Archive for May, 2008

Running Physique – The Myth Of The Perfect Runner’s Body

Have you ever heard the description “skinny little runner”? Don’t those words just seem to go together? Well, if you’ve ever watched a marathon or other distance event live or on television, you know that description is not always accurate.

There is no such thing as the “perfect runner’s body.” Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Too many women (and men) believe that “thin is in” or that really good or serious runners have to be skinny to be fast. It is simply a stereotype – being fit doesn’t always equate with a stick thin body.

There’s more to being a good runner than being skinny. Here are three components that make up the Strong, Healthy Runner’s Body:

Proper Nutrition. Being a good runner is about being healthy. You can’t fuel your workouts on a few celery sticks and a cup of dry rice. You would never dream of trying to “run” your car with no gas. Your body is the same – you must have fuel to “run” your body.

Strong Muscles. Being a good runner is about being strong. We all have different body types, but we can all strengthen what we have. Doing simple strength building exercises will not only make you a stronger, better runner, but also build muscle and reduce fat. Many great runners are small and compact, rather than tall and skinny.

Cross Training. Activities other than running can help develop other muscle groups, which leads to overall fitness. Runners often neglect their upper bodies. Swimming, biking, rowing, cross-country skiing – all these activities can contribute to a strong, healthy body.

I can relate to those of you who sometimes feel ambivalent about your bodies. I am small and compact, but I’ll never think of myself as “skinny.” I simply work with what I have. We can’t compare ourselves to others – we’ll never come out even. We’re not competing against other people – really. We are running against the clock.

You should learn to love your body – whatever the size and shape – and to relate to it with gratitude and respect.

And, now I would like to offer you a free special report entitled, “Running 4 Your Life: How to Improve Your Physical, Emotional, Relationship, and Spiritual Health.” Go to

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Posted by The Running Guy - May 31, 2008 at 9:59 am

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Marathon Running – How to Pace Yourself

Picking the right pace for yourself during the marathon is the key to how well you eventually complete the race. First of all it’s important to understand what is happening to your body as you progress through the long marathon distance.

At the start you will be running quite comfortably (hopefully anyway!!), due to your marathon training and your carbohydrate stores (glycogen reserves). However your supply of accessible ‘fuel’ is limited, and as you get to the 17 mile mark and later you need to draw energy from your bodies’ protein and fat just to keep going. At the same time you are also fighting dehydration. You can lose 2 – 3lbs per hour of body weight as you sweat during the run.

Now imagine that it’s a windy day or a hilly course (or both!). Your energy output has to increase if you want to maintain your pace and time goal. However this may well mean that you’ll use up your available energy stores before you even reach the 17-18 mile mark.

The same goes for the temperature and humidity level during the race. If these are high you will sweat more and be more affected by dehydration. This will negatively affect your performance by 10 to 15 %, which translates into about 1 minute per mile. In other words you will be slowing down…

Marathon runners ‘hit the wall’ because their glycogen reserves are depleted and they feel really weak. This feeling will be compounded by the effects of dehydration. At this point many runners have stop and walk just to keep going. Obviously they will be unable to meet their marathon time goal.

So, knowing all this in advance, the wise marathoner will carefully assess the race conditions at the start of the race. If it’s hot it’s best to start slower until you have reached a steady running rhythm. The same goes for running into a headwind. You should also take into account your running form after six miles or so. Are you relaxed and feeling as good as you should at this early point in the run? If not – it’s time to slow down for a while to see if you recover.

To successfully complete a marathon you must run as far as you possibly can within your body’s comfort level. That might sound like an oxymoron when we’re talking about 26.2 miles, – but it is possible! If you can reach the 16 mile mark without a lot of stress then you have a good chance of finishing the race without too much trouble.

The key point is to start out with a target pace range in mind, and not an absolute goal like 3hr 45 m. For example you might pick a pace between 8:30 to 9:00 minutes per mile (for a marathon time in the 3hr 40m to 4 hr range approximately). Then adjust your pace according to the conditions and your own running ability on marathon day. It’s usually better to start at the slower end and then increase the pace as you get further into the race.

Try this and you may well be pleasantly surprised with how well you complete the race.

Mike is a fitness enthusiast, runner and walker who has completed over 25 marathons. For more information about running the marathon, download a copy of his Free report ‘Marathon Race Strategies‘ Mike is also the developer of customized training logbooks. To get your own personalized Running Log, visit Custom Running Logs. His website about marathon information and training can be found at: 26.2 – The Marathon Website.

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Posted by The Running Guy - May 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm

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How Can a Runner Get Proper Nutrition Without Losing Energy?

So much information is available on the internet about nutrition, it is difficult to know what to eat or what to avoid. One of the biggest mistakes runners make is improperly nourishing their bodies, especially people who enjoy running early in the morning before eating breakfast. Without proper fuel, glycogen and blood-glucose levels can fall to dangerously low levels, which will affect a runner’s energy levels. A good breakfast can lend a hand with a successful workout.

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast should consist of simple and complex carbohydrates and some lean protein. A meal of about 500 calories for two to three hours of running is normally sufficient. Eating toast or a bagel with peanut butter and fruit is a good way to begin your workout because it is packed with carbs and low in fat. Stay away from coffee, fried foods, vegetables and anything you know will upset your stomach.

After your workout, your meals should be a high carbohydrate, high protein combination to promote muscle recovery and nutrient replenishment. Some good suggestions are pasta with grilled chicken or salmon, brown rice with tofu, or an egg white omelet with wheat toast. This is also a good time to take a vitamin supplement or nutritional drink.

Drink Lots of Water

A runner has to stay hydrated. The best method for this is to drink plenty of water before the run. Don’t wait to feel thirsty before drinking because that is a symptom of dehydration. There are many sports drinks on the market, but be careful of the carbohydrate levels and sodium levels in some. Water is the best drink of choice for an athlete.

Not only is it important to drink during a run, it is important to drink after running. Avoid drinks containing caffeine immediately after running, as caffeine is a diuretic and can contribute to dehydration.

Nutritional Supplement for Endurance

To ensure proper nutrition without overeating, a supplement is recommended for runners as this will add nutrition without adding unwanted calories or body mass. Vibe is an excellent choice for a nutritional supplement. Vibe is the most complete answer to a runner’s need for essential nutrients. This nutritional supplement is convenient, great tasting, and economical. It is a powerful way to receive balanced nutrition for an active runner. A more complete, proven combination of healthful goodness in liquid form can’t be found. More information about Vibe is available at

Karen Vertigan Pope writes for Ciniva Systems, an award winning Virginia web design company. Ciniva specializes in web design and SEO. Ms. Vertigan Pope is the Project Support Manager of Ciniva Systems. Ciniva Systems is in charge of SEO for

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Posted by The Running Guy - May 10, 2008 at 6:29 pm

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You Run 100 Miles!

Most people know someone who has tackled the marathon distance but did you know there are those who go beyond that? If you’re curious about how and why a person would take on the challenge of running 100 miles then read on.

1. Do You Sleep During The Run? No, personally I do not. Since these are races my goal is to finish the distance as quickly as I can; also there is a 30 hour time limit for most 100 milers leaving little time for naps.

2. Do You Walk? Yes, I would say that I walk about 30% of the total distance (30 miles). The “plan” is to walk the uphills, jog the flats and run the downs; of course if the race is relatively flat then you must include scheduled walk breaks. At Arkansas Traveller I didn’t follow this plan and ran everything for the first 16 miles which almost caused me to DNF early in the race due to the heat and humidity.

3. Do You Eat While You Run? Yes, you’re supposed to. In a 100 mile race I’ll burn around 15,000 calories so it is essential that I replace these calories during the run. For me I have a hard time eating as I tend to have no appetite and an unsettled stomach; I force myself to eat whatever “looks” good or something I can just gulp down. At Arkansas Traveller I lived on Coke and Soup during the last 60 miles but typical aid station fare includes Soda, M&Ms, Gels, Sports Drink, candy, chips, cookies, PB and Jelly sandwiches, boiled potatoes and about anything else you can imagine (pancakes, sausage, bacon, hamburgers, etc.). You must also replace your electrolytes during the race by either consuming salt or electrolyte capsules. Personally I take Succeed Caps and in hot weather consume about 3-4 an hour; during the AT100 I took over 60 S-Caps throughout the 24 hours I was running.

4. Do You Stop To Rest? There are aid stations about every 4-5 miles where we fill our water bottles, grab something to eat and see our crew if the station is accessible to them. My rule is to get in and out of an aid station in 2 minutes or less as I take food out with me to eat while I’m walking. My crew usually walks along side refilling me with Hammer Gels, S-Caps, Woerther’s Candies, Starlight Mints, Clip 2 and Tums. I almost NEVER sit; as the old ultra saying goes “Beware of the chair!” It has been the cause of many DNF’s (Did Not Finish) for other runners.

5. How Long Does It Take To Run 100 Miles? As Davy says in his response it really depends on the course. Kettle was my first 100 miler and I finished in 27 hours and 11 minutes due to the fact that I walked the entire last 38 miles. At Arkansas I finished in 24 hours and 35 minutes as I was better prepared both mentally and physically for the night portion; I practically ran an even split (1st 50 miles in 12:09 and last 50 miles in 12:26). My short-term goal is to run a sub-24 but my “stretch” goal is to beat 22 hours.

6. Why Do You Like To Run 100 Miles? That’s the Million Dollar question that I get all the time! First and foremost I like to push myself to see exactly what I’m capable of; the feeling of accomplishment when you finish is unsurpassed by anything else I’ve ever experienced. I love the people I meet during the journey and the beautiful places I get to see. I’ve learned a lot about myself; I can achieve anything I set my mind to and when the going gets tough I’m able to handle the stress in a calm manner (something I try to apply in everyday life). I enjoy reflecting back on the race and going through the “play by play” with family and friends; it’s like reliving the excitement all over again! Lastly, you can’t truly appreciate “rest” or a shower until you’ve run a 100 miler.

7. How Long Does It Take You To Recover? I’m usually running again by the next weekend although I stick to trails and go no further than 7 miles. Typically I do a “reverse taper” and am back to my average weekly mileage by about 3-4 weeks after the race. I ran the Rock Creek 50K three weeks after Traveller and missed my 50K PR by 3 minutes placing 7th overall; my recovery time is getting shorter and shorter as I get more miles on my body.

8. What Do You Think About As You Run? When running a race of this distance you focus on how you’re feeling (body scan from head to toe and internally), keeping your hydration/electrolytes in balance, following your fueling strategy and what you’re going to need at upcoming aid stations. When you scan and something isn’t right you then move into a solution oriented mode to figure out what you need to do to fix the problem before it gets any worse. If you are at a REALLY LOW POINT you start thinking about why you’re doing this as you search for meaning and inspiration to push on.

9. How Much Do You Have To Train? I average about 50 miles per week and a typical week consists of 4-5 runs of 6 to 10 miles and one long run over 15 miles. The Long Run is really the key as it primarily trains the endocrine system to handle the stress you will encounter during a 100 miler. I ran at least one race of 50K or longer practically every month this year.

10. Doesn’t It Hurt? Yes! There are times when the pain seems unbearable; you must know the difference between “safe” pain and pain which signifies a problem so serious that you must quit. By about mile 50 everything hurts to some extent so it simply becomes varying degrees of pain. At Arkansas I actually started feeling better as the race progressed during the last 50 miles; I’ve found that for me late in a race it is less painful when I’m running than when I’m walking or standing still. As Davy said, after the race the pain subsides but the memories and sense of accomplishment last a lifetime!

11. Do You Get Blisters? I am blessed in that I have very few foot problems and rarely get blisters. If I do they are small and relatively insignificant; I usually don’t even notice them until the race is over.

12. What Kind Of Shoes Do You Run In? I run in trail running shoes and love the Asics Gel Trabucos; I’ve tried others but keep coming back to these. I also wear Injinji Socks, use Sole orthotic insoles and Dirty Girl Gaiters. During Arkansas Traveller I ran in the same pair of shoes the entire race, never changed my socks and my feet felt great (it’s all relative).

13. How Many Miles Do You Run In A Year? I just started running in September, 2005 so: 2005 – 492 Miles, 2006 – 2454 Miles, 2007 – 2750 Miles

14. How Often Do You Run 100 Miles? I’ve only run two 100 milers and completed both of them in 2007. I also ran races of all distances including two marathons, six 50K’s, one 6 Hour Timed Event and one 50 miler. For 2008, I will run fewer races and plan to participate in three 100 milers; I will run less 50k’s and no marathons.

15. Do You Win? Not Yet. I am relatively young and early in my ultra career; the highest I’ve placed in a 100 miler was 20th at Arkansas. My running times in general have improved quite dramatically this year and I do think that someday I’ll be able to run a sub-20 hour 100 miler. Is that good enough to win? Depends who shows up that year.

Carey W. Smith

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Posted by The Running Guy - May 4, 2008 at 12:44 am

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