Advancing health through science, education and medicine

Mental Preparation for Competition

By: Greg Chertok, M.Ed., CC-AASP

While race day or game day itself is often exciting, unpredictable and public, the training that prepares us for the big day can be anything but. The grueling, tedious and monotonous nature of preparation, typically done away from public view, can make sticking with a training program difficult. In this article, we consider the mental challenges of adherence and tips to get through training as well as the big race or game.

What hinders lots of athletes, whether recreational or highly competitive as they prepare for competition is the repetitiveness of training. Running the same routes and performing the same drills every day, after a while, can strip us of our motivation to continue. While repetition is key to mastery of a skill, new trails, new routes, or new routines can be the ticket when the excitement of training begins to dwindle. Read More.

What Is Periodization?

By: Cherilyn McLester, Ph.D.

Periodization is a programming tool where individuals, typically athletes, implement training cycles that take several things into consideration including when peak performance is needed. Periodization is an organized and purposeful approach to training that considers both the physical and physiological adaptations that need to occur while reducing the risk of overtraining. Any individual training for an event will benefit from using a periodized approach. Read More.

Recovery Modalities for Training

By: A. Lynn Millar, PT, Ph.D., FACSM

In the search to maximize training and improvement performance, many are now looking at what is done during recovery as a component of the entire training/performance routine. Many recovery modalities have been touted as the answer to post-exercise fatigue and reduced performance. There are three potential benefits that may be considered: immediate recovery (right after the activity), short-term (between sets) and recovery between training bouts. We will focus on training recovery, as this is the most common question from athletes and those participating in recreational competition. Some of the modalities that have been used include vibration, whole body immersion (usually cold water or contrast; cold then warm, alternating), compression garments, massage, electrical stimulation, heat or stretching or pharmacologic measures, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Read More.


Q: I am getting ready to compete in my first half marathon. In my training, I have been following the advice of friends who are runners and consulting books/websites. Race day approaches, and my resources instruct me to begin "tapering." What does that mean?

Good luck with that race! And, may we suggest that you add the following to your library of training resources: ACSM's "Training Considerations for Novice Recreational Runners," found in the 2014 ACSM's Certified News. To taper properly you must have trained properly; this resource will help you do that.

Read More.

The Athlete's Kitchen: Taking Your Diet to the Next Level

By: Nancy Clark. MS RD CSSD 

Some athletes are still on the "see-food diet." They see food and they eat it. Others are a bit more mindful about how they nourish their bodies; they put thought into selecting high-quality foods that invest in good health, quick healing and top performance. They commonly report they have taken their diets to the next level. For some disciplined and dedicated athletes, the next level is a perfect diet with no sugar, no processed foods, no desserts and no "fun foods."

While aspiring to eat quality foods is certainly a step in the right direction, eating too healthfully can sometimes create problems if the food policy becomes a bit too zealous. Is birthday cake really a bad-for-you food? (I don't think so.) Is gorging on vegetables really best for your body? (Not if your hands acquire an orange tinge from having eaten too many carrots, or if you experience recurrent diarrhea due to an excessively high-fiber diet.) Read More.

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