Simple Techniques To Prevent Running Injuries

The last thing you would want is to get an injury from running. In order to avoid this painful and unfortunate scenario, here are some simple techniques that you may want to always keep in mind.

The first technique is related to your mileage. According to expert runners, it is important to avoid increasing your mileage by more than 10% in just a week or under. Your body should be given the time to adjust naturally to the number of miles that you run. If there is sudden increase in your miles, it puts you more at risk of injuries.

Another one is about uneven surfaces. As much as possible, run on cemented roads to avoid putting stress on your ligaments. If you are doing rough terrains, make sure that you have prepared well for it.

One of the most important techniques is to learn to listen to what your body tells you. Most injuries do not just happen in a snap. Most of the time, you will already experience symptoms that can be considered as signs of an impending injury such as persistent pain and soreness on specific body parts. Pay attention to these.

You probably have heard this tip countless of times, but it is so crucial that we need to reiterate this to you. Do not forget to warm-up and cool down before and after every run. This will give the body time to adjust and will also prevent injuries.

Lastly, remember to dress appropriately when running. A complete running outfit will not only give you the inspiration to run better, but it can also help prevent injuries. If you want to avoid distractions from the things that you need to carry, a good running belt is a good idea to purchase. For a comprehensive review of the top running belts brands, you can check out a list of the best belts for running.

There you have it! These are just some of the most essential techniques to prevent injuries. Keep in mind that aside from fun and the health benefits that you will get, safety should always be on top of your priorities.

 

Awesome Health Benefits of Running

A lot of people exercise to lose unwanted weight, but did you know that you can actually get other benefits when you work out? According to studies, exercising can give your physical and mental health a boost. If you are looking for an inspiration to be more active, reading up the benefits in our list will surely give that to you.

1. Exercise can help you to sleep better. Researchers discovered that regular exercise can significantly improve a person’s sleep patterns. This is, of course, good for the health since sleep allows the body to reenergize as well as heal.

2. Being physically active can help manage your stress level. If you regularly exercise, your body produces a chemical that can help the brain fight out stress. In addition, it can boost your happiness level. If you are feeling down, a good workout can definitely improve your mood.

3. It can help prevent premature aging of the body. Also, it can reduce your risk of developing many age-related health conditions.

4. Exercise can help strengthen your immune system. To put it simply, being physically active is a great way to help your body fight off diseases. This is especially important because as we age, the immune system may become more vulnerable.

5. It is not only the immune system that gets the boost when you exercise. It is also very good to improve brain function. Researchers discovered that being physically active can help prevent the development of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

6. Aside from preventing degenerative diseases, it can also help boost your memory. In one study, the research showed that running is directly related to vocabulary retention.

7. Doing weight-bearing exercise can help prevent osteoporosis. It helps in keeping the bone strong and healthy.

8. Exercise can aid in better digestion. While there are many other causes of constipation, the lack of physical activity is a huge contributing factor.

9. Being physically active decreases your risk of getting cancer. Studies suggest that exercise is directly linked to the development of certain types of cancer such as in breast and colon.

10. Exercise can help you achieve a radiant and youthful-looking skin. When you exercise, the blood flow in your body improves. When this happens, the nutrients found in the blood can easily be transported to the different parts of the body such as the skin.

11. Workouts can boost your self-confidence. If you are happy with how you look, it can directly help with your self-esteem.

12. When you workout outside, you become more in tune with nature. You will also be able to gain the positive effects of soaking under the sun. With the help of Vitamin D, depressive symptoms can be lessened. Just make sure to apply sunscreen for protection. Fresh air and beautiful sceneries will surely help you to clear your mind especially during tough times.

So, what are you waiting for? It is time to bring out your workout outfit and start on a regular exercise regimen. To get you in the mood, you can check out awesome workout outfits at Gymshark’s website.  Gymshark are a UK fitness clothing brand. You can save money by using a Gymshark discount code or Gymshark coupon over here.

Aerobic and Anaerobic Running

It’s only natural for runners (beginner, casual, as well as seasoned) to want to maximise their running performance. When we say running performance, we are referring not only on the speed of the runner – aerobic development and anaerobic capacity is important as well, along with other factors like running economy, stamina, etc. Knowledge of when to do aerobic running and the ideal time to apply anaerobic running plays a crucial role in giving the best runners their supreme running performance.

In order for you to find out form the best running strategy, first, you must understand what aerobic and anaerobic running is.

Aerobic running is the state of running wherein your body has enough oxygen. When you run, your body needs oxygen to be taken in and then be transmitted to your system so your muscles can produce adequate energy to fuel you in your run.  Water and carbon dioxide are produced when you run aerobically.

You can determine that you’re doing an aerobic run when you can still maintain a conversation while you run without having to gasp for air. Running casually or recovery runs are examples of aerobic running, where you don’t necessarily push yourself to the extremes.

Anaerobic running, on the other hand, is the running state when your body does not have enough oxygen. And when your body does not have enough supply of oxygen while you run, the tendency is your muscles will burn sugar instead to get the energy you need.  Anaerobic running is common when you run faster or change your running pace; for an example, when you are running towards the finish line of a race.

When you do anaerobic running, though, your body produces excessive lactic acid together with what it normally produces when you run aerobically. The problem is that too much lactic acid is not something that your body can easily get rid of. Hydrogen ion is one of the side effects of lactic acid and additional hydrogen ions in your system hinder your energy reactions and affect your muscle contraction. This causes severe exhaustion.

The longer amount of time you run in an anaerobic state, the more lactic acid your body will produce and, therefore, it will take a much longer time for your system to wash this amount of lactic acid away.

When you join a running event and started running at a faster speed than you normally can, it is likely that you will enter anaerobic state sooner and your body will start producing lactic acid that will make you exhausted even before you complete half of your run. It’s more advisable to start running at a fast pace but make sure that your speed is still well within what you can manage. Simply put, start running aerobically at first so you can save your energy for later. You can start getting into the anaerobic running state towards the end of the race instead.

It’s important to know the difference between aerobic and anaerobic running so you know when to apply each of them, especially during a marathon. If you started running anaerobically too soon during a race, you may get exhausted a lot sooner too and would have to switch back to running aerobically which may still be hard to sustain even with the slower pace because of the excessive lactic acid already in your system, causing fatigue. Start aerobically, conserve your energy, and begin running anaerobically when you’re nearly at the finish line to make sure that you will be able to complete the race.

Mistakes When Running On Treadmill

Running on a treadmill is a convenient way of maintaining fitness and keeping your body active every day. Treadmills are helpful even to runners who are used to outside running – specifically when the weather condition is not ideal for running, or if you’re simply too busy to prepare your full running gear and run outside.

Treadmill running can be an excellent means of keeping your body strong and fit. Though getting on a treadmill and start running seems easy and simple enough, there may be some common mistakes we tend to commit while running indoors. There are some seemingly trivial, simple practices runners do on the treadmill that can greatly affect their performance in the long run if not corrected sooner.

Running on a treadmill can be a monotonous, and well, sometimes boring activity, especially if you’re running alone at home. So, some of us would usually turn on the TV so we can have something to distract us while running.  Yes, watching a show or reading a magazine while running can distract you – but they can be too much of a distraction that you may be lured from your running goal. When you’re running while watching your favourite television show, there’s a possibility that you would lose focus on your posture or even your running pace.  You may want to stick to your favourite music to give you rhythm while running and remember to be focused with every step. Remember your goal for running, may it be to lose weight or just a daily workout routine to keep fit. You can always watch the television later, while you’re cooling down after the workout.

However, if you’re so used to running with the television on and you’re certain it won’t be a distraction, just make sure that your television is placed in a perfect spot that won’t affect your posture while running and trying to see the television screen at the same time. Craning your neck or leaning to your side while on the treadmill will affect your posture, your balance, and may also cause injuries. Ensure that you place your TV in a position wherein you don’t have to lean or turn your head just to see it. Maintain straight posture while you run.

Another mistake treadmill runners usually overlook is relying on the treadmill’s handle bars for support. While those handle bars were added for a specific reason (yes, safety), when you use it to support you while running, you actually let it carry some of your body weight. Your body would be a bit more relaxed but you may not be able to burn as much calories as you would if you’re not holding on to them. Also, the idea when you run on a treadmill should be to get the same fitness benefits as you would when you run outside – and when you run outdoors, you don’t actually get the luxury of having something to physically lean onto.

One mistake you should avoid when you’re running on the treadmill is to sticking to the very same running routine every day. If you want to get different results, you have to adjust you running workout, too. Try changing your speed for a day, go faster or go slower. Change your pace, change your running intensity, and maybe even change the incline. You’ll achieve different results if you try to modify some aspects of your running habit.

Setting the incline on the treadmill too high is another mistake. Even if you run outside or when you engage in trail running, you don’t usually climb steep steps for hours. Adjust your incline to match what you would realistically encounter if you run outside.

Some runners who use the treadmill are just too busy to run outside that they tend to skip warming up. Warming up is essential in preparation for running – even if it’s just a treadmill run. Make sure you warm up to lessen post-workout body pains and to avoid injuries.

Treadmill running is a handy and excellent way of taking care of your body even when you’re just indoors. You can enjoy and maximise the amazing health benefits of running on a treadmill at a much sooner time if the workout is done correctly.

Shoes On or Shoes Off? Are You Ready To Run Barefoot?

For many years, there has been debate if running barefoot is truly a good practice for runners. Some world-class runners, like Abebe Bikila, Bruce Tulloh, and Zola Budd, have won on marathons, earning gold medals, while running without shoes on.

Numerous studies and researches were also conducted to prove that barefoot running is the best way to go. One of the studies was led by Dr. Griffith Pugh and Bruce Tulloh in 1961. Their scientific research revealed that barefoot running gives a 100m advantage in a 10,000m race and that barefoot runners can accelerate more quickly than runners with shoes. Christopher McDougall, the author of Born to Run—the book that has inspired runners to try barefoot running, claims that our ancestors have survived running and hunting for years without shoes.

Contrary to this, common sense dictates that wearing shoes will protect our feet from harmful objects we may come across with while running such as broken glass, nails, or anything that may wound our feet. Dr. Matthew Silvis, M.D., a sports physician at Penn State, has reportedly observed that the number of injuries have significantly increased in runners opting to try barefoot or minimalist running.

While Dr. Griffith Pugh and Bruce Tulloh’s discovered that barefoot running increases speed, some experts on running argue that wearing shoes, especially heavier ones, will improve leg strength. Alf Shrubb from England, who holds multiple world records, used heavy shoes for training in the 1900s.

With many runners claiming that barefoot running is better than shod running while several others believe otherwise, it’s fairly difficult to know which one to follow. However, for runners who intend to transition from running with shoes on to running barefoot, podiatrists advise to take one step at a time and do so gradually to avoid injuries.

Overuse injuries are common in runners new to barefoot running that, even Daniel Lieberman, Ph.D., the evolutionary biologist from Harvard who helped propagate barefoot running, advised that: “Running is a complex skill that you can’t learn how to do just by taking off your shoes.”

Although switching from shod running to barefoot running isn’t easy, there are still ways to minimize the risks of getting injured and even make the transition much easier.
You may start by walking barefoot to get to experience how it feels. Barefoot-Running Legend Ted McDonald advised runners transitioning to barefoot running not to focus on speed yet and wait for their feet and bodies to ‘tune in’ to barefoot running. He even admitted that the transition to barefoot may take years.

It is also better to start barefoot running on flat grounds instead of going uphill. Running uphill barefoot puts more strain on your feet, legs and muscles—which may lead to injuries.
Also, make sure that you land midfoot or forefoot in every stride, a research from Harvard University discovered that runners who use heels in landing experience more injuries than those runners who use their forefoot or midfoot to land.

In short, the option to run or not to run barefoot will still depend on the runner. If you feel that you can do it and you’re comfortable running without shoes, then why not?
Barefoot or shod, with or without shoes, it is inevitable to experience injuries while running. Still, with proper precaution, these injuries can be avoided. Learning proper running techniques and applying can be a lot of help in injury prevention.

How to Deal With Post-Running Pains

Muscle soreness and body pains are just normal after effects of running. The higher the intensity of your work out, the greater pain you feel. According to surveys, one of the main reasons non-runners don’t like running is because of sore muscles you get after engaging in the exercise.

Even though it is a given fact that muscle aches and soreness come with vigorous workouts such as running, it doesn’t mean that you just have to suffer from the pains. Some runners turn to over-the-counter pain relievers, massages, alternating between hot tubs and ice baths to get rid of the body aches running causes. Luckily, there are other ways that can help lessen and ease the pain.

Some pre-running habits can be done to lessen the pain you will have to endure after every run. One of them is drinking coffee before running. Caffeine does not only boost running performance and gives energy. A research conducted at the University of Illinois revealed that caffeine blocks adenosine—this is a brain chemical that processes pain. The research also revealed that drinking coffee before running (or any other exercise) reduces the soreness felt in the muscles after working out. Drinking energy drinks before and during running can also decrease the intensity of pain felt after running. When you drink energy drinks before or while running, you fuel your muscles with the carbohydrate level they need, thus the muscles don’t have to use their own proteins much sooner. Including amino-acids, healthy fats, and protein to your diet (especially the one you’ll have before and after running) also decreases post-running muscle soreness. Taking in supplements can also be beneficial in easing the pain after running.

A muscle-building supplement known as creatine is proven to reduce some painful aftermath of running such as muscle cell damage and inflammation. Another way of reducing muscle soreness after running is by not overdoing the workout. Take things one step at a time and gradually increase the intensity to allow your muscles to get used to the exercise. Stretching and warming up before running also helps a lot. Warming up prepares the muscles and makes it more flexible as well. Doing cool down stretches after every run also helps in lessening muscle pains.

Getting enough rest after running is still very important. Give your sore muscles time to heal. Performing light exercises such as brisk walking can still be done while waiting for your muscles to fully recover. Although muscle soreness and muscle pain are to be expected after running, it is essential for you to watch out for signs and symptoms that the pains may be caused by an underlying problem.

If you experience sharp, severe, sudden pain while running, you should stop at once to prevent an injury. You should also see a doctor immediately. Muscle aches and pains are an inevitable part not only in running, but in every form of workout. Just keep in mind to not push yourself beyond your limits. Taking good care of your muscles and your body will go a long way.

The Running Costs Of….Running

Money can be tight in the current economic climate and we are always looking for ways to tighten our belts and save some extra money. Usually the first things to go are those little luxuries or going out less often but we shouldn’t be looking to cut running out of our daily lives. We are lucky that running, compared to other sports, is relatively cheaper and there are ways to make it cheaper still.

Costs Associated With Running

The most obvious cost is shoes, a pair of running shoes usually only lasts for 300 to 500 miles so you can probably go through several pairs a year. You may be tempted to go for the cheap and cheerful brands but this is one area where you have to go for quality. Although quality is usually associated with price that doesn’t have to be the case. Some cheaper brands do make high quality running shoes and always be on the lookout for great deals and bargains. I like to purchase from startfitness.co.uk, you can find some good deals on there.

Running clothes are next on the list, you won’t need to buy these very often so you can wait until they are on sale. They may be “last season” but honestly who cares we are running on a track or a road and not on a catwalk.

Entry fees for races can be one of the biggest expenses for those who are inclined to compete. These are a variable cost and are completely optional although I would always recommend competing at least a couple of times a year. You will usually get some free stuff like t-shirts when competing so at least it will save you money in other areas.

Nutrition and supplements can add quite a bit to your grocery bill. All those extra calories you are expending during your run need to be replaced somehow and that’s through extra food. If you are burning a few thousand extra calories a week you are going to be adding several pounds to your weekly shopping bill. In terms of supplements I am always looking out for specials promotions and deals such as a discount code at Myprotein.

If you are unlucky and get injured you may have to spend money on your rehabilitation. Usually most injuries can be healed for free via some rest and ice or for a minimal cost such as some plasters. A serious injury is pretty rare though as long as you have a good pair of running shoes and you warm up and down correctly.

Running can easily cost several hundred pounds every year but perhaps the biggest drain on your resources is in terms of your time. Your average run may take an hour but once you add in stretching, warming up, cooling down, preparing, showering etc two hours a day are easily swallowed up. The economist in me may want to apply opportunity cost to this scenario but you can’t put a price tag on your enjoyment and most importantly your health so in my opinion it’s time well spent.

3 Common Mistakes That Beginners Make

Every runner goes through multiple stages of their running career often experiencing a whole range of emotions when they are just starting out. Once you get the first few weeks out of the way you can start building upon this foundation and running is no longer just running for the sake of it but transforms into training.

On this transition into actual structured training beginners tend to repeat history often making many of the same mistakes of the runners that came before them. Here are some tips on how to avoid these so that you can fun faster and avoid injury.

Most runners have a very monotonous style of training running at the same pace for most of their runs. You should try to start structuring your runs so that you can start running faster. Faster doesn’t necessarily mean harder but it does mean training smarter.
You can try some of these workouts to improve your speed:-

Run strides a few times a week after your easy run workouts. Strides are where you accelerate over 100m. You should start at a slow job and increase your speed until you reach about 95% of your max speed. Each stride should take approximately 25 seconds.

Once you have completed a few weeks of strides you can then incorporate fartlek workouts. Fartlek means speed play in Swedish and is a unstructured workout of time based intervals e.g. 8 x 30 secs or 5 x 2 minutes.

Consistency Is Key To Making Progress

Just like anything in life, you will only get results and improve at something when you dedicate hours upon hours honing your craft, running is no different. You are not going to see results after 1 session, you will only see results after weeks of training and not missing sessions. If you do miss a week of training don’t be surprised to see that your fitness levels have regressed and it may take a training session or two to get back into it.

Create a schedule and be sure to stick with it. Try to run at least three days a week, any less and it will be hard to see any significant improvement. Stick to that training frequency when you are a beginner, after a month you can consider increasing your frequency up to 4 days per week. Consistency is key to seeing rapid results.

Strength Training

Strength training is often overlooked by runners and most may view it as unnecessary. You don’t need to be under a barbell lifting heavy weight, bodyweight exercises are more than sufficient. Bodyweight circuit training and core routines are a great way to strengthen any weak points and reduce the chance of injury. Try to do 15 minutes of strength training after each run.

These are only bodyweight exercises so they are suitable for beginners and it isn’t complex; you don’t need special equipment and they can even be done in the comfort of your own home. Good exercises that have the most carryover for runners are lunges, squats, planks, push ups, superman. Stick with these basic exercises and as always focus on progression adding in one extra push up or holding the plank for 5 more seconds.

Tips On How To Run A Faster 5000m

So you want to run faster over 5k? It’s pretty straightforward once you identify the key components of how you are going to reach that goal.

The 5k is over 90 percent aerobic and so the bulk of our training should be focused at improving our aerobic work capacity. This means that we can’t start cutting out our long, threshold and fartlek runs. All of these workouts are great ways of improving our aerobic capacity which will directly translate to a faster 5k.

Our goal is to be able to run a 10 to 15 second faster 5k time and we will try to achieve this by running 1 second faster over each 400m. This 400m split time will be our goal pace, goal pace is what we will be shooting for when we conduct our race pace workouts.

We will be using a track in order to do these race pace workouts. Some people may not enjoy using a track but it is the best option for race pace workouts. You will get much better accuracy at judging your pace on a track in comparison to using GPS for example.

5K Race Pace Workouts

The first workout that you can use is broken down into 10 x 500m with an additional 100m float after each 500m. You should run the 500m at your goal pace and then you can reduce the speed over the next 100m as a recovery, it should still be faster than a jog however.

In order to progress on this workout a few weeks down the road, instead of reducing your speed during the float portions you can maintain the same pace so in effect you will be running 5,900m at a fast pace. You will be covering the same distance but at a much faster pace thus giving a greater stimulus.

Other Possible Workouts:

• 12 x 400m taking 30 seconds rest at the end of each 400m.
• 5 x 1,000m jogging for 200m as a recovery at the end of each 1k.

This is similar to the 10x500m option so in order to progress you can increase the pace of the 200m recovery portion.

Is It Advisable To Run Faster Than Your Planned 5k Goal Pace

If you only run at your goal pace you are obviously not going to develop much leg speed and so if you want to develop this you will have to do some running at faster than your goal pace. This work is better placed on the day before your goal pace work is done for recovery and performance reasons.

As an example workout you can do 4×30 seconds at a pace that is faster than your 5k pace. Be sure to include 60-90 seconds of a slow jogging between each. As this is based on time and not distance you don’t have to do these on a track.

If you do prefer to run on a track you can do a slight variation of these and instead run 5 x 200m with a slow another 200m slow jog in between. This short simple workout will make you feel much better for your 5k workout the next day and will give you that extra kick in the last 200m of your 5k race.

How To Treat Lower Back Pain Injuries From Running

Back pain is a common issue and can come about via both being active and inactive. Lower back pain in runners is not necessarily from running but may also be from poor posture from sitting in front of a computer all day.

Publish research suggests that back pain in athletes is less common than in the general population. This same study looked at runners in isolation and found no correlation between miles ran and lower back pain.

Whilst this is certainly good news for runners who don’t suffer from back pain this isn’t much help to those that currently suffer from it. Lower back pain is often brought about by a lack of hip mobility and incorrect core stability. Since the word core is often thrown about willy nilly it is important to understand what we actually mean by core in this case.

One of the most important parts of the core that contribute to back pain is the hips. Runners often suffer from a lack of hip mobility and are therefore not as flexible as they ought to be. It is believed that poor hip mobility coupled with tight hamstrings can lead the pelvis rotating out of its natural alignment and thus increasing the strain on the spine.

Poor form when running can also contribute to lower back pain, although it is recommended to see an expert who can properly diagnose form issues and teach you corrective exercises to solve the problem. Often times it will take specific exercises in order to correct form and it is not something that will correct by itself.

Each individual is different and there is not one exercise that will solve back pain for everybody. One person’s back pain may be causes by flexibility issues and another might be due to muscle imbalances for example.

Hill workouts can often exacerbate an existing back problem, this is due to the increased arm drive and forward lean you utilise when trying to run up a hill. You can try excluding these types of workouts from your training schedule to see whether or not your situation improves.

You can also try insoles or even a completely different type of shoe. This can change the support mechanisms and the movement patterns of your hips. Arch support and even heel to toe angles can change significantly depending on these factors and can help alleviate lower back pain.

Whilst running will definitely lead to a healthier and fitter you it is important to realise that it is just one part of it. You will need to incorporate mobility and strength training into your training program in order to maximise the health benefits and to make sure your body is operating as it should be.