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.

About Intensive Running Exercises

Long runs

Long runs involve increasing your usual running distance. If you run an average of 2km a day, you can take it up to 3 or 5km. Long runs help increase your endurance, and make you stronger as well. The longer you are able to run, the better you get. Remember to increase your distance gradually, and take occasional breaks to let your body rest.

Running on terrains

Running on different terrains, such as roads and hills, helps your muscles to develop. Gravity plays a big role on helping you develop your muscles on elevated terrains, since you use more force to push yourself up. Remember to run on a terrain slowly at first, and let your body get used to it first. This will help you avoid accidents and injuries.

Speed workouts

Speed workouts are good intensive workouts for you to try once in a while. In speed workouts, you focus on developing your speed, by performing plyometrics, sprinting workouts or other exercises. Your speed will improve dramatically if you incorporate speed workouts into your running for about 2-3 times a week.

Tempo runs

Tempo running workouts basically involves running hard at a sustained pace for a period of time. This type of running workout improves your running power if you gradually increase the time you do the workout. Your muscles are able to adapt to the current tempo, and you are able to exert more force every time you run.

Stretches for Runners

Stretching before running is a little different than stretching after running. You need to warm your muscles up a bit before stretching by running in place for about sixty seconds. Even then, before running, stretches should be milder than after running stretches. Be gentle with your muscles, remember you are only trying to “wake them up” and get them prepared for running. However, you should never try to push through resistance or pain whether stretching before or after running.

While opinions vary on what the best stretches actually are, here is a list of those stretches that most experienced runners consider to be the best.

  • Wall Pushups, there are a number of wall pushups that you can do and these different exercises are intended to stretch different muscle groups. There are wall pushups for stretching calves, shoulders, hips, lower back and legs. You should do a combination of wall pushups before and after running.
  • The heel to buttock is self-explanatory. Place one hand on a wall and raise and grasp one foot and bring it as close as comfortably possible to the buttock. Then switch and alternate with the other foot. This will stretch your quadriceps.
  • One of the more colorfully named exercises is the Back Scratch. This is done by crossing your arms, grasping your elbows and gently pushing up over your head until your hands are in a position to reach down and scratch your back.
  • The Hamstring and Back Stretch is a simple exercise where you lie on your back, bring your knees up to your chest and hug your legs for about thirty seconds.
  • In the Groin Stretch, sit down and put the bottoms of your feet together, then lean forward with your elbows on your knees and gently push your knees toward the ground.

Aside from the normal running stretches, a moderate yoga program is also a good idea. There are yoga exercises that stretch every muscle involved in running and more.

Clydesdale Runners

Most of the rules that apply to lighter runners also apply to Clydesdale runners. However, there are some things that you need to be aware of and may need to modify your running. Now, I will be talking about “heavier” runners. That is not meant to be detrimental in any way.

First of all, you need to be careful about increasing your hard running. You still want to do long runs, speed work, hills, etc. that all runners should be doing. However, you need to be careful when increasing your mileage and running fast. You are carrying more weight and therefore you are exerting yourself more. So, it is even more important that you listen to your body.

Make sure that you are staying hydrated. You need more water than a smaller person for a couple of reasons. A heavier person sweats more than a smaller person and if a person that is in shape sweats more than a person that is out of shape. So, since you are a heavier person that is in shape – you need to make sure that you are getting plenty of water.

Shoes are important to Clydesdale runners. Make sure that you go to a specialized running store and fitter properly for your running shoes. You need to make sure that you have the support that you need. Heavier runners need a heavier midsole. The salesperson will be able to find you the shoe that will work for you.

It is important for all runners to change their shoes regularly – but even more so for Clydesdale runners. The rule of thumb is to stop running in your shoes after 300-400 miles. If you start noticing them breaking down – you definitely want to change them. Making sure of the support of your shoes will keep you from getting injured.

Make sure that you are using Vaseline or Body Glide on you before you head out for a run. Chafing is a problem for most runners – Clydesdale or not. You want to put this on all areas that you may chafe – where your arms swing against your body, between your thighs, etc. This will help you to stay more comfortable on your runs.

Proper Clothes For Winter Running

Runners should wear clothing that is not only comfortable, but “runner friendly”. What I mean by that is that you should wear apparel made with moisture-wicking fabrics. This fabric will “wick” away the moisture from your body as your sweat and keep you dry. This is important in both cold weather and warmer weather. If you wear shirts that don’t do this – as you sweat, the sweat stays against your body, you stay wet, cold and pretty miserable.

Cotton is the one fabric that you want to stay away from. Cotton will absorb your body heat, your moisture as your sweat and will cling to your body. This makes your run pretty miserable not matter what time of year it is. Most runners that have been running for years can attest to this. We’ve all been out there in our cotton t-shirts before better material became available.

Layering your clothing is the best way to stay comfortable when you are running in colder weather. Multiple layers will keep you drier than one heavy piece of apparel. The different layers will keep you warm while wicking moisture away from your body. How many layers you wear depends on a couple of factors – how cold the climate is your running in, is it raining and how warm you like to be when you run.

Another good thing to remember is that you should dress as if it is 10 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. The extra 10 degrees accounts for your body heat.

Your base layer is the most important. This layer needs to move moisture away from you so that you won’t get chilled. This is the layer where you definitely want a technical shirt – such as CoolMax. For some runners, this layer could be a singlet or for others a long sleeve shirt.

A shirt with a zipper that is a great next layer – especially if you are using 2 layers. If it gets a little warmer, you can partially unzip and allow some ventilation. If it turns cooler on you or the wind starts to pick up – you can zip it all the way up.

When the weather is really cold or if its raining/snowing, you need some sort of jacket. You can find jackets now that are wind-resistant and water resistant. When you are looking at jackets, make sure to look to see if they are venting in the back (and sometimes under the arms). This will allow the ventilation that you need so that your layers don’t get “heavy” as you sweat.

You also want to remember your hands and feet. Be sure to wear gloves and a hat or band over your ears on those super cold days. Also, If it’s raining, I like to wear a cap that is rain-resistant. This keeps the rain from getting in my eyes.