder motions, but other factors contribute as well.

At the first signs of swimmer’s shoulder, many athletes don’t even realize they could be dealing with a problem. Often times, athletes attribute the soreness in their shoulder as typical following a training session. But, if you don’t pay attention, things can quickly take a turn for the worst. As with many conditions, when swimmer’s shoulder is left unaddressed, it can lead to more serious issues such as a full rotator cuff tear.

The symptoms of swimmer’s shoulder can vary drastically. In some cases, it causes pain that’s localized. In others, it produces radiating pain. The pain can be sharp, vague, or simply cause a noticeable decrease in performance. Generally speaking, the symptoms include:

While the degree of symptoms can vary person to person, it’s important to attack the issue head on and prevent any further damage.

swimmer's shoulder

What Causes Swimmer’s Shoulder?

Swimmer’s shoulder affects more than just swimmers. Other athletes that incorporate repetitive overhead motions, such as baseball players, are also susceptible.

Swimmer’s shoulder is typically caused by multiple factors.

1. Poor Technique

Training with improper body mechanics increases your chances of developing swimmer’s shoulder. Using improper mechanics outside of training, such as poor posture, can also contribute.

2. Overtraining

Doing more isn’t always better. When athletes train consistently and don’t allow their bodies to properly recover in between workouts, overuse injuries will often rear their ugly heads. Repetitive motions lead to microtears in muscles and ligaments, which can then lead to more significant damage when not taken care of. According to Heiden Ortho, “repetitive overhead activities, whether that’s from swimming or throwing a baseball, can lead to inflammation of the rotator cuff. This inflammation compresses the tendons and reduces blood flow to the rotator cuff.”

3. Unsupported Joints

When your shoulder isn’t supported by strong muscles and ligaments, it becomes loose, making the joint unstable and open for injury.

How to Prevent Swimmer’s Shoulder

If you think you might be prone to developing swimmer’s shoulder, now is the time to start being proactive. Don’t let injuries sideline you when there’s steps you can take to keep your body healthy.

1. Active Recovery

Overtraining occurs when you don’t add proper recovery into the mix. Workouts break your body down. During the recovery phase, your body rebuilds and grows stronger. However, if you don’t give your body the recovery it needs, it will ultimately keep breaking down.

When it comes to enhancing the body’s natural recovery process, active recovery is a must. Of course, nutrition, hydration, and sleep are other important factors to ensure the recovery process is operating efficiently, but active recovery is a main factor. The body’s recovery process includes 4 main stages: bringing in nourishment, removing waste, production and release of myokines, and remodeling the repaired tissue. Muscle activation, aka active recovery, facilitates each of these stages.

swimmer's shoulder prevention

Active recovery involves low-stress muscle activation, such as going for a light jog or swim. It shouldn’t be strenuous, but it should get your muscles moving. Keep in mind, it’s important not to do too much and turn your active recovery into another workout. An alternative to traditional active recovery is Marc Pro, which makes recovery easy and effective. Marc Pro creates non-fatiguing muscle activation so you can achieve all the benefits of active recovery, without any of the limitations.

Activities like swimming and baseball can be a big commitment, so it’s hard to find extra time for active recovery. With Marc Pro, you can get the most effective recovery while doing activities you would be doing anyways, like work, school, traveling, or relaxing on the couch.

2. Stretch

Incorporating shoulder, chest, and neck stretches can help in the prevention of swimmer’s shoulder. When the muscles that surround the shoulder joint are tight, it can negatively affect your body’s mechanics. As discussed earlier, poor technique is a contributing factor to swimmer’s shoulder, so it’s important to take all the necessary steps to ensure your body is able to operate properly.

3. Strengthen

Shoulders joints are the most mobile joints in the body, but this also means they can be highly unstable. Having the right support is everything. The muscles and ligaments that surround the joint need to be strong and sturdy to prevent the shoulder from becoming too loose. Better conditioned muscles also allow for better blood flow so you can do more work before getting fatigued.

Not only does strengthening help with injury prevention, it also helps athletes perform for longer periods of time. The main areas to strengthen for swimmer’s shoulder prevention are the shoulder and upper back muscles. Active.com provides a few examples of exercises you can get started with. As with stretching, strengthening also improves biomechanics so your body can move with form that reduces the likelihood of injury and improves efficiency.

Want to learn more ways to use Marc Pro for improved recovery and injury prevention? The versatility and ease of use makes Marc Pro a great solution for athletes who want to keep doing what they love and perform at their best.

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running for beginners

Running is an ostensibly simple sport, but quickly reveals itself to be complex and difficult to start. There are many nuances and tricks to be learned and it takes time to master them. When starting, learning about running can be one of your most powerful tools for crushing your workouts and seeing optimized results. The main problem that many people find themselves faced with is where to start. That’s why in this article, we will be covering the basics of running for beginners. Before you throw yourself out the door, take a moment to make sure that you have the fundamentals nailed down.

Tips for Running Beginners

Knowing how to run and execute your workouts properly is essential. Use these tips to make sure you get off on the right foot.

Don’t Overdo It

Often, when people begin running, they run too much, too soon. When starting out, overtraining and burnout will be one of your most formidable opponents. It’s tempting to run as much as you possibly can every session, but beware that doing so can set yourself up for failure.

A general rule of thumb is to run at a “talking” pace, where you can comfortably hold a conversation while jogging. Run for as long as is comfortable for you, and not too hard. Then, every week, you can increase the distance by 10%. As for your pace, you will naturally jog faster with each session, without even realizing it! Later in this article, we’ll share some sample running workouts for those who want more specific guidance to get started with.

Fuel Your Body

When you begin a running regimen, the actions that you take in your off time are equally as necessary as the time spent working out. Your lifestyle can improve your session or sabotage it.

Fueling your body properly includes eating healthy, sleeping enough, recovering properly, and drinking ample water. It can be a challenge for many to adopt a healthy lifestyle, but it’s a must for runners. In order to keep your body active, you need to address all the components of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy diet for runners is a balanced diet. You should incorporate fruits, veggies, protein, and complex carbs into your meals consistently. When you eat, you should feel 80% full by the time you’re done with your meal. This way, you won’t risk overeating and feeling too “heavy”, especially before your workout.

Choose the Right Running Shoes

Your feet, and what happens to them, can affect your entire body. Investing in the right running shoes for you is extremely important to ensure that you prevent injury and get the most out of your running sessions.

Many manufacturers make specialized shoes for running. These shoes have proper arch support, soles with some grip, and the right ergonomic shape. When you try them on, they shouldn’t hug your feet too tight or slip off of your heel with every step.

running for beginners

Running Workout Templates to Get Started

Here are some beginner workout examples to get started. You can customize these workouts to suit your personal needs and running level. For optimal results as a beginner, try to do a running workout three times a week.

Workout #1:

Total: 26 minutes

This workout is a simple classic. For the warmup, you can walk briskly for five minutes or do anything else that gets your heart rate up. Then, run for one minute, walk for one minute, and repeat. These intervals should be repeated for eight rounds. For the cooldown, you can walk briskly again for five minutes or practice a different cooldown of your choice.

Workout #2:

Total: 23.5 minutes

This workout is slightly more challenging, requiring some additional endurance. If workout #1 seems too easy, then you should give workout #2 a try. The warmup and cooldown are the same. There are three rounds, consisting of one and a half minutes of running, then three minutes of walking.

Workout #3:

Total: ~20 minutes

running for beginners

Running on a hill is more difficult than running on flat terrain. It engages your calves and causes you to fatigue quicker. If you live in an area with hills or have access to a treadmill, this will be a fantastic workout for you. Runners of all levels will benefit from running on an incline. Generally, you should run until you have reached 80% of your maximum running capability.

Post Run Recovery for Beginners

Post run recovery is a must for multiple reasons. One, if you’re still feeling sore or fatigued from your last workout, you probably won’t be very excited to do another workout anytime soon – at least not while the soreness is still lingering.

When your body does more than it can handle, overuse injuries become exceedingly more likely. Plantar fasciitis and runner’s knee are two common overuse injuries that affect runners. The good news is that by using the proper recovery techniques you can speed up your recovery and feel good again. Active recovery and stretching are two great recovery techniques for runners.  Many runners use Marc Pro to achieve the easiest and most effective active recovery. Learn more about how Marc Pro can help you recover faster, eliminate soreness and fatigue, and prevent overuse injuries.

running recovery

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plantar fasciitis prevention

Here’s some good news if you have plantar fasciitis: resolving the issue isn’t too difficult and for most people medical intervention isn’t required. Even better, preventing plantar fasciitis is simple, not to mention much more preferable than dealing with another day of stabbing pain.

According to the Mayo Clinic, plantar fasciitis is a very common condition that’s usually self-treatable and self-diagnosable. So, don’t just sit around and hope it gets better, learn some strategies for faster recovery and effective prevention.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar fasciitis is very common for runners, although it can also be caused by excessive walking or standing. The main symptom people experience is stabbing pain along the bottom of the foot, typically near the heel. For most people, the worst pain is felt while taking their first few steps after waking up. But, it can also worsen after standing for a long period of time or while walking after sitting for a long period of time.

The plantar fascia is the band of tissue that connects your toes to your heel bone. It has a bowstring shape and supports the arch of your foot. When repeated stress is placed on the ligament, micro tears form, making the area irritated and inflamed. Besides excessive running or walking, poor foot cushioning can also be factor in the onset of plantar fasciitis.

How to Recover

Many of the recommendations out there are based on outdated principals. For example, there is no evidence that ice improves the recovery process. Studies show that ice delays healing and can even make the situation worse. NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, are often recommended for pain. At times, they can be necessary, but what’s not commonly mentioned is that taking NSAIDs negatively affects your recovery. Here are some strategies that can actually help you recover and relieve pain:

1. Active Recovery

Since your body’s natural recovery process relies on muscle activation, it’s no surprise that active recovery is becoming the go-to recovery method. Don’t just sit there if plantar fasciitis sets in, keep things loose and active.

2. Massage Ball

Using a massage or lacrosse ball can help break up adhesions that may have formed in the bottom of your foot. Adhesions form when muscles tear and the body repairs the break with scar tissue. Their dense nature can compress the surrounding muscle and cause pain in many cases. 

3. Heat Pad

Grab a head pad or make your own using a sock and rice. Applying heat to plantar fasciitis can provide soothing relief. Heat also helps open blood vessels, which will help bring blood flow and necessary healing supplies to the damaged area.

How to Prevent Plantar Fasciitis

The best thing you can do is make sure you never give plantar fasciitis a chance. Start using these prevention methods that are proven to work.

plantar fasciitis prevention

1. Stretch

Gently stretching your plantar fascia can help increase flexibility in your foot, maintain function, and keep things loose. When it comes to injury prevention, all these components are very important. Runner’s World recommends the following stretch to target your plantar fascia.

“Sit down, and place the foot with heel pain across your knee. Using your hand on the side affected by plantar fasciitis, pull your toes back toward your shin until you feel a stretch in your arch. Run your thumb along your foot—you should feel tension. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat.”

2. Active Recovery

Overuse is one of the major causes of plantar fasciitis. Taking the proper steps towards recovery in between workouts is essential for prevention. Active recovery is a tried and true method that facilitates each stage of your body’s natural recovery process. By engaging in low-stress activity, such as a light swim or cycle, your body kickstarts and speeds recovery. Harvard Health recommends doing toe curls and ankle circles as an active recovery strategy. Just be sure not to do too much and cause additional damage or pain.

plantar fasciitis prevention
Marc Pro pad placement for plantar fasciitis prevention

Another option is to perform active recovery with Marc Pro, which makes it easy to target specific areas like your lower legs, quads or back. Marc Pro creates non-fatiguing muscle contractions, which deliver all the benefits of active recovery to your problem areas. With it’s non-fatiguing nature, you can use the device for as long as you need to ensure a full recovery. Plus, no additional time commitment is required since you can use it while working, relaxing, or traveling. When it comes to effective and fast recovery, active recovery is key. (Note: while Marc Pro is a highly effective recovery tool, it is not to be used on medical conditions, so use only for prevention measures.)  

3. Better Footwear

Another contributor to plantar fasciitis is poor foot support. In addition to other preventative measures, using proper footwear is necessary in some cases. Shoes should have adequate cushioning to help prevent the impact that’s placed on your plantar fascia while running or walking.

Plantar fasciitis does not have to keep you from doing the activities you love.  If you’re more susceptible to plantar fasciitis, make sure you take the necessary preventative precautions to stay injury free. Don’t be reactive, be proactive about your health.

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Runner’s Knee | A Guide to Causes, Recovery & Prevention

How to Run Faster: Part I

How to Run Faster: Part II

runner's knee

If you have knee pain from running, you are not alone. That pain you feel in or around your knee cap is commonly referred to as “runner’s knee”, and it’s one of the most common overuse injuries for runners.

Whether you’ve gotten used to it or not, knee pain should not be a part of your run.

What is Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s Knee, also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, is defined by Hopkins Medicine as pain in and around the knee joint. The pain occurs during knee-bending activities or from sitting for long periods of time with your knees bent. While runners are hit the hardest, anyone doing high volumes of repetitive knee bending activities, such as squatting or lunging, can also be susceptible.

What are the Causes?

The biggest cause of runner’s knee is overuse. Repeated weight bearing on the knee joint over time, without the proper recovery in between activities, often leads to this condition. Other factors can be at play too, like weak or tight muscles surrounding the knee, poor foot support, and improper running gait; but if you have runner’s knee your best bet is that it’s from overuse. Knowing the cause of your runner’s knee is the first step in recovering and preventing future flare ups.

runner's knee

Recovery from Runner’s Knee

If your runner’s knee stems from overtraining or tight muscles and you’re experiencing mild symptoms, then the following tips can help get you back on the road to recovery. However, if your knee pain stems from an injury or if you are in extreme pain, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider.

Now, let’s get into it. Most advice out there says that the best thing to do for runner’s knee is to stop running altogether until the condition improves. For most of us, that’s not ideal, especially when it takes an average of 4-6 weeks to recover from runner’s knee!

Here are some methods that can help you recover faster.

1. Active Recovery

Active recovery refers to low-stress muscle activation. By lightly engaging your muscles, your body is able to recover faster. Why? Each stage of your body’s natural recovery process is facilitated by muscle activation. Some examples of active recovery include going for a light swim or light bike ride. But, when you have an overuse issue, the last thing you probably want to do is more activity… and that’s one reason many athletes, from pro to weekend warriors, choose to use Marc Pro.

runner's knee prevention

Marc Pro makes active recovery easy and effective, even more so than traditional active recovery methods. You can use Marc Pro while you work, relax, or travel. Also, Marc Pro’s unique technology allows for non-fatiguing muscle activation, so you can use it as long as you need without causing additional damage to the area. By using the Marc Pro knee placement for at least 30 minutes each day, you can see drastic improvement in recovery. We also offer free coaching calls in case you want a more specific protocol. Side note: you can use Marc Pro to recover any muscle group, so eliminating knee issues is just the start. If you have a sore back or tight neck, Marc Pro can help.

For those with a lot of aches and pains, the Marc Pro Plus model also offers a setting for significant and lasting pain relief. You can relieve pain and recover at the same time by utilizing both settings simultaneously.

2. Stretch

Tight hamstrings and tight achilles tendons can contribute to runner’s knee. If you’re feeling tight and are experiencing the symptoms of runner’s knee, it’s a good idea to incorporate some stretching. Stretching is an easy and effective way to loosen up.

Hamstring Stretch: There are a ton of ways to stretch out tight hamstrings. The simple seated hamstring stretch is a great place to start.

hamstring stretch

Achilles Stretch: Using a platform or stair to do some standing toe raises is a beneficial way to stretch and strengthen your achilles tendon, but there are other stretches that will work as well.

What to Avoid

When you’re trying to speed up your recovery, there are some things you are going to want to avoid.

1. Ibuprofen

If you have to grab the ibuprofen for pain, go ahead. But keep in mind that NSAIDS like ibuprofen delay your body’s healing response.

2. Ice

Ice is a common go-to treatment, but did you know there’s no evidence to support its effectiveness for speeding recovery? The doctor who coined the term RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) recanted his position on ice, saying that ice should not be used for recovery and can even make things worse. While it may be able to help relieve some pain temporarily, consistently icing will slow your recovery.

3. Compression

Unlike ibuprofen or ice, compression won’t cause any delays in your recovery. However, it isn’t the most effective way to improve recovery either. Just take a look at how your body’s recovery process works, you’ll see why compression misses the mark.

Prevention of Runner’s Knee

For runner’s knee that stems from overuse or tight muscles/tendons, the good news is that it’s 100% preventable! You don’t even need to cut back on the miles! By having a good stretching routine in place and incorporating active recovery, ideally with Marc Pro for the best results, you can stay on top of your training while feeling your best.

runner's knee prevention
Marc Pro pad placement for runner’s knee

Regardless of what you’re recovering from, the muscle recovery process is the same. So, once you recover from runner’s knee using the strategies above, you can use those same methods to ensure a quick recovery after each workout and make runner’s knee a thing of the past.

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It’s a phrase that can make a pitcher’s heart skip a beat: you need Tommy John surgery. With the rise of elbow and UCL injuries in the past decade, Tommy John surgery has become a household name for those involved with the game of baseball. If you have a child who plays baseball, chances are you’ve been made aware of the dangers that too many innings (hello, pitch count) can have on a youth athlete’s arm that’s still developing.

Where Does the Problem Start?

The problem stems from overuse of the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow. Pitchers engage in a repetitive throwing motion that puts a lot of stress on the elbow and shoulder. After throwing, the arm is fatigued and needs to recover before the next outing or practice. But, you aren’t an athlete to sit in the dugout and you’re not injured yet, so you go out and throw again. This situation creates the perfect storm for an overuse injury.

So what can you to do to help prevent Tommy John surgery? Focus on recovery! During training, practice, games, etc. the muscles in your body are breaking down. What you do in between your outings and training can have a big impact on how your arm feels and ultimately, your ability to perform on the field.

Tommy John Surgery Prevention

1. Get your rest and hydrate

Sleep is a critical part of helping regenerate and recover muscle tissue. For children or teenagers, aim for 8-12 hours of sleep each night, depending on their age. Adults don’t need quite as much, so between 7-9 hours is ideal. If you’ve tweaked something or aren’t feeling 100%, try increasing the number of hours you’re getting at night.

Your muscles and tissues also desperately need water to maintain proper function. Staying hydrated after workouts is an essential part of keeping your body healthy.

2. Improve arm health with Marc Pro

The Marc Pro device is used heavily around all levels of baseball – from youth athletes to the top pitchers in Major League Baseball.

tommy john surgery prevention

All are using for the same reasons: arm health and recovery. The goal with using Marc Pro is to reduce or eliminate soreness before your next outing or practice. For most, you can expect your arm to feel stronger when you go to throw the very next day. It’s also common for pitchers to use the Marc Pro before long toss or warmup to help prepare their arm for the load of activity ahead.

In addition to being in all 30 Major League Baseball training rooms, Marc Pro products are used by elite baseball trainers and facilities throughout the country. Eric Cressey and Cressey Sports Performance are heavy proponents. Driveline Baseball athletes use specific Marc Pro pad placements immediately post-throwing, and countless others including Tread Athletics, Wasserman Strength, and Texas Baseball Ranch incorporate Marc Pro into their recovery routine.  

How does Marc Pro work?

Marc Pro creates completely non-fatiguing muscle contractions that pump fresh blood into muscles and simultaneously flushes waste from the area. This exchange of nutrients and waste is the foundation of post-workout recovery and is what separates Marc Pro from competitors.

Adding a 30-60-minute session with Marc Pro into your throwing routine ensures you are putting effort into keeping your elbow healthy. Which in turn makes you much less likely to suffer an overuse injury. You can also expect to experience less muscle soreness and stiffness. 

tommy john surgery prevention

Protocols for using Marc Pro

If you’re throwing often and pushing yourself during training, you’re probably putting yourself at risk for overuse in the elbow. Not taking recovery seriously can lead to potential injury, and worst-case scenario – Tommy John surgery. Along with getting plenty of rest and focusing on hydration, using the Marc Pro device will help keep you on the field and away from the operating table.

Recommended Articles:

Josh Tomlin of the Atlanta Braves on his Injury Prevention Strategy

Eric Cressey Podcast | The Icing Myth and How to Really Maximize Recovery

Runner’s World vetted hundreds of options to find the gear that will help you reach your fitness goals faster. Marc Pro was named under the Injury Prevention category in the 2020 Fitness Awards as one of the top tools that will help you bounce back and stay injury-free.

runner's world

“In our testing of high-performance self-recovery tools, nothing proved as effective as the Marc Pro. Lofty praise for an electrotherapy device, but it works, helping torched legs recover fast after hard tempo sessions and long runs. The device uses long, gentle waveforms to stimulate muscles without fatiguing them. Although it’s pricey, its ability to reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and loosen tight muscle tissue is worth the money.”

Whatever workout program you’re on, it’s important to make sure you’re doing enough for recovery if you want to keep your body healthy and active.

To read more about what Runner’s World had to say about Marc Pro, check out their full review.

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How to Run Faster with Kelly Starrett

university of delaware

Credentials: PhD, ATC, FNAK, FNATA, FACSM, RFSA, Professor, Director of Athletic Training Education, Editor-in-Chief, Athletic Training & Sports Health Care

At the University of Delaware, Dr. Kaminski directs the professional Athletic Training Education Program and has recently established the University of Delaware’s entry-level Master of Science degree program. Dr. Kaminski is the only athletic trainer in the United States to simultaneously hold fellowship status in the National Academy of Kinesiology, National Athletic Trainers’ Association, American College of Sports Medicine, and the Research Consortium of the Society of Health, and Physical Educators.

What initially attracted you to athletic training?

The profession has always been in my blood. In fifth grade, I started working as a manager for our high school football team. By the eighth grade, I had learned taping techniques and started getting involved with flexibility exercises and rehab protocols with athletes, something that continued throughout my high school career.   

Every month, my high school football coach received the Cramer’s First Aider.  He would always share it with me, and it was how I started learning about Athletic Training as a career.

What does a day in your life look like?

I left the University of Florida in 2002, and have mostly stepped away from the clinical aspect of athletic training. My days are now embedded in my roles as an educator, administrator, and researcher. I teach upper and lower extremity assessment, which are foundational classes for Athletic Training students. I also teach a course titled Evidence-Based Sports Medicine that is fundamental in teaching athletic training students the importance of evidence in supporting their clinical practice.   

What research are you currently conducting?

My research has been focused on two primary areas: repetitive head impact in sports and ankle injuries.

My research with repetitive head impact has been primarily with soccer, where players can use the head to advance the ball. My primary focus now is with youth soccer players and protecting them from any dangers that may be associated with the purposeful heading of a soccer ball and to eliminate the “Bobblehead Effect.” Additionally, I have worked with the United Soccer Coaches to create an on-line educational program for youth coaches called “Get aHEAD Safely in Soccer”

I have also researched ankle injuries and ankle instability throughout the years. I am the co-founder of the International Ankle Consortium and this year, we celebrated 20 years of the biennial International Ankle Symposium.

Since the start of your career, what are the biggest shifts you have observed in athletic training?

There has been a shift in thinking with injury prevention. Athletic trainers are doing a tremendous amount of work in the area of injury prevention. Evidence has grown so much demonstrating that interventions can be beneficial with athletes to prevent injuries including advanced taping & bracing techniques, strength training, and enhanced performance assessments. 

In addition, there have been shifts in athlete recovery. Years ago, it was all about practice and game repetitions with very little commitment to recovery from training and competition. The aspect of athlete recovery, not just in the athletic training world, but in coaching, has changed and now the importance of recovery and ways that it can be enhanced are practiced and refined.  Athletic trainers have had to expand their toolbox to include evidence-based practices, and apply them to help athletes recover better.

Why did you have your students read Gary Reinl’s book, ICED!?

We need to be practicing athletic training based on the best available evidence. Our profession gains more credibility when we use the best evidence. Now the evidence is showing that icing may not be the best practice in all situations. Gary Reinl has done some remarkable work to raise questions about a treatment that has been a mainstay of the athletic training profession for many, many years.

This work has opened people’s eyes about icing. Gary’s book cuts against just using ice because that is what we’ve always done! From this book, our students learn to look at different perspectives and why we need to constantly ask questions in our line of work.

How has the Marc Pro been integrated into your classroom practices?

university of delaware

We teach about the Marc Pro device in our Therapeutic Modalities classes and have purchased several units for our students to gain exposure and experience working with them. Our staff athletic trainers are beginning to utilize Marc Pro devices in their acute and chronic injury treatment protocols and their familiarity with the abundance of uses is growing.  We are looking are also looking to integrate the Marc Pro into a clinical trial research project involving the acute treatment of ankle sprains.

What advice would you give students about recovery?

The most important aspect of recovery is understanding the basic physiology/anatomy of how the body works on its own following injury and training to “heal itself”.  When you have a profound understanding, you can apply those foundational concepts to injury and recovery interventions. You can then ask, “What are these devices, exercises, or interventions going to do to supplement, promote, and advance normal healing?”

What is your favorite part about your work?

The relationships you have with your students both past and present. Being involved in the successes (and sometime failures) and watching them grow and mature into heath care professionals is truly enjoyable and special.

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