Weight Training For Runners

Doing upper body weight training will help increase your endurance. Many runners find that toward the end of a long run or race, they feel tired across their shoulders and in their arms. They may also find themselves tightening up in their shoulders. Keeping these muscles strong will help with this.

Having strong arms will also help you with your speed and hill running. Cranking those arms will help you move up that hill or help you with that finishing sprint.

Weight training will help you reduce your risk of injury. Doing leg extensions on a bench is a great way to help treat and prevent “runner’s knee”. Leg weight training will also help you keep your leg muscles balanced. Many injuries are caused due to muscle imbalance – you use certain muscles for running and the other muscles become weak. Keeping those legs strong all over will help prevent this – and actually make you run stronger.

Many runners also find that after a program of working out with weights, they start running faster. They are running longer without feeling tired with the help of building their muscles all over. If you are running stronger than you are able to keep up your proper running form.

Remember working out with weights for runners is not about building bulk. You want to use strength training to help you become an overall more efficient runner. Pick weights that you can life 10 – 15 times easily. It is more important to do more repetitions with a lighter weight.

You only need about 15-30 minutes for weight training two or three times a week. This is enough to build up your strength and endurance without the bulk. Also, you don’t need to go out and join an expensive gym. Get a simple weight bench with leg extensions and some dumbbells. That’s all you need. I find that it’s easier to go to my basement for my weight workout. You can work it in during one of your favorite TV shows.

Climbing Equipment for Mountainous Task

Images of mountains are to be found aplenty throughout the sacred texts of the Abrahamic religions. It was on Mount Sinai that Moses was handed the Ten Commandments, having remained for forty days and forty nights – a seminal event in the shared histories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jesus himself gave us the Sermon from the Mount, and the Lord’s Prayer, as well as telling us – according to Matthew – that we could actually move mountains if our faith was only strong enough.

By contrast the common saying about Mohammed having to go to the mountain as it would not come to him has no origins in the Qur’an, but can be traced back only as far the seventeenth century English philosopher Francis Bacon. Nevertheless, according to Islamic belief it was on the mountain of Jabal al-Nour that the Holy Prophet received his first revelation.

Mountains also feature prominently in literature, in film, in art and in popular music. River Deep Mountain High, Rocky Mountain High, the Sound of Music’s invocation to Climb Every Mountain and references to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the Trail of the Lonesome Pine are a few amongst many.

Of course climbing mountains is all about challenge, and the human spirit does like a challenge. People have risked, and indeed lost their lives attempting to be the first to climb a particular mountain, or to scale a mountain using a particular face. The name Sir Edmund Hillary is one that will be known to any serious student of modern history.

Naturally not every attempt at climbing a mountain is undertaken with the intention of breaking a record or doing something that has never been done before. Climbing is a pastime undertaken by millions of people around the world and the requirements of the task vary enormously. Some involve little more than a leisurely stroll up a path before enjoying a well deserved cup of tea at the café that does a brisk trade at the summit. Others involve an altogether more arduous struggle, and climbing equipment to suit.

Arborist Supplies

In order to try to help you get a better handle on arborist supplies, here are some key facts about arborist supplies that should help you make an informed choice.

  • Arborist supplies The Basics- To be safe for any climb the following supplies are needed:
  • Throw weight, throw line, climbing rope, saddle, safety lanyard and a clip.
  • Arborist supplies can also make your climb easier by using different mechanical devices such as ascenders, descenders and foot loops. Spikes/spurs can make your ascent easier, but please remember, spikes are only intended to be used on removals or dead trees. Saddles come in many styles for your comfort and particular style of climbing.. The more serious you are about climbing trees and the more frequently you intend to climb, the more equipment and material it makes sense to invest in.
  • Different people prefer different types of arborist supplies. For instance, some people may prefer a full body climbing saddle while others might prefer less restrictive harnesses for their climb. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there is only one type of arborist gear that will work for you- do your own research, try out different options to find what works and feels best and make your own choices. Just remember to always purchase from the best brands you can find and to confirm that the equipment and supplier produce and sell good quality items.
  • Not all arborist supplies are created equal- even the simple ones. Tree climbing rope is one of the most basic necessities of arborist supplies, but there are still different qualities of rope and different characteristics to look for. Consider the length you need. Majority or ropes come in lengths of 120′ or 150′. Majority of climbers climb on a ½” rope, but some prefer a 7/16″. If you use mechanical devices make sure your rope fits their recommendations for use. Other things to consider is the breaking strength and check out the surface of your rope to find out how well it will work for footlock techniques before you buy.
  • Value-priced products can work just fine in certain situations. Although you never want to get cheap or poorly made arborist supplies, there are some great value price options that can provide you with the protection and climbing assistance you need. For instance, Arborplex low stretch 12 strand climbing rope with polyester and polyolefin fibers is snag-resistance and has a 6,000 pound break strength, so it presents a great option for many climbers.


Runners Over 40

A study by Dr. Vonda Wright at the UPMC Center for Sportsmedicine in Pittsburgh assessed the fitness and strength of recreational masters runners, cyclists and swimmers. Her subjects ranged in age from 40 to 81. Dr. Wright used MRI scans of the upper leg to measure muscle and fat content. She found no significant decline in muscle size or strength due to aging. The MRIs of the quadriceps of her 40 year old and 70 year old subjects were virtually identical. In comparison, MRI scans of a sedentary 70 year old’s quad show a shrunken muscle covered in fat.

Research at the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at the University of Western Ontario found that the leg muscles of runners in their 60’s and 20’s contained the same number of motor units (the reduction of motor units is considered to be a key contributor to age-related muscle loss). In comparison, non-runners in their 60’s exhibited a 35% decline in the number of motor units vs. subjects who were in their 20’s.

A previous Feature Article that appeared in our newsletter You’re Not Getting Older You’re Getting Faster reported on research that concluded that running economy does not decline with age. The higher your running economy, the less oxygen you require to run at a given pace. Therefore, an “economical” runner can continue running at a given speed for a longer period of time than her less economical counterpart. Running economy is reliable indicator of distance race performance.

These research findings are great news! Being able to utilize oxygen efficiently and possessing well preserved muscle strength, middle aged and older runners are capable of fast running and race times.

The same article reported that runners age 40+ are more prone to Achilles, hamstrings and calf injuries than younger runners. “The normal wear and tear that occurs with training seems to take greater time to repair with aging, and older runners continue running at a frequency similar to that of younger runners.”

The study supports our experience that following a training regimen that does not take age into account and allow for adequate recovery time is a leading contributor to injuries among middle aged and older runners.

A followup study at the University of Western Ontario examined the arms muscles of runners in their 60’s and their sedentary counterparts. The study found that the arms of both contained much fewer motor units than the subjects who were in their 20’s.

Clean Running Shoes

Like many runners, I was not someone who cleaned their running shoes because I feared that they would become permanently damaged. However, as an attempt to keep them fresh I have tried hand washing with soap and water, as recommended, yet I could not get rid of the smell. When I grew tired of the smell, I decided to try giving them a try in the wash machine and they came out surprisingly clean. The best part is the smell was gone and when I went for a run, washing them had not affected their performance. Therefore, I recommend that all runners first try this method on their older running shoes.

  1. Turn your wash machine to a gentle cycle with cold water. Never use hot water because it will damage the adhesive and distort the shoes’ shape.
  2. Use an old toothbrush to remove built up mud and dirt before you place them in the washer.
  3. Remove your shoe strings and insoles, these should be washed with your running clothes. The clothes will help muffle the annoying tumbling noise from the shoes. If you have more than one pair of running shoes only wash one pair per load to avoid damaging your machine.
  4. If possible use a non-beach, fragrance free, organic washing detergent. Alternatively, you could use a special sports detergent formulated for performance clothes. Sports detergent is supposed to remove odor without corrupting sweat wicking or water repellent fabric. Personally, I used plain liquid detergent with a ½ a cup of white vinegar and a ½ a cup baking soda. The vinegar kills the bacteria and fungi while the baking soda deodorizes and acts as a fabric softer. Make sure you do not overdo it with detergent to prevent stiff clothes.
  5. When the load has finished make sure you air dry your shoes in the sun or in a warm area of your home. Do not try to put them in a dryer or use a hand dryer because the excessive heat will warp your shoes. Add newspaper inside the shoes to help them maintain their shape and to soak up the extra moisture. After a few hours remove the newspaper and open up the shoe tongue to insure, your shoes dry completely. Keep in mind it can take ten to twelve hours for your running shoes to dry.

Run Less Run Faster

  • Speed: Short, fast workouts repeated several times with short rest intervals in between. For example: Run 800 meters 4 times, jogging 1 lap (400 meters) in between. The interval workouts specified in this program will help you increase your running economy, running speed and VO2Max (or the ability to use your Oxygen supply most efficiently). Many runners see an immediate improvement once they start incorporating speedwork into their routine.
  • Tempo: Tempo runs are medium-distance runs at a “comfortably-hard” pace. The goal is to maintain a fast pace (faster than your race goal pace if you’re training for a longer distance race) for several miles. An example tempo run might be to run 5 miles at 15 seconds per mile faster than your 5K pace. The tempo runs specified in this program will help you increase your lactate threshold, or the ability to keep lactic acid from accumulating in your blood cells at higher intensities. In other words, it will help you maintain a faster pace longer.
  • Long: Most runners are familiar with the long run. Gradually increase distance in the weeks before a race so you are comfortable and confident in your ability to finish. In addition to the psychological improvements, the long run lets your muscles gradually adapt to the longer distances, so you’re less likely to get hurt trying to run much farther than you’ve recently run. The main difference between this program and many others is the recommended pace for these long runs. In some other programs, either long run pace does not matter at all, or you’re told to run at least 1.5-2 minutes per mile slower than race pace. Here, most long runs are run either at or within 30 seconds of race pace. You will finish each workout on pace to hit your goals!
  • Cross Training: Instead of another 1-3 days of running each week, the FIRST program eliminates those extra “junk” miles and replaces them with cross-training exercises such as biking or swimming. This way, you build just as much cardiovascular fitness without adding unnecessary stress to your body.

Running and Self Belief

“It’s odd hearing that from another person isn’t it?” I asked her. I had metaphorically slapped her in the face, in the hope of making a very important point.

I was sitting in my office with a student who had come to me very stressed about why she had failed an exam. I had asked her what had happened to which she replied “I walked into the exam, got extremely nervous and my mind went to water”.

“But why?” I pressed her.

“Because I’m terrible in exams”…

There it was; the answer to all her problems.

This girl is outgoing and confident in all other situations, but her SELF-TALK had betrayed her.

By telling herself that she IS TERRIBLE she had set up a brick wall blocking her success.

I had two options, I could tell her that she is wrong and that she just needs to relax, or I could agree with her and give her some tools.

If someone tells you one thing and you believe something different, then their advice is going to fall on deaf ears. The change needs to happen first in you!

My advice was to first change her physical state. Before going into the exam, she needs to smile, stand confidently and actually feel excited to be there. The next step is to tell herself that she knows the information; that she is going to do exceptionally well and to believe it completely. Then once her perception of what is going to happen has changed, her mind will be more able to find the answers and deliver them.

What does all this have to do with running? For some people, a lot!

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard people say the words, I’m not a runner or I can’t run.

Recently I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to help someone change that self-perception.

In 11 weeks they went from considering themselves a non-runner to running a Marathon, and pretty fast too.

To put this theory to the ultimate test, I am about take on a new challenge with an amazing woman by the name of Donna Campisi. Donna had a major Stroke at the age of 8 years old and lost the ability to walk let alone run. Since that time she has been through an amazing transformation to become the woman she is today. Currently Donna is able to run 30 steps without stopping. My goal for her is to run the Melbourne Marathon in October 2013. That gives me 11 months to help Donna get her self-talk right and with the help of the my team we are going to transform her into a Marathon Runner. In Donna’s own words, she is “excited and terrified at the same time”.


You are going to hear a lot more about Donna’s journey in the coming months and I look forward to seeing how her story will inspire everyone that follows along.

So for now pay close attention to what you are telling yourself. The words you use and the way you feel about them can make all the difference in your success in so many areas of your life.

Rock Climbing Rope Types

Perhaps the most commonly used rock climbing rope is the classic single. This will in general be anything from 8.9 mm up to 11 mm in diameter and is designed to be used as your one and only single rope for protection in the event of a fall. These are particularly suited to modern sport climbing and to naturally protected routes, where the line of the climb does not wander. At the thinner end of the range, the ropes have the advantage of lightness, but are not as durable as the thicker models. Any abrasion or nicking of the sheath makes a much bigger impact on the overall strength and reliability of these thinner climbing ropes. The fatter ropes up to 11mm are easier to grasp, can sustain more punishment and have significantly more resistance to cutting than the thinner versions, but have significantly more weight.

The evolution of the use of double thinner ropes was probably driven mainly by British climbers. This came about, in part, because many lines on our smaller British crags have intricate wandering lines, as the UK lacks the soaring buttresses and mountains of the USA and Europe. Our sport had to make the very best of a much smaller surface area of rock. Double ropes were used initially, in order to reduce the rope drag that could occur with a single rope that was clipped in to the protection first on one side and then the other side of the route, as a climber picked their way up an indistinct line. The use of two ropes meant that each rope could be slightly lighter; travel a slightly smoother path up the route and led to the development of specialised climbing half ropes around the 9 mm mark. Each half rope in the double rope system is rated to take a significant fall by itself. Another advantage, particularly useful on Scottish winter climbs and other large mountaineering undertakings is that, if a retreat is necessary, climbers can abseil the full-length of the rope, rather than half a rope length at a time. This is quicker, more efficient and reduces the number of potentially dubious anchors that the climbers have to rely on.

As climbers and manufacturers strove for lighter equipment, for more extreme situations, twin ropes appeared on the scene. These are the ultimate skinny bits of climbing string. The reduction in weight and diameter produced climbing ropes that had to be used as a pair at all times. Each protection point that was passed had to have both ropes clipped in because the strength of the rope was much less than a half rope. The elasticity of these thinner ropes also meant that a climber fell much further before being brought to a halt and even though he or she would suffer much lower impact forces, the extra distance significantly increases the risk of injury through hitting something as you fall. Used as a pair, the ropes offered as much protection as a single thicker rope in fall situations and gave the advantage of being able to abseil full rope lengths rather than halves. They did however have the same disadvantage of rope drag when the line wandered from side to side; added to by the fumble factor of having to clip two ropes into protection.

The final category of climbing rope is the simple hill walking safety rope which is intended as a reassurance for members of walking party or scrambling group but not as a leading rope. These are typically around 8mm diameter and are the type of rope that walking leader could use to secure members of his group as they tackle steep drops and even when descending simple but steep grassy slopes. These types are clearly marked as being unsuitable for out and out climbing use.

There are a couple of really critical points here. Twins really should NOT ever be used as half or single, simply because of the extension when they are loaded – they’re stretchy little blighters! Although each half rope is rated to take a big fall on its own, it is poor practise to use them as singles, because they are much less resilient than a fully rated single rope. These days it is also good practise to check that the rock climbing rope you are buying carries the appropriate UIAA rope marking label, heat shrunk onto the end of the rope.

Additionally, despite the huge strides in rope technology of recent years, it is absolutely imperative that you check visually and by touch the whole length of your rope every time you uncoil it or take it out of your rope bag. Any cuts or tears in the sheath are causes for concern and need closer checking. If the sheath is torn to such an extent that the core of the kernmantle construction can be seen, then at the very least, that section of rope needs to be cut away. Inspection by touch involves running the rope through your hands and feeling for any lumps or bumps in the core that could indicate damage or degradation of your rope. If you have any doubt about the safety or integrity of your rope, then maybe that’s the day put off the project and go shopping for a new rope instead.