Damian Stoy, founder of Wholistic Running, shares tips on how to get better quality sleep to ensure you have more energy and perform better. His article is published in this month’s Endurance News magazine. Click on the article to zoom in if needed.
As a plant-based athlete on the prestigious list of ‘Greatest Vegan Athletes‘, I can attest to the power of a plant-based diet. It has allowed me to run 40 ultra marathons (mostly 50 and 100 mile races) without a significant injury for over 12 years. Eating plant-based has helped my performance, reduced injuries and gives me tremendous energy. A plant-based diet has not only helped me but countless other athletes as and this is why Wholistic Running offers Nutritional Consulting and Online Coaching to help you perform and feel your best. –Damian Stoy, founder of Wholistic Running
Damian & Lindsey are both certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell. Lindsey has an M.S. in Holistic Nutrition for Athletes and is a top-level runner. If you want to learn from the best, find out more about Lindsey and Damian and how they can help you today!
Lindsey and I seek every advantage we can to be more successful and have greater energy and health. We call these benefits ‘Marginal Gains’. They quickly and easily add up to significant benefits that you can see and feel.
We recently tested out Fully Charged, a new product that promises to give you more energy, reduce fatigue and boost your performance using plant-based ingredients such as beet and cherry extracts. We were skeptical at first. But we can honestly say that after over a dozen runs using Fully Charged, we see a significant advantage of more energy, better performance and less fatigue. We’re adding this to our list of Marginal Gains!
You can get Fully Charged at 15% off when you click on either picture or go HERE. Try it out and you’ll see a boost in your runs just like we did.
Damian Stoy is a renowned coach and professional ultra runner. He offers online coaching and nutritional consulting for athletes all around the world.
I use to suffer from many chronic running injuries and had several doctors and physical therapists tell me:
“Give up running.” “Running is bad for you.” “You aren’t designed to run.”
I sure am glad I didn’t listen to them. Since then, I have run over 40 ultra marathons (mostly 50 or 100 mile races) winning 8 of them.
A greater accomplishment is the fact that I ran injury-free for over 11 years after suffering from those chronic injuries. I do specific things that prevent serious injury because I do not want to go back to the days when I was injured and couldn’t run. My passion is sharing how I overcame those injuries and how to stay injury-free with as many people as possible.
Shin splints, runner’s knee, IT band pain, muscle strains and foot pain were just some of the injuries I use to suffer from. Worst of all, I had tendonitis in both knees for two years when I was in college. I was in pain all the time and some days I could barely walk. I went to some of the best doctors and physical therapists and nothing seemed to help. So I gave up running completely.
Two years of not running led to depression and a decline in health. I decided there had to be a solution, a better way. I started researching, read lots of books and found out that if I modified and practiced my running technique, I could maybe run again. It sounded unbelievable and I was very skeptical. But I went out and modified my running technique, running for the first time in over 2 years. To my surprise I was able to run with minimal pain. As the days went past, I was able to run more and more with less and less pain. I was hooked.
Since then I have learned extensively about how to run injury-free as well as increase performance. I have experimented with many concepts and lots of trial and error. Now being a competitive ultra runner and injury-free for over 11 years, I have found what works really well for me and my passion is sharing it with others.
Here are my top tips for injury-free running and greater performance:
1. Listen to your body
Yes, I sometimes have minor tweaks and pains when I train and after 50 or 100 mile races. The important thing is to not let these become injuries that stop you from running. The key is listening to your body. Do NOT ignore these pains. They are a signal from your body that you need to back off, rest AND correct whatever is wrong such as your running technique.
2. Improve your running technique
The major factor that allowed me to overcome chronic injuries was modifying my running technique. In the past I was inefficient and ran with a high impact technique that beat up my body, though I had no idea at the time. For you to correctly modify your technique, do lots of your own research and try different concepts. I highly recommend seeking out a technique specialist to help you with your technique. At a minimum, video yourself running so you can see exactly how you run. Too many runners tell me they don’t heel strike, don’t have imbalances or misalignment issues but most often they do.
3. Improve your nutrition
What I eat greatly enhances my overall health, keeps my energy levels very high and helps me to recover incredibly fast. Again, the key is listening to your body and finding out what works best for you. I have tried just about everything out there and the ‘diet’ that works best for ME for performance, recovery and increased energy is a whole foods, plant-based diet (WFPB).
4. Train smarter, not harder
I am a firm believer in quality over quantity. Training with this philosophy can prevent burn out, decrease injuries and running will be more enjoyable. You will also be more likely to reach your long term goals. Every run you do should have a purpose. Get rid of the junk miles that do not serve a purpose. Cyclic and periodization training are very valuable for reaching long term goals.
There are many good training programs out there. However, most do not focus on injury prevention. I highly recommend looking for a running coach like myself that specifically focuses on injury prevention as well as performance.
5. Other important factors
Cross training and runner specific strength training are beneficial but in my opinion NOT as important as the factors I discuss above. Your foundation should be overall health, an efficient technique and proper training. Strength and cross training will build upon your foundation but too many runners rely on them exclusively for injury prevention.
Damian Stoy is a professional runner, coach, nutritional consultant and founder of Wholistic Running. He offers online coaching and nutritional consultations for runners all around the world.
I’d like to share my favorite smoothie recipe that helps with recovery, performance and weight loss. I drink 3-6 of these a day. Continue reading
Lindsey and I are both certified in Plant-based Nutrition from the Center for Nutrition Studies at Cornell. Lindsey also recieved an M.S. in Holistic Nutrition for Sports Performance. We are both accomplished runners with optimal health and focus on a way of eating that helps us absolutely thrive. We would like to share with you some of the foods we eat so you can achieve optimal health and thrive as well.
What Lindsey and I eat has a huge influence on our abundant energy levels, running performance and overall health. Continue reading
Here are the top foods that Damian and I personally eat:
1. Goji berries are a superfood high in nutrients and one of the world’s highest sources of antioxidants. Goji berries are also an adaptogen that improves stamina and increases energy.
2. Chia seeds are high in omega-3’s which reduce inflammation naturally. Also, just 2 tbsp of chia seeds give you the following RDA’s: 13% calcium, 41% iron, 19% magnesium and 20% selenium.
3. Quinoa is a staple in our diets. Just 1 cup of quinoa provides 39% B6, 22% folate, 75% iron, 47% magnesium and 27% zinc for your RDA and is only 222 calories. That is nutrient dense!
4. Maca is another superfood and adaptogen. We put 1-2 tbsp in our smoothies everyday for added performance, stamina and energy.
5. Sweet potatoes are another staple in our diet. The Okinawan’s, some of the longest living people’s on the planet, diet consisted of about 67% sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are nutrient dense and super tasty.
Damian’s favorite smoothie recipe:
2 T chia seeds
1 cup mixed berries
1 cup mixed greens
12 oz water
handful of goji berries
1 T Maca
-Lindsey Hintz, M.S. in Holistic Nutrition and certified in Plant-based Nutrition from the T. Colin Cambell Center for Nutritional Studies at Cornell, the founder of Wholicious Living and an elite runner
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Running uphills efficiently, quickly and easier is important no matter what level of runner you are. As a professional ultra marathon runner who trains in the Rocky Mountains, I’ve worked diligently on my uphill running technique. Here are some of my tips for road and trail runners.
The Run the Rann 100 miler in Dholavira, India proved to be the most unique and challenging ultra race I have ever done. The combination of GPS orienteering, desert heat, course terrain (including cliffs, 3″ thorns and salt flats) as well as the runners I befriended made for a one of a kind experience that I will never forget.
The base area for the race was spectacular. I met runners from all around the world and the day before the race we explored ancient ruins which were awesome.
The food prepared by the race was absolutely fantastic. It was some of the best food I’ve eaten in my life and I had to hold back and not eat too much new food before the race. I’d wait till after the race to pig out (and I did).
Race morning started out with temperatures in the 60’s. After less than 10 miles when 100 milers separated from the other race distances, we had to start using our GPS units to navigate the race course. This proved to be very tricky and slowed us down a lot. I ran with several other 100 milers for a while as we learned just how difficult orienteering in this desert terrain was going to be for the next day or two. We got lost a lot, had to backtrack and we all got very frustrated with having to run, walk and crawl through thickets with 2-3″ thorns.
I ran with Dan Lawson up until about mile 30. We had run over 3 hours without water (aid station 5 was non-existent, a terrible mistake that led to several runners not finishing) and I become very dehydrated with temperatures approaching 100 degrees. We made it to aid station #6 and I was 100% convinced I was going to quit. Dan continued on and I waited over an hour before other runners came in. Finally, Linda Doke motivated me to continue going and we ran the rest of the race together.
Running at night on the bright white salt flats was my favorite part of the race. Linda and I chatted underneath a nearly full moon and even turned off our headlamps several times and ran under just the moonlight. We were running so fast (or so it seemed).
Linda and I continued to run into the next day and watched the sunrise over the desert. After crawling through thorns, running through salt flats, scrambling up and down cliffs, we finally finished the 100 miles tied for 2nd place in over 32 hours with no sleep and very little stopping. I was incredibly happy to finish to say the least. The race was my most mentally challenging race to date. I’m grateful to Linda for helping me push on and finish together.
After finishing, I almost immediately headed to the dining area and ate at least a couple thousand calories of amazing India food. I then took a cold shower and chatted with other runners about their races. I finally fell asleep later that night exhausted.
Over two weeks since finishing the Run the Rann 100 miler and I do not feel like I have yet processed the race. It was a very surreal experience and I have many vivid memories of the painful, challenging, exhausting yet wildly exciting race. I highly suggest this race if you are a person who seeks extreme challenges, adventure and does not mind a lot of pain. This is not your ordinary ultra marathon. It involves navigation, painful thorns, desert heat and never ending adventure and excitement.
Two days after completing the Run the Rann 100 miler I headed to the Himalayas where I backpacked, camped and stayed with Nepalese families. I gazed at Everest, ate with Buddhist monks, meditated in remote monasteries and ate a lot of great food. I’m amazed I was able to hike 20+ mile days with a heavy backpack so close to a 100 miler. I will write about that adventure soon, stay tuned.
Damian Stoy is a coach, professional ultra runner, biomechanics specialist and nutritional consultant.
I share some of my personal tips for optimal recovery:
1. A soak in a creek or a cold bath/pool will help flush your muscles of metabolic wastes.
2. Be sure to go for an easy walk, hike or run each of the next few days to help reduce soreness and tight muscles. Adequate sleep is also essential.
3. Instead of NSAIDS (aspirin, Ibuprofen) that may have harmful side effects, choose natural, food based anti-inflammatories. An all natural supplement that works really well is Tissue Rejuvenator (Get 15% OFF) from Hammer Nutrition.
4. Drink plenty of water and eat a clean, Wholicious Living diet with lots of natural antioxidants and anti-flammatories such as turmeric, ginger, berries, flax oil and wheatgrass.
5. Try to put your legs up a couple times a day. Compression socks or shorts may be beneficial as well. I wear Correct Toes after races which feel so good and keep my feet healthy.
6. Gentle massage after a race can really be beneficial. I sometimes use a foam roller.
The quicker you recover, the quicker you can get back to doing what you love!
Damian Stoy is a professional ultra runner who has been injury-free for over 10 years. He offers online services, workshops, private lessons and nutritional coaching.