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All posts tagged with: training

9 characteristics of an amazing running partner

running partners

Photo credit: Running Room

Most experienced runners tend to enjoy training and running races on their own. It’s a time for self reflection and personal downtime, completely in their own zone. However, most runners enjoy running with a partner. Here are 10 characteristics you should look for in a running partner.

  1. Reliability – a good running partner always shows up on time and ready to run. They adhere to the schedule, regardless of rain, wind, sun, or snow.
  2. Accountability – on top of showing up on time, they also hold you accountable for your solo training runs and ensure if you miss a day of training that you are making up for it, either on your own or through cross training.
  3. Comparable pace – The most difficult part of finding the right running partner is finding someone who runs at the same pace as you. Long slow distance runs are a much difference pace that a tempo run, so ensuring you can run at various speeds through each training day can be extremely hard. You may find that one partner is strong on shorter runs and the other partner is better on longer runs; as long as there isn’t a huge gap, if you are committed, you’ll naturally fall into the same page after a number of runs together.
  4. Encouragement – Training for a race is a huge commitment of time and energy. It can take some people more than six months to prepare to run their first marathon. Positive reinforcement is incredibly important. It can help your running partner get through tough runs, especially during the peak of training and exhausted.
  5. Pushing each other – When you’re incredibly exhausted or don’t think you can make it to the next walk break, your running partner should help push you to your limits to keep going, no matter how tired, thirsty or hungry you are.
  6. Respect silence – sometimes when you’re training you just need someone there will you, as silent motivator. You don’t want to talk about your work week or personal life issues, but at the end of the run, enjoy a high five and exchange a “nice job today” comment. It’s always more comforting to run with someone, especially on the 29 or 32km training days, even if it’s in silence and you’re listening to your own music.
  7. Know each others needs – a running partner should be able to get to know you well enough that they can see the signs that you are getting dehydrated, low on energy, when you need some moral support, or to help calm your nerves on the days leading up to race day. They’ll be there to help support you when you need it.
  8. Respects your training – Sometimes work or life gets in the way of training. But when it does, your partner will understand and let you off the hook; however, there is an expectation that you will come back and help them get back into the training grove, assuming they aren’t gone for more than a few days. It can be hard to catch up if you leave your training for more than two weeks.
  9. Helps you through an injury – it’s the job of a good running partner to help you understand your running injuries and recognize when it’s ok for you to push through the pain, or when it’s time to stop and call it a day. Running injuries are never easy to deal with. Sometimes your partner will make you sit out on a training run if you need just one more day to recover.

The Training Principles of Running

Running Room Training Principles

Photo credit: Running Room

As runners focus on their fall racing goals it’s a good time to review the training principles of running, the most important one at the Running Room being, “Stress and Rest”

Stress is another word that can be used for training. In brief amounts, training stress causes a temporary imbalance in the muscular and cardiovascular systems. In response to this imbalance, the body reacts by reestablishing equilibrium and becomes stronger, to protect itself from further imbalance. Over time, the amount of training stress becomes greater promoting further training and growth.

Rest should always be combined with training stress, as repair and reaction to the imbalance can only happen when the body is at rest. The rest period should be long enough to allow almost complete recovery from the training session, but not so long that the training adaptation is lost. When the rest period is too short, or the stress is too great, the body doesn’t have time to repair and adjust, which may cause possible fatigue or injury.

Implementing principles of stress and rest into your program will ensure an adequate training stimulus followed by an appropriate rest period. Even in the early stages of a fitness program, physiological balances can be reestablished in approximately 24 hours.

Practicing the principle of stress and rest will also ensure that the training stress is consistent. If a few days of training are missed, the body may lose some tone and endurance. Consistency also has its rewards. As proper training continues, an individual will develop a solid fitness base. A solid fitness base will ensure that when interruption to training does occur for a short time, loss of fitness will be minimal.

The stress and rest principle of training is the foundation of any training program. Its purpose is to ensure an appropriate amount of training stress and adequate rest periods, resulting in a consistent pattern of exercise.

Four running goals of every marathon runner

Brian Webb and Nicole VanZanten at the 2014 Abbotsford Run for WaterRunning a marathon is a huge personal challenge. Less than one per cent of the world’s population has ever experienced running a marathon, and even less have run more than one. Marathon runners are part of a very exclusive club. Most people, including most runners, cannot relate to the amazing journey a marathon runner goes through, from training right through to the entire 42.2km of the race. It’s incredible.

Whether it’s your first marathon, or if you’re a vetran marathon runner, here are five running goals every marathon runner needs to have:

  1. Put in 17+ weeks of training. Training is incredibly important for marathon runners. Training helps prepare your body for race day; endurance, strength and speed training all make up the foundation of training required for race day. Training takes a minimum of 17 weeks of training for someone who is able to run 10km non-stop. Training times can vary depending on your skill and ability level. People who run full marathons without adequate training put themselves at extreme risks including injuries and in rare circumstances, death. Training slowly conditions the body over a long period of time to build up endurance and most marathon runners who follow a regimented program suffer very few injuries.
  2. Show up at the start line. Registering for a race will keep you motivated throughout training. After 17 or more, long weeks of training, having the courage to show up at the start line is a big accomplishment. It means you are ready for a massive challenge and are ready to put your body to the true test. This moment should not be taken lightly.
  3. Cross the finish line. Regardless of your time, take a moment to relish in your victory of crossing the finish line. You’ve just completed 42.2km of running. It’s your time to celebrate all the time you put in training and the journey you have gone on. You get the entire day to eat whatever you want and to wear your finishers medal proudly.
  4. Strive to improve. If you’re a repeat marathon runner, find a goal to help keep you motivated during training and on race day. For most, that goal will be to improve a personal best, but it can also include other mini goals including less walk breaks, running 20:1’s instead of 10:1’s, crossing the finish line injury free, or crossing the finish line smiling. Whatever your goal is, remember to enjoy the race and have fun.
  5. Celebrate your success. After the race, celebrate your success with friends, family and your fellow runners. If you didn’t achieve your goal time, don’t be hard on yourself; remember, you just finished running 42.2km, and you’re part of an exclusive group. This is your day to celebrate and tell the stories from your journey!

Listen to your body, not technology

Race day etiquette for marathon runnersSmart and experienced runners have spent countless hours and hundreds or thousands of hours with their feet pounding the pavement. They train for months or years at a time and have many races under their belts. It’s something they love to do.

Many of these veteran runners run take advantage of all kinds of technology. But for beginner and intermediate runners, they need to put running form and breathing before technology. It’s perfect form and being able to listen to your body that is most important, especially for beginner runners and those looking to improve their capabilities.

Listening to your body can allow a runner to take less walk breaks, run further distances and increase speed. It’s important to understand and have a solid foundation to the mechanics of running before trying to make improvements.

For example, the first 10k race you run, you won’t be trying to improve your time, because you haven’t raced that distance before, so you have nothing to compare to in order to be able to make improvements. Train for a 10k race following a dedicated race training program, run the race, and then you can begin to make changes to your training program to help you improve on your next race. Each race is an opportunity to improve over the previous. It’s like taking a test over and over, and over. The more times you take it and the more you study, the better you’ll be able to refine your knowledge and skills.

Running improvements can come from training programs, use of a training clinic or coach, cross training, nutritional programs, and use of technology devices like pace watches, heart rate monitors and music.

Remember, the perfect for will have hands on inclines (punching upwards), flats (at 90 degrees), and down hills (down / behind you). Keeping your hips tucked in the entire time (core training at the gym), keeping your shoulders over your hips, and your head always looking at the horizon (never looking down), will all improve speed
and distance.

For beginner and intermediate runners, it’s good to wear a heart rate monitor and pace watch, but only to be used as a tracking and monitoring tool, not as a guide for speed or distance. Over time, as you move from beginner to intermediate runner, and then an advanced runner, a pace watch will be used to help achieve new goals (intermediate runners), and improve speed, reduce heart rate and overall running efficiencies (advanced runners).

10 Thinks You Need to Know Before Dating a Marathoner

Shoe rack filled with running shoesMarathon runners are an interesting breed of people. They love the physical challenges they put their bodies through. All that training and all those races can be less-than-desirable, especially in the dating scene. Before you decide you want to start dating a marathoner, there are important things you need to know:

  1. Sleep is important. Late nights and sleeping in on weekends doesn’t exist because races and training runs always happen early in the morning. Plus sleep is critical for the body to recover. Oh, and Sunday afternoon naps are essential!
  2. Massages are expected. Tired, sore and aching muscles need attention, especially after long runs and races. Make sure you have lots of massage oil handy.
  3. Running is disguising. Check your foot fetish at the door; marathon runners run more than 50km/week and their feet are gross, especially for 6-8 weeks after a race. Don’t be surprised if you get hot, sweaty, salty hugs and kisses too.
  4. No more dieting. Fueling the body happens constantly and both beer and desserts happen all the time. You’d better like pasta too, because carb-loading happens every Friday and Saturday for dinner to be fueled up for Sunday’s long run or race.
  5. Race day support. You are required to show up for every single race, holding signs, packing gear, taking photos, and being at the finish line with warm, dry clothes.
  6. Pretend to be interested. Even if you don’t understand the differences between Honey Stingers, GuGel and PowerGel, they are far from being the same. Marathon runners can talk for hours on the subject of gel, hill training, or how great it is to run on a cool, damp, overcast morning.
  7. Running paraphernalia is everywhere. There will be a drawer full of race bibs, medals, and route maps, warm-up gear will be slumped over the chair, fuel belt bottles will be tossed in the sink and gels, protein bars and bananas will litter the counter.
  8. Shoes are important. Not just one or two pairs, but an entire shoe rack will be dedicated for various types of shoes, from neutral to pronation to minimal, old to new, and in all different colours; each one has a reason and purpose. Don’t mess with the shoes!
  9. Gifts are easy. Come Christmas or birthday, or just because, gifts of pedicures, running shorts, running shoes, massages or foam rollers are all appreciated!
  10. Sunday brunch always happens. Whether you like it or not, there will always be Sunday brunch, which will be at least one-and-a-half entrées. Don’t worry if you can’t finish your own, your marathon runner will be happy to help you graze away till every morsel is devoured.


Running with injuries

Running with injuries is possible with products like StrengthTapeLong distance runners know that injuries are common during the months and months of training. It’s almost impossible to get through four months of marathon training without bumps, scrapes, bruises, pulled muscles, and other injuries. It is possible to continue training, pushing your body to the limit, even while injured. Learning how to do it safely is key.

Most running injuries are minor and heal within hours or a couple of days. Knowing types of running injuries, how to avoid them, and how to recover from them if it does happen is critical.

Injuries, like shin splints, happen most times from running too fast or from increasing distance or difficulty too quickly over a short period of time. Getting the right shoes are also important.

Because long distance running is ongoing repetition of the same muscle groups over and over, muscles tend to break down quickly. While rest, sleep and nutrition help muscles recover fast, it is possible to continue on with training, but protecting and assisting the muscles.

It’s common to see long distance runners wearing compression socks to keep their calf muscles tight, especially on hilly courses when the muscle is flexed in a wide variety of positions. Many runners turn to solutions like StrengthTape, which can help pull and hold muscles tight through long endurance.

Common applications for StrengthTape include stability of the ankle, shoulder pain, knee stability, lower back pain, and quad support. With just a few pieces of the elastic tape, the muscles are pulled together, allowing the movement to continue, but supported by other muscle groups. It’s a short-term solution to getting back to training or get through race day, especially when you can’t afford to take an extra day or two off training.

If you are injured, consult your physician to ensure it is safe to continue training with minor injuries.

Neglecting sleep can be a big mistake for marathon runners

Marathon running sleepIt’s not uncommon for a marathon runner to be extremely tired the afternoon of a long training run or race. In fact, it’s quite normal. Long distance running expends so much energy that the body needs time to rest and recover.

Sleeping is like a miracle recovery potion for marathon runners. While sleeping, muscles relax, increasing blood floor to the damages tissues, allowing them to repair faster and grow stronger. Energy is also restored and growth hormones are released throughout the body. For marathoners, paying close attention to sleep is just as important as nutrition.

Marathon runners, just like most people, lead very busy lives. They have to balance work, relationships, training and other priorities. Sleep needs to become a key priority, especially during peak training and the days leading up to races. Sleep patterns vary with every person, and some marathon runners require more sleep than others.

It’s important to find time for additional sleep during peak training and in the days leading up to races to improve athletic performance and to speed up recovery time. Just as a marathon runners ‘carb-load’ in the day or days leading up to a long run or a race, marathoners need to ‘sleep-load’ to be at peak performance.

Sleep for marathon runners

Most marathon runners don’t typically get much sleep the night before a race because of the hype and excitement, and constant worry about sleeping in and missing the race. This is why paying attention to rest during the taper period and ‘sleep-loading’ is vital, starting four to five days in advance of a race.

Lack of sleep and over training compromises the immune system. It’s not unusual for marathon runners to catch a cold or get the sniffles at the peak of training. This is because the body is incredibly worn down and is spending all its energy on fueling the body. Rest, including sleep, will help the body recover the quickest.

Here are some quick tips for marathon runners to get a better nights sleep:

  • Go to bed a little bit earlier than normal at night.
  • Turn off the TV and computer 30 minutes before bed and enjoy some quiet time.
  • Don’t drink alcohol or caffeine.
  • Eat a well balanced diet.
  • Avoid over training.
  • 20 minutes naps are great, just take them before 3pm, otherwise they can impact your sleep cycle.

Generally, marathoners should listen to their body. It’ll say loud and clear when it’s time to get some extra sleep!


The importance of walk breaks for long distance runners

Photo credit: Jay MinterLong slow distance (LSD) runs are designed be build endurance over a long period of time and distance. During training it is important to put the body through periods of stress and rest. Stress builds muscles and will make the body stronger, while the rest period provides recovery and prepares the body for the rest round of stress.

Incorporating short walk breaks into long runs, a runner can extend their distance and increase their performance. It also trains the body to adapt to the strain of running long distances over a longer period of time.

Most training programs use a 10:1 routine; run for 10 minutes and walk for 1 minute. Throughout the 17 weeks of training, walk breaks make it easier to add the additional 10% increase of distance to the weekly long run. Faster runners, those who are training for a 3:30 or faster marathon finish time, should take 20:1 walk breaks.

As the body approaches the anaerobic threshold at 85% of the maximum heart rate, the body starts producing lactic acid, leaving legs feeling heavy and making the stomach feeling queasy. Walk breaks also help to flush out lactic acid. The short one minute walk breaks also act a stretch period, allowing the muscles in the leg to perform better through gentle stretches of the leg muscles.

Runners who do not take walk breaks will tend to slow down near the end of a long run. A runner who use walk breaks will have an easier time maintaining a steady and consistent pace.

Types of Marathon Training Runs

Types of Marathon Training Runs

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Running 42.2km (26.6 miles), on race day takes a significant amount of time and energy. It takes 17 weeks of dedicated training once you’re at the point of being able to run a 10km run, non-stop. It’s a huge undertaking. But it’s not just putting on a pair of running shoes and going out for a run that’s going to get you from the start to the finish line. In fact, there are a variety of types of marathon training runs required over the course of the four months of training that build strength, endurance and speed.

Conditioning the body using a variety of marathon training runs disciplines the body to perform at it’s peak performance on race day. At the end of the training you will have the confidence to make it through to the finish line, upright and smiling.

Here is a simple breakdown of the types of training runs to prepare you to run a marathon:

Long Slow Distance

Long slow distance, or LSD, runs, are the ultimate foundation for a marathon runner. These runs build endurance, stamina, and a consistent pace. These long, steady runs build strength at a slow pace.  They are much slower than the planned marathon goal pace. Runners should be able to carry on a conversation very easily and comfortably for the entire duration of the run. If you cannot, run at a slower pace, until you can speak non stop without difficulty.

Tempo Runs

These runs simulate race day conditions and help to improve both speed and pace. They are done at a steady pace, above the lactate acid threshold. The higher lactate acid builds tolerance, give the body the opportunity to continue to exercise with higher than normal lactate in the blood. This improves the ability to run faster with the same amount of energy. Tempo runs burn carbohydrates for energy. This burns more calories with higher intensity. These runs are done at 85% of the maximum heart rate and it should be difficult to speak while running.

V02 Max

These runs are designed to build leg muscle strength. These runs should be incredibly tough, to the point where it is impossible to speak during running. The heart rate should be above 90% of maximum heart rate.

  • Hill Training – Repetitive runs up and down hills. The uphill run should be at over 90% of maximum heart rate and the downhill portion should drop down to below 60%. The goal of these runs is to improve running form and both cardiovascular and muscle strength, while operating in a consistent effort throughout the repeats.
  • Speed Training – Speed training takes place in the last quarter of training. These are done as interval training. The increased change of pace builds determination, strength and speed. Speed training is much faster than race day pace, pushing the body dramatically beyond the comfort zones, while maintaining impeccable running form. It requires the body to perform at 95% of maximum heart rate.

Race Pace

These days are to mimic the actual pace you will be running on race day. Throughout training your body needs to be accustomed to knowing the feeling of this pace. It’s an important pace to know and recognize because it is all important on the big day.

10 basic things you need to know about training for a marathon

Marathon Finish Line

Photo credit: Mary Sheridan

With 2014 right around the corner you’re starting to think about your New Years resolutions. If your goals include getting more exercise and eating healthier, perhaps you should put running a marathon as your New Years resolution.

Long distance running is a great way to lose weight, build muscles and meet new friends. The training schedule will keep you focused, prepare you for race day, and help you reach your goal. In 17 short weeks you can go from running 10k to a full 42.2km (26.2mi) marathon.

Here are 10 basic things you need to know about training for a marathon, which you’ll learn more about over the next 18 weeks:

  1. Get the right running gear – from tights to shorts, hydration belt to technical fabric shirts, you need the right gear to get you through training and to the finish line.
  2. Shoes – You cannot simply throw on the shoes that are sitting in the bottom of your closet. Nope. You need to get brand new running shoes that are fitted specifically for you.
  3. Start off slow – Training for a marathon doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lot of time. 17 weeks! While you may be excited to get out there, stick to the training program. It’s designed to get you fully trained and ready for the big race day.
  4. Hydration is key – For every hour you run you need to drink 4-6 ounces of water to stay hydrated. After long runs (20km+), replace depleted salts and electrolytes with a sports drink.
  5. Get into the running community – training for a marathon takes a lot of discipline. Joining a run club will help keep you focused and accountable. It’s also great to have veteran marathoners to answer all your burning questions.
  6. Respect the rest day – rest days are incredibly important for muscle recovery. As speed and distance increase, the muscles break down faster and need time to recover. Enjoy those days off!
  7. Running is fun – always remember that running is enjoyable and not a chore. Look forward to each run. Zone out listening to your favourite music, exchange running tips with your group, and discover new areas in your city.
  8. Pacing – Early on you’ll learn about pace groups. You’ll want to train with a group that works for you to get the most out of your training.
  9. Injuries happen – throughout training you will get injured. Most injuries are minor and heal in 8-48 hours. Let your body heal and recover, and ease back into training.
  10. Nutrition is important – Eating a balanced diet of proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy and carbs is essential to fuel the body throughout training and help with muscle recovery.

Loosen Your Grip

Photo Credit: Running Room

Runners exude an excessive amount of energy when running because their upper body is tense. This extra tension can make a regular run feel twice as hard. Runners typically tense up when running up hills and at a fast, steady pace. It’s important to learn to relax and loosen your grip.

The obvious sign of tension can be found in the shoulders and the hands. Over longer distances the shoulders will get sore, causing great discomfort. To train the body to relax try these two training tips:

  1. When hill training, run with potato chips in your hands. Hold a chip in each hand between the thumb and index finger. If the chip breaks, you’re clenching too hard. Loosen your grip.
  2. On long, steady runs, roll a piece of paper like a baton. If the paper is crumpled at the end of your run, your running is too tense. Back off the pace and loosen your grip.

As you loosen your grip, your runs become more effortless, more enjoyable, and reduce pain and injuries.

Stay motivated to run through autumn and winter

2013 Surrey International World Music Marathon

The days are getting shorter, the weather is both cooler and wetter, and all the new fall series are now in full swing on TV. It’s important to stay motivated to run, especially through the autumn and winter. You need to remember to stick to your running regime throughout the fall and winter months. It’s going to be tough, but you can do it.

Start by signing up for some late fall and winter races. This will keep you committed to your training schedule, or help you adjust your training for these upcoming races. In addition, set a finish goal time. Try to make it a personal best of the year or season, so you put in extra effort when training.

Training on your own can be tough. Training with a group, like a run club or running clinic, will have other people giving you encouragement, challenge you to push yourself further and faster, and keep you accountable to your training schedule.

Booking a winter beach vacation is also a great motivator. You’ll want to stick to an exercise program so you’re ready to rock the beach with a hot bathing suit body! It’ll also help you monitor what you’re eating and help incorporate other types of exercise like strength training (weights at the gym), yoga, spin class, downhill or cross-country skiing, and ice skating.

Appreciate every single training run. Enjoy the autumn colours, the crisp air, and refreshing rain. Remember, every run burns calories, which means you can eat more!

Buy yourself a new running jacket, new shoes, water belt, or reflective strips for your arms or legs. Whatever it is, make it something that gets you excited to want to put on and wear all the time. There’s lots of fun and cool stuff coming out all the time, so keep your wardrobe fresh, seasonal, and in-style.

How do you stay motivated to run during the dark days of autumn and winter? Leave your motivating tips and comments on this blog post to share with other readers.

Training for a marathon could be your worst idea ever!

2013 BMO Okanagan MarathonMaybe you woke up this morning and thought to yourself, Hey, I’m going to run a marathon! Good idea, but do you have any idea of what it takes to run a marathon? People who run marathons are nuts. They spend a minimum of four months training five days a week, anywhere from one to four hours each training session. It’s madness really. Seriously, training for a marathon could be your worst idea ever!

  • Are you really committed to changing every aspect of your life for a minimum of four months to run a four-hour race?
  • Your friends will say they’ll support you, until you don’t show up on Saturday night to go on binge-drinking night, then they’ll just get pissed off and make fun of you.
  • Have you ever ran more than 20 minutes at a time? You’ll train for hours, and hours, and hours at a time.
  • If you don’t have incredible extended medical benefits which include both massage and chiropractor therapy, just forget it, otherwise you’ll be spending part of your retirement just to get through week after week of training.
  • When you’re out training it’s easy to let your mind wander to think of other things you could be doing with your life instead of running to random destinations just to get in the kilometers.
  • You’ll bitch at yourself non-stop about how much your hurt and wonder why you thought it was a good idea to get into shape. Round is a shape, right? We need people of all shapes and sizes, why not enjoy your current shape? It’s less work.
  • While you’re running you are burning thousands of calories a week. You’ll be eating non-stop. That’s a lot of money on groceries. If you are already living on a tight food budget, then maybe don’t train for a marathon… or else become really good friends with the people at the food bank.
  • You’ve heard of runners high from all the endorphins, but if you’re spending more time thinking about getting high, marathon running probably isn’t for you.
  • Some people die of heart-attacks while running marathon races. Do you really want to put your life at risk? You could just as easily walk across the street and get hit by a bus, and you wouldn’t even have to spend all those countless hours training.
  • If you tell people that you’re going to run a marathon and don’t do it, then you’ll look like a wimp and a quitter in front of your friends.
  • There isn’t enough music in the world for your running playlist. You’ve heard each song on your iPod at least 238 times. It gets so boring!

The reward of running a marathon? Being part of an exclusive club, that just 1% of the entire population of the world is a part of. But it’s your choice. Get off your lazy ass and do something great in your life. Crossing the finish line is the most gratifying feeling and worth all the training.

Now, go grab that bag of potato chips, order in a pizza and throw your feet up and enjoy watching The Devil Wears Prada again for the 27th time and quit those ridiculous thoughts of running a marathon.

Relieve Running Aches and Pains

PürAthletics Muscle Release KitRunners constantly incur a variety of aches and pains. It happens most commonly from an increase of distance or strength training, when muscles are pushed to their limits.

Finding solutions to reducing muscle pain is key.  Strength training at the gym is a great way to build muscles or to go to massage therapy to relax tight muscles, but with such an aggressive training schedule to prepare for a half or full marathon, most people don’t have time or the money for these activities.

The solution is to find other ways to resolve these muscle pains. Yoga is a proven solution to help stretch and relax tense muscles. Yoga poses can be done at a park on a sunny Sunday afternoon, or from the comfort of your own home.

Many runners fall in love with foam rollers. Spending 15 minutes each evening on a roller will stretch and relax tight muscles, reducing pain quickly. Half-rollers are also good for developing core strength, both abs and back muscles, which are required to maintain optimal posture during long runs.

For those that don’t have time to go to the gym to lift weights, rubber bands offer a good in-home solution for increasing muscle strength in the arms and back, used for propulsion, and lower body, used for forward motion, during running.

PurAthletics has a muscle release kit that has a foam roller, half roller, rubber band and convenient carry bag that is perfect for serious long distance runners. The kits also includes an instructional DVD to walk you through, step-by-step, exercises to build and maintain muscles used long distance runners.

The PurAthletics Muscle Release Roller Kit is available through the new Viva Best Buy website. Pick one up today and put running pains behind you!

Happy half and full marathon training!

Top 5 Tips for Beginner Runners

Tips for beginner runners

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Being a runner doesn’t mean you have to be training for a half or full marathon. You may choose to start running because you want to lead a healthier lifestyle, to loose weight, have a friend who runs, or want to train for an upcoming race. Whatever your reason for deciding to start running, you’ve make a great choice. Here are some common tips for new runners, just like you, to help you get out and enjoy the experience:

  1. First and foremost, go to the Running Room and get new shoes. No, you can’t run in the shoes you’ve been wearing to the gym for the last two years or had in the closet since high school. The folks over the Running Room will assess your body and movements, called a gait analysis, to help determine the right shoes for you.
  2. Start off slow. Don’t try to run a full 10k on your first run. It’ll lead to injuries and a lot of sore muscles. Download a 10k training program and stick to it. A good training program has three types of runs to build a solid foundation of running. Each type is done once a week:
    1. Strength training (hill repeats)
    2. Speed work (fast runs at a short distance)
    3. Endurance (slow runs for a long distance).
  3. It’s important to pay attention to nutrition and hydration. Before a run have a banana and yogurt. It’ll help fuel your run. Afterwards have a protein shake and a bagel to help your body recover. Always take water with you and have a sip of water every 10 minutes of running.
  4. When out for a run, don’t expect to run the entire time. Even experienced runners don’t run non-stop on long runs or races. Start off by running for 3 minutes and walking for 1 (called a 3-and-1 or 3:1), then move to a 5:1, and eventually get to a 10:1. It will take time to get there, so be patient.
  5. Enjoy doing something you love. Running outdoors is amazing because you get to see new parts of your neighbourhood that you might never have seen before and you can get lots of fresh air and feel good about it. If you find at any time your body hurts, it’s because you’re either running too far or too fast too quickly and not easing into your training, you aren’t running with good form, or you haven’t followed step 1 and got proper running shoes on.

If you are just getting into running, or even thinking about it, and you have questions, leave your questions and comments on this blog post.

An Introduction to Running a Marathon

Introduction to Running Your First Marathon If you’ve thought about running a marathon, you’re making a great choice! Long distance running is a lot of fun, it can help you lose weight, build muscles, and you become part of a really great community of people who are excited to share their passion and knowledge to help you reach your goals.

Long distance running isn’t overly complicated; it’s just one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. What makes marathon running so incredible is the amount of training and attention to detail that goes into it. Just think, in as little as 17 weeks you can go from running a 10k to a full marathon! Here are some of the very basic things you should think about and know up front about your marathon journey:

  1. Safety: Never assume you are safe. Always run with a friend or running group, watch for traffic, and be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Shoes: The single most important piece of running gear is your shoes. Before choosing your shoes, go to a store with an expert in long distance running that can perform a gait analysis to recommend the right shoes for you. There’s nothing worse than running and getting injured; most running injuries, like shin splints, lower back pain, tired calves, etc., come from poor footwear.
  3. Start off Slow: A 17-week marathon-training schedule is designed to get you trained up to run a full marathon. The distances gradually increase throughout the program. It’s designed for periods of stress and rest. Although you are excited to get out and run long distance, trust the program and don’t run more than what is on your schedule.
  4. Stay Hydrated: Drink a minimum of 4-6 ounces of water every hour while you are awake. This will help keep you hydrated from the increased sweating from running. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which dehydrates the body quickly. Replace electrolytes and salts by drinking sports drinks like Gatorade.
  5. Join a Run Club: A run club will keep you focused, on schedule and accountable for your training. Plus club members are always happy to share their stories, answer your questions, and provide helpful advice to newcomers.
  6. Rest: When it’s a rest day – rest! It’s incredibly important for muscle recovery. As training comes to a peak, not only does your body wear out, but your friends and family will be asking for more of your time – so enjoy an evening off by watching a movie or going out for dinner.
  7. Enjoy Training: Training shouldn’t be a chore of hassle to your day. It should be part of your day that you look forward to. It’s time for you to enjoy some good music on your iPod, run with a friend and exchange training tips, and to get out and see and discover new areas of your city.
  8. Train at Your Right Pace: If you’re training with a group and find that you’re being held back or having a hard time keeping up, move to a different pace group. This will ensure you are getting the most out of your training.
  9. Respect Injuries: Throughout training you will experience some injuries. Most will be minor and heal within 8-48 hours. Usually these are due to poor footwear or running form. If you do have longer-lasting injuries, take time off to recovery and see a sports therapist for treatment.
  10. Eat a Balanced Diet: Throughout training you will need to increase your carb intake. It’s also important to eat a diet balanced with proteins, fruits, vegetables and dairy to fuel your body and to speed recovery.

Hot Summer Temperatures Dangerous for Endurance / Marathon Runners

Photo credit: Jay Minter

Photo credit: Jay Minter

The mercury is starting to rise and that means it’s time to change running patterns and habits. Hot temperatures are dangerous for endurance sport and marathon runners. Understanding the risks and how to avoid getting into a serious situation, or even worse, death, is important.

Training for a marathon is significantly easy in the cooler months like fall or spring. As the temperatures rise, the body isn’t used to the hot weather and hasn’t been conditioned. This is when marathon runners run into serious complications, such as cramping and heat exhaustion, that can hamper their race time or end up in a medical tent with a DNF. Understanding how to avoid these dangers is important.

It is important to help the body adapt to the significantly warmer temperatures. As muscles and internal organs heat up, blood moves the heat to the skins surface. On the surface, skin begins to sweat, which cools the body back down. In as short as two weeks of training, the body can adapt to the warmer conditions, dramatically improving circulation and sweat capacity.

During this transition time, training runs may need to be shortened or done at a slower pace. More importantly, the body will require a dramatic increase in both water and electrolytes to stay hydrated so your body has the fluids it needs to keep sweating. You may also want to change your training times to earlier in the morning when the temperatures are at the daily low.

Get out and enjoy the summer sunshine and remember to adapt your training program to build your strength and exercise.

Marathon Training – Week 9: Walk Breaks

John StantonAll training regiments use the same foundation – stress and rest. Stress builds muscles and makes the body stronger, while rest provides valuable recovery and prepares the body for the next phase of stress.

Long distance runners, those who run half, full or ultra marathons, need active rest. Active rest is a short period where the runner continues to move forward, but at a brisk walk pace. Most long distance runners will run for 10 minutes and take a 1-minute active walking break. 20:1 walk breaks are recommended for runners that have a faster pace and train at higher intensity.

“This active rest helps flush lactic acid out of the system,” explains Running Room’s founder and CEO, John Stanton. “As we approach our anaerobic threshold, 85 per cent of our maximum heart rate, our body starts producing lactic acid. This leaves us heavy-legged with a queasy stomach.”

Walk-run combinations reduce and dissipate lactic acid build-up in the muscles. The cycle distributes the workload to various muscle groups, delaying fatigue and improving running efficiency.

Fast walk breaks also allow the lower body muscles to enjoy some subtle stretching. This seemingly small stretching provides huge results. It provides the muscles with improve range of motion.

In addition, walk breaks are perfect for getting a quick sip of water or electrolytes, or for having nutrition – all which help fuel the body.

“Walk breaks prevent a slow down in the long run, keeps the pace consistent, and minimizes injuries,” said John Stanton. “Walk-run combinations should be done both on the long-run training days and on race day.”


Marathon Training: Week 7 – Common Running Injuries: Side Stitch and Shin Splints

Photo contributed

Photo contributed

With marathon training well underway, the Sunday long runs are getting longer, the hill training is becoming more intense, and the body is undergoing a lot of pressure. All of these things can cause serious running injuries. It’s important to understand the common running injuries and how to prevent them, or treat them.

“Runners often experience a side stitch while running,” explains Running Room founder and CEO, John Stanton. “The pain usually occurs just under the ribs. The common problem may be related to food allergies, particularly milk, gas, or eating just prior to running.”

Other causes for having a side stitch, also known as cramps, can be from running longer than usual distance or at a higher intensity.

“The diaphragm is usually the source of the problem,” John explains. “The diaphragm is a muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdomen. It moves up and down as the runner inhales and exhales. It’s subject to a cramp or stitch when it moves more and faster during exercise.”

To avoid getting a side stitch, or if you get it while running, relax your breathing and rhythmic, and work on core strength training, including planks, crunches and v-sits.

Another very common running injury for runners of all abilities are shin splints. Runners typically notice a sharp pain that becomes increasingly noticeable in the lower leg. It can even feel like it’s getting worse just from regular walking.

Shin splints occur when the muscle from the shin bone begins to pull away from the bone. The resulting pain is from the micro-tears and damage to the muscles which have become inflames.

Shin splints can occur on the inside or front side of the lower leg. Typpically there are not any visible signs of swelling. The pain usually disappears once warmed up but will reappear later in the workout, resulting in and early end to the run and incredible pain.

Lack of blood supply to the muscle causes shin splints and should be treated by a physician right away.

Common causes of shin splints include:

  • Sudden increase in running activity
  • Change in footwear
  • Improper running form
  • Change of running surface
  • Change in running routine or gradient


Vancouver Sun Run 2013

Vancouver Sun Run 2013

As the days slowly start getting a bit longer Vancouver’s seawall starts to see more visitors from runners as thousands of people begin training for Canada’s biggest 10k road race, The Vancouver Sun Run.

If you haven’t already registered to participate, it’s important to do it right away. There is a limit of 50,000 participants for the 2013 race, including individuals and corporate teams.

The Sun Run InTraining clinics kicked off on January 19 at over 65 centres across the lower mainland. Training leaders are providing expert advice, coaching tips, and motivational support to walkers, novices, and experienced runners.

The clinics are $139 and include a New Balance long sleeve technical training shirt, PowerBar performance training package, training log book, 2013 race entry, and souvenir event t-shirt.

Virtual training programs are also available through Sport Med BC.

Volunteers are also needed to help put on the massive event. Volunteer registration is now open. Volunteers are required for a minimum of six hours and will receive a commemorative crew t-shirt.

The Vancouver Sun Run will take place on Sunday, April 21, at 9:00am. The annual race started in 1985 with just 3,900 participants. 2011 was a record year with over 60,000 participants, becoming the largest 10km road race in the world that year. The race is primary targeted to promote health, fitness, community spirit and to support amateur athletics. Over $1.1 million has been raised for charities to date.

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