Tag Archives: long distance running

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

The Necessity of Proper Running Technique

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

Have you ever found yourself on the treadmill wondering to yourself, is my running form correct? You look to your right and one person has enormous stride length and a slight lean forward and seems to bounce off the treadmill with every step. On the left, you see someone else with arms bent at ninety degrees a loose grip, square shoulders and shorter strides. Then it all comes back to you, how am I supposed to hold myself while running?

With the popularity of multiple disciplinary movements like Minimalism, ChiRunning and the Pose Method of Running, I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the average to figure out what they should be doing. So, as to offer a helping hand let’s take a quick look into these three disciplines of running form as to provide you with an introduction to what might work for you.

Principles of ChiRunning include:

  • Relaxation
  • Correct alignment and posture
  • Landing with a mid-foot strike
  • Using a “gravity-assisted” forward lean
  • Engaging core strength for propulsion
  • Connecting the mind and body to prevent injury

Derived from tai-chi and put into plan by Danny Dreyer, ChiRunning focuses on posture, leg swing, the position of the pelvis and a forward lean.

What is Minimalism Running?

According to an article appearing in the April 2010 issue of “Running Times,” minimalist/minimalism runners believe you should be running without shoes or minimalist shoes that feature a minimal heel rise and a very thin sole.

Pros:

  • Improve your stride
  • Encourages awareness of the motion of your feet
  • Increases efficiency by placing less weight on your feet

Cons:

  • Possibility of injury from sharp surfaces
  • Stress on muscles and tendons that haven’t been conditioned for this style of running
  • Potential stress fractures, tendonitis, bruises and lacerations

 Understanding the Pose Method of Running:

Form:

1. S-like body position with slightly bent knees
2. Forward lean from the ankles to employ gravity and work with it not against it
3. Pulling or lifting feet up under the hip not behind the buttocks
4. Ball of foot landing under your body (your GCM – general center of mass)

Pose Method of Running emphasizes efficient, injury-free running taught through poses. Use the Pose Method® of Running technique to prevent injuries and to dramatically improve your running performance.

What can it do for you?

  • Reduce impact on knees by 50% (Scientifically proven)
  • Dramatically improve training and racing performance
  • Give you a competitive edge
  • Help prevent injuries
  • Help you lose orthotics for good

It is my hope in the brief introduction to these three running forms that you are better informed on what aspects you can take from one or all three styles and incorporate them into your improved running form.

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Sources:

– Proper running form – Jennifer Van Allen

– The Perfect Form – Jane Unger Hahn

– Chirunning.com

– Active.com

http://www.posetech.com/pose_method/pose-method-of-running-technique.html – Dr.Nicholas Romanov

 

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

“Vibram” Barely Running

In the artice “Vibram, ‘Barefoot Running Shoe’ Company, Settles Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit”, by Huffington post editor Emily Thomas shares the story of another success made shoe company that has built their success on a foundation of lies.  As an early model “Vibram” – five finger shoe enthusiast myself, I developed a pretty loyal backing of the shoe company.  I felt that the shoes were extremely comfortable, provided me with a more natural running process and best of all they improved my feets health.  Right?, well or so I thought.  Well, in actuality “Vibram” had been making claims without any real scientific proof that they were doing much of anything besides being the new sleek and cool shoes to wear.  

“Vibram” had advertised that they:

(1) Strengthen muscles in the feet and lower legs
(2) Improve range of motion in the ankles, feet, and toes
(3) Stimulate neural function important to balance and agility
(4) Eliminate heel lift to align the spine and improve posture
(5) Allow the foot and body to move naturally

Well, after wearing the shoes for almost a year, I could of told you that I personally disagreed with many of these claims as while running distance, my shins began to hurt and my ankles were definitely not supported.  In fact, “risks of barefoot running include a lack of protection, which may lead to injuries such as puncture wounds, and increased stress on the lower extremities.” (American Podiatric Medicine Association).

The justice in all of this has been served, for the more the 70 million Americans who have purchased “Vibram” shoes, a 3.75 million dollar law suit has been settled.  Issued refunds of anywhere from $25 – $50 are being settled for valid claims. 

Are you currently and/or have you been a “Vibram” shoe runner?  Please leave your feedback on your experience with the shoes below………………

Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/10/_n_5302213.html?utm_hp_ref=tw