Running Farther

Good warm up is the key

When running farther, your mental preparation isn’t actually the only factor to doing it. If you want to run as farther as you can, you need to prepare your body as well. While you don’t really need to do an extensive warm-up and stretching session like if you were to run at your maximum speed, you only need to do a few exercises to prepare your muscles for more strain and to prevent yourself from getting injured (don’t forget to cool down as well after every running session).

Don’t push yourself too hard

I know that most people are impatient because they need instant results. However, if you want to build up a good running endurance, then patience must be in your gear bag. Good runners usually put in very small increments that most people don’t notice. However, after several weeks or even months, these small increments become very obvious to anyone. Try increasing your distance by 5 or 10% each week. When you first start, try to measure what’s your maximum distance that you can’t cross. You should stay in that zone until you become comfortable with it. After a week, try to increase it a little and get comfortable to it and so on and so forth.

Bring company

I always perform better when I have company with me. The reason behind this is that you get motivated when someone is running with you. Motivation is what keeps a beginner runner away from giving up on running the first few weeks. So try to make use of it.

Weight Loss Running For Beginners

Shed Weight with Protein

As you know, protein is critical for muscle repair and proper recovery, but it can also help you suppress appetite by keeping hunger pangs at bay. Researchers at the Cambridge University and The University of Sydney found that people who ate a daily diet comprising of fifteen percent protein consumed less calories protein – 1036 fewer calories over four days – than those whose diet is ten percent.

Ditch the Low-calorie Drinks

Low-calorie drinks are popular but don’t let the label fool you. Research from Yale University found that diet drinks can actually hinder weight loss by making you crave sugary foods. These drinks are usually full with artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharin, which boost blood sugar levels thus increasing your desire for unhealthy snacking and the likelihood of overeating.

Banish the Booze

You may like your beer, but in excess it can wreak havoc on your weight loss and training performance. According to a Swedish study published in the journal Obesity, consuming alcohol boosts cortisol levels and diminishes testosterone in men, thus leading to an accumulation of abdominal fat. Not only that, researchers at the University of Helsinki found that alcohol hinders post-workout recovery by cutting the delivery of fatty acids and carbohydrates for the body.

Make It Consistent

Though the above eating guidelines can help you lose the pounds for good, what makes the difference is consistent action. In other words, you need to implement what you’ve just learned on a regular basis – at least up to the point where you start getting the desired results. To be consistent with your running weight loss program, you need to take small steps, think baby steps. Seek incremental progress, not perfection, as the famous alcoholic anonymous saying goes.

Ways Running Makes Smarter

  • Running helps your brain age better.

We are all worried about gray hair and wrinkles, but how many of you give a second thought to your brain showing signs of age. In addition to preventing or reversing age-related shrinkage, running affects brain chemicals in a way that sets runners up to have healthier-than-average brains later in life. Researchers proves that athletes’ brains showed greater metabolic efficiency and neural plasticity.

  • Running boosts your ability to learn and recall information.

Moderately fit people do better on memory tests than those who were less fit (or not fit at all). There is also a great deal of research that links running to a better ability to focus, to juggle multiple tasks, and to make distinctions. Most runners will tell you that they can focus on tasks way better after they have logged some miles. Personally, I have a hard time focusing if I haven’t had my morning sweat session.

  • Running conditions your brain to store more fuel.

Most of you already know that training conditions your muscles to store more fuel, but you might not realize that your brain adapts in the same way. Researchers believe that larger glycogen stores in the brain may be one of the reasons running boosts cognitive function.

  • Running keeps your brain full of feel-good chemicals.

Exercise promotes the release of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins. Additionally, like many antidepressant medications, running helps your brain hold on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. It does matter where you run. Studies show that best results are achieved when running out in the open, in nature – like in a park, on a trail, or on the beach. Quiet, serene spaces are better than crowded city street, and far better than the treadmill at the gym. Several studies found people in parks experienced brain activity similar to that seen during meditation, while people on streets experienced frustration.

Choose Right Running Shoe

STABILITY

Running shoes that are under the stability category are designed to control your feet from turning outwards when you run, balances your heel, and supports the arcs of your feet. These types of running footwear provide extra cushioning and excellent stability for your feet when you run. These shoes are for runners who lands on the outside of their heels and slightly turns their foot inward (pronates) when running. The arc of these shoes are not as rigid and may have varying degrees of support.

NEUTRAL

The shoes under the neutral category are usually designed with a flexible forefoot and soft but firm mid-sole. These are the best types of shoes when you tend to land on the outside of your foot. You can determine where your foot lands by checking the soles of your old shoes – if the outside of the sole is worn out, then you tend to land more on the outside of your feet. This may also be the best pair for people with a high foot arc. Check if the arc of the shoes you’re planning to buy has enough support or rigid especially if you have a high foot arc. These kinds of shoes support the arc of your foot more than your ankle or your knees. You can observe that this type of running footwear often has a curved sole.

MOTION CONTROL

The soles of running shoes under the motion control category are usually straight or flat. Some designs have slightly curved soles but the main goal of these running footwear is to keep the heel secure and minimize the rate of pronation when you run. These shoes usually have a wider landing base for your heels, and a strong, rigid heel counter. These are good for runners who have flat feet or low arches. Runners who tend pronate their feet and have unstable knees when running can benefit more from these types of running shoes. Check the soles of your old pair – if they are worn out on the mid-sole, then this category is for you.

Here are some tips when buying your running shoes:

  • Walk and Run in the store. Spend time with your chosen pair before buying it. I know lots of people who buys specific kind of shoes just because they discovered that some great runner used it to finish first place in a race. You have different needs and what works for others may not work well with you. Test out the running shoes in the store. Don’t be afraid to take a few steps on them and even run a couple of meters if possible. Some good running stores even have treadmills for you to run on!
  • Don’t throw your old pair – yet. Bring your old pair of running shoes to the store where you’re going to buy your new shoes. If the place where you are shopping for a new running shoes is specifically a running shoe store, they may have staff who knows about shoes and can analyze the wear pattern of your old shoes. Because you will want to try on walking and running on your new shoes, bring your socks with you and any orthotics if you have one. If the running store have equipment for foot analysis, do not hesitate to have your gait analyzed even if you already know your foot arc or foot type. Let the staff know your running history, goals, injuries and what type of training you usually do.
  • Know your soft spots. One of the main reasons why we need to wear shoes is comfort. Your feet should be comfortable enough while you walk or run in your new running shoes. Pressure spots or loose fitting shoes often leads to blisters.
  • Perfect Fit for your Feet. If your running shoes are too loose and your feet slides inside your shoes, you will lose energy on every push off that your feet makes when you run. It is okay to adjust and re-adjust the laces of the running shoes while inside a store. Tie your laces so that you have a feeling of security without discomfort.
  • Running shoes are special. They are designed specifically for forward motion (i.e., running forward), heel cushioning and arc support. If you have time to observe the soles of different types of shoes, you can see that they have horizontal line patterns on their sole. If you plan on using running shoes for other sports or physical activity, you will wear them out faster and you may even risk yourself injury. Cross-training shoes are designed for more lateral support (moving sideways, etc.) and toe flexibility. Buying a different pair like a cross-trainer for other activities is a good investment because your running shoes will last longer and you will reduce risk of injury.

Running With Flat Feet

Luckily, anyone with flat feet can live a normal and happy life. For the jogger, it is essential to take extra care while jogging. There are stretches and exercises that can reduce the suffering caused by having flat feet. These exercises certainly help and can be a part of a long term solution. Some people even find yoga helpful to strengthen their foot muscles and tendons.

Exercises can only go so far; people who run on a weekly basis, need to do more to avoid injury. Many joggers have turned to jogging barefoot, or wearing minimalist shoes such as Vibram Five’s. Many people do not like running without shoes as they offer protection from the elements and hazards. This makes running difficult for anyone who overprontates to run comfortably. Luckily, there is a way to run without pain without sacrificing pain. All of the leading shoe manufacturers make running shoes designed specifically for flat footed runners.

Stability shoes offer ample mid-sole cushioning, while still offering support and durability. The most popular stability shoe is the Nike Zoom Structure Triax + 15. The Asics Gel 2170 is also a reasonably priced shoe perfect for people with low arches.

Motion Control shoes offer more support than stability shoes and are excellent for heavier joggers and walkers. Some motion control shoes are too thick and heavy, but luckily there are a couple of great motion control shoes.. The New Balance 1226 is supportive while still offering flexibility, the design of the Asics Evolution 6 is perfect for anyone looking for superior motion control while not sacrificing comfort.

Anyone who has flat feet needs to take action to prevent injuries in the future. With ill fitting footwear, the jogger is vulnerable to injuries to the whole body, from the feet all the way to the neck. Anyone who stretches their feet properly, and who wears the correct shoes will alleviate most, if not all, of the symptoms and pains associated with having flat feet.

Running With Spouse

First of all, if you run at different paces, it may be a good idea to only stay together at the beginning of a workout together or the end. If one of you is a faster runner, you may get irritated having to run at a slower pace. And, actually, it can be harmful to you. So, plan to just run the first mile (it will be the warm up for the faster runner) or the last mile together.

Another variation of this is if one of you runs farther than the other. You can run as far as one of you wants – and then the other can continue on their longer run. This can be done by doing a loop around your neighborhood and then dropping one of you back at the house. If you go somewhere to run – while one is running farther – the other can make a water run.

Don’t try to be your spouse’s coach during your runs. Barking orders at them can only cause them to roll their eyes at you and be silent the whole run. If they ask for your opinion – that’s one thing. But, if you are constantly trying to get them to run faster, breathe differently, etc; – you will end up running by yourself very soon. A better way is to wait until after your workout and then casually say, “it may help you if… “

If you run a road race together, you don’t want to compete with each other. Instead, you want to encourage each other and cheer each other on to their best race possible. Racing against each other will only cause resentfulness later on. Just be each other’s best cheerleader.

Running on Supplements

Creatine

When I was in high school and college, creatine had just started becoming immensely popular, especially among weightlifters and football players.

Creatine is something that occurs naturally in the body that helps supply energy to the cells in the body, with a focus on muscle tissue. Numerous studies have been done on creatine, and while originally thought to have negative side effects, more recent studies are showing that creatine taken in the right doses could actually be fairly safe. (Talk to a doctor before running out to the store and buying some!)

The theory behind creatine supplements is that they will help boost your energy and recovery so you can push yourself past your natural limits. Creatine has a short burst effect in the body, which makes it better suited for the weightlifting or sprinting crowd rather than the endurance runner.

Creatine comes in many different forms, but if taken in a pill form before an endurance event it can be devastating. The gastrointestinal side effects creatine pills can have will leave you wishing you’d have just stuck with a bagel and banana. If you’re an endurance runner, creatine is best left alone.

Ibuprofen

Oddly enough, this one had never occurred to me as something that athletes would use as a supplement for training. I learned about ibuprofen the hard way having taken it for a headache before going for a run. Like creatine, ibuprofen can have some horrendous gastrointestinal side effects, including destroying your stomach lining.

Ibuprofen has been extremely common for endurance athletes to use prior to running. Runners believe that taking it before running helps mask any pain they might feel while running and let them go longer and/or faster.
Here’s the problem – medicines like ibuprofen and other NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug – which covers pretty much every over the counter medicine except Tylenol) can cause major problems for you, especially if you end up dehydrated. We’re talking kidney failure, heart problems, and even death.

Earlier this year, a healthy 23 year old died during a marathon due to a hemorrhage in his GI tract that was attributed to taking ibuprofen during the race. Is that kind of risk really worth shaving a couple minutes off your time?

Whey Protein

I am a huge fan of whey protein. After I finish a run, I find it’s the perfect snack when mixed with a smoothie. Whey protein is considered to be a safer supplement, easy to digest, and helpful in aiding muscle repair.

Whey protein is the byproduct that’s left after cow’s milk is converted to cheese and is rich in amino acids that work with your muscles.

The thing is though, it’s better taken after a run rather than before. Taking it after makes it easier for your body to digest and will allow it to work with building your muscles after they’ve been worked. Before a run, it may just sit heavily in your stomach and not really prove beneficial.

Like with any other product, you should always do some research before using whey protein, but I do find Designer Whey to be one of the best whey protein products out there. It’s designed to dissolve quickly in liquid, which means your body will have an easier time absorbing it. And it tastes delicious!

Improve Your Running

At the very beginning, this was a tough question for me to answer. I had tried to get into running on several occasions previously. What I found was that I lost my motivation to get out there after a few runs or a week. So the best advice I can give you on this question is to start smaller and build up. Set a schedule that you know you can meet. If that means getting out 3 times a week then go for it, if you have the time and can plan more all the better. You will find that if you have a plan ahead of time and meet that plan, you will build confidence and will be more likely to keep at it.

For me, I found that the minimum I could do and still see the small gains I was hoping for was to run 3 times a week. Less than that and I was not consistently seeing improvements. Not seeing any improvement led to disappointment, and ultimately giving up on the process. Each time I finished a planned workout no matter how far or how slow, it built my confidence and helped me to get out the door on my next run.

If you are just beginning this question is natural. However I would recommend that for the first few weeks, at least, you change the question around. Rather than worrying about how far you should run, focus instead on how long you should run. For me, I was able to build confidence knowing that getting out there for 20 minutes was something I could do 3 times a week. In my previous attempts, I would say I am going to run 3 miles, and I would struggle to get the mileage. Or the goal would end up taking far longer than I had planned. In both cases, the result is you will not feel as though you are improving your running, just the opposite I was developing a negative thought.

Start with a plan that has you focused on a time frame rather than a specific distance. With each run you will acclimate your body to the demands of running. As your body starts to adapt to the demands you place on it, you will see improvements. Maybe your first day out you can cover 1.25 miles in 20 minutes. If you stick to your plan, you will start to see gains and maybe after a week, you can cover 1.35 miles in the same time frame. Regardless of how big or how little the improvement is… CELEBRATE it. That is a success and you worked hard to earn that success.

The biggest recommendation I can give as newbie runner is to finish the workouts you start. If you find that the duration you have set for yourself is too much, shorten the workout rather than continually stopping early. It is a small change, but you will find that you build more confidence in meeting a goal or plan, than stopping short or making it up as you go.

I will be very honest with you while I learned the answer to this question for myself early on; it took me nearly 2 months to fully embrace.

It doesn’t matter!

Almost every run will seem like hard run to a newbie.

Most of us will not be able to run very far without huffing and puffing or feeling their legs ache. This is completely natural and expected. Your body is simply not accustomed to the motions and demands of running. This may occur after ¼ of a mile or after 10 steps. Just remind yourself, that this is only a starting point.

In my first week, I focused on jogging short distances (60 seconds) at as slow a pace as I could without actually walking. Then I walked for 120 seconds, and then I repeated the process. The actual times you choose will depend largely on how fit or conditioned you are when you begin your own journey. I know runners who started at as low as 15 strides of running and then walking. They key is to keep moving and make sure the walking portions are being done at a fairly brisk pace.

Here’s a secret… your heart doesn’t know if your running or walking. When you work harder than normal it is going to beat faster and pump more blood through your system and thereby improve your endurance. You just need to be active. All the while it is becoming more efficient and better at its job and therefore, you can ask more and more from it.

A good rule of thumb to improve your running is to use the 80/20 rule. 80% of your running should be at LOW intensity. Only 20% of all your running in a week should be at a moderate or high intensity. Don’t believe me, check out some of the elite runners schedules. They follow the 80/20 rule.

Items of Running Gear

Headphone

Headphones are a popular accessory for runners and make it possible to continue to listen to favorite tunes while on-the-move. For extra safety and comfort, there are special wireless headphones that make it possible to hear environmental noises or hazards, such as traffic, while out on a morning run. But, for those that plan to exercise on a treadmill or trail run, there is the option to go with the sealed headphones that block out distractions.

Fitness tracker

For those runners that like wearable tech, the fitness tracker or heart rate monitor is a great solution to monitor the running and training. Most come with an easy to read display that can include features like calories burned, pace, distance, elevation and heart rate. In order for features like pace and elevation to give accurate readings, it is necessary for the device to include GPS technology. Other features include adjustable straps to easily fit any wearer and the ability to withstand the effects of rain and sweat.

Waist bag

A centrally placed waist bag gives complete comfort to run with keys, phone, ID or other essentials. Most are large enough to easily accept the latest smart phones or other electrical gadgets you may wish to travel with. The preferred type of waist bag is made with a water-resistant material and includes an adjustable strap for the safe and convenient fit.

Socks

To avoid many of the common foot problems from running long distances it benefits to wear the right socks. Running in the exercise specific socks makes it possible to avoid issues related to toenail damage and blisters. By combining the running socks with a well-fitting pair of shoes the feet are kept healthy. Many of these socks are made in a merino wool and nylon material with no seams which can start to irritate the feet after a long run.

Spiritual Side of Running

When I began running I just had one goal. I wanted to complete a marathon. More than anything else, I think I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. Since I wasn’t really athletic in any other capacity, I told myself, “I can put one foot in front of the other. I”m strong mentally and have plenty of determination. This will be good for me.” So that was it. I began my training to knock this thing off my bucket list. I had no idea that this running thing would turn into much more than just crossing the finish line in a marathon.

The first few weeks were fairly normal. I did my daily runs and tried to get enough rest to have the energy to run my next one. Then, I began my long runs on Saturdays. Although I labelled them “long runs” in my training log, they were more like “short runs”, 2-4 miles at first. Every week I added a mile to my long runs. I did all of my training at an old Civil War battlefield. Most Saturdays I was the only one there. So, I took my iPod for entertainment. I ran every weekend beginning early in the mornings. After about 2 months I hit one of my first big milestones, double digit mileage!

At that point I was pretty excited about all that I had accomplished so far, but it was getting challenging. Physically, the running was beginning to get to me, so I knew I had to rely on my mental strength to get me through the rest of it. After all, I wasn’t even halfway to my goal yet! What had I gotten myself into? But I didn’t come this far to quit. So I kept running, and then something almost magical happened.

The physical pain disappeared. The heaviness of my legs lightened. My energy went back to the fresh level it was before I even began my run. It was unbelievable. It was truly what a lot of people call a second wind. Was it a fluke? Absolutely not. Things changed for me that day.

I realized that I could generate reserves of energy that most novice runners never tap into just because they’ve never had to. I was absorbing energy from every piece of nature around me. I began running without my iPod. I didn’t need music anymore. It seemed that I was creating my own rhythms in my footsteps and my heartbeat. Once I wrapped my mind around the fact that I could just run and run and run as long as I kept my focus I knew that running could be a powerful form of meditation. Running became my way of connecting with myself and the world around me in a way that unified my spirit and gave me the belief that much more is possible than we usually believe. We just have to tap into our higher powers.