Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Power Foods for Runners

Many foods are known to be good for us, but depending on what we are doing, certain foods can be especially beneficial. Runners, especially marathon runners, test themselves physically, and benefit greatly from eating certain foods that allow their bodies to be as resilient as possible when dealing with the stress of pushing themselves continually forward. Other athletes and non-athletes require certain nutrients to help their bodies be resilient as well, but marathon runners especially benefit from a robust diet. If they don’t receive enough nutrients, their endurance will suffer and they will not be as successful in their running endeavors. In this article, we will teach you the special foods that you must have in order to obtain the nutrients you need to keep your body at optimum health to allow for peak performance. Here are a few power foods to help runners maintain their health and reach their goals.

1. Lean protein: Runners need the lean protein in high quality red meat, chicken, fish and even tofu to help them maintain the correct muscles and combat fat. In addition, such proteins, like red meat also include much needed iron that will help marathon runners avoid fatigue. Lastly, with quality lean meats, one won’t have to worry about artery clogging fat.

2. Nuts and Peanut Butter: Either one is a great snack food for runners. They are loaded in protein, which is great for snack-food, since you won’t crash like you would with a snack loaded in carbohydrates. Another option is almond butter which is also quite delicious as well.

3. Fruits and vegetables loaded with vitamin C (Citrus fruits, Berries, Broccoli): The Vitamins contained in these fruits and vegetables not only help your body maintain peak performance, they also offer an immune boost and help your body repair itself. The repair function is especially helpful since overexerting your muscles can often lead to tiny tears in the fibers.

4. Bananas: Nice as an after-run snack, bananas are loaded with potassium, which can fend off those nasty leg cramps to keep you running at optimal performance. In addition, bananas provide energy too. In addition, they simply taste great - sweet and deliciously satisfying.

5. Dairy products: You might have enough muscle to run, but you also need to keep up with your bones as well. Having enough dairy in your diet gives you an extra boost of calcium to keep your bones healthy.

Photo: Suat Eman

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is a Block Runner?

Many people might think that a block runner refers to the iPhone game that has swept the world of iPhone applications. However, if you are a runner you might be thinking more about the imaginary wall that blocks your progress and seems to keep you from going any further in your training. The good news is that if you know you have it a block then you have half the battle won, you just need to know how to get past the block and keep running.

Run Quick, a web forum for runners, suggests using positive self-talk to push your way through a block. Often what you tell yourself is what comes to be and you give in to your own thoughts and words. So, if you are running and you tell yourself you are tired and want to stop then you are apt to cave in to this block. On the other hand, if you tell yourself you only have a few more feet or miles to go and that you can do it you can push through the block.

Make deals with yourself. Tell yourself if you make it the next half mile, you can re-evaluate at that point. Then, when you reach that point do it again. Eventually you will have reached your goal without giving in to the block that your mind and body try to put in front of you.
Realize that runner’s block is nothing more than a mental challenge. It is overcome by defeating it mentally. Focus on something else, anything that takes your mind off the message that you cannot finish your run. Go over your day’s activities, create a mental shopping list, or picture yourself crossing the finishing line, whatever it takes to get your mind on something other than running.

Therefore, if you are a runner, you know that a block for a runner is not an iPhone game; it is a mental game that occurs while you are running. You also know that you can overcome it and get on with your program by using mental tricks to tear it down.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tips for Making High School Track and Field Team

Playing sports is an integral and an essential part for complete and holistic development of a student. Sports facilitate a competitive spirit in a student that keeps them focused and determined on becoming their own personal best. In today’s society, a variety of sporting activities are attempted however it is believed that track and field is the epitome of all sports and is such a graceful and powerful sport that makes it one of the largest crowd puller in the Olympics. In this article, we will provide you with some tips for making your high school track and field team. Are you ready? Let’s get started.

For a student to excel in athletics the prerequisite is undoubtedly fitness. Therefore, you must be as fit as you possibly can. But, what does this mean exactly? Well, being fit means having: stamina, endurance, speed and agility To enhance and improve your fitness levels, there are certain things that you can do to become more fit. These include eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep and respecting your body. Now, let’s explain each one in more detail.

First and foremost, you must maintain a balanced diet, with adequate portions of carbohydrate, protein and fat if you want to join the high school track and field team. Some believe that fat should completely be done away with, but small portions of fat are essential for an overall healthy diet. Stick with lean protein, vegetables and whole grains and steer clear of junk food. In addition, drink plenty of water.

Second, develop a workable exercise routine. For instance, you can work on a treadmill at the gym and focus on stamina building, speed and core strength. Exercises should be done regularly and unfailingly and preferably under the guidance of a trainer. Never push yourself too much but make your routine challenging enough so that you look forward to it.

Third, good sleeping habits is very integral and often overlooked by many student’s hoping to join the high school field and track team. Regular and good sleep will ensure that your body is rested and fresh which will be directly be seen in the performance on the field.

Fourth, respect your body. Do not fall prey to such bad habits like smoking, drinking and substance abuse. Not only are these extremely dangerous to your body but they can wreak havoc on your family and your dreams. In addition, steer clear from performance enhancers as these are an absolute no-no for high school track and field runners.

Lastly, students who wish to make the team in the track and field events should moreover have the passion and the enthusiasm for running and striving hard. If this passion combined with a strong will power exists, then no one can stop the student from blossoming into a wonderful athlete. Confidence and presence of mind are very vital and are the first few qualities that are noticed by the coaches and other team members. Therefore, students wishing to try out for the high school track and field team should have an uncluttered and an uninhibited approach to their task which will distinguish them from the rest of the pack.

In conclusion, athletics requires a certain phenomenon called DDD(triple D) : discipline, dedication and determination. If these three things are fulfilled, the high school track and field team will just be the beginning, an Olympic gold will be the destination. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Advice for Choosing the Best Running Shoe

Choosing a shoe for running takes more consideration than which pair you can pick up at the local discount store for the least amount of money. Deciding on running shoes is an important decision that ultimately will play a large part in whether or not you continue running. If your feet hurt or you blow out your knee you will not be motivated to continue. A few wise words of advice on choosing the best running shoe can help you stay healthy and enjoy your running.

Shop at a shoe store that specializes in running shoes. The sales people in these stores are trained in determining your foot shape and arch position in order to help you pick out a pair of shoes that will lessen the chances of injury during running.

Shop late in the day for the best fit. Waiting until later in the day will let your feet be at their largest. Feet swell during the day and when running. Shopping while they are at their largest assures that your running shoes will be comfortable.

Take your old shoes to the shoe store with you. The Running Advisor suggests that you take your worn shoes with you so that the sales person can use them to judge how you foot rolls from heel to toe as your feet strike the ground, also called pronation. Pronation is important in choosing running shoes.

Wear socks that you plan on running in when purchasing running shoes. If you wear thin socks when you are trying running shoes on and then wear thick ones when you run, the shoes are going to be uncomfortable. If you do not wear the ones you plan on running in then purchase a pair at the shoe store and use them to try on the shoes.

Make sure both feet are measured. One foot is typically larger than the other one. Ask the sales person to measure both feet in order to insure that your shoes fit properly.
Choosing a running shoe that fits properly and relieves the impact on your knees and feet while running is an important step in making your running experience the best that it can be and one that you will continue with for the long run.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tips for Running a Half Marathon

Tips for Running a Half Marathon

Running a half marathon can be a big commitment on anyone's part. After all, you have to train and train well. But if you enjoy running and it is one of your life long dreams to run a half marathon, then it's definitely a goal that is worth pursuing. Here are some steps to help you train for a half marathon so you can get the most out of your run.

1. Plan your goal. Make sure you have a clear goal in mind on what marathon you want to run. Writing it out on paper or typing it out on the computer will work. Be realistic about how to reach your marathon goals. Always stay focused on what direction you want to go.

2. Buy the right stuff. Always make sure that you have the right clothing and equipment to accomplish your goal. This means that you’ll need comfortable running shorts and athletic wear, running shoes, an automatic timer, etc. However, don’t just buy the first thing you see. Instead, research the equipment to make sure that it will meet your goals. In fact, it is pretty easy to search for running supplies on the Internet. Take your time and don’t rush and if you have any questions, feel free to ask for guidance at your local sporting goods store.

3. Know your Limits. We all know that the mind is very powerful. Your mind may be telling you that you can run a half marathon but in actuality, your body may be telling you a totally different story all together. Just realize that you won't be able to just jump into a half marathon and expect to do well if you don’t prepare your body now. You have to build up towards this important goal. A good rule of thumb is to run a couple of miles a day and add to it gradually. Eventually you'll be able to run a half marathon.

4. Stay healthy. Nutrition and hydration is extremely important. By keeping your body nourished in terms of water and food, you will have a better chance of successfully running a half marathon. Always make sure that you drink enough water before running so you won't dehydrate yourself. A good diet of the right amount of foods such as grains, lean proteins and vegetables can be found in most runner diet plans.

5. Practice makes perfect To get a feel of how a half marathon is going to be, it would be best to practice running the distance of a half marathon. Being prepared ahead of time means you'll know what to expect. Ask a friend or family member to time you and then try and beat your score. In no time at all, you’ll meet or exceed your expectations and will be well on your way of making your half marathon goal a reality. Good luck!

Photo: Andy Newson

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tips for Figuring Out Calories Burned During Running

People who choose to run often do so in order to lose weight. These people find it beneficial to know how many calories they have burned in order to know what they are burning versus what they are eating. Other people might want to know how many calories they are burning so they will know how much they need to increase their caloric intake in order to maintain their weight and not lose it. Regardless of why, these tips for figuring out calories burned during running will prove beneficial.

Purchase a pedometer. You do not have to buy one of the most expensive pedometers on the market, a simple pedometer that measures your stride and then calculates how far you have traveled. This is an important number to have when you are ready to calculate your calories burned. Of course, if you prefer to have your calories calculated for you there are pedometers that calculate calories, distance, heart rate and more.

Weigh yourself before calculating your calories. The number of calories you burn is dependent on how much you weigh. Heavier people will burn more calories running than lighter weight people due to more work being involved in running. If you are running often, you should check your weight often to insure you are calculating properly.

Input your numbers into an online calorie calculator. Many different websites offer calorie-burning estimators. Typically, you input your weight and choose the activity that you complete. Some websites, like Health Status, ask for your time in minutes that you spent running rather than how far you ran. Other websites base the calculation on distance, which is why you need a pedometer. After you input the data, the website returns the number of calories burned.

These tips for figuring out calories burned during running are beneficial whether you want to lose weight or maintain your weight without losing or gaining. Using your calories burned and the amount of calories you take in you can formulate a diet plan that works for you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Marathon Running Apparel

So you've decided to test your endurance and willpower by running a marathon. Where do you start? It's essential that you have good, comfortable running apparel to prevent injury and increase your capabilities. In this article, we will discuss the basic marathon running apparel that you need. OK? Thanks a ton.

1. Shoes - The most important item that you should get. One should do research on the different types and styles of running shoes. Different feet sizes, shapes, and arches make for a very wide variety of shoes. Another thing to keep in consideration is weight. You may want more cushioning and stability, at the cost of a heavier shoe, or you may want a lighter shoe, with less protection. For marathon running you should err on the side of more cushioning. After all, your feet will need all the assistance they can during twenty-six miles of pavement-pounding.

2. Shorts - A light, comfy pair of running shorts is a crucial part of your gear. Breathable, super-light shorts made for running are much better than plain gym shorts. Nike running shorts are some of the best on the market, and they are worth every penny.

3. Shirt - You may prefer to topless, but sometimes it may too cold or too inappropriate to go natural. It is important to choose a breathable, moisture-wicking shirt to provide you with the most comfort on your runs. You should be sure that your shirt does not chafe, or that may prove to be very uncomfortable for areas of your chest after a few miles.

4. Compression shorts are nonessential, but are very useful in training. These shorts are form-fitting tights that wick away moisture, keep muscles warm to prevent injury, and prevent chafing. If you have muscular thighs or a stride that causes your thighs to rub up against one another, it is a very good idea to purchase a pair of compression shorts to greatly increase your comfort. Once you outfit yourself with comfortable, quality gear, running becomes a very enjoyable hobby. You gain confidence to increase your training and mileage, knowing that you are well equipped in your fight against fatigue and injury. It is important to have high quality apparel when embarking on a marathon attempt. It is hard work, every little bit of assistance can make a big difference when you are running such long distances.

5 Best Charity Marathons

Searching for the 5 best charity marathons brings many marathons up that describe themselves as charity walks. Runners should not be discouraged; they are welcome to run the marathon. Using walk in the name allows people who would otherwise not join in the event to walk for a good cause while others run. Five of the best charity marathons are described here with links to their site for more information.

March for Babies: The March of Dimes March for Babies is a charity walk or run that is held in cities across all fifty-two states in over 900 communities. Companies and teams seek sponsors in order to raise money to help babies that are born premature and with help problems each year. March for babies has been walking for charity since 1970 and has raised more than one point eight billion dollars to help babies with health issues.

Memory Walk: Alzheimer’s disease is a life changing disease that affects every member of a family. It strips a person of their memory and ability to care for themselves and robs them of their very self. Memory Walk is a charity marathon that raises money for the Alzheimer’s Organization. These marathons are held in multiple cities around the United States and at various times of the year.

Jingle Bell Run/Walk: Thousand of runners and walkers take to the road in this charity run or walk that has runners and walkers tie bells to their tennis shoes as they run to raise money for the Arthritis Foundation. Runners can raise money on teams or as individuals in this 5K charity run

Liver Life Challenge: Many people might not realize that the Boston Marathon is more than just a well-known marathon that is run every year it can be run to raise money for the American Liver Foundation. The American Liver Foundation’s Run for Research is one of the marathons held by the Boston Athletic Association and has been doing so for over 20 years.

Run to Remember: The National Hospice Foundation provides end of life care to terminally ill patients, allowing family members to focus more on being with their loved one than trying to care for them. This important and caring foundation is non-profit and relies on sponsors. The Run to Remember marathon raises money to help keep this loving foundation available for the next family in need.

Running or walking or just sponsoring a runner is what makes any marathon or run that is for charity one that belongs on the top five list. Choose one that is near and dear to your heart and put it in your top five charity marathons.

Memory Walk:
Jingle Bell Run/Walk:
Liver Life Challenge:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tips for Training for 5 K Marathon

Running marathons is something many people aspire to do. They put it on their checklist of life activities and vow to do it one day. If running a marathon is on your checklist and you have decided to start with a 10K run you will definitely need some tips for training for a 10K run in order to be able to accomplish this feat without hurting yourself in the process.

Training for a 10K or 6.2-mile run should start well in advance of the run. Experts at Running Planet, a website devoted to runners, suggest starting at least 12 weeks in advance and be prepared to undergo vigorous training periods followed by rest periods. It is also suggested that you have completed at least two 5-K races.

Before starting a training program, you should get a physical from your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to undergo the rigors that a 10-K run will put your body through. You should also be able to sustain running and walking for twenty minutes alternating at one-minute intervals between running and walking.

Warm up before any training. This means you should walk 5 to 10 minutes in order to warm up before starting. At the end of your training period, you should cool down with a 5 to 10 minute walk.

Alternate walking and running during training. When doing 5 minute intervals walk 5 minutes and run 5 minutes alternating between the two. This helps the body build up strength and endurance faster than strictly running or walking for a set period.

Alternate training days. Don’t run two days in a row. Put a rest day in between running days and use one day as a cross-training day. On cross-training days, choose an activity you like, such as biking or swimming.

Using these tips you can train for a 10-K run and be ready to check it off of your list of goals. You just might find that you enjoy running and sign up for another marathon.


Advice for Training for a 5 K Marathon

Training for a 5K race is a great way to get an exercise program underway. Knowing that race day is impending is an excellent motivator for some people. If exercise has been more of a wishful thought than something you actually see through then you need some advice on training for a 5K. By the time you reach the day of the 5K you will have developed exercise habits that you can follow long after the run and stay in shape in the process.

The doctors at WebMd suggest a three-month training window in order to be fully prepared both physically and mentally. They also suggest that you start with a 1k run in order to determine how you feel at the end. If you are energized then you are probably ready to go forward. If you are in pain and exhausted you should probably keep training before moving to the 5K.
Start slow with training. Beginners should start with ten or fifteen minute runs two days a week with a day of rest in between. Time should be increased slowly, about three minutes per increment and only if you are not gasping for breath at the end of the run.

Add cross training on one of the off days. Swimming and biking are excellent cross training choices. You should not cross train for more than one hour on the days you choose.
Slowly increase the amount of time you are running until you are able to run for 30 minutes without huffing and puffing. This should not happen rapidly. It may take up to 15 weeks to reach the point that 30 minutes is not exhausting. At this point, you should be able to complete your 5K or 3.2 miles in about half an hour. If you choose to walk, it can take up to an hour.

Set your goals and use this advice for training for a 5K. Your body will thank you for it and your mirror will too when you see the results that constant exercise yields. Get those running shoes out and get moving to complete your goal.


Photo: Graeme Weatherston