Finding Time To Run With Young Kids

  • Run early in the morning before your spouse leaves for work. If you have explained to them how much you need the time to run, I’m sure that they will be supportive and help you out with the kids in the morning. Even though at first you may not think this is for you – you’ll see how much energy you have for the rest of the day. Also, then you don’t have to worry about making time later on.
  • Join a gym that has child care. You can get your run in (on the treadmill or outside) while your kids have fun playing with others. Another plus side is that in addition to running, you’ll have access to the equipment for cross training or easy weight workouts.
  • Find other parents who want to run. Then you can swap childcare duties with them. You can watch all the kids while they get their run in and then the other parent can watch while you get your run in. This is a win-win situation for everyone if you can find someone to do this with. The parents get their runs in and the kids have playtime with others.
  • Invest in a baby stroller. Many children love to head out with their parents while they are running. It’s also an extra workout for you and gets some fresh air for everyone. This is great solution if you truly have trouble finding time to run. And, if you are a parent who feels guilty about spending time away from your child, this is the solution. You can take your child with you and still get in a great workout.

If you are serious about wanting to be a runner, you need to make getting your runs in a priority. You also need to talk with your family so that they know you are serious about it. Everyone has busy schedules and usually much to do in a day. But with some pre-planning, you can get out there and run every day.

Wear for Mud Runs

Clothing

For mud runs, less is more. Try to get light, tight fitting clothes. Avoid cotton and wool as they pick up water. Any clothing items that wick away water are a good choice. Your clothes might feel light and comfortable dry but wet it can be a whole other matter. A large t-shirt might end up hanging down to your knees after running with it wet for several miles.

Remember whatever extra weight you have on you, you must carry throughout the entire event. This includes the extra weight from water, so keep it light.

Accessories

Just like with clothes, only take what you absolutely must. Most events have water provided and possibly a banana or other food, so you shouldn’t have to carry any food with you.

Carrying your car keys or wallet is just a disaster waiting to happen. Even in a waterproof container the chances of losing them are great and the chances of finding them once lost, are pretty slim. Most events have places to securely store your personal items, or you may leave them with a spectator if you know one there at the event.

Hats, gloves, goggles are not necessary and may slow you down. Most events have a list of recommendations on what to wear. Read them closely.

Costumes

You are at the event to have fun. Many encourage participants to sport costumes. Wearing one may make the event more difficult to complete but adds to the reward factor and goes with the spirit of the event.

Running After an Injury

Most injuries occur when we try to push ourselves to run too far, too fast, too soon. I actually injured my left hip flexor when I tried to do a 30 day run streak. I was only running roughly 3 days a week at the time, averaging about 15 miles. My so called 30 day run streak only lasted 9 days. And I have since been on and off the sideline since the beginning of November.

Depending on the severity of your injury is what determines just how much time off from running is needed. For a mild muscle strain or shin splints, a few days with proper stretching and ice (for the first 24-48 hours) will typically be enough. A moderate injury such as a strained ankle, knee or even a moderate hip flexor injury, generally requires anywhere from one to three weeks off to heal. And when it comes to a severe injury such as a severe hip flexor injury, a runner could be looking at up to eight weeks to fully recover. Only after you have taken the necessary time to complete some physical therapy, massage, and strengthening for your injury will you then be able to gradually make your way back to running.

Trying to run before your muscles have healed will definitely result in you taking even more time off and possibly even injure yourself even worse. I know this all too well, because I have tried more than once to start running before my hip was ready. And as I sit here writing this article today, I am still feeling the pain in my hip, because just yesterday I went out for a run knowing in the back of my mind that it may just be too soon. And, it was!

It is also very important that when you do go out for your first run after your injury has healed, you must take it slow. You can’t just go back out there and run the miles or the speed that you were doing before the injury. Start off with low miles and a slow speed, and gradually build yourself back to your pre-injury running schedule.

So please learn from me… When injured, take the time to heal your body first. And take your time when getting back into your running routine. Come back stronger and healthier than before you became injured.

Running With Your Dog

First of all, don’t run with a puppy. Your puppies’ bones and joints are growing when they are young – just as humans do. So, you want your dogs to be mature enough when they start running so that they don’t get injured. Smaller dogs can finish growing in 8 – 10 months, while longer breeds may take 16 – 18 months to mature.

In addition, you don’t want to run with your dog if he is too mature. You should not run with a dog that is 7 years or older. Remember dog years are more than human years.

Start running with your dog easily. Just as humans need to ease into a running program – so does your dog. Your first runs with your dog should be slow and easy and then gradually increase your mileage. And, as your feet toughen up to running – so does your dog’s feet – or his pads. They will toughen up – but you need to start easy. Keep an eye on his feet after your runs together to make sure they are not tender or bleeding.

Just as you need to stay hydrated, so does our dog. Make sure that you make arrangement for water stops for your dog as well as for you. It is extremely important for your dog to get water on his runs.

Make sure that you have your dog on a leash when you run. It is so tempting for a dog to run off when he sees another animal. For his safely, please keep him on that leash.

Have something with you to dispose of any waste. You know how annoying it can be to “step into something” when you are out on a run. Don’t be the person who leaves something for someone else to step in.

Make sure that you are keeping an eye on your dog that he doesn’t become overly tired. Watch to see that he isn’t overly panting, slowing down or his down. If he shows any of these signs, stop and try to cool him off immediately. You can water him down and get him inside. He may have gone too far on the run or too quickly. If he still acts funny after working with him for 10-15 minutes, you need to take him to see a vet.

Run Efficiently

Shoulders down

This does not mean slouching your shoulders, but think about ‘pulling your shoulders away from your ears.’ Keep your shoulder blades to neutral, not too tensed or not too slouched down. This helps your arm swing and trunk rotation when you run.

Hands to your pockets

Don’t put them inside your pockets, but when you swing your arms keep them to the level where your pockets are or where your hands might slightly brush your hip. Keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle and point your hands forward. Remember that you want to move forward so you should swing your arms forward as well, not bringing your hands in front of your chest to keep your trunk from twisting too much.

Hold an egg

You can observe that a lot of runners tend to clench their fists. This small movement causes tightness around the arms and even tension on the neck and shoulders. Imagine holding eggs with each of your hands – you don’t want to break them so gently cup your hands and relax.

Land comfortably

I once went to a department store in the Philippines to look for a pair of shoes. One salesman ambushed me with his trivia to convince me to buy his shoes. He said that runners should ALWAYS land on their mid-foot. I disagree with this notion because runners have significant individual differences from one another. Most runners would be comfortable landing on their mid-foot but if you have a high arc, it’s a different story. Also in terms of technique, if you want to sprint then you’re better off landing on your toes. Some people will be more comfortable landing on their heels and then rolling their foot, as long as they have enough heel cushioning. What’s more important is your ‘stride length’ – you would not want your leg to be way ahead of you unless you are sprinting. Your feet should land directly underneath your body and as your foot strikes the ground, your knee should be slightly bent naturally upon impact.

Running to Burn Body Fat

Ditch the Steady Cardio

Though a long running session at a slow pace has its benefits, for maximum belly fat reduction, opting for this training approach is futile and a waste of time. Instead, if you’re looking to get rid of belly fat in the shortest time possible, then interval running is the way to go. Also referred to as High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT for short) in the fitness circles, this type of training is ideal for burning body fat in the shortest time span. In fact, doing running intervals burns 3 times as much fat as running at slow and steady pace, according to new research from the University of New South Wales, in Australia.

In addition, interval training boosts metabolism levels through the roof, builds muscle mass-especially core muscles-and improves speed and endurance levels like nothing else.

Interval running combines intervals of high intensity running (80-90% of your maximum cardio capacity), with low intensity jogging breaks for recovery and rejuvenation. The on/off pattern is key for burning colossal amounts of calories without risking injury or overtraining.

A 35-Minute Interval Running Workout

Here is how to proceed with an interval running session:

  • Start with a warm-up. Jog slowly for 10 minutes to loosen up your muscles and get your cardiovascular system ready for the intensity ahead. A decent warm-up improves blood flow and helps you prevent premature fatigue and injury.
  • Increase your running pace to perform your first high intensity interval. Your first high intensity interval should be at no more than 80% of your max for one full minute. Your breathing should be heavy at the end of the 1st interval.
  • Take your first recovery break for 1-full minute. Jog faster than your warm-up pace and get your breathing under control.
  • Repeat the cycle 7-8 times.
  • End the session with a cool-down. Make sure to gradually reduce your running pace into an effortless jog, breathe deeply and stretch afterwards.

The length and intensity of each interval depends mainly on your fitness levels and training goals. If the one-full minute is too much, shoot instead for 30-seconds and build on that. Trying to run in someone else shoes will only get you injured and discouraged, instead find your own sweep spot and gradually progress forward.

Clothing For Running In the Dark

Luckily, times have changed so much since I began running over 30 years ago. It used to be that you could get a reflective vest and that’s about it. Or, you hoped that someone could see the small reflective strip that was on your running shoes. Now, there are so many neat things that you can use to run safely. Read on to find out different things that you can wear to remain safe.

Reflective running vests as well as reflective strips that go around your arms or ankles are still available. And, still one of the best ways to stay visible. The vests are lightweight and you really don’t know that you have them on – and they certainly make you noticeable to oncoming traffic. The strips are also easy and just wrap around and fasten with Velcro. The only downside that I’ve found with these is that when wearing them on your arms -sometimes they will slip and become annoying.

Reflective caps are something that I’ve come to love. I wear caps all the time anyway. You can get caps that are completely made of reflective material. Caps also come with a flashing red light on the back. Recently, I purchased a cap that I’ve fallen in love with. It has lights on the brim. The lights shine as a high beam (to illuminate the path in front of you), a low beam (to see your watch or more closely at your feet) or you can use both high and low beam at the same time. I wore this cap the other morning – and it worked great!

Running tops and jackets have come a long way with keeping runners safe, also. You can get jackets made completely out of reflective material. These work great – and with the newer “runner friendly” fabrics keep you warm and safe at the same time. Also out there on the market now are jackets that have a light source. Saucony makes a great running top (yes, I just had to get one) that has a small light comes with it. The light fastens onto the sleeve and can stay on all the time or you can set it to blink. And, the coolest thing about this – it plugs into your computer to recharge!

If you find yourself having to run in the dark from time to time, make sure that you are making yourself visible to oncoming cars. Luckily these days, you can also do it in style!

Running After 40

When you are training for a longer race or you are just beginning a running program after 40, you need to build up your mileage slower than if you were younger. Many runners do a walk/run program. They will do this and then slower decrease the amount of time that they are walking until they are running the entire distance. This is a great way to keep from getting injured by doing too much too soon.

An important thing for runners is to listen to what their body is telling them. I feel that this is important for all runners (and is what has kept me out on the roads for over 30 years), but even more important as you get older. If you need an extra day to get over a long run or a speed workout – take it.

Doing a weight workout a couple of times a week is great to keep your muscles strong. Make sure that you are doing both upper and lower body work. Leg extensions are a great way to keep the muscles around your knees strong and pain free. Just use a light weight – your plan is not to bulk up, but to stay strong.

If you’ve been running for many years, be aware of the fact that you will probably be slower as you get older. I’ve come to terms with that fact – and I’m alright with it. I take great joy in knowing that I’m still out there running after all these years and many that I ran with when I was younger are not running at all. As I get older, I’m happy with my runs and how it makes me feel younger than I am. Speed doesn’t matter to me at all.

Make sure that you are staying hydrated. As we get older, we sometimes don’t feel thirsty as we used to. So, be aware of this and make sure that you follow the urine test – it should be clear or pale yellow.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs should be done once a week. They will help to increase your fitness level. Tempo runs also train you mentally by giving you the feeling of running faster which will help to build confidence for your road races.

As you begin, you want to start out easy to warm up. Most runners will run slowly for 10 – 15 minutes (I usually do 1 mile of easy running). Then you want to increase your speed until you are running about 15 seconds slower than your 10K speed. If you don’t know what that is, run at a speed that is a hard effort. You can judge this by using the talk test. If you have trouble talking – but not gasping for air – then you are probably at the right pace.

You want to continue at this pace for 15 – 20 minutes. Don’t worry if you can’t run that far at that pace when you are just starting tempo runs. Try it for 5 minutes and then each week build up to runner farther. Some runners will also break it into chunks of fast running. 5 minutes of quick paced running, followed by a minute or two of walking then another 5 minutes of tempo, etc. Whatever works for you is great – it’s just important to get these done.

After your quicker paced runs, you want to be sure to cool down. A nice, easy 10 minutes (or an easy mile) and then you’re done! Make sure that you are doing the warm up and cool down as it is critical to your performance.

Also, make sure that you are entering your tempo runs in your training log. Keep notes on your pace, how you felt, the weather conditions, etc. This will help you with your runs in the future.

20 minutes of tempo paced running each week will make you a stronger runner. However, if you are training for a longer distance run, you will want to increase your tempo runs to 30 – 40 minutes for each workout.

Running In The Rain On Race Day

First of all, make sure that you are wearing a cap. A cap to me when I’m running in all types of weather is a must. When it’s sunny, it helps to protect your eyes and face. When it’s a rainy day, a cap becomes even more important. The brim on a cap will keep the rain off of your face. This helps in many ways. First of all, keeping the rain off of your face just makes you feel better. And, if you wear contacts or glasses, it helps you to be able to see better.

A big mistake that runners will make is to overdress if it’s raining. This will cause you to be very uncomfortable during your race – especially after you start and get warmed up. If you put on several layers, they’ll all get wet due to the rain and sweat and you’ll be carrying around that extra weight. See what the temperature is and dress accordingly, as if it were a dry day.

However, you can wear a garbage bag while you are waiting around the starting line to keep the rain off you. Get a large size bag and make holes for your arms and head. Wear it around the start – then take it off once you get moving and warm up. Make sure that you throw it to the side of the road so that you don’t cause someone to slide and fall on your discarded garbage bag.

Many runners that don’t usually have a problem with chafing will if it’s a rainy day. To prevent this, use Body Glide or Vaseline where you may chafe – your inner thighs, underarms, etc. Also, make sure that you put some on your feet. This will help prevent blisters from the extra moisture of the rain.

Make sure that you have dry clothes waiting on you at the finish line. You’re may be warmed up from your race, but you can still get chilled easily. If you have family or friends with you, you can leave your dry clothes with them. If you are at the race by yourself, most races have a drop off and pick up spot for clothes.