Posts Tagged ‘recovery’

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As a distance runner, you may want to consider incorporating cannabis into your daily regimen to optimize your training and even improve your overall health in between your workout routine.

If you’re an avid distance runner, odds are you’ve encountered a handful of injuries – whether major or minor – during your time hitting the pavement.

While there are a number of conventional aids to help you deal with pain, maintain focus and mental clarity, reduce stress, and improve speed and overall performance, there’s a more natural substance that can be used for all of these and more: cannabis.

As a distance runner, you may want to consider incorporating cannabis into your daily regimen to optimize your training and even improve your overall health in between your workout routine.

If you’d rather avoid the high that comes from cannabis, look for hemp-derived CBD products. These provide many of the positive effects without getting you high – the benefits of cannabis can be reaped without the psychoactive effects of THC.

In fact, more and more athletes are turning to CBD thanks to its plethora of health, wellness and medical benefits. With the legalization of marijuana in certain parts of the country, an upsurge in recreational and medical usage has encouraged studies that insinuate an abundance of positive, healing effects of marijuana – and CBD in particular.

As these studies have emerged to verify the benefits of medical marijuana, a recent ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to remove CBD from their list of banned substances has allowed athletes the freedom to use the cannabinoid, both in and out of competition. Whether used to alleviate pain, reduce performance-related anxiety, or to help recover faster from rigorous training, CBD can be an effective tool for athletes.

How Cannabis Can Help You Become a Better Distance Runner

Over the years, an increasing number of studies have been conducted on cannabis and the cannabinoids within it, including CBD and THC. More specifically, research is focusing on the potential benefits of marijuana. The results tend to point to its ability to alleviate a number of ailments and even improve overall health and well-being – even when it comes to mental health.

But how exactly can cannabis fit into the world of a distance runner? What is it about the properties of cannabis and its cannabinoids that can make the life of a distance runner better?

Fights Fatigue

It’s no secret that distance runners require an abundance of energy to complete their long distance runs, but sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough fuel in the tank. When energy levels are low, performance typically suffers. Just struggling to finish the last mile or two can prove extremely draining.

But cannabis may be able to counter fatigue. In fact, certain marijuana strains may be effective at sustaining energy levels, making it easier for distance runners to keep up with their runs without caving to fatigue.

More specifically, sativa-dominant hybrid strains can help provide a little energy when needed most. Sativa cannabis types are those that tend to provide more energetic cerebral effects, which is why they would be more suitable for those who are looking for a pick-me-up.

On the other end of the spectrum are indica cannabis strains, which have been linked to a sedative effect that’s more suitable for users who are looking to relax and alleviate stress.

Hybrids offer a combination of both sides, with different indica/sativa ratios offering very different effects. How you feel depends on which strains dominate, and sativa-dominant strains lean more toward the stimulant side of the spectrum.

Improves Mental Clarity and Focus

While the physical aspect of training is certainly crucial for athletes when they train and compete, the mental aspect is equally – if not more – important. Being able to focus on training with maximum effort requires a certain degree of mental clarity and awareness.

But it’s not uncommon for athletes – including distance runners – to suffer from brain fog on occasion, which can have negative implications on their performance.

The CBD component of cannabis has been shown to help athletes – and the general public – improve their level of mental clarity so they’re more aware of the task at hand and the surrounding environment. In fact, studies have shown that CBD, in particular, has been showing great promise as a wake-promoting agent.

Helps With Pain Management and Recovery

Long distance runners are known to suffer from specific overuse injuries, particularly in the muscles and ligaments of the lower extremities, for obvious reasons. More specifically, distance runners are more prone to suffering from leg injuries such as stress fractures, muscles strains, and torn ligaments.

Overuse injuries require a certain amount of rest to ensure full recovery before training can recommence. Therapies are often required, including physical therapy or even surgery. But during the recovery process, a certain amount of pain is bound to be experienced, no matter how mild or severe.

While NSAIDs and opioids are typically prescribed to athletes to help them manage their pain, such medications come with a slew of side effects – some minor, but some more severe. Addiction can also arise from the ongoing use of these drugs, which we’ve all seen with the recent opioid addiction epidemic.

Thankfully, there are more natural substances that distance runners can take to effectively alleviate pain and discomfort from injuries without the potential for addiction or side effects that pharmaceuticals tend to have, and marijuana is one of them.

Several studies have linked the use of marijuana and the cannabinoids and terpenes within the plant with alleviation of pain and inflammation. Different types of pain can be targeted and treated, including pain resulting from physical stress and injury.

CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – the two most abundant cannabinoids in the cannabis plant – both interact with the brain’s cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This interaction activates the reward system of the brain and reduces pain levels. While THC also induces a “high” at the same time, CBD can relieve pain without any mind-altering effects.

Promotes Relaxation

Running with tense muscles wastes a lot more energy compared to running in a more relaxed state. Using up too much unnecessary energy can burn you out long before your run is done, and even increase the odds of injury occurring. That’s why it’s important to relax your body before you take to the open road.

Distance runners are encouraged to practice relaxation exercises to help pinpoint and remove any tension from the body. Taking CBD may also be effective at promoting relaxation in distance runners.

Not only can cannabis and CBD products help calm distance runners before big events, but it can also help relax runners them after they’ve completed their training.

Modes of Marijuana Consumption

Smoking isn’t the only way to consume and enjoy the benefits of cannabis. Not only is this mode of consumption irritating to the lungs and bad for overall health, but it can also hinder the performance of distance runners who rely on maximum lung function to sustain long distance runs.
The good news is that there are other ways to use marijuana that are perfectly safe, including the following:

  • Tinctures/Cannabis oils – Marijuana tinctures can be placed under the tongue using a dropper to allow the THC and/or CBD to take effect more quickly by bypassing the digestive system.
  • Edibles – Cookies, brownies, gummies, chewing gum, and candies can all be infused with marijuana and eaten like any other treat.
  • Tablets/capsules – Tablets and capsules are perhaps one of the more convenient ways to use marijuana.
  • Vapes – Rather than burning the marijuana (as is the case with smoking it), vaping only heats the marijuana up just enough to melt the resins and oils.
  • Sprays – Marijuana sprays can be applied orally.
  • Beverages – Like edibles, different beverages can be infused with marijuana cannabinoids for a quick and easy mode of consumption.
  • Topical creams – Topicals are ideal for those suffering from localized pain. Users can apply the cream directly to the area of discomfort to alleviate any pain experienced.
  • Transdermal patches – These can be applied to any area of the body and offer an immediate infusion of marijuana into the bloodstream.

Final Thoughts

Marijuana is a lot more than just a THC-laden recreational drug that gets users high. The benefits of CBD and THC are boundless for athletes and those facing other physical and/or mental ailments.

by Patrick Milroy (web)

The knee is basically a hinge joint, allowing backwards and forwards motion, but it is also able to rotate slightly in on itself. The bending and straightening is controlled by the hamstring and quadriceps muscles at the back and front of the thigh bone respectively, and their size and position affects the angles the legs move at, and particularly the way that the patella (kneecap) moves. Your anatomy and the patterns of your muscle use determine many of the injuries you will suffer.‘Runner’s knee’ used to be known as chondromalacia patellae, but is now more often referred to as patello-femoral pain (PFP). It occurs when the patella fails to move smoothly and centrally through the femoral groove at the lower end of the thigh bones. This is sometimes due to muscle imbalance or abnormal anatomy, but it can also be the result of another injury which causes you to favour one leg in some way.
You’ll either suffer a persistent ache in the kneecap, which worsens with certain exercise, or you’ll feel a sudden, stabbing pain in the knee while running, which eases off when you rest. Sitting with your knees bent prior to a race can make things worse, as can running on hills or hard surfaces.Signs
Despite the acute pain, your joint may look normal. Your knee may swell up, but this is more often due to other knee problems, such as a bursa or Hoffa’s syndrome, in which the fatty pads around the patella become swollen. You will probably have wasted inner quadriceps muscles (the vastus medialis), knock knees (genu valgum), overpronation, flattened longitudinal arches or a twisted tibia. More women suffer from the problem than men, and it often occurs in people with jobs which involve lots of sitting with knees bent.

Your doctor may try Clarke’s test, in which they’ll pull the kneecap towards your toes while inviting you to gently straighten your knee. You’ll feel pain; they’ll feel a roughness or grating as the uneven rear surface of the patella moves through the femoral groove. The doctor will also want to look at the wear of your running shoes.

Medical investigations
Sophisticated tests aren’t normally required. A ‘sunrise’ x-ray of the flexed knee will show if your patella is abnormal, roughened or displaced, and there is little need for scans. As many cases are the result of anatomical variations, having your running gait analysed may enable appropriate corrections to be made to alleviate the problem.

What else could it be?
While primary PFP is simply that, there may well be other influences. Disruption of the ligaments within and outside of your knee, arthritis in its many forms and ankle, shin, thigh and hip injuries may all affect knee movement and produce secondary PFP.

One factor in knee pain may be an inability to lock out the knee. Trying to do so stimulates the inner quadriceps muscles which strengthen and pull the patella straight. In most cases, little harm comes from performing this exercise, however it can make PFP worse if there is an imbalance in your quadriceps muscles and you perform knee extensions on a machine. You will therefore need to perform straight-leg exercises. Change your shoes if they have become worn, and correct any biomechanical abnormalities with orthoses or other appropriate aids.

Medical treatment
Thankfully, steroid injections and surgery aren’t often used to treat PFP. Some physiotherapists successfully tape the patella, drawing it back towards the mid-line, and can teach you how to do this yourself. Knee supports may effectively shift your patella towards the middle, but probably at some biomechanical cost which may itself cause injury. If our maker had wanted us to use knee supports, we would have been born with them. In fact, he did and we have; we have just forgotten how to develop and use them. Other forms of physiotherapy will ease PFP, but controlled exercises form the mainstay of treatment.

Can you run through it?/Recovery time
Within certain limits, the more you do the correct knee-strengthening exercises, the quicker your recovery will be. As for running through it, masochists will have no problem, though probably at the ultimate cost of a worn patella, potential arthritis and other injuries through favouring the limb. Treating the injury makes a lot more sense in the long run.