Archive for October, 2007

Supplemental Electrolytes For Runners – Dehydration Issues

Becoming dehydrated or mineral deprived is one of the most common ways people sabotage themselves when running. Not only does dehydration make you lose energy at a much faster rate, it can give you headaches, muscle cramps, dizziness and fatigue. Many people don’t realize the necessity of proper hydration and electrolyte balance. But it cannot be denied that these play a vital role in maximizing your run, not to mention in maintaining your health.

One thing you can do to remain hydrated is to drink water. Many put water to good use as a necessary part of each fitness regiment, as well as their daily life. Many experts believe that a 2 % weight loss of bodily fluids can lead to a 20-30 % reduction in physical performance. If you are planning to run, you should actually drink a lot of fluids a few hours in advance. That way, your body will be hydrated when you begin. Drinking water during a workout will replenish the fluids you are losing, averting all those nasty side effects, and give you a small energy boost.

The only downside to water is that it can deplete your bodily minerals. Drinking too much water and nothing else can dilute the salt and minerals inside your cells, disrupting their normal functioning. When undergoing extremely strenuous physical activity, it can be necessary to use electrolyte replacement. It can also be beneficial to do so if running or jogging when malnourished, for instance if you are on a deprivation diet. Sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade and Lucozade help to replenish the body’s supply of electrolytes, as well as to provide a substantial energy boost in the form of simple carbohydrates.

Another, less common, electrolyte replacement method is the use of supplementary capsules. One popular brand is the Hammer Nutrition Endurolyte Capsules. They contain many important minerals depleted by running. These can be useful as a low-sugar alternative to sports drinks. But when using these, it is important to consult a physician or nutritionist, as each person’s individual needs vary greatly in this area.

But electrolyte replacement has its downside as well. At the level of physical exertion that most people, or even athletes, operate at, electrolyte replacement is unnecessary. It can even be harmful. Most people consume many times more sodium than they need during the course of a day, and when they sweat, they give off excess sodium. Pumping more back into their bodies can be counter-productive. Also, sports drinks are usually high in sugar, which can contribute to tooth decay and can sabotage your efforts if weight-loss is your goal. Ultimately, each person’s level of fitness and chemical composition vary greatly. Some people will benefit the most from sports drinks, some from electrolyte capsules, and many more from just plain water. Unless you are exercising for more than three hours at high levels of exertion, water will be quite sufficient in meeting your bodily needs.

Kerry F Pettigrew
http://www.allrunninggear.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - October 27, 2007 at 8:17 am

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How to Outsmart Fatigue

Running for 10 years now has taught me a few things about fatigue. I have learned that my body always reaches a point that it needs a break. Days and weeks of training take their toll on my emotional and physical well being. I have come up with a few ideas of mine that will help you fight fatigue.

First and most often over looked is the importance of a good night’s sleep. My own biggest source of fatigue is not getting 8 hours of sleep a night. Being an active person I can always think of something that I need to do. I try to stick to a scheduled time for bed. This can be difficult at times when life throws me a curve. I would say that 5 nights a week I stick to my schedule.

Second is the importance of eating right. Every time I start eating fast food and drinking beer my running performance suffers, plus I feel lousy all the time. I always start my day with a good breakfast of cereal or oatmeal. I enjoy eating fruit with my cereal and oatmeal. My favorites are bananas, strawberries and blueberries. For lunch I usually eat a sandwich and fresh vegetables. I enjoy tuna, ham, or roast beef. For dinner my wife who is an excellent cook prepares chicken breasts, tuna patties, spaghetti made with ground turkey. We will have vegetables or a salad with our dinner.

Third is the importance of recovery after working out. My usual workout will last an hour. On Sunday’s I can be out running for up to 3 hours at a time. Every day after running I always make sure to rehydrate and eat something. I like to work out in the morning so I usually run before I eat. This makes recovery easier for me. First I always make sure to rehydrate before I sit down to eat breakfast. On the days when I run in the afternoon I will not eat lunch until afterwards. I usually eat a snack a couple hours before my afternoon run. Afterwards I rehydrate before eating lunch.

Fourth is the importance of taking recovery weeks. For many years I made the mistake of training hard week after week, month after month. I was always injured, grouchy and tired. When I tried reducing my workouts every third week my performances started going through the roof. I train hard for two weeks and on the third week reduce the number of days and the intensity in half. Following this pattern lead me to all of my personal records.

You can out smart fatigue as well by applying some of these suggestions to your own running program.

Author of: Fatigue Nutrition, Run2Fast, Ultimate Training Videos http://www.everything-running.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - October 20, 2007 at 8:26 am

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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 - October 13, 2007 at 7:13 am

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Efficient Running Form

Most experienced runners can tell when other runners are in shape just by watching them run. They look for efficiency, a measure of how much energy is lost by wasteful movements during running. You run with your legs and all of your other movements are used just to balance your body. The main reason you don’t fall when you are walking or running is that your brain constructs a “center of gravity”, a point around which all movements on one side are balanced by equal movements on the other side. For example, when your right leg goes forward, your left arm goes forward and your right arm goes backward. You do this without thinking and your movements are automatically calculated in your brain.

A study from The Hospital of Laval in France shows that even the best runners lose their efficiency when they become fatigued (Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, June 2006). Experienced runners have consistent stride length and form. This study shows that with fatigue, their stride length decreases and, more importantly, they start to lose form by adding a significant amount of side-to-side movement that wastes energy and does not drive them forward.

Running slowly does not teach your brain how to balance your body when you run fast. Good form comes from practicing running very fast in training. People who run slowly all the time usually have poor running form. They waste movements that do not help them move forward. For example, their feet often move to the side after they raise their feet from the ground. Their arms do not move loosely and comfortably to balance their bodies. They may run with toes pointed outward, which is a sign of weak shin muscles. If you want to improve your running form, run faster a few times every week.

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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 — and the FREE Good Food Book — at http://www.DrMirkin.com

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Posted by The Running Guy - October 6, 2007 at 8:13 am

Categories: Fitness, Injuries   Tags: