Perfect Running Technique

Breathing

Every time I give people running lessons, I keep insisting on the fact that they need to learn how to breathe correctly in order to run properly. Running like any other sport require a big oxygen supply in order for the muscles to maintain their performance. My advice to you is to get as much air as possible using both your nose and mouth to inhale. Making use of your diaphragm instead of your chest will give you an extra space to store oxygen so your muscles get enough of it.

Running posture

I know that everyone can recognize professional posture when they see it. Your arms, shoulders and legs position can increase your running performance easily. The thing you should keep in mind is that you need to stay steady and consistent during your running session. If you don’t do that, then you might end up injuring yourself. If you lean your body forward, then you are going to make use of gravity to increase your running speed.

Balance

I’m sure that you don’t want to put all the running stress on only one leg. In order for you to keep your balance, you need to distribute every action equally on the body muscles. While leaning forward could help you increase your speed, it could also affect your balance if you don’t do it properly.

Different Types Of Runs

  • Tempo. These runs are done at a faster pace – about 80% of your maximum heart rate. You want to feel challenged at the end of this run – but not totally spent. Usually tempo runs include 10 minutes of easy running for a warm up. Then the tempo part of your run for approximately 20 minutes of running. After your tempo, you want to run an easy pace for 10 minutes to cool down. These are great to start building some speed.
  • Fartlek. I’ll admit – fartlek is my favorite form of speedwork! The word fartlek means “speed play” in Swedish. They are bursts of faster running during the middle of your workout. There’s no set amount that you do – they are completely informal. I like to use telephone poles as guidelines. After warming up – run fast from one telephone pole to the next, then slowly to the next, then speed up the next, etc. Fartlek workouts can be fun.
  • Intervals. Talk to many runners and they will cringe when you mention the word intervals. Intervals are usually done on a track. They are repeated sets of fast running at a designated distance – such as 400 meters. You will warm up, do your interval, recover by running slowly, do another fast spurt, slow, etc. If you hear someone say that they are going to do 4X400 – that means that they are going to be doing 4 fast spurts at 400 meters with 400 meter recovery in between. These runs also help you to run faster and help with your breathing at a faster pace.

Protein For Runners

In order to gain the full benefits of protein, most experts recommend consuming between 10 and 20 grams of protein within 30 minutes after a run. This is when your muscles are the most responsive to a recovery boost from protein.

Experts believe that 10 grams is a baseline and 20 grams is the maximum amount of protein that you can take. Less or more than that will not do you any good. A study by the Journal of The American Dietetic Association in 2009 revealed that the consumption of more than 30 grams of protein in a single workout session did not help muscles to recover more than consuming moderate amounts.

The Harvard School of Public Health recommends beans, poultry and beans for runners to eat if they want to consume healthy protein. Steaks are not really good because they often come with lots of saturated fats. A 3-ounce of salmon serving can give you 17 grams of protein and only 2 grams of fat and beans, such as lentils, are even better.

If you cannot find the time to cook a healthy protein meal, you can fuel your energy before a run with smoothies or protein shakes. Just make sure to watch out for protein amounts in those shakes because they can carry a huge amount in a small serving size. Remember, excessive protein will be converted into fat.

As we have said before, carbs and protein can work together to replenish your energy. Nutritionists say that you should aim for a 4:1 ratio for your post-run meals. The Running Times magazine has this good formula to determine how many carbs you should be consuming: divide your weight in half and you will find your carb number. From this, you can determine the amount of protein you should take by dividing your carb number by four.

Exercises For Knee Pain

  • Wall Slide: Lean your back against a wall and bend your knees. Only bend about 30 degrees – you don’t want a full squat. Do not let your knees go out over your toes. Do this about 5-10 times.
  • Bent-Leg Raises: Sit in a chair and rest your foot on another chair. Lift your foot a few inches from the chair while keeping your leg straight. Hold for up to 10 seconds. Lower. Do this 5-10 times. You can work on increasing your time – up to 2 minutes if you like.
  • Standing Leg Lifts: Stand again with your back against a wall. Lift one leg while keeping your knee straight. Hold for 5 seconds. Bend knee to relax. Extend leg again. Do 5 repeats – then switch to the other leg. Try to work up to 10 seconds.
  • Knee Flex: Sit in a chair. Loop an exercise band if you have one under your foot. If you don’t have a band – a towel will work just fine. Pull on the towel with both hands and bend your knee to raise your foot about 5 inches off the floor. Hold and then release. Do 5 times on each leg.
  • Biking: Riding a stationary bike is also great to build strength around your knees. When you begin, try to do 10 minutes and then increase your time.

These exercises will help to strengthen your knees and help keep you out on the roads. A good practice is to get in the habit of doing them as part of your routine – whether your knees are bothering you or not.

Prevent Running Injuries

One of the biggest reasons for running injuries is the “terrible too’s”. So many runners are so excited when they take on something new or have a new goal. This can apply to beginning runners who are just getting started or runners who have been running awhile and decide to take on a new challenge – such as training for a marathon or decided to get faster with their 10K time.

When a runner does too much too soon – injuries can occur. The general rule of thumb is to never add 10% to your weekly mileage from one week to the next. Also, don’t try to add mileage and increase speed at the same time. Too much intensity and too much mileage at the same time can really hurt you.

Another major cause of injury can be your running shoes. Running in shoes that are not made for your foot type can cause injury after a while. Make sure that you are going to a specialized running store and get fitted properly for your foot type. This will help you to run more comfortably, in addition to warding off injury.

Also, make sure that you are not putting too many miles on your running shoes. Depending on your size and running habits – shoes need to be replaced every 300-500 miles. After that – the supportive and cushioning material in your shoes will break down and your feet are not getting the protection that you need when you run. This can definitely lead to injury.

Running on concrete is a big culprit of running injuries. Avoid sidewalks if possible. Concrete is 10 times harder than asphalt and will definitely cause a shock for your legs. I run beside sidewalks instead of on them.

Make sure that you are stretching and working all your muscles. If you are having glitches in your knees – you may find yourself doing all the knee exercises that you can – but ignoring the other stretches that you do after your run. Or if you are nursing a sore ankle – you may be causing extra stress on part of your other leg. Make sure that you are strengthening all parts of your legs to keep balance.

Running In Cold Weather

One of the most important things about running in colder weather is how you dress. There are so many runners that will overdress. If you do this, then you can get too hot during your run and be uncomfortable. Actually, you want to be a little chilly when you first start out. You will warm up as you start running. A good rule of thumb is to dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than it actually it.

You want to dress in layers. And, you definitely need to have your base layer be made of technical, moisture wicking material. This will help to draw the moisture away from you as sweat during your run and help you to stay warmer. Definitely stay away from cotton. It will get wet, stay wet and you’ll be chilled during your run. Your top layer should be made of a breathable material such as Gore-Tex. This layer will also help you if it is windy or snowing/raining.

Make sure that you are wearing gloves and a cap or hat. You can lose 20%-30% of your body heat out of your head and hands. So, you want to make sure that you are keeping them covered.

If you can and you are running out and back, try to start your run heading into the wind. This will make your run much better at the end. The wind will be at your back when you are tired and heated up from your run. You’ll feel better and you will keep from getting chilled.

Even though it’s colder outside, you want to make sure that you are staying properly hydrated. You are still sweating and losing fluids. And, with the cooler weather you sweat will be evaporating more quickly and not cooling your body down. So, make sure you are still drinking adequately.

Running through the colder weather is good for many reasons. And, most importantly you will stay in shape through the winter season. This will give you a head start on your training when spring gets here.

Plantar Fasciitis Exercises

The best thing that I have ever found to treat Plantar Fasciitis starts with a plastic 16 ounce water or soft drink bottle. Once the bottle is emptied, clean it and fill it with water. Freeze the bottle. When the bottle is frozen, you want to roll your foot across the frozen water bottle. Usually about 10 minutes will do the trick. The best thing is to do this after your run and then again before you go to bed.

Another exercise to do involves marbles. Put some marbles on the floor. Then, take your toes and pick the marbles up one at a time and place in a cup or another spot on the floor. This exercise stretches the arch which will help relieve the heel pain. For stretching your arches, you can also place a towel on the floor. Then, take your toes and keep moving the towel toward you.

One of the causes of Plantar Fasciitis is tight calf muscles – you want to do some exercises to stretch your calves. You can even do this before getting out of bed in the morning (when the heel pain is the worse). As you are lying in bed, point your toes forward and hold. Then pull your toes back toward you and hold. You should be able to feel the stretch in your calves.

The stair stretch is also a great exercise. Stand on a stair with the balls of your feet. Slowly lower your heels and hold. This really stretches your calves. If that is too difficult for you – you can stand on the floor and raise your heels.

About Marathon Workout

It’s important that you get the right equipment before you begin training. As you will be severely punishing your legs then decent footwear is absolutely essential. You should get some well cushioned running shoes that will suit your particular running style. If you have any doubt then purchase the shoes from a running shop and ask for advice. Starting your training with new shoes will also mean that you’ll be able to both train and run your marathon using the same pair of trainers. This is much better than switching midway through training. Some people may also benefit from a heart rate monitor and a training log book. This way you’ll find it easier to track your progress and pinpoint flaws in your training.

There are two forms of run that you should include in your marathon workout; these are the short run and the long run. They are exactly as they sound, though the workout drastically varies. The short run should include high intensity interval training. For example you should sprint for 30 seconds, then jog for one minute and then keep repeating the process.

The long run is the most important aspect of training. Not only will you be mentally preparing yourself for the race, but you will be training your muscles to get ready. During long runs you should always stick to the 10% rule. This means that you should never increase your overall running distance by any more than 10%. If you do, then you drastically increase your chances of having an injury.

Another great way to train for a marathon is by cross training in other sports. This will allow you to give your leg muscles a rest from time to time, which is essential to replenish over-worked muscles. Incorporating swimming and cycling into your marathon workout can be very beneficial and will give you that much needed rest on certain weeks.

Designing a marathon workout is very difficult if you have little knowledge of fitness. If you are unsure of what to do then you should seek advice from an expert. Marathon workouts can vary from person to person, so it’s always important that you create your own workout. This will ensure that you don’t get an injury and that you are prepared for the race itself.

Preventing and Treating Ankle Sprains

Sprained ankles also occur in runners who are supinators. These runners’ foot strikes the ground on the outside of their foot and then it rolls inward. This can also cause severe twisting of the ankle. For these runners, you need to make sure that you are buying proper running shoes with motion control. This will help with the excessive rolling of the ankle.

When you first sprain your ankle, you should follow the RICE treatment. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. You want to try to stay off of it for 24 hours. Apply ice to the ankle. You don’t need a fancy ice pack to do this – you can put ice into a washcloth and use it. You use only ice for 15-20 minutes at a time. For the first 24 hours, if possible, try to ice every 2-3 hours. This will help keep down the swelling.

Wrap your ankle in a bandage. You can find ankle wraps and elastic bandages at any drugstore or grocery store. Also, to help with the swelling, keep your ankle elevated – also to help keep down the swelling. If you’ve done all of this and your ankle is still swollen after 72 hours, you should see a doctor to make sure that it is not something more serious.

Most ankle sprains will only last for a week or two. When you go back to running, you may want to wear the elastic bandage on it for awhile – especially if you are doing a longer run. This will help keep you from re-injuring the ankle.

To keep your ankles healthy, you may also want to incorporate ankle stretching exercises into your stretching program. You will especially want to do this if you know that your ankles roll inward when you run.

Rotate Running Shoes

Even if you are running on a day without rain or snow, your feet will still sweat. This sweat will transfer to the inside of your shoes and the lining, etc. will get wet. If it is a rainy or snowy day, you have wetness happening on the inside and the outside. Having another pair to wear on your next run will give your shoes time to dry out before you wear them again.

During your runs, the foam in your running shoes will compress with the strike of your foot. Not allowing enough time for the shoes to decompress, your shoes will break down quicker. In addition to your shoes wearing out before their time, this can also lead to injury if you keep wearing them.

If you have one favorite style of shoe that you like, it’s alright to have 2 pair of them to rotate. You can also run in two different styles – just as long as you make sure that each style is correct for your foot type. This is usually what I do. I wear the same brand, but will have 2 different styles that I rotate.

The general rule of thumb for running shoes is 300 – 500 miles on a pair of shoes. You can keep track of this in your running journal. When I record my run for the day, in addition to my mileage, course I ran, weather, etc., I also write which shoe I ran in. This helps me keep a log of which pair I’m running in each day.

Running shoes are vital to keep you out on the roads running comfortably and without injury. You want to make sure that you take good care of them. Make sure that you are taking good care of them. A good way to do that is to give each pair a day off – even if you don’t take a day off!