Archive for September, 2008

Get in Shape This Fall With a 5K Running Race

Running is one of the best ways to get in shape. It requires minimal equipment. You can run anywhere, anytime. Running is instinctual to our bodies. And the more you practice, the more fun it gets.

A 5K running race is a great excuse to get in shape. By registering for a future race, you are setting a goal for yourself, and a deadline. Goal-setting and timelines are important factors to getting in shape.

Running for fun.

Many of the 5K races have fun themes. Some encourage runners’ participation, and they have costume contests.

Some of the themes for 5Ks are based on holidays. There are many Turkey, or Gobbler, Runs on Thanksgiving Day. St. Patrick’s Day, New Year’s Eve or Day, July 4th (Independence Day), and Oktoberfest are all popular times for races. Around the U.S., you can find a race celebrating just about every special occasion.

There are many 5Ks, and running races of all lengths, hosted in the fall. This is when temperatures are cooler. Leaves are changing, providing scenic backgrounds. And people like to be involved in community events.

Many 5Ks are fundraisers. So, in addition to the good cause of getting in shape and preventing disease, you can feel good about raising money for non-profit organizations like:

* Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society
* National Arthritis Foundation
* Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and
* National Alzheimer’s Association

Getting ready.

A 5K means 5 kilometers, or 3.17 miles. To train yourself, there are a few general guidelines.
First, you want to increase your mileage, or your intensity, by no more than 10% each week. For example, if you run two miles three times per week, then increase one of your runs each week to 2 ½ miles. Work up to running 3 miles a few times per week.

After you run your 5K, you will realize that they are not so difficult. You may be inspired to train for a longer race, such as a 10K or ½ marathon, or even a full marathon (26.2 miles). There are several national organizations with which you can train, such as Team in Training (for Leukemia fundraising), Joints in Motion (Arthritis awareness), and groups through local running stores.

If you start running with groups or other individuals in your area, then you are more likely to stay motivated and stay in shape, and run more 5Ks!

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 27, 2008 at 2:17 am

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19 Ways to Run Injury Free

The great thing with running, unlike many other sports, is that it’s very simple to objectively measure progress. How are you progressing? Or have you got yourself into a rut? We may not all be destined to become elite runners, but most of us feel pretty psyched when we see even small improvements. The older I get the more I look to small improvements for my motivation.

The following check list may help you pinpoint areas of nutrition, training, motivation, injury prevention, or equipment to address that will help boost you to the next level.

1. Fuel right before runs – have a low fat meal or snack containing low glycemic index carbohydrates 1-3 hours before your run. I personally like oatmeal mixed with Cheerios before my morning run.

2. Core strengthening – Pilates, yoga or simply core strengthening weight workouts. Personalized programs help to strengthen core and major muscle groups important to running, as well as lengthen out tight areas. A more fluid moving, stronger, less injury prone body is the result.

3. Cross-train – even the worlds’ fastest female marathoner-Paula Radcliffe-does some of her sessions on a Nordic track (a machine which mimics cross-country skiing). Water running and cycling are also useful to maintain cardiovascular fitness without the constant impact and injury risk. I finally bought a bike a month ago and I love it!

4. Refine your running technique – Your podiatrist or physical therapist can help you with gait analysis. Improving technique can not only make you a better runner, but you may feel less soreness and reduced injuries.

5. Aim to be a healthy weight – a BMI (body mass index) of 20-25 gives us a rough indicator. Running becomes more difficult when we gain weight, conversely, becoming underweight may negatively affect performance and health. I can admit that I actually have gained weight and became faster!

6. Increase your stress gradually – the general rule of thumb is to increase your mileage no more than 10% weekly. This gives the body time to adapt to increased stress and improve while decreasing injury risks.

7. Wear appropriate shoes – that are comfortable and functional for your foot type; and above all learn to recognize when they are past their use-by-date to help avoid injury. Five hundred miles or 6 months are the expiration dates on running shoes!

8. Start runs hydrated – and carry sports drink or gels on runs that are longer than 60-90 mins. Losing even 2% of our body weight through sweat can affect performance. Providing carbohydrate and electrolytes during longer races, will also be a huge benefit to your final time. Weigh yourself before and after a run. Make sure you replace your fluids!

9. Run with a group – if you find it difficult to stay motivated, running with a group, or a running peep can give you a time and place to be consistent with your running.

10. Get in the zone – Load your mp3 with music that uplifts you. Buy run gear you feel great and comfortable in, or map out new run routes to stay inspired. Mix it up!

11. Find a great massage therapist – regular massage improves mobility and flexibility of the muscles, increases blood flow, and relaxes the muscle. All this means recovery from a hard session or race (normally 48-72 hrs) can be reduced by up to 50%! A good massage therapist can also pinpoint problem areas when they are tight and before they become injuries. I love mine although I scream when she hits my sore spots!

12. Learn to run faster – do 1-2 runs every week that challenge your pace. This may be an anaerobic threshold run where you hold a faster pace for eg 20mins during your normal run. Other options are hill fartlek sessions-where you run an undulating loop, pushing hard on the uphills-or interval sessions – where a shorter distance is run hard, with a few minutes of jogging between eg 5-6 x 1 mile or 6-8 x 800m.

13. Find a mentor or supporter – this may be someone you admire as a runner, or who makes you feel enthusiastic about your running goals. It may be your coach, partner, or another runner who you catch up with regularly to talk running and how it effects your life.

14. Set goals with training and racing and follow a program. Like anything in life, we are more likely to be successful with a clear vision and tactics.

15. Eat right after runs – consume a meal or snack containing 1-2g carbohydrate/kg of body weight and some protein immediately after runs longer than an hour. I personally drink an Ensure or protein shake as soon as I stop sweating! Glycogen (the muscles main energy source for running) is replaced much faster in this period immediately post training.

16. Utilize and learn to love ice-baths – or cool water soaks, especially after long or hard runs. The effect on recovery is amazing.

17. Race – there’s nothing like a race situation to push you to the next level, while also giving you a sense of accomplishment. It’s amazing how the legs find another gear to train at as well!

18. Learn to train easy – we are not invincible, and do not become great by running hard every day. In fact injury and chronic fatigue is the more likely outcome! Recovery runs or easy days are crucial to gain the benefits from our harder runs. Do a daily check…are you fatigued when you wake up? That’s a day to pull out your bike or run easier.

19. Enlist specialists – get professional advice when needed from qualified and respected Sports Podiatrists, Nutritionists, Physical Therapists, Sports Physicians, Chiropractors, Exercise Physiologists, Coaches, and even Sports Psychologists!

We are unique individuals, and one formula will not be right for everyone. It takes time to figure out what works best for us, but the important thing is that you learn from experience, and enjoy the process of becoming a better, stronger runner.

Pain slowing down your run? Dr Marybeth Crane is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon and a veteran marathon running podiatrist. For a copy of her FREE BOOK or more information on running injuries, she can be reached at her website or peruse her musing on her blog! She also offer doctor-approved foot care products for your health!

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 16, 2008 at 10:12 am

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Running and Fat Loss Diet Tips!

Ask anyone who has tried to lose weight by using a running and fat loss plan and you will be told that it indeed works very well. Running is one of the best exercises to promote high speed fat loss in both men and women. Another benefit to this type of diet program is that it can be done with little or no expense involved, all you need is a place to run (your neighborhood, a local track) and a pair of good running shoes.

If you have no medical conditions preventing you from starting a weight loss program using running as the primary exercise to burn calories then the sooner you start the sooner you will see some results. The slenderizing that you will see should motivate you to continue until you reach your slimming down goal.

The best part about running is that you do not have to run a long distance at a slow pace. Research has proven that doing interval running can burn as much at three times the fat as a long, slow run will. All you have to do for this additional calorie burn is run for a set time and then walk and then run again for the time that you set. A good plan for beginners is to run for 45 seconds and then walk for sixty seconds. Do at least five repetitions (reps) of this interval plan. You’ll need to do this workout at least three times per week for six weeks to get the maximum results. This type of running causes you to have powerful bursts of energy that rapidly burn calories and then give you a cool down period before you repeat the process.

Using this easy and inexpensive plan you can significantly reduce your weight and also have improvements in the size of your hips and waist. Once you are cleared by your Doctor to start running put this simple and effective plan to use and see for yourself that running and fat loss diets promote rapid and safe weight reduction.

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Posted by The Running Guy - September 6, 2008 at 10:42 am

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