Category Archives for Recovery

Legs up the wall

written by Kerry Gustafson

We're working through a lot of details to open up the Prime Sports Institute this fall. Kerry and I have had to become extra proactive in our own self care routine.

Sleep is essential. Yet sometimes it's hard to tell your brain to turn off.

One thing we've been doing at night before we get in bed is to put our legs up the wall.

It's an actual restorative yoga pose called, Viparita Karani.


  • 1
    Sit on the floor with one shoulder near the wall and your thighs parallel to the wall
  • 2
    Roll onto your back and swing your legs up the wall
  • 3
    Keep your legs straight and relaxed
  • 4
    Support your head and neck with a towel or blanket keeping the back of your neck long
  • 5
    Extend your arms out to the side with your hands in line with your shoulders


  • Place a bolster (or similar support) under your hips so your low back is slightly arched
  • If your hamstrings are tight, separate your legs so your feet are hip width apart
  • Try using a yoga strap around your thighs to let your muscles really relax
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    Place an eye-bag over your eyes for deeper relaxation


  • Take several cycles of long, smooth, slow breaths
  • Imagine all the tension and fluid in your legs draining down, with a feeling of lightness and softness with each breath
  • Feel total support from the floor and total openness of the chest


  • 1
    Remove the support you've used during the pose - either the belt from around your thighs or the bolster underneath your hips.
  • 2
    Let your legs slide down the wall  
  • 3
    Rest with the bottoms of your feet together with your knees wide or with your ankles crossed
  • 4
    Roll to one side and rest for a few breaths
  • 5
    Use the strength of your arms to come back to a seated position


  • reduce swelling and fatigue in the legs - particularly beneficial if you've been on your feet all day, had a day of travel, or had a long day of training and racing
  • reverses the systemic effects of stress and promotes relaxation
  • you may find it helps you go to sleep faster and sleep more deeply


  • Not recommended for people who should avoid inversions: hiatal hernias, eye pressure, retinal problems, heart problems, neck problems, during menstruation. (If you have any concerns about practicing inversions, consult your physician)
  • If you feel discomfort in your low back try bending your knees and place the bottoms of your feet on the wall or cross your ankles loosely
  • Avoid if it creates pressure in the head, after the third month of pregnancy, or if you are at risk for miscarriage

* Resource: Relax and Renew by Judith Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

Aqua Jogging

written by Kerry Gustafson

In the beginning, the AquaJogger® was conceived in Eugene, Oregon USA as a way to take the impact out of running for world class runners like Mary Decker. Mary’s coach, Dick Brown, in addition to training elite runners, was also working with Dr. Bruce Becker (Washington State University) in designing water rehabilitation programs for pre and post surgery patients. Unhappy with the various flotation vests and water ski belts available, Dick began to search for something better.

In 1987 a collaboration between Dick Brown, Dianne Bedortha, a water exercise specialist and Lew Thorne, the president of Excel Sports Science, resulted in a flotation belt design now known as the AquaJogger® Classic. This unique and affordable flotation device soon captured the attention of athletes, fitness instructors and medical professionals around the world and "AquaJogging" was born.

The AquaJogger® is a tool that provides access to the many benefits of deep water exercise. Gravity loads the body causing stress through impact and compression on the joints, bones and muscles. Running and exercise in deep water eliminates the affects of gravity and frees the body to cross train in an effective and safe way.

Aqua running offers benefits to both healthy and injured individuals. In both untrained and post-operative individuals, aqua running offers:

  • Increased strength
  • Increased VO2 Max
  • A non or partial-weight bearing component
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    Improved neuromuscular control and proprioception
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    Decreased heart rate (10-12 beats per minute) and increased RPE due to resistance of upper extremities and lower extremities against water Increased venous return resulting in decreased edema

The benefits of aqua running in trained individuals and athletes include:

  • VO2 Max values similar to land-based training (within 3.8 ml/kg/min) 
  • with improved running economy, core strength, and proprioception
  • Improved strength, respiratory function, and endurance 
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    Decreased compressive loading of the spine
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    Active rest from running without effects of detraining

Further evidence of the value of aqua running include:

Bushman et al demonstrated that distance runners on a 4-week program of aquatic only training maintained running performance, VO2 Max, maximum heart rate, and lactate threshold. Bushman et al noted no difference in 5K time after 4 weeks of deep water running only w Wilber et al report that 32 recreational distance runners maintained a 2-mile run performance after only 6 weeks of deep water running only.

Recommendations for aqua running in trained individuals:

Tartaruga et al report that distance runners replacing 30% of their training with deep water running demonstrated no change in maximal O2 uptake, ventilatory threshold, maximal expiratory volume, running economy, maximal heart rate, stride frequency, length, and time. Martel et al demonstrated an increase in vertical jump of volleyball players with aquatic plyometric training, and an 11% improvement in jumping performance on land.  Robinson et all demonstrated that aquatic plyometrics resulted in the same benefits as land-based plyometrics with less muscle soreness.

  • Intensity must be similar to land-based training 2-3 days per week
  • Durations of 50-90 minutes (90-100% VO2 for 30 minutes, 70-75% for 60 minutes) with deep water running for distance running training
  • Shallow water training for vertical jump training
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    Water shoes/socks are recommended for shallow water running and jumping


  • Increased enjoyment of running 
  • Faster running times
  • Decreased injury risk 
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    Achievement of goals



  • 10 minutes easy pool running
  • 10×1’ at hard effort with 1’ active recovery
  • 10×30” at sprint effort with 30” active recovery 
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    5-10 minutes easy warm-down


  • 10-15 minutes easy pool running
  • 1’, 2’, 3’, 4’, 5’, 4’ 3’, 2’, 1’ at hard effort except the 5’ session which is at tempo effort 
  • Each interval has 1’ of active recovery
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    5-10’ easy warm-down


  • Warm up 10-15 minutes
  • 1’, 2’, 3’, 4’, 5’, 4’ 3’, 2’, 1’ at hard effort except the 5’ session which is at tempo effort 
  • Cool Down 10-20 minutes


  • Warm up 20-30 minutes.
  • 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery
  • Repeat this 5-minute interval 6 times.
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    5 minutes recovery “jog”
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    3 minutes hard, 2 minutes recovery. Repeat this 5-minute interval 6 times. 
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    Cool down 15-20 minutes.

Shin Splints

written by Kerry Gustafson

As cooler autumn weather arrives, it seems to be the perfect time to head out on the trails for a long run. Whether you are running to simply run or you are preparing your legs for turns down Baker in just a few months, nothing puts a damper on those plans like the striking pain of shin splints.

Posteromedial tibia stress syndrome, known to most as ‘shin splints,’ is caused by repeated stress and inflammation of the muscles, tendons and bone tissue around the tibia – where the muscle attaches to the bone. It is very common in runners and jumpers and dancers with a 13-17% occurrence rate. 

KEY POINT: It is important to know the difference from a stress fracture

  • stress fractures are usually a specific point of pain over the bone and can keep you up/awaken you at night,
  • shin splints are more of a stretched pain lingering down the entire shin. In the beginning symptoms may subside after activity has stopped. Over time the pain can become continuous.

The most common factors leading to this over-use injury are:  

  • 1
    improper shoe wear
  • 2
    muscle imbalance
  • 3
    lack of stretching 
  • 4
    non-gradual training  

There are times when the pain does not subside from basic treatment and rest. We may want to make sure you do not have a stress fracture – this can be caused by stress and overuse of the area. An MRI may be suggested to help diagnose a more consistent pain.

Although treatment for both shin splints and stress fractures can heal with a combination of rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ice, stretching, physical therapy, and modifications in training; it is always best to avoid this painful diagnosis all-together. For runners, shoes need to be switched out every 300-500 miles, or every 4-8 months.

With simple modifications such as properly fitting footwear, cross training and slowly building your fitness level, you may avoid this pain creeping into your legs.