Author Archive for Linda Patch

Master Your Endurance Nutrition Now! (Video)


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Coach Al and Dr. Strecker present a FANTASTIC Spreecast, Smart Training and Racing Nutrition, jam-packed with nutrition best practices for mastering your endurance nutrition. Tuning in is time well spent to help you master the essentials to eating right, fueling correctly, all while turning yourself into a fat-burning racing machine.

Here's What You Will Learn:

How To Optimize Your Daily Nutrition includes a deep discussion of fat burning and what it's all about.

How To Optimize Your Fueling dives into periodization of your nutrition (just like your training) and presents carbohydrate guidelines

"The Magic Four" explores necessary daily strategies and common pitfalls

How To Fueling During Training pulls it all together

Post your questions in the comments or hit us up on Facebook. Feel free to share the link with your training friends who might benefit from the information!

Enjoy! Learn! Be Great!

P.S. When you watch the full Spreecast, you will see a slide deck. If you would like to move it, here's how. Hover, and you will see "drag window here." Then move it where you would like on the screen. Under the broadcast window works

Coach Al Presenting At Fit Werx New England Triathlon Symposium, February 2, 2013

On Saturday, February 2, Coach Al will be presenting a symposium and workshop at the fifth annual Fit Werx New England Triathlon Symposium! The symposium will be held at Fitchburg State University in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.

The Symposium is a day of seminars, workshops, and clinics led by expert coaches. In the morning from 9-10 am, Coach Al is presenting The Fab 5: The Best Strength Exercises for Triathletes. His discussion will center on:

  • The universal principle of authentic movement that can be applied to all sports
  • Movement quality first
  • How to integrate strength training into a triathlon training plan
  • The Fab 5: basic to advanced progressions
  • Integration: whole body strength development

In the afternoon session, Coach Al will take participants into the weight room and guide proper execution and teach how to progress the strength work as an athlete gets stronger.

To read the full schedule of presentations and to sign up, visit the symposium page at Hope to see you!


Baby Steps: A Runners Guide to Feet, Shoes and Dating (FREE Ebook)

pursuit athletic performanceThis little piggy...hurts! We know how it is. Feet can often be a source of big trouble for runners. Here is a direct download link for Baby Steps: A Runners Guide to Feet, Shoes and Dating, our free (somewhat humorous) guide to your feet, how they work, and how to--finally--pick the running shoe that's right for YOU.

Orthotics? We cover that. Dating? Well, really, not so much! 😎

Here's an excerpt:

Pick up any running or triathlon magazine and you won't read too many pages before a bold advertisement displays the shoes you really need if you truly want to be your best. Some claim to make you faster or prevent injury, others tout the benefits of "running more naturally." One thing's for sure, all of them look cool. And they come in the flashiest colors. And there's some (paid) uber-athlete sporting said (complimentary) foot gear. You know the one. She just posted a new course record at IM Antarctica. She is sweaty and sexy and appears to have been chiseled from a solid block of marble. Not some cheap, domestic marble, mind you, the expensive Italian kind.

You, too, could look like this, race like this and maybe even get a date on Friday night if you wore these shoes.

Then we get serious, and take you on a tour of your foot function, foot form, and mechanics, leading you to figure out how to pick the right running shoe. Hit us up with comments or questions here in the blog or on our Facebook page. Enjoy and let us know what you think!

Spreecast Replay: Roadmap to Success Off-Season Triathlon Training (Video)

Coach Al and Dr. Strecker were in fine form on a Spreecast discussing off-season training for triathletes! A lot of give and take with the athletes, and a TON of info you're just not going to get anywhere else. If you missed it, here's the replay. Have questions, hit us up on Facebook. Enjoy!

Dr. Kurt Strecker: Can You Cure Your Need for Orthotics?

Dr. Kurt Strecker, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Dr. Kurt Strecker, DC, CCSP

A member of our triathlon team asked if there is any he could "cure" his need for orthotics? It's a great question. I happen to be fairly opinionated on this topic, so I thought it was good to share my thoughts and experience here in the blog.

Functionality of the intrinsic and extrinsic foot muscles is extremely important if you want to run injury-free and perform your best. In fact, at PAP feel it's so important, EVERY athlete we work with gets to do the "small foot" exercise. The small foot (or short foot) exercise was developed, or at least made famous, by Vlad Janda. I believe his aim, originally, was to improve proprioception, a.k.a. the body's awareness of where it is in time and space, by increasing the volume of signals going from the foot to the brain. Additionally, it helps to wake up and strengthen the intrinsic foot muscles.

FOOT FUNCTION: This is something we HAVE the ability to impact positively or negatively. It is neuromuscular in nature. In the Western World, we typically wear shoes from the time we are teeny-tiny people. Both shoes and orthotics decrease intrinsic foot muscle activity (which is why we always prescribe small foot and "high heels"--ESPECIALLY for those wearing orthoses). Proper activation and adequate strength of the intrinsic and extrinsic foot muscles is crucial for preventing plantar fasciitis, preventing bunions, and creating an effective spring to attenuate forces and provide propulsion.

FOOT FORM: Short of surgery or overt trauma, this is something we have NO CONTROL over. The shape of the foot and ankle bones, the curve of the shin--we got what we got. A forefoot varus, for example, is a condition where the bones on the big toe side of the foot don't quite want to get to the ground when the back of the foot is in a neutral position. The problem here is that it can overload the middle or little toe side of the foot and cause too much internal rotation of the leg during the gait cycle. The role of the orthotic in this case is simply to bring the ground up to the foot in the places needed and to disperse the loads properly. Imagine you're walking across the face of a very steep hill. The foot on the uphill side will evert, meaning the pinky toe side will be higher than the big toe side. The downhill side will invert--just the opposite. You can make the foot muscles as strong as you like, but you've still got pronounced asymmetrical loading. While it is true that stronger feet will likely last longer than weaker feet, it is easy to see that the owner of these rides is going to have more problems than someone running on a flat surface.

Put in simplest terms, the shape and function of your feet largely impact the tibia. The shape and function of your hips and core have a greater impact on the femur. If either one is deficient, the knees take a beating. If it's not the knees, something else in the kinetic chain will suffer. The weakest link will break.

Orthotics are NEVER the entire solution. Strength, strength, strength. In case you missed that middle part: strength. If the biomechanics of your feet are such that orthotics are appropriate, then it's strength + orthotics. If you're just going through the motions with small foot and high heels, KNOCK IT OFF and do them right! If you need orthotics, WEAR THEM.

Wearing orthotics doesn't make you an inferior runner. Running shoe advertisements, books and magazines have made people believe that orthotics are "bad" and minimalist shoes are "good." THIS IS COMPLETELY ASININE!! It's a total marketing ploy. Athletes sometimes say, "I don't want orthotics. That's not natural running." For humans, walking is much more 'natural' than flying, but who's gonna walk from New York to Disney Land??

They're your feet and your knees, and it's your athletic career. Get serious!

I hope this was helpful. If not, please holler and we'll talk more.

~Dr. Kurt Strecker


Join today for 20% off and a FREE 30 days on the team! Offer good through January 6, 2013. Click here for more information or on the image below!

Pursuit Athletic Performance Triathlon Team

Dr. Kurt Strecker: Ibuprofen and the Risks for Athletes

Hey Everyone!

Dr. Kurt Strecker, Pursuit Athletic Performance

Dr. Kurt Strecker, DC, CCSP

The New York Times recently ran an article on the risks athletes face when using Ibuprofen during training and racing. I want to share my thoughts on the article and on the widespread use of NSAIDS during athletic endeavors.

In my practice, I see many athletes who refer to ibuprofen as "Vitamin I," and that's not such a good thing. There's no question that the non-specific anti-inflammatories (e.g. ibuprofen) can be quite damaging to the gut, and while the COX-2 inhibitors (e.g. Celebrex) may be somewhat kinder to the tummy, they come with increased cardiovascular risks.

The primary role of the gut is to digest food, absorb nutrients and transport solid waste to be... er... deposited. As such, some permeability is required to allow the good stuff to enter the bloodstream while keeping the bad stuff out. Use of NSAIDS, especially chronic use, can make too much permeability and allow passage of undesirable things to enter the blood. The NYT article notes, "In a famous study from a few years ago, researchers found that runners at the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run who were regular ibuprofen users had small amounts of colonic bacteria in their bloodstream. Ironically, this bacterial incursion resulted in higher levels of systemic inflammation." Uh... YUCK!

So, if strenuous exercise and nsaid consumption both contribute to gut leakage, why in the world would you want to do them simultaneously??? And if intestinal bacteria in the bloodstream results in higher levels of systemic inflammation, what would be the point of taking prophylactic anti-inflammatories???

Got me.

In an online discussion about the issue with our triathlon team, one of our members, Kitima Boonvisudhi, MD, weighed in with her reaction. Her expert response response is particularly interesting in regards to the effects of NSAIDS on the kidneys during exercise. She said,

Taking NSAIDs in the setting of dehydration and rhabdomyolysis is damaging to kidneys. I see a lot of people at Ironman take NSAIDs at mile 18 of the run to either decrease the pain of being at mile 18 of an Ironman or some injury pain that has flared up. From an orthopedic standpoint and masking pain from an injury--that's a bad idea. No finish line photo or medal is worth that. From a renal standpoint, I can hear people's kidneys screaming. Will it result in renal failure someday? No one knows, but who wants to test it out and wind up on dialysis in 20 years?

Are there times when it is appropriate to use anti-inflammatory drugs? Absolutely. As an example, sometimes spinal discs and the surrounding tissues can become inflamed. Perhaps there is a disc bulge, tear or even a frank herniation. The fluid from that inflammation takes up space and can exert pressure on the spinal nerve roots and cause excruciating pain into the extremities. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be an important and effective part of treatment and provide symptomatic relief. Obviously, therapy would also aim correct the underlying cause of the problem with exercise, mobilization or whatever might be indicated, but sometimes those cannot be started until the pain is controlled or moderated.

Remember, too, that inflammation is the process by which we heal. In the acute stage when tissue damage occurs, the inflammatory response facilitates influx of the cells required for clean up and repair. No inflammation, no fix. NSAIDS slow that process and may result in poorer repair.

Another thing to remember is we are inundated with advertisements that suggest we should pop a few ibuprofen or naproxen whenever we are uncomfortable. Not a good idea. There are always risks and benefits. Listen to your bodies. If you "need" to take pain medication to get through an event, there's problem that must be addressed.

If nsaids are not the best option, what then should we do?

Ice is great in the first 48 -72 hours following acute injury. It can also be wonderful post-workout. (Just ask the Coach! In fact, you can read his thoughts here.)

Eating an anti-inflammatory diet is very effective. Stay away from sugar. Eating sugar is like throwing gas on the fire. Include in your diet foods like turmeric, cold water fishes, flax seed, nuts, avocado, olives and olive oil. Increase your consumption of omega-3 fats and shoot for a ratio of omega-6 & -9 to omega-3 of 3:1 or less.

I hope this is helpful. Eat well and have a great day!

~Dr. Kurt Strecker


Interested in joining the Pursuit Athletic Performance Triathlon Team? Now's the time! The off-season is the optimal time to set up your 2013 season for your best performance ever. Every athlete starts with a clinical gait analysis and we build your training from there. 20% off all gait analysis packages AND a FREE 30-days on the team! Here's the info.

Coach Al: Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Race Report

Rim to Rim to Rim, r2r2r

THIS WAS THE MOMENT that we'd anticipated so many weeks ago. That moment when we'd be truly tested. This sort of suffering is what many endurance athletes, including me, enjoy in a bizarre sort of way. ~Coach Al

On November 16, 2012, our intrepid coach, Al Lyman, took on the 46-mile ultrarunning legendary challenge, The Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Run. The experience was truly epic for him--as is his race report! It's such a cool story and incredible adventure, we made it into an ebook for your convenience. You can access a FREE direct download by clicking here or on the cover image.

Here are some excerpts from the book. There are lots of training tips and lessons learned applicable to all endurance athletes. And if you know Coach, you know it's all tremednously valuable information on how he trained, lessons learned, and a good dose of uplifting inspiration.

On Timing The Last Long Run:

In my opinion, many marathoners and ultra-runners routinely make the mistake of running their last long run, way too close to their event day. Nearly 20 years ago, first through reading some intriguing research and then by way of personal practice, I learned that if I left at least 4, if not 5 weeks, from the day of that last long run until event day, I'd be more "healed" from that long training run and have a better chance for success on race day as a result. Most runners make this mistake for two reasons: following poorly conceived training plans written by folks who don't know any better, and/or a lack of confidence stemming from a belief that the body will "forget" how to go long. It doesn't.

Coach Al's Philosophy on Approaching the Training:

We all have a philosophy - a belief system - that guides our actions and our thoughts. Every single day, in one way or another, we express our philosophy to the world and people around us, either with the words we use or the actions we take, or don't take.

The approach I took to prepare for this run reflected MY philosophy. This is what I believe. In my mind, I accepted that the ONLY chance I had to be able to finish this run and remain healthy preparing for it was to approach it this way. As I considered the consequences of being wrong I got more excited! I absolutely LOVED the pressure and challenge of seeing what would happen.

The Actual Training and Preparation With A Major Focus on Strength:

My intent and goals were clear. Get as strong as I could, progress my long runs making them gradually more like the Canyon run would be, and be sure to show up as rested and ready as possible on the day, using every "trick" I'd learned over many years of training and racing, to help me get ready.

As I envisioned and planned a training strategy moving forward, the center piece - the focal point of my training, was enhancing strength. NOT the 'rehab' or "muscle confusion" BS type of strength. Real strength. I'd focus on a few key exercises which I know are so important for the abilities I would need, and really work them (on a foundation of solid high quality movement, of course!)

I knew it was the only way I'd be able to handle the increase in running miles and ultimately achieve success on the day. I had no trouble convincing my training partner Tim that the same held true for him. So, he joined me 1x per week in our Lab for 1-2 hr strength sessions where I guided him in a progressive program I designed to enhance our strength. We also, naturally, worked on proprioception and balance (to handle the undulations and knarly, loose rock trail), eccentric strength and resilience (to handle the unending downhill we'd encounter), and just plain old total body strength, especially legs, hips, glutes (to enhance our ability to power the steep ups on the trail and handle the extra weight of the pack, knowing we were going to be out there for hours). I enjoyed those sessions and I know Tim did too.

Lots More!
Tons more good stuff in the ebook including a look at what Al would have done differently, as well as nutrition, and a great section on "What Did I Learn?" Enjoy!

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Kicking off the TEAM with a HUGE Offer!




It's the off season! And NOW is the time to join the Pursuit Athletic Performance Team. It is the most effective time of year to begin laying the foundation for the 2013 triathlon season, which could be your most successful yet! Start NOW so you can experience the full benefit of our sophisticated, integrated training programs.

Pursuit Athletic Performance Triathlon Team

Click HERE
to go to our website to find out more about the team and how to join!

Hope to meet you soon. Get ready to rock 2013!

Coach Al & Dr. Strecker Respond: WSJ’s One Running Shoe in the Grave

Hello Everyone!

Last week the Wall Street Journal ran an article that got a lot of people in the athletic community talking and debating. The piece was titled. One Running Shoe in the Grave.

Here in the lab, we've been talking a lot about this article over the past couple of days. We decided to share our thoughts on the topic with you in the video below.

We know that people on the couch like to throw barbs at runners--and vise versa. But if you take a step back and look at things rationally, there is no doubt that people who exercise live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life overall.

So, is there a limit to the amount of exercise that is healthy? Quite likely. Are there more heart arrhythmia problems in endurance athletes? The evidence is pointing in that direction for sure. BUT, is the stress of a one hour run, the same as the stress of sitting at work aggravated in front of the computer? We would argue that the latter is far worse for your overall health.

In the end, we know there is a dose-response relationship to exercise, and there probably is an upper limit. But, as of right now, we DO NOT KNOW what that upper limit is, and it's likely that it is different for each individual.

So how do you sort through a study with more than 50,000 participants, and make sense of all the variables? In short, it comes down to the simple concept of BALANCE. For us, a 10-minute run isn't going to lower our stress levels to the desired degree. Yet, overdoing one activity will, likely, at some point, lead to diminished benefits. For us, balance has come to mean preserving the running what we love to do by lowering the mileage and offsetting it with progressive strength work. The paradox is this, ultimately, leads to better running performance and longevity in the sport. More enjoyment, better performance, less wear and tear of the feet, knees, and even the heart--a nice running circle of life--all in balance.

There is still much we need to learn about the body and the upper limits of exercise. But here is one thing we believe will never change: establish balance to get the most out of your training for maximum benefit, and for greater health and happiness over the long run (pun intended). 🙂

~Coach Al and Dr. Kurt Strecker

Pursuit Online Triathlon Training Team Coming Soon!

It's on!

We're putting the final touches on our kick-butt, new online triathlon training team.

In just a few days we will be announcing a great discount on our gait analysis packages that will allow you to try the team for FREE!

There's nothing like us out there. 2013 is the year for you to breakthrough! Get strong, train fast, explode your potential!

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