Thursday, May 28, 2015

Video:10-Minute Yoga Set for Runners

This short yoga routine will help stretch and strengthen your entire body, and the stretching movements will help loosen tight hips and leg and core muscles made sore by running (or working out). Tight muscles in these areas can affect your gait and potentially cause injury, so it's important to loosen these tight areas.

These simple yoga exercises will help alleviate stiffness and soreness in your lower body and help you get the most out of your running practice. (Plus the instructor is a hoot!)  :-)

Want More Yoga for Runners? Check This Out:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How To Choose The Perfect Pair Of Running Shoes For You

One of the first purchases new runners typically make are running shoes.  It’s a pivotal moment where you go from thinking about running to actually taking the steps to do it.  That being said, not just any old running shoes will do.  To train successfully, without injury or pain, it’s important to choose the right shoes for your feet and running style.

There are four main types of running shoes.  Each is designed for a different type of running.  They include:

* Motion-control shoes
* Stability shoes
* Cushioned shoes
* Lightweight training shoes

Motion-control shoes are rigid shoes designed to offer maximum stability.  They’re a good shoe if you have flat feet, are on the heavy side, or tend to run on the inside of your feet. 

A pair of ASICS stability running shoes, model...
A pair of ASICS stability running shoes, model GEL-Kinsei (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Stability shoes offer a blend of support and cushioning.  They offer support on the inside of the shoe and are designed for normal weight people who don’t need a lot of motion control.

Cushioned shoes offer the least support along the inside of the shoe; however, as the name implies, they offer the most cushioning.  If you run on the outside of your feet, underpronate, or have high arches then these may be the right shoes for you.

Lightweight training shoes are designed for experienced long distance runners.  If you’re just getting into running these won’t be for you – yet.

So which shoe is right for you?

Shoes are designed to place your foot in the optimal running position.  This means your foot is neutral, hitting the ground without rolling to the outside or the inside of your foot, also known as overpronating and underpronating.  The better your foot positioning, the less likely you are to experience injuries, the better you’ll feel, and the longer you’ll be able to run.  Improper foot positioning can cause joint injuries, muscle strains and sprains, and blisters. 

There are essentially three foot types which often dictate your foot position when you run.  Take a look at your foot.  Do you have a flat foot or very little arch?  Do you have a normal arch or a high arch?  If you’re unsure, one way to find out is to take a look at the soles of the shoes you wear the most.  Where do you see the most wear?

If you have a low arch, chances are you’re going to find the most wear along the inside edge of your shoe from your heel to your toes.  This is because the arch isn’t there to keep your foot stable and you’ll roll to the inside when you run.  The best shoe for a flat-footed person would be motion control or stability shoes.

Normal feet typically do best in a stability shoe.  Your shoes will show wear on the outer edge of the heel, under the ball of your foot, and at the front of your sole. 

Finally, if you have a high arch then your foot is likely underpronating meaning you’re arch is so high it is almost pushing your foot outward.  This will be demonstrated by wear and tear on the outside edge of your shoe.  The best shoe for you will likely be a cushioned shoe to give your foot a bit more motion.

Knowing your foot type is a great start to finding the right running shoe for you.  If you can find a shoe store that will give you a personal gait analysis, they’ll watch you run and then be able to tell you the best shoe options, which is ideal.  However, in lieu of a gait analysis, a little time spent trying on a variety of shoes designed for your foot type will help you to find the right shoe to run in without injury.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

[Video] Strength Training Workout for Runners

This short workout is great for runners to help you build strength in areas of your body that can help keep you in shape and avoid injury while running. These exercises will help strengthen your legs, hips, back, shoulders, and core.

You can do this workout with or without weights, and it will take you less than 10 minutes, so let's get up and get going!

Here's Another Great Workout for Runners:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5 More Running Tips For Beginning & Advanced Runners

Last week we covered the top five running tips, but there are always more ways to make running easier and more effective.  The previous article addressed starting small, choosing the right running gear, staying motivated, running when it’s right for you, and pushing through on those tough days.  This week we're continuing where we left off, with some more tips to help improve your running program - no matter what level you're at.

Stretch hips & back after running. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#1. Stretch after you run. 
Many people believe that it’s important to stretch before you run; however stretching after you run is significantly more important.  What is important to do before you run is to warm up your muscles.  This can be accomplished by walking for a few minutes.  When stretching after your run, you’ll of course want to pay attention to your leg muscles, however your neck and back muscles will benefit from a good stretch too.  Running uses your core and stretching will help you maintain proper form resulting in less pain.

#2.  Take days off.  Running every single day will actually cause you more harm than good, and may cause painful overuse injuries which will inevitably force you to take weeks if not months off from running.  If you don’t want to take a day completely off, do some form of exercise that doesn’t require using your running muscles.  Lift weights, do yoga or some other form of exercise to give your joints and muscles a well deserved rest.

#3.  Don’t try anything new on race days.  If you’re competing, it’s tempting to try a new sports nutrition item that day or to wear different clothing.  This is almost always a mistake.  Race days are the days where you do what you best know how to do.  If you want to try something new - and by all means do - it’s a great way to improve, try it on your training days.

#4.  Always tell someone where you’re running and when you’ll be back.  This is a must.  If you live alone and don’t have anyone to tell, then at least write it down and carry your cell phone and mace with you.  When you’re running many things can happen from running into a dangerous animal to being hit by a car.  It’s important to have your ID on you, a cell phone and mace or pepper spray if you’re running by yourself.

#5.  Learn running safety and follow the rules.  Running safety rules dictate that you run facing traffic.  If you’re running at night then a reflective vest and even a headlamp can help you both see where you’re going and help others see you.  It’s okay to run with music however make sure you can still hear others around you.  These are by no means all the safety rules but they’re a beginning.  Learn them and follow them to stay safe.

As you continue running you’re sure to find a few tips that work optimally for you.  Every runner has their favorite running tips.  Chat with other runners, learn from them and share. It’s part of the fun of being a runner!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

(Video) 5-Minute Core Workout for Runners

This short workout will give you a strong core, which is essential for runners to avoid injury. Strengthening your core muscles helps give you better stability, balance and power.

Contrary to what some people think, the "core" doesn't just mean your abs - it also includes your back, butt, hips, and groin muscles. This short workout will work all of these muscles and more, for a firm, strong core - which is good whether you're a runner or not.

It's only 5 minutes long, so you can do it anytime, anywhere, but it will really make you burn!

Like this? Check out this great workout for runners!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5 Running Tips for Beginning & Advanced Runners

Running is a great sport that offers something for almost everyone.  Regardless of whether you are running for health or competition, you can run for a few miles or a few hours – there are even races which last a few days!  However, regardless of how or why you run there are a few tips that apply to just about everyone.

Tip #1:  Start Small.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and deciding to hit the road and run ten miles when you’ve not run nine, eight, seven, six, or fewer miles is a sure way to injure yourself.  Not only that but if you decide to just hit the road without any prior training or buildup you may end up unable to accomplish your goal and end up feeling bad about yourself.  Not what running is about at all!

English: a "low profile" sole provid...
A "low profile" sole provides greater stability. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tip #2:  Don’t Neglect Proper Running Gear.  That includes running bras for the women, support shorts for the men, and well fitting running shoes all around.  Well fitting running shoes are worth their weight in gold and can prevent injuries and needless pain. (Stay tuned later this month for some tips on picking the right pair for you.)

Tip #3: Take Steps to Stay Motivated.  Some people are motivated by running with groups.  The social aspect of it makes the time more enjoyable and they push themselves more if they’re running with others.  Other people are motivated by running by themselves and simply enjoy the quiet time.  Some are motivated by small progression in speed and/or distance, while others long to compete and will be motivated by signing up for an upcoming race.  Find your motivation!

Tip #4:  Run When It’s Right for You.  Often when people get started running they try to squeeze extra time into the day by getting up early and running then.  That’s great if you’re a morning person however if you’re not a morning person then getting up early is going to be pure torture.  Rather than trying to force yourself to be something you’re not, run when it feels right for you.  That can be at lunch, or after work in the evening if the timing is better for your mind and body. 

Running in snow on the Top Gear Test Track
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tip #5:  Know That Some Days Are Better Than Others.  While it would be great if every run were better than the last one and every run felt great, that’s just not reality.  Whether the weather is crummy, or you just don't feel like running, some days it’s just difficult to put one foot in front of the other.  When you get out and run on those tough days and manage to complete it, those are the days to really be proud of yourself.

Finally, and yes the article says top 5 tips, but there’s one last tip that is vital to your success – stay hydrated and remember to pay attention to your nutrition.  If you’re running for more than 60 minutes you will want to take water with you and always consume a high protein snack when you return.  It’ll help your muscles recover more quickly which means less muscle pain for you the next day.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

[Video] Introduction to Interval Running for Beginners

Interval running, or applying interval training methods to running, can be a great way to both improve your overall health and fitness and boost your metabolism to accelerate your weight loss efforts. The interval method helps to strengthen your cardiovascular system, and improve your recovery time, as well as burning fat more quickly than steady-pace running.

If you're a runner wanting to improve your results, or someone just getting started with running, check out this short video to  learn how and why the interval running method works. And feel free to click the link below the video for two FREE sample audio training workouts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting Started With Running for Fitness

It's finally lovely spring weather outside, so for the next couple of months, we're going to share some great tips and workouts for getting in shape for the summer!

Since the weather is so beautiful and it's not too hot yet, we're starting off by talking about getting started with a running program. Running is a great way to get in shape while enjoying the beautiful outdoors!

Beginning running can be a big step for some people. Not only are you committing to better health and fitness you may be committing to losing weight and finding time in your day for yourself.  Once you’ve made the choice to run it’s time to choose a running program. 

Types Of Running Programs For Beginners

One of the most common running programs for beginners involves interval training.  Yes, the very same interval training sprinters use to increase their speed only your goal isn’t’ really to increase your speed your goal is to increase your time running.  Here’s how it works.

Choose a distance or a time goal, for example thirty minutes or three miles.  You can even choose one mile, it’s all up to you.  Once you’ve chosen a realistic distance or time goal, break it up into manageable intervals. 

For example if you’ve chosen thirty minutes, which is the minimum amount of time doctors recommend you spend on cardiovascular exercise each day, then you might decide to walk for four minutes and run for one minute.  If you continue this for thirty minutes you will have walked for 24 minutes and run for six minutes.  Depending on your running speed, you may run anywhere from half a mile to a mile which is a great start. 

Repeat this interval training three days a week, adding one minute to your running time and subtracting one minute from your walking time.  The goal being to eventually run the full thirty minutes and from there you can increase your running time or choose to work on how fast you run depending on your goals. (If you want some guidance with this, Treadmill Trainer has some great iPod workouts to get you started.)

Another type of running program for beginners is to run as long as you can initially, assuming you’ve warmed your muscles up by walking for ten minutes, and then to walk the remainder of the time or distance. 

For example once you’ve warmed up perhaps you’re able to run for five minutes leaving you twenty five minutes to walk.  The next time you head out to run you’ll push it to six, seven or even eight minutes of running while walking the rest.  Eventually, assuming you run about three times a week and you make sure to rest and take care not to push your body too hard, you’ll be running for a full thirty minutes.

Once you’ve reached your goal of running for a predetermined distance or time then your next goals will be to either increase your distance or speed.  So for example if your first goal was to run for thirty minutes without stopping and you’re able to run two and a half miles during that time your next goal might be to run faster so you can cover three miles in the same time or you may wish to run for forty minutes at the same pace.

Creating a running program for beginners starts with deciding why you’re running and what your initial long term goal is.  Once you’ve established that, your next step is to break it up into smaller manageable pieces.  If you have a date by which you wish to achieve your goal, for example you want to be running for thirty minutes three times a day before swim suit season in two months, then you’ll be able to create weekly goals too.  Start slow, pay attention and take good care of your body, and success is almost guaranteed.