Which is best: walking or running…hm

walk-run

Potomac River Running Feet by Mr. T in DC, on Flickr

Here is the winner of this week’s no duh award…

Walking and running are low-cost, easy-to-do anywhere, year-round activities. Both are social activities — you can walk or run or with a friend. But since running is more rigorous than walking, it is my opinion that you should select a running program to maximize aerobic conditioning in minimum time.

Read the rest at Fitday.

Is Hiring a Running Coach Helpful or Not

running-coach

It seems that personal assistance is becoming more popular. From virtual to real-life, there are people who can help you achieve any goals you can think of. A lot of people are asking if hiring a running coach is hype or helpful. To be honest, with all good hype, it depends.

Hiring a Coach – the Good

Finding a coach or mentor for any area of your life is usually helpful. There are a few different ways that a good coach can help you improve.

For one thing, coaches provide accountability. On those days that you just don’t feel like running, they’ll force you to do it anyways. They won’t let you skip a workout unless you have an extremely good reasons.

Annoying? Sometimes, yeah. But you’ll be thankful when all that hard work pays off.

Another reason to hire a running coach is vary your workouts. If you always plan your own workouts, there’s a good chance you’re not using enough variety. Or even if you are varying workouts, perhaps you aren’t making them tough enough, or perhaps they’re too difficult.

Coaches can help you create a flexible program that incorporates strength training, speed, endurance and flexibility.

Something many runners don’t think about is objectivity. A good coach will be very objective towards your progress, running form, gear, training methods, and everything else. They won’t feel bad about pointing out something that needs to be fixed.

For example, maybe you’ve been training on the same course for years, just because it’s convenient. Your coach will probably tell you that you’re training your muscles to get used to that course, and need to try something different.

Finally, consider the experience of the coach. A good coach will be able to tell you how other athletes achieved their goals, and help you do the same. They would’ve seen what works and doesn’t work, and optimize your plan to get results.

This includes everything from nutrition to clothing.

That said- some people have bad experiences hiring a running coach. Here are a few things to watch out for.

Hiring a Coach – the Bad and the Ugly

coach-stopwatch

Some people jump right in and hire the first running coach they come across. Even though that might work out- there’s also a good chance that it won’t turn out well.

For example, the coach may be inexperienced as a coach. Just because they’ve been running for decades does NOT mean they can coach well. Yes, they can definitely provide better insight than your average Joe- but don’t expect to get amazing results from someone just getting started coaching.

Also, make sure you consider the coach’s personality in the equation. Are they too soft? A good running coach is kind but firm. They’ll tell you what you need to know and be friendly most of the time, but when it comes to training, they don’t joke around.

Some coaches take one extreme or the other. They may be too nice, unwilling to scold you or give you a hard time if you slack off. The other type of coach, the one who ALWAYS yells at you and pushes you too hard, isn’t what you want either.

Finally, coaches can be fairly expensive, depending on who you hire. If you don’t have the funds, you may want to consider another option to hiring a coach.

Alternatives to Coaching

There are a few things you can do if you don’t have the funds to hire a good coach, or you want to get in shape but not to the extent of hiring a professional.

In that case, one option is to join a running group. There are tens of thousands of them across the country, ranging from 2-3 people to thousands. They tend to meet at health clubs, running shoe stores, high school stadiums, parks, and other places.

The good thing about a running group is that you can have people hold you accountable, but they aren’t going to push you extremely hard. Most running groups are about being social with the benefit of running thrown in.

Another alternative is to go down to your local library and pick up some books about running. These can help a lot with improving your nutrition, training schedules, and selecting quality gear. The only problem with books is that they can’t watch you run and tell you what you’re doing incorrectly.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that hiring a running coach isn’t just hype. It’s actually very helpful, provided you hire a quality coach that knows what they’re talking about. If you’re serious about improving your running speed, getting in better shape, and becoming competitive- you need a coach.

But if you’re just trying to have fun and meet other runners, consider joining a local runners club. It’s free, it’s fun, and it lets you meet cool people!

How Long Should You Wait Before Running Another Marathon

Marathon Taper

 

No we’re getting serious. If you are serious about your running, for example, you keep a log, rotate shoes, pay attention to your diet, set goals, read the latest hype, etc, then this article is for you:

If your only goal at a marathon is to finish, have fun and enjoy the travel, then by all means, go ahead and race to your hearts content. However, if you desperately want to qualify for Boston or finally break that 3 or 4-hour barrier, then it’s imperative you structure your long-term training to maximize fitness and progression without burning out.

Click over to runnersconnect to read the article.

If you answered no to any of my questions above, then you should go here.

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.

You Need More Interval Training . . . Tips

interval

Interval training can improve your running in many ways. Using intervals creatively can make your workout more effective, or not. Don’t forget common sense.

You do not need to be a competitive athlete to make effective use of intervals in your training. Interval training can improve your running ability whether you run a 10-minute mile or a 20-minute.

And, here are some of the tips:

Warm up for 10 minutes at an easy jog

Run at interval pace (a step up from your usual pace) for one minute

Read all about it at Active.com.

Q By Enquinox

The buzz word for this week: Pairings. In a meta sense, to run well and run healthy, you must complement your mileage with strength-training. “If you haven’t picked up on it yet, running really does need to be paired with lifting,” says Tier 4 coach Jason Skinner. “Structure, balance and movement tend to fall apart without it.”

“The benefit of this week is found in the pairings of the exercise,” says Skinner. “The Reach, Roll and Lift create the mobility and stability required at the shoulder and scapula, while the Push-up Plank with Shoulder Taps reinforces those gains and ties in the core and upper extremities. The Split Squat with Band Adduction challenges the glute in a split stance position while the Lunge to Cable Row requires the body to further stabilize in a more challenging single-leg stance while once again incorporating the upper extremities.”

More experts and more of the same…train your whole body. Although I like this article as it encourages me not to feel vain when I look in the mirror.

Read the full article at Q.equinox.com

Photo copyright by Mike Rosentha

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.

 

Central Park Marathon Set on February

I know, a NYC marathon is on the bucket list of every runner (or if not every, most!) . For those hoping to run in New York, there’s an alternative to NYC Marathon. That is the  Central Park Marathon which apparently was the original location of the NYC marathon. I’m crossing my fingers that it won’t be cancelled this time.

A marathon held within Central Park is tentatively scheduled for February 24, 2013.

The race will be put on by NYCRUNS, the organizers of last Sunday’s low-key Brooklyn Marathon, which consisted of loops in and around Prospect Park.

On the race’s registration page, organizers say they might move race day to March or early April if a date becomes available then. In that scenario, registrants for the February date will automatically be entered for the later date. Organizers expect to know the race date by early December.

 

Read the full article at Runner’s World. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Mark Heard. 

 

Lessons Learned from Half Marathons

It is often said that experience is the best teacher. True, indeed.  In our daily life, we learned new lessons and so with every run.  Here are lessons learned from half marathons which Matt  from Angry Jogger happily shares.  Lucky us!

  1. Try not to set a time target in stone if it’s your first race (Larne Half Marathon 2011) - Or at least don’t feel upset with yourself if you don’t hit it. If you’ve never ran the race distance before then it’s difficult to know how it will feel. In my first half marathon in Larne I felt like shit afterwards for having to walk the last 2 miles and not achieving my sub 2:15 race target. 4 months previous to that I couldn’t run 2 miles.
  2. Don’t experiment with race gear on race day (Great Scottish Run 2011) -  I’d only ran wth my Camelbak once before the Great Scottish Run, but never with any fluid in it. Being a bit of a dick, I had no reservations filling it up with 2 fucking litres of Lucozade Sport and having it swash around on my back for 13.1 miles. Fortunately the Camelbak had the decency to leak in a crowded elevator rather than around the course itself. That would have been a complete fucking disaster rather than the minor humiliation it ended up being.
  3. You don’t have to abstain from alcohol to run a good race (Cardiff Half Marathon 2011) - I went into the Cardiff Half Marathon 2011 with 3 months off the booze. I had a bottle of wine with my Nachos the night before the Cardiff Half Marathon and woke up having slept amazingly well and later achieved a personal best. I’d assumed up to this point that alcohol was always detrimental to performance….

Read the full article at Angry Jogger. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user ahisgett.

Beijing Marathon Lifts Order to Ban Japanese Runners

Beijing Marathon which is scheduled on November 25th earlier released an order to refuse Japanese runners due to security threats. Recently, they  reversed their decision and now includes  Japanese nationalities eligible to the marathon.  What happened to the threats? I don’t know either! Let’s find out from this article:

A source at the organising committee had earlier said “If they choose other nationalities including China, Japanese can take part,” the Asahi Shimbun daily’s online edition had reported Saturday.

Japanese companies such as Canon had sponsored the annual event until last year but they did not renew their deal this year.

In Beijing, officials from the organizing committee were not immediately available to comment on the report.

The two countries have been at odds over the sovereignty of the Japan-administered Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed by China, which calls them Diaoyu.

Tokyo’s nationalization of islands that are at the centre of a territorial row with Beijing sparked violent mass anti-Japan demonstrations in Chinese cities in September. Japanese nationals, businesses and diplomatic missions were targeted.

 

Read the full article at Japan Today. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user  poeloq.

High Schooler Raced Half Barefoot on Ice, Finished 2nd

What would you do if you are in the middle of a race, then suddenly your shoe (or shoes)  gave up on you? Would you continue racing to the finish line or would you give up? Here’s a story of an incredible high schooler who finished 2nd wearing only a shoe up to the finish line.  Let’s meet the pioneer of half barefoot running (I only made that up!).

A Canadian high school runner placed second in his provincial championships on Saturday despite covering almost all of the icy, rocky 6.7-kilometer course half barefoot, theSaanich News reports.

Ben Weir, a top runner at Gleniyon Norfolk School in Victoria, Canada, was steps into the 300-person race when he was clipped from behind and fell. When he got up and resumed running, Weir found that his left shoe was only partially on.

“My heel was out, and I thought I could figure it out as I went. But that wasn’t happening, so I knocked it off,” Weir told the Sannich News.

As if that were impediment enough, the temperature was just above freezing, and the course was full of snow, ice, and rocks.

Isn’t he fantastic?

Read the full article at Runner’s World. 

Photo copyright by Flickr user robertnelson. 

How to Make Treadmill Workouts More Bearable

Winter is coming and with the decreasing temperature outside, runners are forced to do the run inside which can be boring for obvious reasons. We should be thankful to modern technology for making pacing through the treadmill more bearable.  Here’s how:

1. Incline Training

Incline training really is a great feature; with which you can increase the intensity of your workout by a huge margin. Some treadmills are made with incline training as a main feature. These treadmills will usually support an incline grade of -6% to 40%. And remember, having a negative incline is just as important as having a positive incline, you need to know how to run downhill as well.

Using an incline trainer will prepare you for just about every condition, and at the same time giving you a great workout. Try this climbing treadmill workout next time you’re feeling bored at the gym.

2. Built-In Workout Apps

Most treadmills come with built-in apps that are designed with a variety of different workouts. Whether you want to focus on incline training, marathon training, 5k training, these apps work by taking the suggested training method and controlling the machine for you. This technology is beneficial in that you don’t have to keep changing the speed or incline yourself, the machine takes care of that for you.

 

Read the full article at  Will Run For Food. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Official U.S Navy Imagery. 

NYC Elite Runners to Run in Japan Marathon

The cancellation of the NYC marathon left many runners frustrated especially those who had flown to New York. Some already went home while others, decided to run, go with a Plan B.  Apparently, a couple of elite runners will be  flying to Japan to run in the Yokohama Women’s Marathon and Fukuoka Marathon on November 18 and December 2,  respectively.  After all the preparations, the run must go on!

New Zealander Kim Smith, who was fifth in New York City twice, has tweeted “[s]ince the marathon was cancelled I am now off to do the Yokohama Marathon.” Reilly, a Boulder-based agent who represents several Japanese runners, was reluctant to divulge other names until Japanese race organizers are prepared to do so. But he did reveal that one of the athletes he represents, 2007 Chicago Marathon runner-up Adriana Pirtea Nelson, born in Romania but now an American, will be racing in Yokohama.

Late on Monday afternoon, Amy Hastings, the fourth place U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials finisher and Olympic 10,000-meter runner who’d trained with Smith for New York, confirmed to Runner’s World, ”I am planning on running Yokohama along with Kim and Adrianna Nelson”

Read the full article at the Runner’s World. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Stuart Grout. 

 

 

New York City Divided as NYC Marathon Proceeds

Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath caught the organizers of New York City Marathon between a rock and a hard place. Whatever they choose, somebody will surely be upset.  The marathon is said to unify the city but with the current situation, it actually divides the city as emotions go high with organizers decision to continue the race.

The comments by elected officials were echoed by thousands of people on social media. While some support Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s notion that the marathon can help get the city back on its feet, many others are disgusted that precious public resources will be used for a sporting event while millions of New Yorkers are without power, heat and food. Several online petitions and message boards have sprung up with thousands of signatures calling for the marathon to be postponed or canceled.

“This will forever tarnish the marathon as a brand and an event,” said Stephen Robert Morse, a 27-year-old from Brooklyn who started stopthemarathon.tumblr.com. “There are still thousands of people downtown and businesses that still lack necessities and it’s insulting to have tourists prioritized over the people of this city.”

The New York State Nurses Association has also asked the mayor to postpone the race.

Bloomberg, aware that the marathon generates hundreds of millions of dollars for the city, has repeatedly said the race will go on. He did not expect the Police Department to be overly burdened because the race is on a Sunday, when street traffic is limited. Many parts of the city, including Lower Manhattan, are expected to have their power back, freeing other workers.

 

Read the full article at The New York Times. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Pam_Andrade. 

World Marathon Majors Add Tokyo Marathon

Tokyo Marathon has been in runners’ radar  for awhile. Having known as one of the largest and most colorful marathon around the world, it continues to attract more participants.  Until recently, the “Big 5″ – Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, and New York  agreed to add Tokyo to the circle of World Marathon Majors.  Now, there’s a new reason to travel to Japan!

The Tokyo Marathon, which will be on February 24 in 2013,  transitioned from an elite race to a mass participation event in 2007. It now has 300,000 persons applying for 36,000 spots, which certainly puts it in the ballpark of the other World Marathon Majors in terms of size. It’s also now the earliest Major on the annual calendar.

“It has always been a thought that Asia naturally should be involved, and Tokyo fits the bill more than any other event,” said Tom Grilk, executive director of the Boston Athletic Association, which stages the Boston Marathon. Asia is a huge marathon market, of course, and the existing WMMs apparently hope that the pool of potential sponsors can be expanded. Emphasis on “potential.” The World Marathon Majors, collectively, do not have a title sponsor.

 

Read the full article at Runner’s World.

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user yoppy. 

Dublin Marathon Worried Over Lack of Title Sponsor

Dublin Marathon received a lot of applicants which proves that the event is still hugely popular. Despite its popularity, the organizers are still facing another publicity  issue which made me doubt if the event  is  still popular – the marathon is at risk of having no title sponsor!

The hugely popular event was hit financially when the the National Lottery ended its sponsorship of the race in May.

Finding a replacement for this season’s event was always going to be a long shot, given the time scale, but now race director Jim Aughney (right) has revealed that restoring a title sponsor for 2013 is also proving difficult.

“You’d be nervous,” he admitted, ahead of the 33rd running of the race.

“We’ve gone through many (sponsorship) presentations and had lots of people saying how much they’d like to get involved and where they would like to take the event.

“But when it comes down to it, the bottom line seems to be economics and we still haven’t secured sponsorship for next year.

“We always knew this year would be a problem as we lost the Lottery so late and it was an Olympic year, with so many sports budgets already committed elsewhere,” he said. “But, hopefully, things will turn around soon.”

Only once before — in 1992 — was this marquee event held without a title sponsor.

Read the full article at Independent.ie.

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Dragozov. 

 

Amputated War Veterans To Join ING NYC Marathon

“If there’s a will, there’s a way”. 
True enough. How many times have you tried doing something but ended up failing to do it? I bet you have come up with a couple of excuses to defend your failure to do so. Thinking of  joining  a marathon? Ditch all those “what ifs” and read this article to get some inspiration.
 Of the 250 Achilles International athletes competing in this year’s ING NYC Marathon, 28 are combat wounded servicemen. They will be competing as a part of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. The veterans, most of them single and double amputees injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, will be using handcrank wheelchairs or running on their prosthetics to complete the marathon.

GUEST PROFILES: Notable Achilles Freedom Team participants include SSGT Alfredo Delossantos, Marine Cpl Tyler Southern, Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Hayes and Army SSGT Michael Kacer.
FOCUS:
  • SSGT Alredo Delossantos lost his right leg and suffered traumatic brain injury when struck by a Rocket Propelled Grenade in Afghanistan in 2008. Delossantos connected with Achilles while recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and competed in his first marathon in a handcycle in 2009. Since then, he has competed in nine marathons with Achilles and is now considered an elite racer.
  • Marine Cpl Tyler Southern lost both legs and an arm to an IED explosion during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2010. In January 2012, Southern finished the Disney Half Marathon in a handcycle as part of the Achilles Freedom Team. This June, He participated in the Achilles Hope and Possibility 5 Miler in Central Park, walking five miles on his prosthetic legs for the first time. He will be handcycling in his first NYC Marathon this November.

 

Read the full article at Let’s Run. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user The U.S. Army. 

Half Smoke in Half Marathon

DC Half and Half Marathon stands for half marathon and half smoke. The said half marathon is set on November 3. Participants will have to bring their own water because there won’t be water station there. Instead of the usual water station, participants will be greeted by a sausage station halfway the half marathon!

The race organizers are brothers Chris and Peter Magnuson, who got the idea after doing a Krispy Kreme Challenge (a dozen donuts during a 5-miler), reportsDCist.com. “We wanted to come up with an idea that’s similar, but unique to D.C.,” Peter Magnuson said.
At Ben’s Chili Bowl,, runners will down a half-smoke sausage topped with chili, mustard and onions, with a side of chips. Runners will be allowed to resume running when they show their clean basket to a race volunteer.
As explained here, half-smokes are a D.C.-area specialty that are slightly larger than a hot dog. The origin of the name is unclear, with some saying it’s because early versions were half pork, half beef, and some saying it’s because the sausage’s texture and flavor are halfway between that of a hot dog and a smoked sausage.

 

Read the full article at Runner’s World. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user dbking.

Michael Phelps in NYC Marathon

Hurrah! We will be seeing Michael Phelps in the NYC Marathon.  Wait what, Phelps, the swimmer?!  Yes,  he will be there as a cheerer for his  sister, Whitney who will be competing in the NYC Marathon. What a brotherly love!

Whitney Phelps, a sister of the most decorated Olympian of all time, will compete in the ING New York City Marathon on November 4, it was announced on Monday during a training session at The Sport Center at Chelsea Piers.

“I know Whitney loves running,” said Michael Phelps before running a lap with sisters Whitney and Hilary, Jared “The Subway Guy” Fogle , and Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. “[Whitney] is a great runner and always has been; she’s going to have a great time out there. I’m sure she’s going to run fast.”

As the “Official Training Restaurant of the Phelps Family” and a partner of the ING New York City Marathon, Subway challenged the family to have one of its members go for the gold in the race. Whitney Phelps, 32 and the mother of two children, stepped forward. A competitive swimmer while attending the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, she completed the 2009 Baltimore Marathon in 4:28:32, and is hoping to run a personal best in New York.

Read the full article at New York Road Runners. 

Photo copyright by Flickr user middle-child. 

 

Post-Marathon Recovery Tips

What’s the first thing you do after a marathon? Chances are runners tend to switch to a complete halt after racing when in fact they should continue moving! . Here are some tips on how to recover properly from a marathon.

  • Just keep walking. Cross the finish line, get your medal, have your picture taken, and keep walking. Although the first instinct may be to drop to your knees and thank the gods that you’ve finished, that isn’t the best way to go. Think about it: You’ve just asked your body to run for 26.2 miles. It’s still in marathon mode when you finish and is in great need of a transitionary phase. Think like Dory and just keep walking (swimming) because when you do, your heart rate gradually drops, the circulation diverts back to its resting state and flushes lactic acid from the muscles. Walk at least 10 to 15 minutes—back to your car, hotel, or cab.
  • Eat, drink, and be merry. Eat a small snack within the first 30-60 minutes post-race. Save the big meal for later in the day when your appetite returns and you can enjoy that reward meal. Post-race is more about getting in about 200-300 easily digested calories from carbohydrates and protein to maintain blood sugar levels, replenish muscle glycogen, and repair muscle tissue. Half of a turkey sandwich, carrots, and almond butter or pretzels will do the trick. If it’s a hot race, try liquid recovery drinks. If it’s cold, soup gets the job done. Continue to nibble on balanced snacks and meals that include three to four parts carbohydrate to one part protein. Sip fluids during the day to rehydrate.
  • Chill out. Soak in a cold water bath for five to 10 minutes and consider wearing compression tights. Both can aid in decreasing inflammation in your legs and speed the rate of healing.

 

Read more tips on how to recover properly at Ask Coach Jenny. 

 

Photo copyright by Flickr user Natesh Ramasamy.