Race Pace Conditioning For Runners

Attend any local race, watch coverage of running events, or listen in at sporting goods stores … runners will commonly discuss and compare their “pace.” At the heart of any length race, be it 5 kilometers, 10 kilometers, or 50 kilometers, is the pace. The pace can make or break a runner’s performance. To the casual event observer, runners simply run by in a mass of pit-a-pat sounds and crowd cheers. However, each runner has a set pace — and has worked for months to get it set just right.

So isn’t running just running? The starter’s pistol pops, the group of tank-top-clad people surges forward, and they appear later on, somewhat sweatier and panting, at the finish line? That is the basic theme. Start, run, finish. Take a closer look. Some runners are checking oversized watches. Some are right behind others, the determination in their eyes growing keen. All are reaping the rewards of a well-built pace.

Pace is not just about speed. It is not just about endurance. It is not just about breathing. It is all of these and more. If a regular person who does not run were to start with the group, he or she could run along just fine … for a while. Perhaps this person will sprint to the head of the pack in a triumphant “a-ha!” and tear down the course with pardonable glee. But if this person has not set a pace, he or she is doomed to drop back within a few minutes to a huffing, puffing walker. Can this same person run that race, stay with the pack, and finish (though maybe not win at first) successfully? Yes, if a good pace is created, maintained, and honored. Runners create a pace through training. An Olympic runner will have a fine-tuned, fast pace that will win all but a few competitions out there. A regular mortal who just likes to run, and maybe race, will have a slower pace (8-minute miles as opposed to an Olympian’s 5-minute miles), but the mechanics are similar. A pace is created through regular, consistent running, synchronized breathing, and conditioning. An established pace, once set, can be accelerated over time. But it takes a lot of work for most people.

Consistency: runners who would like to race need to run consistently. Training schedules vary from person to person, but the overall idea is the same: be consistent. The distance or terrain or slope may change, but the consistency must be maintained. If a runner chooses a 5-day-per-week schedule, he or she can run, walk/jog, or do sprints at will, as long as those 5 days are consistent. The remaining two days can be used for complete rest, or just walk days. It varies, as mentioned before, by individual preference and athletic ability/health concerns.

Synchronized breathing: It is easy to tell the fitness level of any runner simply by listening to how that runner breathes. Fast, gasping breaths within the first mile will usually mean a lower level of fitness, while rhythmic, easy, timed breaths (or inaudible breathing) will lean more towards a higher level of fitness. The key with breathing is to give your body the oxygen it needs, at a steady intake, without overdoing it. The oxygen level will directly correlate with the pace. If the runner is trained for six miles at 2/2 breathing, then he or she can expect to do well at that set pace. What does that mean? 2/2 breathing is two breaths in for two strides, then two breaths out for two strides. Some runners can “waltz” breathe (1-2-3, 1-2-3) with 3/3. Or even three breaths in and two breaths out. Like consistency needs, breathing will vary from runner to runner. The pace will set itself around this pattern. If a runner can run 8-minute miles at 3/2 breathing, that is the pace. Perhaps this runner wants to move up to 7-minute miles. Adjust consistency to more running days than walking, step up breathing to 2/2, perhaps, and voila, a slightly faster pace. A runner will only be able to run well according to what his or her fitness pace allows. Sprint out of it during the fourth mile of a 10K, and yes, a runner may still finish, but the cardiopulmonary and muscular systems will have a much harder time. A broken pace will equal poor results.

Conditioning: Fitness improves with improved conditioning. As does pace. Start with a good, consistent program, get a good, consistent breathing pattern, and then condition to up the ante. Sprints, hills, difficult terrain (sand), and wind are all good “mix things up” conditioners. Please note, however, that these tools can be harder on the ligaments and joints than simple, even-paced work. Sprints and hills can increase the chance of shin splints or sore knees. Sandy, difficult terrain can be hard on the knees and ankles. Be careful when adding them to the program. A consistent, well-based running program will prepare the body for conditioning — add hills slowly and easily. Walk down them if necessary.

Racing tip: everyone has a set pace, as we’ve mentioned before. When a field of runners jumps at the gun and spreads out down the course, the faster people of course take the lead, with pace speeds fanning out accordingly. A runner can choose to “pace” with another runner that is traveling at relatively the same speed. If your pace is slightly faster than this other person, go ahead and pass. Your pace is your pace. Stay true to it. If another runner is just slightly faster, yet you can pace with them for a while, fine. But don’t break pace to match theirs, as you will tire faster and have a much more difficult time. Keep conditioning, though. Perhaps in a while, that faster pace will be yours, and you can finish with shorter and shorter times. Check the posted times after the race finishes. Some will have name, age group, and, to the far right, pace. The more you train, the smaller that number, your pace time, will become.

Bonnie Cox has been running 10-kilometer races since the age of nine. Still a competitive runner, she trains daily with her dogs and races 8-9 times per year. http://www.antlerhollowmillville.comhttp://millvillegrammarcop.blogspot.com

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

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 13, 2009 at 12:47 am

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Five Ways to Increase Running Intensity

When you are trying to progressive your runs, it’s not all about increasing speed and time.

Here are Five Ways to Increase Running Intensity

1. Hills. Running hills really targets your glutes and lungs. Hills also make you a stronger runner when you switch back to flat terrain. If you don’t live in a hilly neighbourhood, practice on the treadmill by raising the incline. Start with 2 minutes at an incline of 5.0 and 3 minutes at 1.0

2. Sand. Sand adds resistance and makes you run slower, but ultimately increases speed for normal runs. Sand running targets your hamstrings. You will really see development if you sprint. Just make sure to wear a pair of sneakers, that you don’t mind getting dirty.

3. Off-Road. If you have forests with trails this is a great way to use core stabilizing muscles to keep your balance on uneven terrain. Trails also have hills for added intensity. The dirt paths are easier on the joints, oppose to the impact of running on concrete.

4. A Race. Running a charity race, either a 5, 10 half marathon or marathon distance is a great way to have an intense run. The adrenaline and motivation from other runners will have you feeling an all over workout the next day. My quickest run times are in races!

5. Running Parachute. If you can get over standing out like a sore thumb, running with a parachute strapped to your back is a piece of equipment that can really improve speed and power. Just make sure to practice in a park or at the track. You might be too distracting on the main roads:)

Running is a rewarding way to get and stay in shape. It’s an activity that is easy to start and incredibly affordable. If you have been looking for new ways to progress your running skills, try one of these tips for great running results.

Run For Fun And Fitness!

Kaleena Lawless

Personal Training Specialist


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Posted by The Running Guy - October 19, 2008 at 3:55 am

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Running in Hot Weather – 5 Tips For Hot-Weather Running

Running in the summer can be challenging if you live in a really hot climate. Having trained for marathons while living in Chicago, Louisiana, and Idaho, I’ve literally trained in all weather conditions for running outdoors. With proper clothing and training techniques, you can run in any climate.

With summer approaching, here are 5 tips for running in hot weather based on my own running experience:

1. Run in the morning. Generally, it’s cooler and less humid in the morning. And, summer air quality levels are worse late in the afternoon. When I lived in Louisiana, I couldn’t get up early enough to beat the heat. But I could beat the sun. Now, I do the majority of my training in Idaho, where the hottest part of the day is around 5 pm.
2. Stay hydrated. Drink, drink, drink – before, during, and after your run. And, don’t wait until you feel thirsty. If you run on a path where there is no water, plan your hydration. Use a water belt, or plan to pass a convenience store where you can buy water or use their water fountain.
3. Dress light. Wear both lightweight, wicking material and light colors. Stay away from cotton. Most running clothes are made of moisture-wicking fabric designed to keep the sweat away from your skin and it allows for air circulation, thus keeping you cooler. Cotton holds the moisture, gets heavy, and doesn’t allow any air circulation. Also, light colors reflect the sun away from your skin.
4. Protect your eyes and skin. Wear sunscreen. There are many brands of sports sunscreen that are designed not to run so that you don’t get it in your eyes. Also, squinting uses up more energy and can cause headaches. Sunglasses offer protection from sun exposure and help to prevent headaches from squinting.
5. Pay attention to how you feel. Heat and humidity can be dangerous. Be aware of the signs of overheating. If you feel dizzy or if your skin feels clammy, stop and get out of the sun.

You shouldn’t let hot weather intimidate you – just be respectful of what the heat can do to your body.

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 http://www.Running4YourLifeblog.net

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

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Posted by The Running Guy - June 21, 2008 at 2:53 pm

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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

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

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When Not to Run

I love to run. There is nothing better than the feeling of being in the open air and getting the heart rate up, with nothing but your thoughts (or iPod) to keep you company. In fact, my love for running can have a down side. There are times when a runner shouldn’t run, but at first thought I struggled to identify them. However, I was determined to list a few…

So, for fear of sounding too negative, I have listed some times when it is not a good idea to get that run in, no matter how much you want to:

1. You have an injury
2. You have not eaten properly before heading out (see this article)
3. You have not spent any time with your kids on that day
4. You have not spent any time with your spouse
5. It is a torrential downpour, with lightening
6. There is a wicked ice fog making all sidewalks, paths, and roads like a skating rink
7. You just ate a lot of refried beans
8. Your can see through the soles of your only pair of running shoes
9. It is so hot out that you are sweating even before your run
10. Your wife just gave you the wink wink nudge nudge (this one only works for guys)

That is all I came up with. I would love to add to this list but need your help. Please use the comments to provide me with additions to this list – serious or not!

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Posted by The Running Guy - August 11, 2007 at 6:48 pm

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