5 Ways to Train Through the Pain

Alter G Treadmill

This article has some helpful advice. For example, this makes perfect sense:

Activities such as swimming and rowing are not great alternatives to running because, while they stimulate the cardiovascular system, they are arm-dominant versus leg-dominant movements.

But, I love it when I find nuggets of hype to quote. For me, it’s just fun to read this stuff…

The Alter-G antigravity treadmill is, in my opinion, the single most important running-related invention in history.

Props to Matt Fitzgerald at Active.com

Pounding Pavement by Heel or Toe

Heel or Toe forefoot striking

Yay! Another study on running form. What I love about this one is this…

But a noteworthy new study may help to quell the squabbling, by suggesting that each style of running has advantages and drawbacks, and the right way to run almost certainly depends on what kind of runner you already are.

So, I read this as do what works for you. I love this part…

In essence, the findings show that you can’t escape the cumulative impact of running, however you stride, said Juha-Pekka Kulmala, a Ph.D. student, now at the University of Jyvaskyla, who led the study.

That’s fine. This is one of the major reasons that runninghype.com exists: because there is no right way to do things. But, many people try to tell you so. That’s what makes this site fun, because I get to tell you.

Enjoy the article over at the NY Times.

What Runners Should Know About Protein

Protein for Runners

It’s nearly 2014, so by now you should know that protein is good for a runners body. But, if you have concerns about not being able to use your metric food scale at home, don’t worry, this article will help you determine the number of grams of protein you need and when.

To gain the full benefits of protein’s power, most sports dieticians and nutritionists recommend getting 10-20 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing a run, and some say even sooner

Read ore at Active.com.

Oh No! Barefoot Running Stumbles

mens-health-barefoot

Several years in, and the hype and discussion about barefoot, or natural, running, is still going on. I enjoy reading the many articles out there, including this one.

The 2011 L.A. Marathon was going well for Joseph Gabriel. After 26 miles enduring a cold rain and gusty winds, he was still on pace to break four hours—his goal after four months of training. But as he turned onto Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, with the finish line in sight 300 yards away, he felt a sudden tug above his left ankle.

And then it gets into the good stuff…

The problem? “People took our paper, which was about a very small, limited topic, as telling them how to run,” Lieberman says. “Running is a complex skill that you can’t learn how to do just by taking off your shoes.”

Read the whole article at Men’s Health.

Tips to Avoid Injury for Half Marathon Training

Usually, half marathons are underrated. I mean, I usually read tips on how to train for marathons but rarely about half marathons. Seriously.  Even though you’re supposed to run for only a half marathon, necessary precautions should also be followed 100 % to avoid injuries. Here are rules of thumb  to follow when preparing for a half marathon to reduce chances of getting injured.

Don’t be too enthusiastic

This is common with new runners. Starting to train for a first half marathon can be very exciting. When new runners start to feel the improvements in their performance from one run to the next, and begin to see significant improvements when they look in the mirror, it is really easy to get carried away with enthusiasm and train too hard. Unfortunately that can often lead to a highly demotivating injury, which always occurs at the most inconvenient time.

Listen to Your Body When Training

The first important thing for all runners to do is to listen to their body. Often nagging aches and pains are a warning that we’re pushing too hard. Most injuries give a warning before becoming serious. That is the time to stop, have a few days off running, then start back very gently, being wary of any further warnings. It may be frustrating to have a few days without running, but that is much better than having an enforced month off. And even while you are off running you can still do some cross training or other exercises so the time is never wasted.

 

Read the full article at dailyrunningtips.com. 

Photo copyright by Flickr user cybrgrl.

 

How to Deal with Dog Attacks When Running

Dogs are man’s best friends. They can be a runner’s (best) enemy too! Running in the neighborhood exposes runners to threats of a dog attack. I know how terrible it is! I have a friend who had been chased and bitten  by 2 dogs when she had a jog  around the village one early morning.

Runners and dogs

It’s a sad fact that runners get bitten by dogs more often than ‘regular’ pedestrians. Apparently runners unleash their hunting instincts. Jim Fixx advised in his Runner’s book to pretend to pick up a stone to scare dogs off. But I’m not convinced about this method. It seems to me it would be smarter to actually pick up a stone.

Another tip I read somewhere is to pretend you’re a mad person. You have to act all weird, making odd noises and movements. But personally I think this will only stimulate dogs more to bite you.

Then there’s Pet Corrector: a bottle of air, that makes a hissing sound.  And of course I’ve still got my Dazer, which is lying somewhere in my cupboard, but now I’m thinking I should get it out.

10 steps: how to deal with scare dogs

I found this great article How to Handle a Dog Attack: 10 steps. It even has pictures in it.

 

Read the full article at Mom’s Home Run. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user State Farm. 

Practicing Yoga Makes a Stronger Runner

It has been told many times over that practicing yoga brings a lot of benefits. Aside from the meditative and stretching nature of yoga which really improve one’s well being, yoga has a lot more to offer.  This article summarizes how practicing yoga makes a stronger runner.

Focus on what you hope to get out of a yoga class – it is not to turn you into a yogi but for you to integrate yoga to be a stronger runner. Don’t be worried that you’re not flexible enough – putting your foot behind your head has no relevance to your sport or your success in it so that won’t be your goal or outcome and that’s okay! As you develop more body awareness and intuition about your body’s messages, make sure that you focus on making it your practice and ask for modifications in postures if they don’t feel good in your body. It is not a weakness to ask, everyone has their areas they need to work on. What a runner may lack in range of motion, usually makes up for in strength and endurance on the mat. That’s why it is called a yoga practice.

Suggested Read: Runners and Yogaphobia 

Isn’t yoga “just stretching”?

While yoga will absolutely help in the area of range of motion, yoga also focuses on strength and balance. Doing the physical postures (asanas) with intelligent sequencing will open the body gradually, releasing muscular tightness and increasing joint movement. This is important to ensure there is enough suppleness in the joints and muscles to avoid loss of natural shock absorption and increase stress on the joints. But the great thing about yoga is that in addition to releasing tight muscles, it also builds strength in the body –addressing weak areas and muscular imbalances created by the repetitive running motion, awakening deep stabilizers that will improve performance when fatigue takes during long runs, and toning muscles not primarily used in running (upper body, spine, core) when they should play a role to make us more efficient runners.

 

Read the full article at Runners Feed. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user lululemon athletica. 

Tips for Runners on How to Strengthen Immune System

It’s easy  enough to get cough and colds in this breezy autumn season.  Being a busy season for runners, health should not be taken for granted. Aside from training your legs, you should also consider this season to train your immune system! Here’s how:

TWEAK YOUR TRAINING
Long, slow runs (90 minutes or more) use slow-twitch muscle fibers, which feed on simple sugars, the same fuel as the immune system, says Michael Ross, M.D., medical director of The Performance Lab in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. “It sets up a resource battle between the exercising muscles and the immune system, with the immune system losing out,” he says. While you probably don’t want to give up all your long runs, you can scale back on mileage by replacing a medium-distance day with a high-intensity interval training (HIIT): Instead of a slower run over 1.5 hours, for example, do a series of eight intervals where you’re running at 80 to 85 percent of your max for four or five minutes, with two minutes of recovery in between. Also, avoid increasing both intensity and volume at the same time, says Dr. Ross, a sports physician. After upping your mileage, give yourself a two-week buffer before adding a tempo workout. A good prerace taper also helps your immune system recover.

MANAGE STRESS
The body recognizes vigorous exercise as a stress factor: Hard workout or bad day at the office, it all looks the same to your internal fight-or-flight response. Add to that the mental angst that often goes along with race preparation, and it’s no wonder runners are prone to colds. All the more reason to work on your mental balance, says exercise kinesiologist Andrew Johnston. “Studies show that meditating for 20 minutes a day can lower stress,” says Johnston, the founder of Triumph Training in Atlanta. “But you can break that up over the course of a day.” The easiest way to start is to focus on one breath: Inhale slowly through your nose, pause, exhale slowly. Aim for 10 breaths, gradually adding time over several days. On your rest days, try going for an evening stroll, taking a tai chi class, or doing yoga. “These kinds of restorative activities are a good complement to an aggressive training schedule,” he says.

Read more tips at Runner’s World. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user William Brawley. 

 

The Fundamental Components of a Fit Runner

What is fitness?  When someone asked me that question, I would simply answer –  the state of having  good health, as simple as that! Now, it’s your turn, how do you answer the same question? Fitness may not be as simple as we think. It has several aspects which are elaborated on this reading.

But fitnesss is comprised of much more than simply endurance (though that’s most important for runners!) and if we want to reach our potential or prevent injuries, we have to work on all the building blocks of fitness.

These building blocks are also known as biomotor abilities, which USA Track & Field (USATF) defines as the “abilities in the biological and motor domains that enable success in athletic performance.” In other words, they’re the specific components of fitness that, when put together, help you succeed in any sport.

There are five biomotor abilities that enable you to kick ass as an athlete:

  • Strength: the ability to produce force (lifting heavy weights)
  • Speed: the ability to move very rapidly (sprinting)
  • Endurance: the ability to resist fatigue (running a marathon)
  • Flexibility: The ability to attain large ranges of motion at the joints (doing a split)
  • Coordination: the ability to move the body in order to accomplish a task (completing a technical lift)

 

Read the full article at Strength Running. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user mikebaird. 

The Importance of a Post-Run Cool Down Routine

Most runners tend to forget the importance of cooling down. Warming up and cooling down routines are really important to avoid injuries. Next time you feel exhausted to do a post run cool down, don’t be and start incorporating it into your  training routine!

Cooling down is not just a technique that professional athletes use, it’s necessary for every person engaging in any sort of workout. And every part of your body benefits from it. LifeFitness.com suggests that some of these benefits include:

  • Heart: Your heart rate returns to normal as well as your breathing.
  • Muscles: Reduces muscle spasms, stiffness and cramping.

Cooling Down Techniques

In the cool down, your goal is to slow your heart rate back to normal at a slow and steady rate. Keep these integral cool down techniques in mind and aim for this to last about 5 minutes.

  • Slow down your workout, but don’t stop. If you’re running, slow your pace to a jog. If you’re lifting, continue with less strenuous, milder exercises.
  • Slow down a little more every 2 minutes, keeping it gradual.
  • Slowly move into stretching as your heart rate slows down.

 

Read the full article at Will Run for Food. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user lululemon athletica. 

Runners Prone to Lower Back Pain

The  back is one of the most neglected parts of our body.  Many runners  have been experiencing lower back pain but tend to ignore it. Due to the repetitive nature of running, it greatly contributes to runners having back pain. Here’s how:

Running is a high-impact repetitive activity and as your feet pound the pavement, your legs absorb the impact and they do their best to transfer this energy to the upper body evenly. Often times the transfer process is not fluid and conditions like lower back pain can develop as the back takes more than its share of energy. Some of the common causes for lower back pain include overuse, unsound body mechanics and muscular imbalances.

When runners change distances and terrain, their pelvic tilt adjusts accordingly and the energy absorption from the impact of their feet distributes differently compared to flat surfaces. I like to call this mechanical back pain because the aches and discomfort are localized to the lower back area and it is most often due to improper body mechanics, overuse, and muscular imbalance.

In most cases, runners experience this because their exercise regimens consist solely of running or sprint training and the muscle groups throughout their lower body are not equal. The protective mechanisms that allow the stronger muscle groups to compensate for the weaker ones become less effective over time because of fatigue. This system of compensation promotes unsound body mechanics and overuse exacerbates the situation.

 

Read the full article at Walk Jog Run. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Wonderlane. 

Shoelace Tying Technique Can Reduce Injury

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. ”  -  John Wooden

In our running life, more often that not, we  miss paying attention to  the small details,  i.e. how we lace our shoes.  Luckily, some are patient enough to conduct studies on these little details.  It turns out that the way we lace our shoes can affect our performance by decreasing chances of getting injury and increasing comfort. (The latter seems to be obvious. )

The results showed that shoes tied tightly reduce pronation velocity and, more importantly, reduced impact loading rates. As you might have guessed, the looser and less comprehensive lacings using only two or three eyelets resulted in increased impact loading rates and pronation velocities. Pronation has not been reliably tied to injury rates, but impact loading rates have, so a reduction in loading rate by simply tightening your shoes is noteworthy.

A tight lacing also reduced localized pressure on the outside of the foot, likely by pulling the heel deeper into the shoe’s insole. However, there was a downside—the runners consistently reported the tight-laced condition as being one of the least comfortable. However, Hagen et al. found that the seven-eyelet “heel lock” lacing at a normal tightness was just as effective at reducing impact loading rates, pronation velocity, and plantar foot pressure as the standard six-eyelet lacing tied tightly.

 

Read the full article at Runners Connect. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user  respectablestreet.

 

Can Runners Munch on Cholesterol-Packed Foods?

Cholesterol is  often attributed as the culprit of certain dangerous diseases like hypertension,  heart diseases, and obesity,  to name a few. The truth is  cholesterol can be also beneficial to the human body when consumed in moderation.  Well, how do I know if it’s good or bad….Go figure!

With that said, we also know that there are two kinds of cholesterol – LDL and HDL.

  • LDL: This is the “bad” cholesterol because it’s known to stick to blood vessel lining, which is linked to build up in your arteries which can then lead to heart disease.
  • HDL: This is considered the better of the two cholesterols because its function is to clear blood vessels of excess LDL. The cholesterol here is often on its way to your liver where it’s processed, used and reused.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month. Educate yourself. Read the full article at Will Run for Food. 

Photo copyright by Flickr user alextorrenegra.

Ryan Hall Talks On Getting a Coach

Who doesn’t know Ryan Hall?  He’s  a long distance runner known for his exceptional faith that allowed him to run  great distances even with injuries.  Well, he has a good coach beside him all the time – Jesus Christ.  For the past 2 years, he’s been relying with his faith-based training, having conversation with God.  The good news is he’s considering of getting a ‘physical’ coach recently.

“I’ve said since I started the faith-based coaching thing, I’ve been open to working with a coach,” Hall says. “This wasn’t something I was married to for the rest of my career or anything like that.

“I’ve been digging a lot, researching a lot of different coaches and their philosophy and training plans of other elite runners, just learning a ton. I’m always learning. I’ve considered possibly working with another coach or having one as a closer advisor than I’ve had in the past.”

For now, coach Hall has banned alternative training for runner Hall, even though the inactivity threatens to drive him stir crazy. “That’s the shame – I can’t do any cross-training,” says Hall, who found even a light swim too taxing on his leg. “There’s nothing I can think of besides like an arm bike or some arm exercises I could use to stay fit and not use that quad. The quad is involved in almost everything.”

Read the full story at Runner’s World. 

 

 Photo copyright by Flickr user  jaclyneliza.

Is Contrast Bath Therapy Beneficial for Runners?

 Last week I wrote a post about hot water immersion.  Now, I’ll be sharing you a  good read about contrast bath therapy which made me sing Katy Perry’s. 

 ♩ ♪ ♫ You’re hot then you’re cold. ♩ ♪ ♫ 

 You’re yes then you’re no. 

  You’re in then you’re out.

♩ ♪You’re up then you’re down. ♩ ♪ ♫ 

Will emerging yourself in a hot bath, then a cold bath or vice versa  produce positive results?

Contrast therapy seems to have emerged as a treatment option for mild muscle strains and post-exercise muscle soreness in the late ‘90s, when several studies cropped up investigating its effects. Initially, the benefits were purported to be a result of changes in intramuscular temperatures. The repeated heating and cooling warmed, then cooled the muscles of the legs, facilitating recovery.

A pair of studies published in 1994 and 1997 by William Myer and colleagues at Brigham Young University investigated this claim using needle-mounted thermometers placed just under the skin and 1 cm deep into the calf muscle. In both studies the subjects underwent a 20-minute contrast routine, starting with heat and alternating with cold every four minutes. The 1994 study used two whirlpool baths, while the 1997 study used hot packs and ice bags.

Read the full article at Runners Connect. 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Julie Jules.

When is the Best Time to Apply Heat to Injuries?

Whenever I have sprain or injuries, ice bag comes handy. How about applying heat to your injury? Sounds like a bad idea, right? The idea sounds absurd but studies have shown that heat water immersion can be beneficial when done at the right time.

It’s important to note when heat should not be used too. Heating not only increases blood flow near the skin, but it also increases the flow of lymph fluid, the body’s “general plumbing” system for the interstitial fluid that fills up the empty space in your body. Many of these lymph vessels happen to be close to the surface of the skin, and as such are susceptible to being opened up by external heat.

In one study of 30 brave volunteers with newly-sprained ankles, the ankle swelled by 25% in a group treated with hot water immersion of their foot. Contrast this with only a 3% increase in size in the group treated with cold water immersion.

So, heating any kind of injury, especially an acute one, seems like a bad idea if you aren’t going to cool it down later. It’s also plausible that this same effect can manifest with the micro-trauma to muscles from hard training.

 

Read the full article at Runners Connect.

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user micamica.

Top 10 “Runner-Friendly” Sweets

Having a sweet tooth and being a runner do not really go well together. More often than not, runners are very disciplined in sticking to a strict training regimen including a diet mostly composed of foods labeled as  low fat, protein rich, non-sugar, name it! Good thing, those days of depriving yourself when you crave for a bar of a sweet goodie is over! This list I found presents the Top 10 Best Recovery   Bars for Runners.

Best Homemade Taste
Kate’s Stash Bar
This cake of seeds and grains tastes like something that came out of a real kitchen—not a factory. Organic chocolate and peanut butter lend rich flavor, while 5 grams of fiber help curb postrun hunger pangs. katesrealfood.com

Best Granola Bar
Kashi Honey Almond Flax Chewy Granola Bar
Some granola bars are nothing but candy bars in disguise. But Kashi’s bars actually deliver muscle-mending fuel, thanks to seven whole grains (including oats, wheat berries, and barley), almonds, and flax seeds, which provide 7 grams of protein and 260 milligrams of omega-3 to reduce postrun inflammation and fight free radical damage. kashi.com

Best Vegan
Vega Sport Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar
Sometimes scrupulously sourced ingredients result in a bar that tastes “healthy” rather than good—but Vega Sport’s Chocolate Coconut flavor combines 100 percent plant-based ingredients (such as sprouted brown rice, pea protein and pumpkin seed butter) into a bar that’s surprisingly delicious. Chocolate liquor and cocoa butter boost the “yum” factor, while dates, sorghum, and quinoa refuel muscles with 15 grams of complete protein and .4 grams of inflammation-quenching omega-3. vegasport.com
(NO HONEY OR WHEY PROTEIN)

 

Find out the remaining “runner-friendly” sweets at Runner’s World.

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user anjuli_ayer. 

 

 

 

Land on a Midfoot Strike to Reduce Impact and Injuries

Do you pay utmost attention to your foot strike when running?  While there are  various shoes in the market which aims to provide comfort and support to our tired soles, it is also said that running impact can be reduced by landing on a midfoot strike as proven by the result of a study. This article tells us  why.

Impact loading rate is essentially the speed at which ground impact is applied to the foot and leg at initial ground contact in running (for more in-depth discussion of this, read my “Facts on Foot Strike” article in Running Times), and it is of interest because previous research has suggested that high loading rates may increase the risk of stress fractures. What is interesting about this study is that they looked at the comparative effectiveness of several methods for reducing impact loading rate: 1) adopting a midfoot strike, 2) increasing stride rate by 10%, and 3) wearing racing flat shoes.

The authors took nine habitually heel striking runners and had them run trials on an instrumented treadmill in both typical running shoes at their normal cadence with their normal footstrike, and then compared impact results to those obtained under each of the three conditions mentioned above, or when all three were combined at the same time.

To learn more about adopting the midfoot strike, read the full article at Runblogger. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user hans s.

How Can Runners Deal with Arthritis

All people reach a point of waning health and runners are no exception.  I was under the impression that arthritis is caused by wear-and-tear but I found out after reading this letter that there are different types of arthritis.  Also, some remedies were discussed in respond to this letter.

I’m a 36-year-old runner who has recently started having a lot of foot pain on my runs. Started out with plantar fascia problems that just kept getting worse as my mileage increased through the spring and summer. I took 3 weeks off and tried to heal it up. After the tenderness and swelling went away and I could roll up on my toes normally; I went for an easy run. I had a lot of pain in the bones in my foot. It never went away over the next few days. I went to a podiatrist and found out I have arthritis in the area around my metatarsals and cuboid. I’ve been icing after runs and reduced my runs to every other day and backed my pace off a bit, but I’ve been having a lot of pain. Even just walking or twisting my foot can hurt. Do you have any suggestions for relief? I’ve changed my stride some and am trying to heel strike to get my long runs in. With time off, would the inflammation and pain go away? Are my days of half and full marathons coming to an end?

–Dale

 

Read the full article at Runner’s World. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Q beauty. 

 

Can Runners Indulge Drinking After a Race?

I know some people who love grabbing a bottle or two of beers to relax but if you are training for a race, it’s a big no-no! The same rule applies after the race. So, that means you can’t have a celebratory night out without the guilt after you read this article.

Many races offer runners a celebratory beer after the run, but although completing a distance event is well worth celebrating, Higdon says alcohol isn’t the ideal prize for athletes. ”It compounds the dehydration,” he says. “[Races] offer the drinks because the runners like it and [the race] can get sponsorship money. It’s not as bad as having a cigarette company sponsor a race, but it might be the next worst thing.”

If you’re craving the taste of a refreshing beer post-race — or while you’re training — Higdon advises runners to consider a non-alcoholic brew. A 2011 study from the Technical University of Munich found that among men training for the Munich Marathon, those who drank non-alcoholic beer reported fewer illnesses and less inflammation than men who drank a placebo, suggesting that downing the occasional nonalcoholic beer could ease marathon recovery. Why? That’s not clear, but the authors speculated that the beverage might offer some healing powers because of its antioxidant compounds called polyphenols, which naturally prevent cell damage and boost immunity.

Find out why at Time Healthland.

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user brosner.