Category Archives: Walking

Do Your Feet Have a Running Surface Preference?

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

I certainly think they do. Running surface differences are quite vast, from grass fields, to synthetic tracks, to the brutality of pavement. The beauty behind all of these surfaces is that the majority of them are easily accessible to us, almost anywhere in the world. However, we know that all surfaces have their own pros and cons as related the health of our feet and on up from there. I am sure that you would agree that the softer the surfaces you run on the longer your running career will last. That is why I wanted to examine my top 5 running surfaces, and what are our feet and bodies were saying to us after.

Ratings are listed as most preferred to least preferred.

1. Grass – Ahh grass, the finely cut blades of an open field, with a soft layering of compact dirt beneath. This is my clear cut preferred surface for running on. Grass also provides with the options of running barefoot, connecting with our running surfaces and making sure that we connect every step with the surface it is hitting.

Pros: Grass is soft and easy on the legs in terms of impact, but makes your muscles work hard as the surfaces vary. This builds strength and help drive improvement when returning to the road. Additionally when you find an open field, your surrounded by others who utilize the grassy area for their own recreation providing constant sources of people gazing.

Cons: Grassy plots are often uneven and can be dangerous for runners with unstable ankles. It can also be slippery when wet, runners with allergies may suffer more symptoms when running on it, and its softness can tire legs rather quickly.

 

2. Sand – If only more of it were available in Arizona. Sand offers a run with a challenge. When the sand is dry and deep, you give your calf muscles an excellent work-out without risking any impact damage to your joints.

Pros: Sand gives an opportunity to run barefoot in a pleasant environment. Running through dunes provides good resistance training and strengthens the legs. Open air with vast distances and crashing waves isn’t a bad place to settle into a constant running stride.

Cons: The pliability of sand means a higher risk of Achilles tendon injury. Also, when you run on the sand at the water’s edge, the tilt of the surface puts uneven stresses on the body.

 

3. Synthetic Track – Who doesn’t love a track that is made up of synthetic material, laid out and measured in 400 meter distances. These tracks are generally open to the public, allow runners to measure distances accurately, and focus on improving times related to desired distances.

Pros: Synthetic tracks provide reasonably forgiving surfaces and are pretty close to being 400 meters around, make measuring distances and timing sessions easy.

Cons: With two long curves on every lap, ankles, knees and hips are put under more stress than what one might be accustom to. Longer runs also become rather boring. Rat cage anyone?

 

4. Treadmill – The constant option. Treadmills are the best indoor running option for most runners. Generally, treadmills have monitors that display incline, pace, heart rate, calories burned and other data, which give us users with constant feedback. The running surfaces vary depending on make and model of treadmills.

Pros: The smooth, constant surface is generally easy on the legs, and hitting a desired pace is as easy as setting a number. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about X-factors such as animals, wind and bad weather. The constant speed and control makes a treadmill ideal for speed work.

Cons: Running on the same spot isn’t very exciting, and if you don’t concentrate on keeping up your pace, you could be thrown off the machine. Treadmill runners tend to sweat profusely as your usually cooped amongst other runners with limited air flow. Machines are too expensive for most runners, and gym memberships may be unrealistic if you are just going there to run.

 

5. Roads – Just look outside your front door and take that first step. Altough very abundant, it certainly isn’t exciting to run on something meant for commuter traffic. Concrete is primarily made up of cement (crushed rock), and it’s what most pavements and five per cent of roads are constructed from. It delivers the most shock of any surface to a runner’s legs.

Pros: Concrete surfaces tend to be easily accessible and very flat. They go on forever, and accruing mileage won’t be a hard task.

Cons: The combination of a hard surface and the need to sidestep pedestrians, can lead to injury and too much weaving.

These are my top 5, please leave your comments below and share your running surface preference below or some funny stories that have occurred to you while running on one of your favorite surfaces.

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Sources:

– Top 10 running surfaces – Marc Bloom and Steve Smythe

– Google Images

4 Essential Hydration Tips for Runners

By: Geoff Rubin, Fitness Propelled, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Runners are well aware of the importance on staying hydrated to run their best, especially in the heat of summer. “Being more than two percent dehydrated in warm environments causes a decline in performance,” says Robert W. Kenefick, Ph.D., a physiologist with the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine.

Keep fluids nearby by stashing a water bottle in a gym bag or leave sports drink in your car. However, to improve performance, you need to be more than a casual sipper. A number of recent studies offer runners smarter ways to stay hydrated while also giving their running a boost. Here is how you can apply some of these strategies to your own hydration plan and boost your running performance.

PRE-HYDRATE TO RUN FAST

WHY: In a study in the April 2010 Journal of Athletic Training, runners who started a 12K race dehydrated on an 80°F day finished about two and a half minutes slower compared to when they ran it hydrated. Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which lowers your body’s ability to transfer heat and forces your heart to beat faster, making it difficult for your body to meet aerobic demands.

DRINK UP: Drink eight up to 16 ounces one to two hours before a run. “Sports drinks and water are good choices”, says running coach Cassie Dimmick, R.D. Iced coffee and tea are fine, too. Should you have forgotten to consume those liquids beforehand, fifteen to 30 minutes before going out for that run, drink at least four to eight ounces of fluids.

GO COLD FOR LONGER RUNS

WHY: In a study published in 2008 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, cyclists who drank cold beverages before and during their workout exercised nearly 12 minutes longer than those who drank warm beverages. And in a study published this year, runners who had an ice slushy ran about 10 minutes longer than when they had a cold drink. In both cases, the drink that was colder lowered body temperature and perceived effort, allowing participants to exercise longer.

DRINK UP: Before hitting the pavement for a hot run, have a slushy made with crushed ice and your favorite sports drink. To keep drinks chilled while you run, fill a bottle halfway, freeze it, and top it off with fluid before starting.

STAY ON SCHEDULE

WHY: According to a study in the July 2009 Journal of Sports Sciences, when cyclists recorded their plan for hydrating during workouts—including exact times and amounts—they drank more frequently and consumed more fluid midworkout than their nonplanning peers. “Planning helps people remember how much and when they need to drink,” says lead author Martin Hagger, Ph.D., of the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

DRINK UP: Note or write down your thirst during your runs, and write down how often and how much you drink. Review your notes to help you plan when to drink. Set your watch to beep every 15 minutes as a reminder to consider your thirst. “Drinking smaller amounts at regular intervals can help you absorb fluid more effectively,” says Dimmick, “

JUST HAVE A SIP

WHY: Don’t feel like chugging down a gallon of Gatorade? You don’t have to. According to a study in the April 2010 Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, runners who rinsed their mouths with a carb solution right before and every 15 minutes during hour-long treadmill sessions ran faster and about 200 meters farther than those who rinsed with a placebo. “Carbs trigger reward centers in the brain,” says Ian Rollo, Ph.D., one of the study’s authors. The brain senses incoming energy “which may lower the perceived effort,” he says.

DRINK UP: For shorter runs when you want the benefits of a sports drink minus the extra calories, drinking a swish just might do the trick. It is also good news for runners who get queasy from ingesting a lot of sugar at once. But for runs over an hour, find a drink you can stand to swallow (see “What’ll You Have?” below).

RUNNING TIME GUIDELINES:

Your mid-run fluid needs depend on how long you are running for:

ONE HOUR OR LESS Three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. Water is usually fine. For a tough run over 30 minutes, consider a sports drink to give you an extra boost of energy at the end.

ONE TO FOUR HOURS Three to six ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. A sports drink with carbs and electrolytes will replenish sodium. Prefer gels? Chase them with water to avoid sugar overload.

OVER FOUR HOURS Drink three to six ounces of sports drink every 15 minutes, after which use thirst as your main guide (drinking more if you are thirsty and less if you are not).

POSTRUN Replace fluids, drinking enough so you have to use the bathroom within 60 to 90 minutes post run. Usually eight to 24 ounces is fine, but it varies based on running conditions.

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Sources:

Key Hydration Tips for Runners – Karen Asp | Runner’s World

Running, it propels us forward

By: Geoff Rubin, CPT/CIFT/TRX II

Hitting the pavement and accruing mileage is certainly a physical feat, but what is the motive behind doing it? Running is a sport which is definitely not for the meek, so what is it that drives us to put on our shoes, tie those laces and exit that front door?

The reasons to run come from a multitude of places whether it is for health reasons, physique, weight loss, accomplishments, etc. Whether it is intrinsic or extrinsic motivational factors that lead you to run, you’re doing yourself a phenomenal favor. In fact, running blasts the most calories: In a study done by the Medical College of Wisconsin and the VA Medical Center, the treadmill (used at a “hard” exertion level) torched an average of 705-865 calories in an hour. Not only are you torching the calories while running, but running boosts “afterburn”—that is, the number of calories you burn after exercise. (Scientists call this EPOC, which stands for excess post oxygen consumption.)

Additional physical benefits of running include:

– Bolsters your cartilage by increasing oxygen flow and flushing out toxins, and by strengthening the ligaments around your joints.

– Your time on the treadmill can even prevent vision loss, or so it seems. Two studies from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have found that running reduced the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

– One recent study in the British Journal of Cancer calculated that the “most active” (e.g. walked briskly 5-6 hours/week) people were 24 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than the “least active” people

Additional mental benefits of running include:

– Stress-busting powers of their regular jog. “Nothing beats that feeling when you settle into a strong stride with a powerful rhythm,” says Brooke Stevens, a four-time NYC marathoner, “The tension in my neck, back, and shoulders starts to loosen up, and I can think more clearly too.”

– Running is used by mental health experts to help treat clinical depression and other psychological disorders such as drug and alcohol addiction.

– In a 2006 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, researchers found that even a single bout of exercise—30 minutes of walking on a treadmill—could instantly lift the mood of someone suffering from a major depressive order.

Regardless of the reasons that you are hitting the concrete, trail-head or treadmill, the benefits of this readily available sport are right there for your taking.

 

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Sources:

– Womens Health – Health Benefits of Running, 2013

– Runners World – 6 ways running helps improve your health