Category: Elite Feet Running

Find The Rhythm In Running

How many times have you started an exercise regime only to call it quits weeks later?  This is fairly common in the word of physical activity.  If it is not something we were brought up doing daily as a family unit it is likely not to be a habit in our adult lives.  This is true with people interested in beginning to run.  Running is an activity enjoyed by thousands of people every day.  It is easy to begin and just as easy to quit.  It is important to recognize this when you start out.  The number one tip anyone can give a new runner is to lace up the shoes.  Once they are on you will have nothing else to do but get moving.  Once the habit is in place for a few months it will become second nature and you will not even know what it is to be without it.  A runner high is something irreplaceable by anything else.

In order to stick with running there are a few tips to make the first few runs more enjoyable until a rhythm is obtained.  The first one is going to sound funny but for beginners it is important in giving the sport of running a fair chance.  My first tip is to run for one minute for each time you go out.  On your first try you go for one minute.  That is it.  Then continue to walk at a moderate pace until you have reached the length of time or distance you were aiming for.  The next day you will increase the amount to two minutes and so on until you are on your thirtieth day running for a full thirty minutes.

The next tip is to physical write down what you are looking to get out of running.  Is it weight loss, strength, flexibility or to run a certain amount of time or mileage?  Why it is important that you are running needs to be written down for examination frequently.  The more you see the goal in black in white, the more likely it is that you will stick to achieving them.

Motivation dies quickly.  In fact after the first week your body is sore, you aren’t seeing any results and it is easy to forget why you started.  Try to change your routine, run with friends, purchase some new running gear or post motivation phrases around you to keep you motivated.

The goal is to become a runner for life.  This is not just a phase this is the new lifestyle.  For this to be true it is important not to overdo it.  Start out steady, don’t kill yourself.  Maybe you will run three times a week, maybe four.  Challenge yourself but don’t feel it is necessary to run every day.  Other activities such as swimming, strength training, biking or tennis will provide you with a change up in activity to avoid runner’s burnout. A written schedule will help with this.

It is also important to have good running form from the start.  You will want to start from day one with stretches before and after a run while also watching how you are running.  Useful information on posture, stride and technique can be found in magazines, the internet and books on running.  This is also an area that a runner friend will be more than happy to help.  Every runners form will be a bit different but good running form right from the start will be habit forming.

Last but not least splurge a little.  It is important to have the right running gear to create a healthy habit.  Running shoes are important and should be fitted by a professional.  They will want to check the heel and arch of your current shoes to see what running shoe is the best fit for your type of foot.  Another thing is a good fitting bra, wicking socks, pants and under shirt.  This will make sure that as you run the moisture is being pulled from your body and not soaking in causing a cold sweat.

These tips should get you started in the wonderful world of running.  Keep at it and put one foot in front of the other day after day and your body, mind and spirit will wreak the benefit. Also, think about how good you will look sporting new running gear!

Just Relax and Run

Running is an incredibly relaxing sport.  Difficult yes however the feeling you get when you are done, often described as “runners high”, is like no other.  When an athlete is starting out in a new sport such as running they have many questions that are not easily answered.  It is important to seek out reliable information from people that have been in their shoes.  In no way is this article meant to take the place of advice given by trained professionals or doctors.  This advice is from someone who started barely able to walk three miles who is now a daily runner.  If this describes what you are looking to achieve then you are in the right spot.

The best thing about running is that there is really no right or wrong way to do about it.  With proper running gear, a good attitude and a proper running form it is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.  In the beginning start easy.  Over shoot and you set yourself up for injury and failure.  Once you feel totally fatigued and unmotivated you will not pick the running habit back up easily.

Once you feel confident enough start jogging.  Don’t worry about the intensity or speed at which you are moving but more about the length of time you are able to be on the path.  Small amounts of time are perfect for beginners.  Ten minutes is enough then start to build up to twenty then thirty.  Take a few weeks to adjust to each increment of time.  Gradually you will be up to running thirty minutes straight at a nice pace which is irrelevant to anyone else and standards should not be focused on at this point.

It is important to note that true beginners, someone who has never laced up a running shoe should start by enjoying a nice ten minute stroll at a moderate walking pace and move into intervals of running one minute, walking one minute.  Once this is maintained for at least ten minutes or until you are uncomfortable go forth with a cool down.  Each week you will continue this routine moving up the amount of minutes ran verse walked when done gradually enough you will be running thirty minutes with ease within a few weeks.

It is important to note that the most important piece of all of this is the daily habit of exercise.  Run, walk, jog or sprint the fact that you get out there each day is the important lesson.  Once the activity becomes habit your body will consistently crave it and it will become the norm for you.  The basic tip here is to lace up and open the door.  Once this is accomplished the rest is nothing.

Letting your body rest is not optional.  It is a must.  Your muscles must be allowed to recover effectively in order to grow.  If they are continually broken down without time to heal they will burnout.  Allow your muscles time to recover.  You can do this by continuing to exercise however if accustomed to running try swimming.  Use a different group of muscles.  This will give the others time to de-stress and in turn build up.

The best part of running is not the fancy running gear, in my opinion it is the challenge of racing.  When entering your first race, which should be done after two months of running, there are some etiquette rules to follow.  The first and most important thing to remember is that there are people of all capabilities racing.  It is best to start towards the end of the pact if you are sure you are unsure of where to go.  This way you can follow a decent pace and stay out of the way of faster runners.  Stay towards the right side so that people can pass easily and use caution.  It is imperative that you cross the finish line having done your best.  Don’t worry about where anyone else is in the race so long as you have made it.  Pat yourself on the back for you are now a runner!

Running From Embarrassment

In any sport one is involved with it is important to dress the part.  This is where running gear comes into play.  However running gear is only one aspect of the sport.  Like parenting people often mask the embarrassing issues that need to be addressed in favor of focus on the fun aspects. With running this includes the running gear and special shoes and with parenting leads one to believe it is all sunshine and bliss.  With parenthood no one tells you about milk leaking at all hours of the day and the diapers that will need to be worn under your maternity pants as you bring your newborn home.  The same is true with running; no one shares leaking bladder stories or rashes.  That is what this article will address; the embarrassing aspects involved in the sport of running.

Runners are in a league of their own with aliments running the gamete from bleeding nipples to black toe nails.  While these issues are common many runners find they are too embarrassed to address the issues relevant with a friend, trainer or doctor.  However, as with parenthood these are the exact people to confide in with embarrassing situations and issues.  Trainers and doctors know how to help fix the issues as it is evident that not only one runner, you, is suffering from embarrassing ailments.

The first issue to address is blackened toenails.  A runner will often find black toenails when training for a long-distance event.  It is often more disturbing to look at than anything and may only cause very minor pain.  Usually toenails will turn black because of the toes constant contact with the shoe.  It is a blood blister that forms under the toe and being unable to breathe cannot heal properly.  To prevent this a runner should buy shoes an inch and a half bigger than normal, keep toe nails trimmed and feet dry using wicking socks.  If however, a runner finds themselves with this embarrassing ailment the best treatment is to ignore it, let the nail fall off and gradually a new nail will grow in its place.

Another issue more common amongst women runners than men is leaky bladder.  This happens when pelvic muscles become weak, this happens with age and child birth.  In order to prevent this and to keep the pelvic muscles strong it is important to keep up on Kegel exercises.  If after taking time to perform exercise to strength bladder muscles nothing seems to help a doctor may suggest surgery.

Diarrhea is more common than many running groups would have the public believe.  Running maintains healthy bowels sometimes at the most in appropriate time.  Experiencing cramps, gas or bowel movements during or directly after running is embarrassing.  As a runner it is not an elite group that has issues with the above, many runners do and never say a thing about it.  Some tips to follow are avoiding high fiber meals before running.  Drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks before and during a run.  If you must eat before a run choose something like a banana which is known to cause diarrhea. If in the middle of a long race facing these issues stop at one of the many pit stops.  It is easier to face the rest of a race with an empty bowel than one that is cranky.

Sweat causes another embarrassing issue amongst runners, acne.  This can occur on a runners face, chest or back.  To combat this a runner should change out of sweaty clothes immediately better yet jump in the shower to wash away the grime and sweat that has built up.

Another thing that is important to address in an article all about embarrassing things that go along with running is sore and bleeding nipples.  This happens, mostly to men, from chaffing.  When a shirt rubs up and down the already sensitive area becomes raw.  This causes chaffing and sometimes blood to come from the nipple region.  Common fixes to this issue is Vaseline or band-aids to cover the region.  Proper running gear such a tight fitting bra or tank top should alleviate the issue for men and women alike.

Running Fun With Vibram Five Finger Shoes

Recently a relative started running.  He jumped in and has not looked back yet.  Up to six miles a day, he is feeling better, eating healthier and has dropped twenty six pounds.  With him running the discussion of footwear came up.  The new craze is a type of shoe called Vibram Five Fingers.  They are designed for a more natural fit that encourages better foot position naturally.  Being a bigger guy he was a bit nervous to try them because so far his Asics were working fine but he agreed to try them.

Vibram Five Finger shoes are meant to be worn without orthotic inserts, without socks.  They are meant to be worn against runner’s bare feet to allow the foot to move like it would naturally.  It is not a shoe that you can jump right into wearing.  This is especially true for flat footed individuals and individuals with extreme arches.  As a runner works into wearing the shoes the muscles in the foot will adapt and strengthen.  This will help with the adjustment period.

Fortunately our guinea pig was anxious to start trying his out.  The first week of training in the Vibram Five Fingers he ran only ten minutes in them.  He claimed his feet were killing him after each use but new that some adjustment was going to take place and continued with the break in phase.  By the end of the week and into the second week the muscles were building strength and his lower legs and feet were beginning to lessen in pain.  He was still not completing his normal six miles just wearing the new shoes but was building up the tolerance.

Reading online people tend to work into their Vibram Five Finger shoes at different paces.  Some can completely switch in a few weeks while others take months to break their foot into the shoes.  Once an individual feels their endurance, muscle strength improve the results will be worth however long they have waited for it.  The increase foot and body strength will be noticeable and the shoes will be the ones getting the credit.

There are certain people that should not venture into the world of Vibram Five Finger footwear including people who use orthotics in their footwear, those with extreme pronation and individuals with webbed feet.  The shoe manufacturer does not have a way to manufacturer this shoe to meet the specific needs of individual client’s feet.   It is best if a runner does have some issues that require orthotics or have extreme pronation, under or over mention the interest in these new shoes to a foot doctor first.  As with any product it is not a one size fits all.

Our family was fortunate as we got to see our runner cross the line of his first five kilometer race wearing his new shoes.  What started out as a trend to try turned into a runner falling in love with this bare foot style running method.  Our family actually caught him wearing them around out at the grocery store.

Running Naturally

A body naturally moves from the day of conception.  When thinking about starting into the sport of running think about how natural it should feel.  It is something that your body was made to do.  As a toddler learns to walk the next move when balance has been truly acquired is running.  A body is meant to run and will run if given a bit of time and patience to work up to the demands running as a sport puts on the body.

Even though running is a natural athletic sport for a body the running form a body takes may not be as natural.  That is to say when watching a marathon that no two runners will look the exact same at the start, their stride and the finish.  This does not however, lead one to believe they can neglect thought on form when running.  There are certain main areas a runner will want to remember when perfecting their running form.

Just as an athlete taking up tennis for the first time a runner should research proper techniques involved in the sport.  The running form is something that needs a basic understanding before starting out.  Posture, breathing and foot positioning are all things that need to be looked into to decrease the risk of injury amongst first time runners.

One of the first things a runner needs to think about when running is proper posture.  In running this involves a relaxed upright position.  When running relaxed the body is allowed to move without tension and strain in the shoulders and neck.  The release of tension will allow the runner a better run.  It is important that runners hold their heads high and centered, making certain to not lean too far forward or too far back.  It is important that runners look in front of them instead of down at their feet while trying to relax the muscles in their face, neck and jaw.  The shoulder blades should not be pulled together but instead left to hang loose and parallel to the spine.

The next area of interest is a runner’s arms and hands.  A runner’s arms can become powerful and enhance the running form.  The most appropriate placement of arms and hands is off to the side elbows bent at ninety degrees pointed slightly away from the torso.  Tension should be released in the hands and the fingers should be cupped like they are holding a fragile object, such as a raw egg.  The arms should be swinging freely in a pumping fashion on the runner’s side.

Breathing is essential for any sport.  The breathing technique for each runner is different and is developed over time as the body adapts to the sport.  Some runners choose to do a deep breathing technique where the breathe comes from the stomach while others prefer a method that is more shallow and combines breathing through the nose and mouth.  A personal style will develop for each runner.  The best technique in general is inhaling deeply and then forcefully exhaling through tight lips.

Develop a stride, enjoy some upright positioning, swing your arms and breathe deeply. Enjoy running.  Developing a running form is one of the most important pieces of the sport and should be done with some knowledge, listening to the body and a bit of personal flair.

Get Your Body In Perfect Running Form

How do you know when you are running with correct form?  If you are new to the sport this question can be a bit tricky.  As with any sport it is good to get advice from a professional so that you can be sure you are getting into good habits off the bat.  It is harder to correct bad habits after they have been formed so it is important to get advice on running form right from the start.

Your entire body is involved in the sport of running, from your head to your toes.  It is important to realize that your perfect running form might look a bit different from other runners but what is important is that you are following some basic running rules.

Let’s start at the top of your body and work down, your head.  The way you hold your head is very important to how the rest of your body then aligns.  This also effects how efficiently your overall run is.  Remember to look out in front of you instead of looking down at your feet.  Watching where you are going is going to help your posture far more than if you are looking at where you are and have been.  This also helps keep your neck aligned straight with your spine bringing your whole body into perfect alignment.

Next we move down to your shoulders.  Shoulders are the key element in keeping your body loose and relaxed while running.  If you do feel your shoulders starting to get tense and creeping towards your neck it is best to breathe and take a second to shake out your shoulders.  Releasing built up tension is the ultimate reason people run.  You can help yourself relax and stay in the rhythm you are creating by keeping your shoulders loose and low.

Many people think running is a lower body sport.  However, including your arms is an absolute must in keeping a proper running form.  Your hands should be unclenched and relaxed with your arms moving forward and backward along to your stride.  Try not to move your arms across your body as this will hinder your posture. The best placement of the arms is a ninety degree angle next to your mid section.

The torso is another area that is affected by the positioning of your head, neck and shoulders.  If you are looking out in front of you with a relaxed shoulder your torso will automatically come along from the ride.  Make yourself as tall as possible in the torso region.  This will give your chest room to expand, encouraging air flow and circulation.

What about those hips?  Your hips will naturally align correctly if the rest of your body is doing what we have advised above. Don’t allow your hips and pelvis to tip forward.  This will put an abundance of pressure on your lower back causing your body to compensate with poor posture.

Your stride is created by your legs.  The proper stride length for your body will differ from that of you running partner.  Your feet should land directly underneath the body.  Then as your foot strikes the ground your knee should be slightly flexible so that upon impact in can take the force and distribute it evenly throughout the body avoiding injury.

Even your ankles and feet come into play when making sure you have the perfect running form.  This is easy to say but for some hard to execute.  The foot needs to land softly between the heel and mid section of the foot rolling forward to push off again.  Keeping your ankles flexible will help with this motion.  Never should you hear your feet hitting the ground.  You know your form is correct when it bounces off the ground with the feeling of a spring in your shoe.

Are You Ready To Run?

Being a novice in a sport is one of the hardest parts about getting involved in something new.  My girlfriends challenged me in a five kilometer race two years ago and I was beyond nervous.  Not only am I not a runner I had no idea what I would need to do to start.  I see people running daily and they seem to have all of this technical running gear where should I turn to get started?  I know what you are thinking, ‘Just put one foot in front of the other, and stride a bit wider than a walk, go!’ However, I found running is not as easy as it sounds.

I began my running gear quest at a local store that sold only merchandise associated with running.  At first it was a bit intimidating but going in I realized they were so excited to have a novice to teach all about the sport of running.  It was a change of pace from their usual clientele.  They directed me to the running shoes where I was immediately confused.  The sales person explained that the shoe was actually the most important part of all the running gear out there.  I saw Asics, Nikes, New Balance and then these alien type Vibram Five Finger shoes.

Seeing that I was just beginning I wanted a shoe that looked the part so even thought the sales person explained the benefits of having the more natural, true to form Vibram Five Finger shoes I leaned towards a more traditional Asics shoe.  It had traction, support, durability and fir my foot like a glove.  I was so happy I started my search here with this knowledgeable staff to support my purchase.

The next item we addressed was my chest.  The last thing I needed was to blow a shoulder out because of improper support.  Unfortunately the running shop could not assist in this because they only sold bras in smaller sizes which I preceded to chat with the sales person about. I think he realizes that not all women interested in running are an A or B cup.  It turned out I needed more than a little compression style sports bra I was fitted with a sports bra that had two cups one to hold up each breast.  With that finally taken care of we were on to the rest of my running apparel.

I was able to choose breathable materials for both the pants and top that would remove the moisture from my skin as I glistened my way through each run.  I was all set now to get to the actual motion of running and training for our race.  I will not lie, I looked really good. The running gear was great; my body however was as soar as it had ever been.  My shins stung, I perspired way more than a glisten and I found I was icing parts of my body I did not know existed.  However I love it!  Maybe I will be buying those more natural true to form Vibram Five Finger shoes.

Journey Into Buying Running Gear

When you are interested in trying a new sport what is the first thing you do?  I know I look for the gear to go with the sport.  That is why when I was challenged to take part in a five kilometer race in November I started to seek out advice on the running gear I would need.  Right off the bat I found the two essential things I would come to need were a supportive bra and the right pair of shoes.

I thought I would have no problems.  I would go to any store get a pair of tennis shoes and a sports bra and I would be on my way.  Of course that is not how it happened but I thought it would.  The bra was an entire issue all itself.  Not all runners have an A or B cup but the bras available in stores would have you assuming they do.  I did have to special order a style online and am happy with the choices available to me.  Shoes were abundant but I found finding the right pair for my foot and running style were a bit trickier.

Thankfully I had help from knowledgeable staff members. The first thing I was told was that I needed to narrow down the pronation of my foot when running.  Thankfully I had worn my old tennis shoes.  From them they were able to determine that I had a pretty uniform wear pattern.  This meant that I was going to be choosing a stability style running shoe.

Had the staff noticed that I tended to wear out the inside of my shoe they would have recommended a motion control shoe specifically designed for a foot that has little to no arch that would typically result in wear on the inside portion of a shoe.  On the other hand had I wore out the outside of my shoe I would have had to look into cushioned running shoes which help to offer extra support to people with incredibly high arches.  A low arch means are naturally going to be an overproator and a high arch means that you are an underpronator.  I have a neutral pronation which means my foot offers perfect proportion; the middle arch width is equivalent to the width of the connection between my heels and toes.

In order to find the perfect pair of shoes I was told to come back later in the afternoon after I had done some mild walking.  This would allow for the natural expansion that a foot goes through as the day progresses.  This makes sense also because as I run my foot will expand.  I also went out and bought socks that had moisture wicking qualities and brought them back with me later that afternoon.

The sales person was great and I felt he asked all the right questions in my quest for running shoes.  I had never given any thought to running shoes so I was happy to have his assistance. His questions revolved around my novice status; he wanted to know how many miles I planned on running, what was the ground going to be like that I was running on, my weight and also about any past foot issues.

With this information he measured each of my feet and pulled shoes to help me find a perfect fitting shoe.  I was told a perfect fit would include a thumbs width between my big toe and the front of the shoe.  Also, that the width should fit like a glove not too snug but not at all loose. The heel should not move and the laces should be tied without causing irritation to the top portion of my foot.

After trying on multiple styles I narrowed my quest down to two different shoes.  I was lucky because the store I went to had a treadmill to run on to try the shoes out before purchasing.  It was lucky that I did this because the pair that was more appealing to my eye and would have won the contest was not the perfect shoe for me.  Putting in my first few miles was torture but not because of improper foot wear.  My body took time to adjust to running but my feet were fabulous with my new running gear.