Running and Bone Problems

Contrary to the popular belief, a recent study conducted by the American Running & Fitness Association, have concluded that running actually promotes higher bone density. In fact, other studies have comes to the conclusion that regular running can help against arthritis and other serious bones and joints problems.

For instance, Osteoporosis affects more than 200 million people worldwide. Luckily, weight bearing exercise, running is the best example, are the ideal training strategy for promoting and maintaining bone health. A study done at the University of Missouri have found running to be more effective then resistance training on promoting and boosting bone density.

Other people have linked accelerated rates of osteoarthritis with endurance running. This couldn’t be further from the truth. And there is scientific evidence to back this claim. According to a study published by Lane and coinvestigator in 1993, the researchers have come to the conclusion that there is no difference in the occurrence of osteoarthritis in runners and non-runners. In fact, running does more good to the body than leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Nonetheless, running is not 100% safe activity. In fact it does lead to a myriad of injuries and health problems. But no need for worry. Most of the trouble can be avoided if you just follow these prevention measures:

  • Start your training slow and build the intensity gradually. Most running injuries come as the results of doing too much too soon.
  • Always start your workout with a decent warm-up and end it with a cool-down.
  • Choose the right running shoes. If you’re shoes are old or don’t fit, ditch them and look for new sole-mates.
  • Choose your running surface carefully. An improper or uneven surface increases the likelihood of injury.
  • Develop good running form and mechanics.
  • Stick to the ten percent rule. Increase your running mileage incrementally
  • Take ample recovery-especially after a hard training session
  • Listen to your body and adjust your training accordingly.

Here you have! the scientific facts prove that running is actually good for your bones. So when you hear someone bashing on running, please give them the correct facts and you may find yourself a new training partner. Just make sure to run the right way and stay within your fitness level.

Getting Hiking Gear

Hiking Boots

Among the essentials in any set of hiking gear would definitely be hiking boots. And you will need to choose them carefully based on where you’re planning on walking. For most purposes, a good set of hiking boots should remain waterproof and provide support especially to the ankles, which can often twist easily if you’re going to be hiking for a long day or on rough terrain.

Personally, I prefer a good solid boot without anything too fancy. But really, it is a case of experimenting with your preferences and trying on a few different styles and brands until you’re happy with your choice. Once you’ve got them, spend a bit of time hiking regularly while breaking them in, and soon enough, you’ll have a pair of hiking boots that will almost feel as though they’re a part of your feet.

Pants

If you’ve ever found yourself hiking on the trail with the pants chafing between your legs, then you’ll know that getting the right pair of trousers is vital. Polypropylene is the usual material used for hiking trousers because it is comfortable and quick-drying. Aside from being comfortable, I like my hiking pants to have plenty of pockets for storing granola bars or almost anything that you need quick access to on the trail.

When choosing my hiking trousers, I usually go for the ones that have the lower legs which can be zipped off, and be converted into shorts. It might just be a small thing, but when the heat is baking, then putting the bottom of the legs into the pack and getting on with the hiking does feel great.

Shirts And Base Layers

When it comes to hiking, the base layer is probably the most important garment that you will wear, second to your boots. A good base layer will be wicking away the sweat from your skin, while making sure that you stay at the right temperature. Most important of all, you need to make sure that you’re comfortable, so try a few different materials, and make sure you’re happy with the one you choose, and it’ll look after you while you’re hiking.

Once you start moving on to shirts and fleeces, the old adage about thinner layers and lots of them being better than a small number of thicker layers is completely accurate. If you’re hiking to the really cold areas, a thicker coat can be a good addition, but most hiking trips will suffice with a few layers and a set of waterproofs.

Double Overhand Knot

Even beginning climbs can have horrible repercussions if proper precautions aren’t taken. Learning to tie knots is of crucial importance to the climber so every effort must be made to learn each knot and become a literal expert in tying.

One of the more common things that you will use as a climber is the double overhand knot. It is just a simple extension of the overhand not, but it is made with one additional pass. It results in a knot that is slightly larger yet much more difficult to untie. Eventually you will learn to tie the surgeon’s knot, and the double overhand actually forms the first part of that knot. It also forms both sides of the double fisherman’s knot. The strangle knot, on the other hand, is a rearranged type of double overhand knot that is actually tied around some object.

This is most often used to tie two ropes together as would be needed for rappelling. One of the reasons this knot is used instead of other knots such as the double figure 8 fisherman’s knot is because it is less bulky and is therefore less likely to get stuck in cracks.

Learning to tie knots tends to be more challenging than the mechanics of actually tying it. It also involves learning when and where they can be used, and which knot will provide the greatest amount of safety. Spend as much time as you need to master knots – it’s for your own protection!

Downhill Running

For most runners, running downhill is a skill that we never practice and it is no wonder that in a race where we are forced to run downhill fast that we end up with burning quadriceps, sore knees and losing a whole load of time.

However if you take time to master this skill, the downhills are a place you can gain an enormous advantage over your competitors because the chances are that they won’t be practising these skills.

Downhill running will make an enormous difference to your strength and speed on the flat as well. You should add it to your program once a week and implement hill repeats and specific drills.

The first piece of advice is to make a huge effort to relax the legs. Think of being an elastic band. Try very hard to be conscious of relaxing especially the quads and the calves. Try to lean slightly downhill and keep your upper body ahead of the foot strike. Relax your lower back and pelvis. Think about floating down the hill letting gravity do all the work for you. If you have stiff legs, you will be using unnecessary energy. The faster you run the more relaxed you will need to be.

Try to think of running downhill as a “controlled fall”

Don’t lean back. Leaning backward slows your speed and increase impact forces through the hips, knees and ankles, increasing stress on the body.

Downhill running places an enormous amount of stress on the joints. So do increase the loads very gradually and do not increase time, distance or intensity until you no longer have post session soreness. Downhill running is eccentric loading of the muscles which is the biggest contributor to delayed onset muscle soreness. Start incorporating a few hills into your general runs and get used to it. If you experience any ongoing soreness or injury please contact a sports physiotherapist before continuing.

Then once your body is familiar with downhill running, start adding downhill repeats to your programme. This is a specific skill which needs to be learnt then practised.

Try running downhills fast, then slowly come back up hill (as your recovery!). Find a hill that takes you 2-3mins to run down and do something like 5-8 repeats depending on your fitness. Run fast- this is a training session! Watch the ground 2-3 feet in front of you. Running downhill fast requires a huge amount of muscular co ordination and you will notice a huge increase in your flat running speeds as well.

Progress this session by combining up hill and downhill running. Find a hilly area with a good hill that takes you 3-5 minutes to ascend. Then do multiple repeats. as fast as you can with a short recovery like 20 seconds.

Remember to focus on relaxation, good posture and not braking with your heel.

Indoor Wall Climbing

What then is the physical extent of this adventurous workout? Indoor climbing focuses on a person’s whole body, but puts more weight on one’s hands and forearms – which are the areas often neglected during regular workouts. These two body parts are usually the first to become tired and exhausted. You might be surprised, even for a fitness bum, by the feeling of exhaustion after the first few minutes of the workout.

Burns much more calories than any ordinary workout

According to studies, both indoor and outdoor wall climbing spend a whooping 970 calories per hour but it is dependent on the person’s gender and height. Even the rappelling down sheds 700 calories an hour – an estimated total of 1670 calories burned after the entire up-and-down exercise.

Makes you flex your muscles

The first few climbing sessions can be brutal, especially if you are not that flexible enough. But indoor climbing changes that after those first sessions, forcing you to keep up with gravity and work your muscles so hard your range of motion will speed up. You will be amazed as to how flexible your hips and shoulders will be after enjoying the workouts.

Boosts your brain power

If you think climbing is all physical, you thought wrong. Thinking is as basic as having to stretch your arms to reach the next stone. You need to figure out which is the best way in getting to the top with minimal moves to store up energy. This then increases your skills in problem-solving and hand-eye coordination – two skills not commonly seen in standard workout moves.

Running With Asthma

The first thing that you want to do is to see your doctor before you begin a running program. He will give you a physical to check your condition. Then, he will give you a treatment plan to keep your asthma under control when running. And, make sure that your asthma is under control before you even start running.

Watch to see what the weather is before you go running. There are some things to look for to make sure that you do not trigger an attack. When the pollen counts are high, you either want to run indoors or make sure that you are running a shorter run if you do run outside. Running after the rain is also good as the pollen counts are low after a rain. Also, windy days may also bother your asthma.

Cold weather running can also bother those with asthma. The colder temperatures can bother your lungs as you breathe and trigger an attack. On those frigid, winter days you should run indoors.
See what time of day works best for your running. Some runners with asthma breathe better at different parts of the day. Know what these times are for you and try to plan your runs then.

Make sure that you warm up before your run and that you cool down after your run. Start slowly with a walk before you start running. Also, the same when you finish your run. Just going straight out the door and running fast may trigger an attack – the same thing with finishing abruptly.

Always carry your inhaler with you on your runs. You should never go out without it. You can slide it in your pocket. If your shorts do not have a pocket, you need to wear something like a belt to carry it in – it’s crucial that you have it in case you have any problems during your run. Be aware of how you feel during your runs. If you start to cough or have any problems breathing – slow down and use your inhaler.

Having asthma doesn’t mean that you give up a running program. There are many runners out there running marathons and half-marathons that have asthma. Even Olympic athletes have won gold medals that are asthmatic. Pay attention to what your body is telling you and you can stay out there safely on the roads, also.

Expecting Female Runners

There are already female marathoners who have proved that training during pregnancy is fine and not at all dangerous. Sonia O’Sullivan, Paula Radcliffe, and Kara Goucher are examples of exemplary athletes who showed the world pregnant women can still do it. They even did training until late in their pregnancy. They were fine and even delivered their babies normally. They had healthy pregnancies. Not all women are alike. However, given that a pregnant female athlete is healthy and have no serious complications regarding the pregnancy, it is safe for her to continue training until it’s time to prepare for delivery.

It is vital for the mother to be keen observant with her physical condition along the training. The training and running career are second priority to your safety and your baby’s protection. Running on even surfaces during daytime is a good precaution.

In addition to that, maternity compression band provides further support for the baby. You can also get a good cardio workout, in case you reach a point when it is too stressful to run. Biking, swimming, walking, jogging are good exercises that strengthens and shapes your body as you patiently wait for delivery. They would be good diversion to keep off boredom.

Keeping yourself healthy and nurturing your baby is your sole responsibility as a mother. It starts with giving room for changes in your running goals. If being a mother means setting aside your plans, and ambitions, gladly do so. You do not have to fully give up exercising because exercises will benefit you and the baby. Stay fit.

If pains occur during your runs, consult your doctor. Heed your doctor’s opinion. If you need to stop, then do so. You can follow your running ambitions right after childbirth. There is always the right time to follow your dreams.

Staying Mentally Tough During A Road Race

First of all, when you are feeling sluggish, don’t think of how far you still have to go. Take it in chunks – like little goals to hit on your way to your major goal (which is finishing). Just think about getting to the next mile marker. Or think about getting to the next water stop. Having these little goals really help you forget about how much distance you actually do have left.

Pick someone to catch up with and pass. This person could only be just a few yards ahead of you – or a few hundred yards. Just make it a goal to catch up with that person and pass them. Then, pick another person and go after them. You’ll be surprised at how fast the miles will fly by.

Picture yourself as a world class runner. Imagine that you are running in a race in the Olympics. The crowds cheering for you are at Olympic Stadium and you only have a little ways to go to claim your medal. See yourself running smoothly, efficiently and quickly as a professional athlete. I know it sounds weird, but it does work.

Listen to the cheers of the crowd and get motivated by them. The crowd noise can really get me going during a bad part of a race. The yelling for the runners, the high fives from the little kids – all of this can help you. Savor that and know that they are cheering for you.

Have a positive affirmation that you say to yourself. Mine is “I am a strong and healthy runner”. Or you may say, “I run all distances with ease”. Your mantra could simply be, “I can do this”. Pick something that motivates you when the going gets tough.

Choose an Internal Frame Backpack

Of the three different backpack types, the daypack, is probably the most recognized. Visit any school and most students will be carrying a typical daypack. Compared to external or internal frame backpacks, daypacks do not usually have any frame at all. They are the smallest of the backpack types and the least expensive. Daypacks, as their name suggests, are designed for simple daily tasks or an afternoon hike. They are perfect for carrying books, school supplies, and maybe a small lunch bag. If using a daypack for a hike, you can usually fit a sweater or jacket, a limited amount of gear and enough food for daytrip in good weather. You could probably use a daypack for an overnight trip in a pinch, but it would take some creative packing and cooperative weather. There would be no room for foul weather gear.

External frames are exactly what their name indicates. They are usually large and have a lightweight metal frame surrounding them. Unlike internal frame backpacks that require everything to be carried inside the pack, the external frame pack allows you to attach things to the frame. Although tying things to the frame can save space in the pack, it can also be a disadvantage in certain situations, like climbing. The external frame backpack is designed for the serious hiker and works well on flat and gentle terrain. These types of backpacks are also uncomfortable. They are big and bulky and somewhat awkward, and do not fit well against your body. Although external frames are great for carrying a lot of gear, they just don’t measure up when it comes to comfort.

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. This certainly holds true for the creation of internal frame backpacks. Basically, internal frame backpacks were designed to eliminate all the drawbacks associated with the external frame models. There are a few design features that give this backpack a definite edge over the external frame model. Internal frames are built with the frame on the inside of the pack. This frame is flexible and allows the backpack to fit the contour of your back, resulting in a much more comfortable fit. Internal frame backpacks are also wider at the bottom. This feature lowers the center of gravity making it much easier to balance. You do not have the outer frame to tie things onto, but depending on your needs this can be an advantage or a disadvantage. The fact that everything has to be carried inside internal frame backpacks is a plus when you want to avoid sagging or wet snow. You also do not want anything hanging off your pack when you are doing any off trail hiking or climbing.

Overtraining

Sylvia Cashmore (Peterborough, Ontario) was training for the 2012 Boston Marathon. She was running 6 days per week. Being an avid triathlete (often placing first in her age group), Sylvia was also cross-training 2-3 times weekly. Unfortunately, all of her hard work resulted overtraining and developing a severe nasty cold which jeopardized her training and racing plans.

Sylvia realized she had to change her regimen. She came onboard as a Coaching Client. After recovering from her illness, she cut her running frequency by 50% (from 6 down to 3 days per week), limited her cross-training to two days weekly and implemented two days of complete rest (the latter may have been the toughest change for her to make – we’re sure some readers can relate).

The result? Sylvia ran a personal best in the Peterborough Half Marathon (1:50:43, 1st place, women 60+). Then, she successfully completed her first Boston Marathon, despite temperatures approaching 90F (32C) and stomach problems.

Overtraining occurs when you push yourself too hard for too long – in the short, medium or long term. Too hard usually involves one or more of the following: too much intensity, volume, distance or racing. Inadequate Rest and Recovery are always significant contributors to overtraining.

How to spot symptoms of overtraining?

  • Repeatedly not looking forward to training – not just for the occasional run
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Elevated heart rate (10 beats per minute above normal heart rate when awakening)
  • Chronic heavy legs
  • Chronic pain and achiness
  • Illness
  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Continued poor performance in workouts (that is not attributable to other factors e.g. hormonal)

If you are showing signs of overtraining:

Take a minimum of 3-4 days off from training. This practice has always worked for Bennett. Don’t worry! This rest period will not hurt your race preparedness. Au contraire – it will prevent you from completely ruining your training and racing plans.

Get more sleep. This cannot be over-emphasized. Immunity boosting growth hormones are released during sleep. Research shows that the highest levels of killer cells that fight infection (and promote recovery) are produced after eight hours sleep.

If you don’t feel refreshed after your 3-4 day break, take as long as you require.¬†This is one of those times when you really have to listen to your body.

How to avoid overtraining in the first place?

Follow a training plan that includes plenty of rest and recovery in the short term (microcycle), medium term (mesocycle) and long term (macrocycle). It’s not possible to have a detailed discussion on training plan design in a brief article. Make sure that your training plan includes:

  • Two days of complete rest every week
  • One week every 3-4 weeks where you reduce your total mileage by 25% – 40%
  • After every goal race for which your training has peaked, wait several weeks before resuming hard training. A good rule of thumb is waiting one day for every kilometer raced (1.6 days for every mile raced). That would be 3 weeks for a half-marathon and 6 weeks for a marathon.