Like many of you out there, the New Year really got me rolling in resolutions and excited for all the possibilities that 2017 holds. I’ve set my sights high, and I’m glad for that. But this is also a very tempting time of year to fall into the trap of wanting everything to be perfect.
You set awesome goals, and despite your best attempts, something is bound to end up imperfect. For me, my goal for January has been focusing on cleaning up my diet and starting a new workout routine.
Perfect? Yeah, right. Far from it!
I get a little frustrated that things aren’t how I envisioned them to be. But when I get down on myself about how my goals are (or aren’t) going, I try to remember these five things to keep myself in the most positive mood I can have to accomplish my goals.
1. You are not called to be perfect. Read this, and then reread it five more times. You do not have to be perfect. That longing inside you to do everything just right? I have it too, but no one is telling you to feel that way but yourself. Yes, there are people and things in the world that make us want to be perfect or feel we should. We can conveniently claim that certain people or circumstances require us to be our perfectly best. But I bet you a million dollars that the day you were born, no one said, “Hey there little human, you better live out a perfect life!” Relax: you’re flawed like everybody else. And that’s okay.
2. What you have is enough. I’m just taking a wild guess here, but if you have access to the internet in this day and age, it’s likely that you have plenty. You have a phone, a car, clothes on your back, food on the table. What’s actually right in front of you is enough to live, and live well. But so often our desires seem outside of what we have. If I just had this body. If I just had that kind of wardrobe… that kind of motivation, determination, faith… You get the idea. While striving to be your best is certainly not a bad thing, longing for what you have in a jealous kind of way gets you nowhere. I promise, what you have right now is enough, even if you want more for the future. Appreciate what you have now, and when you get your future desires, the sweeter they will be.
3. Any struggle you face now is for a reason. If only life were struggle-free, right? Would it make things so much easier? Probably. Would it make us better people? Probably not. Struggle, as painful as it is and whatever it is, is there for a reason. I fully believe this as truth. You may not know why you have to struggle this way now, but in the end, it’s likely to shape you as a better, stronger person. I would not, without a doubt, take away any of the big struggles in my life in exchange for something easier or more convenient because I learned something out of each struggle. And each struggle changed me to be who I am today. One of my favorite quotes about this is:
“Every single thing you are living right now, no matter how difficult, is here to help you become the most empowered person you can possibly imagine!” – Mandy Ingber
4. There is always tomorrow. Slept late again? Didn’t have time to work out. Proceeded to eat all the junk I could find, and oh, gee, another cupcake, why not? Feeling bad about myself for the day: not an option. You know why? Because there is always a new day to tackle my goals. Now, I don’t mean this to say that you should always start your goals tomorrow, because I know that really turns into never. I mean this to say that if today hasn’t gone the way you wanted, feeling upset about how imperfect it was just robs yourself of joy. We all get disappointed when plans fail, but putting your hope into tomorrow is a key to success. Instead of becoming discouraged by failures, put hope in a fresh start that can begin at any moment.
5. We have to focus on the now – not the issues. So often, I feel hung up on all the little things I could be doing and should be doing. I let myself become overly interested in all that merely has to be done to accomplish my goals, so much to the point that I’m not even focusing on the present. It’s hard to focus on being present when your mind is off in must-get-everything-done mode. Take a step back – breathe – and remember that life is not a dress rehearsal, but the real thing. Live in today and not in your worries, wishes, failures, or anxiety. Live for yourself to be the best you can be right now.
Whether you’re accomplishing big resolutions or getting through your day, I hope these little reminders from a perfectionist herself help you take the pressure off and encourage you to grow. Thanks so much to Kacie for letting me steal her blog for a day!
– Question for you: What tips do you have in overcoming perfectionism?
The sport of cross-country running had its humble beginnings in England in the early 19th century when it was first known as “the paper chase” or the “hare and hounds” game. The game required an initial group of runners to run out first and then drop pieces of paper along the way, literally a paper trail, so they can be tracked and followed by a chasing group. The sport was initially popular among track and distance runners who needed a way to continue training during the autumn and winter months, or among kids who simply needed to vent their excess energy during the lazy summer days.
The sport gained some sense of formality sometime in 1837 when English schools organized actual races to pit teams of athletes against each other. It was during this time that the first known cross-country race was held at the Rugby School and was known as the Crick Run. This was followed by the bigger and more popular schools organizing their own “hare and hounds” races due mainly to the motivation provided by Oxford and Cambridge Universities. It was during this period that the roots of modern-day cross country running were sown.
The need for more formal races with well-laid out routes and clear rules led to the inception of the English national cross-country championship. On December 7, 1867, the first English national championship race was staged at Wimbledon Common, the same site as the current tennis championships. The race, however, did not go as smoothly as intended owing to the multiple issues that were encountered. The issues were mainly due to the terrain being far from the ideal running surface as the race went through a very boggy and hilly route.
Race organizers also indicated that a significant number of runners lost their way as the route was not marked properly along the 3.5-mile course and because the race started at 5 in the afternoon shortly before dark. However, although the first running of this race was less than successful, it paved the way for more races with better rules and organization to happen in the years that shortly followed.
The event found its way to the United States in 1869 when it was introduced by William C. Vosburgh of New York. Eighteen years after in 1887, the United States National Cross Country Association was born. Amongst the first schools to take part in this event was Harvard University who already had the event introduced to its athletes 7 years prior in 1880.
After Harvard, schools in the New England area and the Eastern seaboard easily gravitated to the sport led by the active involvement of universities like Cornell, Pennsylvania and the City College of New York. The three had their own intercollegiate cross country meet in 1890 and Cornell went on to lead the founding of the Intercollegiate Cross-Country Association in 1898.
During this time, international competitions between French and English schools were already in full-swing in Europe. Shortly thereafter, in 1903, England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales organized an annual meet. In 1907, France sent a delegation to compete in this meet globalizing the sport and paving the way for its inclusion in the summer Olympics. The first running of the cross country race in the Olympics happened in 1912 and then again in 1920 and 1924 although it was abandoned shortly thereafter due to its perceived nature as an autumn and winter sport and not really suited for summer conditions when the hot and humid weather was punishing for cross country racers.
Cross country racing maintained its low profile in the years that followed until the International Amateur Athletic Foundation (IAAF) assumed full organizing and standardization efforts in 1962. It set common rules for men and women races leading to the first women’s world championship meet in 1967. In 1973, the first IAAF World Cross Country Championships was run and to this day, it remains as the golden standard in elite cross country competition.
The modern-version of cross country racing remains popular especially at the amateur level where an estimated 400,000 high school students in the US alone competed in 2007. In 2012, that number ballooned to near 500,000. The event also has a solid following from the NCAA ranks maintaining tradition dating to the 1930s when the NCAA cross-country championship was first run. The IAAF event consists of 12-k and 8-k events for men and women respectively and 6-k events for junior men and women runners.
Cross country running today is both an individual and team sport. Individuals who cross the finish line first are recognized for finishing the route ahead of the others. Notable personalities in cross country running history include Kenenisa Bekele, Paavo Nurmi, Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, and Paul Tergat for the men and Zola Budd, Doris Brown, Lynn Jennings, Grete Waitz, and Sonia O’Sullivan for the women. The team event, on the other hand, is scored depending on the finishing ranks of the Top 5 individuals in each team with the lowest team score winning the event team championship crown. Universities and colleges jockey for recruiting position in order to enlist the best running athletes in the country into their respective programs, no different from the other college sports like football and basketball where recruiting is a big deal.
The colorful history of cross country running paved the way for its strong following today. And given that it’s a sport which requires very little specialized equipment and offers recognition for individual and team feats, it’s guaranteed to stay for the foreseeable future.
So we talk about correct running form. That word can really be thrown around. I’m not sure there really is THE CORRECT running form, but there is running form that can make you run a lot more comfortable.
Starting from head to toe, when you’re running, you need to keep your chin a little bit down. Imagine like there’s a thread at the top of your head pulling you up. Make sure your chin isn’t too down because that’ll actually close off your airway a little bit, neither it is too far up because you’re not really sure where all that energy is going and you can feel the tension in your neck start to happen when you do raise your chin a little bit. So, try to keep your head level a little bit.
Notice where you’re holding tension. Slowly through a long run, you can start to feel your shoulders creep up a little bit and you can feel that tension in your shoulders and your neck. If you relax a little bit, it can also help you reduce the amount of energy that you’re using for your run.
Hold your elbows at about a 90% angle and hold a very small fist, almost having your fingertips just touching the palm of your hand, and just relax your hands. Throughout your run, when you start to feel tension building up, just shake your arms out a little bit and relax your shoulders.
When you’re running, swing your arms forward but be careful not to swing them across your midline. What that does is that it almost throws off your balance a little bit.
So, keep your hands relaxed, keep your arms relaxed and keep them back and forth but try not to go across your midline too much.
Hold your torso up and straight and engage your core so that you’re holding up a good posture. When you’re moving forward, don’t lean forward at your waist, but instead, lean forward a little bit just kind of gradually from your ankles all the way up to your shoulders.
Make sure your hips are forward and make sure they’re stable. One great thing about doing core exercises for running is that it keeps your entire core area stable while you’re running.
Sometimes when you’re out running, you might see people whose hips dip a little bit with each step. That can also cause injury down the road. So try to keep your hips stable and forward and don’t keep them pointed down but also don’t keep them pointed up too much.
When you’re landing on the ground, you need to land right in the midfoot to the ball of your feet. Sometimes when you land on your heels, you’re actually landing too far ahead of your body.
What happens then?
When your body weight hits the ground, you’re creating a shock that’s going all the way up through your ankles, your knees, and your hips. Over time, that can cause a lot of discomfort and it may be possibly an injury. So again, try to think about having your foot land right underneath your body weight.
Cadence is simply how many times your foot hits the ground in one minute. It gives you something very simple and audible to focus one. Whether you have a metronome or you’re just counting in your head, cadence gives you a very easy point of reference to rely on.
When we get tired, we tend to just start to lope and drift in our stride. It doesn’t make sense when you first think about it but it’s more wear and tear and it’s harder on your muscles to take long loping strides. So cadence is what helps you shorten that stride up and helps you get more efficient by getting you back on your midfoot and off of your heel.
By working on your cadence, it really sets the foundation for muscle memory, rhythm, and stride length.
Once you get used to that cadence, it’s going to naturally help that stride length to come back and to get where you want it to be. When you start to focus on your stride length and focus on where you’re putting your foot down, it’s only going to make that just much more comfortable and it won’t feel so awkward because you’ll get used to just thinking about nice short quick strides.
How many strides do you need per minute?
Cadence is really easy to count. For most runners, we tend to drift somewhere between 160 up towards 170 strides in a minute. Ideally, you want to be more up in that 176, 178, 180, 182 range.
You don’t have to have a metronome, but if you have access to a metronome, walk in your place on your midfoot and just add some cadence to it to catch up with the beeps of the metronome.
Just try to stay in tune with your body and just check in every once in a while and notice where you’re holding tension.
Starting a running program can be hard enough as it is, but when you start to notice how much tension you’re holding, it can take more energy away than you actually realize. And as you start to build up in your runs, maybe working towards that 5K, 10K, or even half marathon, it can deplete a lot of energy that you’re working so hard to get through the race for.
Just try to relax and have fun.
If you have a track near you, it’s a great tool to incorporate into your training. Maybe you’re not quite sure how far you’re running. Well, a track is a quarter of a mile, so if you go around four times, that’s a mile. This makes tracks a great way to measure the distance that you’re running.
You can also use tracks for your weekly speed workouts. If you’re incorporating a speed workout into your weekly run, you can do an interval workout where you do repeats of a certain distance. Say you want to increase your speed, you can use these shorter repeats to help to do that. You can do quarter mile repeats or you can do half mile repeats at a faster speed than you normally do your longer runs.
Over time, as you build up possibly increasing the number of repeats that you’re doing, it will help you become faster in your longer runs.
Just be aware of a few common courtesies. If you’re going to the track to maybe just walk or do a very light jog try to stay on the outer lanes of the track. If you’re going to do a speed workout and you want to make sure that you’re running at quarter miles, try to stay on the inside lane. When you finish your repeat, try to stay on the outside lanes so that you don’t stop abruptly and get in the way of the person behind you. This way it’ll be a more enjoyable experience for everybody.
In short, use your local track as a tool to help add a little variety to your training or help increase your speed over time.
Interested in some history, keep reading …
Running track surfaces are important to know about because you should know what kind of cushioning you’re going to have under your feet and how to prepare yourself best when you’re starting to run on a tack.
The first types of running tracks were built in the 1950s and 60s and these were asphalt-based tracks. These tracks required a lot of maintenance, they fell apart easily and had to be resurfaced and leveled quite often making them not very cost-effective in the long run.
After that, cities moved to cinder-based tracks. Though cinder-based tracks were better and a little cheaper to make, they became hard in the winter and soft in the summer. They didn’t really provide the cushioning that today’s tracks would be able to provide.
So the trend recently has become to make tracks made of rubber, latex or polyurethane. A rubber or latex track holds up better, provides better cushioning and requires a much less maintenance than one or the other asphalt or cinder tracks.
With the rubber and latex tracks, you also have the opportunity to change the color as much as you want and you can have different depths of rubber or latex depending on how much cushioning you’d like.
The highest-end track is called a polyurethane track. Polyurethane tracks are for world-class track meets only and you probably won’t find this kind of track in your high school or your local park.
The tracks used more often right now are rubber and latex. When you have a rubber track, you have the option of using what they call virgin rubber which is untouched rubber just used for the track, or recycled rubber which is a little bit cheaper.
If you’re looking for some variety in your running training, a beach is a great way to get that. But be careful.
One thing to consider when running on the beach is that it’s going to be a different terrain than maybe if you’re running at your local track or on the roads. It’s going to be a little bit more challenging and you’re going to be more on the ball of your foot. You’re also going to be required to take smaller steps to get through the sand. Running on the sand also engages your calf muscles more, so be aware of all of that.
You might have to alter your run because of that. If you’re running for 20, 30, 40 minutes out on the roads, you may need to cut that down 5, 10 minutes because it’s going to be a little bit more of a harder workout. To make it a little bit easier, try to run closer to the water because the sand is going to be more compact and it’s not going to be as hard to run through.
Also, be aware of what time of day you’re running. Try to avoid the later morning, early afternoon when most people are there so that you won’t have to fight through the crowds. If you’re not familiar with the beach that you’re running on, try not to run barefoot. Also, you’re not really sure if there’s maybe broken glass, some sea glass, you never really know what’s there at the beach. So make sure you keep your running shoes on as tempting as it might to run barefoot.
A side note about running on sand is that it’s a great feedback tool. By looking at your footprints left you can discover things like how hard is your landing, how long is your stride, are you pushing off, and how narrow or wide your foot strike pattern is.
If you have a weakness in your technique, sand will make it visible for you to evaluate.
What about people with Plantar Fasciitis?
You should know that runners with Plantar Fasciitis require some additional support underfoot, and running on the sand tends to require even more support. So if you’ve been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis, grab a pair of supportive shoes and never run barefoot, or just avoid running on sand and save your feet the trouble.
So if you do have a beach nearby, try to get over there so that you can have a change of scenery.
You’re not always going to be running on a road, track or grass, and at some point, you’re likely to find yourself running on a treadmill.
While it’s not completely obvious, there are some key differences when running on a treadmill that can alter your technique.
For starters, the key element that allows you to move forward and running on the ground is that you’re falling forward over support on every step. When on a treadmill, you’re not able to harness gravity the same way. Falling is negated because the belt is moving beneath you in the opposite direction. This slight difference can lead a runner to simply shuffle their legs back and forth rather than moving their entire body.
There are three major errors that happen when running on a treadmill and these errors will most likely lead to pain and discomfort.
In this instance, the runner is exhibiting an exaggerated range of motion. This is happening because she isn’t pulling her foot off the belt fast enough leading to her support foot falling far behind her body. Subsequently, the airborne foot will have to reach out far ahead in an effort to counterbalance the body.
How can this be corrected?
This can be corrected by increasing cadence. Your foot coming off the ground faster will lead to a shorter stride.
Here the runner’s upper body is hunched over. This will typically happen as fatigue sets in towards the end of a workout.
How to fix this
To fix this, simply run for ten to twelve steps with your hands clasped behind your back. This will help you align your body position to be more upright.
This deviation is related to overstriding. The lack of falling encourages the runner to exhibit an excessive heel strike. This mechanical flaw puts undue stress on your knee joint which might lead to a serious injury.
How to conquer this …
To help conquer this, you should increase the incline. This will help you simulate falling forward in an effort to minimize your excessive heel strike.
The truth is most runners are unaware of how they’re running. Be sure to film yourself the next time you’re on a treadmill to see exactly what errors you’re committing.
Running on a treadmill is different than running on the ground. However, if you stay focused on avoiding these three common errors, you’ll be able to safely go through your workouts and achieve your fitness goals.
When you run off the beaten path, you’ll probably be running UPHILL, DOWNHILL, or on an uneven trail.
When running uphill, most runners tend to shift their focus to pushing off and pumping their arms too much. Not only will this fatigue you faster, it also opens the door for muscle strains and cramps. You can still fall forward when running uphill, so keep your focus on a faster cadence to accommodate this variation in incline while you’re running.
When running downhill, many runners over-accelerate increasing their stride length which in turn leads to excessive heel strike. The truth is we don’t have to fall forward when running downhill because the incline of the hill provides enough acceleration. Your goal should be to stay upright and descend in a controlled manner. That way you’ll have a higher cadence and a shorter stride length.
When you’re on a trail, the surface is unpredictable. There’s a greater risk of injury due to the uneven terrain. If you’re landing out ahead of your body, you’re exposing yourself to injury, whereas the shorter stride length with a faster cadence gives you a very short time of support and gives you better chance to recover from a mis-step, rolled ankle or slide.
Ice is as close to running on a frictionless surface as you can get. If you land too far of your body or your support leg gets you too far behind your body, the risk of falling is extremely high. You must exhibit a great deal of consistency in your running technique throughout the run.
Generally, we don’t recommend running on ice.
The negative thing about running on the road is the camber of the road. You’re going to offshoot some of your mechanics by running on the roads a lot whereas you can control that a little bit more if you’re on a turf field or a trail.
First, it has to be short grass and has to be a good firm surface. Grass is wonderful because it offers you enough feedback that you can feel when you’re not running nicely. It’s uniform enough that you can run fast on it, but it has that cushioning in it that it is not that hard impact.
If I’m given the chance to choose between running on an athletic track or beautifully manicured lawn, I would go for the manicured grass every time. Grass deforms under your feet, slightly squishes out, and gives you the cushioning that washes away some kinetic energy.
When you start running on an athletic track, you say wow it’s really nice and feels so fast. But it actually acts like a trampoline and pushes straight back at you. So instead of dissipating some of those forces like grass would, it actually exaggerates and gives you back rebound which puts enormous stress on your Achilles tendon in particular.
That’s a quick look at what you can expect when you run on surfaces other than the road. Just remember, when running on these unpredictable surfaces, be sure to run more conservatively by increasing your cadence.
Runner’s knee is an inflammation under the kneecap. We also call runner’s knee Patella Femoral Syndrome.
The Patella is your kneecap and the femur is your thigh bone which is right underneath the kneecap. So runner’s knee or Patellofemoral Syndrome is a syndrome complex of inflammation and pain underneath the kneecap where it rubs under the femur or the thigh bone.
It comes about any time you change your running program. So if you run two miles a day for four days a week and you bump it up to five miles a day, that’s a significant change, and depending on your age or biomechanics that can cause inflammation underneath the kneecap and cause Patellofemoral Syndrome or pain in your knee just underneath your kneecap.
Let’s say if you run three miles, three times a week and then you go on vacation for two weeks, don’t run. If you come back and restart three miles, three times a week there’s a very high chance you’re going to get runner’s knee especially as you get older because your body can’t accommodate as well.
Also, if you’re used to running 30 miles a week with no problems and you decide to change your running shoes that can cause runner’s knee.
If you used to run straight and level and you decide to start doing hills or even trails that can also cause runner’s knee.
In short …
Any significant change in your running program can cause Patellofemoral Syndrome or runner’s knee.
It’s important to know that when you get that discomfort or that pain then you’re going to start to get atrophy of your quadriceps muscle because your body doesn’t want to have a strong muscle leading to an injured joint. It’s called quadriceps because there are four heads to it, and the VMO or the inside of the quadriceps atrophies first. So now we lose that vector force and the quadriceps muscle pulls the kneecap to the outside.
If we look at the undersurface of the kneecap, it has a bump on and that bump needs to ride in the groove of the femur. And if the kneecap is pulled to the outside, you have the bump of the kneecap riding on the bump of the femur, and that’s what causes the discomfort.
This condition may not go away for years if you don’t take care of that.
In terms of treatment, what you really want to do is:
After icing the pain, decreasing the activity and strengthening up the VMO with those easy activities, then you can start to gradually get back into running as you can.
The way to do that is start off slow and increase gradually. Start doing a walk-jog (easy walking and then easy jogging) and if that doesn’t hurt, the next day you increase it to easy jog and then we gradually increase as we can.
In medical terms, shin splints is a tendonitis which is an inflammation of the tendon or periostitis (the inflammation of the bone where the tendon attaches on the inside of the leg). It can be caused by overuse, increased running, mileage or biomechanical issues. Talking about biomechanical issues, some people are pronated and that can cause a little bit of extra stress on the inside of the tibia.
The other important thing about shin splints is that it can easily be confused with a stress fracture. It’s really important you differentiate stress fractures from shin splints because although the symptoms can be similar, the treatment is different.
Stress fractures are a tiny crack in the bone. They’re usually due to the repetitive stress to the bone with a fatigued muscle. That’s what leads to a stress fracture.
Interestingly, sometimes they can’t even be seen on x-ray.
Again, a stress fracture is pain that comes from activity and that subsides with rest. Sometimes you can see it on x-Ray but other times you need an MRI or a bone scan.
Stress fractures can occur in many different areas, but the most common area is the tibia and that’s the area that can get confused with shin splints. They can occur up in the hip, the femur as well as the foot.
Now we’re going to speak specifically about tibial stress fractures. It’s a subtle fraction of the tibia that may not appear on a regular X-ray. It can be associated with increased mileage and biomechanical issues such as overpronation.
Again, it’s important to differentiate a stress fracture from shin splints. The way doctors often do that is shin splints often have an area on the tibia that’s tender and a little bit longer whereas the stress fracture may have a very small focal area of tenderness.
When symptoms are resolved from a stress fracture, consider physical therapy. You also need to closely evaluate your shoes, reconsider your orthotics if you use them, and modify your training regimen.
Young women have to consider something called the “Female Athlete Triad”. This is a condition where on occasion younger women over-train and sometimes they’re dieting and they can get a triad which includes osteoporosis, amenorrhea (lack of menstrual period) as well as anorexia. Those three things combined have hormonal effects that can be very detrimental.
When they see a younger woman who is a runner with a stress fracture, podiatrists often think about Female Athlete Triad and sometimes refer them for further evaluation either with a pediatrician or with their primary care doctor.
This is an inflammation of the Iliotibial band which is really a tendon on the outside of the knee. It is the most common cause of lateral knee pain in long-distance runners and it’s caused by friction between that ITB tendon and the lateral femoral condyle.
Some people call it lateral runner’s knee, others call it Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, while others call it Iliotibial Band Tendonitis, but they’re all basically the same thing.
This is an inflammation and/or degeneration of the Plantar Fascia which is a tendon located in the heel. It’s common in runners and non-runners as well. (full story: 50 shades of Plantar Fasciitis by Runrepeat.)
The symptoms include:
A hamstring pull is actually a muscle pull. The fibers that make up one of the three hamstring muscles get irritated or stretched. There are different severities of the same injury; it can be very mild just to a minor strain where there’s no bruising or actual tearing of the muscle all the way to a complete rupture of the muscle or the tendon that attaches the muscles to the bone.
Typically, you’ll feel pain in the back of anywhere from the crease of your butt all the way down to the back of your knee. Typically it’s mostly going to be pain especially when you walk, run or straight your knee out.
Hamstring injuries occur when there’s a stretching of the muscle beyond its ability to withstand that stretch. So typically we see this in runners when they’re sprinting and they extend that knee out to stride causing the muscle to get pulled on and that can actually tear some of the fibers or completely tear them.
That treatments most podiatrists recommend for hamstring injuries is going to be:
When we start talking about that tight achy Achilles, I’m just going to give you some things from my perspective and some of the things I can do. But I’m not a physical therapist or a doctor and if you’re really concerned, definitely go check out with one. But this is good advice if you’re just someone who has a slight cranky Achilles and just needs a little extra TLC.
Usually, what happens when that Achilles gets a little bit sore is that that Achilles is a little bit loaded up, that calf is a little bit tight, that foot gets a little bit tight and a little bit sore and/or that Achilles has started to get loaded a little bit off axis.
If your Achilles is a little bit angry, it’s probably staying a little bit too loaded all the time. Basically, what I mean is that when you hit the ground, your calf and Achilles are going to release and relax a little bit. Here, the Achilles acts as an elastic tendon where you get this little bounce and rebound, but if you’re stiff, your Achilles doesn’t get that chance to release and thus becomes little angry.
How can that happen?
Sometimes it can occur from being a little bit further on your toes. Also, if you’re someone who’s a heel striker and all of a sudden you’ve started to shift towards running up on your toes, this is a massive change in such a short period of time that something is going to give and usually what gives is your poor Achilles.
If you’re someone who’s shifted from a more supportive running shoe down to something a little bit more neutral, or from a shoe that had greater heel to toe drop to say a 4 mm or a zero drop shoe, you’re definitely asking for a lot more length out of your calf and Achilles and that adds a lot of stress as well.
When we get tired, we tend to lose hip position. When you lose proper hip position, you’re not able to push through your hips as much anymore. Also, you don’t get that elastic return and snap form your hips, and to make up for that you start to push off the ground through your feet and through your calves a little bit more.
The first thing to do is stop doing the thing that’s bothering you and your Achilles tendon. If you’re in a shoe where you jumped down too low of a shoe, maybe you need to go back to the shoes you’ve been training in for a little bit especially if you’re close to a race and your Achilles is bothering you.
Look above the issue and below the issue
Do your mobility and injury prevention exercises. I’ve learned a lot of tips and strategies from the mobilitywod gang and Dr. Kelly Starrett. In case of an Achilles pain offset, Dr. Kelly recommends you “Look above the issue and below the issue”.
So if you have a swollen or irritated Achilles tendon, you don’t necessarily need to keep poking that because it’s just going to get worse. Instead, work on some of the tight tissue above the Achilles (the calf).
How to do that …
Grab a foam roller or anything you have with you and work your whole calf with foot circles. You can also roll Lacrosse Ball through the bottom of your foot. This is going to get some of the tension and adhesions that occur in the Plantar Fascia to release a little bit. Try to spend a couple of minutes on each foot. You can even work on your shin and foam roll your Anterior Tibialis and work through different aspects.
This way you’re going after your Achilles but what you’re trying to do is hit all the areas below and above. This is going to help your Achilles out a ton.
One of the main goals of runners is to be able to perform at the highest level possible and one of the ways to do that is by incorporating proper warm up and proper cool down into their training sessions. A lot of us know that we should do that but a lot of us don’t actually take the time to do that.
When you try to warm up, try to incorporate some type of light activity to increase the heart rate enough to get the blood flowing and get the oxygen to the muscles before they start running. This will allow you to have better flexibility and have better reaction time. The muscles and joints will be more prepared to accommodate to the stress you’re going to put on them. Through proper warm up, you protect against injuries that can sometimes take months to let you get back to running.
You’ve certainly heard there are static warm ups and dynamic warm ups. You have to stay away from things like static stretches where you’re holding stretches for 60 seconds. Nearly every running guru recommends dynamic warm ups because they kind of mimic the movements you’ll be doing when running. We recommend things as simple as walking, doing some high knees, some heel kicks and just getting your heart rate a little bit so that your muscles get warm and your joints get loose.
There are no official recommendations for warm-up, but somewhere around 5 minutes is usually a good amount of time to get the body ready for the workout ahead of it.
The first part of our warm-up is high knees. There are two different options and the first one is a beginner option.
The first option is going to be a stationary high knee. Make sure you’re bringing your knees up nice and high and that you’re engaging the front side of your body.
The second option is an intermediate option where you’re going to actually leave the ground. This simulates running better. Do each of these for about 10 seconds or longer until your muscles feel warm.
The second part of our warm-up is going to engage the back side of the body. Again, we have two different options for you.
The first one is a stationary heel kick. Make your that you’re bringing your heels up as far behind you as you can engaging your hamstrings.
The second option requires you leave the ground better simulating running. Do this for about 10 seconds or until you feel the muscles on the backside of your leg warmed up.
The next part of our warm-up consists of leg swings. If your balance is unsteady, make sure that you have something to hold on to such as a pole, a wall or a sign.
First, swing your legs forward and backward. When you bring your leg behind you, it’s really important that you don’t arch your back to get there. Make sure you get your stomach engaged and only swing as far as your leg wants you to swing.
The second one is a side to side leg swing. You’re going to be swinging out to the side and across your body. Again make sure that you’re not bending with your trunk and that you’re keeping it nice and still and just moving your leg.
Do each of these about 10 times on each leg or until your legs feel like they’re warmed up.
The final component of our warm-up is going to warm up the hip in a rotational plane. Start from outside to inside. Do this 5 times on each leg and then you’re going to go in the opposite direction from inside to outside.
The purpose of the cool down is to get your body back to a resting state so that your heart rate is back to normal, your breathing rate goes back down and your internal temperature goes down. So, doing low-intensity activities like walking, longer stretches and things like that should be enough to get your body back down to its normal resting place.
A good recommendation for a time of cool down is about 5 minutes.
As part of a cool down you need to integrate in static stretches and these are some static stretches that every runner should do.
The Hip Flexor is a very commonly tight muscle on runners and a lot of that has to do with us sitting all day. When it’s tight, the Hip Flexor limits our ability to get our leg behind us which then prevents us from running faster or from running with proper form.
The way we’re going to stretch it is in a half kneeling position. The most important thing is to make sure that you do not arch your back when you stretch. The reason why is that it stretches your back out not your muscle.
Start with you knee underneath your hips and round your lower back out which for most of you you will already feel a stretch on the front side of the leg when you do this. For those of you who don’t feel the stretch yet you can move a little bit forward without letting your back arch.
For those of you who can’t get into a kneeling position easily, there’s a standing modified version that you can do. Again, make sure you’re not arching your back as you do this stretch. If you need more of a stretch, you can reach up and across your body until you feel the stretch engage.
Each of these stretches should be held about 30 seconds to a minute depending on your tolerance, just make sure they’re general.
The next stretch that every runner should be doing is for the Gastrocnemius muscle and the Soleus muscle. Both of these muscles make up your calf muscle, but they’re totally separate muscles that both need to be stretched individually.
The first one is the Gastrocnemius. Make sure your toes are pointed forward and that you keep your back heel on the ground. You’re going to lean forward keeping your knees straight for this stretch. You should feel this stretching at about the back of your knee. Hold this for about 30 seconds to a minute and then we’re going to go into the Soleus stretch.
For the Soleus, we’re going to bend the knee and drop straight down from the position shown. You should feel this stretch a little lower in your calf which is where the muscle attaches. Again, hold for 30 seconds to a minute.
One of the most common questions runners often ask is “how often should I replace my running shoes?” It’s recommended you do so every 600 miles or 800 kilometers.
For the average runner, running 3 times a week 6 miles at a time that usually equates to somewhere between 8 and 10 months. Obviously, if you’re training for something like a marathon and you’re putting a lot more mileage on your shoes, you should be replacing your shoes more often.
Another thing to consider is if you’re running on consecutive days. If you’re doing so, then your running shoes are not having the appropriate amount of time to dry out and the midsole is not given enough time to rebound as well.
What you need to do is …
to alternate between two different pairs of shoes and you’ll actually improve the life of both of those shoes.
Some other considerations are the size of the individual. Obviously, if you’re a heavyset individual, you’re going to break your shoes down more often.
Or, if you have histories of having injuries, then obviously when that shoe starts to break down a little bit more and you start feeling those pains you’ve had once before then you’ll have to replace your shoes more often than somebody who has better foot mechanics and doesn’t have a problem or a history of injuries.
Another consideration is the type of shoe you’re running in. For instance, motion control shoes are designed for heavier individuals and therefore they’ll get more life of those shoes. On the contrary, lightweight shoes or minimal shoes are going to break down more often and so you’re going to have to replace them more often as well.
The sole wear. If the forefoot of your running shoes is starting to show through to that midsole or starting to get quite smooth, then obviously that’s time to replace your shoes. Likewise, if you’re starting to expose foam in the heel area, then you’ll want to replace that shoe.
I like to do a little bit of a compression test which is I squeeze that forefoot of the shoe and if I feel a lot of softness in that area, then that’s an indication that your shoe is losing its support and its cushion as well.
But how do you know if a sole is actually feeling soft or just if the shoe was soft to begin with?
Well, just go to your local running shoe store and squeeze the sole of your shoe and compare it to what they feel on the new shoe.
To be able to run nearly injury free for years, you have to do some strength training or cross training. Here are some quick thoughts regarding strength training for your running.
Most runners are very aware of their need to stretch or indeed foam roll. There’s actually a few runners that wouldn’t confess or state that they regularly stretch or roll around on the floor on their foam roller.
However, one of the biggest oversights that most runners make is actually they place strength training or stability training second behind stretching. One of the ironies of that is that not only they’re cutting their potential short by not getting the strength training done, but they are also as a result putting the horse before the cart. Strength training is so key because it has three effects on our running.
First, strength training primes the pump. This happens before we even contact the ground with our feet when we run. As we’re about to come in and land on our left foot or right foot, our body’s already pre-empting what’s going to happen.
Strength training has been shown to improve those neuromuscular reflexes such that when we do land and strike the ground, what occurs is a beautifully orchestrated set of muscle activations that both brake us, brake the fall, and absorb the energy as we strike the ground (which is 2 or 3 times the body weight) before these other muscles then propel us off for the next step. So, strength training helps to prime those muscles and make them more efficient in the reflexes – and that’s key.
Second, strength training minimizes injury risk. The reduction in injury risk comes as a result of the efficiency and better power of these muscles to absorb the ground reaction forces when we land on our feet. So the stronger and more engaged the muscles are as we land, the less chance there is of these ground reaction forces being deleterious and overloading the body and creating injury.
Third, strength training has been shown to be effective because it just makes us runners more efficient. So efficiency means for a given speed of running we are able to run faster and for longer for the same energy cost. Strength training builds endurance in key muscles that will stabilize the runner’s body.
As a result … we have better economy through our running technique.
Strength exercises should be a key part of every runner’s program. Don’t just clock up the miles and don’t just stretch or foam roll, but make sure you find time for some strength exercises.
We’re going to talk about 3 tips and 4 types of food to make sure you include in your diet every day.
Our best piece of advice is to put the kind of food into your body that will give you the results you want on race day.
So the three tips are …
eat ENOUGH food for your training, eat QUALITY food, and make sure that you’re getting the RIGHT kinds of foods.
So what kind of foods do you need? There are 4 areas: plants, proteins, carbohydrates and fats. These are the building blocks to a strong, healthy and injury-free runner.
Those provide the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants that we need. Make sure these are the BULK of your diet. Think of:
These are going to be the protein sources to help rebuild your muscles. Think of things like:
These are really going to be the endurance training fuel that you need to go the distance. Include things like:
You have things like:
If you can make those 4 areas the bulk of your diet and what makes up your daily plate, you’ll be a healthy and happy runner.
Now we’re going to talk about the proper clothing and the proper gear as you prepare for the coming race.
The first and most important thing is STAY AWAY FRO COTTON fabrics. Opt for something that breathes like polyester or nylon. These technical fabrics breath well, they’re moisture-wicking and they allow your skin to kind of air out. When you wear cotton and you sweat, it doesn’t dry out and it can cause chafing. Chafing is one of the most uncomfortable things ever. Even though you are wearing polyester or nylon, chafing is still a possibility and it’s actually a possibility for women, too.
Some things that women need to think about is the bra line around the shoulder and the neck line. So make sure that when you’re moving, your arms feel good and your bra does not feel too restricting or too tight.
Make sure your bra is supportive enough to keep everything in nice and tight and everything’s not bouncing around. When it comes to running, try to look for the crisscross straps or the racerback because that will give you the most support.
If you are a little bigger-chested, look for something that has adjustable straps in the back so that way you can loosen it up or tighten it depending on how it feels that day. Also, some adjustable straps could be necessary for you as well. Go to an expert and find a good bra that works for you, try it out, see if it feels good before you actually use it on race day.
You have to be aware of the nipple area so you might have to put on some waterproof band-aids in order to make sure there’s no chafing going on. Vaseline is always a great option and you can rub some in those areas where you think some extra rubbing might occur.
The other thing to think about is the fit of your clothing. You have to ask yourself, how is the waistline? Is it moving well enough or is it a bit tight and restricting?
Make sure when you’re running that your shorts are not falling down because it’s very annoying if you have to pull up your pants, pull up your leggings, or pull down your shirt. So, make sure that whatever you’re wearing on race day is exactly what you wear while you’re training. That is KEY.
I made that mistake once. I’m pretty sure it was my first race ever and I bought a hydration belt literally the night before the race. I thought I had to have it and have my water bottles in the back, but I hated it. I ended up running my race holding the hydration belt in my hand because I couldn’t stand it. It was riding up and it was very uncomfortable.
And of course, I made a second mistake …
My second race ever, I wore shorts that I had never ever worn before. I was doing the race and one of my shorts legs was a little tight and it came up a little bit higher creating tons of chafing. When I crossed the finish line and I looked down, my leg was just bleeding from so much chafing.
So no matter what …
You have to make sure that all of your training gear on race day is exactly what you use during your training runs. I’m talking everything, from your head to toe.
As far as extra little accessories go, two of the most important to me are the Runtastic orbit and the runtastic armband. I like the orbit because it acts as a second screen for my runtastic app and I can look down to see my pace or my time and how long I’ve been running, just to get a good idea in case there’s no mile or kilometer markers.
The armband is perfect because it keeps my phone safe and secure. I’m a music guy so I have to be listening to music while I’m running, and it’s a cool way to just slip my headphones in, put on my favorite tunes and go for a run.
The last thing I want to mention is just keep in mind what season you’re running in or even what the weather might be like on race day and practice in that gear as well.
So if you know it’s going to be a nice sunny day on your race day, you need to think about a visor, a hat or sunglasses that have the nose grips that don’t slip.
When it comes to the winter time, you want to make sure that you have warm enough gear. Think of a jacket or a headband that covers over your ears.
A little trick that I’ve done before when running in the winter time is to find some old warm socks and you can put them on your hands as mittens as you start the race, and when you don’t need them anymore you can just take them off and toss them in the trash can.
Take care of your feet and they’re going to take care of you. It sounds pretty obvious but you’d be surprised how many people train and race in the wrong pair of shoes. Take the time, do the research and spend the money. You’ll be doing yourself a favor in the long run and you’ll reduce your chance of injury. Whilst running, the impact generated is 3 times your body weight per shoe and that’s why it’s key to get the right one.
Do you have a neutral, over-pronated or supinated gait? What’s the right shoes size for you? How much cushioning do you need through the midsole? How much space do your toes need to splay?
Just make sure you answer these questions and you’ve got a long way to make your running experience more pleasurable from the ground up.
Stay away from cotton. You need something that works with your body. You need to get technical with a performance fabric that’s going to wick away sweat and keep you cool.
Tracking your training and monitoring your performance is paramount. Performance trackers are an essential tool in your training arsenal. They come in all shapes and sizes and they’re made by everyone from Fitbit to Microsoft, Garmin to Suunto.
A performance tracker is a sensational motivational tool to help you structure and execute your sessions so you can get the best results. Using the speed, distance and time functions, you know exactly how far and how fast you’re moving.
Always keep in mind, when am I running, where am I running, what type of gear, shoes, socks do I want to wear?
If you choose to retain only one thing from this section, just make sure that you train in the same gear that you’re going to perform on race day. This way you should feel absolutely amazing.
Getting to the race. You should know the course before you arrive. Usually, the race organizers send something in your email about a week or two letting you know all the details of everything going on that day. But you need to know:
You need to know all these things before you get there. So get in to the race allotting plenty of time so that you’re not rushing to that start line.
Make sure you have your bib. A lot of times you can pick that up a week before at various locations near the start or you can just pick it up in the race morning. Just make sure you know when and where you’re getting that.
I recommend getting near the start line between 45 minutes to an hour prior to the race starting. That gives you plenty of time for all of your pre-race preparation. You want this to be your race day, you’ve put so much preparation in and you don’t want get it all thrown away at the end right before you start.
You need to know where the restrooms are. These lines are super long a lot of the time but they do move quickly, so don’t be overwhelmed by that fact. Before a long run, every single person is probably getting in that line at some point or another, so be aware of that. Just roll with the punches, you’ve gotten there with plenty of time so nothing to worry about there.
Know where the actual start line and the corral are. If it’s a bigger race, a lot of times when they set you up in waves you’ll actually be lining up in a separate section several minutes before you’re actually going across that start line. So be aware of where that is and start to look for people with the same letter and number on their bib as you.
Find a good area where you can warm-up and prepare. Find a good area where you can warm-up and kind of clear your head. A lot of runners are going to be scattered around, so finding a good space to kind of seclude yourself for a warm-up is always a good idea.
Make sure you know where the drop bag station is. A lot of time if it’s a point-to-point race you’re going to be finishing at a different area and you’re going to be covered in sweat. As soon as you start to cool down you’re going to be freezing. So make sure you put something there at the end to put on or change in to afterwards especially if you don’t have someone meeting you right there at the end.
So go through logistics and double check everything is fine especially if it’s your first race. Everybody has their first race, so don’t be panicked and plan as best as you can and you should have an awesome 5K.
Sleep. Focus on getting good quality sleep the week leading up and try to get the best night’s sleep possible because you don’t want to go into the race feeling tired and just like kind of dragging.
Don’t go to the race on a full stomach because then you can wake up with bloating and indigestion and just have an upset stomach. You do not want this to happen on race day morning.
Eat. Your most important meal is 3 hours before the race. Make sure you get a good source of carbohydrates with a little bit of protein and fat. My favorite pre-race meal is bowl of oatmeal with a handful of walnuts and a spoonful of peanut butter. That should carry you through the race.
Lay out everything that you need the night before: running clothes, sneakers, socks, belt, watch, goose, hat, bib … When you wake up in the morning you’re going to be groggy and you’re also going to be nervous. So, make sure everything you need is laid out so you can decrease that margin of error.
Don’t overdress, i.e. don’t wear too many layers. What a lot of runners actually do especially if it’s going to be chilly in the morning is they wear an old long sleeve T-shirt they don’t really care about and just literally toss it into the trash can.
Eliminate. Make sure you eliminate or poop before the beginning of the race. Most runners will say a cup of coffee will aid in this elimination.
Don’t get caught up in the moment and then run your first mile way too fast. This is very important because you’re going to be nervous and you’re going to have all this anxious energy, and when you’re standing in line at the start, the air is literally electric because all those people around have their nervous energy as well. When you finally cross that start line, you are going to be so filled with adrenaline that it’s going to be so easy to go well above your normal pace. If you’ve been doing your training running 10 and 10 minute miles all the time and you run by that first mile and your watch says you ran a 7.50 mile, you are going to pay dearly for that.
Force yourself to go slow because even going like 15 to 20 seconds over your comfortable race pace can burn through your stores really quickly and you’re going to feel that way later on the race. I can tell you, you would much rather finish strong and fast than go out and run too fast that first mile.
Don’t do anything different on race day which you haven’t done in training, i.e. don’t wear new shoes, don’t wear new kit because it could rub and be very painful.
Don’t experiment with any drinks you haven’t tried. Make sure you’ve tried one of the sports drinks that the sponsoring organization is providing. If not, try to bring your own.
Believe in yourself and be positive. You’ve made it this far and you’ve gotten through your training, you are prepared for this race and you are ready for it. Trust me, the actual training itself is typically more difficult than the race even though the race is your longest distance.
When you run in the race, you have so much adrenaline, there are people cheering you on, there are people around you running, there’s just a sense of camaraderie and support and it’s just so motivating. This makes it actually a lot easier to run the race because you have all of that support and because you don’t have to try hard to keep your mind occupied.
Live in the moment, live in the step, enjoy the journey and be relentless.
If you’ve made this this far reading this article, you’ve read exactly 1000 words. This means you’re passionate enough about running the best 5K ever.
I would love it if you could share your views on the article and provide any useful tips or techniques I haven’t covered.
Have you ever run a 5k? If so, tell us how you trained, what difficulties you had had and any race day tips you think useful.
Alright. We’re going to start off by talking about the my trail running gear: a dog, some coffee, a wife or significant other that you love, trail running, good food, a fulfilling job, staying fit and healthy, family and friendships, living somewhere that you’d love to be, and going to be balanced between everything. These are not the 10 essentials at all as I just made that up off the top of my head.
OK! let’s go again. Today I would like to talk about the ten essentials which is something near and dear to my heart because it quite literally could save your life and I’ve had the misfortune of being out on a run where not everybody came back. I’ve dedicated myself to making sure that myself, my loved ones and you, of course, are always carrying the necessary supplies. I just want to go through and show the things that I actually carry with me every time I go out on a lengthy adventure run and the things that I feel that everybody should be carrying when they head out. SO let’s get started.
So the ten essentials is not a set list, it’s not set in stone as there are some variations depending on sport and interpretation. But for argument’s sake, the majority of them are consistent across the board. Everything I’m going to show was actually in my pack for the adventure run that I just completed with some friends.
Within everything that I do carry with me, one of the main pieces that I carry is actually an emergency Bivvy which I also use to carry some emergency supplies (a kit that I’ve created). Everything I’m going to show all fit nicely into the Bivvy sack itself alongside the emergency Bivvy.
So we’ve got the emergency Bivvy, a fire starting kit, water-proof matches and a lighter, a 100+ lumens headlamp, a backup battery, a backup light device, a drinking source, a strap, a zap strap, some antibiotic, cleansers, wipes, band-aids, a signaling device (a mirror), a decent roll of duct tape, medical tape, bandage, another signaling device (a whistle), a flare and I’ve got a launcher pin for my bear bangers, a set of rope, some sunblock, emergency gloves (not just for attending to someone else but also for keeping yourself warm), a small knife, a safety pin, and some lubricants.
Now we’ll go through each item one at a time and I’ll add in a few more that I think are necessary to put on top of the ten essentials.
I’ve got a headlamp that’s over 100 lumens and I make sure to put the battery in backwards so that way it can’t accidentally get turned on and I know I’m never going to lose the lamp. I also have a spare battery and a spare light source.
First and foremost, one of the most important pieces you can carry is a whistle. Most people do not realize this. If you’re in an emergency situation and you’re yelling for help, you will lose your voice. It’s actually difficult to discern a voice in the wilderness but a whistle will always pierce the air and you will never lose the ability to blow air into a whistle. So a whistle is a very key piece you need to carry with you.
If you need a rescue, a mirror to reflect the sun can go a long way towards helping people locate you. And beyond that, having an actual flare that you can fire into the sky by a firing pen which you also use for a bear banger is a must-have. These are the signaling devices that I carry with me.
The thing you should definitely have if you’re spending the night somewhere is the fire starting kit. For that, you can use some flints to assist you in getting started to begin with. You’ll also need water-proof matches and a lighter.
Do not short yourself on clothes when you’re out there. A lot of trail runners make this mistake and they dress when they’re moving and not dress if they’re forced to stop.
Something I’d like to say to people is …
“can you stay warm for 20 minutes in your environment if you were forced to stop moving?” That’s just the prime example. If you can’t stay warm for 20 minutes, you’re going to be in a lot of trouble really quickly if anything goes wrong. So in terms of spare warm clothes, I like these Salomon gloves because they’re bike gloves that are fingerless and have a waterproof stowable finger cover which is nice because they go across all weather conditions.
I would also carry a hooded jacket and a water-proof hooded jacket. I also carry arm sleeves so I can alternate the temperature of my body in that manner.
I carry a headband, a buff and a lightweight tuque. So these all the items that I carry around for my trail runs.
I have a small collection of knives just depending on how long I’m going and what I expect the conditions to be. A small locking blade emergency knife is the one that stays in and goes at all times. I also have a slightly larger knife if I feel I’m going to be in a more serious terrain and I may need to use it.
This is one of the most important items and it is a shelter. A lot of people will pack a space blanket and a space blanket will come with Salomon packs which is a great feature to have.
Having spent multiple nights under a space blanket and having slept in an emergency Bivvy multiple times, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that you’re really going to see the deficiencies of a space blanket pretty rapidly and the benefits of having an emergency Bivvy right away.
Emergency Bivvy will retail for $20 to $25 and it’s basically a stitched together space blanket that comes out like a sleeping bag and it will not only keep you alive but it’ll actually keep you quite happy verses sleeping under a space blanket. I cannot stress enough how much I believe in the emergency Bivvy and it’s a personal guarantee if you ever end up in an emergency situation.
You’re not packing for the duration you’re going to be out there, you’re packing for the duration you’re going to be out there along with some extra food just in case something were to go wrong.
Just to give you an example,
we were 13 and ½ hours on our run and I had a bag full of food. I actually didn’t come back with anything as I consumed everything. This meant it was the perfect amount of calories for the day but it also means that I made a mistake because I didn’t have any extra emergency calories if anything had gone wrong. I think it was about 4000 calories I was carrying with me for 13 hours. So, never underestimate food and always pack some just in case you may end up spending the night out there.
This is up to interpretation. Some people will carry more a mask and what not. But more important than the materials you’re carrying is actually knowing first aid. So I really encourage everybody to take a first aid course and get certified.
My first aid kit consists of emergency medical gloves which again will double as gloves to keep you warm in emergency. I also carry some antiseptic treatments, band-aids, bandage, duct tape, medical tape, a safety pin and a strap which I would use to put the headlamp on my head if necessary. It could also be used as a tourniquet or anything really in an emergency situation.
A compass is going to go a long ways but it will go further still if you know how to use it. I encourage all trail runners to learn how to navigate which is something I’ve been working on myself as of late. As soon as I arrive in my destination I buy the best map that I can find and it will allow me to know exactly where I am at all times.
On top of the navigation is sourcing the information you need in advance. I once downloaded a GPS route from someone’s Strava files and uploaded it to my Movescount and I put it on my watch. While we were out there, there was a couple of snow fields that were obscuring the trail and I could fire up the navigation feature on my watch and I was able to say the trail is just above and sure enough we found the trail. That saved us some time right there.
So navigation is a key one and it really boils down to mainly a compass and a map, some knowledge of what you’re doing but adding in every additional tool you can to increase your knowledge while you’re out there and make things safer for you and everyone else.
Your number one tool while you are in cell range is your cell phone. Everybody knows this, but very few people take their phones with them. A phone can save your life, just plain and simple. Whenever you know you’re going to have service or think you are, you should be carrying your phone with you.
When you’re not going to be in service, a spot tracker like the one below is vital. There are devices on the market that do similar and others that do better in terms of allowing you to satellite message. I’ve only had this device for just over a year and it has put my mind and the mind of my loved ones at ease.
It’s allowed me to go out there and do much bigger more obscure longer routes and felt confident in the knowledge that I can keep myself safe overnight and I can hit a button and somebody is going to know exactly where I am. I’m just going to sit tight and find a way to keep myself alive, warm and sheltered for a day to three days until help arrives. Without this you don’t have that and things become complex quite quickly.
So this has really opened up my confidence level for getting out and doing larger stuff on my own and I cannot tell you how much peace of mind this gives to everybody including my wife, my parents just to know that there’s a button there that tells them things are in trouble. I can message with this device and say I’m late and things are OK, this is where I am or I can press the SOS and search and rescue will know to come and start looking for me.
These are the bonus essentials that I believe in and that I usually carry with me.
Carry some sunglasses and some sunblock depending on the environment you’re in. if you’re in an alpine snow environment, then these are within your essentials.
It’s very very basic but yet important. It’s not going to keep you alive and it’s not going to be life-threatening, but it can keep you very happy. What I like to do is actually take a small container and fill it with lube and then I’ve got that with me if anything were to start chafing out there.
I always carry a little bag of electrolytes just in case.
I was not a water purify guy until last year when I got a stomach bug and then I went away and bought a water purification device that I have not regretted it.
The one I use is the Steripen Freedom. It is basically a small battery-powered device. So it is electronic and things can go wrong as it’s not foolproof, but it’s lightweight and cost effective. You simply put it in the water and it takes about 30 to 40 seconds per bottle to fully purify that so you know you’re not going to get any stomach bugs.
Your bear banger is basically a double firing shot. You let go of the trigger and it immediately pops like a gunshot and then it fires up and another similar to louder gunshot goes up off above. That will scare most bears. In case that it doesn’t, this is (13.22) one of the only, if not the only thing that is almost fail-safe to protect you in a bear attack.
If you happen to startle a grizzly, there’s not a lot you can do other than hold on and hope for the best. Bear spray is almost a guaranteed option. If you can get the canister off, it prevents the bear from breathing. There’s not an animal on this planet that’s not going to scatter if it attacks something and all of a sudden it finds itself unable to breathe. So bear spray is very important when you’re in bear country.
When you’re planning a big outing with friends, you should all be carrying these items and that should be communicated in advance. Someone should spearhead the group and someone should mandate what people are to carry.
The biggest thing I have seen and learned over the years is that groups can get together and a lot of people can get into it without any real knowledge of what they’re getting into. The power of Veto, the right for someone at any point to say I’m not comfortable and I want to turn around needs to be agreed upon and stated in advance.
People get into trouble when they’re not communicating properly with friends as to when they’re going beyond their comfort zone. So number one above all of this is clear concise communication in advance of the day and especially on the day.
So carry those with you, talk to your friends, communicate and adventure safe!
So that’s it for my 10 essentials along with a few bonus items. I hope you’ve gotten through this article which was a lot longer than I anticipated. Feel free to ask any questions and I’d love to assist if I can; just mention something in the comments and I’ll get to that. Thank you.
Flat feet are one of the nightmares for people who love running. But the good news is runners with flat feet can still be very successful runners. From now on, you have to pay close attention to your running shoes and training. Below are 16 best running shoes for flat feet.
What kind of shoes does a runner with flat feet need? In short, the key words to remember are: stability, support and motion control.
A stability shoe is for someone that has what’s considered overpronation caused by flat feet. Overpronation needs to be controlled because it could lead to foot injuries like plantar fasciitis, bad knees, and hip and lower back pain.
A motion control shoe is for someone who has severe overpronation problems and needs a lot of motion control on their foot.
What you should know about the Brooks Beast 14 is that it’s made for the moderate to severe overpronator and offers so much support and so much cushioning and stability for flat feet runners. So you’re looking at one of the best men’s running shoes for flat feet. It’s also recommended for people with other foot problems like Plantar Fasciitis.
Unlike most other shoes, the Beast 14 is nice and straight through the arch. This provides a lot more midfoot support especially if you have more of a flatter sort of foot or you feel you need more support in your everyday exercise, walking or running.
It features breathable mesh throughout with synthetic overlays which snug it up. It has a ton of cushioning around the collar and tongue. The footbed is removable and helps with long runs.
The midsole is what’s going to keep you running straight. It features the Progress Diagonal Rollbar which helps keep your foot supported and right where it needs to be. The saddle through the midfoot of the Beast allows the foot to be locked into the shoe, and this allows for people with flat feet who usually experience depth issues within the midfoot of the shoe to find a much tighter knit with the shoe’s extra saddle that Brooks have created through the midfoot.
The Brooks Beast has Full-length DNA which allows adaptive cushioning to control the runner’s foot making it a much softer feel under the foot.
The bottom features rubber and flex grooves, which makes the Beast 14 really great for wet and dry surfaces. There’s even gel cushioning which adds to the overall efficiency of the shoe.
So whether you’re heavier or lighter on your shoes, the Beast will provide the cushioning that you need for your run. They don’t call it the beast just for no reason at all.
The Asics Gel Kayano 22 is a high-end cushioned stability shoe great for that mild to moderate overpronator. This being a stability shoe, it keeps the foot from rolling to the inside. It also features three internal bands that kind of wrap around the foot, and that’s both on the lateral and the medial side. So with the internal bands on the medial and lateral side holding the foot in place as well the improved heel clutch system, the 22 is a great option for flat feet runners.
To top it off, Asics Gel Kayano 22 has the Engineered Mesh Layer on top to complete the FluidFit for a completely free-seam fit on the upper. It features a Stretch Mesh Layer underneath, which provides an irritation-free fit. Also, Asics have moved the heel in and up and extended it to give you that great heel fit.
What did Asics do in the midsole? Well not much from the 21. They kept that same great FluidRide 2.0 with that 20% bounceback feel and that 15% lighter bottom layer. So the Kayano 22 provides that same great ride that you had before with great gel on the lateral side keeping you cushioned from heel all the way to the forefoot toe off.
The outsole is super cushiony and provides great bounceback. I’ve tried a lot of shoes that are really cushiony but don’t fight back a little bit and I don’t like that. The Kayano 22 has a really soft inside sockliner which is great and feels nice on your feet.
These shoes dry faster and hold less water if you happen to run in the rain. Other than that, the Kayano 22 is pretty much the same thing as the 21 and that’s not a bad thing.
They do fit one half size small, which is standard with most Asics.
Runners who have tried the two shoes do prefer the 22 because its upper is lighter, more breathable, more flexible and just feels better on the foot as you have less overall material holding you down.
The Nike Lunarglide 6 are actually the best Nike shoes for flat feet. It is quite unique in the fact that it is a really soft cushioned supportive shoe, which is not typically found in a stability shoe. It’s for someone who wants to run in it every day wherever it is that their runs may take them. The idea was to create the most cushioned and supportive shoe without being gigantic like most stability shoes.
The new lightweight cushion material Nike have used in the Glide 6 update is going to bring a lightweight feel while still being very plush. So the Glide 6 is lightweight and responsive and is 30% lighter than before. For a more supportive ride, Nike is using angled dual-density midsole foam. This will slow down pronation earlier providing more stability than previous models.
The extra support is coming from Asics firm Phylon on the medial side that tapers into 100% Lunarlon cushioning in the forefoot, which helps smooth out the transition and pronation. Lunarlon is Nike’s softest, most cushioned and lightest foam compound.
Another major update to the Glide 6 is the redesigned outsole. By running over a pressure plate, Nike’s athletes helped design the Pressure-Mapped Outsole. The Outsole features a kind of concentric rings that work like a piston and are able to move up and down independently from each other. Not only will this allow the shoe to flex well, but it’ll also allow for it to flex independently, giving you a smooth natural stride. Also, the grooves around them allow them to flex in a way that fallows that natural foot stride motion of the foot.
Another great update is the seamless Flyknit upper which uses a dynamic fit to give a lockdown snug fit, stability and support. Nike has coupled the upper with dynamic fit using Flywire cables giving you support and structure where you want it. Also, the supportive heel clip will continue to give this shoe a lockdown secure feel.
Whether you intend to use it as your everyday shoes or as your tempo or workout shoes, the Lunarglide 6 will certainly enhance that plush soft ride and provide more response to the overall ride and feel of your foot. That sounds like the best of both worlds really, cushioning, support, you got it all in one package.
For the 11th edition, the Wave Inspire has been distilled down to the essentials of a great support shoe, putting less between the runner and an epic run.
With a 12mm heel drop, this standard daily running shoe is designed for moderate overpronators looking for a smooth ride with a blend of support, cushioning, more stability and more comfort. So it is a moderate support shoe which is going to fit an individual who has medium to lower more flexible arch, i.e, flat feet.
The Wave Inspire 11 achieves a high degree of support by using a double fan wave in the heel, a supportive upper fit that hugs the midfoot perfectly and a low toe spring that gives the runner a stable forefoot base. Lightweight U4ic technology provides optimal shock absorption and works with the supportive Wave Fan to guide the foot through the gait cycle. When you combine all these elements you end up with a smooth harmonious run that also guides the foot efficiently throughout the gait cycle.
With goals of increasing comfort, Mizuno introduced the revamped two-piece upper made of soft pliable mesh which creates a more ideal foot wrap while still maintaining Mizuno’s classic fit.
The outsole strategically employs X10 in high-wear areas and a lighter material in the forefoot for a tremendous underfoot feeling and ideal toe off, while the Barely-There Upper Pattern frames the foot perfectly with minimal uses of overlays.
Weighing in at 9.5oz, the Wave is perfectly suited to deliver a smooth ride while also achieving an ideal level of support.
Thoughtfully designed and refined down to the essentials, The Inspire 11 delivers what runners need in terms of ride, runnability and an ideal level support to keep them going faster and farther with every run.
Lace up and enjoy your run with confidence in the GT 1000 3
This is the first time the GT 1000 series has ever featured IGS, or Impact Guidance System. This basically means that the GT 1000 3 meets all of Asics’ really rigorous testing and performance standards. So it’s going to be right up there in Asics’ echelon of higher performance running shoes. The GTS system works in conjunction with the Guidance Line Technology to slow pronation for a very natural stride and gait.
It still features the Duomax Support System which makes it perfect for mild to moderate overpronators and the SpEVA Midsole which is really bouncy and fun, making the shoe a great option for a variety of runners. It provides great midfoot support with the stabilizing Trusstic System and gel cushioning system in the heel and forefoot to help absorb shock and offer a smooth transition as you are running.
It features a new breathable upper construction that has lightweight seamless welds throughout the quarter panel.
These awesome shoes are constructed with Gore-Tex Technology to help give you a wonderful water-proof experience. It has a traditional lace-up system with a very soft padded lining on the inside and a removable footbed to give you some added cushioning with every single step you take.
With a 12mm heel/toe offset, the GTS 16 is a standard daily trainer designed for moderate to severe overpronators who require a combination of cushioning and great support and stability. Continuing the use of the BioMogo DNA midsole as well as the Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB), this daily trainer has a gender-friendly cushioning design making for a dynamic, cushioned ride yet supportive ride.
In the midsole we see a small improvement with the use of deeper V-Grooves for a smooth transition as well as a more plush underfoot feel. The midsole is designed to promote progressive pronation control as well as smoother transition through the gait cycle. Along with an updated No-sew upper, the Adrenaline provides an optimal wrap with plenty of breathability.
This shoe is breathable, and its moisture managing element mesh and synthetic upper protects the feet from various elements.
By the way, GTS stands for Go To Shoe and this sure to be yours.
This is one of Asics’ best-selling running shoes and the lightest version of the Asics GT-2000 series in over its 20-year history. It’s a really versatile all-round running shoe that still provides really great cushioning and really great stability. If you’re a mild to moderate overpronating runner, the Asics‘ Duomax technology is something that will provide you with enough support to really help control your stride.
In this update, we see the addition of the new and improved FluidFit midsole to help reduce weight and increase bounceback by 20% from foot strike to toe off. This great two-layer construction also allows the shoe to have Dynamic Duomax which provides really great but comfortable and lightweight stability for the mild to overpronator.
The breathable mesh upper features a brand new external Heel Clutching System that utilizes an Exoskeletal Heel Counter to improve support and create a snug heel fitting environment. This is specific to mild to moderate overpronators as it provides more stability on the medial side of the shoe. But what’s great about it is that it has seamless materials to reduce the potential for irritation caused by stitches and seams and help create a more glove-like feel.
It has very soft padded and breathable lining on the inside with a removable footbed giving you a ton of added cushion.
It also features Impact Guidance Line Technology (IGS) that’ll help enhance the foot’s natural gait from heel strike to toe off.
The bottom has an extremely durable outsole made out of Asics’ High Abrasion Rubber (AHAR) to give you a great durability in the high-wear areas of the outsole. It’s also incredibly flexible and features rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning for added comfort.
You can use it for shorter distance training and take all the way to your longer distance marathon running. The GT 20003 is also great for someone who’s just getting started and wanting a super comfortable stable shoe for everyday training.
Witt a 20-year life cycle of the 2000 series, the GT 2000 3 becomes the lightest version weighing in at 10.7oz for men and 8.4oz for women.
This is a shoe that is engineered to enhance the experience of the runner, and that runner would be the runner who has a degree of mild to moderate overpronation. It has a dual-density midsole that is key to manage the degree of pronation the runner experiences. Saucony have integrated a Dynamic Fit system with properly placed overlays, medial support to keep the foot stable.
Saucony really took their time in putting the 7th version of the Guide series on the market. The result is a really great running shoe. The Guide 6 was super popular for its lightweight support and cushion and the 8mm offset geometry.
The Guide 7 is still an 8mm offset shoe, meaning that the heel is 8mm higher than the forefoot. So it’s right in that sweet spot in between minimal and traditional shoes. It’s all about 1.5oz lighter than the Guide 6, so it’s very lightweight.
The biggest upgrade on this shoe by far is the switch from the lightweight ProGrid midsole to a sturdier full-length PowerGrid version for better cushioning and more responsiveness (0.40 pic in video). PowerGrid is a piece that is 15% lighter and 30% more resilient than the ProGrid. It is also used in Saucony’s premium high-end shoes as well. The result is more support and comfort underfoot, which in turn should mean more miles on the road.
Saucony have engineered the medial aspect of the shoe with some stability zones. These zones give additional surface area so the athlete can remain centered and balanced as they’re going through the gait cycle.
It features an SRC crashpad that has been decoupled in order to handle the first phase of the impact on heel strike, so it actually helps to maximize the shock absorption and to place the runner in a more balanced position going forward.
The flex grooves of the outsole have been enhanced. They’re notched a little bit deeper to make sure the shoe is very smooth on transition.
The flex grooves have been enhanced on the bottom of this shoe as well. They’re notched a little bit deeper and they radiate out from the ball of the foot, which makes for a really natural smooth transition when your foot hits the ground and you start to roll forward. The sole on the forefoot is also noticeably flared out so it offers a fully-centered, stable and balanced platform as the athlete is transitioning from heel strike and moving forward to toe off.
Almost everybody can run in the Guide 7. Overpronators will appreciate the light stability and guidance, while neutral runners will find it offers a touch of support without overcorrecting their foot through the gait cycle.
With a 12mm heel to toe drop, the Wave Paradox 2 is a premium daily running shoe designed for runners with moderate to severe overpronation. Designed for runners who want support without the weight, the Wave Paradox 2 promises the support of a maximum stability shoe without all the weight associated with them.
The newest edition of the Paradox series sees some small updates to the insole and upper to help improve ride while reducing weight.
The lighter mesh upper is also utilized with a PU printed design that wraps around the heel and midfoot for a lightweight yet structural wrap. It is constructed with security and flexibility in mind by using the design of the shoe to help hold and support the foot in the places you need most.
The Paradox 2 features a Double Fan Wave U4ric midsole in the heel for maximum shock attenuation at heel strike and a higher degree of underfoot support throughout the gait cycle. It has a wider platform that provides a sure footed base for added stability while flex grooves in the forefoot increase freedom of movement.
The Wave Paradox 2 breaks category norms providing maximum support and cushion without sacrificing the flexibility and the lightweight fluid ride. Supportive and light, a true Paradox.
The Foundation 12 is in the motion control category. It is the successor to the Asics Gel Foundation 11 built for the moderate to severe overpronator who requires reinforced cushioning and a really supportive steady ride. You’ll get the stability you need to improve overpronation without adding extra weight thanks to the Dynamic Duomax Support System and Guidance Trusstic System that integrates the Guidance Line to increase gait efficiency.
The Gel Foundation offers a brand new upper that better accommodates orthotics for runners who need them. The breathable mesh upper features textile film for expanded durability and a lace-up system to lock your feet in. The Gel Foundation 12 also has a breathable fabric lining on the inside with an ultra-cushioned Comfordry sockliner to give you a cooler, drier and healthier environment for your foot.
It has a SpEVA midsole that’ll give you excellent energy return with every single stride with rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning systems for a great shock absorption. This shoe also has a DuraSponge outsole that’s going to give you long lasting wear and amazing flexibility.
This is Saucony’s core stability trainer and it’s built for that runner who needs that combination of enhanced support, stability, and cushioning as it offers Archlock for a nice medial support.
How did Saucony enhance the support in this shoe?
Well, one of the key things Saucony did is they lined the platform a little bit so you get a little bit wider basis support. They have enhanced the stability of the midsection of the midsole by incorporating a little bit of a bridge pattern with the stability zone of the shoe again enhancing the overall stability, comfort, cushion, and the overall performance as you start to overpronate. They also made sure the Omni 13 features a support frame around the heel combined with the Full-length Power Grid so that your foot stays centered on the straight and narrow.
The upper is constructed on a very breathable lightweight mesh with welded heat-fused overlays to eliminate stitching lines to enhance the internal comfort of the shoe. The overlays are really going to snug it up on your feet right where you need it with no places for irritation as you’re toeing off.
The midsole is stiffer on the medial side for support while the rest of it is really nicely cushioned. The outsole has a combination of durable carbon rubber and blown rubber which is lighter and helps keep the weight of the shoe down and perform. It has nice flex grooves all throughout giving you great flexibility that you need.
From a weight perspective, the Omni 13 stays consistent with the Omni 12.
The first thing you’ll notice about the shoe is simply that you will get noticed. The Noosa Tri 11 is one of the best women’s running shoes for flat feet. It’s a stability shoe and great for overpronation problems. It’s specifically constructed to fulfill the needs of triathletes. One of the many nice things about this shoe is that it’s designed to take elastic laces and comes with its own elastic laces that are pretty easy to fit.
It has a seamless construction which helps reduce the likelihood of irritation while you’re wearing it and a breathable mesh upper with feather light synthetic overlays on top of that. It features plenty padding on the inside with a soft perforated fabric sockliner on the bottom to give you enhanced breathability and excellent moisture drainage. The tongue has stitched in loops and you can put your elastic laces through those loops. So when you put your foot in, the tongue will not slide all the way down through the shoe, a really clever little addition to the shoe.
It features IGS system in there to help the foot through its natural gait cycle and give you a really comfortable heel strike all the way to toe off.
You also have EVA properties in the midsole which is made of so light and shock absorbing material. There’s also rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning systems. The Noosa features what Asics call a Wet Grip Outsole which is basically a road sole, pretty flat and smooth and it’s designed to keep you nice and steady on wet or dry surfaces.
And of course you have that Guidance Line Technology on the bottom to give great vertical flex and help give your foot maximum stride efficiency. It’s not a trail shoe, but it has a reasonable amount of grip within the actual pattern.
The footbed is removable if you want to replace that with your own orthotic. If you’re a fan of Asics’ Gel technology, you will fall in love with the Noosa.
This shoe has been designed to be worn with no socks on, but obviously if you wear socks that’s no problem. It has a glow in the dark property throughout to help give you great low light visibility.
You’ll have the most comfortable feet in town when you are running all around with these awesome shoes.
It features a new Flyknit upper and Fly mesh (check) on the upper. If you prefer shoes with less cushion, the Lunarglide 7 is surprisingly lightweight for its frame. The Lunarlon outsole doesn’t feel clunky or slow. The cushioning is pleasantly soft and does not interfere with the foot’s strike or stride during faster pace runs. The new Flyknit and Flymesh upper feels both durable and breathable and the tongue is noticeably plush.
As a stability shoe, the Lunarglide 7 continues to support runners with mild overpronation. The 10mm heel to toe drop and the Pressure-Mapped Outsole keeps the Lunarglide from feeling too bulky underfoot. I thing it works best as a daily trainer on the road.
The Lunarglide 7 stands out from other running shoes because of the noticeably soft cushioning, the updated Flyknit and Flymesh upper, and by continuing to provide support for overpronation.
The upper is extremely comfortable because of the plush design and you’ll feel confident adding daily miles on the shoe without worrying about blisters or chafing. Fly wire cables are present around the laces to provide a secure fit, and the deep grooves cut into the outsole allowing this shoe to stay flexible and responsive.
Overall, I think that this shoe would benefit runners who prefer a noticeably softer ride without adding an extra weight.
You’re looking at a shoe that’s been built specifically for the moderate to severe overpronator who’s looking for reinforced stability and tons of cushioning. This version is actually the successor to the Brooks Ariel 13. The 14th version has a completely redesigned upper that is made with breathable mesh and lightweight synthetic materials that help hug the foot for a more glove-like fit.
The upper design and sockliner have element moisture managing technology with them to move perspiration away from your skin for a quick-drying breathability. The footbed on the interior is completely removable and contoured to fit your foot perfectly. (pics0.50).
An updated BioMogo midsole provides you not only long-lasting plush thanks to Brooks DNA Technology within for added cushioning and stability, but there’s also a non-toxic additive within that allows for an even faster breakdown of this midsole once it hits the landfill.
There’s a full length segmented crashpad in the heel for fantastic shock absorption and a wonderful Progressive Diagonal Rollbar (PDRB) designed on the instep to deliver maximum control to help reduce that overpronation.
From the bottom you can see the DNA technology (pic 1.28) in the heel and also the wonderful mega flex grooves on the outsole that allow for maximum flexibility for a powerful toe-off.
The Lyte 33 2 is a stripped-down and lightweight performance trainer designed for the neutral runner. In this update, this running shoe receives a top-down redesign. A brand new upper features a seamless internal sleeve for increased comfort around the midfoot and forefoot.
Underfoot, a two-layer SpEVA midsole offers a bouncy and responsive ride. Underneath, a FluidAxis flex groove in the heel gives the shoe a more efficient and smoother heel to toe transition.
Shoes similar to the Gel-Lyte33 2 are the Pearl Izumi EM Road N1and the Saucony Kinvara 7. Compared to these two shoes, the Gel Lyte offers a slightly softer underfoot feel as well as a bit more cushioning for daily training and higher mileage. Testers found the Lyte to offer a soft and resilient ride.
This shoe feels especially responsive in the forefoot and favors a mid to forefoot landing. It offers a lighter underfoot feel which is great for fast running and racing while retaining enough cushioning for daily training.
The upper is roomier and less constricting than the previous version fitting a variety of foot shapes with ease. Those with narrow feet will still be able to obtain a sung and secure fit by cinching hard on laces.
The Gel-Lyte33 2 is a great option for the runner seeking exceptional value and a lightweight and fast feeling shoe.
The new Wave Alchemy 12 has a new upper. Mizuno reduced the overlays and focused the fit on the heel of the shoe. This way, the upper secures your foot better into the shoe. They’ve also reduced the collar on the ankle for less abrasions and lowered it on the heel for a better secure fit. They’ve also removed the lateral lace tab on the shoe shedding about half an ounce of weight making the shoe lighter and just as supportive and as controlling as it’s ever been before.
Additionally, the Alchemy 12 sees the continuation of AP Plus EVA Midsole, a three-quarter length Fan Wave Plate, and Mizuno’s carbon and blown-rubber outsole.
Strong arches are important to your body’s health. Having flat feet or “fallen arches” can cause pain throughout your feet, ankles and lower leg muscles, especially near the arch and heel.
With a fallen arch, your foot will tend to roll inward or overpronate, and the entire sole of your foot will come close to touching the ground.
What other symptoms can runners with flat feet experience?
Overtime, flat feet can lead to more serious problems in your body’s alignment and may cause the angle of the joints in your hips, knees and ankles to change slightly putting strain on those joints.
Excessive strain on the ligaments and tendons that support your ankle and arch may cause the bones to collapse leading to:
Flat feet usually develop because of excessive foot stress such as:
People with flat feet need a little bit more supportive shoes than somebody with normal arched feet. Manufactures always claim that their running shoes are well supportive and they have special things built into the shoe to make it more supportive for people with flat feet. The problem is that very few of these shoes actually qualify as being supportive on the inside of the shoe.
So you have to take into consideration the construction of the shoe and how it’s going to support the foot. A person with a flat foot needs a stiff soled supportive shoe in order to keep the foot from over-rotating into the flat position. There are several components that one can use to evaluate a shoe and make sure that it’s supportive enough for a flat foot.
The first thing you need to check is whether or not the shoe will bend in the proper place. A shoe that bends straight in the middle where the arch is is not a good shoe because it won’t provide enough support for somebody with a flat foot. You need to test the shoe by bending it, and if it bends where the toes are supposed to bend, then that means the shoe is supportive enough.
The second thing to look into is how well you can twist or torque it. If you can twist or torque the shoe almost like you’re wringing a towel as many canvas style shoes will often do, then that means that the shoe really does not have a lot of support from one side to the other and isn’t going to be good for flat feet.
The final consideration you need to make is how stiff the heel is. A good stiff heel counter will help to resist the rotation of the heel bone as it often does when it flattens out. Try pushing on the back of the shoe, if it’s barely stiff and doesn’t want to yield, then that means you’ve got a good supportive shoe. However, if you can push the heel counter with your thumb all the way down, that means it’s fairly flexible and not such a good construction for a person with flat feet.
The Achilles tendon is the big tendon in the back of your lower leg attaching the calf muscles to the heel bone. There are two main sides that runners and walkers feel Achilles pain: the insertion where the tendon attaches to the heel bone, and the mid portion which is 1.50″ or 1.90″ up from the heel bone. (pic arrow 1 2). This is important because the two areas respond differently to treatment.
Pain in the Achilles tendon used to be called Achilles Tendonitis, but because it’s largely a degenerative process and only a limited inflammatory component, it’s now being referred to as Achilles Tendinopathy.
You can either continue reading the article or read our articles of the best shoes for Achilles Tendonitis.
If you’re wondering whether there are sandals that can help with Achilles Tendonitis, well the answer is definitely YES.
Healthy tendons are composed mostly of tightly packed parallel bundles of Collagen fibers. Recent research by physiotherapy tendon experts Jill Cook & Craig Purdam has identified three stages to Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinopathy:
The onset of Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinopathy can be sudden, but runners and walkers usually describe a gradual onset in pain and stiffness in the tendon during or after running. At first, the problem may occur only after intense hill track or interval sections, and in the early stages the pain may reduce as you begin to warm up on your run or walk. Stiffness in the tendon first thing in the morning is a frequent finding in the early stages. Gradually, the pain becomes more frequent and you can feel it throughout the full duration of runs, even slower and less intense sessions. Eventually, you may experience pain just walking.
In the early reactive stage, the whole tendon may be swollen. Later on in the degenerative stage the tendon may feel thickened with lumpy nodules. So what causes Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinopathy?
In runners, it’s usually caused by the accumulation of excessive mechanical load on the tendon. That could be from:
On the other hand it’s possible that the loading of the tendon is the same as normal but that the tendon has become weaker after a break from running / walking or after a period of enforced rest after different injury. Alternatively, there are other factors that have been shown to contribute to Achilles pain such as:
All these are possible factors in the development of Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinopathy. Hopefully, one or two will ring true for you because identifying those factors is stage one in curing the problem.
First, I’m going to give you some tips for acute management for the Reactive Achilles Tendonitis/Tendinopathy. So let’s say that the morning after a tough hill session you feel pain and swelling in your Achilles, what can you do?
First off, avoid running and reduce the amount of walking you do for three or four days. You can use a five-millimeter heel raise to take pressure off your Achilles, and in a severe case, you may want to wear an air cast boot for a couple of days. You can take maximum dose of Ibuprofen for three days if you’re medically fit to do so. Check with your GP or pharmacist if you’re unsure. It’s worth saying that although inflammation isn’t a big part of Tendinopathy, there’s good reason evidence to show that Ibuprofen helps in this reactive stage. Additionally, many top athletes now take high-dose Omega 3 Tablets and drink Green Tea for Reactive Tendinopathy.
Static calf muscle exercises, otherwise known as asymmetric exercises can be started after three or four days. If you respond well, normal training can often be resumed soon after. So what about treatment for a chronic grumbling degenerative Achilles Tendinopathy?
You will usually still need a period of relative rest from the activity that’s been causing the problem. That might mean avoiding the problematic hill sessions or track sprints, or it might mean avoiding all running depending on how severe the things are. You can do some cross training such as swimming or cycling to keep up your general cardio-vascular fitness and to help bring oxygen to the healing tendon. Even better, try something specific to running such as aqua jogging or the Elliptigo.
While resting from running, you need to build up the strength of the tendon. And for the Degenerative Achilles Tendinopathy, exercises to gradually load the tendon are seen as the gold standard treatment technique. Eccentric exercises such as the heel drops originally pioneered by Professor Hakan Alfredson have been popular over recent years. There’s good evidence they work well for chronic mid-portion Achilles Tendinopathy, especially in athletes. Some of today’s tendon experts believe that concentric eccentric exercises such as a standard up and down heel raiser work just as well as eccentrics and they’re even easier to perform. Whichever exercise you go for, you need to build up the loads on the tendon gradually. Usually that involves going slowly with low resistance to start with and gradually building speed and resistance. Eventually, you’ll want to build up to doing dynamic exercises such as hopping and skipping.
Stretching of the calf muscles can be useful if those muscles are tight and ice packs can be useful after runs or activities that might cause a reaction in the tendon.
If you’re still struggling having tried some of those home treatments options, it might be time to visit a Physiotherapist. Firstly, a Physio will help you to accurately diagnose your problem and rule out other problems which require a different treatment approach. They will also help to determine the stage of the pathology which guides the best treatment approach. The Physio will perform a physical examination to help evaluate which areas are stiff, tight and weak both in the tendon and calf and also along the whole of the connective chain. They can use various hands-on techniques to loosen stiff and tight areas and teach you specific exercises to improve strength and movement control.
Make sure you visit a Physio who either walks a lot, runs, or treats lots of runners because you need to see someone who will understand your training plan and your running objectives and who will link this to your medical and training history and to your current levels of conditioning strength and flexibility. They might also evaluate your running style to work out if there are any biomechanical factors that contribute to your Tendinopathy problem. A good physiotherapist is going to be like a coach who takes you through all stages of rehabilitation.
Treating Achilles Tendinopathy effectively is largely about stressing the tendon the right amount at the right time, and a good running Physio will help guide you through that process. They might also use adjuvant therapies such as Kinesio taping, acupuncture, shockwave therapy, or ultrasound to help healing of the tendon.
I hope this has been a helpful guide to Achilles Tendinopathy. Good luck and happy running.
Today we’re going to take a detailed look into choosing the perfect shoes for you. There are specific aspects which come with choosing the right footwear such as understanding your pronation, looking at your foot type and understanding what features work best for you.
Pronation is quite simply the motion of your foot rolling from the heel to your toe as your foot strikes the ground when you walk or run. Everyone walks and runs slightly differently, and this is why there are three different types of pronation. When choosing the right pair of running shoes, it’s very important to know which type you have.
Neutral pronation is the most common type. This is the action of the foot making impact with the outside of the heel and rolling up to the ball of your foot nice and evenly, about 15 degrees inward. This means you are distributing the stress of the impact proportionately and are pushing off evenly from the front of the foot.
Overpronation will again make initial contact with the outside of the heel. However, when the foot continues to roll, the ball of your foot will tilt inward more than the ideal 15 degrees. This means the foot and ankle have problems stabilizing the body and shock isn’t absorbed efficiently. At the end of the cycle the front of the foot is mainly pushing off of the big and second toe causing an excessive force.
You can also have a severe overpronation which means the ball of the foot will roll excessively inwards causing great pressure on the big toe as you walk or run.
Underpronation means the foot will make contact with the ground with the outside of the heel. However, the foot will then continueS to roll onto the outside of the foot. This means the impact is forced onto a concentrated area of the foot, and when pushing off, the pressure is most applied to the smaller toes.
Pronation is generally associated to the height of your arch or general foot type. The arch of your foot is simply the middle area of the foot and this varies from person to person ranging from people with flat feet all the way up to a high arch.
How can you know your foot type?
One of the simplest ways to know the foot type you have is by performing the Wet Test. This is a very simple method and all you need is a small bowl or tray, some water, and a piece of cardboard.
Pour the water into your container and place the cardboard on the floor.
Softly place your bare foot into the container ensuring to get all areas wet.
Remove your foot from the container shaking off any excess water and gently place it onto your cardboard. Stand normally for a few seconds then remove your foot. The shape of your foot will now appear on the board, and depending on what shape you see is how you classify your foot type.
A normal arch is generally associated with a neutral pronation. You have a distinct curve along the inside of the foot and in the middle should be a little less than half the width of your foot.
A high arch is mostly linked to underpronation or supination. You will see a very sharp curve along the inside of the foot and your center width is very thin.
A low arch is generally associated with overpronation which can lead to overuse injuries. There’s not much of a curve along the inside and your imprint shows a large percentage of the entire area of your foot. In instances of sever overpronation you will see the entire area of your foot mark.
So now you know what your foot type is and what type of pronation you have. It is time to choose the correct running shoe.
Motion control shoes prevent your foot from rolling too far. They have a straight shape to give maximum support to your foot and are the most rigid, control oriented shoes.
Cushioned shoes allow your feet to roll inward absorbing shock. They have a curved shape to encourage foot motion and have the softest midsole with the least medial support.
Stability shoes offer a good blend of cushioning, medial support and durability. They often have a semi-curved shape and don’t control foot motion as strictly as motion control shoes. Below is a simple chart which clarifies all the foot and pronation types into which category of footwear you will want to be looking at.
So that’s a detailed look into pronation, foot types, and choosing the perfect footwear for you. We hope this has been of help and please feel free to leave a comment.
Neutral running shoes, also known as cushioned running shoes, provide plenty of midsole cushioning and minimum medial support. You should buy these shoes if you are an efficient runner i.e. you don’t overpronate and more than likely have high arches. A neutral running shoe is flexible through the arch to allow the foot as much motion as possible.
If you are 100% certain that you are a neutral runner then you can skip the text below and go straight to the nice part, choosing your shoes. To make your life easier we have created a list of the Top 10 Neutral Running shoes available backed up with our in-depth reviews and of course, the cheapest prices!
To find out if neutral running shoes are suitable for you, we would always recommend visiting a specialist running store for advice. Since this is the most accurate way of determining your running gait. However, if you would not like to do that, please use our running shoe guide or many of the manufacturers now offer online tools to help you decide. The pick of the bunch is Mizuno’s Precision Fit.
Take a look at your old shoes: Many experts will ask to see your old pair of trainers, as their wear pattern gives an indication of the way you pronate. Of course, other factors than pronation, such as weight, also play a role in choosing the best shoe.
You are likely to be a neutral runner if the soles of your shoes show wear in an S-shaped pattern, from the outer (lateral) heel to the big toe. When you have a normal pronation pattern you can run in a wide variety of shoes, but specialised neutral running shoes offering cushioning and support are most suitable.
No longer do you have to compromise performance for cushioning. Some fantastic innovations mean that; not only do neutral running shoes look the part but they offer the perfect blend of cushioning and a responsive road feel.
There are literally 100′s of neutral running shoes to choose from. However, there are a few neutral running shoes that stand out from the crowd. They provide responsive cushioning, a fantastic fit and as a result have earned a place in the hearts of runners throughout the land.
Here are our current Top 10 Neutral running shoes. We created this list based on our own reviews, third party reviews from the likes of Runners World Magazine, Amazon and so on. In our opinion if you are looking for a pair of neutral running shoes then look no further than the list below.
The following guide is for those who are interested in the sport of running and hope to seek information and help for competing in an ultra-marathon. This guide is made to eductae and inform any serious runner willing to devote a major part of their life to the challenge of completing or attempting an ultra-marathon. Throughout this guide you will gather many tips and methods that will help guide you to achieve your personal goal.
First let’s start out by defining an Ultra-Marathon. An Ultra-Marathon is any sporting event involving running longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometers or 26.2188 miles. The most common distance of an ultra marathon race is 50k or 31.0686 miles.
Having a reason or purpose to attempt something as enduring as an ultra-marathon is very important. Without goals or reasons, one has trouble finding motivation to keep moving forward. Inside of everyone there is a fire, and to keep that fire burning, there must something there to fuel it.
Many runners have multiple reasons as to why they run. Some don’t have a clue, and are still out there searching. If you think running is just a form of exercise you’re not entirely right. To some, running is a great social outlet, a momentary escape from the real world, an opportunity to relieve stress, and not to mention a great way to keep your body and mind healthy.
After completing an Ultra-Marathon I guarantee that you will discover what it is that drives you to get out there and train day in and day out. The experience will be memorable, and certainly unforgettable.
The following is a 16 week long training program for a 50 mile race. As you can tell, the weekly mileage isn’t very high. What matters is the quality of the weekly long run, and the short and easy recovery days leading up to it.
This is the second 50 mile training plan. As you can tell, this plan is designed for the more intermediate runner.
Remember every runner has a different training plan. Different things work for different people. Some people can handle running 100 miles per week while properly recovering from soreness, while other can only handle 20 mile per week.
Altering a training plan is often done to meet your own needs and is highly recommended. It’s important to adjust your training around your body and its current state of fitness condition.
Only handful of ultra-marathoners lift, but lifting weights and working out your core can only complement your running. Lifting and doing core should be used as a supplement to your running, and not the other way around. Also, it should always come secondary to your running. Let running be your primary focus.
Stretching is also every important. This should be done as often as you want/feel necessary, to meet your own standards. It’s recommended to warm up before a run and stretch after that.
If you don’t have access to a gym or weight-lifting equipment like weights, don’t worry because there are many exercises that don’t require weights. Exercises that fall underneath this category are push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.
As simple as it sounds, breathing is something that can really make a difference if done correctly. If you sometimes have trouble breathing or think your breathing isn’t as good as it could be, consider doing breathing exercises like breathing through a straw during a state of relaxation. This will force you to really intake your maximum lung capacity.
Cycling is also a very good form of exercise, but I find it unnecessary if you’re logging a sufficient amount of miles. If you feel that you need to gain some strength or you are recovering very well, then cycling may very well be a good supplement to your running, just like weight lifting.
Running an ultra-marathon is not an easy task. People who wish to attempt an ultra-marathon should have completed at least one marathon under their belt. Compared to an ultra-marathon of 90km or more, the 42km marathon is little more than a sprint.
The main difference between marathons and ultra-marathons is the amount of time you spend on your feet. In addition, the degree of discomfort and fatigue that is experienced is substantially worse and must be endured for a longer period.
Many Ultra-Marathons require you to get medically cleared. You must be in healthy shape otherwise you cannot participate. Ultra-Marathon races like the “Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run” and the “Bad Water 135” require you to be medically cleared. In many of these kinds of races you cannot just sign up. Running these races require prerequisites like being medically cleared, having experience, and a crew to follow you around the entirety of the race.
If your race is held somewhere in mild to hot temperatures, you better be sure that you trained properly to withstand the heat. The easiest way to acclimatize to heat is to run your longer runs in the heat. If you train in cool conditions but expect to race in the heat, be sure to train with additional layers of clothing, as this is the only way to do so.
Heat stroke is an illness resulting from the heat, usually from extremely high temperatures. A physiological increase of heat occurs in the body, and your body has trouble stabilizing its core temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This can be life threatening, but can be easily prevented and treated.
Well-known ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes has completed the hottest ultra-marathon; Bad Water. It’s located in Death Valley where the temperatures climb 130 degrees Fahrenheit. During a race like this you must have your own crew containing water, food and other supplies to reduce your chances of dying.
Altitude is running when the atmospheric pressure decreases as altitude increases. As the pressure decreases less oxygen is available for runners to utilize. Altitude can play a very major role in ones race, and their ability to do well.
Dominant ultra-marathon runners in South Africa have usually lived and trained in altitude (1800m), not in the sea-level cities of Cape Town and Durban.
Athletes who live at sea level will always be at a significant disadvantage when racing at those altitudes.
When Ultra-Marathoner Dean Karnazes raced his first ultra-marathon at the “Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run” he showed signs of altitude sickness. He recalls being diagnosed at one of the numerous water/medical stations. At the top of the peak his head grew very light and his fingers swelled up to the point that he had trouble opening and closing his hands. He was told by one of the experienced volunteers to make his ascent down the course as quickly as possible to reduce possible harm to him.
Altitude sickness is caused by the ascent to a high altitude and the resulting shortage of oxygen, leading to hyperventilation, nausea, exhaustion, cerebral edema, and along with many other effects. To prevent altitude sickness it would be best to train at a very similar altitude, like that of the race.
One of the most important parts of having a successful race is to taper your training properly. It is believed that the longer the race distance, the more important the taper becomes and the longer it should be.
Taper means to diminish or reduce towards the end of something. When tapering your training you are reducing your volume and intensity meaning everything should feel a lot easier, and your body should feel a lot fresher.
Tapering your training at the right time is extremely important. Every runner tapers their training differently and at a different time. In good training programs, you can easily spot the points of tapering. They can be seen a few weeks leading up to the race, especially the week of the race.
Correct pacing is essential for any race. But the consequence of poor pacing in an ultra-marathon is always devastating.
One effective and popular method would be going after a safer approach such as aiming to run the first half of your ultra-marathon about 10 to 30 minutes slower than the halfway time predicted by this method. When you race your second ultra-marathon, you will then be able to run slightly faster over the first half of the race and come closer to your best ideal time.
When going out at a more conservative pace you are more likely to run a better race. Your chances of “dying” become much slimmer. Ironically almost no runner willingly follows that advice until they discover it the hard way.
When or if you run your second ultra-marathon you will be able to predict your race pace better and will most likely run closer to your ideal goal time.
Eating is a very important topic when it comes to running, especially when it comes to running an ultra-marathon. Eating properly can either make or break you.
Consuming carbohydrates contains a very important substance called glycogen. It’s been proven countless times that muscle glycogen is essential for endurance performance because its depletion causes exhaustion. Foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates are: pasta, bread, potatoes, and waffles.
Hypoglycemia is defined as a deficiency of glucose in the bloodstream.
To avoid developing hypoglycemia, Ingest an adequate amount of carbohydrates in the 12 hours before the race. Also make sure that you eat a pre-race meal and ingest carbohydrates such as bread or waffles during the race.
Here’s an interesting fact, in long ultra-marathons of 160km or further, fewer amounts of carbohydrates are needed to prevent hypoglycemia because the running speeds are so much slower.
Running takes a tremendous amount of physical and mental endurance. Visiting the course can be very beneficial and should be done quite often. Before your race you should think about the entirety of the course. You should know exactly where each hill or other landmarks are. Running the course physically (obviously not entirely) is something done by many runners.
According to the book, “Lore of Running” by Timothy D. Noakes, in the final week before his race Ultra-Marathon runner Bruce Fordyce would go into virtual seclusion, cut off from the outside world.
Visualizing is something done by many runners. Keep in mind that visualization is not like hypnosis. When visualizing it’s important to be 100% positive. Think happy thoughts like crossing the finish line and feeling good.
A good way to rehearse the race through your mind would be to segment the race into manageable sections. Almost like reading a book; have a beginning, middle and end. This form of visualization can be very effective.
Wearing the correct clothing is essential to racing well and staying comfortable. The right choice of clothing is essential. Always bring extra clothing. Be prepared for any kind of weather. You can always strip down if you need to. You never want to race in something especially shoes if you’ve never run in them or trained in them before. This just spells a recipe for disaster. But one thing is surre, there is no shoe suitable for all runners of ultramarathon as runners have different levels of pronation and have different needs when it comes to arch support.
Sunscreen is vital, especially since you are going to be out there for hours on end. Baby powder and lubricant is also great to have to prevent from getting blisters/irritation on your skin, specifically your feet.
Just like your diet and water consumption, your sleep also needs to be regulated. In order to gain maximum benefits, you should try to keep your sleeping as consistent as possible, just like your training.
They say the average man should get at least 7 hours a sleep a day. An ultra-marathoner is in no way considered average. I would recommend getting at least 9 hours of quality sleep.
When arriving to the start make sure that you and your crew have everything, from clothing to water. Aim to find a starting position that will allow you to start running within the first few hundred meters of the starting line. This shouldn’t be that hard to do, due to the fact the field of runners are a fraction compared to that of a marathon.
Plan accordingly to the weather. Get weather reports and follow up them. The weather plays a major role to what you wear the day of the race. It’s always better to be prepared than to be under prepared. When it comes to clothing, you can always take off layers.
In order to run a good race, almost everything needs to be perfect. All of the right ingredients need to be mixed right. You need to make sure that you are healthy. One thing that you need to make sure is that you are pacing correctly. Keep tabs on your splits and make sure that you’re not running too fast.
Make sure that you are drinking a sufficient amount of water and that your sodium levels are balanced with your water intake. What you eat during your race is very important. Make sure that you are consuming a proper amount of food and that the food you are consuming reflects well towards your race. Another thing that you need to do is you must make sure that you are thinking positively and that your mental state of mind is healthy.
Every runner looks back at the races they had, good and bad. Looking back at your performance is very important. You should look back and see what you accomplished and also see what you could have done better on.
Look back and look for problems or issues you face. Ask yourself, “why did this happen”, or “what can I do better next time”. Studies show that 5%-10% of finishers in ultra-marathons seek medical attention after they race.
The most common serious case of collapse in ultra-marathon runners is the hyponatremia of exercise (water intoxication). The most immediate problem associated with this condition is that excess fluid stored in the brain causes a progressive loss of consciousness, leading to epileptic seizures and ultimately death when either breathing or the heart beat ceases.
It is extremely crucial to recover properly after your race. It is suggested that you take 3 months off running along with any other forms of exercise. It is also suggested that you only race an ultra-marathon once a year to prevent serious damage to yourself.
I’m assuming you landed here because you’re either committed to, or are seriously thinking about running a half marathon. Either way, you’ve come to the right place! Perhaps you’re planning to run a marathon in the near future but want to start by running the half marathon. Or maybe you’re just beginning to get into the sport of running and are thinking of a way to push or challenge yourself … whatever your reasons, the half marathon is an excellent distance to strive for.
If you’re a seasoned distance runner, the half marathon can be a good training run before your next marathon. If you’re a beginning runner, the half marathon can be a distance to work towards … a distance within reach with proper training, but not too imposing like the marathon.
In this article, I’ll be talking about the basic components of training for a half marathon and provide links and information about the various half marathon training plans. Based on the information provided, you’ll ultimately have to choose which program will work the best for you.
I’m a huge fan of Jeff Galloway’s “run/walk” method, but this may not be the best option for you. I’m hoping that, by providing you with information about the most popular and respected half marathon training programs, you’ll find the one that will get you through your next 13.1 miles!
I’ve also included information related to your diet, best running shoes to wear, some good training tips to prevent injury, and a brief summary of half marathon training components.
Below are links to FREE half marathon training programs. I’ve also included a link to a great online coaching site, and where you can buy some great books on half marathon training – all you need to make running the half marathon a fun and successful endeavor!
Since you’ll be racking up a lot of miles each week training for the half marathon, you’ll need shoes that will provide adequate support to get you through it all without injury. Of course there are many other factors to help prevent running injuries such as proper stretching, cross training etc., but finding the right pair of running shoes to suit your individual needs is key.
There are many factors to consider when searching for running shoes, one of which is pronation. Pronation is the way our feet roll inward from heel to toe while running or walking. I’ve explained the varying degrees of pronation below, and which type of running shoes work best for each particular type of pronation.
As our feet go through a normal stride, the foot strikes the ground at the heel and proceeds downward, rolling inward roughly 5%, and then pushes off the toes to complete the stride. The foot’s rolling motion helps distribute the force or impact of the foot strike evenly, and still provides adequate support for the runner. This is the ideal running stride. Often with normal pronation, the person will have “normal” arches, as opposed to high arches as seen in Under Pronation, or more flat arches as seen in flat feet.
A basic “Stability” shoe works best and provides plenty of support for those with a normal degree of pronation. Since a runner with normal pronation already has good balance built into his/her stride for absorbing shock evenly and naturally, a more beefed up running shoe with added sole support etc. is not generally needed. But again, every runner is different and it’s a good idea to see the specialists at your local shoe store for help in determining which shoe will work best for you.
As you can probably guess – with Under Pronation, the inward rolling movement happens at less than 5%. Therefore, the outside of the foot is left to manage the bulk of the impact. During the push-off phase of the stride, the smaller toes carry most of the responsibility for the completion of the stride – and this type of stride is not as efficient overall. As a general rule, high arched runners tend to under pronate.
“Neutral” or “Neutral Cushioned” shoes work best for encouraging a more natural stride. Runners with high arches tend to be Under Pronators. Of course there are exceptions to every rule so, again, you will want to get a gait analysis done at a running store to determine what type of pronator you are and then purchase your running shoes accordingly.
With some running strides, the feet roll excessively inward toward the arch or inside of the foot – this is called Over-Pronation and is also common. Over pronation happens when the foot rolls in more than the ideal 5%, so the shock of each impact is not distributed evenly throughout each stride – as a result, the foot and ankle have more difficulty managing the impact and stabilizing the body. With the long term repetitive nature of long distance running, this can lead to injury if proper precautions aren’t taken ie. getting supportive shoes to counteract the effects of this type of pronation. Cross training can also help by strengthening the surrounding muscles so they are better able to assist in absorbing the impact as well. More on cross training later.
“Motion Control shoes” tend to work best for people with more excessive or pronounced over pronation. These shoes have features in the arch and sole (or last) of the shoes which help to assist the foot as it rolls inward to help balance out the stride and provide added support.
Stability shoes are adequate for those with mild to moderate over pronation. Motion Control shoes are helpful in providing much more support for execessive over pronators and tend to be a bit bulkier and/or heavier. However, if it means preventing injury and allowing a runner an injury free experience over the long haul – it’s worth it! Because of the added supporting features, the motion control shoe can be advantageous for the heavier runner as well.
As mentioned earlier – it’s helpful to go to a major running store to get a “gait analysis,” done to determine which type of pronation you have. Many times, this can be done for free, depending on the running store. The store personnel at a running shoe store will watch you run on a treadmill and determine what type of pronation you have. At that point, they can then help you find which type of running shoes will work best for you i.e. cushioned, stability, or motion control.
I’m an average sized runner (perhaps a bit heavier:) with moderate over pronation and now wear Stability running shoes. But when I first started running longer distances I didn’t realize there were different types of shoes for the varying degrees of pronation and bought a lightweight pair of Cushioned Nikes (which would be better suited for someone with higher arches). After a few months of long runs, I injured my knee, which required surgery and months of rehabilitation.
It was my Physical therapist who explained to me that I had more pronounced over pronation and recommended I use a heavy duty Stability running shoe or Motion control shoe. Had I known then what I know now – I would have gotten a gait analysis done before starting my long distance running pursuits and likely prevented my knee injury altogether…thus the impetus for article. I’m hoping you won’t do things in reverse order and get injured like I did!
All of the major running shoe brands such as Nike, Reebok, Brooks, Adidas, Asics, Mizuno, Ecco, Fila, to name a few, carry a model which is designed to target each type of pronation. Plan to spend more money on quality running shoes, likely between $50.00 and $200.00 as an estimate. I can’t afford the real high end models, but have found plenty of good running shoes between $50.00 and $110.00, especially if I hunt down the clearance sales!
There are many reputable companies online which have free shipping and/or free return shipping so you can return the shoes and get a refund with little hassle. You can also find some great deals online.
However, I also appreciate my local running stores – they are generally priced a bit higher than what you find online, but the staff know a lot about running and can help you find the right running shoes or other running gear etc. so this can be well worth the extra costs…at least I think so. It’s a tough call – when money’s tight, you want to save where you can…so you’ll have to decide which route to take based on what you value most.
Whatever you decide – it’s recommended you have at least 2 pairs of good running shoes and alternate them. The shoes cushioning properties last longer this way, making you less likely to develop a shoe related injury.
Getting a good pair of running socks is also important for your feet. Avoid cotton socks – unless you’re running for under 30 minutes since cotton material holds moisture in, making your feet sweat more. This can lead to your skin getting boggy and, after running for a long period of time, the skin can start rubbing off, creating blisters or worse.
Find socks that indicate they have “wicking” materials in them – then you’ll know the materials allow your feet to breathe better and not retain moisture. Synthetic materials cost more but work best to promote wicking. The major running brands make good socks – Nike, Asics etc.
Also – Wigwam, Thorlo, Coolmax, and Smartwool are also excellent brands. Make sure you match the length of your sock to your shoe size (eg. so don’t buy a size 12 sock if you have a size 10 foot or you’ll get blisters).
Running shorts for long distance running should be soft and breathable, just like your running socks. You’ll be running for a long time so if you’re sweating excessively, you’ll end up with chaffing around your thighs – very painful! Again, avoid cottons or heavier materials.
Good running shorts have a V notch in the leg bottoms of the shorts to allow for easier running motion – this helps prevent chaffing. The different brands of running shorts vary somewhat in how far up the notch goes…I’ve seen men’s shorts that hang down to (maybe) the upper thigh with the v-notch running up to the waistband – there’s little left to the imagination with some of those shorts. I can understand how this would allow for great air movement and breathability but I, personally, would not feel comfortable wearing shorts hiked up that far. I’m truly not knocking them since they are preferred by a lot of runners and are made of quality materials.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are shorts that run close to knee length – these seem too long for running since they may cause chaffing over the long haul. For men, it’s helpful to find shorts with a liner inside since it will provide adequate support – and you can likely get by without wearing a jock strap.
It’s essentially up to your own personal taste – I like a mid-thigh short, with about a 1 inch V notch, made of Supplex Nylon or Coolmax. Not many running shorts have pockets in them, but I try to find running shorts that do so I can take my ID, a couple of dollars in case of emergency, or a snack. But again, this is just what I like to have with me on my long runs. You’ll decide what works best for you as you start training for the half marathon.
It’s the same principle as running socks or shorts…you want a breatheable material with wicking properties to prevent getting too hot and sweaty. Cotton will hold moisture, and does not breathe well. All of the major running brands (Nike, Reebok, New Balance, Asics…) make shirts designed specifically to wick away moisture and breathe. Many of the shirts available now have the ability to block UV sun rays too – another bonus when running when it’s hot out there.
Men – I’ve seen many bloody nipples in races from shirts chaffing the chest area. Just having the right shirt material alone will not necessarily prevent this from happening – but it can certainly go a long way. (You may have to use vaseline during the long runs and races to really take care of this issue). Finding a shirt that isn’t too tight is key.
Whatever training model you choose in deciding to run a half marathon, they will all discuss the importance of the long run. Essentially, the long run is the ONE long run you do each week. I stress the importance of doing only one long run per week or you could easily develop an injury. But each week (or nearly every week) you’ll do a long run.
The long runs will get incrementally longer with each passing week until you reach, or nearly reach, the 13.1 mile distance. Generally, you’ll increase the length of each long run by one mile per week. The best time for you to do the long run is usually over the weekend or whenever you can rest the following day. The long run is an essential component to getting better at running longer distances for the half marathon. And with each passing week, your body will acclimate to the added distance.
These runs are the runs you do throughout the week to keep your legs acclimated to running. They continue to help build endurance and stamina, but are not designed to be run at a fast pace. Depending on where you’re at in your half marathon training program, these runs will range between 1 or 2 miles up to 7-8 miles.
Cross training is a significant part of any half marathon training plan. These activities can be biking, swimming, walking, light weight training, to name a few. Cross training helps you build muscle in other areas of your body, not just the muscles you use for running. In so doing, you have more muscle groups to tap into for dispersing the constant pounding or impact that running entails. Cross training is key for injury prevention and nearly all the plans that I found incorporate it in some manner. Usually, it’s not a core component of a program and will be done once or twice per week. Cross training is also a nice break from the usual training, making the weekly training program more interesting.
This is one of my favorite parts of training for a half marathon. By working on increasing your speed at your local track or by sprinting for short distances during some of your weekly runs, you build up additional endurance and stamina. Usually you won’t be running an all out sprint, but many of the programs will encourage you to get a little winded during the speed portion.
Rest is the easiest part of any training plan…but so very important for every half marathon training program. Without rest, your body has no time to heal which can lead to injury. Also, it is during these rest phases that your muscles truly grow and acclimate to all the hard work you’ve put in! This is a difficult concept for some runners to understand since, it would tend to reason, that the harder you work yourself the better off you’ll be on race day. But a program that does not value rest at least one day per week will most certainly lead to either burn-out, injury, or both. So rest rest rest and see your overall running performance improve!
Each program has a build up of training intensity from the beginning to the end, usually peaking at the last month before the half marathon. But then a slow down is in order so you’re body is well rested for race day. Therefore, your entire training plan will slow down as well. You’ll continue to run maintenance runs during the week but usually won’t be doing any speed work or going on very long runs. The focus is more on resting up and preparing your body for the big day!
Another important part of your half marathon training is diet. It was once believed that the main emphasis for long distance runners was to load up on carbohydrates leading up to the race. But more recent research indicates that, although carbohydrate rich foods are key for any long distance running program, it’s also important to incorporate a blend of proteins and fats as well – important for muscle recovery. Basically, all three – carbs, proteins, and fats are important at different times of your training. I’ve included links to excellent resources on diet and long distance running, many of which have a large number of tasty recipes too!
Many of the most common foods used for long distance training are bananas, bagels and peanut butter (for both carbs and protein), power bars, sports drinks, multi-grain cereals, smoothies (yummy – my favorite).
I’ve researched many of the various schools of thought on nutrition for long distance running, and have found that the best rule of thumb is to focus primarily on carbs for your diet, especially when approaching race day, and not to worry as much about an exact formula. According to Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong’s nutritionist, the ratio of 7 parts carbohydrates to 1 part protein is the ideal proportion to aim for in your training diet.
The one thing you don’t want to do is get injured during the training phase – before you’ve even had the chance to compete in the half marathon event! It’s important to focus on proper stretching, especially after your long runs, and Cross training. Stretch only when your muscles have had a chance to warm up a little – this is especially important if you like to do your long runs early in the morning. So when you’re preparing for your long run, do some really light jogging or fast walking for a few minutes until your muscles are warm – then stretch more if you need to.
Stretching after a long running workout is most important – but wait long enough until those burning muscles have had a chance to cool down some. If you stretch too soon after a long run, you risk injuring some very sore, tender muscles. As a general rule, you don’t want to try to stretch your muscles if they’re hurting – this will simply make matters worse for your body and may actually invite or exacerbate an existing injury. Another way to prevent injury is by cross training, which I’ll cover next.
Cross training activities include biking, swimming, light weight lifting, sit ups – anything different than the usual running routine you do during the rest of the week. These activities help strengthen other muscles in the body which, in turn, help your running. If all you do in your training for the half marathon is run, run, run, and you do not include cross training, you’re relying only on the same muscles over and over again. These muscles, ligaments etc. can get injured with repeated use.
Cross training strengthens the surrounding muscles, thereby helping to distribute some of the impact to other nearby muscles in the body – making you stronger and less injury prone overall. For example, biking helps to strengthen the quadraceps, better supporting the area around your knees so you’ll be less likely to develop knee or ligament injuries in that area. Not only will cross training reduce your risk of injury, it’s a nice break from running. Cross training is generally done about 1-2 times/week and is never the primary focus of any half marathon training program.
A great way to begin preparation for the half marathon is to incorporate a few 5k or 10k events into your training plan. These events can help you get a feel of what it will be like on race day, get used to lining up next to others and where to stand (either in front or in the back of the pack), practice focusing mentally on the race in an actual racing environment – all skills you’ll need to have when your big race day comes!
Since the distance is shorter, you could use it as one of your speed workouts for the week. Consider running at least one or two 5k or 10k events and you’ll feel less nervous when you’re lining up at your half marathon event since you’ll already have the experience of what racing is like. Of course if you’re a seasoned runner and have run many half marathons before, you’ll already know what that feeling is like, but may still want to consider a 5k or 10k event as a great warm up run or speed workout before your next half marathon race.
It’s easy to stay focused and on fire with your training program when you first start running. Everything is new…you feel good about the progress you’re making and everything seems great. But then, over time, all this wonderful training may start to get a bit stale…it’s getting harder to get out the door for your long run than it used to be, you start thinking of ways to cut corners – and the list goes on. You start losing momentum or motivation. It happens to everyone so there’s no need to feel guilty about it. But you do need to find a way to get out of this funk so you’ll successfully go on to complete your race. And let’s face it…without proper training – it will be difficult to complete your goal of running the half marathon.
Therefore, finding ways to stay motivated is essential. I stay motivated by purchasing running magazines – it helps me stay focused to read about running and see the pictures of other runners in the magazine. A lot of running magazines have inspirational stories in them – these really help! There are dozens of good running magazines out there – RUNNERS WORLD and RUNNING TIMES, are a couple of the most popular. If you visit the magazine rack of your local running store, department store, or even grocery store – you’ll find a sports section that may carry these magazines or other running magazines which cater to your geographic area of the country.
Since we’re on the topic of reading – buying a great book about running is another way to help keep you motivated. It can be a book about training, or an autobiography about a runner. For example, there is now a book out on Bill Bowerman – a hugely inspirational figure in the sport of running. Make it something fun to read – something that will keep you on track.
What many other people find helpful is to join a running club in their local area. Running clubs are great since you have the support of other runners around you to help keep you motivated and focused! It’s a great way to meet others who have similar interests as you too. You can find a running club in your area with a simple online search or by checking your phone book.
Running forums are a great way to get connected to other runners. Unless you’re already running with a friend or group of friends, running is generally done solo. So running forums are a great way to get connected to other runners and see what people are talking about. You can chime into an existing topic or write a question of your own. The runners who are part of a running forum already have an inherent interest in running, whether they’re new to the sport or veteran distance runners. Running forums allow you to ask questions from people who may have just the answers you need and can offer support and/or training tips so you can improve your overall running experience. I’ve included links to some of the most popular running forums on the web.
You’ve finally made it! You’ve followed your running program to a tee and tomorrow is race day. A few tips…stick with the routine that’s always worked for you. If you’ve always eaten a big bowl of spaghetti the night before your runs, stay with this meal. It’s not a good idea to try a new meal the night before – you may end up getting indigestion or diarrhea – something you definitely don’t want on race day.
Don’t buy a new pair of shoes the night before the event or you’ll be sporting some huge blisters at some point during the race, slowing down your time and making the race something to endure and not enjoy.
Also – try your best to head to bed early – no major parties the night before, just a casual and relaxed day. It’s up to you if you want to do a short run or not, but I don’t believe it’s necessary. However, many runners feel a short run – perhaps on the course itself, can be helpful in their preparation for the event. I say save up your strength for the race!
Lastly – enjoy it! You’ve trained so hard and made it to the event – try not to focus too much on your time so you forget to actually enjoy all the hoopla surrounding the event!
I’ve decided to add information about training to walk the half marathon as well. Walking, at whatever pace works for you, is great exercise and helps to further minimize your risk of injury while training. Long distance walking can get you in good shape and is something you can do with a friend or group of friends. This can be accomplished while running too, but it’s not quite as easy if you’re really huffing and puffing!
There are just as many half marathon walking events as there are half marathon running events – and you’ll find that the majority of running events include walkers too. I’ve included links which cover training for half marathon walking.
I found a few excellent websites which list half marathon events all over the world! Here they are: http://www.halfmarathons.net/. Another great site is http://www.active.com, which is what I’ve used to find races in my area. The “Active” site has a wealth of information related to running and I reference it often. Check it out!
I hope this information was useful and you’ll be able to find some half marathon training programs that will fit well for you. Running events should be fun. I love planning mini-vacations around my running events – it’s a great way to see new places AND have the fun of running a Half Marathon in a new city. Half Marathon events can be found all over the world so don’t limit yourself just your hometown…branch out a little and have fun! Many of the running events are family friendly too, so it can be something your whole family can enjoy. I wish you the best of luck in running your next half marathon…wherever it may be!
Running is one of the best exercises to burn calories and stay fit. It is not just a popular sport but is now a great fitness craze, helping millions of people across the globe to keep their weight under control, boost their energy levels and stay fit. Here are some of the best running tips to make it safe, enjoyable, effective and also to keep you stay motivated. Below are 45 running tips for beginners.
My coach in junior college used to tell me his trick to find motivation getting out the door is to set the goal of just tying up those shoe laces. Once you have them tied up then you might as well go on that run.
Nobody cares what your form looks like or how fast or slow you’re going.
If you run, then you are a runner. Remember that.
Safety is very important. Here are some basic rules I go by:
You need to stay motivated and look forward to achieve something or else, it is going to be really difficult to stay motivated. Set a goal for yourself and go for this goal.
If you are going to carry something like your phone, keys and water bottle, try to minimalize as much as possible because you want your hands as free as possible. So try to put your phone in one of those phone pockets and try to put as much as you can in your bump pocket.
Having guidance from a running coach when things go wrong is just as valuable, if not more so than when things are progression nicely.
Plan a route which is hopefully circular to where you’re living so its makes it easy for you to run all the way and back. Go for a brisk walk for about 5 minutes to get your pulse going and get lubricated a bit. Then move into a very light jog and make sure you are breathing in and out and do not hold your breath.
There is no best time. The best time to run is whenever you can. If you’re busy, and you’ve got a demanding job, family and kids, you just try to fit it in when you can.
When you warm up, you should do dynamic warm ups. What that means is that you should not just sit, stretch and touch your toes, but you should rather move to warm up. The types of movement I mean are like walking, lunges, leg lifts, high knees, ankle circles, arm circles. And then when you’re done running, you make sure you stretch so you can avoid being way too sore the next day. Static stretches are enough at this level. After that, try to foam roll. A foam roller is like a cylinder of foam and you roll your muscles on it. Try to do this pretty regularly as it’s a great injury prevention technique and a great way to get rid of sore muscles.
Many research studies indicate that running does not elevate your risk for developing Osteoarthritis. In fact, running may even lower your risk.
By gear I mean your shoes. People do a bunch of different types of running; running on the treadmill, trail running, outdoor running, sand running and so on. It just kind of depends on you. So the idea behind the tip of ‘know your gear” is inspiring you to take that time and do some research to figure out what types of shoes will be good for the type of running that you’re doing and then which ones feel good for you. Sometimes it’s about trial and error and sometimes it’s about spending a little bit extra money on something that’s better for your body and better for your runs.
Or you can go and get fitted for some shoes. I know it’s tempting to just pick out the cutest shoes you find. That’s not going to be what’s best for your feet. Running store staff are going to look at how you run, your gait and how your feet hit the pavement and accordingly tell you what’s best for you. This is going to be worth the extra money.
A lot of runners don’t give much importance to the foot issues they have and accordingly end up aggravating their condition. Big brands have manufactured running shoes for plantar fasciitis, bad knees, shin splints, you name it.
I like to use the Brooks Pure Connect because it has a lot of cushioning but it’s just stripped down a bit. Most modern running shoes are way overbuilt with too much arch support, too thick of heels and too high off the ground. The lower you can get to the ground, the more natural of a running stride you’re going to have. So if your legs don’t require a lot of support, go for minimal running shoes.
If you don’t have much time, know that running for even 5 minutes you’re actually doing a whole whack of good inside your body. Researchers have actually shown us that.
What I mean by this is that you should not go out for a 20-minute run you never ran before. You’ll hate running with your whole heart and never run again. Instead, get yourself out the door and then you run for a minute or maybe two if it’s not uncomfortable for you, and then you stop and walk a little bit and be done for the day. But then the next day you’ll have to do that again. This way you’ll start building up and eventually you will be able to start running for three minutes, 5 minutes and then all of a sudden you’ll be running a long time and it won’t be uncomfortable for you.
It’s really tempting when you first start running to think that you should be running fast and try to go as fast as you can for as long as you can. My advice is to slow down and you should try to be able to carry on a pace where you could talk and have a conversation. It’s ok to take walk breaks as it’s going to build your endurance, speed will come later, but first just work on building up that endurance. Even the pros focus on slow running most of the time.
A good way of pacing yourself is by using a watch. I like to use Garmin 310xt GPS watch. It’s just a good way of seeing what pace you’re running, what time and how long you’ve been running for so that you know you either slow yourself down or speed yourself up and just keep yourself in good control. It’s all about sustainability when you’re running.
Some days you’ll have and someday you won’t, but don’t judge your run on the first 10 minutes. I’ve gone out many times when I felt terrible and then more often than not, after 5 to 10 minutes I start feeling good.
Distance and speed will come later.
If you find yourself out of breath and unable to talk with someone you’re running with, take a walk break.
Beginners might not have that level of fitness or endurance to run for a long time. In such a condition, the walk/run method helps in carrying out for a long time, with small walking breaks in between. Keep extending your running time period as you progress and then you can do away with the walking section completely.
If you can find a consistent pattern of running every day or every other day at specific times, it will become a habit and actually becomes a motivational driver to keep at it. Try your best even if you have a crazy work schedule.
There no rules of thumb for progression for beginner runners. Consistency and staying injury-free should trump any rule for progression. If you’re in doubt, stay on the conservative side.
Build running into a habit. If you want to make running a part of your life, it needs to become a habit and something you learn to enjoy.
Hydration is the most important thing when you’re running especially on longer runs. If you run out of water, you’re just going to run into a lot of trouble. So what I like to do is always try to carry water with me on a run. What I like to do with water bottles is fill one with water and then the other one with another liquid like juice, a smoothie or something like that. I use a little bit of organic maple syrup, squeeze in half a lemon, and fill it with water to the top. This works out perfect as a great sports drink.
Commercial sports drinks are a total gimmick. You’re much better off and much healthier eliminating all the preservatives and junk that’s in them. If you’re running for less than an hour, you will not require any additional fuel. That means no sports drinks, no gels, you don’t even really need any water unless you’re going over an hour.
Bunking is what a lot of runners refer to as “hitting the wall”. Basically, it’s just running out of energy which is running out of sugar in your body. Your body can only store so much glycogen, and when that’s gone, your running just slows right down becoming a really hard place to get out of. So you should always make sure you eat and consume calories on your run to prevent you from bunking. Something good to carry with you is dried fruit, dried pineapple and a couple of dates.
You can also make your own gels (no commercial gels) by blending up some dates and some fruits and putting it in your gel flask. A great alternative to that, which I find worth trying, is organic baby food, believe it or not. The one I like is called Happy Baby Organic Baby Food and just blends up organic mangoes and a bit of Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid. It comes in a nice little gel container. The reason I like this is because I prefer to eat all natural simple whole foods and you just can’t get that with commercial gels.
Especially on long runs, if you can get off the pavement on to the trails or even on to the grass, that would really help take some of the impact off your legs and your joints.
If it’s really warm out, then make sure you don’t overdress because you’ll end up dragging all those clothes on with you. You always warm up when you run, and even in the cold your body temperature heats up as you’re running. Keep in mind as well to make sure you don’t get too cold. So if its’ a cooler day, wear a bit warmer of a top to keep your core warm and that way you won’t get a chill as you’re running. Nothing slows you down faster on a run than if you get a chill. So keep yourself cool and keep yourself warm depending on the temperature.
If you’re lacking confidence, perhaps wear some sunglasses and a hat. Generally it’s the eyes that make us feel a little unconfident when people are looking at us. So with some sunglasses on, a hat and some music going on, you’ll feel like the king of the street.
Try to make sure when you’re running you’re wearing things that are made out of moisture wicking properties and not cotton. Moisture can lead to blisters especially in your feet. So, do not wear cotton socks and get some moisture wicking socks as it’s going to make all the difference.
I find that on runs I tend to get tensed up sometimes in the shoulders, the neck, the arms and even the hands. Any time you’re carrying extra tension that takes energy away. So try to be as loose and “flowy” as possible. A really good book I found for running without tension is “Chi Running” by Danny Dreyer. He even talks about releasing the tension in your muscles in your legs and you can run longer and faster without getting a lot of the soreness and pain you can get from running.
These long runs are so important for building up your base mileage. You don’t have to do them fast at all; you could go like a turtle moving through peanut butter pace.
I don’t mean this in a sarcastic way at all, but what that means is that if you want to get faster times, you have to incorporate some speed workouts into your training routine.
When I first started running, I found a training group near me that was training for a 5K and I just fell in love with the training programs they had. This can be a great way to connect with other people and it just helps pass the time.
While I prefer running in a group, sometimes I have to run by myself, so I make sure I always have something to listen to. I like to switch between a good playlist, audio books and podcasts. But, safety tip, be aware of your surroundings. I like to run with just one ear bud in especially if I’m running on the street. Tell me about your favorite things to listen to while running as I’m always looking for new podcasts and new songs to put in my playlist.
This helps keep me motivated because I can see when I’m making an improvement. There’s lots of good apps out there for runners these days like Nike+ Running App, Strava and Map My Run. Also, if you decide you want to get really fancy, you can invest in a GPS running watch. I used the apps for about a year and then I made the switch as it’s nice because you can see the stuff right on your wrist; see how you r pace is, how long you’ve been running and that sort if things.
If you do that, you’re just asking for trouble, trust me. I’ve done it and I’ve ended up with Plantar Fasciitis, Ilio-Tibial Band Syndrome by trying to make up for missed workouts. Don’t do it, period.
Signing up for a race is a great way to keep yourself motivated. Once you pay that money and make the commitment, you’re half way already. Races are a lot of fun and a good way to meet other runners, plus sometimes there’s free beer and food at the end (don’t tell anybody).
Rest days are so important for your body. It’s not good to go out and run hard every day because you need cross training days and rest days in between. It’s advised to listen to your body and take a rest day if you need it because your body knows what’s best for you. This is going to help prevent injury and fatigue. Some good thing you can do for cross training are Yoga, Bike Riding or rock climbing, just get out there and something fun.
Every runner has bad days. Don’t throw in the towel because you had one, two or even three bad runs in a row, just keep at it. Everyone goes through these ups and downs and it will get better if you keep it up.
Your goal as a beginner runner is to decrease the likelihood of getting injured, and when injuries do occur (and they will), get back to running as soon as possible because you’ve trained smart.
You might have a little bit of pain when you start. So listen to your body and try to gauge the pain on a 1 to 10; a 2 and 3 is maybe ok, but once it starts creeping up to a 4 or 5, take note of that. While running, try to develop your athletic intelligence. What I mean by that is the more your run, the more you’re going to know your body, and the more you’ll know when you need to stop and seek medical attention.
Yes form does matter, but don’t worry about it to begin with, just run and focus on running. If you need to focus on one thing, try to run tall like someone’s got a string and pulling you from your head.
If you’re really nervous about going outside and running, obviously you can run in the gym on a treadmill. You just need to slowly increase the speed over time, perhaps again jogging or sprinting if you want to. You can also increase the incline to walk at a faster speed if you’re not comfortable enough to jog.
When your legs start get stronger, you can then start running on the grass, the sand, the asphalt, uphill, and downhill. Sometimes you get caught in just running the same route over and over again and your body gets used to that repetitive motion and path.
Recovery is key to enjoyment in running because if you can’t recover, then you’re not going to enjoy your next run because you’re going to be sore and in pain and all that stuff. The most important tips for recovery are drink, eat and sleep. When I finish my run I drink, I eat some watermelon which is loaded with carbohydrates and hydration as well. This way I’m nourished and hydrated. Then get an early night and make sure you’re comfortable when you sleep. You’re going to notice that your recovery is much better, you’ll wake up feeling less sore the next day and you’ll be able to get more enjoyment out of running. This is how I can run longer and more frequently.
Buy yourself a new piece of running shoes, go for brunch, celebrate with coffee…
These are my tips for getting out the door and becoming a runner. If you have any other tips, please feel free to leave a comment and I will happily include them in the article.
In an effort to make things a little easier for students and their families, Steadyfoot are pleased to be offering a yearly $1000 scholarship. The scholarship is available to graduate and undergraduate students. International students are also welcome to apply for the program.
Deadline: December 31, 2018
You should provide the following personal information in the email:
Any falsification of submitted information will completely disqualify that person from the scholarship program.
Submitting Your Essay:
Essay Title: The title of the essay should be “The Steadyfoot Scholarship Program”.
Essay Subject: Running is one of the easiest and most affordable physical activities, but running injuries inevitably happen making it almost impossible for runners to keep running. Some foot issues include “plantar fasciitis, bad knees, bunions, Morton’s Neuroma, flat feet, Achilles Tendonitis, Metatarsalgia, shin splints, high arches, Diabetes feet , top of foot pain (Extensor Tendonitis…)
Choose an a foot issue and talk about it outlining how running can lead to it. Then, suggest some remedies to treat or ease the pain as well as a list of footwear that proved to be effective for that condition.
Here are some of the most common foot injuries:
Graduate and undergraduate students of universities/colleges are eligible to apply;
The essay must be provided in the Word format.
The essay should be in English;
Final date for submission is December 31, 2018.
The winner will be chosen by Steadyfoot.com
We will run our Scholarship Program annually;
Seadyfoot.com reserves the exclusive rights to publish the articles received. Personal information of applicants will not be published;
We will not charge or ask for any fees from any student who wishes to join the program.
After we have chosen the winner and checked all information for validity, only the winner will receive the award. And please note that the winner will not be eligible to win again.
If you have any questions or concerns, we’ll be happy if you contact us through [email protected]
When it comes to running, one of the biggest problems all athletes face is injuries. One of the most common questions asked is, “what are some ways to prevent them?” Two of the most common preventative methods are stretching before and after runs, and doing exercises to strengthen weak muscles. One of the more recent methods today that the running community is focused on is proper foot strike while running. Most people naturally strike the ground first with their heels. In this post, we are going to look at how runners who heel strike can change to a forefoot strike, and how it is beneficial for them.
Why is striking the ground with your heels a bad thing? I mean if we naturally do it, why is it wrong? Well, there are a few reasons to this. First of all, when we heel strike we are actually stopping our forward momentum. This happens mostly because when we heel strike, we tend to reach out for the ground instead of just landing on it. This is obviously not good when you are running for fast times. Secondly, when we heel strike we create high impact forces that jolt up into our legs and spine. This is what causes common knee and back injuries.
So how do we solve this? by running on our forefeet. This is where we land just behind the ball of our feet. For me, I just made a conscience effort to land on my forefoot. When starting this in my senior year in high school, I basically was running closer to my toes than I was my forefoot. But as time progressed, I became more efficient landing near the middle of my foot. Personally I have forgotten what it was like to heel strike. Now, I would have to make a conscience effort to go back to heel striking. I also want to mention that when I changed my foot strike, my calf muscles were sore for a few weeks. This happened simply because my muscles were not used to the new stress.
Another way to change our form is by barefoot running. A few teammates of mine did a study for our research class on barefoot running. They measured the angle of the foot strike before starting a barefoot running program, and after. They found that every one of their subjects switched to forefoot running after running barefoot just a couple times a week for a few weeks.1 We naturally run on our forefeet while barefoot running because it reduces shock to the heels. This is the exact result we want to achieve!
There are a lot of shoes out there now that try to promote this same idea such as Vibram 5 fingers, New Balance Minimus, and Brooks Pure series. I am sure you can find the right shoe for you and there are plenty of other specialty running shops to help point you in the right direction. If you stick around I will be getting into some reviews of these myself. Until then I have provided a few of them below.
1Utz-Meagher, C., Nulty, J., Holt, L. (2011). Comparative analysis of barefoot and shod running. Sport Science Review, 2011, pg. 113-130. http://www.deepdyve.com/lp/de-gruyter/comparative-analysis-of-barefoot-and-shod-running-ol0WQ48Yue/1
When people came to running shoe store I used to work in, the most commonly asked question was “what shoe would you suggest I wear?” How to choose running shoes is definitely hard. The question is loaded because there is so much I don’t know about the person.
Here are some questions I usually ask a person asking about what shoe I would suggest for them:
The first question is obvious; you want to know what you are using your shoes for. If you are walking really any shoe can do as long as it feels comfortable. Some walkers do need some special needs and so they can follow some of the next questions.
If you’re doing activities that are multi-directional sports, shoes have been designed with wide sole to prevent the person from turning their ankle. They also have created shoes for specific sports such as soccer, football, and baseball for better traction.
Runners are unidirectional athletes who primarily are moving in a straight forward direction. These shoes have been designed to reduce weight, guide the foot from heel strike to toe off, and provide specified support depending on pronation levels.
You can also find minimalist shoes and racing spikes to cater to the different needs of the runner.
Determining the arch of your foot and whether you pronate or not is important in choosing your shoes. Certain shoes like the ASICS 2100 series were designed with extra dense mid sole material under the arch to create support, preventing pronation. If you do not pronate there are shoes that lack this arch support feature.
I covered in another post discussing whether pronation is something really to be concerned about. This drives the need for the next few questions. This is where choosing a shoe gets a little trickier.
I have had in the past clients come into the store with a note from their podiatrist prescribing a certain pair of shoes which has taken the load off of me, but most do not. I must get to the bottom of the runners history.
It is highly important that we don’t change things that have worked in the past, and to understand what changes need to be made to reduce risk for injury.
If changes to your choices in running shoes need to be made, then understanding injury history and what could be causing it would definitely help determine the shoe. Most likely it may not be pronation, but could have been changes in training, strength imbalances in muscles, or running form that could be causing the issues.
Minimalist shoes are usually good to help promote a forefoot type running form to allow the body to use its natural built in shock system to reduce impact stresses on the body. This does not work for everyone though, If it doesn’t do not worry there is a wide variety of shoes to cater to your needs.
To help prevent injury try to mix up your training shoes. Pick a couple of shoes that are similar but different brands or even types of shoes to rotate for different runs throughout the week. A good example of this is having a minimalist shoe such as the Inov 8 f-lite 195 for those medium to fast paced runs and the Hoka One-One (which has maximum cushion) for those recovery runs.
In my years of running, I have found that there are so many different kinds of shoes to match the needs of the many different foot types. Finding your match is sometimes a guessing game and sometimes done by trial and error.
What I hope you have received from this information, and my intent for this website, is that you may gain enough knowledge to apply to yourself to make well informed decisions on choosing your shoes. This will definitely make finding what works and what doesn’t a lot easier and quicker, allowing you to stay more consistent with your training to improve your times!
If you found this information useful feel free to leave a comment and share with your friends
When I used to work in a running shoe store people used to come in and ask what shoe would be best for them. The first thing I did is ask them what their arch type was. If they didn’t know what they were (which most didn’t) I would go through 3 basic steps to determining their foot arch type.
The Arch Types
There are generally 3 different arch types that vary in magnitude. In the figure below we can see the wet print of the three types. There is the neutral arch, the high arch (otherwise known as supination), and the flat arch (otherwise known as pronation).
Arch Type Test #1
One of the easiest ways to determine arch type is to take off your shoes and have someone look at how high your arch is from a side view. If you can fit about the width of your finger under the arch you have a neutral arch type. The flatter the arch than that you are a pronator and the higher the arch you are a supinator.
Arch Type Test #2
While you have your shoes off stand with you back to someone and have them look at angle of either your ankles or Achilles tendon. If they angle towards the middle then you are a pronator, if they are level and parallel you are neutral, and they angle out then you are a supinator.
Arch Type Test #3
If no one is around to help and you have some shoes that have been decently worn already, check the bottom of them where the ball of your foot would be. If you see wear on the inside of the shoe where your big toe is then you are a pronator, if the wear is in the middle of the shoe then you are neutral, and if the wear is on the outside where your little toe would be then you are a supinator.
3 Types of Shoes
There are different shoes designed to match your arch type. For the pronator the best choice for a shoe type is one that provides stability. For those who supinate, the shoe of choice would be a cushioning shoe. Now someone with a neutral arch type can really pick between two kinds. They can wear shoes that have cushioning like a supinator or they can choose shoes that are themselves neutral.
Follow this general guideline and you will be able to match your foot to your shoe in no time.
Let me start by saying I was an overweight, out of shape lug of a man. I had never been much of one for walking, much less running. My days consisted of working at a desk for upwards of nine hours a day and then driving home to sit on my rear watching television until it was time for bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. I think I finally got tired of the fact that I spent my days alone doing the same thing over and over again. I wanted some excitement in my life. I asked around amongst my happier friends for some suggestions on getting my life on track, and all of them said exercise. I knew it was time.
Once I made the decision to get active, I didn’t want to commit to a gym without fully confirming my intentions. I decided the best place for me to start was by running. So the first thing I had to do was decide on the best running shoe. My work shoes just wouldn’t cut it, and the only other sneakers I had weren’t fit for cutting grass in.
I started out looking at the brands I was most familiar with, Adidas and Nike. The Nike Air Max was the first one I looked at, and was immediately put off by the price. I know you have to spend money when looking for a quality shoe, but the price just seemed a bit excessive. I did like the physical appearance of the shoe, but unfortunately I have wide feet and these didn’t come in different widths to accommodate that.
My next option was to look at Adidas running shoes for men. I initially looked at the Men’s Marathon running shoe, but I’ll be honest, I just didn’t like the way it looked. To be honest, it looked and felt like it wouldn’t hold together under my weight and the pounding on the pavement I had hoped to give these shoes.
This is when I came across the ASICS Men’s GEL-Cumulus 14 Running Shoe. While it has a few color options, I chose the Lighting/Jet Blue/Black option because I would be able to wear it elsewhere, and not just while running. A lot of the men’s running shoes that I found came in wild colors that I just wouldn’t be able to justify wearing anywhere other than while running.
Some of the things I noticed when looking at the information online about these shoes is that they have something
called P.H.F., or Personal Heel Fit. It’s actually two layers of that awesome memory foam that comes in mattresses. It lines the collar of the shoe and will mold to my foot giving me a custom fit.
This shoe is also a lot lighter than other comparable shoes due to the Solyte material compound they use instead of their usual EVA and SPEVA materials. This Solyte comes in the midsole of the shoe and gives an insane amount of cushioning without compromising the durability of the shoe.
Given the fact that I am so incredibly clumsy, the fact that these shoes come with a little something called Space Trusstic System is a major benefit. It creates a pocket around the midsole to give more stability and improve my agility. It certainly wasn’t a bad thing that these men’s running shoes had also been given the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association.
Once I made the decision for my running shoes, all there was left to do is run. Well, I actually just walked to begin with. For starters, the shoe fit perfectly. The memory foam was no joke. By the time I had a few miles on these shoes, they felt as though they were made specifically for my feet. I started out slowly, a mile here and there. I took a few weeks to work my way up to a full jog.
It didn’t matter if I was walking around the grocery store or running on rough terrain, these shoes were heaven on my feet. Once I got comfortable walking and running on a regular basis, I realized that I don’t actually live too far away from work. So, I started running to work and back. Within the first month I had already dropped 10 pounds. I gained an entirely new sense of self-confidence and with it came that excitement for life I had so desperately been looking for.
I won’t be deluded into saying that it is entirely thanks to these shoes. I know will-power and motivation have a lot to do with the progress I’ve made. However, I know it was definitely made all the easier because of these shoes. They cushion my feet in ways that words just don’t seem to do justice. Whether I’ve walked a mile or ran 5 miles, at the end of each session my feet feel just as good as they did before I started.
Now that these shoes have carried me through my first slow mile, on up through to the first time I ran without falling over; my next goal is to run a marathon. The Asics Gel Cumulus 14 gives me the stability and durability I need to make it through each run. Not only are they lightweight enough that they don’t weigh my feet down after a long run, but they have held up during some of my most vigorous trips across the park. I also haven’t had to deal with the first blister, not even during the time you would normally break-in a pair of shoes.
So, while these shoes aren’t the direct cause of my life improvement, they have certainly contributed. I look forward to signing up for my first half marathon or charity run. I have every intention of finishing with these shoes on my feet. They’ve gotten me this far, I know they’ll carry me across that finish line without a problem.
Both the ASICS Gel Cumulus and the Nimbus Gel Nimbus are cushion shoes that seem very similar to each other, but what is the difference. The Cumulus has everything that the Nimbus has but lacks a few specs.
Asics now has a new FluidRide Technology that they have included in their midsole that allows for more bounce back in the cushioning while reducing the weight of the shoe.
The Nimbus also has FluidFit which is a multi-directional stretched mesh to increase the “fit like a glove” feel. This is nice for those of you who have put on a pair of shoes before and they fit great but are just a little tight in the toe box.
There is also a Heel Clutching System where they added some harder material to the outside of the heel section of the shoe in order to improve the fit.
My general observation of the two shoes, there seems to be more gel in the heel and forefoot in the Nimbus than in the cumulus.
In honesty, I don’t find these extra specs on the Nimbus to be worth paying extra dollars for. Shoes these days are getting expensive enough. The difference lies mostly in how the comfort of the shoe fits, and I personally find the ASICS brand down to the cheapest pair very comfortable. There is nothing different between the two shoes that will help increase performance and decrease the risk of injury. Both shoes have the injury reducing Impact Guidance System and Guidance, as well as gel in the forefoot and heel. For being trainers, both shoes are fairly light.
If you have the money to spend and you truly find the Nimbus to fit and feel better than the Cumulus, It is not bad that you purchase them. Everyone has different feet and need different shoes to fit them. I would personally suggest the Cumulus over the Nimbus because of affordability and equal ability to reduce injury.
You don’t have to be a professional runner to appreciate a quality running shoe. There are so many options out there when looking for running shoes for women that I was overwhelmed. In addition to the well-known brands like Adidas, New Balance, and Nike, there are different shoes within each brand to look at as well. I just wanted something that would hold up over time so I wouldn’t find myself buying a new pair of running shoes every few months.
I had always worn New Balance shoes growing up because they were what my mother wore. She’s a nurse and spends upwards of 12 hours a day on her feet. I knew she would have to have shoes that not only provided necessary support, but were incredibly comfortable as well. The fact that I was a loyal customer to New Balance from the beginning made deciding on a running shoe easy.
While the main use of these shoes would be for running, I knew I would also wear them on a daily basis as well. They would become my everyday shoe whether I had intended it or not. Lucky for me there were so many different color combinations to choose from. Since I had planned on wearing these daily, I went with a more neutral color combo of silver and green. However, they had purple and yellow, black and green with hot pink accents, blue with teal, black and pink, grey and blue, grey and purple, and the incredibly bright lime and purple. The lime and purple would be ideal for those running at night, as I’m sure they could be seen easily as bright as they are.
I’m not a shallow person by any definition of the word; however, I wanted to make sure that the shoes I chose looked as good as they were functional. I have yet to be disappointed during my life with New Balance. I grew up with them as my regular day to day shoes, and now they have become the best running shoes I’ve ever owned.
While the other major brands on the market spend a lot of money on celebrity and athlete endorsements, New Balance chooses to spend theirs on research and development. Because of this, they regularly offer the best shoes of the highest quality.
The New Balance 750 v2 has a breathable fabric lining that helps keep the foot cool during your workouts or running sessions. The middle of the foot is supported by midsole foam made from ACTEVA LITE which provides support while keeping the shoe as lightweight as possible. The bottom of the foot is cushioned by a molded foam insole.
When I purchased my first specialized pair of running shoes, I knew I would be comfortable from the start. If my mother can stand on her feet over 12 hours each day in her New Balance, I knew that I could run a few hours in mine. I started out walking a mile every day for a month. After the first month I added a mile to my trek each week until I was walking up to 5 miles each day.
When I first started walking I was a smoker, which is why I chose to start walking rather than running. However, once I had made it up to the 5 mile mark, I knew I was going to have to give it up. Amazingly, I gave up smoking almost as easily as I started walking. I knew that if I was going to make some serious progress, I would have to start running. So, within the first year of my walking and running adventure, I had dropped 30 pounds and quit smoking. Those were two major goals for me.
I’ve found that running in the New Balance 750 v2 is just as comfortable as walking in them. I have yet to experience any blisters or irritation at the heel like I have in past shoes of differing brands. I am so glad I decided to stick with the New Balance shoes when I made the decision to start running. Not only are they completely functional as a running shoe, but they are also nice to look at.
I’ve been wearing these shoes practically every day for almost a year now and the only wear I’ve noticed is on the soles of the shoes. The lack of damage to these shoes is pretty impressive considering how often I run these days. I’ve seen friends with shoes they’ve only had for a few months have more damage on them than mine do.
I had a friend notice the improvements I made over the past year and she wanted to know what it would take for her to get on the same path. The first recommendation I gave her was to get a pair of New Balance. I told her that even if she just started out walking, like I did, it would be better than not doing anything at all. She’s been just as satisfied with her New Balance running shoes as I have been. We’ve started running together every week and have actually had other friends join us as well. Every time someone asks for a recommendation on a running shoe, my first suggestion has always been New Balance. To be honest, it probably always will be.
Thanks to my mother and the amount of time she spends on her feet, my feet are just as comfortable at the start of my run as they are at the end. I don’t dread pulling my New Balance 750 v2 on each day for my run because I know they aren’t going to cause me the same kind of pain other people experience after a long run. I can wear these for a grueling workout, an extended run around the park, or just as my everyday knock-around shoes. No matter how I wear them, I know that at the end of the day, my feet are going to be just as comfortable as they were when I started my day.
Syracuse, NY is the haven for one of the nations greatest high school girls cross country programs.
Fayetteville-Manlius girls have won 7 straight national championships from 2006 to 2012 and in 2013 they finished 2nd.
With the success of the program, coaches Bill and John Aris decided to start a racing team for post collegiate athletes called Stotan Racing in 2010.
I had the opportunity to interview John, who is primarily coaching the Stotan team, to get to know him, his team, and how he coaches.
I believe he provides great value on training philosophy and the focus of an adult athlete.
He speaks directly to the importance of priorities and mindset of the adult athlete and how that should affect their training and success.
John, tell me a little bit about yourself?
I am a 34 year old father and husband…my most significant role in life, and the one of which I am most proud.
For me, there are no greater achievements than in the that of my son, and in building a future with my wife, Holly.
Guiding distance runners to achieve excellence is a passion of mine, and perhaps the one ‘extracurricular activity’ I have time to enjoy, if you will.
As a career, I am a Project Manager for a national design-build general contractor, based in Syracuse, NY.
My earliest memories of involvement as a runner stem back to five, maybe six years old.
My father would take me down to the Westhill HS track (cinder at that time) in the City of Syracuse, as he would prepare for his marathons. I would run on the infield as he ran his mile reps.
Running was without question, our greatest mutual passion between father and son.
To me, the Marathon was the greatest race known to man…nothing more inspiring than watching an Olympic Marathon race with my father. Could bring me to tears…watching the pain endured to grit out a marathon win.
I ran road races from a very early age, set a few age group records (including a national record for 15K when I was 11!).
I was the captain of my high school XC and Track teams at FM (where I would one day start my coaching career as my father’s assistant).
I took some time off from running after HS, and did not return to it until 2004, when I began coaching with my father, back at FM (between 2004>2010). My father and I founded Stotan Racing in 2010, and since then, this has been my sole coaching endeavor.
The word Stotan is a hybrid of the words STOic, and sparTAN. STO-TAN. This name was originally coined in the 1950’s by legendary coach, Percy Cerutty, who coached the great Herb Elliot to the Olympic 1500M Gold in 1960, in World record time.
Whether FM graduates returning from college, SU graduates, runners from other post college programs, or local runners who aspire to achieve their own greatness…the goal is and always has been, to produce excellence. First and foremost.
That goal has no limitation.
Of course, we would like to be developing athletes for the Olympic Games! So far, we’ve achieved the US Trials, the World Championships, and US Championships.
In my opinion it is simple…as it applies to the distance races, to be fast, you must first be strong. You must always touch on speed, no matter what your focus.
We train on hills, work in the gym, run in muck, run in blizzards, run long, run short, run fast, run slow. We are creative.
In general, the important factors are to simplify your life, train hard, train smart, listen to your body, respect recovery, have confidence in yourself, and perfect your process.
Simplification of Life…seeing this as a direct path to success.
Toughness…this is often times innate to the person. But it can be honed!
Confidence… in ones ability to perform at a higher level, in training and in competition…to take on more than they have previously…to accomplish work that seems impossible at times.
Identity…. At the age of 23>30…people want something more to life than success in running. And they damn well should!!! How trivial is our existence if we focus SOLELY on athletics?
We try to provide a program environment which is conducive to development in all areas of life. We encourage the advancement of careers, degrees, families. It takes a unique individual, however, to balance it all…and perform at ones best in running. The best runners I have coached have part or full time careers, have/had been with the program for a number of years, have/had seen consistent improvement over the long haul.
It isn’t that I am the one to ‘simplify their lives so they can train’. That was unclear.
Truly, simplification of life is a complete responsibility of the athlete, in mind and in practice. It must come from the athlete, perhaps recommended by the coach, but often recognized by the athlete as a way to achieve higher levels of greatness.
It must come from within.
I find that the most successful runners find simplicity in the following ways…First, they live an ascetic life. Their process is entirely excellence driven. They abstain from indulgence, they practice patience, they are disciplined in all ways.
Their priorities fall in a hierarchy of Faith, Family, Work/School, and Running…in that order. They make a choice to value training as a way of life, rather than a hobby.
They practice regular schedules, and have career or education paths, which agree with training. They are in bed early when they don’t have to be, are up early because they have the opportunity to start into their training sooner…allowing themselves more recovery between sessions, resting as often as they can.
They aren’t out on their feet all weekend, they aren’t out boozing, they aren’t investing their emotional energy to many sources…they are investing it to a few sources, but with greater attention, passion, and focus.
They are constantly preserving their bodies, and their minds, for the training to come. That’s not to say they are hermits…but they do appreciate the importance of taking care of themselves…especially when a championship competition is on the helm.
Essentially, they trim off the ‘fat’ in their lives…so to speak. Anything not conducive to excellence, is shed. They seek the perfection of their individual processes, and at all times. There is usually something that can be reassessed in your life, perhaps deemed as unnecessary, or slowing you down.
They ask the constant question…what in my life is taking up the time and energy needed to pursue a higher level of excellence? The answer is unique to the individual.
“It is a mindset of excellence.”
John has coached multiple Olympic trial qualifiers and US team members since the start of the program in 2010.
His team recently raced in the Philadelphia Half Marathon, one hitting an Olympic trial “A” standard time for the marathon and another missed it by 4 seconds.
He has shown plenty of experience coaching adult runners. You can see in this interview he sheds a fair amount of light on the adult athlete and the struggles they must overcome and what they do to be successful.
A mindset of excellence, he says, is a key to the lifestyle that creates great runners.
This is easier said than done, but shows that becoming who you want to be is the mindset that you take, which will control your actions.
Though your goals may not be the same, they will need the same mindset and discipline to achieve them.
The purpose of this page is to bring literacy to every runner so they may understand the different parts of the running shoe. Some of you may be browsing through this blog or in a running store and words are getting thrown at you that you do not quite understand. This page is here to help you to comprehend what is being said so you may be able to make informed decisions on which shoes you wish to purchase.
There are 3 basics components on a shoe; the upper, the midsole, and the sole.
The upper is the fabric of the shoe that consists of the entire upper portion of the shoe… hence the name. There are different portions of the shoes upper.
First, you have the toe box. This is the area in the ball and toes of your foot resides. Most people will talk about the toe box for the purpose of how the shoe fits. This is generally where people with wide feet need extra width added to the shoe. Some shoe brands will curve the toe box to match the natural curvature of some peoples’ feet.
Next, you have the tongue and eyelets. The tongue and eyelets have to do with the manual adjustment of the fit. The eyelets are self explanatory as they are the holes on the upper to weave the shoe laces through. The tongue can be pulled to get a snug fit.
And you have the heel counter. This is usually a harder piece of fabric, sometimes even plastic that is wrapped around the heel portion of the upper in order to give more stability to the shoe. It prevents the heel from sliding backwards when either heel striking or toeing off.
The midsole is a dense foam that creates the cushioning between the foot and the ground on impact. This is where most of the science and concern we see in shoes. Since the impact forces cause jarring to the legs, it is expected to cause injuries. Shoe companies put a lot into innovating new ways to make their midsole lighter and softer without risking the durability and responsiveness (the pushing back of the midsole after it has already compressed).
Also, the midsole contains sometimes an extra dense arch to prevent the foot from collapsing while weight bearing. This is called pronation which is believed to cause injuries but I believe to be considered on an individual basis.
There is also different thickness of midsoles due to the concept of promoting natural running form.
You will find there is a wide range of midsole types, but you will need to understand your body and what works best for you in choosing a shoe with a specific mid sole.
Also knows as the outsole, this is the very bottom of the shoe. This is the part that makes contact with the ground. Depending on the type of surface you are running on determines what kind of sole you shoule choose. Generally made of some type of rubber, companies design the sole of the shoe in order to reduce weight but not risk durability. There are really highly abrasive rubbers (like Asics AHAR Rubber) out there but there is an inverse relationship to its weight. The denser and durable the rubber, usually the heavier it is. Some companies try and counter this by reducing the amount of rubber on the shoe. Sometimes this will risk grip or longevity of the shoe.
So these are the three basic components of the shoe. Hopefully you’ll find this information helpful on your next shoe purchase. And remember…
Let’s face it, waking up every morning with heel pain is no fun. Dreading the first few steps out of bed every morning and walking like some Scifi creature is for the birds.
Chances are, if you find yourself reading this page then you are experiencing this, or have experienced it in the past. An increasing number of people suffer from heel pain and other foot problems. So the obvious question is “What can I do about my heel pain?” or “How is footwear related to plantar fasciitis?.” We will discuss these questions and hopefully answer many more in the process.
Foot pain that is centered on the heel can have many causes. One common issue is when the ‘plantar fascia’ (sounds technical doesn’t it?) becomes sensitive and sore due to inflammation and damage. This strange sounding name ‘plantar fascia’ is actually nothing more than a ligament running from the toes to the heel of the foot. Actually, we use the plantar fascia ligament with every step we take and it’s one of those parts we rely so much upon, yet never realize they exist, that is until there is a problem! When this ligament is unhappy, there is no denying it. It screams and throws a tantrum that cannot be ignored. Every step becomes painful, especially those first few steps in the morning or after a long period of inactivity or rest.
While there are a variety of treatment options available, it’s best to first look at the whole picture, including your lifestyle and composition. Do you spend a lot of time on your feet? Are you a little or a lot overweight? Do you stand and walk correctly with good form and correct weight distribution? These are things we don’t often think about but will need to examine in order to resolve the pain in our heels.
Also, standing with your weight shifted towards the inside or the outside of your feet is sure to bother the plantar ligament. Being overweight places too much stress on our feet and combined with improper standing or walking form can lead to a strained plantar fascia. The same is true for people who spend a lot of time on their feet like teachers, nurses …
You will need to address these issues and they shouldn’t be ignored, but one way to mitigate these problems is to choose quality footwear. Many shoes are quite bad in supporting our weight evenly and can lead to foot problems like bad knees, while other shoes can actually help alleviate issues such as heel pain and plantar fascia inflammation. A well made and well designed pair of shoes can help immensely. Acordingly, never underestimate the role your choice of footwear is playing in your present foot pain.
No two people will have the exact same feet. Some have high arches, low arches, long feet, short feet and everything in between. You will need shoes that conform to and assist your particular feet. Many times, these will be high arch support shoes. You will also need to find shoes that do a good job of absorbing impact and distributing your body weight in a uniform manner.
We’ve all had shoes that don’t spread the weight evenly and consequently force it into the toe, or side of the foot. In order to give the ligament time to heal, we need to support it and take as much pressure off it as possible. The best way of doing this for active people, and/or overweight people, is to use the best plantar fasciitis shoes available. Ignoring your footwear will inevitably lead to the plantar ligament getting worse and worse. The idea is to stop doing any more damage. Only then can you make progress and eventually heal your troubled feet.
The complaints people make regarding their footwear have driven the production of high quality medical grade shoes that can make healing and preventing foot problems much easier. Seriously consider shoes made and designed specifically for plantar fasciitis and other foot problems. You may, or may not, need to get a podiatrist involved in the selection of medical shoes as there are many options available and a lot of buyer reviews made by people who have tested the effectiveness of certain footwear.
If you are a runner, then make sure you have good running shoes. You may also want to look into buying insoles that assist with heel pain. The same goes for hikers or any other activity. Make sure that your footwear is designed specifically for that specific activity. You can purchase excellent dress shoes for plantar fasciitis and the same goes for hiking shoes, walking shoes, tennis shoes, and basketball shoes.
You might have heard or read that sandals and flipflops are to avoid if you’ve been diagnosed with Plantar Fasciitis. Well, that was true some years back when about all the sandals used to offer very little to no arch support, but not any more. There are some sandals that offer a great level of support, cushioning and comfort for troubled heels. Yet, even if you buy the best sandals for plantar fasciitis, you still have to pay special attention to how well centered your weight is distributed on them. If it isn’t correct, your poor plantar fascia will be over-stretched.
This has been a general overview of plantar fasciitis related heel pain and the importance of quality footwear. We will offer specific reviews of different products in the near future but it’s important to understand the big picture before going into specifics.
To review, it’s best to examine your lifestyle, body weight, walking gait, standing posture, and weight distribution to come to terms with the root causes of heel pain. We can then find shoes that heal plantar fasciitis or at least give us a fighting chance even though we may lead busy lives and abuse our feet every day. The first step is to stop making it worse. For most people, the solution can be found in quality medical grade podiatrist approved shoes.
Plantar Fasciitis (pronounced – Plan-ter Fash-ee-eye-tus) is an injury caused as the result of repetitive stress placed on the bottom of the foot. This causes inflammation of the thick tissue on the bottom of your foot called the Plantar Fascia.
The plantar fascia is a long, thin ligament that lies directly beneath the skin on the bottom of your foot and connects the heel bone to the toes and creates the arch of the foot. Plantar Fasciitis is now one of the most common heel issues adults suffer from.
Plantar Fasciitis is a common injury in runners and a lot of people who stand for long periods such as nurses, soldiers, hikers, security guards etc.
The condition can make it almost impossible to carry out your daily activities. For example, getting out of bed in the morning can be very painful and simple tasks that we take for granted such as walking at work or climbing stairs can be out of the question. It doesn’t take long until the pain overtakes every aspect of your life!
As I know from personal experience Plantar Fasciitis can be debilitating and make walking really problematic. But, what actually causes Plantar Fasciitis? Well, there are many things which can lead to Plantar Fasciitis, which makes classifying the complaint fairly complicated. For instance, flat feet, high-arched feet, and hard running surfaces are all quite varied – yet all of them could be a reason behind the condition. As I have mentioned already, if your job requires you to be on your feet for long periods of time you are at a higher risk of developing Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis is seen in both women and men. Nevertheless, it in most cases strikes active women in the age range of 40 – 70. It’s one of the more common orthopedic complaints concerning the foot.
Another common reason behind Plantar Fasciitis is the kind of footwear you decide to walk or run in. Older or badly built footwear can put your feet at a greater risk for stress. Footwear that doesn’t offer sufficient cushioning for your heel and arch can be an issue. Last but not least, overweight people are at a greater risk of getting Plantar Fasciitis. When you put on weight, it will naturally put extra tension on the tissues of your feet, and the fascia will endure the impact of this.
Some individuals define the sensation as dull, while some encounter a sharp pain, and some experience a burning or ache at the base of their foot extending outward from the heel.
The discomfort of Plantar Fasciitis could very well be isolated to a region in the center of the foot, or could just as easily extend outward to your toes. The heel is the one other common spot for Plantar Fasciitis pain to appear.
If you have been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis for any period of time you will know that there are a number of treatment options available to help try and cure you of this terrible condition. These range from:
Some people find one or a combination of the treatments above work for them and either cure their condition or at least give them some sort of pain relief so they can continue living their life as normally as possible. However, there are plenty of people who find that the treatments mentioned above give them no help at all and their Plantar Fasciitis persists even after spending a small fortune trying to cure the condition.
As I have already mentioned, I tried a number of treatments to try and cure my Plantar Fasciitis and I did get some slight relief from the pain but this was always short lived and on some occasions painful and on all occasions expensive. The painful stabbing and burning pains always seemed to return after a few days or sometimes after a week or so but one thing was guaranteed, the pain would return.
I was ready to give up and just accept the fact that nothing was going to help cure my condition until I was told about the Cure. I purchased the guide more out of desperation than anything else and after reading through it and following the advice, to my surprise, the pain started easing considerably within 3 days and I was completely cured within 1 week.
What I loved about the book was that it was very simple to follow, was well laid out and went into a lot of detail about what I could and should be doing to cure my condition. Some of the things I really liked were:
If you haven’t tried any other treatments yet then lucky you – as this guide is all you are going to need. You won’t have to waste both your time and money on finding out what works or doesn’t work for you. If on the other hand you are like me and have already tried many other methods and are unhappy with the results, then give the Fast Plantar Fasciitis Cure a try. If you have tried everything else then you have nothing to lose especially as Jeremy Roberts is offering a 60 day money back guarantee on the guide, so if you are not happy then just return it within 60 days and get your money back!
The guide is based on extensive research and backed by 23 different medical studies. The good news is Jeremy explains how by making small adjustments you will start to notice the difference straight away. I started to feel a real difference in about 3 days and found the stretches, exercises and uncommon treatment options suggested in the Fast Plantar Fasciitis Cure to be much more effective for me than all the other traditional treatments I had previously tried.
As I have said there are many treatment options out there and I recomend you choose the one you feel most comfortable with, can afford and most importantly think will help cure you of Plantar Fasciitis. In my case I found that Jeremy Roberts’ guide worked best for me and only wish I had known about it before I had spent hundreds on all the other treatments.
As I did not have great success with all the other treatments I tried, therefore I cannot fully recommend them to you as even though a few of them did give me slight relief I was not cured of the pain. Because of this I have decided that the only treatment I can recommend 100% is Jeremy Roberts’ Fast Plantar Fasciitis Cure as this was the only treatment to fully cure me of this condition.
I wish you all the best.
By Hannah Thorpe
It was the London Marathon that started off my obsession with running, so it feels appropriate to write a little post about it…
Distance: 26.2 miles (more like 27 miles for those of us that don’t follow the shortest course line…)
No. of non-elite runners = 30,825
Winning male: Wilson Kipsang (2:04:29, a new course record)
Winning female: Edna Kiplagat (2:20:21 – 5 minutes slower than Paula Radcliffe’s course record, set in 2005)
My time: 4:01:57 – my GPS watch recorded my final distance as 27 miles so I count that as sub 4 hours
No. of SiS gels to fuel my run: 9
It was a fantastic day for a marathon. London was bathed in sun all day and the spectators enjoyed a sweltering (for English standards) day cheering the runners on…the runners on the other hand cursed the weather all the way round the course as a majority of our training has been through the English winter. However, a bonus was that the weather played a big part (along with the fact that Mo Farah was running his first marathon) in attracting a record number of spectators…in some places they were 10 to 15 people deep!
As a runner it is incredibly tricky to find a good option for a pre-marathon breakfast (carb-loading during the few days before is easy enough; gluten-free pasta, rice, or potatoes). But all breakfast recommendations online, in books, or in magazines consist of toast or porridge (I can’t even eat gluten-free bread as it contains eggs, and I am also intolerant to oats…!) My usual breakfast is a chicken breast (stuck in my paleo routine from University) and a banana if I’m going for a run, but protein was not what I needed before a marathon. So I settled for mashed sweet potato with coconut oil (prepared the night before)…not the most inspiring. I then had an Eat Natural cereal bar and a banana closer to the start.
I travelled with my Mum to the Red start (mainly for charity gold bond runners), by the time we got on the DLR it was rammed with other nervous runners carrying their red bags. Everyone was buzzing and talking about their training stories, whether or not it was their first time etc. I was at the start area with an hour to spare so that I had enough time to get ready, try and relax, go to the loo multiple times, find the luggage truck to hand my stuff in, and find my starting pen. Family and friends have to say goodbye at the entrance to the starting area.
The starting area was filled with an air of excitement, anxiety, dread, and from many people (including myself) thoughts of “why the bl***y hell am I doing this?!”
When I applied for the marathon I optimistically gave a predicted finishing time of 3:30/3:45…that was before I started training and realised that there was no way I was going to be able to run that fast with only 4 months to prepare! This meant that I was put in a starting pen (pen 4) filled with lots of rather speedy looking runners…where had all the nervous-looking people like me gone?! I was suddenly surrounded by confident and excited athletes and felt a little out of place… *
Soon enough we were off! It took me 4 minutes to get across the actual start line, and as soon as I started running I was buzzing with excitement…finally all of my arduous training had come to an end and I was actually running the marathon! I could not stop smiling. From the very start the atmosphere was so amazing. The pavements were filled with spectators spilling out of their houses; some camping out with champagne and picnics, kids lining the road waiting for high-five’s from the runners, others blaring music from speakers…there was so much to take in.
Luckily I had my Garmin GPS watch on so I could watch my pace and stick to my plan of 9:00 min/miles from the start…it’s so hard not to get caught up in the excitement and race off with the faster runners. Going off too fast during the first few miles can completely ruin the remainder of your race.
The first 10 miles honestly flew by…I hardly noticed them. I just couldn’t believe how amazing the atmosphere was. I stuck to the edge of the road and had so many people cheering my name (so glad I had it printed on my top) and giving me high-five’s, it was great fun.
It wasn’t all fun…the heat was pretty unbearable and I looked forward to each water stop (every mile) so I could throw most of the bottle over my head and legs…each time the water dried almost immediately. The amazing marathon organizers had also scattered showers at various points along the route which were a lifesaver…there were even firemen at two points on the course spraying the runners with their hoses – amazing!
Coming up to mile 14 I knew I would see a Parkinson’s cheer point, and then my Mum and Toby just after it…the anticipation of seeing friendly faces pushed me to run there even faster. It was amazing to see them. The Parkinson’s cheers were so loud it was great, and I was so so happy to see my Mum and Toby…I high-fived then on my way past and hoped they’d make it to the embankment in time to see me for the end stretch.
As I was preparing myself to move in to what’s supposed to be the hardest leg of the race (mile 16/17) I heard someone shout “Hannah Thorpe!!” – I glanced over to the other side of the road where I saw the sign below – my auntie Kate, Ste, and the kids were all there cheering for me (I had no idea they were going to be there…gave me such a boost)!
Things got a bit harder around the Isle of Dogs…the lanes were narrower and there were multiple bottle-neck situations which really slowed me down. I was conscious of my time, although I was ahead of my plan I didn’t want to slow down when my legs were still feeling good…it was very frustrating and I could feel the frustrations of the other runners as we all slowed down to almost a walk.
By mile 21 I was no longer smiling; my quads felt tight and I was just pushing to get to mile 24 along the embankment where I knew my family and friends would be there to cheer me to the finish.
It was at this point that the runners around me started slowing down, or even stopping completely. I was in so much pain and it took so much determination to keep my legs moving…I knew that if I stopped for even a moment I would not be able to get my legs going again. Coming out of the tunnel on to the embankment, I knew there wasn’t long to go but that straight road went so so slowly.
Seeing my family at mile 24 gave me a well-needed boost, and I managed a smile and a wave for them – they said that I made it look easy even at that point…trust me I was dying inside…! I had been on track for a sub 4-hour marathon throughout the whole race but in those last 3 miles my pace really took a hit and I was struggling to stay on target. It was a sad moment when I realised that I wasn’t going to manage it…but to be honest at that point I knew I would just be ecstatic to finish.
The last couple of miles were a bit of a blur…my whole body was screaming with pain and willing me to stop. A friend from work was apparently shouting my name very loudly just before the final stretch but I was totally zoned out and completely missed her. So much was going through my head…I was thinking about how I couldn’t let myself down after all the training I had put in, I couldn’t let everyone that had sponsored me down, I also couldn’t bear the idea of telling people that I hadn’t finished/hadn’t run the whole way, and most of all I wanted that medal!
When the countdown started from the 800m mark I knew I was so so close to the finish…but those last 800m’s felt so much longer. I was hoping to speed up for the final stretch but that definitely was not an option.
It was pretty overwhelming to cross the finish line, and to have a heavy medal placed around my neck. I looked at my Garmin watch and my heart sank a little as I realised I was so close to sub-4 hours…4:01:57…but I was still so pleased.
I shuffled along the mall to claim my kit bag and forced myself to drink some lucozade. I’m not going to lie, I felt horrendous! My legs were so stiff, I could barely walk, I felt sick, and was dehydrated. My skin was covered in white salt lines from all of the sweat that had dried in the sun…very attractive! The last thing I wanted to do was eat anything, but I knew that was the one thing I needed most.
After putting on my compression socks, having a very painful stretch, and chatting with a fellow runner about how we were never going to put ourselves through that torture again, I shuffled to the meet and greet area to find my family. I was so happy to see them. We then headed to the Parkinson’s UK after party before shuffling home…where I forced myself in to a 10 minute ice bath!
It was the best and hardest day of my life.
I swore I was never going to put myself through that pain again.
By the next day I had forgotten all about the pain…and starting planning which marathon to do next!
…and I am now planning a 700km run across Spain.
Runners are mad!
By Hannah Thorpe
Last ‘National Running Day’ – I think I missed the boat on that one! It was clearly a big week for running because Thursday was also the first official #run2workday in London. If you were not one of the many people who ran to work for the first time on Thursday then read on to see why you should think about starting:
Although I am no longer working in the City and therefore have nowhere to commute to, I wanted to highlight the benefits of running to work and why more people should be doing it. After all, running to work was the main reason my marathon training really kicked off. But whether you are training for a race or not, there are so many reasons to role out of bed and slip on your trainers instead of your work shoes…
Firstly, the most obvious fact: running keeps you fit. Many people struggle to fit exercise in around their busy working day, and the time you spend commuting to work is already wasted time…so why not make the most of that time and fit your exercise in by running to/from work? This brings me on to my next point:
By fitting in your exercise during your commute you can then free up time later in the day, when you may have previously gone to the gym. More time to do something you enjoy (if you don’t enjoy exercise that is…)
How much money do you currently spend on your monthly train/tube/bus tickets or petrol?? Stop complaining about the constant increase in travel cost and make a long-term investment in a decent pair of running shoes, some running kit and a bag to use for your running commute!
How many times have you got in to work and complained about your terrible commute? (“the train was late”, “the tube was packed”, “I can’t stand driving in traffic”, “I hate public transport”)…sound familiar? By running to work you avoid all of that stress and start the day with a clear head. Traffic is on the roads, leaving a majority of pavements, parks etc. clear for you (especially if you plan your route well to go through quite roads rather than main roads). Furthermore, exercise in the morning is a great way to wake up for the day, and you can feel smug in the office knowing that you have done more exercise than a majority of your colleagues…and avoided the expense of public transport.
An evening run home is a great way to unwind after a stressful day at work.
A majority of people commute in to cities with heavy traffic, and these tend to be quite polluted. However, don’t let this put you off. Surely running along the back-streets in a busy city beats having your face shoved against a sweaty guys armpit during the rush hour crush on the tube, or having people cough over you with nowhere to escape to? I don’t know about you but I do not consider public transport to be very clean or healthy…I would much rather be outside. Most of us spend our entire working day inside an air conditioned office, some of us sitting nowhere near a window. There were days at work when I could not tell you if it was raining, snowing, or if there was a heat-wave outside. I could not see a window and the air conditioning was so strong most of the time I would be wrapped up in a scarf with a coat over my knees in the middle of summer!
Running to work can give you valuable time outside and, depending on the route of your commute, give you some much needed fresh air. If you plan your route well you could also incorporate a park on the way…
If I have persuaded you to give a run-commute a go then have a look at the official run2work site, and join in with the new craze! By signing up you will get:
15% off your running shoes at Sweatshop
Complimentary Virgin Active guest pass for you and a friend
Free Audible Audiobook download
Free issue of Outdoor Fitness
A chance to win one of 50 pairs of New Balance running shoes
New routes from the run2work community
If you think the cost of Running to Work should be tax-free, like Cycling to Work, then you can sign the petition here.
Related article: Why You Should Run to Work
By Sandy Adams
[su_quote]I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run. What they would give to have this simple gift I take for granted. And I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.[/su_quote]
A long time ago, someone gave me a gift. It wasn’t a gift at first. Once I became grateful for it, it became a gift. It was my cross country coach and she told me I’d never be a runner. It was a lesson in gratefulness. The gift was a challenge to prove her wrong and I am where I am today because of that.
I guess one of the philosophical biggies is how to be. It’s up there with why? and who am I? and what is time?
The short answer is: happy. That’s what we humans strive for ultimately. The real question is: how?
If you’ve ever read The Secret, you’ve read about the power of gratitude. Whether you agree with Rhonda Byrne about the Law of Attraction and getting back what you throw out into the universe or not, there is something to that whole idea about being grateful.
Is it true that if you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll get more, and if you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough? Yes. I believe so, but, maybe not how you would initially think so.
I was at a loss for words this morning, in a way. I was wondering where these roads I began following were taking me and if it was worth the price I pay to keep up.
I didn’t run today because my body was worn out from my race Saturday…still. I let the old mind start hammering at me; wondering if it was best to take tomorrow easy then start speed work or start HIITs again tomorrow. Will I ever be ready for this next 5k? What if I disappoint myself? What gives me the right to say anything about running or think I have any ability to train myself at all?
Then I pulled into work.
One of the ladies from the third floor hurts her back continually. She’s usually in so much pain that she’s almost bent in half. She fights depression constantly. She’s not shy about letting everyone know what she goes through. Somehow, she manages to come in every day.
Not that she should. There are days I don’t think it’s safe for her to drive. Today was one of those and my friend and I helped her with her bags. We each took an arm and slowly, very slowly, walked to the building supporting her.
I’d want someone to do the same for me.
I was instantly grateful for the body I have. It might not be perfect, but it does what I ask of it, for the most part; even if it needs a break sometimes.
I’m grateful for the challenges that I face in trying to get faster, though I’ll never be in the Olympic trials. I’m grateful for the feeling when my hard work pays off, and I’m grateful for the times it doesn’t, so that I keep the drive to work harder.
When I’m consciously grateful, I’m more aware of small things that compound that feeling. This happens all the time during long races and easy runs. I might have fallen behind or taken off to do some easy miles and I’m out there just running for running’s sake.
I notice things that make me happy to be alive and have that chance at that moment in time to witness them. I understand that if I weren’t out there, just then, I would’ve missed them, and running is the reason.
It’s the reason I see little mice when it’s still dark in the morning and we go about starting our day together. It’s the reason I see sunrises and sets and look at hills differently than other people. It’s the reason I’m grateful for sweaty piles of laundry and blisters. All of those are gifts, and for them, I’m grateful.
If I looked at it all as work and dirty laundry and pain, I wouldn’t run another step. Guaranteed. Who would choose any of those things with their own free will?
It’s about having the right perspective. It’s a mindset. Being grateful is a mindset. When you’re in that mindset, the things that normally wouldn’t be, become gifts.
It’s sort of like Flip Meditation when you’re dealing with pre race anxiety. When I get down on myself, I flip what’s wrong into a reason to be grateful for what’s going on. When I feel like a failure, I think about how hard I tried compared to how many people never even bother.
It can be done with anything, if you’re willing. There’s always a little good in everything if you look hard enough.
This process doesn’t come naturally. You have to work for it. When I’m grateful for what I have, it seems as though everything gives me a reason to be grateful for it.
What I can call my own then multiplies because we’re not generally thankful for things that aren’t ours. That’s why it’s important not to focus on what we don’t have unless you’re trying to go get it. Then, be grateful for the courage to try and journey on.
The Epicureans were onto something when it came to happiness. Some call them rational hedonists. I call them brilliant; especially since their influence is manifest today more than ever with the emphasis we have on the “science of happiness”.
Epicureans recognized that humans are not good at being happy. Plain and simple. We place unreachable demands on ourselves in the form of “shoulds” that we never fulfill even when we really do. There’s always another.
Epicureans had no demands. Their focus was always on and only on the present moment because that was all that counted for them.
I disagree with that approach only because I think it’s important to look forward to the future. I also think the past is ok to visit since it’s where our roots lie. I don’t think it’s good to live there.
I visit the past once in awhile. I remember the day a coach gave me one of the best gifts of my life. Because of that, today, I am the runner I was told I would never be.
The relationship I forged with the road after that day gave and got me through more than I could ever have dreamed.
And, for that, I will be forever grateful.
By Sandy Adams
I went out today to do my last long run before the Akron Half Marathon. Next week is a taper week and then it’s go time.
I follow Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Training Plan, but I use it as a guide. I ran a lot of 5Ks and had some injury issues that kept me from following it to the letter. So, I decided what to do, was run the comparable workouts as long as I could. The days are mismatched a little and sometimes, the speed work isn’t exactly the same, but I’m better than I was.
Today, I was supposed to do 10-11 miles. I did 9.56, according to the watch.
My hip would not let me go one step further. I rarely have pain while running and I didn’t know what to do.
It was begging me to stop in mile 6 and I was able to block it out until the very end. But, I gave in to it out of fear of a real, race-preventing injury.
So, while I was slugging through mile after mile, landing and hurting, landing and hurting, I realized the endurance part of endurance running is almost all entirely in our heads.
My body hurt. If I thought about that pain, even for one step, I immediately slowed down and looked for the panic button.
If I kept going and flipped the thoughts about pain into thoughts about how much closer I was to being done, the mile passed quickly while I was in that flow.
There was a span of about three miles when I didn’t know what to do.
I never run with my phone, which was dead at home anyway. I was just a little less than halfway through the run and a good five miles from home when I started really hurting.
What to do now?
Do I turn back? Do I keep going? Do I walk? How does any other runner know what to do with pain when they’re stranded on a narrow shoulder far away?
I stopped for a couple lights I normally wouldn’t have. The pain stopped too.
I slowed my pace down, partially on purpose and partially because I could no longer push harder, but that meant I’d be out longer too.
I made the decision then, to get home at a slow pace, via the quickest route. I sat down, stretched out, took some Aleve and decided to evaluate the problem of not knowing what to do when you’re out there and can’t get back very well.
Every road is 100 miles long when you’re trying to get home in a hurry. Especially when you’re on foot and you’re hurting.
The most important thing to remember is to keep your mind working in your favor by using it to figure out what to do next. Use it to stride over the pain, over the matter.
And, by all means, take your phone if you can.
By Sandy Adams
Running on Faith: The Principles Passion and Pursuit of a Winning Life, Jason Lester
My best friend found this book one night and said, “Here. Have you read this one yet? I think it’s about marathons or something.”
It was $1. It was a book about running. I love running. I love reading books. I love reading books about running. I bought it.
I didn’t expect to get too much out of it for $1, to be honest. I opened it late that night to read the first paragraph and didn’t stop for almost 40 pages.
Jason Lester, it turns out, has no use of his right arm. It also turns out, the book isn’t just about a marathoner, per se. He’s an ultra endurance athlete, an Ironman, and his perseverance is something from which we all could learn.
There are religious nuances throughout the book. Lester believes he is doing God’s work. He listens for God’s calling and then answers. A series of events set the life he has today into motion, and he recognized this all later on.
The absence of his mother, early death of his father, loss of the mobility in his right arm, marriage, move to Hawaii and subsequent divorce led Lester to be exactly what he is, and that was exactly what he was meant to be.
Lester has remarkable faith, without question, regardless of whether it’s the same faith any other one of us trusts or not. Any flavor of that kind of faith, faith strong enough to carry someone through those varieties of setbacks and land them on the other side, the side where there isn’t merely surviving and thriving, but competing in the world’s most brutal competition against the world’s finest, able-bodied athletes, is a faith I wish I had.
The stories about the competitions themselves are colorful and interesting. I felt like I was a spectator along the way, watching Lester do his thing in the Hawaiian heat.
I learned a thing or two about ultra endurance reading this. Lester wrote with enough detail and explanation to engage newbies to the sport without boring the veterans.
There are several lines and paragraphs I found to be highlighter-worthy. Lester shares wisdom, advice and an inside look at his whole world. I learned how he fuels to train, about his “laboratory”, how he maintains his mindset and why he made the choices he did.
He recognizes his sport is demand more and from him than others. He understands that what he sets forth worked for him and probably wouldn’t for others and does well with presenting his advice so that it applies to any reader, from the entrepreneur to stay-at-home-moms, who are looking for motivation.
This $1 book changed my perspective about endurance running. I used to think I hurt after a five-miler in the rain. Then I read about Jason Lester who swam the Pacific for six miles with one arm while he got stung by a massive school of jellyfish. Jason Lester who went on, immediately after that to bike more than 200 miles before running a double, yes double, marathon. In one day. With one arm. My five-mile problems got nothing on that.
This book shed light on how ultra endurance competitors physically and mentally do what they do.
I didn’t buy this book because of its affiliation with faith from a religious standpoint, although if you’re interested, that’s there. The faith of Lester is a universal one. It can certainly be interpreted in any way you prefer to use it, and Lester, I think, knows that.
In a way, the $1 book by Jason Lester was my own sort of faith calling. He would’ve called it the voice of God. Call it whatever you like. His story made me think. It made me grateful and it proves that with work and faith, if you want something bad enough no matter the cost, it’s already yours. You just have to go get it.
Thank you for not quitting, Jason Lester. Thanks for keeping your faith.
By Vegan Megan
GOTW: Do one good thing for animals each day
I’ve been a vegan for one year & two months now. I feel really good about my choice; however, it’s the only animal-activist thing I’ve done. Sure, when someone asks me why I’m vegan I have my stock answers, “For the animals.” “It’s my little way of fighting the food system in this country.” “To protest factory farming.” All very true. But I’ve started to feel it’s not enough to be vegan. I feel the pull to do more, become more involved in taking action, and really stand up against the thing that I loathe: any form of animal suffering.
So everyday this week I’m going to do one thing that lends itself to more activism: contact my legislators about pending bills/issues regarding animals, donate to worthy organizations, research how to get involved on a local level, inform myself about news and issues and anything else I think of during the week. I welcome ideas & suggestions in the comments!
I started the week off by becoming a member of the Our Hen House flock. I recently discovered this fabulous organization through its podcast. I listened to one & was hooked. Jasmin & Mariann are full of energy, news, knowledge, spirit, compassion, kindness, straight-forward speech….all traits I admire. Most importantly, at the end of the episode I said out loud, “I need to DO something”. It’s not often that a podcast will stir me to action. Since it did (and heavily contributed to my idea for this week’s goal) I decided to support them on a monthly basis. It’s the best $10.30 I could possibly spend each month!
I’m excited for this week’s goal. I want to learn more, contribute more, and do more and I think this week will be the kick-off I need. I’ll keep you posted.
By Vegan Megan
2015 was , in general, a big whopping disappointment when it came to running. The downslope started when I couldn’t run my planned Spring marathon due to health reasons. That missed race led to 3 other registered-but-didn’t-run races. And very spotty training. I felt disjointed and unsure where to take my running. However, there were some bright spots:
I’m taking the positives into 2014 and leaving the disappointments behind me. So, looking forward, I have 3 goals for the year:
So that’s it! Looking forward to the year!
By Vegan Megan
I’ve been thinking a lot about community and, in particular, a running community. I’ve always thought I prefer to train alone. But I realize I’ve never trained alone. Yes, I run alone most of the time. But I don’t train alone. My former personal trainer provided a community (a small one, granted), my family & friends provide a community (even if they’re not all that interested in every detail of my workout) and other runners provide a community (both in person and virtually). So I have a community of sorts. But I need to build it. Why? I want others to motivate me when I’m not, to discuss training theories and ideas, to vent about hard workouts, to celebrate successes and to pick me up when I’m down. Not too much to ask, right? Ha.
So, I started by launching this blog. It’ll take some time to get going but I hope it adds to the running community. And I’m on twitter where the running (& vegan) community is great. Between RunChat,VegRunChat and the daily posts it’s hard not to stay focused and goal-oriented. And I always know that I’m slipping & going down the wrong path when I avoid Twitter. It means I don’t want to be encouraged or supported..I just want to wallow in my laziness and chips. Not that those are bad, mind you, but an extended period of wallowing is no good for anyone.
But I’ve decided I need an in-person, face-to-face community, too.
So I’m in search of a running group! Or at least a running partner. I attended an informational session on a local group (Boise Area Runners (BAR)) and it was great. Unfortunately, their training run times don’t really fit my schedule. The search continues….
Do you belong to a running group? If so, how did you find them? Do you see the benefits of a group in your training?
Or are you a solo trainer?
By Vegan Megan
I wrote a review soon after trying ENERGYbits for the first time (copied below). As you can tell, I liked them. A lot. It’s been a few months since then and I love them so much I’ve decided to become an ambassador! Yippee! So happy to be part of the bits community.
What does it mean to be an ambassador? For one, I get to spread the joy of bits. For two, you, the reader, get discounts! Who doesn’t love a discount?
I’m always on the lookout for natural, vegan, wheat-free protein sources. Bonus if it’s food instead of a powder or bar (which I consume plenty of). So when I started Twitter chatting with Jonathan from ENERGYbits I was intrigued by their product. I’ve heard about it before but never investigated the details. He kindly sent me a sample & I tried them out. And I like them. A lot.
The sample came with lots of information.
My favorite info is this chart:
It compares the bits to other common running fuels like gels. I love that the bits aren’t sugar like other fuels.
Ok, so let’s get to the real deciding factor: how did they help my run?? The serving size is 30 bits (a lot).
I swallowed them in 3 increments. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be…they went down easily. And then I drove to run a very hilly, hard trail. I started out & didn’t feel much of anything. But about a 1/2 mile in I realized I was quite alert. Not jazzed up like caffeine but alert. And happy. And it was early morning so it was unusual for me to feel alert & happy so early in the run! It usually takes me at least a couple of miles to feel good. I ran well, better than expected. Well enough that one of my running buddies even said I rocked the last hill! Awesome. Pretty sure the bits had something to do with that!
The next time I tried them was before a 15 miler. A HILLY 15 miler. I was less than enthusiastic to tackle it but swallowed the bits and took off. I didn’t notice anything right away. But, once again, I felt alert & good at the start. It really takes me some time to get into the groove of the run (which is why I love distance) but in both of these runs I had energy at the start. And my mood brightened a little ways down the trail. I finished the run really strong again.
So I’ve decided ENERGYbits help me get started with energy and start stronger. But the real kicker is that they give me sustained energy. Something I love! I’m going to buy some & try them mid-run for my longer runs. Am hoping I get them in time for my marathon!
Lastly, I should mention that they did nothing bad to my stomach. Absolutely amazing considering my stomach revolts a lot. I can’t even eat gels anymore. So it’s super exciting that the bits digested well.
I like Bits!
I continue to use the bits & continue to love them. They sustain me through my trail runs, long runs, and hard efforts. I’ve also started to use them if I hit an energy slump during the day & they work for that, too. And, most recently, I tried them before Bikram class and was pleasantly surprised! My focus was great and I felt really good throughout the class.
So, if you want to experience focused energy without jitters, stomach upset, or sugar highs & lows head over to ENERGYbits.
And please let me know what you think of them…or if you have any questions about bits, how they help me, why I like them or anything at all just ask!