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Running

Sprinting as Workout

If you’ve been doing long, slow cardio, such as jogging, cycling, or swimming, for awhile without losing much weight or becoming much leaner even though you keep increasing your workouts, there is a simple explanation: too much cardio actually makes you fat. Excessive cardio increases stress hormones and down regulates the hormones, such as growth hormone and testosterone, that preserve muscle. In additon, elevated stress hormones make you insulin resistant, which leads to overeating as well as to eating foods that contribute to insulin resistance, such as sugars and starches.

Despite their appearance, many joggers and cyclists are not really lean. They may be slender because they have little muscle mass, but their body fat percentages are often surprisingly high.. In contrast, sprinters are lean and muscular with low body fat percentages. They have high human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone levels–good for both females and males. Think back to the last track meet you saw. Who would you rather look like: the sprinters or the distance runners?

Benefits of Sprinting
1) Sprinting will reduce body fat and strengthen you far more than long, slow cardio because sprinting requires maximal recruitment of muscle. After about 8 seconds, sprinting sends acid signals to the muscles, which activates the fast twitch fibers. Fast-twitch fibers are thicker than slow twitch fibers, and it is fast twitch fibers that grow in size when activated by the right training.
2) Sprinting naturally increases human growth hormone. Human growth hormone increases muscle mass, thickens and adds flexibility to the skin, enhances the immune system, promotes weight loss through fat redistribution and loss, and increases stamina.
3) Sprinting strengthens your cardiovascular system with brief bursts of high intensity followed by long periods of recovery. You strengthen your skeletal muscles by doing heavy, low-repetition sets with long recoveries. You should strengthen your heart the same way. Sprinting doesn’t cause the continuous stress on the heart that long, slow cardio does.
4) Sprint workouts are short and a lot more fun than long, boring cardio workouts.

The Definition of Sprinting
Based on the misleading articles and workouts I’ve seen posted all over the web, I’d better define what sprinting is. Sprinting is not just running faster than a jog. You cannot “sprint” for 30-60 second or even more with an equal recovery for 6-10 repetitions as some fitness “experts” advise. This is an anaerobic or interval workout. It’s far better for you than plodding along the road or on a treadmill, but it’s not sprinting and won’t give you the benefits mentioned above. Sprint means “to race or move at full speed.” Think playing tag or running to first base after a hit. Sprint workouts feature short, high-intensity repetitions and long, easy recoveries.

Where to Do a Sprint Workout
A track is the best place to do sprints because it’s marked (in meters), and its surface is ideal for sprinting. A grass or dirt surface is next best; however, check your course for gopher holes and such before starting your sprints. Twisting an ankle will end your sprint workouts for awhile. The one place not to do your sprint workout is on concrete. Your back will thank you.

How to Do a Sprint Workout
Start your workout by warming up for about 5 minutes. Measure out a course from 50-100 yards (or meters) long. Remember that you need to sprint at least 8 seconds before your body sends the signals that produce human growth homone. Do 5-10 repetitions. The total distance of your sprints should not exceed 400-800 yards or meters. Between repetitions, walk slowly at least twice the distance that you ran. This should take from 1-2 minutes. Don’t jog to “keep your heart rate up.” You need to recover so that each repetition can be run at close to full speed. No matter what workout you planned, if you reach a point where you can’t sprint because of fatigue, quit. Jogging to “finish” the workout won’t do you any good since intensity is the objective, not volume.

If you’re out of your teens and haven’t been sprinting for a year or more, you will probably not be able to sprint at full speed right away. You should allow yourself at least a week for every decade you’ve lived to build up to full speed sprinting. In other words, if you’re 40 and haven’t been doing any sprinting in the past year, allow at least 4 weeks of gradually increasing the speed of your sprints before trying to go full speed in your workout. Even then, it doesn’t hurt to hold back a little on the first repetition or two of each session.

How Often to Do a Sprint Workout
If you’re running, cycling, swimming, etc. in addition to sprinting, limit your sprint workouts to twice a week with at least 48-72 hours between. If you’re not doing anything else but strength training, you can go to 3 times a week if you want.

Sprinting is a natural and valuable human activity. If you think back to when you were a kid, how many times did you jog for miles? Almost never, right? On the other hand, you probably sprinted nearly every day on the playground, the athletic field, or just down the street. If you want to maintain a youthful body, you have to continue to do the things that youthful bodies naturally do. Sprinting is one of those things.

Sprinting Is Actually One of The Best Butt Exercises 
Do You Know What the Gluteal Fold Is? The gluteal fold is the area where the butt meets the hamstring. A person with a well developed glute-hamstring area would have a smooth transition between these two muscle groups. A person with less development here would almost be able to hold a pencil at the junction between the hamstrings and butt muscles. Sprinting is an amazing way to develop definition and firm up the glute and hamstring area. The nice thing about sprinting is that it seems to build proportionate muscles in the legs, hips and butt over time. I always recommend Sprinting builds great definition and tone in the lower body that can’t be duplicated with resistance training.

Tips On Sprinting Form
When you sprint, you need to relax your shoulders. There is a tendency to shrug the shoulders up as you sprint. The problem lies in the fact that if your shoulders start to rise, your hips lock up a bit…this decreases your ability to sprint quickly. Also, over time you will notice that your feet are barely contacting the ground for more than a split second. This is what you are aiming for. As you get better at sprinting, you will fly over the pavement in a way that is much different than jogging. 

Other Major Benefits of Sprinting
Sprinting creates major metabolic changes in your body. Research has shown that high intensity exercise will burn calories long after your workout is complete.  If you only do low intensity exercise, you probably won’t cause your body to increase HGH release. Consequently, you burn less body fat if you only include low intensity exercises in your workout routine.


Common Running Injuries

Running is a sport of passion; we torture our bodies with miles of punishment every day? Running injuries are an unfortunate, but all too common, occurrence. Understanding a running injury is the key to effective treatment. The following are  common running injuries with what they are and how to deal with them – everything from whether or not to run through them, to when it is time to see a doctor.

Achilles Tendonitis
Definition: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon.The Achilles is the large tendon connectibeg the two major calf muscles, gastrocnemius and soleus, to the back of the heel bone. Under too much stress, the tendon tightens and is forced to work too hard. This causes it to become inflamed (that is tendinitis), and, over time, can produce a covering of scar tissue, which is less flexible than the tendon. If the inflamed Achilles continues to be stressed, it can tear or rupture.2achilles

Symptoms: Dull or sharp pain anywhere along the back of the tendon, but usually close to the heel. limited ankle flexibility redness or heat over the painful area a nodule (a lumpy build-up of scar tissue) that can be felt on the tendon a cracking sound (scar tissue rubbing against tendon) with ankle movement.

Causes: Tight or fatigued calf muscles, which transfer the burden of running to the Achilles. This can be due to poor stretching, rapidly increasing distance, or over-training excessive hill running or speed work, both of which stress the Achilles more than other types of running.
Inflexible running shoes, which, in some cases, may force the Achilles to twist.
Runners who overpronate (feet rotate too far inward on impact) are most susceptible to Achilles tendinitis

Self-treatment:
Stop running
Take a course (5 – 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist
Apply ice to the Achilles – for 10 minutes every 2 hours, in order to reduce the inflammation.
Avoid weight-bearing activities and keep foot elevated where possible
Self-massage – using arnica oil or anti-inflammatory gel. Rub in semi-circles in all directions away from the knotted tissue, three times a day once the nodule is gone, stretch the calf muscle gently do not start running until you can do heel raises and jumping exercises without pain return to running gradually full recovery is usually between six to eight weeks.

Medical treatment: If injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment in two weeks, see a physiotherapist or orthopaedic surgeon, surgery to scrape scar tissue off the tendon is a last resort, but not very effective.

Alternative exercises: Swimming, pool running, cycling (in low gear) “spinning”  No weight-bearing exercises

Preventative measures: Stretching of the gastrocnemius (keep knee straight) and soleus (keep knee bent) muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, relax slowly. Repeat stretches 2 – 3 times per day. Remember to stretch well before running strengthening of foot and calf muscles (eg, heel raises) correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct overpronation.
Gradual progression of training program.
Avoid excessive hill training
Incorporate rest into training program
 
Runner’s Knee
Definition: A softening or wearing away and cracking of the cartilage under the kneecap, resulting in pain and inflammation. The cartilage becomes like sandpaper because the kneecap is not riding smoothly over the knee.1runknee1

Symptoms:  Pain beneath or on the sides of the kneecap crepitus (grinding noise), as the rough cartilage rubs against cartilage when the knee is flexed.
Pain is most severe after hill running
Swelling of the knee

Causes: Overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) – can cause the kneecap to twist sideways fatigued or weak quadriceps muscle. The quadriceps muscle assists in the proper tracking of the kneecap.  Weakness, especially of the inside part of the quadriceps, can prevent the kneecap from tracking smoothly muscle imbalance – between weak quadricepsand tight hamstring and iliotibial band (ITB) Muscles can also affect proper tracking hill running (especially down hills) and running on cambered surfaces
Incorrect or worn shoes
Overtraining 
 
Self-treatment:
Stop running
Take a course (5 – 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist
Apply ice to the shin area – for 10 minutes every 2 hours, in order to reduce the inflammation
Avoid weight-bearing activities and keep foot elevated where possible
Self-massage – using arnica oil or anti-inflammatory gel, on the sore spots around the kneestretch 2 – 3 times per day.
Strengthen the quadriceps muscle only when pain-free.
Exercises include:
1) Place pillow under knee, tighten quadriceps, push knee down into pillow and lift foot up. 20 times
2) Repeat exercise as above with foot turned out in order to strengthen the inside of the quadriceps muscle. Repeat 20.
3) Squats. Perform with back against wall. Bend knees slowly to between 45 – 60. Ensure that knee travels over line between bigand second toes. Hold for a count of 5 seconds. Relax slowly. 20 times
4) Step-downs. Stand on step or box. Tighten quadriceps and lower opposite leg slowly to the ground.Ensure that knee travels over line and between big and second toes.Then raise the leg up onto the step,relax. Repeat 20.  Increase the number of repetitions in increments of 5 every two days, all the way up to 60 reps.
Stretching – of the quadriceps, hamstring, iliotibial band (ITB) and gluteal muscles
Return to running gradually
Full recovery is usually between four to six weeks

Medical treatment:
If injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment in two weeks, see a physiotherapist or orthopaedic surgeon
Orthotist or podiatrist for custom-made orthotics to control overpronation
Orthopaedic surgeon – surgery to scrape away rough edges of cartilage may alleviate some pain.
Cortisone injections are ineffective

Alternative exercises: Swimming, pool running, cycling (in low gear) “spinning”
Avoid any exercise that places strain onto the knee

Preventative measures: Stretching of the quadriceps, hamstring, iliotibial band (ITB) and gluteal muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, relax slowly. Repeat stretches 2 – 3 times per day. Remember to stretch well before running, strengthening of quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct overpronation
Avoid excessive downhill running, and cambered roads (stay on the flattest part of the road) .
Gradual progression of training program
Incorporate rest into training program
 
Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Definition: Pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee, where the iliotibial band (a muscle on the outside of the thigh) becomes tendinous, and results in a friction syndrome by rubbing against the femur (thigh bone) as it runs alongside the knee joint.1itb

Symptoms:  Initially, a dull ache 1-2 kilometres into a run, with pain  remaining for the duration of the run. The pain disappears soon after stopping running, later, severe sharp pain which prevents running pain is worse on running downhills, or on cambered surfaces pain may be present when walking up or downstairs.
Local tenderness and inflammation

Causes: Anything that causes the leg to bend inwards, stretching the ITB against the femur overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) tightness of the ITB muscle lack of stretching of the ITB incorrect or worn shoes excessive hill running (especially downhills) and running on cambered surfaces overtraining

Self-treatment: Stop running, especially in the case of severe pain if pain is mild, then reduce training load and intensity,  and avoid downhill running and running on cambered surfaces.
Take a course (5 – 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs  (ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist.
Apply ice to the knee (for 10minutes every 2 hours) in order to reduce the inflammation
Self-massage, using arnica oil or an anti-inflammatory gel, to the muscle only (along the outside of the thigh). Do not massage the side of the knee where you feel the pain, as this will only aggravate the friction syndrome stretching of the ITB. Stand with the right leg crossed in the back of the left leg. Extend the left arm against a wall/pole/chair/other stable object. Lean your weight against the object while pushing your right hip in the  opposite direction. Keep your right foot anchored while allowing your left knee to flex. You should feel the stretch in the ITB muscle in the right hip and along the outside of the right thigh. Hold for 30 sec. Relax slowly.

Repeat to opposite side. Repeat stretch 2 – 3 times per day.
Remember to stretch well before running
Return to running gradually
Full recovery is usually between three to six weeks

Medical treatment:  Physiotherapy, if injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment in 2 to 3 weeks
Orthotist or podiatrist for custom-made orthotics to control overpronation
Orthopaedic surgeon – if injury does not respond to physiotherapy treatment, a cortisone injection into the ITB, or surgery to release the ITB may be indicated.

Alternative exercises: Swimming, pool running, cycling (in low gear) “spinning”
Avoid any exercise that places strain onto the ITB, specifically, avoid stair-climbing

Preventative measures: Stretching of the ITB, quadriceps, hamstring, and gluteal muscles. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds, relax slowly. Repeat stretches 2 – 3 times per day. Remember to stretch well before running. Strengthening of quadriceps, hamstring and calf muscles.
Correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct  overpronation
Gradual progression of training program
Avoid excessive downhill running, and cambered roads (stay on the flattest part of the road)
Incorporate rest into training program
 
Plantar Fasciitis
Definition: An inflammation of the plantar fascia, a thick fibrous band of tissue in the bottom of the foot which runs from the heel to the base of the toes. When placed under too much stress, the plantar fascia stretches too far and tears, resulting in inflammation of the fascia and the surrounding tissues. The tears are soon covered with scar tissue, which is less flexible than the fascia and only aggravates the problem.1plantar

Symptoms: Pain at the base of the heel. Pain is most severe in the mornings on getting out of bed, and at the beginning of a run. The pain may fade as you walk or change running stride, in an attempt to alleviate the pain. This provides only temporary relief

Causes: Stress, tension and pulling on the plantar fascia
Inflexible calf muscles and tight Achilles tendons – place more stress onto the plantar fascia.
Overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact)
High arches and rigid feet
Incorrect or worn shoes
Overtraining

 Self-treatment: Stop running, especially in the case of severe pain, if pain is mild, then reduce training load and intensity take a course (5 – 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist
Apply ice to the plantar fascia – for 10 minutes every 2 hours, in order to reduce the inflammation. An effective way of icing is to fill a plastic 500 ml Coke bottle with water, and to freeze it. Apply the ice as instructed by rolling the bottle under the foot
Self-massage, using arnica oil or an anti-inflammatory gel, to the plantar fasciastretching of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles
Return to running gradually
Full recovery is usually between six to eight weeks

Medical treatment: Physiotherapy, if injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment in 2 to 3 weeks
Orthotist or podiatrist for custom-made orthotics to control overpronation, or to reduce stress on the heel area
X-rays – to check for a heel spur.
Orthopaedic surgeon – if injury does not respond to physiotherapy treatment, a cortisone injection, or surgery to release the plantar fascia may be indicated.

Alternative exercises: Swimming, pool running, cycling (in low gear) “spinning”
Avoid any exercise that places strain onto the plantar fascia

Preventative measures: Stretching of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Hold each stretchfor 30 seconds, relax slowly. Repeat stretches two – three times per day. Remember to stretch well before running stretching of the plantar fascia. Sit on the floor with one knee bent and theankle flexed towards you. Pull the toes back towards the ankle. Hold for 30 seconds. Relax slowly. Repeat to opposite foot. Repeat 2 – 3 times per day. Remember to stretch well before running strengthening of the muscles of the foot. 1) Pick up marbles or golf balls with your toes. 2) Pull a towel towards you with your toes. Grab some of the towel with your toes and pull, then release, grab, and pull some more to loosen the plantar fascia, place a golf ball under the foot, and roll the foot over the ball. Start with the ball at the base of the big toe, and roll the foot forwards over the ball, then back again. Move the ball to the base of  toe and repeat. Repeat for each toe. Always exert enough pressure so that you feel a little tenderness. correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct overpronation always apply ice after running 
Gradual progression of training program 
Incorporate rest into training program
 
Shin Splints
Definition: Inflammation of the muscle attachments and interosseous  membranes to the tibia (shin bone) on the inside of the front of the lower leg. Note: “shin splints” is a very widely used phrase and can refer to several lower leg injuries. The focus of this description is specifically on the inflammation described above. 1shin

Symptoms: Pain or tenderness along the inside of the shin, usually about halfway down the shin. Pain and tenderness may extend to the knee
Pain on palpation of the shin. Pain is most severe at the start of a run, but may disappear during a run, as the muscles loosen up. This is different to a stress fracture, where there is pain during weight bearing activities (walking, stair-climbing)

Causes: Inflexible calf muscles and tight
Achilles tendons – place more stress on to the muscle attachments
Overpronation (feet rotate too far inward on impact) excessive running on hard surfaces, such as concrete pavements
Incorrect or worn shoes
Overtraining, or a rapid increase in training load or intensity
Beginner runners are more susceptible to this problem for a variety of reasons, but most commonly due to the fact that the leg muscles have not been stressed in such a way before they started running. 
 
Self-treatment: Stop running, especially in the case of severe pain, if pain is mild, then reduce training load and intensity, and avoid downhill running and running on cambered surfaces
Take a course (5 – 7 days) of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(ibuprofen/voltaren/cataflam/mobic) available from your general practitioner or pharmacist
Apply ice to the shin area – for 10 minutes every 2 hours, in order to reduce the inflammation
Self-massage, using arnica oil or an anti-inflammatory gel, to the muscle only (along the inside of the shin).
Stretching of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Hold for 30 secs. Relax slowly. Repeat to opposite side. Repeat stretch 2 – 3 times per day.
Remember to stretch well before running
Return to running gradually; full recovery is usually between two to four weeks

Medical treatment: Physiotherapy, if injury doesn’t respond to self-treatment in 2 to 3 weeks
Orthotist or podiatrist for custom-made orthotics to control overpronation
Orthopaedic surgeon – if injury does not respond to physiotherapy treatment, a bone scan, diagnostic ultrasound or X-ray may be necessary to check for a stress fracture.

Alternative exercises: Swimming, pool running, cycling (in low gear) “spinning”
avoid any weight-bearing exercises

Preventative measures: Stretching of the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles. Hold each stretch for  30 seconds, relax slowly.
Repeat stretches 2 – 3 times per day. Remember to stretch well before running.
Strengthening of foot and calf muscles.
1) Place a weight around the foot, and move your foot up and down from the ankle, with no movement in the rest of the leg. Or use a partner to grasp the foot and provide manual resistance.
2) Band exercises. Anchor one end of an exercise band (e.g; inner tubing of bicycle) to a heavy object, such as the leg of a couch. Loop the other end around the foot. Move the foot up, down, and from side to side against the band’s resistance to exercise different muscle groups.

Correct shoes, specifically motion-control shoes and orthotics to correct  overpronation
Always apply ice after running
Run on soft surfaces
Avoid overstriding, which places more stress onto the shins
Gradual progression of training program
Incorporate rest into training program


Runner’s Side Stitch

The most bothersome of all temporary running maladies is the srunner’s side stitch. In fact, it can hurt your running performance just about as much as a serious injury. A strong side ache will slow even the best runner to a survival crawl. But, because it is usually a temporary problem, many don’t take it seriously. However, if you “run through it,” if you keep on running hard while suffering from a bad side ache, you may suffer a painful “after effect” for days.

stitchrunners

What causes a Side Stitch?
What causes that familiar sharp pain in our side when we run hard? The few researchers who have studied the problem generally agree that the pain emanates from muscles or ligaments somewhere in the region of the abdomen. Some think the pain is caused by a muscle spasm of the diaphragm, but it could also be cramping or straining of the ligaments in the diaphragm/liver area (the liver is the largest and heaviest organ). The diaphragm is a somewhat small muscle that lies between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity. It separates the organs that are contained in the abdomen from those that are contained within the chest cavity (the heart and lungs). Some believe that runners who breath out when their right foot strikes the ground put more pressure on the right side, where the diaphragm is located. Others think it is just due to the rhythmic nature of running and its stressful effect on our internal anatomy. Regardless of what actually causes them, side aches are usually centered somewhat to the right side, just below the ribs. In fact, some researchers think that left side pain or centrally located stomach pain, that occurs while running, is caused by different factors than the typical right side stitch.

Some researchers believe the pain of a running side ache is not restricted to the diaphragm, but involves a variety of muscles or ligaments in that area. The pain of a side stitch is almost always related to the breathing process. In fact, it usually happens only when we are breathing hard for an extended period of time. The diaphragm – and other stomach muscles – participate in the breathing process. They move every time we breath in or out. When we inhale, we move air into the lungs, expanding them. This forces the diaphragm and other muscles down. When we exhale, we expel the air and as the lungs shrink these muscles move back up. Some think rapid moving up and down can eventually cause a spasm of the diaphragm or other related muscles or ligaments.

This leads us to consider a number of factors. For example, a side ache could be related to the strength of the related muscles, and how much bouncing occurs in there during running. That is, the combination of weaker stomach muscles and excessive bouncing during running could aggravate the condition, making a side stitch more likely. And, if the stitch occurs because of the movement of the internal organs as they bounce up and down while running, then we may be able to help get rid of them by getting our stomachs in better shape.

Another issue is related to the side of our internal organs. The side stitch could be aggravated by the size and weight of the internal organs involved. This means, for example, that a full stomach could be putting excess stress on the related muscles and ligaments. Making sure the stomach is as empty as possible before running might help some runners. But a large organ such as the liver is going to be forced up and down during running, and there is not much we can do about that. In the end, the trick is to watch for the first signs of a side stitch and learn how to quickly get rid of it.

Getting Rid of a Side Stitch
Researchers in sports medicine have focused on two primary methods to quickly get rid of the right-sided type of side stitch. They have to do with breathing technique, posture and running style, or a combination of both.

Breathing Techniques
If the side stitch is caused by a muscle or ligament problem related to rapid breathing, then changes in our breathing methods can often help get rid of the side ache. Some researchers have found that shallow breathers have more problems with side pain than deep breathers. To find out whether you are a shallow breather or a deep breather, try this test. Lie down and put your hand on your stomach and then take in a typical breath. Your stomach will move inward as you take in air. But if you are a deep breather, as you complete the intake, your lungs will get so full of air it will force your stomach back out again. Shallow breathers don’t have this outward movement at the end of each breath. It could be that this in and out movement is more relaxing to the stomach muscles, thus avoiding the resulting pain. The next time you get a side stitch, try slowing down for a few steps and taking in some really deep breaths. This technique alone will often bring many runners some relief. Then, as you pick up speed again, remember to add a very deep breath every so often.

Other methods are also related to how and when we breath during running. Some runners have reported relief from side stitches by focusing on somewhat forceful exhaling while running hard. They purse their lips and force the air out for several breaths, a if blowing out candles on a birthday cake. If this works for you it may again be related to consciously changing the rhythm of your breathing, which can change the way you are using your internal muscles and ligaments. This change helps relax the muscles or ligaments that are causing the pain. If you have a side stitch, try several different styles of breathing as you continue to run. Watch for any breathing method that, after a while, seems to relieve the pain. Some also suggest pushing in at the painful area at the same time you are trying the pursed lip breathing technique.Posture and Running Style
Some writers have suggested that your posture and running style can be related to side aches. For example, if you tend to lean forward slightly while running, it could be putting too much pressure on your stomach muscles. This means you may be more likely to get a side ache when running up a long hill (requiring more of a forward lean). Therefore, to get rid of a side ache, try leaning forward even more for a few steps and then leaning backward for a few steps. If this helps, then remember to add this forward and backward leaning to your running every once in a while. It may also help to lean to the left and right once in a while. The idea is to break up your repetitive running habits that could be contributing to the problem. The same goes for varying the foot you land on in relationship to your breathing patterns. According to some writers, you should pay special attention to which foot you land on as you breath out. Just as changing your running posture might help get rid of a side ache, varying which foot you land on as you breath out might also help.

 

Combining Techniques
The real cause of side aches could be a combination of things that cause stress on our internal muscles and ligaments while running. The villain seems to be repetition: running is, after all, a rhythmic, repetitive activity. Therefore, the solution is to develop techniques to break up that stressful rhythm. Try working out your own solutions using a combination of the methods described in this article. For example, some runners report that it helps to change their posture while changing their breathing patterns. Here is the problem: for most runners, one foot will be come habitually related to inhaling or exhaling. When we run, we all tend to become either right-footed or left-footed. We develop a running rhythm with slight differences in which foot uses the most push-off during each series of strides. As part of that running rhythm, we may get into the habit of exhaling as the right foot hits the ground. Some believe the pain of a side stitch is related to those kinds of unconscious habits; that is, the running/breathing rhythm puts unnecessary stress on the same set of muscles or ligaments with each stride. The solution is therefore to vary your stride pattern. If you get a side stitch, try consciously focusing on exhaling when your left foot strikes the ground for a while and then switch so you exhale when the right foot hits the ground.

Also, pay attention to your eating and drinking habits. Wait for at least three hours after eating or drinking before running. But don’t get dehydrated; that can cause other problems, including muscle cramps.

In the end, you will probably have to work out your own techniques. Each runner should develop his or her own methods systematically, by trying out varying combinations of the following:
Strengthen the stomach muscles.
Avoid eating large meals or drinking large amounts of liquid before running.
Periodically take deeper breaths while running.
Periodically purse your lips and forcefully inhale and exhale.
Lean forward or back, left or right to change the pressure on your stomach muscles.
Change the foot you land on during exhalation.

Preventing Runner’s Side Stitch 
A preventative measure is to suggest an exercise to strengthen the diaphragm: it’s called the Dumbbell Pullover. |

Dumbbell Pullover
Slowly take the dumbbell back over your head, breathing in and keeping arms straight;
If your back starts to arch as the arms go back, use your abdominal muscles to maintain the neutral lumbar spine position. (This exercise can boost your core stability as well as your arm strength);

dubbell
If your back starts to arch a lot or you feel the stretch in the shoulders, stop. Be careful not to stretch your shoulders too far with a large weight, as you could strain them;
Taken to the correct range of stretch, the weight will improve range of motion in your upper spine and shoulders. You will feel your chest pointing up and your upper back arching a little, while your lower back remains in neutral.

Pull Movement
Keeping elbows straight, pull the dumbbell back over your head to the start position;
Focus on keeping shoulders wide as you pull, and avoid hunching up;
Breathe out once the dumbbell has returned to the top;
As before, use your abs to control your back position throughout the pull movement. Only your arms should move during this exercise.

This is a great exercise to again practice “deep breath, forceful exhale” just like before race time. Perform this exercise 3x weekly (2-3 sets of 10-12). After a couple of weeks you can do this exercise 2x weekly and he’ll be fine.


Run and Talk At the Same Time

‘Run Carcass, Run.
What do you say to yourself when you are running? When you hit a rough patch during a race, try to use a running mantras to clear your head and focus on the task at hand. A running mantra can be any short, motivational phrase that you repeat in your head while running. It can be a line from a song, an inspiring quote, or just a couple of words that motivate you, such as “One step at a time”.

TiredRunner

Mantras–those short power phrases you play over and over in your head–can help you stay focused and centered. They can be your inner motivation when you need it most. Finding a mantra isn’t hard: It can pop into your head as you’re listening to your iPod, chatting with training partners, or flipping through a running magazine. But having one that suits you is the key to making it work. Trying to draw inspiration from a mantra that doesn’t match your personality, the task, or even your mood at a particular moment of a run or race can backfire.

The purpose of having a mantra is to evoke a certain feeling or sensation that will pull you along. The words have to be right to draw the right response from inside of you. The wrong words will have no emotional echo, no emotional resonance. Self-awareness is an important psychological skill. You have to know what works best for you.

Find Your Voice

One way to develop your mantra is to remember thoughts you have while running well. If you’re feeling especially strong or light on your feet, recognize those sensations and try to translate them into a saying. It is recommended you write down your postrun thoughts in a training log or journal. Motivational sayings may emerge that will help you replicate that optimal state.

Keep mantras as simple as possible. Repeating the words can become part of the rhythm of the run. Have phrases or images that you call upon based on your mood or workout. You’re looking for different sensations depending on what you have to overcome. On a long run, for example, you may want a phrase that keeps your pace nice and steady and helps you endure the distance. When you are racing a 5-K, on the other hand, you may want to switch to something that will help you push harder and tap your inner superhero. Even tried-and-true mantras may not work on every run. Your go-to mantras, “pick it up” or “push harder,” might inspire you when you stand a chance of picking it up or pushing harder.

A U.S. Marathoner used “‘Extend yourself’, as a a way to project herself forward. She has had dozens of mantras.  You have to continuously update and evolve where you get your inspiration.

Pointers:
Giving yourself orders that you physically cannot obey may discourage you than move you. Such as telling yourself something that you don’t believe isn’t going to help. You cannot lie to yourself successfully.” Instead, Balague recommends focusing on things you can control (“one foot in front of the other,” “run tall,” or “breathe easy”). These messages can ease performance-related stress and relax your body, helping you run better.

Sean Lloyd, a 30-year-old computer analyst and marathoner from Round Hill, Virginia, has about a dozen mantras he keeps in rotation. He usually settles on one at the start of a run based on how he feels that day. Lloyd says he tried a number of motivational sayings before finding a few that worked for him, including “I think I can, I think I can, I know I can.” He’ll experiment with them during a tough stretch of a training run. “When I can’t keep focused on a mantra, I know it’s not right,” he says.

Indeed, Walker says to treat a mantra like a pair of running shoes. “You wouldn’t wear them in a race without breaking them in,” she says. “In the same way, it’s important to take a potential mantra on a test run.” If you feel silly saying it or it doesn’t inspire you, then it probably won’t work.
Fast Talk

Examples: Ever wonder what’s going through the minds of top athletes? Here are some mantras that keep them pumped.
Gabriel Jennings, Team Running USA member, memorized the Declaration of Independence and repeated it during the run.

Deena Kastor, Olympic bronze medalist, ” ‘Today, define yourself,… ‘Define yourself….’Go faster’ and ‘Push harder.'”

Alan Culpepper, 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon champion ,”Stayfocused,’ ‘Run hard,’ and ‘Make yourself breathe.'” He pushes through a struggle with “The pain won’t get any worse, you can handle it.”

Steve Prefontaine: To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

Lou Holtz: Ability is what you are capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

Lowell Thomas: Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.”

Anonymous: The answer to the big questions in running is the same as the answer to the big questions in life: do the best with what you’ve got.”

Doug Larson: Some of the world’s greatest feats were accomplished by people not smart enough to know they were impossible.”

George Sheehan: It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Gatorade ad: You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.”

Sir Roger Bannister:  No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable.”


The 5k Challenge

5kEvery weekend, the race calendar contains one or more local 5K races. Charity events and fun runs feature 5K races. The distance of 5 kilometers, or 3.1 miles, is short enough to walk within an hour, yet long enough to give it some legitimacy as a distance event. The beauty of the 5K is that it takes all comers. It’s the perfect introductory distance for novice racers, as well as a challenging test of strength and speed for the most competitive runners. As a result, the 5K road race has become an integral part of the American running scene.

The beginning runner’s first race is almost always a 5K. Many seasoned runners stay away from 5K races, preferring the endurance of the longer distances. In doing so, they miss out on what may be the true fitness test of running. But, the 5k is a great training distance for training marathoners.

Running a 5K:
Step 1 Start off slowly. If you aren’t used to running, you need to give yourself about 2 months to get used to such physical activity. Begin by walking, then move on to power walking. Once you feel comfortable with that, add some jogging until you’re running. If you build up slowly, you should be able to complete the race with little difficulty.

Step 2 Enlist the help of a friend. A partner helps you stay motivated to run that 5K race by offering you support and encouragement when you need it. It’s easy to give up when you’re alone, but if you have a friend along for the ride, you’re more likely to make it to the finish line.

Step 3 Get enough rest. Many runners become engrossed in the task at hand and fail to get proper rest and nourishment. Such an attitude is a recipe for disaster, so make sure that you get eight hours of sleep a night, and give yourself some days off to recuperate.

Step 4 Practice running a short race before attempting the 5K. Once you’ve built your stamina, sign up for a “fun run” type event. There won’t be as much pressure as in a real 5K race, but you’ll get the opportunity to experience what running a 5K is like.

Check your local running clubs for upcoming race events. Such as www.charmcityrun.com , www.njrrc.org,

Goal: Compete in a local 5k race by June 30th.


Improve Your Running

 

frtlekdFartlek training was developed in in 1930’s Sweden. The term ‘Fartlek’ when translated into English literally means ‘Speed Play’.

The principle idea behind a ‘Speed Play’ workout is that the athlete combines continuos training with interval training without actually structuring the complete programme. In it’s purest form Fartlek training will be performed without thinking about it. Fartlek is not about thinking, but just doing. In other words, you integrate intense sprints into your workout, followed by a recovery run or slow jog slightly below your normal running pace.

In sports, the pace of the game is usually something that you can’t solely dictate. The gear and tempo change in sport isn’t ridged or precise. It is determined by a number of factors: the players around you, the direction of play etc. It is with this in mind that you should run at varying degrees of speed and power when in training.

For example: You approach a hill that you would usually jog up. But on your next run you don’t: you look at the hill and sprint up to half way. Then you slow down to a jog. After 30 seconds you sprint again to the top. Alternatively, on your next run you interlace periods of hard work and recovery / slow pace work by running and sprinting between landmarks or markers (e.g. lamp posts, post boxes, street corners etc).

The Benefits
Continually running at one pace over and over again, workout after workout, will mean that performing at higher levels will be extremely hard work. Fartlek training will allow your mind and body to be accustomed to training at higher than normal levels. This means you have the chance to greatly improve your aerobic and anaerobic systems and, if required, lose weight more effectively. Itis very effective in increasing a runner’s speed and endurance.

Fartlek Training – The final word
Think of Fartleks in the same manner as interval traning. However, unlike interval training, the work-rest intervals are not measure by time but how the body feels. For this reason, Fartlek training can be used by all levels of athletes and runners, from complete beginners to advanced Olympic runners.

You need to keep in mind that this is a pretty advanced form of training that requires discipline and running experience. You must be willing to really kick up the pace of your run for a brief period — about 30 seconds — in order to make the intervals work effectively. It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning this training method. Being fit doesn’t make one immune to potential risks.

Beginner Program for a Fartlek Session: As a beginner, you might include five short sprints — that’s every 6 or 7 minutes — over the duration of a 45-minute run. As your fitness level improves, you can increase it to 10 sprints. Run 4 to 5 minutes followed by a 30-second sprint.

Intermediate Program for a Fartlek Session:
As you head out for your regular run (or if you are using your treadmill), keep up the same pace for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then, kick up your pace for about 30 seconds, going as fast as you can. After 30 seconds, bring your pace back to normal until your breathing is no longer labored.The idea here is that each time you kick up your speed, you are putting stress on your cardiovascular system, which allows your system to improve its threshold. Thus, you will be increasing both speed and endurance.

If you decide to introduce Fartlek to your regular training, just remember: Listen to your body and avoid doing too much too soon. You can use hills for your sprint work as an effective means to elevate your heart rate and work on strength, speed and endurance. You have to be your own coach, so push yourself to make sure you’re putting out the necessary effort.