Archive for June, 2006

Running Shoes for a Marathon

Approximately two months ago, I participated in and completed my first marathon. I grew up playing soccer and had run a little track back in middle school, but had never before completed a race longer than a 5K.

As I began to research different training programs and decide which race to choose for my first event, I quickly realized that there was some essential equipment I was going to need in order to succeed. At the top of this list was clearly a high-quality pair of running shoes. Little did I know at first, but the selection of the right running shoes can be more complex that one might imagine.

After having my feet measured and a running analysis performed on my stride, I soon picked out a pair of Asics running shoes that felt like I was running on air. These shoes not only provided the stability I needed but were light enough to not feel like I was running in boots. I paid the $110 required and was ready to go.

As the 16 weeks of training passed, I was grateful to have a good pair of running shoes. The shin splints that I got at the beginning of training soon faded and my running became much more enjoyable. In the end, I not only finished my first marathon, but completed it in under my goal of 4 hours.

I firmly believe that my success was due, in part, to choosing the right pair of running shoes. I would encourage anyone wishing to start a running program to spend the time and money to find a high-quality pair of running shoes. Your running success may just depend on it.

Following completion of his first marathon, David Dunlap founded The Running Woman! as a resource to help other runners find the perfect running shoe. For more information on running shoes, visit http://therunningwoman.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 18, 2006 at 7:45 pm

Categories: Training   Tags:

Is Treadmill Running as Good as Training Outside?

Treadmills can bring the outside into your own living room. Sounds ideal doesn’t it. You can run 10 miles withour leaving your house. But can treadmill running deliver the same benefits as training outdoors?

Treadmill running differs from road running in a number of ways and this should be considered when training. The first obvious difference is the lack of wind resistance when running indoors. Another difference is the surface. Although experts differ on this issue a smooth moving surface underneath your feet is not the same as an uneven stationary road. Most runners agree that running on a treadmill feels different to road. This should be taken into consideration when training.

Is running on a treadmill better than the road? This comes down to preference. Many prefer being outdoors whereas others have environmental, climatic or personal safety concerns making treadmill running an ideal choice.

Firstly let’s look at the psychological factors of running on a treadmill compared to the road. Unless you have a large room for your machine you will most likely to be facing a wall or window within a few meters. Research has shown that runners on treadmills take shorter paces that may be due to the proximity of a barrier or fear of falling off. It does take time to learn how to run on a moving surface and even when confident many runners will tighten their lower backs, again possibly a psychological reaction to staying on the machine.

When comparing physical technique, research has found that when the foot lands on the belt the foot, ankle and shin, become temporarily part of the belt and move backwards from the centre and mass of the body at the same speed. This means the shinbone of the leg landing is not as upright as with normal running and has a greater range of motion.

Treadmill running can be useful for injured athletes, using a mirror can be a good way to observe your technique (although it must be recognised that it is not the same as training on the road).

Whether using a treadmill or road you will need to vary your running program for two reasons. Firstly, if you continue doing the same distance and the same speed you will get less and less benefit as your body adapts. Secondly, you can soon become de-motivated by the same thing week in, week out. Alternating between shorter faster runs and longer distances at a slower pace will help to condition your body and improve endurance, muscle strength and cardio-vascular function. It will also provide you with variety and a different challenge for each session.

I usually recommend runners to use one or the other exclusively, because I see them as different activities.

Roy Palmer is a teacher of The Alexander Technique and has studied performance enhancement in sport for the last 10 years. In 2001 he published a book called ‘The Performance Paradox: Challenging the conventional methods of sports training and exercise’ and is currently working on a new project about The Zone. More information about his unique approach to training can be found by clicking Running Technique.

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 12, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Categories: Training   Tags:

Your 3 Best Options for Increased Lung Capacity

Imagine the frustrated person who says, “I do at least 30 minutes of cardio in every training session I do spinning classes, cross trainer and StairMaster. But when it comes to going running I feel so unfit and can’t last more than 10 mins!”

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have a bigger lung capacity?

The question ended with “is it possible to increase my lung capacity and if so how?”

Yes, it’s true…

You can change the capacity of your lungs to a certain point. But before I go too far into the details, let’s learn a little bit about the lungs in general. Trust me, this will not be hard.

Facts About Lung Volume (capacity):

* Average human lungs hold about 5 liters of air * Volumes can vary with height and age * Total lung capacity depends on person’s age, height, sex, weight and degree of physical activity * Females tend to have 20-25% lower capacity than males * Tall people tend to have more lung capacity then shorter people * Heavy smokers have less lung capacity * Altitude affects lung capacity

For starters…

Because you are doing cardiovascular activities already, that alone will help to increase your lung capacity thru your physical exercise. As you progress, the workouts become more challenging, your lung capacity will increase so that your body can get more oxygen from the air.

As you will see, that is the single biggest thing you can do right now to increase your overall lung capacity!

Tip #1 for Increased Lung Capacity:

– Do challenging cardiovascular activities – Start slow and work your way to more intense cardio depending on your goal. Cardio workouts can be progressive.

Tip #2 for Increased Lung Capacity:

– Train at higher altitudes

Frankly, this isn’t something most people can do all the time but it’s a well known fact that runners who are serious will train for a time period at higher altitudes before a race. Their lung capacity will be larger at higher altitudes because there is less pressure from the atmosphere.

Once they come down to sea level, they have a larger overall lung capacity for a short period of time.

FACT: When somebody from sea level goes to a higher elevation, they often develop altitude sickness because their lungs cannot process enough oxygen for their body’s needs.

Tip #3 for Increased Lung Capacity:

– Don’t smoke

These 3 tips will help you increase your lung capacity.

If you need a little more guidance from an expert in cardio, listen to this. Cardio Coach audio sessions that take you step-by-step thru some cardio challenges. You can do these cardio exercises anywhere, anytime with anything that gets your heart beating. http://301url.com/cardiocoach

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 8, 2006 at 9:22 pm

Categories: Training   Tags:

Running After 50 – My Story

I took up running in my late 40s after looking hard and long at a picture taken in New York City during a family vacation, a picture in which I truly did not like the way I looked.

Out of shape. Tired. Overweight. Neglected. Dark rings under the eyes. No juice. And that big belly which I didn’t notice before… hmmm…

Clearly, dieting and exercise was the only way out. But dieting has never been something I was very successful at. So that left me with the only other option available – exercising.

But what kind of an exercise? I felt too old for a lot options and almost for all team sports. I didn’t have too much spare time either.

It had to be something that I could start doing right away without much preparation or driving around and would then allow me get back to my daily routine with the same ease.

As I was meditating on the issue, as luck would have it and as it usually happens by divine arrangement in situations like this, my eyes happened to fall on this very elderly gentlemen, easily in his 70s and perhaps even more, RUNNING past my window with a stilted but comfortable gait!

I pressed my nose to the glass to take a second look just to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating or anything.

Nope, the white haired gentleman was slowly but surely inching his way up the street where I lived, looking smart in his great looking sweat shirt and pants and matching jogging shoes.

I was embarrassed in a way. If this guy could run in that very advanced age, what excuse did I have for self-pity and inaction?

So that very same evening I did what I always do before embarking on a new project – I hit the bookstore.

While perusing the racks of books and magazines I found what I needed. The latest issue of the Runner’s World magazine which had a 10 week startup program for the absolute new beginners. I checked it out while still standing there in front of the magazine rack – it was built around a “walk 2 minutes and then run for 2 minutes for a total 10 minutes” type of idea.

Certain that I could walk and run in 2 minute intervals, I purchased the magazine right there on the spot.

While driving back home I almost ran a red light because in my mind I was already off and running like a cheetah up and down gorgeous hills and mountains and across all over God’s green earth. Boy, was I ready for some glory.

The next morning, with my old plastic watch strapped to my right wrist, and wearing my almost brand spanking new running shorts and jogging shoes, I was out in front of my house, feeling really nervous and excited like a little kid about to join a new game.

The first 100 yards I thought I was doing fine until I was stopped in my tracks with an excruciating pain that stabbed me on the side. And that was the end of my first “run.” I walked back home holding my side and cussing at myself for failing in my grandiose “becoming a runner” project.

Was this for me really? Was I going to be able to run, ever, for 2 MINUTES straight for god’s sake?!

The next morning I did not feel any better when I saw the same old gentleman cruising past my house, this time in an even better-looking jogging outfit.

In ten minutes I was out again, making it past the 100-yards mark and welcoming the familiar side-stab at about 200 yards. But I felt I was doing it. At long last, yes, I was exercising, one killer side-stitch at a time.

Let’s fast forward to a year later…

My runs were now always over the 30 minute mark and I was running like 3 or sometimes even 4 times a week. I was feeling great, lost some weight (not a lot though) but in general I was really feeling charged the way someone throws off a switch in a dark room and turns on the lights. The sensation of renewal was really remarkable. The fact that my wife also commented on how better I looked and how she was also inspired herself by my new routine made the rewards even sweeter.

Since then running became truly an addiction for me. I can now run for over an hour at a slow comfortable pace and easily do four or five miles at a stretch. When I feel rested and especially energized, like perhaps once every other week, I also combine some after-run sit ups and bicycle-kick crunches for some extra conditioning.

Within the past few years I’ve even participated in a 5K and 10K race with mediocre times nothing to write home about (33” and 72”, respectively). But I feel peaceful, strong and about 20 pounds lighter. I know I probably have another 20 pounds to go but it is a process. An up and down process that I’ve learned to manage.

Some days I feel tired and ragged, and I’ve learned how not to force myself on days like that because, thanks god, my body does not care for my ego.

I’ve learned to respect my limits and not to injure myself. So I never got injured so far, knock on wood.

On those magical and rare days when I feel this inexplicable energy roaring out of nowhere in the third mile of a 5 mile run, I’ve learned to let it rip and open up downhill like a child while praying inward that my knees would hold up and not let me down for one more day.

I’ve learned to appreciate the beauty of running and all runners young and old, fast and slow. I’ve learned the proper form to run efficiently and how not to be arrogant when I saw fellow runners with bad-form, and how not to be upset when those same runners with bad-forms easily left me reeling in their dust.

I know what a privilege and blessing it is to be able to run. I cherish it with an almost religious reverence. I’m truly grateful. I remember all those who cannot run even if they wanted to for one reason or another and I send them all my heartfelt silent prayers. I hope they are accepted.

If you are already a runner, I’m sure you’re already familiar with my experience. And if you are not, first of all let me slip in the obligatory caution that I’m not a doctor and I strongly recommend you see your doctor before undertaking any exercise program, including running.

But having said that, I heartily recommend running for everyone, within their own limits and capacity. Take it very easy at first. Walk a minute, and then “run” for 30 seconds, if you need to. There’s nothing wrong with that. Who said you need to run like Alberto Salazar as soon as your New Balances hit the ground?

It’s all about circulation and sweating out the toxins. I think running is unique in revving up our circulation to its maximum and that’s why it’s got so many health and psychological benefits. But that deserves another article of its own.

Do it and you’ll like it. And the more you like it, the more you end up doing it, no matter how old you are. That’s how this positive addiction grows on you and becomes a new friend.

Oh, by the way, I later happened to learn the name of the same white-haired gentleman that unknowingly became my inspiration and silent mentor because I ran in a 5K with him. For the first 4K he was ahead of me. It was only within the last klick that I pulled even and passed him.

If I did not pass him in that 5K race I might seriously consider quitting running altogether because I also learned his age from another fellow runner that knew him pretty well.

He was 84 years old and he is till running up and down my street. God bless him.

Ugur Akinci, Ph.D. is a Creative Copywriter, Editor, an experienced and award-winning Technical Communicator specializing in fundraising packages, direct sales copy, web content, press releases, movie reviews and hi-tech documentation. He has worked as a Technical Writer for Fortune 100 companies for the last 7 years.

In addition to being an Ezine Articles Expert Author, he is also a Senior Member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), and a Member of American Writers and Artists Institute (AWAI).

You can reach him at writer111@gmail.com for a FREE consultation on all your copywriting needs.

You are most welcomed to visit his official web site http://www.writer111.com for more information on his multidisciplinary background, writing career, and client testimonials. While at it, you might also want to check the latest book he has edited:http://www.lulu.com/content/263630

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 7, 2006 at 9:31 pm

Categories: Motivation   Tags:

Starting Off Running on the Right Foot

***The next few posts will be articles done by guest writers – articles that I have found especially helpful in my running***

Starting out in running should be simple, stress-free and fun. It is a time to enjoy yourself, not to weigh yourself down with expectations and unlikely goals. In fact, I believe the reason so many runners don’t keep up their running after the first few attempts is because they fail to make it the release valve it should be, and let it become yet another stress in our already stressful lives. Once it becomes a duty or a drudge you’re just around the corner from giving up – another broken New Year’s resolution to haunt you year after year!

So, how about this for advice: if you’re doing a run but you’re out of breath and you’re honestly not enjoying it… well just stop. Walk for a while or just sit on the grass. Enjoy the scenery, watch the other runners, listen to the birds (or the cars). Maybe do some stretching. Be honest, would it be that bad if you never got round to running and just walked every day for 30 minutes? If you were taking no exercise before, this is a huge improvement in your fitness.

You will run when you’re ready, when you want to, and when it’s fun.

The second big mistake is burn out. Most people can manage a big one-off effort if they must. This is what you see when people are shamed into doing some parent and child event for charity. Mums and Dads who have hardly raised themselves from the couch in ten years drag themselves round a circuit without any training. This is how some people start out on their training program, with the one big effort to prove themselves. Unfortunately with untrained muscles, you may need two weeks off before you’re fit to go again. By which time you’re just as unfit as you were to begin with, and the next session feels just as hard as the first. It would have been far better to do 15 minutes of perfectly manageable walking or jogging every two or three days, because your muscles would begin to get used to the idea of running, your lungs would begin to open a little. You’d be building up rather than breaking down

William Mann is a keen and passionate runner. Well aware of how difficult it can be to fit everything you need into a day. By approaching running as a purely enjoyable activity he has shown how it is possible for you to run for life. Learning to listen to you body and respect its needs is the key to lifelong running. His book Run Forever shows just what that means in practice. An easy step by step guide to get you running or keep you running fit.

See for yourself at http://www-stayfit.com/running/rslwm.html

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 6, 2006 at 9:15 pm

Categories: Motivation   Tags: