Portrait Doctor Brian Mahaffey Sports Med lab coat lobby

Nutrition is like Training. You need to Start Early

You’ve trained hard for months to run your race. A little bit of attention to what you eat and drink before the race can make sure all that hard training pays off.

During the week leading up to the race, slowly increase the amount of carbohydrates you eat and drink. You should peak in the last two days prior to the race. Drink plenty of water and electrolytes before race day. If you start the race behind on hydration, you likely won’t perform at your peak, and your chances of having a medical issue go up significantly. This is also a good time to cut down on caffeine, which can slowly rob your body of the water it needs.

Be sure to drink plenty of water during the race. Hydration is critical, in moderation. Too much water decreases your sodium levels and may lead to severe medical issues. In addition to water, give your electrolytes a boost with sports drinks, energy gels, chews, jelly beans, etc. Keep in mind, this isn’t the time to try something new. Many runners will have gastrointestinal issues if they try to use a product their body’s not used to.

Just like before the race, good hydration and diet are very important to your recovery. The first hour after the race, it’s vitally important to replace half the fluids and electrolytes lost during the race. The last half should be replaced over the next day. The easiest way to judge how much fluid you need is to weigh yourself before and after the race. Then drink one liter of fluids per one pound of weight loss. Stretching and massage can also help to improve blood flow and get lactic acid build-up out […]

April 2nd, 2014||

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

Race day is inching closer every day, and that decision (you know the one you made on a whim to sign up for your first half or full marathon) is about to come to fruition.  Just a few more weeks and you’ll be standing at the starting line anxiously awaiting the sound of the gun.

Sometimes, this late in the game getting out for your scheduled runs can be laborious and downright miserable.  However, those particular training runs are what separate the men from the boys, the women from the girls. Those training runs are the ones that allow you to dig down deep and keep placing one foot in front of the other until you reach the finish line.  There comes a time in each race where you will doubt yourself and your abilities, but those training runs allow you to crush that doubt under the soles of your feet with each step. So when you hear the voice of the doubters, push it into the deep dark recesses of your brain, and silence it with the sound of your feet on the pavement.  Lace up your shoes, grab your goo, and put on your gear, because your training has prepared you for this and you will accept nothing but success! – Ian

Ian is a Fitness Professional that has been working in and around the St. Louis area for the last 10 years.  Most days you’ll find him at the gym or spending time with his family.  He has worked with people from all walks of life and is passionate about helping regular people reach their fitness goals.  You can read more about him at his blog or you can find him at […]

March 20th, 2014||
Lionheart image

Proper Gait Starts During Your First Stride

By Mike Aiello – Lionheart Fitness

Whether you’re training or racing, the start is the most important part of your run. Several kinesthetic aspects must be paid attention to as you take your first stride. Always remember, that your first stride will set the standard for stride and proper foot placement throughout the run.  One of the big problems I see regularly when coaching runners is that they run with the engine behind them. What I mean by this is simple, and something that you might have done or have seen others do. Often runners who start poorly, will begin to run with their heels behind their hips keeping their knees lower to the ground. Almost as if they were doing butt kicks in P.E. Class. This is a serious issue, as the stride most likely will remain far too short. Once the runner’s momentum begins to carry them, it is very difficult to correct stride length appropriately. The next common issue is the position of the pelvis. Often times runners who were running with their heels behind them will also have a slight lean of their shoulders forward, keeping their hips too far behind them and slows proper acceleration. This is a direct result of the gate being too short and proper knee placement is happening from the first stride.

Where does the power come from then when the runner starts poorly… what powers them forward? A runner with the poor gait is running with only the quadriceps and IT bands to power them forward – systematically taking the hamstring and glute out of the equation. Thus you are only using a portion of your body’s full muscular potential.

The perfect start:
As the runner begins they should […]

March 11th, 2014||
ashley i love running

Take Advantage of Local Resources

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet today. I am a very independent person. However, I think that can be a weakness if one does not know when to compromise. I have learned that when it comes to something that you may not know too much about, but are diving in head first, that’s a GREAT time to set your pride aside and compromise. Ask for help. Marathon running is not just an accomplishment, it’s a sport. Both men and women have been accomplishing and competing in distance running for decades, if not centuries. As you know, I am training for my very FIRST full marathon. I know that I am not alone in this venture, and that many of you will be accomplishing a new distance at the GO! St. Louis Marathon Weekend on April 6. That being said, ASK FOR HELP!

I’ve said over and over now that it is important to do your research. However, you cannot learn everything that you need to learn about running, gear, nutrition, training, etc. all from the computer. Sure, the internet can tell you a marathoner’s experience and what they used. But it cannot talk back to you when you want to go over YOUR body and how it has been reacting. This is something that has become very instrumental in my training. If you need help, there are amazing running companies spread all across St. Louis with employees who are likewise runners, ready and willing to help. In fact, through my experience, they LOVE to help and/or share their knowledge with anyone and everyone about running and what comes with it (even if you do spend an hour asking every question you can […]

March 4th, 2014||
Mike Lionheart Fitness

New Guest Blogger Lionheart Fitness to Offer Training Tips

Hi, my name is Michael Aiello with Lionheart Personal Training, and a new guest blogger on Finish Line Feeling.  Lionheart is a family-owned  strength and conditioning training center, serving the St. Louis running community. Our staff has been coaching runners, racers and athletes of all ages for over 23 years. As a life-long coach with a Master’s Degree in Athletic Development, I have created a system to strengthen the hips and core that will build speed and a stronger, safer run. Look for our first blog “the power of the start” coming Monday March 10th. Feel free to visit Lionheart’s website to learn more about the training center.


March 3rd, 2014||
Runner StnMtn

Hills: Are You Man/Woman Enough?

There are times after a good hill workout that make you question your sanity?  And I’ve gotten many a cross look when I suggest to a friend or client to add hills or stairs (hills and stairs are like twin brothers, hard to tell them apart but there ARE subtle differences) as a part of their training.  In essence the prescription is pretty easy find the longest most ridiculous looking hill and sprint to the top of it, then rinse and repeat, until you cough up your spleen (I kid, I kid).

In all seriousness hill training is as bad as I’ve made it out to be, and utilized properly in your training it can be a great tool to improve your performance.  The trick is to understand why you should implement hill training, and what you stand to gain from implementing it. In order to better understand the benefits of hill training a conversation of the bodies energy systems might help.  I’ll start by covering the benefits gained from an energy system standpoint however, there are quite a few other benefits of hill training, not just more efficient energy systems.

At a basic level we have one of three energy systems that our body uses to fuel our activities, and it just so happens to not use any one system in isolation, but rather parts of every system based on the demands placed upon the body.  The first system (phosphagen system for the geeks out there like me) is for high power output or very high intensity activities like sprinting or weightlifting and only kicks in for a short window of time, about 10 seconds.  The second system (glycolysis again for the geeks) is for […]

February 14th, 2014||

In It For The Long Run

“Don’t let fatigue make a coward of you.”       -Steve Prefontaine

When it comes to the long run, whether you are training for a race, or you simply just want to put some time in on your running shoes…it will push you to your limits. Don’t let that scare you. Instead, embrace the challenge and make that longer distance your triumph. Trust me when I say, it will be painful on the way there, but when you make it the distance, you will be astonished and proud of what your body can do! Here are a few helpful tips that have helped me in my training and long runs thus far:


When you go on your long run, do everything you are going to do on race day. Also, use this time to experiment with what is going to work best for you come race day during the race. For instance, I have been experimenting with Gels and different Gatorades lately on my long run to see what will work best to supply me with the energy I’ll need to make it to that golden finish line! If you can, go in the morning around when your race time will be to test how long you’ll need to be up to prepare for the big day!


So many people have opinions on what is right to eat the night before and the morning of your race. However, EVERYONE’S body is different and handles different foods and amounts in a different way. The night before your long runs, try to eat what you are considering eating the night before your race. The morning […]

February 11th, 2014||