Archive for November, 2007

The Mental Benefits Of Running

Much has been documented about the physical benefits of running but there are also significant psychological advantages. This article aims to examine some of the mental benefits of running.

1. Increased confidence and determination

Running can certainly improve your cognitive behavioural faculties. This refers to how your thinking affects your behaviour. Running not only enables you to complete physical challenges but improves your confidence as you achieve goals or overcome barriers. Perhaps you beat a personal best time or complete a charity run for the first time, this is not only a positive experience at the time but is likely to spill over into other areas of your life enabling you to think and act with confidence. Where previously you might have avoided a set of circumstances this improved confidence and determination may help you to resolve other problem situations that you are faced with.

2. Feel happy

Believe it or not running really can help you to feel happy. As you exercise there is a chemical reaction in your brain that releases Endorphins into your blood steam. These provide a natural high making you feel happy and positive. This is the same reaction that occurs when you laugh, have sex or eat chocolate.

3. Relieves Stress

Running is a great stress reliever helping you to focus your energies on a different problem so that you forget your current circumstances. The effect of running not only boosts your sense of happiness as you exercise but improves blood flow to all areas of your body, including your brain. Runners often report higher levels of concentration after exercise enabling your mental faculties to become sharper and making you more able to deal with problems, or find solutions, reducing stress levels.

4. Perseverance

There is a film called “The Loneliness of the long distance runner” and it encapsulates the determination and self discipline that is developed by runners who cover distances. In turn these skills help you to build perseverance which is important in life for dealing with difficult situations and circumstances where you might otherwise give up.

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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=J_Dawkins

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 25, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Categories: Motivation, Training   Tags:

One Woman’s Struggle With Marathon Addiction

Last year, I had a consultation with a 27-year-old woman named Allison. She’s a marathoner who’s been suffering from what I call “Athletic Fatigue.”

I’d been treating Allison off and on over the last two years for a series of problems, including Hip pain, back pain, and plantar fasciitis (foot pain). Lately she’d been getting injured more frequently, and complaining that she was having trouble sticking to her training schedule.

Here’s how she described her problem:

“I feel like crap. I’m tired a lot and pretty grouchy at work. I’m training for Chicago (the Chicago Marathon) and it’s not going well. And my stomach’s been bothering me. I know you do adrenal testing, and I wanted to see if I could do that. My race is in two weeks, so can we do it after that?” I agreed. Allison got through her race, but she was not happy with her time. She said she didn’t feel like herself and was absolutely exhausted for three days after the race. She came to pick up her test kit, and she looked drained.

“Why don’t you take a few weeks off from training until we can see what’s going on with you?” I suggested.

Allison agreed. I gave her the Functional Adrenal Stress Profile test kit, to see what was going on with her adrenals. I also had her complete a Metabolic Assessment Profile, to see if she was digesting proteins properly and to see if excessive exercise had caused any cell damage. Her test results showed that she had really run herself into the ground. Her lab tests indicated:

* Her adrenals were in Stage 2 burnout.

* She was intolerant of gluten.

* She wasn’t digesting protein adequately.

* Her body was under some stress from free radicals.

When I discussed Allison’s test results with her, she asked a question that a lot of athletes like to ask, “Can’t you just tell me which supplements to take?”

Unfortunately there’s a mindset today that goes something like this: “Have a problem? Take a pill.” While this may work in certain severe situations, the truth is that health problems and sports performance problems are rarely caused by a lack of pills; either prescription or supplement.

So, in Allison’s case, the answer was a flat no.

“Look Allison, we need to get a handle on your diet, on your training schedule, on your sleep and recovery, and then we can talk about which supplements you should take. In cases like yours, there are no quick fixes, and I can tell you from experience that these problems will keep getting worse.” I told her she need to work with me for 6 months so we could really get her back on track. She agreed and signed up for a 6 Month Personal Program.

After she took the Starting Point assessment home with her and faxed it back to me, it was easy to see that Allison had several things working against her.

* She was over training. Distance athletes tend to train too much, for too many races without enough off time. Allison was no different. She ran in 4 (!) marathons this year, and did a few sprint triathlons. She was planning on doing a half Ironman next year.

* Allison was drastically over-consuming gluten grains, and carbs in general. The high-carb diet is still very popular among distance athletes. Allison was eating a lot of pasta and cereals, and was also using way too much protein powder.

* Allison was experiencing quite a few digestive problems as well. Her diet included a lot of processed foods, and not enough cooking with whole foods.

* She wasn’t sleeping enough. Allison stayed up fairly late, and got up early to run. She was averaging around 6-7 hours a night.

* Allison was having problems with a low sex drive. This is common, especially in women athletes who are training too much. She had been married for about a year and half, and having children was in her plans.

So Allison over-training, lack of sleep, and gluten consumption had drained her adrenals. We had to get control of that problem first, then we had to look at her digestion.

The first thing I made her do was take a full month off from running. Yes, a full month. I even forbid her from running in the Turkey Trot. Here’s why: A lot of runners are addicted to running. They’ll keep running through almost anything. When someone starts developing some of the problems that Allison was experiencing, it’s critical that she takes the time to heal. She wasn’t allowed to ski until December.

While the rest in and of itself would help Allison tremendously, taking a month off would let her sleep later. Sleep is crucial for adrenal gland recovery.

That was all we worked on in month one. I’m not going to lie: At first Allison revolted. But after I explained that letting her adrenals recover now would pay off next year and told her that the adrenal fatigue was the reason she was feeling so badly during her runs, she agreed.

During that first month, we met every week. Allison spent about a week in runner’s withdrawal. She had to fight the urge to put in 10 or 12 miles every single day. But she survived. She quickly started sleeping later, and getting about 9 hours of sleep each night. I had told her that month 2 would focus on getting off of the gluten, but she took herself off right away. She wanted a big project to focus her attention while she wasn’t running.

We also started her on a supplement program.

After her month off from running, I let Allison start again. She agreed to keep her distances down to 3-5 miles three times a week. Twice a week she did a kettlebell training circuit at home, for no more than 30 minutes. If she went skiing, that replaced a day of running for that week.

After the first month, Allison was doing well. Her digestive problems still bothered her, so I had her see her doctor about it. The doctor had her do a stool test, and it turned out that Allison had an infection in her intestines. Her doctor prescribed antibiotics, and the problems improved in a few weeks (this was an instance when ‘Have a problem? Take this pill’ worked).

At 3 months, we had Allison repeat the Adrenal Stress Profile, and it was much better. She had stuck to her program and really been a great patient. After about 4 months, Allison was doing really well. She was done with her supplement program. Her sex drive was back to normal, she was staying off of gluten, and she was getting ready to start training for her first marathon of the season. But then something happened. Take a guess…

Sometime in the 5th month of her program, Allison told me that she and her husband were expecting their first child. She’d be getting a long break from marathon training.

Allison’s case of athletic fatigue is very common, particularly in women who are involved in distance sports. (Guys have problems with Athletic Fatigue, too, but the symptoms are different.) It’s critical to take enough time to recover, eat right, and train sensibly.

If you think that you’re suffering from the symptoms of adrenal fatigue, you may enroll in one of Dr. Hyman’s programs, or schedule a 45-minute initial consultation to discuss your situation. Dr. Hyman works with clients throughout the US and Canada.

Learn more at http://www.strongerleanerbetter.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Glenn_Hyman

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 17, 2007 at 9:25 am

Categories: Injuries   Tags:

7 Reasons to Consider Making Trail Running Part of Your Routine

Earlier this summer my friend Dan and I were running in a local forest preserve. On a whim, we decided to cut through the woods on some single track trails. Next thing you know, we’re weaving through some great scenery, jumping over fallen trees and really enjoying the experience. Since that time I have turned to trail running whenever I need a change of pace. Here are 7 reasons to consider adding trail running to your weekly routine.

1. Break up the routine. Whenever the thought of going out for a run feels like a drag, I usually find myself going out for a trail run. Trail running requires more focus. The obstacles (roots, branches, rocks, etc.) require you to pay attention to the path. No time for mundane thoughts or boredom when you’re weaving through the woods.

2. Need a break from the summer sun? Go for a Trail Run. This past summer was extremely hot. The wooded trail setting provides protection from the summer heat.

3. Conversely, if you need a break from the cold winter wind, trails provide protection from the wind chill.

4. The air is cleaner and more abundant on the trails thanks to photosynthesis and protection from the exhaust of the roads.

5. Draw energy from the surrounding beauty. I always get a charge out of running through the forest, over streams and rivers, etc. I never tire of seeing deer and other wildlife on the trail.

6. Get Stronger. Trails require runners to run, weave and sometimes jump over small obstacles. It’s a great workout and provides strengthening for ankles, quads and calves.

7. The softer surface of the trail provides much better shock absorption and lessens the chance for common running injuries like shin splints, etc.

Trail Runners need to be aware of potential hazards. It’s certainly possible to turn an ankle or fall. Exercise caution, and over time you will develop a sense for this type of running. Be familiar with the local wild life. If you live near dangerous wild animals (i.e. mountain Lions, etc.) it would be best to run with a buddy. Since trails can be secluded, women should never run alone.

Greg is a running enthusiast. A former NCAA Division I Track athlete, Greg is now competing in Marathons and other races including off-road events. Greg lives in the Chicago suburbs with his wife Carole and four kids. He maintains a site dedicated to running in the Midwest: http://www.midwestrunner.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Greg_Hennessy

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 10, 2007 at 8:14 am

Categories: Motivation   Tags:

Running Headphone Requirements

You have made a commitment to yourself to start a running program to get yourself into shape. So what is the most important part of the program that most people fail to consider? I would ask you to think about the choice of Mp3 player and a pair of running headphones. The need to listen to some music while exercising is nothing new, and many people are already doing so, however if you are like most people, you live in or near a city. The sounds of the traffic and other noises are just a part of life. Luckily technology has solved part of that problem with the invention of Noise Cancelling Headphones. With sales of Mp3 players at all time highs, and more and more people becoming active in workout programs, so has the need to block out those distracting external sounds.

There are many reasons why you are feeling stressed out these days, hectic work schedules, long commutes, and just poor time management. So when you make an effort to start exercising, many times you begin with running, jogging or walking. If that is part of your workout, then using the proper gear is also required. Choosing a comfortable pair of shoes, stylish workout clothes, and of course your music to keep you motivated. Some people listen to EBooks or podcasts of their favorite programs to pass the time while they run. The selection of Mp3 player is important. Sadly the standard ear buds that come with most of these players are very cheap, and have absolutely no noise reducing capabilities, and many times in fact hurt your ears. Choosing replacement running headphones becomes important as part of your exercise program. The selection of new running headphones should always consider the following factors:
1. A comfortable fit, either in ear headphones or over the ear is a personal choice; but many people choose both types and alternate wearing each style.
2. Brand of headphone and capabilities of each type. If you just want to listen to a radio, then maybe the highest quality features are not required, if you love hearing clarity then consider quality types.
3. Noise Cancelling or just Noise Reduction. If you are in a higher traffic area, or external noises are a problem, then the Noise Cancelling Headphones are becoming very popular.
4. Durability of the product is important, just like anything else in our lives; you get what you pay for. Cheap headphones have little effect and may not last very long. A higher quality brand name offers many more features and perhaps a replacement guarantee in case of accidental damage.
5. Running headphones that use Noise Cancelling features also help preserve your precious battery life. It is very frustrating when you are exercising and the music stops because you had to keep the mp3 player turned up near full volume for the whole time. Noise Cancelling Headphones allow you to listen at much lower volumes and help prolong your listening time.
6. The workout may require a lot of movement, so if the running headphones have too long of cord, or too short this may also create problems as well.
7. Does it look good? While working out, staying in fashion might be an important part as well. If you want to look stylish or modern choose a brand of running headphones that will compliment you as well.

To some people listening to music and choosing a quality pair of headphones is just not that important. However if music is a very important part of your life then you should try to enhance your ability to listen clearly while exercising. I think it is great that we can combine these two fun and relaxing things. This is why choosing the proper exercise equipment is so crucial. Choosing good running headphones is like buying the right pair of shoes, we need the right fit.

Jeffrey Meier of Jam727 Enterprises at http://www.Jam727.com offers Noise Cancelling Headphones and quality Running Headphones at http://www.noisefreeheadphones.com/running_headphones.htm

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeffrey_Meier

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Posted by The Running Guy - November 3, 2007 at 8:30 am

Categories: Music @ Work (Training)   Tags: