Archive for the ‘running’ Category

Being a runner over 40 has presented new areas of interest (and concern) for me on the road and more importantly in my training and recovery off the road. I love to run and it’s great to see research being done on older runners…the Stanford study that shows that running slows aging or the Yale study that shows that older marathon runners (women in particular) are improving their running times more than younger runners.

I would like to share some insights and tips that I have learned along the way. Many of these women’s running tips can apply to all runners, but they definitely take on a new perspective as the years go on and we get older, wiser, and perhaps, faster…

Training Tips:

1. Adding Miles: SLOWLY! Use the 10% rule. Add no more than 10% increase of the mileage each week. Here’s more detailed explanation and chart from FitSugar.

2. Warmup: As we get older, the body needs time to get going and giving it that time will help avoid injuries. See “The Perfect Warmup” from Runner’s World.

3.Cross-Training: Is a must for any runner, but as you age the relationship between cross-training and running becomes even more important. For a different, low impact, cross-training option, see our recent post on Aqua Running (Pool Running). Core exercises have become another essential, here’s some good ones from Runners World.

4.Strength Training: There is a lot of information out there on lifting weights and strength training, but being careful to start this in the “right” way is important as we get older. Running Planet has done a nice job w/ laying out The 8 rules of Strength Training”. We have some good videos on our Resources page.

5.Stretching/Yoga: Another must for the aging runner (and this has certainly been debated by many). Dara Torres proved this in her Olympic effort that stunned us all. She adhered to a strict resistance stretching regime (see previous post – Doing the Home Stretch with Dara Torres). I am not a huge fan of yoga, but here’s a good article by Runners World about a runner w/ a ITB injury who didn’t like yoga at the beginning, then became a convert. My always injury free LDF (“Long Distance Friend”) swears by power yoga!

6.Rest: This has become one of the most important parts of my training. If I don’t get enough rest, my body begins to break down. Listen (very closely) to your body.

7.Massage: Another Dara Torres staple and one of my personal favorites. It does not matter if you have a fabulous husband like I do or get from a pro, it works to relieve the stress of training and tired muscles. You can even do it yourself w/ some videos by Rich Poley who wrote “Self Massage for Athletes”.

8.Set a Goal: Having a goal or a race to strive for makes the training have a purpose and keep me focused.

9.Training Programs: A little planning goes a long way. If possible, try to plan your training to run more often on softer surfaces like trails, dirt roads, grassy parks, or even the track. A few good programs are on our resource page. There are many good ones out there–find one that suits you.

10.The Track: Most marathon training programs will include track work as it helps develop the fast twitch muscles to build speed and lung power during a race…getting older does not mean getting less competitive:) If I am training for a marathon, it really makes a difference for me especially in the later miles of the race. Good article from Runner’s World called “Running in Circles”.

11.Injury/Recovery: This one is hard for me as I have had many… at 46, I still like to run fast. There are several common injuries to running and I think I have had them all. See “Coming back from an injury” posts. I have learned to recognize my body’s warning signs and back off. Many of these tips (see Rest, Diet, Stretching/Yoga, Massage, Weight/BMI, Orthotics, and more) are meant to help avoid injuries or help w/ recovery.

12.Running with Music: Running with music can help motivation and provide a needed distraction. I have also learned about the importance of BPM (beats per minute) and ensuring that if you are listening to a song, be sure it is not too slow and unconsciously slowing your pace. Find 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s music along w/ best bands of today and learn more about BPMs in this post: Best Running Music Ever

13.Weight/BMI: It seems that fast marathoners have a low Body Mass Index (BMI). Marathon Guide has a quick tool to calculate your BMI. Knowing yours can help to find the “right” BMI for your best running performance. See also post: What’s the ‘right’ BMI for a woman marathoner?”

14.Running in Different types of Weather: I am not a treadmill runner, so I will run in anything short of a blizzard. With the right layers of clothing this is possible. However, if you are training in summer for a fall race, beware of weather differences. The weather during your race may be very different then when you are training. Don’t be discouraged if you are not able to run 17 miles the way you think you should when you are in 80-90 degree heat and high humidity.

15.Travel Running: Always bring the running shoes along! Some of my best runs have been among the monuments of parks, cityscapes and beaches of sand. Hotels (see this post that mentions WestinRun) now will provide maps (and sometimes runners) to guide you. With the help of Map My Run you can find a route from anywhere. Take a look at some of our Travel running posts.

16.Running and Sex: Here’s an interesting article by Running Times that quotes an Israeli scientist who declared “Women compete better after orgasm, especially high-jumpers and runners”…who am I to argue w/ Israeli scientists?

17. Fartlek Training: Sports Fitness Advisor has some good tips on how to incorporate fartlek into your training (psst…if you don’t know what fartlek is, check out 10Ktruth.com’s “Runnerspeak – Dictionary of Running Jargon and Other Sport Terms”).

Nutrition and Hydration Tips:

18. Type of Diet: Adhering to a well-balanced, low-fat, wholegrain diet that is higher in carbs has always been the best route for me. I love a good smoothie (see post Smoothie Operator –quick nutritional training meal”) while training. Here’s an interesting article w/ good tips on eating from Cool Running called “The Runner’s Diet”.

19.Hydration: It used to be all water and Gatorade for me, but now as I get older I don’t want the same amount of calories. I opt for the lower calorie alternatives like electrolyte powder mixes (see post: “Water log: Hydration and road recovery options for runners”).

20. Eating after Running: The window for eating after running is small, but important. See post “Refuel ‘Right’ after a Run”

Gear Tips:

21. Running Clothes/Bra: I like my running clothes sporty–not funky, but this is obviously personal preference. A good running bra will go a long way…avoid cotton at all cost. I have learned that running skirts are the most polarizing of all apparel items. However, if you love wearing a skirt, check out the Skirtchaser Race Series…looks like fun!

22.Running Shoes/Socks: Running shoes are so personal the only way to really find a pair is to go to a running store and keep trying them on until you find one that feels comfortable. There are tons of shoe guides for different types of feet that are helpful in narrowing it all down. Learning about pronation and choosing a shoe that fits whether you have normal pronation, underpronation (or supination), or overpronation (or hyper-pronation) is key. Runner’s World has a good article along with videos on pronation here. I have changed my shoe once. I alternate pairs of three for marathon training (it used to be two but with my foot issues, it’s now three). Here’s Runner’s World’s “Spring 2009 Running Shoe Guide”. The Asics Gel Kayano 15’s are the “Editor’s Choice” winners and also the shoes I use. A few other quick tips:

  • Measure your feet: As you age, your foot size may gradually change. Make sure salesperson measures your foot while you are standing up
  • Shop later in day: As the day goes on, you feet get slightly larger.
  • Orthotics and socks: Wear socks you use and bring orthotics to store when trying out shoes. Find “dry-wick” type of socks instead of cotton.
  • Check wear: Most shoes give you between 300 – 500 miles of running. Keep track of the miles (see #24- Running Log). Replacing shoes can avoid unnecessary injuries. Check for wear on soles and inside the shoe as well.
  • Local running store: Find a good store that specializes in running shoes. Bring in your old shoes when looking for new ones. A good running shoe specialist should be able to look at old shoe and note the wear/fit when choosing a proper new shoe. As about return policy, many stores will let you run in the shoes and return them if they cause problems. Once you’ve found the shoes that work for you, you may be able to find the shoes again on-line at places like Runners Warehouse (a bold pace readers get 15% off), Overstock, or Holabird Sports.
  • Break in the shoe: Don’t wear a new shoe to a marathon, be sure you have had time to break it in. However, when buying a new shoe, it should feel good when you are trying it on.
  • Thumb-width: Have a thumb width between the end of your longest toe and the end of the shoe. I wear a 1/2 size bigger to make sure I have room in the toe box.
  • Get medical advice: If you have a persistent problem with your feet, get the advice of a medical professional. Believe me, waiting for a foot to heal can be agonizing. Don’t make it take any longer by waiting to get help.

Here’s a great video from Howcast that covers many of these tips: “How to Choose a Running Shoe”

23. Orthotics: I overpronate and could not live without these. If you have foot issues (plantar fasciitis, heal spurs, significant overpronation or underpronation, etc.), I’d recommend seeing a sports doc to consider orthotics as your new sole-mates:)

24.Running Log: Memory is not one of my strongest assets, so having a log to record my training keeps track of: weekly mileage, meals, shoe purchases (so I know when to retire shoes), favorite routes/runs, etc.

25. Running Watch/GPS: At heart, I am more of a zen runner (would rather not wear a watch or calculate each mile’s pace…just run), but the NYC marathon last year changed that for me. I went out too fast and had a hard time at the end. I now wear one again. There are great watches and GPS devices (see article from NY Times) that make it easy to calculate pace/time/distance. Another option in a marathon is to make use of “pacers” at a race…here’s Clif Bar’s Marathon Pace Team info.

26. Running Bag: See “What’s in your Running Bag? 10 Essential Items for Taking your Run on the Road”

27. Chaffing: Avoid blisters, use BodyGlide, Vaseline or new Asics Chafe Free. Apply anywhere that rubs…feet, nipples, etc. For more on Asics, see “The End of Run Chaffing?”

28. iPods: The must have for runners (even if you need to borrow from your child). I understand why a lot of runners do not like to use during races , but if you love music, this can be a great way to relax and keep going (ipods are now allowed at some races, see post “Music to my ears”). Be sure to choose songs that work w/ your pace/BPM.

29. Reading about Running: There are so many fabulous books out there on running that are fun to read. They can motivate and excite you. We have a few posted on our Amazon Store.

Racing Tips:

30.Finding a Race: Marathon guide or Racevine can help you find a marathons and other shorter races. These sites not only list races, they rate them.

31. Racing for a Charity: Millions of dollars a year are raised by runners for charity. It can make the race more meaningful if you have someone in mind as you run the miles. Supporting a good cause can also be a way into a sold-out race.

32.Women only Races: More magazine’s Marathon/Half-Marathon (they have the best expo), Zooma Women’s Race Series, Nike Women’s Marathon and See Jane Run are just a few of the women only races out there. They are fun, lively and a bit more polite then the co-ed races:)

33.Pace your Race: It is helpful to know your race goal and have the mile split times easily accessible. PaceTat is a durable, lightweight (actually weightless), and unobtrusive way to keep track of your pace while racing. These are simple transfers that you apply before you race and shows your mile split goals in clear large font. Brilliant idea, and only $2.00 – $2.99 per transfer. Or go the simple and FREE route w/ this tool from Clif Bar.

34.Speed at 40/Beating your PR:There have been numerous articles about how women are older women are getting faster and staying there (see ABC News article on Yale University Study). As we gain experience, we become more efficient runners. We know to run the tangents, prepare properly, and read tips like many we have listed here. We also have more time to train as our children get older.

35.Qualifying for Boston/The Boston Times: Boston is a great, tough race. It is an honor to run it. This is not one to be missed if you qualify. See some of our posts about the Boston Marathon. Check out the “Boston Marathon Qualifying Times.

36. The Race Day Survival Kit: You don’t want any last minute surprises on race day. Having a race day kit can help you to know you are prepared and keep you focused on the race. Assuming you already are wearing your clothes, shoes, have your watch, etc…there are still some items you need. There are two options… you can use a “check-in bag” where you have to wait in-line to get a claim ticket or use a “disposable bag” that has just the essentials and can be tossed. Here are checklists for both:

Check-in Bag:

  • ____Extra Clothes: Nice to have a spare top, shorts, and socks to change into after the race.
  • ____Sunglasses and sunscreen: If it’s a hot and sunny day, you’ll be glad you have these.
  • ____Towel: There may be a shower at the end of the race, but even if not, nice to have to towel off.
  • ____Phone: To contact friends after race
  • ____Money: For any emergency needs
  • ____Pre-race food and fluids
  • ____Post-race food and fluids
  • ____Race Number (if already have) and safety pins: Bring a few extra and you’ll make lots of friends:)
  • ____Race Chip (if already have)
  • ____Course map/Race instructions
  • ____Band-aids/Athletic Tape/First aid
  • ____BodyGlide/Vaseline/Chafe Free
  • ____Deodorant
  • ____Large garbage bag: Helpful if windy or raining before the race or just to sit on.
  • ____Wipes: Useful for nasty porta-potty
  • ____Magazine: Nice to catch up on Vanity Fair while waiting in line for race to start:)
  • ____Extra Goo packets: Use safety pin to keep a couple with you for during the race.

Disposable Bag:

  • ____Pre-race food and fluids
  • ____Wipes: Useful for nasty porta-potty
  • ____Throwaway old clothes: Sweatshirt or long-sleeve shirt. Most races donate discarded clothes to charity.
  • ____Race Number (if already have) and safety pins: Bring a few extra and you’ll make lots of friends:)
  • ____Race Chip (if already have)
  • ____Magazine: Nice to catch up on Vanity Fair while waiting in line for start:) Put in garbage before start.
  • ____Large garbage bag: Helpful if windy or raining before the race or just to sit on.
  • ____Extra Goo packets: Use safety pin to keep a couple with you for during the race

The Running Psyche Tips: 37. Making time for yourself: Running = sanity. Alone or with friends it has fantastic therapeutic results that last all day. I find doing it early in the morning is best as I know I’ll get my run in and “life stuff” during the day will not get in the way.

38.The Running Group: One of my LDFs and I always joke how we are going to write a book about the nuances of our running group. Finding friends to share running with is a wonderful thing and helps you to stay motivated and enjoy the company along with the run.

39. Running Websites/Blogs: There is so much on the web now that you can tap into for running advice, training, support…see our blogroll. It’s a great time to be a runner. If you’re not getting automatic e-mail updates from a bold pace, don’t miss out! Or if you prefer, get our RSS feed.

40. Going beyond your limits: I have to add this because it is the reason I give my son every time he asks why I run…”running for me is about going beyond the limits I have of myself in my mind”. He’s very logical and always answers…”limits are definitive–you can’t go beyond them”…I keep trying to prove him wrong.

Perhaps it is the fresh air or the hours of laboring over one subject with LDFs but from running has come some profound realizations. My LDF Heidi and I have decided that everything our children need to know about life we can relate to running. A life manual in the making perhaps? There is always “One for the THE Book…” decided on a run.

Monica Anderson is the founder, owner and creator of Remanents. She is a mother of three and avid marathon runner. She launched a new line of running themed tees and notecards along with a new running blog for women called: a bold pace-running for our lives. The high-quality papers, witty wordplay, clean design, and innovative packaging have made Remanents a favorite of discerning customers. Remanents has been sold in many exclusive stores including, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel, Nordstrom and Anthropologie-and in hundreds of paper and lifestyle stores across the US. Also sold internationally in Japan, Australia, U.K. and directly at http://www.remanents.com. Remanents products have been featured in In-Style, Bridal Guide, on ABC News and many other media outlets.

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

Run faster. How? Rest more. Workout less. Who doesn’t like that? If you want to run faster, you might be shocked to read how easy it can be. Read this easy to follow list of tips

40 Tips on how to increase your running speed.

How to increase running speed has been a concern of both professional and recreational runners for probably as long as there has been the sport of running. To that end, many runners have tried many techniques to increase running speed. Probably the most popular such technique-and the most obvious one-is to run faster by moving the legs faster.

But science has proven that technique to be a myth.

Caster Semenya’s Amazing Run

In the recent 800m World Athletics Champoinship in Berlin, South African runner Caster Semenya proved that she did not have to move her legs faster to win the gold medal. A careful analysis of the tape of her winning run gives an instructive lesson on how to win a foot race – and it is not by running faster!

During the last two laps of the race, lead runner Semenya kept a calming pace. Her strides seemed to be long and calculated in comparison to the runners who followed close behind her. The Italian runner, position directly behind Semenya, seemed to move her legs repeatedly in an attempt to catch up with Semenya’s long, almost leisurely strides. But no matter how fast the Italian runner’s legs moved, her running speed did not increase.

Although Semanya, herself, may not have known how she won this race with fewer strides, researcher Peter Weyand does understand the underlying science.

The Harvard Study
In 2000, researchers at Harvard University tested the science behind top running speeds. For this study, they enlisted the help of 33 runners. They then instructed these runners to run at different speeds while the researchers monitored their “swing time” (the time it takes, between steps, for the legs reach the desired position). The researchers made a startling discovery-at top speeds, the swing times of all the runners were almost the same.

This part of the experiment proved that faster leg movements do not equate with faster running speeds. Further analysis of the runners’ strides revealed that it is the foot striking the ground that is responsible for faster running speeds-not faster leg movements above the ground. When a runner’s foot hits the ground, a greater force pushes back up, which propels him or her forward.

The results of this study led the researchers to conclude, “[m]uch of the work of running is done through passive mechanical processes, in which tendons and muscles act through elastic rebound, much like springs uncoiling, the uncoiling delivers the power to swing your legs.”

As counterintuitive as this seems, to increase running speed, a runner should run harder-not faster.

Hit the Ground Harder and Increase Running Speed

Contrary to popular belief, increasing the length of one’s stride is not an effective way to increase running speed. Such an unnatural stride throws the body off balance and actually has a slowing effect.

A better way to increase running speed is to apply a greater force to the ground with each step. When this greater force is applied, the runner springs up (and forward) and the effect is increased speed. This move is called a sprint.

Becoming a Faster Runner
To become a faster runner by using the ground forces, one must develop the leg muscles with resistance training. Such resistance exercises as squats and lunges while holding weights will effectively work the requisite muscles which include: the quadriceps (in front of the thighs), the hamstrings (in the back of the thigh), the glutes on the back and sides of the hips, the secondary hip flexors and extensors, and the muscles of the calves.

One’s anaerobic capacity (which is strength without the requirement of oxygen) is also an important factor in applying enough force to the ground to increase running speed. There are many running techniques that improve both anaerobic capacity and speed. Some of these techniques are:

Sprinting

Sprinting can be practiced on a treadmill to good effect. While timing yourself (to monitor progress) start jogging at a moderate 3-5 miles and then break out into a sprint for a mile or less. Repeat two more times during this running session.

This type of exercise effectively builds the anaerobic capacity which is, as mentioned previously, the power produced without the requirement of oxygen. The greater the anaerobic capacity, the greater the oxygen debt can be during hard exercise. This will add power to the run, enabling you to hit the ground harder and increase running speed.

Tempo Running

Tempo running involves running as close to your top speed as possible. Once the body becomes accustomed to running at this higher range, the overall running speed will increase. Physical and mental determination and endurance are also improved by tempo running.

Continuous Running

Running continuously while manintaing a specific pace might seem difficult for some people. However, it is not difficult for the motivated athlete. This running technique improves endurance, determination and stamina. It also increases running speed while allowing the runner to work on form, stride and strength.

There are two approaches to continuous running. One of them is running continuously at a low speed for a long period of time. The second approach is running faster than race pace as long as possible, or running as fast as you can for as long as you can.

Intervals

This technique involves a number of running bursts performed on a running track or on a treadmill. It involves determining preset distances and paces before you start running. The running burst must be performed at the highest running speed the person can achieve; running at this pace is possible because of the recovery intervals.

An interval program looks like this:

30 seconds @ 100% / 60 seconds @ 65% x 10 = 15 minutes

Running 30 seconds at full speed and then lowering this speed in intervals also helps develop endurance, anaerobic capacity and increased running speed. Unlike continuos running, it allows the runner to run at full speed with recovery time.

The ability to increase running speed will ultimately depend on your own strengths and weaknesses, as every runner exhibits different physical capabilities. But every runner can increase his or her running speed with a little bit of knowledge, a significant degree of determination-and by following these tips.

For more information about how to increase running speed visit http://www.ultrafitnessdynamics.com

Heroic Palestine Runner

Posted: February 16, 2008 in running

Last week we heard in the news a bomb explosion in Damascus, Syria killed a secretive Hizbollah operator, Imad Mughniyeh

Mughniyeh is widely believed to be behind a wave of Western hostage-taking in Lebanon during the 1980s.

He had been in hiding for years and was high on US and Israeli wanted lists.

This is not a political blog but what stole my attention was comments on BBC from Hizbollah, “With all pride we declare a great jihadist leader of the Islamic resistance in Lebanon joining the martyrs… the brother commander hajj Imad Mughniyeh”.

“After a life full of jihad, sacrifices and accomplishments … he died a martyr at the hands of the Israeli Zionists,” it quoted a Hezbollah statement saying.

Its sad that a man who has caused so many deaths is celebrated as a hero. The young men and women of Palestine need a new generation of positive heros.

A New Palestine Hero

One uncelebrated hero from Palestine is 16 year old Gharid Ghrouf. She was the sole runner representing Palestine in last year’s Osaka, Japan World athletics championship.

It took her three days to get to Japan only to arrive in Japan and to discover she had been entered in the wrong race. A technical error by Palestinian Sports authority saw her entered in 800 metres instead of 100m.

She did not sulk or curse but graciously lined up against Maria Mutola in the heats. She had some jitters, “I was very afraid to do the 800m but I tried to do my best”

She did not qualify for the finals but she was positive about the future, “I want to study at college or university afterwards and be a sports teacher and coach,” she revealed. “I hope to study at the university in Tunisia or France.

It’s my prayer that young men and women in Palestine will embrace Gharid values, understanding, courage, ambition and some love.

 

Crime Pays for Dwain Chambers

Posted: February 15, 2008 in running

Shocking News from UK is that Controversial sprinter Dwain Chambers has been included in Great Britain’s squad for next month’s World Indoor Championships in Valencia.

The 29-year-old – who was banned from athletics for two years after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug THG – will compete in the 60m sprint.

I find it unacceptable to to give drug cheats a second chance in sports. This is not 30 years ago when a 14-year-old child behind the Iron Curtain is given something at breakfast and told that it was part and parcel of becoming an international athlete. Today athletes use drugs knowingly.

This was an athlete who flew to America, knowingly took a drug that was undetectable at the time, got caught, admitted he’d taken drugs, then went on to say that you can’t win anything without taking drugs. Chambers is a a cheat, who has admitted he’s a cheat.

Chambers shouldn’t be allowed to run. He cheated and got caught. He should have been kicked out forever.

By giving him a second chance we are setting a bad example to young athletes. The short ban and a chance of getting back to running have lowered the risk of using illegal performance enhancing drugs. To deter atheletes from using performance enhancing drugs we need a life ban from sports.

As for now allowing Dwain Chambers to get back to running is sending the message “Crime does pay” They should have let him join disgraced Canadian sprinter, Ben Johnson “Running against horses

 

 

The article you are looking for has been moved to my new blog http://dailyrunningtips.com

Australia’s Suzanne Walsham fought off a calf strain to win Tueday’s Empire state building run up. What I find more astonishing about her win is that at the end she said the calf injury had prevented her from running in the last two weeks.

Not being able to train is not the ideal way to prepare for a race. The fact that Suzanne won without training means she is either too good or the rest of 64 female stair case runners were not good enough.

She finished in 12:44 and beat last year’s time by 28 seconds. She was 49 seconds ahead of second-place woman, Cindy Moll-Harris of Indianapolis, a four-time winner.

The event is one of the world’s premier tower races, beginning with a mad dash in the lobby and finishing 1,576 steps later on the observation deck. This year, 171 men and 64 women competed. All but 20 finished. When one 42 year old runner was asked what hurt most during the climb,  he pointed to his head “Mentally, its tough. I’ll probably never do it again.”

Dold Wins Second Empire State Bulding Build Up

Thomas Dold, a 23-year-old student who lives in Stuttgart, was the first male to reach the observation deck, he finished in 10 minutes, 8 seconds, his best time yet in the race. Not bad for a boy who lives in a two storey building.

The only downside of this race is that after all the hardwork. There are no cash prizes. The top three usually receive a commemorative medal and a return flight to compete the next year. They have to pay all their other expenses.