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Category Archives: High altitude training
I recently had the opportunity to work with a some great personal trainers, and movement educators in their domains, the gym and personal studios. A common thread I was made aware of seemed to be a bit of an insult, looking in on the training as a non participant. I am wondering if this is taught, or just something that some trainers fall into?
In screening movement and reeducation, it seems to be common place to use the word “try” rather than “do”. In performing the screening of movement function, the trainers would cleverly discover a movement pattern dysfunction: ankle flexion, hip extension, trunk rotation, rib basket expansion, etc.
Moving on to the reeducation segment of the training. The trainers, armed with the information of dysfunctional segments of movement in the kinetic chain, would use the word “try”. “Try to bring the hip into extension.”, “Try to feel the glute max fire as you come through this portion of extension.” With a simple reassurance that the tissue was not firing, a sideways glance, or a slight chuckle, the trainer may now has the client in the position to become a junkie, a student, a follower.
I am curious, at which phase these trainers move into saying things like “Bring the hip into extension.” or “Feel the glute max fire as you come into extension.” with some positive verbal reinforcement and kinesthetic cueing?
I can’t recall if it was my Mom, track coach, Boy Scout leader or who at some point I heard the phrase “There is no trying, only doing.” This phrase has been ingrained in my brain and being. If I really want something, this is how I approach it, and I share this with my clients. I like to see my clients succeed as quickly as possible.
I invite your feedback, please help me understand this.
By: Jim Estes, USATF
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – (September 20, 2009) – Matt Tegenkamp (Portland, Ore.) and Amy Yoder Begley (Portland, Ore.) won the respective men’s and women’s titles Sunday at the USA 5K Championship in Providence. Tegenkamp, 27, the reigning U.S. champion at 5000 meters on the track won his first U.S. road title in 13 minutes, 57 seconds, while Yoder Begley, 31, the 2009 USA 10,000 meter champion on the track and USA 15K champion, ran 15:27 to add the 5K road title to her collection of 2009 crowns.
As a field of more than 10,000 runners toured downtown Providence for the 20th CVS Caremark Downtown 5K, the lead men’s pack passed the first mile in 4:30 with Ben Bruce (Eugene, Ore.) leading defending national champion Anthony Famiglietti (Knoxville, Tenn.), Tegenkamp, Bolota Asmerom (Oakland, Calif.), Jordan Horn (Flagstaff, Ariz.) and Ian Burrell (Flagstaff).
By two miles, the lead group had thinned to about ten men with Asmerom assuming the lead ahead of Famiglietti and Tegenkamp.
Making the final turn off Canal Street and up the only major hill on the course, Tegenkamp made his move around Famiglietti and Asmerom to kick to a one-second win over Asmerom. Famiglietti was timed in 13:59 for third as Horn and Burrell captured fourth and fifth (U.S.) in 13:59 and 14:01, respectively.
In the women’s race, three-time Olympian Jen Rhines (Mammoth Lakes, Calif.) led a deep field of women through the first mile in 4:54. As the lead women passed two miles in 9:50, the contenders were narrowed down to Yoder Begley, Rhines, Rebecca Donaghue (State College, Pa.) and Sara Hall (Mammoth Lakes).
With about 800 meters to go, Yoder Begley made her move, but Donaghue and Rhines held on until Yoder Begley had last push at three miles to pull clear for the title. Donaghue held off Rhines by one second for the national runner-up position, running 15:30. Hall took fourth in 15:33 and Katie McGregor (St. Louis Park, Minn.) finished fifth U.S. in 15:50.
The USA 5K Championship was the eighth stop on the 2009 USA Running Circuit (USARC) and paid $30,000 in U.S. prize money with Tegenkamp and Yoder Begley taking home $5000 each as national champions plus $3000 as overall race winners.
The 2009 USARC, a USA Track & Field road series featuring USA Championships from one mile to the marathon, attracts the best U.S. distance runners. The 2009 USARC has ten events each for men and women. Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Oakland, Calif.) currently leads the women’s standings with 59 points, while Famiglietti tops the men with 49 points. For more USARC information, go to: USATF.org
20th CVS Caremark Downtown 5K: USA Championship
Providence, RI, Sunday, September 20, 2009
1) Matt Tegenkamp (OR), 13:57, $8000
2) Bolota Asmerom (CA), 13:58, $5000
3) Anthony Famiglietti (TN), 13:59, $3000
4) Jordan Horn (AZ), 13:59, $1500
5) Andrew Lemoncello (GBR), 14:00
6) Ian Burrell (AZ), 14:01, $1000
7) Bado Worku Merdessa (ETH), 14:05
8) Stu Eagon (WI), 14:07, $900
9) Aucencio Martinez (CO), 14:09, $700
10) Phillip Reid (CA), 14:10, $500
11) Ben Bruce (OR), 14:12, $300
12) Mohamed Trafeh (CA), 14:14, $100
1) Amy Yoder Begley (OR), 15:27, $8000
2) Rebecca Donaghue (PA), 15:30, $5000
3) Jen Rhines (CA), 15:31, $3000
4) Sara Hall (CA), 15:33, $1500
5) Mary Cullen (IRL), 15:48
6) Katie McGregor (MN), 15:50, $1000
7) Molly Huddle (RI), 15:52, $900
8) Renee Metivier-Baillie (CO), 16:02, $700
9) Amy Mortimer (RI), 16:05, $500
10) Salome Kosgei (KEN), 16:10
11) Amy Hastings (CA), 16:11, $300
12) Lindsay Allen (AZ), 16:23, $100
Full race results at: www.cvsdowntown5k.com
I copied this article to my blog because it raises some interesting points about pain. Not all are entirely agreeable to me, but it is thought provoking.
‘Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.’ So goes a well-known but anonymous quote. For many athletes, pain is a normal everyday experience and success is often achieved in spite of pain. But what’s the best strategy for coping with and overcoming pain and how can athletes distinguish between benign and potentially damaging pain? Matt Lancaster looks at the latest evidence
Pain is synonymous with sport. Endurance athletes relish the challenge of ‘pushing through pain’ while boxers expect to fight on regardless of a jarring blow to the chin. Adulation is reserved not just for the star rugby player, but anyone who can play through pain and contribute to the team. Winners and heroes overcome pain. Losers don’t.
But the price of pain can be high. Pain both demands attention and creates fear(1). It can restrict the ability to concentrate on performance and take away the opportunity to compete. Pain can even end sporting careers. The relationship between pain and sport is filled with challenges for sportsmen and women as well as those who support them. However, although pain of some description is no stranger to most athletes, it’s still a curious phenomenon in many ways. For example, consider the following questions:
* How are some people able to shrug off a painful injury?
* How can two athletes with the same injury experience different pain?
* Why do some pains seem to last ‘forever’?
* Why can some people compete, seemingly regardless of pain, while others struggle to overcome even a minor niggle?
This article will explore these questions, offering practical advice about when it is appropriate to perform in the presence of pain, when you should consult a professional, and how to best approach pain in a sporting environment.
The diagnostic dilemma
If you tear your hamstring muscle or sprain an ankle it hurts – obviously. Since the 17th century, the medical and scientific world has sought to diagnose pain by identifying the particular tissue that has been injured. For example, the philosopher René Descartes proposed that a pure pain sensation is transmitted from the damaged body to an entirely separate organ, the mind, just as… pulling on one end of a rope…makes to strike at the same instant a bell which hangs at the end(2,3). Descartes separated the body from the brain, and even today it is usual for people to make a distinction between physical pain and mental pain(3,4).This is especially the case in sport.
However, there are some problems with this classical view of diagnosis. For instance, an extensive network of nerves supplies the various tissues in your back, making them potential sources of pain when injured(5). It follows that if you can identify the damaged spinal tissue, for instance using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), it should be possible to explain the pain.
The problem is that while MRI findings of severe damage to the discs or nerves is associated with the experience of pain, studies have failed to demonstrate a clear relationship between the majority of tissue damage observed on MRI and the patient’s pain(6). What’s more, almost 40% of people who have no history of back pain have abnormal, damaged spines at more than one spinal level when scanned using MRI(7)! Likewise, the damage shown by ultrasound investigations of athletes with painful patella tendons (jumper’s knee) does not necessarily correspond directly to the degree of pain experienced by the athlete(8).
This doesn’t mean that identifying the injured structure is not important or that it isn’t crucially involved in your pain. But looking to tissue damage alone (which is both frequent and often quite subtle in sporting injuries) to explain the relationship between pain and sporting performance is probably not sufficient.
A painful process
Another theory, first proposed in 1965, suggested that far from acting like an old-fashioned telephone exchange, your brain and spinal cord can actually increase or inhibit the transmission of pain signals(9). Gate control theory was revolutionary because it proposed a mechanism for the brain to have a modulating influence on the generation of all pains, and not just mental pain(10). While the original theory has been modified and expanded, it has essentially stood the test of time and been supported by 40 years of scientific research(11).
If you listen to the language people use to describe their pain, it soon becomes apparent that pain is quite simply pain, and is not separated into physical or mental compartments. All pain invokes not just a pure sensory response, but a range of thoughts and emotions also(3,12) and pain emerges from the integrated, combined action of the pain system(2,3). Simplistically, this system can be viewed as three separate parts of the nervous system, all of which modulate pain.
How do some people shrug off a painful injury?
Remember that following an acute injury, such as an ankle sprain, pain receptors are first stimulated by the mechanical stress and strain placed upon the tissue. ‘Inflammatory soup’ soon floods the tissue leading to peripheral sensitisation. Several hours later, similar chemicals will also lead to spinal modulation(19). Pain and sensitivity to movement and pressure increase over a period of a few hours; the time between the transition from the original mechanical pain (which may pass) to the maximum sensitised state may provide athletes with a ‘window of opportunity’ to shrug off their pain and continue competing.
However, this mechanism is probably only the tip of the iceberg. When you are totally focused on your opponent, or consumed by the contest, supraspinal and spinal modulation may act to inhibit the transmission or limit the awareness of the pain signal(18). We’ve all heard stories of sportsmen and women who have continued despite an injury which (theoretically) should have caused them to stop: a boxer with a broken hand, rugby players with torn ligaments, a long jumper with a strained hamstring etc. In the cut and thrust of competition, the pain system can ‘shut the gate’, and athletes are able to continue in spite of injured tissue(18). However, once your attention is drawn back to the acute pain (particularly following competition), awareness of the pain becomes strong again, especially if this also coincides with an increase in peripheral and spinal modulation.
So, should you ignore pain and try to shrug off an injury? Acute sensitisation is a normal, helpful process to encourage you to stop using the injured tissue and avoid further damage(20). It might be helpful to ask yourself the three questions in the box below.
There are a few other questions, which are perhaps even more important. We’ll get to these later. But remember, acute pain usually occurs for a good reason. It makes sense to seek professional advice as soon as you can. Sometimes people can overcome acute pain and continue to compete, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a wise decision!
How can two athletes with the same injury experience different pain?
Studies have confirmed that people respond differently to similar levels of painful stimulation(19). Differences exist not just in our individual sensitivity to a painful stimulus, but also in our perception of pain and how we display it. Pain is individual, even when the stimulus is not, but while we cannot know exactly what someone else is experiencing, our brains undergo quite similar activity when confronted with someone else’s pain(21). This is the basis for empathy and acknowledging someone’s pain is normal and important.
Our individual sensitivity to pain is in part explained by our genetic makeup (22-24), while studies involving twins have shown that learned behaviours are also important (25). Again, the division of pain into real and mental is unhelpful and the variation in pain between two athletes with the same injury lies at all levels of the pain system. Even for the same athlete, pain sensitivity varies under different circumstances, and perhaps not surprisingly, can become significantly less during competition(26).
It’s also worth noting that different groups in society may have significantly different pain responses, and this applies within sport. A study performed 40 years ago demonstrated that contact sport athletes could tolerate experimental acute pain for longer than non-contact athletes, while both groups could tolerate more acute pain than non-athletes(26).
Pain sensitivity may also be different in different people at different times; the way athletes display that they are in pain can vary, both between individuals and also between groups of athletes from different sports. It might be an extreme example, but imagine a footballer who could potentially be rewarded with a penalty responding to the pain from a kick in the shin. Now, assuming the tissue damage is equivalent, think about the same incident involving a Thai kick boxer who is in the middle of a title fight. Get the idea?!
Why do some pains seem to last forever?
During ongoing or chronic pain, adaptive changes at all levels of the pain system often outlast their usefulness in helping us protect injured tissues. Movements and pressures that would otherwise be normal continue to cause pain long after the risk of further injury has passed and often even once the tissue has essentially healed.
Examining possible tissue damage remains important when considering ongoing or recurrent pains, but a broader approach is required to address an athlete’s fear and anxiety about their ongoing pain and help them return to their sport. Focusing too much attention on pain can actually increase pain(18). It is probably more helpful to concentrate on working hard to strengthen the tissues at a sensible rate, regain normal fitness and aim to return to training.
Providing an appropriate environment for people to overcome ongoing pain is important and not always easy in sport. Coaches or team-mates who are angry at or ignore athletes with ongoing pain may contribute further to those athletes avoiding the very things that will help them return to full activity (such as a rehabilitation programme), and generate further anxiety that doesn’t help either(27). Getting this balance right and remaining positive is therefore important. People who develop an exaggerated, negative mindset towards their ongoing pain have been shown to experience both increased pain and emotional distress(28). Pain is a normal part of sport but the right mental approach can prevent it from becoming a catastrophe.
Does this mean it is OK to ignore ongoing pain? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Once again consider the three Cs. Any pain that has been present for more than a week or so, or keeps returning periodically is worth getting checked out by a professional who can not only assess for tissue damage but can also understand your pain and hopefully point you in the right direction before the maladaptive changes to your nervous system become entrenched.
Why are some people able to compete, seemingly regardless of pain, while others struggle to overcome even a minor niggle?
Although pain (especially acute pain) is related to tissue damage, this damage alone is not sufficient to explain pain fully. Pain is not just a sensation but results from the interaction between sensory inputs and brain processes, such as emotion and conscious thought. And pain is individual, not just to you as an athlete, but also to the time, circumstance and environment you find yourself in. Within the mechanics of the pain system, individual variation and modulation occur subconsciously, which helps to answer this question.
To ultimately address the relationship between pain and sport however, it is necessary to consider one further aspect of pain: your own ‘personal values’. We’ve already considered the three Cs as a guide to considering how to act in the presence of pain; however, as anyone involved with sport knows, making decisions about athletes in pain is often a judgement call. The three C questions only have meaning if we add a further, more personal line of questioning:
* Am I prepared to cope?
* How important is contributing a worthwhile performance to me?
* Am I prepared to suffer the consequences?
Having a pain killing injection two days before an Olympic final, regardless of the risks, would seem quite a reasonable thing to do for most elite athletes if it was the only way they were able to compete. Under similar circumstances, few casual joggers would agree to the same injection just days before a fun run. Entering a boxing ring, running 100 miles a week or crashing into a rugby scrum is not for everyone. Some people can continually and repeatedly overcome pain for the sake of their sport because they are prepared to. Sometimes they are rewarded with success, and sometimes, despite their desire to cope and contribute, their body succumbs to the consequences. Winners and heroes overcome pain sometimes. Losers often try and fail. Perhaps the most successful sports people are those who best understand the relationship between pain and performance: they are prepared to overcome pain, but make wise, informed decisions about when it is worthwhile trying to do so.
This post was copied from www.pponline.co.uk
1. Pain 2005; 113:235-240
2. J Bone Joint Surgery 2006; 88-A:58-62
3. Pain: The Science of Suffering (Columbia University) 2000; 17-31
4. Pain 2005; 113:238
5. Clinical Anatomy of the Lumbar Spine (Churchill Livingstone) 2002; 187-214
6. Phys Ther 1998; 78(7):738-753
7. N Eng J Med 1994; 331(2):69-73
8. J Ultrasound in Medicine 2000; 19(7):473-479
9. Science 1965; 150:0071-9
10. J Electromyography and Kinesilogy 2004; 14:109-120
11. B J Anaesthesia 2002; 88(6):755-757
12. Anesthesiology 2005; 103(1):199-202
13. Swiss Med Weekly 2002; 132:273-278
14. Acta Orthopaedica Belgica 1998; 64(4)
15. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2001; 45:1121-1127
16. Can J Anesth 2002; 49(6):R1-R5
17. Annu Rev Neurosci 2003; 26:1-30
18. Brain 2003; 126:1079-1091
19. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 2005; 26(3):125-130
20. Topical Issues in Pain 1 (CNS Press) 1998; 45-57
21. Pain 2006; 125:5-9
22. Human Molecular Genetics 2005; 14(1):135-143
23. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1999; 96:7744-7751
24. Pain Practice 2005; 5(4):341-348
25. Arthritis & Rheumatism 2004; 51(2):160-167
26. Sport Jrnl 2003; 6(2)
27. Pain 2005; 113:155-159
28. Clinical Jrnl Pain 2001; 17:52-64
Wow, what a race! Fam (Anthony Famiglietti) trains at altitude in Flagstaff, and gets his massage at Stay Tuned Therapeutics. While he’s here we have been keeping his Myoskeletal Engine tuned up, and working on breath work! Gotta watch the race…
Did ever tell you about the time I was FIRED from the prestigious Northern Arizona University’s Altitude Training Center after 6 years of dedicated service?
On March 29, 2007, A Flagstaff masseur, Robert P. “Bobby” Thiem Jr., who admitted to fondling female clients was sentenced on three felony counts involving sexual misconduct, netting him 6 years in prison. (see story)
So, I, Geoffrey Bishop, was not the rapist, but somehow the state’s “risk management” team, the insurance company for the university, NAU human resources, and the directors of the center found that I was unfit to work one on one with the worlds “greatest” athletes. (Just in case I was a rapist?)
I was told by a representative of the center that all of the massage programs, campus-wide, would be cut due to liability on the part of the state.
There are a few points that insult me the most…
1. I was lied to.
2. The therapists that kept their positions were both female, and unlicensed.
3. I was told to keep it quiet, or I would not receive the “unofficial” referrals from the directors to visiting athletes. (which I did, against my better judgment)
I still have a big handful of international athletes who utilize my services when they visit, but it’s really not about that. It’s more to due with the anger I have had with the institution since this time. They were able to pimp me out, and I stood by and let it happen. I feel bad for the two people who lost their jobs in this recent abolishment of the Center for Altitude Training. I feel bad for the folks who have to make these decisions. However, athletes will still come to Flagstaff to train. We will still make our money in the community, and the people who made these decisions will have that weight on their mind.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Northern Arizona University is closing its Center for High Altitude Training as a result of the university’s budget reduction, according to an afternoon press release from the NAU Public Affairs Office.
Two regular NAU staff members and two temporary employees will lose their positions as a result. Since its opening in 1994, the center has hosted elite athletes from around the world—about 80 percent being foreign swim teams.
Closing the Center for High Altitude Training will save the university up to $230,000 a year.
“This is not an easy decision for the university leadership,” said Mason Gerety, vice president for University Advancement. “But in this time of crisis we have to make difficult choices that will be in the best interest of all of Northern Arizona University.”
Last week, the state Legislature proposed spending reductions for the Arizona University System of $243 million for the remaining few months of the current fiscal year and $388 million for fiscal year 2010, which begins July 1. NAU’s share of the cut would be about $31.2 million for FY09 and almost $50 million for FY10.
Since June 2008, Northern Arizona University has trimmed about $10.5 million in budget reductions. At the same time, NAU experienced the highest percentage enrollment growth—6.9 percent—in the Arizona University System. It has had 15 percent enrollment growth since 2005.
The university has policies and practices in place for classified staff employees facing layoffs, which includes a 60-day notice. Service professional employees are subject to the conditions of professional service, which requires a 90-day notice for non-renewal. Additionally, Human Resources offers assistance in finding employment for employees facing layoff or non-renewal.
NAU will begin closing the center immediately but will honor commitments to a few teams that have scheduled visits through the end of the fiscal year.
“The staff has done good work, and this is a tremendous loss,” said Gerety. “However, this is a time of unprecedented budget cuts and we have to look for savings throughout all areas of the university.”
The center has never been self sufficient, Gerety said, and its duties are far removed from NAU’s core mission of providing exceptional undergraduate and graduate education as well as distance learning and research.
In 2004 the Center for High Altitude Training was designated a U.S. Olympic Training Site. “Losing the designation will be a loss to NAU and the community,” Gerety said.
Representatives of the U.S. Olympic Committee and community leaders have been notified of the university’s decision.