Coach Spotlight – May – Alex Amankwah

Coach Spotlight – May – Alex Amankwah

We take your training and recovery at FRC seriously. That’s why we have the best team to help support you. From Olympians, professional runners, Ironman athletes and other highly experienced running and training coaches, our coaches have the experience to empower all levels of runners to train to be their best! Our coaches all share a PASSION for running and are here to get to know you and make sure that you find your formula and achieve your goals.
Alex Amankwah is not just an FRC Coach, but is also a member of the District Track Club. He is 28 years old and was born in Ghana Accra and raised in Los Angeles, California. Would you believe that Alex originially had no interest to run, however, his high school basketball coach insisted that he try out for the track & field team… and the rest is history! His personal best is 1:44.80 (800 meters), he is an 8 x All-American, 2015 World Championships qualifier, 2016 Olympian, 2017 World Championships qualifier and 2018 Commowealth qualifier.
To learn a little more about Alex READ MORE HERE.
Member Spotlight – May – Liz O’Reilly

Member Spotlight – May – Liz O’Reilly

Our members come from all walks of life and are of all strides. Our Member Spotlight is one way to get to know your fellow runners.

This month’s Member Spotlight is on Liz O’Reilly:

Background (Age, Gender, Birthplace, and Running Experience): Elizabeth O’Reilly but I go by Liz.  I am 48 and was born and raised on Long Island, NY.  I started running in college, inspired by a roommate who was an avid runner, and became a more dedicated, avid runner during graduate school.  With most of my classes being in the evening, I had more time on my hands during the day and filled that time with running.  At first I would be amped about going 3 miles but the more I ran, the more I wanted to run and the further I wanted to challenge myself to go! I have been running fairly consistently for many, many years, but only got really  hooked on racing within the last 10 years or so.  On a whim I signed up for the Army Ten Miler years ago–never thinking I could run 10 miles, but again, the more I ran the more I wanted to run and with that one race under my belt, I was HOOKED!! Years later a work colleague encouraged me to sign up for races of longer distances, and on my 40th birthday, to mark the occasion, I signed up for my first half. Runners get it, but my non-running family and friends think I am crazy to actually pay to run 10 or 13.1 miles- which are my favorite distances! 

What is your formula? What are the common classes or recovery elements this member does/uses? I generally try to do 3-4 classes a week, I’m hoping to incorporate more recovery into my routine- which is something that I was never very good at before and something that really attracted me to FRC.  I like formula run, tread and train, and formula train.  I think doing those classes with some good outdoor runs has really helped me sharpen my technique and has helped me work on my speed (thank you Jim and Carol!).

Why did you start running? For me, there’s nothing better than those post-running endorphins! I love getting lost in a run, to the point where I forget how far I have gone–those are the best kind of runs, and what keeps me coming back for more.  Also, as a cancer survivor, running makes me feel strong, empowered, and healthy, and you can’t put a price on that feeling!!

Favorite quote? I have several favorite quotes but the one I think I like the best and one I often repeat to myself when I start feeling fatigued, is “mind over matter, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”–it’s a great reminder of how far you can go and how much you can do if you put your mind to it.

What is your PR in your favorite distance? As noted above, my favorite distances are 10 milers and half marathons. My best time for a 10 miler is 1:31 and for a half is 2:02. I am a bit haunted by those 2 minutes on my PR half time, I admit!! and am working hard to get in a 2 or under time.  I was hoping to do that this year–I was scheduled to run the NYC half and the Brooklyn half this year, as well as the Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and the GW Parkway Classic, but given the current situation, I will keep working at it so that I can crush it in 2021. 

Favorite workout music? I am stuck in the 80s as far as my running playlist goes–thank you, Carol, for your 80s tunes at FRC.  Those tunes get me going and keep me going–and sometimes even get me singing during my runs!

Why did you join FRC? I joined FRC to help me get back into a more consistent running regimen after taking a bit of time off due to family commitments and crazy jobs.  FRC has really helped me refocus on my goals and get back into a routine.  For months I waited for the studio to open, so intrigued about the idea behind FRC, and being a member has been better than I could have imagined.  It really is like a family.  In class I feel like we are training as a team and everyone is very supportive of each others’ goals,  the recovery options are awesome, and it’s just a top notch place to be–a training facility with coaches like no other. I’m so glad to be a part of FRC-I feel spoiled and fortunate to be a part of such an awesome place.  Run strong everyone and here’s to seeing everyone again soon on the treads! 

If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our Member Spotlight, please email i[email protected]
Member Spotlight – April – Lucas Davis

Member Spotlight – April – Lucas Davis

Our members come from all walks of life and are of all strides. Our Member Spotlight is one way to get to know your fellow runners.

This month’s Member Spotlight is on Lucas Davis:

  • Background (Age, Gender, Birthplace, and Running Experience): 25, Male, grew up in Needham, Massachusetts, I started running about three years ago, and did my first marathon in the Fall of 2017 (Marine Corps Marathon), from there I’ve done 4 Marathons, 3 Half Marathons, and 2 Half Ironmans
  • What is your formula? What are the common classes or recovery elements this member does/uses? My favorite class is the tread and train class because I like to have some time to work on strength training to prevent injury (I’m not always good at doing strength training on my own!) I also really like the compression sleeves (Normatec), I have my own pair and use it 4 or 5 times a week and it really has helped with recovery and continuing to do longer workouts as I train for my Ironman
  • Why did you start running? Both my parents are big runners and so after graduating college I decided I wanted to run my first marathon, after doing my first marathon I really enjoyed challenging myself and continuing to try and get faster and beat my time, I also wanted to start training for my first Ironman and so have been building up my endurance over the past couple of years. I plan on doing my first Ironman with my dad who has been doing Ironman races for years
  • Favorite quote? “Great moments are born from great opportunity” from the Miracle on Ice Movie (1980 Winter Olympics)
  • What are your hobbies? Outside of running/triathlons, I have played ice hockey all my life. I started playing hockey when I was four years old and played through high school and played on the club team at University of Maryland, after I graduated college I have been playing every once in a while in a mens league in Arlington.
  • What is your pre-race ritual (meal, sleep, general preparation, etc.)? Post-race?Why did you join FRC? My pre-race ritual is usually eating a big pasta meal the night before, and then morning of I usually have a bagel, bulletproof coffee, and a banana an hour or two before the race, I joined FRC to work on my strength training as it relates to running, and workout with a community of people who are focused on running and enjoy running as much as I do.
  • What is your PR in your favorite distance? 3:28:10 in the Chicago Marathon last year.
  • Do you have a favorite class/service: Favorite class is T&T (Tread & Train)
  • Do you have any races lined up in 2020? Goals for 2020? My main goal is Ironman Lake Placid in July (where the 1980 olympics were held from the quote above!). (** Lucas was signed up the Rock N Roll Half Marathon and Cherry Blossom 10 Miler) and is planning to race the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon, Ironman 70.3 CT, and the Marine Corps Marathon.
  • What has been your favorite part of being a member at FRC? I really enjoy the people at FRC and the connections I’ve made since I joined as a member, I like being around other people who love running and who push each other every day and have fun doing it too! I’ve also really enjoyed being able to workout with Ali a few times a week and seeing her and other members continue to improve their running and reach their goals.
If you or someone you know would like to be featured in our Member Spotlight, please email i[email protected]
Coach Spotlight – April – Ralph Navarrete

Coach Spotlight – April – Ralph Navarrete

We take your training and recovery at FRC seriously. That’s why we have the best team to help support you. From Olympians, professional runners, Ironman athletes and other highly experienced running and training coaches, our coaches have the experience to empower all levels of runners to train to be their best! Our coaches all share a PASSION for running and are here to get to know you and make sure that you find your formula and achieve your goals.
Ralph Navarrete is our newest FRC Coach! Ralph was a hurdler and cross country runner in high school.  After graduating college, he started running half marathons and marathons and has been hooked ever since!
Ralph’s “Formula” is “Your input into training (workouts, recovery, and nutrition) directly affects your results, so if you want to succeed, you’ve got to stay disciplined.  We’re all human and aren’t perfect, but sometimes we have to decide what’s more important to us at the moment – our race performance or whatever else is going on in life.  The key is to not make poor excuses about why you can’t do something.  Trust the process, and embrace all the days where you got things done.”
To learn a little more about Ralph READ MORE HERE.
4 of the Top Direct Benefits of Recovery

4 of the Top Direct Benefits of Recovery

4 of the Top Direct Benefits of Recovery

We’ve all been there. You’re starting your workout and your quads are flat out hurting. It’s that “cant-walk” fatigue from yesterday’s workout. A slight forward lean, stiffness in the low back – perhaps even tight calf muscles have you running slightly “off.” Proper recovery and wellness are essential to maintaining peak performance, staying healthy and reducing the potential for injury. In fact, to get the most out of your workout it is necessary to add recovery to your routine. 

Recovery will be different for different people. Each runner has their own formula, that unique mix of training, recovery, assessment and educational services that leads them to crush their performance goals. While some runners may focus on passive recovery like maintaining a better sleep schedule or getting smarter about their diet and nutrition, others use active recovery methods like whole body cryotherapy, compression sleeves and other recovery elements. Regardless, each runner should strive for structured, consistent and holistic recovery. 

Importance of Post-Workout Recovery

Your post-workout recovery is just as important as your workout. Runners of all strides can benefit from simple recovery. Recovery helps:

  • Maintain Peak Performance: Reducing inflammation, reducing muscle fatigue and walking into each workout with endless stores of glycogen (the primary fuel for your muscles during exercise) means that each and every workout you can give it your best.
  • Stay Healthy: Recovery helps make durable athletes and improve overall well-being. When you properly recover you give your body the elements it needs to recuperate on a short and long term basis.
  • Reduce the Potential for Injury: Countless runners are plagued by stress fractures, runner’s knee, shin splints, and more. Routine recovery can help prevent these common problems. 

In order to ensure that you can run your fastest and perform at your best, you must train at your best, but you must also value and prioritize your recovery. Here are four of the top direct benefits of recovery. 

1. Reduce Inflammation and Fatigue

Stiff muscles after a run? Tense after a Crossfit WOD? Wake up in the morning and feel like you were hit by a brick wall? This is inflammation – and it comes in many forms. Runners of all strides must consider two forms of inflammation – muscle and joint. 

Muscle inflammation can cause sore and aching muscles, restricting your range of motion when you are running or working out. Running is repetitive and can put pressure on the joints. Joint inflammation can cause pain while exercising and may also lead to sore knees, hips and ankles which could lead to further injury. In order to combat this soreness, many athletes use compression sleeves, cold water soaking tubs or even cryotherapy. Whole body cryotherapy is like using ice-packs or icing down after a workout but with more consistency and well-rounded benefits delivered to your entire body. Research on whole body cryotherapy has been shown to reduce muscle inflammation by up to 40%. This reduction in inflammation will help you become a more durable runner and stay injury-free.

2. Improved Circulation and Blood Pressure

Circulation and blood flow carry essential nutrients to working muscle tissue which can improve your performance during a workout and help you recover faster after a challenging training session. Improved circulation, especially within a 48-hour window of exercise, can help better manage post-workout fatigue and soreness. This improvement in circulation will help you alleviate that annoying pain you feel the day after a hard workout.

Athletes use a variety of recovery techniques and tools to improve their circulation after workouts like compression sleeves and full spectrum infrared saunas. Unlike your parent’s old-school sauna which only heats the air, and therefore only the surface of the skin, full spectrum infrared saunas penetrate human tissue, muscle cells and can raise the core body temperature – resulting in lower blood pressure and improved circulation. Additionally, compression sleeves use dynamic pressure to move fluids through your arms and legs and improve circulation. These sleeves are commonly seen on professional athletes and Olympians before and after some workouts. 

3. Improved Flexibility and Mobility

Flexibility and mobility help keep muscles and joints healthy by allowing a full range of motion. The first thing that comes to mind for most people for flexibility is the one-minute static stretch routine they perform at the end of each long run. However, it’s not that simple. Active recovery elements like foam rolling and stretching classes and sports massage therapy will help with tissue repair,  decrease fascial restrictions and to improve your dynamic mobility. Focusing on improved flexibility and mobility will help athletes stay healthy and reduce the potential for injury. 

4. Improved Mental Health

Running involves mental toughness and grit. Sometimes, mindset is the only thing holding you back from pushing through your first 5K or your next training plateau. Certain recovery elements can help aid in reducing stress which will help in training, overall well-being and mental health. In fact, yoga for runners classes can create a sense of calmness and concentration to allow for both a physical and mental recuperation. Additionally some recovery elements, like whole body cryotherapy, improve mental health by helping release endorphins.

Recovery Starts at FRC

Whether you are at home or at the facility, listen to what your body is telling you and learn how much recovery you need to be adding into your formula. Our goal has always been to inspire the runner in everyone and help them find their formula. In order to keep you happy and strong, FRC will always bring you the best in high performance recovery. So if you want to maintain peak performance, stay healthy and reduce the potential for injury, add in some recovery to your workout at FRC.

Pre and Post Race Nutrition Tips

Pre and Post Race Nutrition Tips

Pre and Post Race Nutrition Tips

Whether you are a runner, triathlete, weekend warrior or jogger, all athletes and runners can benefit from wholesome nutrition and proper hydration the day before and after a race. You must consider that your event may only be one to two hours of the day but your overall performance will depend on what type of nutrition you’re putting in your body leading up to and the day of the event. The longer your race, the more of a factor your nutrition will be in order for you to perform at your best. Healthy and wholesome pre and post-race food will enrich your body and give you the proper nutrient levels to optimize your performance. Proper nutrition can even help decrease recovery time, limit injury and even help fuel your next training session.

In order to perform at your best and not throw away months of training, proper race-day nutrition is critical. Runners of every stride and fitness level are unique and each person’s diet, formula and needs will vary. That being said, nutrition shouldn’t be something you look at exclusively for race day, this should be a priority during training and leading up to race day too. Our recommendation is always to seek the help of a dietitian or even get some nutritional counseling, however, here are some general tips for nutrition before and after your race:

Tip 1: Hydrate

Hydration is key to your success. Properly sequencing out and consuming water throughout the week, not just on the big day, will help you stay at the appropriate hydration level. Each runner is different and each race varies in length, so recommendations vary for how much water to consume. Generally, the amount of water is based on how far you are going to run and how much you weigh. A rule of thumb is to drink 16 ounces the night before the race and another 20 ounces two to three hours before the start of the race. 

Hydration levels can be difficult to judge so one of the easiest ways to check if you are hydrated is by looking at the color of your urine. You may compare to the Armstrong chart, or as a rule of thumb, you want your urine to be a lighter or more transparent yellow than lemonade. If your urine is darker than this, you need to consume more water.

Hydration is imperative to doing well in your race, however, you must also make sure to replenish your system’s sodium and potassium levels as you lose water. This can be done with food or by adding a sports drink to your regiment. Consuming too much water without enough sodium intake to match will give you hyponatremia. Hyponatremia is when your system lacks the amount of sodium it needs to function at an optimal level and you begin experiencing headaches, nausea, muscle weakness, or cramps.

Once your race is over, chances are you’ve lost some water and you will need to replenish yours system. A good practice is within 30 minutes of your race ending, drink about 20 ounces of water for every pound you lost during the run. Additionally, ensure you are incorporating a sports drink with electrolytes or some food to help you replace lost sodium and potassium.

Tip 2: Source from Unprocessed Foods

Although it may be convenient to grab a protein shake on your way back from a long-run, after your race or otherwise, whole foods are superior in most ways. These are fruits, vegetables, lean meats, legumes and whole grains. These should be the largest portion of your caloric intake and will provide a good source of protein, carbohydrates, fats, micronutrients and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are essential for inflammation control which will aid in your recovery.

Tip 3: Lock-in Your Pre Race Nutrition

Pre-race nutrition can be confusing. Should you exclusively eat pasta at the spaghetti dinner and hope for the best? We think not. Make sure you are looking at your intake over the entire week leading up to the race before you start chowing down on fettuccine. Additionally, you should also aim to get in some protein the day before your race to maintain glycogen levels and not overwhelm your gastrointestinal system. While carb-loading can work for some better than others, each runner should consult a dietician to see what is recommended for their formula. If you are looking for a place to start for some popular pre-race foods you can consider the following:

  • Whole Grains – Bulgar, oatmeal, quinoa, whole grain pasta and amaranth are staples in the running community for a reason. Whole grains provide a good source of carbohydrates which can improve glycogen storage, but they also contain good amino acid spectrums (which can help with energy and recovery.) 
  • Dark Berries – Tart berries like cranberries, elderberries, and blueberries contain antioxidants and Vitamin C. These are both essential elements to reducing inflammation and improving blood flow. 
  • Sweet Potatoes – The unsung hero of the running world, sweet potatoes contain Vitamin A, a good source of the amino acid L-Leucine and beta-carotene, which function as a potent antioxidant. 

PRO TIP: Antioxidants can help to limit the damage caused by Reactive Oxygen Species (a fancy way of saying oxidative stress). Oxidative stress can impair muscle function and a diet higher in antioxidants may protect against this. 

Tip 4: Eat Familiar Foods

Eating healthy and wholesome foods is great for providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs to perform at a high level but runners should also consider eating foods that their system is familiar with. You’ve likely been training extensively for a race or competition so there is no need to try anything new or elaborate the day of or the day before your race. Eat foods that your body is used to eating when you are within 48 hours of your event, competition or workout. In other words, this is not the time to try any spicy food challenges. Many runners develop their own favorite combinations of food or routines, however, this will come with trial and error during training.

Tip 5: Get the Proper Caloric Intake 

Finding the proper amount to consume is a balancing act. You don’t want to be heavy before a race just to get the proper amount of calories. You can overeat. Conversely, you don’t want to be hungry during a race or “hit the wall.” As all runners are unique and races vary in length, each person will require different amounts to perform at their optimal level. Make sure you consult with a registered dietitian or get nutritional counselling to find your formula. A general rule of thumb for carb-loading leading up to race day is to eat about 4.5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of bodyweight per day. 

For some races, the start time can constrain what food you can consume. Generally, the longer time you have before an event the more complex foods you can eat. This longer time will give your body time to digest. While the day of foods have the the most effect on your race, those four hours or closer to the race are the most important. Your focus should be on the window 4 hours before the race, however, if your start time does not allow this, you can pick the appropriate amount of food with your given window below:

Number Of Hours Before RaceCaloriesExample Foods
1 Hour Before Race100 – 200 Calories Banana or Clif Bar and Water
2 Hours Before Race200 – 400 CaloriesOatmeal with Berries and Water
3 Hours Before Race300 – 600 CaloriesToast with Peanut Butter and Fruit Juice and Water
4 Hours Before Race400 – 800 CaloriesVegetable Omelette with Toast and Fruit Juice and Water 

After your race is over, you will also want to make sure you get some nutrients back into your system, especially within the first 60 minutes of finishing. While the amount you consume varies depending on the length of your race, aiming for consuming a 0.5 gram per pound of bodyweight of carbohydrates and around 25 grams of lean protein will help muscles repair.

Tip 6: Replenish Over Reward

You crushed your race, set a personal record in the 10K or ran negative splits the entire time and now you’re thinking of what treat to give yourself. Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich? Cold Beer? The best reward is to treat your body with wholesome nutrition. 

  • Lean Protein Sources – Fish, wild meat, legumes and some white meat can be your best foot forward when it comes to repairing tissue. 
  • Cruciferous Vegetables  – These are the family of vegetables that feature cauliflower, cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and many other leafy greens. Cruciferous vegetables contain a plethora of micronutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K but they also contain phytonutrients, a plant-based compound that has been shown to reduce inflammation and even protect against chronic disease. It should be noted that these should not be eaten before a race as they can act as gas-forming foods that will weigh you down.

Your body will appreciate you for helping it replenish some of the nutrients used during your race!

Join The Tread Empire

Pre and post race nutrition is something that changes over time and involves trial and error. To learn your formula and take your training to the next level, try out one of our nutritional counselling!