Archive for November, 2006

How to Use GPS Running Watches for Health Improvement and Physical Training

A growing concern among many people in the world is the quality of health and physical training. As it gets easier to eat more and exercise less, it has become vital that individuals have access to a variety of tools to make training as systematic and easy as possible. Due to this, investing in a GPS running watch can make a large difference to runners and joggers, as well as to those who need a physical training program to recover from surgery or disease.

Before you purchase your own GPS watch for fitness running, you need to make certain that you understand how they work and how they can help you. In order to do this, you should know about the functions of the basic GPS wrist watch. In the most basic form, a runners GPS watch is nothing more than a stop watch and a hand held unit mixed into one. More advance systems possess functions such as heart rate monitor, performance indicators, distance meters and much more. This variance between the base models and the more advanced units allows you to purchase the exact type of unit that you need in order to improve the quality of your health and lifestyle.

Select the Right Watch for You

If you are a beginning runner, or someone just beginning physical training, you will want to investigate units such as the Garmin Forerunner 101. This unit is one of the more basic ones available, not only having an affordable price tag, but enough features where a beginning runner can adapt to the tool while receiving many of the benefits. The Timex Navman II is also a beginners watch, sporting similar functions to the Forerunner 101.

For intermediate to advance users, the Garmin Forerunner 201 has many features that the 101 lacks. Most notably, the 201 allows routes to be determined into the device, allowing long distance runners to expand their running areas safely. By providing all of the heart rate sensors, virtual running partner as well as distance and speed calculators, the device has everything the professional runner, jogger or triathlete needs in order to get into the best shape possible. With the ability to review daily or weekly histories for a period of two years, the progress of the owner of the watch can be accurately followed. This is highly important, especially for those who need to keep a constant eye on health matters.

For those who need a GPS running watch to improve health due to disease, illness or surgery, the features of the advanced systems could never be more important. As recovering from any health issue can be difficult, having the ability to chart progress and set reachable goals is important for being successful in building physical fitness.

Training Techniques

When you purchase a GPS running watch, there are several different methods that you can use to raise your level of endurance and speed and time. As there are many watches available, you will want to select the one that has all of the features required to make use of the method safely.

The first method method involves setting a daily goal based on distance. If you desire to be a long distance runner, this method would be good for you. Each day, you will want to set a minimum distance to run. If you eventually desire to run 20 miles in one day, you would start running one mile a day for a set period of time. Many use a week or two, so they can adjust to running. Then, after that initial period of time, another mile would be added. As you grow more capable of running the mile, the number of miles you add after each time frame may vary. Once you have reached the distance you want, you would begin training yourself using the second method so that you can pace while being able to reach the distance that you desire.

The first method requires that the GPS running watch has full distance based features, as well as position tracking capabilities. As long distance running usually involves leaving your neighborhood or running through parks and other natural areas, you will want to be able to find your way back to civilization if you make an incorrect turn.

The second method runners use to improve their physical fitness is to try to beat a pace. Instead of a specific distance in a day, the runner will try to run a certain speed every day, gradually lengthening the distance and lowering the time it takes to get there. This method is suitable for short distance runners, as well as cross country runners who need to work on their speed rather than their distance.

The second method requires a good speed/timing watch as well as pacing features. Garmin’s virtual runner companion is perfect for this style of training, as the virtual runner will help make certain that you stay on pace.

The third method is for those who need a slower start. Instead of running distance or beating a pace, joggers using this method will jog for a certain period of time per day while keeping careful track of their heart rate. This method is the slowest of the most popular methods, but is by far the safest for those with known health issues. An important part of physical training is to exert yourself without injury. By tracking heart rates and limiting the amount of time that you are jogging, you can slowly build up muscle tone and endurance without stressing your body. Jogging five to ten minutes a day while maintaining specific heart rates is suggested, while slowly adding more minutes as your body adapts to being able to handle the stresses of running.

The third method requires that the GPS unit has a heart rate monitor, pacing functions and distance calculators. This combination is important for following the progress of this type of runner. The mother health oriented features available in a watch, the more effective it will be when this method of training is used.

When you purchase your GPS running watch, you will want to purchase from one of the primary GPS and watch making manufacturers. Garmin, Timex, Magellan and Casio all have watches that are suitable for use with one of the three above methods.

If you are serious about starting an intensive training program, you will want to contact a professional trainer. The methods suggested in this article should be used carefully, and only within the limits of your ability. The information provided by the GPS runner watch should never take the place of medical exams and check ups given by professional doctors.

About the Author

Rebecca Blain is a professional and hobbyist writer who enjoys taking care of her fish and educating people about GPS watches for joggers and quality GPS receivers at http://www.everything-gps.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 30, 2006 at 8:07 pm

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Side Stitches: Cause and Cure

It took years for the medical community to finally learn what causes a side stitch. Suddenly a runner develops pain in the right upper part of the belly, just underneath the ribs in the front. With each step the pain worsens. Doctors proposed all sorts of explanations for side stitch and most were nonsense.

A side stitch is not caused by gas in the colon because it is not relived by passing gas. It is not caused by a liver swollen with blood during running, because the liver has a very distensible capsule and does not enlarge much during exercise. It is not caused by cramps in the belly muscles because the belly muscles are not held rigidly when you have a side stitch, and it does not hurt when you push on the belly muscles. Lack of oxygen to the diaphragm doesn’t cause them because blood flow to the diaphragm is not shut off by running. They are not caused by trapped gas in the lungs because gas does not get trapped in the lungs during exercise.

The first reasonable explanation and successful treatment came from Dr. Tim Noakes. Thick fibrous bands called ligaments extend downward from your diaphragm to hold your liver in place. When you run, your liver drops at the exact time that your diaphragm goes up, stretching the ligaments and causing pain.

Humans have a fixed pattern of breathing when they run. They have a two to one breathing ratio, breathing once for each two strides. Most people breathe out when the right foot strikes the ground. When you breathe out, your diaphragm goes up, and at the same time, the force of your foot strike causes your liver to go down. This stretches the ligaments that attach the liver to your diaphragm, causing pain. So the cause of a side stitch during hard running is a stretching of the ligaments that hold the liver to the diaphragm and the cure is to relieve the stretching of the ligaments.

When you get a side stitch, stop running and press your hand deep into your liver to raise it up against your diaphragm. At the same time, purse your lips and blow out against the tightly held lips as hard as you can. Pushing the liver up stops stretching the ligaments. Breathing out hard empties your lungs. Usually the pain is relieved immediately and you can resume running as soon as the pain disappears.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has been a radio talk show host for 25 years and practicing physician for more than 40 years; he is board certified in four specialties, including sports medicine. Read or listen to hundreds of his fitness and health reports at http://www.DrMirkin.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 26, 2006 at 3:18 pm

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The Best Way to Develop a Treadmill Exercise Plan

A treadmill is a good investment to make but you want to be sure that you have the right treadmill exercise plan for you. Early treadmills were made almost entirely of wood and whilst today’s machines now offer a vast array of features to keep you occupied, let’s not forget that walking or running on a treadmill is still a very effective way to workout.

Developing your Treadmill Exercise Plan

When developing your treadmill exercise plan, do not forget the fun factor. Exercise can be boring for some people so try reading a magazine during the warm-up and cool-down stages or even watching TV or listening to music. For those busy professionals, some treadmills contain a laptop stand so you can continue to work during your treadmill exercise plan!

Most people however, are serious about their exercise and do not want the distraction of the entertainment factors. Some ideas for a good treadmill exercise plan may be:

– Always start your exercise routine slowly and only after stretching properly.

– Complete your plan over a moderate distance. Start by walking normally, building up to a faster paced walk, a slow jog and then up to running speed. Reverse this process for your cool-down stage.

– Interval treadmill exercise plan – you need to change your speeds here, say, run at a sprinting pace for one minute and then reduce to a moderate jogging pace for two minutes to cool down. For a different effect, try reducing to a slow jog or walking pace. Look at adjusting the intensity of these intervals.

– Sustained speed exercise – whilst the interval method can burn off more calories, incorporating sustained speed in your treadmill exercise plan will help develop stamina.

– Brisk exercise – a ten minute treadmill run three times a week markedly raises the good HDL cholesterol and helps protect from heart attacks.

– When the endorphins start to kick in, try replacing a moderate run for a sprint.

– Consider when you like to exercise – this will help to maintain interest so that your treadmill exercise plan is not easily forgotten.

Everyone has there own preference for physical exercise whether it be interval or sustained training, before, during or after work etc. but if you develop an exercise plan to fit in with these preferences, your whole workout will become more enjoyable and interesting. Do not be too restrictive though as you will want the flexibility to modify your treadmill exercise plan from time to time to fit in with your physical training and boredom threshold needs.

If you need more information or resources concerning treadmills or health & fitness, please visit http://www.TreadmillCafe.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 24, 2006 at 10:54 pm

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Marathon runners face skin cancer risk

It makes sense, we are out in the sun, running sometime for hours on end. You have to think that the risk would go up. This Yahoo article talks about the risks assiciated with our hobby:

CHICAGO – White marathon runners seem to face an increased risk of skin cancer because of long sun exposure, Austrian researchers report.

The research team, all dermatologists at the Medical University of Graz, Austria, grew interested because they had treated eight ultramarathon runners with malignant skin cancer over a 10-year period.

“…We were concerned by this observation because all of us are enthusiastic runners and two of us … regularly participate in marathons,” the authors write in Monday’s Archives of Dermatology.

They recruited 210 marathon runners for their study and matched them for age and sex with 210 other people they signed up at five recreation centers in Austria. All 420 people were screened by a dermatologist.

The marathon runners had more abnormal moles and lesions, and 24 were referred for surgical treatment, while there were 14 treatment referrals among the non-marathoners.

The highest rate of referral for treatment, 19 percent, was among the marathoners who trained the most, more than 43.5 miles per week.

The results of the marathoners who were referred for treatment were not available. None of the lesions in either group looked like malignant melanoma, a more serious but less common form of skin cancer. The lesions appeared to be non-melanoma cancers, the most common type of skin cancer.

Since the research was on white marathoners, it’s unclear if the findings would apply to blacks, who are less prone to skin cancer than whites.

“Personally, I recommend sunscreen use for everybody,” said Dr. Scott B. Phillips, a Chicago dermatologist.

Only 56 percent of the runners reported wearing sunscreen regularly.

Study co-author Dr. Christina Ambros-Rudolph said most marathoners are unaware of the risk to their skin, and even the running researchers found it “good to be reminded to keep wearing the right gear and use sunscreen.”

Runners can lower their risk by training during morning or evening hours and wearing water-resistant sunscreen, said Phillips, who has run 37 marathons and three Ironman triathlons, an endurance event that includes swimming, cycling and running.

He finds hope in a growing awareness of the sun’s danger at races, with volunteers offering to quickly apply sunscreen on athletes, who hate to lose precious seconds from their finish times, Phillips said.

Running clothing made of new fabrics that screen harmful ultraviolet rays also can help, but most runners race with lots of skin exposed.

“Sometimes your training clothing covers different areas than your race clothing,” Phillips said. “You may train in a regular shirt, but for the race you put your singlet on,” leaving shoulders, covered during training, exposed and more likely to a burn. “And for a triathlon, you’re doing the whole thing in a bathing suit.”

In their report, the researchers cite other studies that have shown suppressed immunity in endurance athletes, caused by repeated tissue damage. Weakened immune systems could leave the marathoners more vulnerable to skin cancer, they speculate.

However, other experts like David Nieman of Appalachian State University, who has documented suppressed immunity in marathon runners, says that link is just a guess at this point.

“There’s just no data to indicate there’s a relationship between the immune changes that occur and cancer risk,” Nieman said.

Nieman said some marathon runners take pride in bronzed, leathery skin — proof that they put in their training miles.

“If someone shows up at a race and they’re lily white, I’ve seen other runners make fun of those guys,” he said.

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 21, 2006 at 1:07 pm

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Personal Goal Setting and Running Marathons

Personal goal setting is a powerful tool you can use to bring yourself success, increasing both your confidence in yourself as well as increased respect from colleagues and family members. Unfortunately, personal goal setting can be tricky and is often challenging for people who are not used to organized their goals and tracking their achievements. For this reason, I wanted to write a few words on how to successfully set your goals and improve your lives.

Everyone who is serious about personal goal setting should think of life as a marathon: if you never have been in a marathon before, running to win is not only unrealistic, but also very frustrating and disappointing. But if the first time you race you run just to finish the course, then the next time you will be more prepared and will be able to finish in a better position than your initial marathon. Eventually, if you train and race enough, you will achieve a top ten position in the marathon. This principle applies on personal goal setting too: your first goals should be easy to achieve; the next goals should be a bit harder, and so on. Eventually, when you have “raced” enough, you will be able to easily achieve your more difficult goals, and of course the rewards will be all that more satisfying.

There is no point in setting goals that are too difficult to achieve! If you are not well prepared, then you will very likely fail, and that will be an ugly low blow to your self-confidence. After all, you can’t ask a man to build a house if you don’t teach him how to lay down a brick first. Like at school, successful personal goal setting is a step-by-step learning process where you think about what you did right and about what you did wrong, and thus you get better at doing it day by day.

If you have a big, lifetime personal goal, you should “chop it” into smaller goals, easier to achieve, and set a reasonable “deadline” to achieve it. That way, you will get rewards sooner, and your self-esteem and confidence in yourself will grow little by little. Besides, if you complete small daily goals you will complete larger goals without even noticing it!

Personal goal setting is all about patience and proactiveness. Patience will be useful when walking towards your long term goals one step at a time and proactiveness will help you to take real action for completing your every day goals. Success doesn’t happen all of a sudden: it takes planning and, most of all, action and decision. If you really want to success artistically, improve your career or enhance your lifestyle, then you should start getting serious about your personal goal setting.

Copyright © Jared Winston, 2006. All Rights Reserved.

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 20, 2006 at 7:20 pm

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