Good training practices

: To be a good athlete you must have good training practices. Training practices are more than just what you do on the track; they involve how you live your day to day life. Coaching - Seeking out someone with more experience then you is always a good idea. There is no sense re-inventing the wheel when someone has already tested several methods and can save you a lot of time leading to greater effiency in your training.
  • Be Open - A huge part to becoming an experienced athlete is to keep your mind open, both to new ideas and to feedback. Request feedback. Recognize that you don’t know everything and that you can learn a lot from those who are more experienced.
  • Take it slow - Set reasonable goals. If you’re a twice a week runner, don’t expect to make the upcoming Olympics. Reasonable goals will keep you mentally fit and motivated to keep training. If you try to take things too quickly chances are you will get burnt out both mentally and physically.
  • Injury Prevention - I don’t know of any great athlete that hasn’t suffered a injury at one point in their career, and knows how devastating it can be. An injury can put an end to a season or an entire career. Be smart in your running training to best avoid injuries. This can be accomplished by using the right equipment. Why take the risk of training in year old running shoes when it’s recommended to buy new ones every 6 months? Proper warm up and cool downs, can greatly decrease your risk of injury. Not warming up is like driving a car really hard without giving it a tune up. Your playing with fireworks. This can involve jogging to warm your muscles up, stretching and other mobility drills to make sure you are ready to begin your training session. If you take these things into consideration I have no doubt that you will have success in what ever it is you are training for. Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.
  • Benefits of a good training journal

    : Most of us have trained at one part in our lives. Chances are if you’ve ever taken your training seriously you’ve used a training journal or a training log. The main difference between training journals and training logs, is what you document in them after each workout or day, etc. Training journals are just that. They are more of a journal rather than a log. They will normally include things like mental health and how you felt during the day or your workout. They can reach a bit into some statistical information but this is normally saved for a training log. Training logs are generally created of off some kind of a template. For example. Everyday you fill out a form that has the same fields. Things like current weight, daily workout, diet information, are all things that can be put in a training Log on a day to day basis. I wouldn’t recommend going all one route or all the other, both journaling and logging are important to keep an effective history of your past. I’ve found out through experience and that for convenience sake it’s nice to have two combined together in some way. This way it’s always easy to remember to do both. Benefits of recording your training
    The number one benefit of recoding your training is to have a detailed history to look back on. This can be very useful in times of planning. For example to figure out what has worked for you and what hasn’t. It’s very useful for figuring out reasons for injuries or for times of burnout. Have you ever sat down and tried to plan out training with nothing to work with? If you have something to look back upon a detailed account of what you’ve done over the past few weeks it’s easy to plan ahead, and to effectively increase your workout intensity, etc to improve for the future. A detailed journal is also really nice to have just for personal use, and to be able to look back on past months and years, to remember different accounts. Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

    Choosing the right running shoe

    Purchasing anything new can be a lot of fun, but it can also be very frustrating. Purchasing a pair of Running shoes is no different, and do the nature of our bodies I wouldn’t recommend rushing into a pair of shoes just because they are cheap or convenient.

    No two people have exactly the same foot; however manufactures have divided shoes into three different categories: Cushioning, Stability, and Motion Control. Within these three categories their can be a lot of variation, but it is a good base guide to start with.

    Cushioning - Cushioning shoes are shoes that have little to no lateral support. These shoes are good for runners who do not need this support, and have neutral feet. Generally this type of shoe will be for the runner with a high arch. Instances where this type of shoe is not right is in a case where you are a pronator or an overpronator.

    Stability - Stability shoes are a mid range shoe category which offer a balance between cushioning and motion control. This shoe is for a runner who has a normal arch, lands on the outside of the foot and rolls forward. If you are unsure of where else to be this category is a good place to start.

    Motion Control - The motion control category is for runners who really need support in a running shoe. Extreme pronators and overpronators can take advantage of a Motion control shoe, as well as a runner with weak ankles and other foot problems that would benefit from a shoe with a lot of stability.

    Of course with only three categories like I mentioned above, there is a lot of room for variation. This is only meant to be used as a quick guide for things to look for in running shoes. I would recommend visiting a running store and having an employee look at your feet to give you a good idea of what category your feet fit in. If you have serious foot complications like extreme pronation, fallen arches, etc I would recommend visiting a foot doctor, as running shoes by themselves might not be enough. You could require orthotics, or even just simple strengthening exercises to get and keep you on your feet.

    Feel free to reprint this article as long as you keep the following caption and author biography in tact with all hyperlinks.

    Running hydration gear a good water hydration system keeps the motor running

    : For individuals preparing for their next marathon, or leisure running event, you know how important it is to keep your body fully hydrated to maintain your ultimate peak performance. But no matter what level of runner you are, having properly designed running hydration gear can be the vital reinforcement in helping you get across that finish line safely! A balanced performance level for runners is a very important component, and your concentration level plays a key role in keeping proper pace, and maintaining your ability to read the warning signs your body is telling you. This is why the correct sports apparel and running equipment is just as important as the training for the serious running enthusiast. Hydration accessories play a key role in the runners’ mix of sports products needed to keep their endurance at the level required by the individual runner. Many designs are currently available that not only provide functionality, but also offer comfort and stability. While running long distance, or taking short mountainous trail runs, the last thing you want to be worrying about is if your water pack is fitting correctly, and the gear content isn’t shifting and bouncing all over your body. With inferior product designs, you will experience more frustration, and with your attention focusing on your bottle gear, and not your activity, you increase your chances of throwing your concentration off, or even worse, you may seriously injure yourself. Hydration Packs Are Specially Designed Running Systems! Like proper running shoes, athletic clothing, and accessories such as a pedometer, all have certain features that you desire in order to assist you in an overall better performance. The same applies when you choose your hydration pack, because all packs are not created equal, and they also have features that may differ in application. The right running system for you will determine on what level of comfort you’re looking for and also the required function. If you’re a speed walker, you may feel the packs with the water bottles will be sufficient, however, if you’re a full out long distant runner, having bottles may be a hindrance, and switching to a more stable waist pack with a bladder/reservoir system, plus also adjustable features that will prevent bouncing during your stride, may be exactly what you’re looking for in a water hydration system. The good news is that with the incredible technology and design, you have many options today than ever before, and when you start searching outdoor sporting good stores, or online bag suppliers, you should have no worries finding the right running pack that’s right for your needs. As an athlete, I understand the importance of maintaining the concentration levels during a good run, or any other sporting activity that requires your mind to keep that necessary focus. Having the best hydration tools to help you achieve your goals, and prevent you from breaking your level of concentration is crucial to any sport. Keeping your body fully hydrated is surely important to you and your health, so there should be no compromise when you decide to select your running hydration pack system!

    How to choose the proper running shoe

    Choosing the right running shoe can make a all the difference in whether you stay healthy or become injured running and also determine if you will be comfortable or be in pain while running.

    Bargain shopping is the numero uno bigtime mistake made by most novice runners. You run out and by the cheapest pair of running shoes you can find. Trust me, you are not going to find a proper running shoe at Walmart!

    Thinking cheap will end up making you quit running due to the sheer misery of having bad shoes. Some of those who are more tenacious may wait until they blow out their knee or have major shin splints before they throw in the towel.

    With all the choices and high tech shoes available today, choosing the right pair of running shoes for you can be an arduous task at best. But here are some guidelines to help you.

    First you need to understand pronation, which is rolling of the foot from heel to toe through the foot strike. A proper or neutral pronation is hitting the outside of the heel and up to ball of your foot evenly across the front. This is how your foot reduces the stress of impact.

    Underpronation is not enough evening out so the outside of your foot takes most of the shock instead of finishing in the neutral position.

    Overpronation is too much roll across from the outside to the inside of your foot.

    To determine your level of pronation, look at your shoes you walk or run in. Most everyone will begin on the outside of the heel, the real indicator would be the wear on the forefoot.

    If most of the shoe wear is:

    • On the medial (inside) side then you Overpronate

    • On the lateral (outside) side then you Underpronate

    • Uniform across the forefoot then you have a Neutral Stride

    This knowledge will give you the information you know to select the appropriate running shoe for your foot.

    Running on the right path

    Career changes always require a painful transition period. A few years back I lost my job as a stage manager for live television shows, and I was feeling the heat. As I sat in my tiny little apartment staring at a huge pile of overdue bills, I could feel the pain coursing through my soul. I suddenly had the uncontrollable urge to just run.

    I am an avid runner who loves running in the wilderness. The feeling of breaking a sweat with a good stride in the great outdoors is like no other for me. Your heart is pumping blood through your body like a turbo-charger, your lungs are sucking in precious oxygen as fast as you can breathe it in, your pores are excreting sweat and toxins like crazy, and all of your senses are at their peak of performance. You can feel the world around you and you know you are part of it. It is a wonderful feeling; a healthy addiction if you will. My drug of choice is endorphins.

    I hurried down the stairs to the parking garage. The woman who lived below me was just getting out of her car when I entered the garage. She was a cigarette-totin’ Maggie with ashen-grey skin and a raspy voice that sounded like it was the product of damaged vocal cords due to years of yelling too loud at parties and breathing tobacco smoke relentlessly. She was tall, rotund and barrel-chested, with bleached white hair that she wore way too long for her age, which I guessed was somewhere around forty. She wore black clothing everyday that made her look like an albino witch. She was also a single mother of a teenage daughter that was seemingly out of control. I often saw this daughter coming home at four in the morning as I was just leaving for work. She was only thirteen, but she seemed to be in a big hurry to become an adult. Her mother didn’t seem to care about her too much.

    I drove to a nearby street and parked my car next to a couple of other cars at the entrance to a fire trail. I stretched for about five minutes, and then I was on my way up my favorite wilderness trail that led into the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains (California).

    I grew up playing and exercising in those hills. It is my favorite place to go when I need to get away from it all. There are fire trails everywhere that accommodate anyone who is looking for exercise in a wilderness area that includes rolling hills, bush-covered chaparral, and majestic mountains.

    About a mile into my run I began to work up a sweat. A group of dark clouds passed overhead and it started to rain. It was winter. I was only wearing a tee-shirt and shorts, and the rain was cold, but it felt good. The rain drops splashed over my face and body like a fire sprinkler from heaven that was released right on cue.

    The sun burst through the clouds and I was soon bathed in warm sunlight again.

    I entered a rocky area filled with caves that were formed by millions of years of wind and water erosion. The Chumash Indians once lived in those caves before the Europeans came. I looked up to the right and saw a group of teenagers hanging out in a big cave that was about fifty feet up on the face of a cliff. One of them noticed me running down below and threw an empty beer bottle in my direction. The bottle hit a rock about twenty feet away from me and exploded into a million pieces. This explosion was immediately followed by an eruption of laughter from the group. I was thinking about stopping to say something, but I did not want to ruin my good mood.

    I made a couple of left and right turns on trails that I originally explored when I was about eight years old. I ran deeper into the hills. Soon I was running up a series of steep switchbacks trails.

    I eventually arrived at the top of the highest hill in that area. I stopped for a rest, and to take in the beautiful three hundred and sixty degree view all around me. I had mountains in front of me, hills all around me and the San Fernando Valley off in the distance behind me. I watched the sunset over the mountains and meditated for a moment at my favorite spot on earth. When I turned around I could see the lights of The Valley glistening like a million fire flies. I was about five miles away from the nearest civilization, but it felt like it was five hundred.

    A half hour later I started my run back towards civilization. It was now dark, but I was not worried about getting lost, for I knew those trails like the back of my hand. Rattlesnakes were all hibernating, coyotes aren’t much to worry about, but mountain lions were a different story. Although attacks on humans were rare, there had been a couple of people killed in California in recent years. I did not want to be the next rare event, so I made sure to announce my presence by singing loudly (and slightly off-key).

    Suddenly, I saw a shadowy figure of a person up ahead on the trail in front of me. I was not used to seeing other people that far back in the hills. I approached with caution. As I got closer and closer to this dark silhouette, I noticed that this person was just standing still at a fork in the dirt road. When I was about to pass this person I noticed that it was a young teenage guy. He was wearing brown nylon shorts and a yellow tee-shirt that said Calabasas Cross Country Team on the front. He looked very worried, and seemed to be lost.

    The thin young man politely asked me if I knew which one of the trails he was standing in front of was the one out of there. He explained that he was training for an up coming cross-country competition and did not realize how far he had run, or how quickly it got dark “now that daylight savings was over”. I told him that I knew that area quite well, and that he could follow me out of there.

    I made a right turn at the fork in the road, and the kid followed behind me. As we were running down the switchback trails it started to rain again. We ran out into a large valley with tall grass, and then the kid began to fall behind a bit. I slowed my pace down a little until I could see him again slowly running behind me on the trail.

    As we were passing through the rocky area with all the caves we suddenly came upon the group of kids that were partying earlier. They were slowly walking on the trail and passing around a bottle of whiskey. A young girl noticed us approaching and broke off from the group with the whiskey bottle in her hand. As we were passing by the girl she held the whiskey bottle out towards us and with a sarcastic and drunken voice she said “you guys must be thirsty”! A full moon was now shining down on the area and it illuminated me to the fact that this girl was the thirteen year old daughter of the albino witch lady that lived in the apartment below me. She was too drunk to recognize me. We then jogged past the chuckling group of inebriated teenagers and continued on with our run through the wilderness.

    We finally reached the end of the trail and we both stopped running. While trying to catch his breath, the kid thanked me for giving him directions. He then disappeared into the neighborhood. I walked over to my car and stood next to it for a moment. I thought to myself; I may not have much money, but I have my health. I am thankful for having parents who cared, and that I chose to run on the right path in life.

    Copyright 2006. Michael P. Connelly

    The fastest nation

    It’s quite usual for us to get to know that some American athlete wins another world or Olympic title in sprint event. Last time it was news from Helsinki World Championships, where the Americans had clear superiority over others in individual sprint disciplines. They won more titles than all other nations taken together. Of course, that’s not every time that it happens, but the advantage of American athletes which is due to their high level is obvious. While athletes from other countries come to sport elite and go away, Americans always stay in. Moreover, it’s impossible to imagine the sprint elite without Americans. They dominate short-distance running championships now. They have been dominating for all history of modern athletics since the first Olympic Games in Athens in 1896.

    To prove this point of view I’m giving the so-called rating of all nations’ Olympic performance athletes of which ever took prices at the modern Olympic Games. A nation gets 3 points for every gold medal, silver is 2 points and bronze is 1 point. For example, at the 2004 Olympics the Americans won all medals in men’s 200 meters dash. In women’s 200 meters dash a Jamaican won gold, an American got silver and a Bahamian got bronze. Thus Americans get 8 points, Jamaicans - 2 point, Bahamians – 1 point. Summing up points for all years we get following statistics:

    100 meters:

    USA – 120

    Germany – 22

    Great Britain – 20

    Canada – 14

    Australia – 13

    Other countries – 69

    200 meters:

    USA – 117

    Germany – 18

    Jamaica – 16

    Australia – 14

    Great Britain – 12

    Other countries - 63

    400 meters:

    USA – 97

    Germany – 22

    Great Britain 20

    Jamaica – 13

    Australia – 12

    Other countries – 52

    In every event Americans are far ahead of others. However, even if we take into consideration such a huge advantage, it might be still wrong to say that other countries’ athletes are much worse trained. During the twentieth century there were stars among British, Canadian, Caribbean and other sprinters whose achievements have become part of sports history. Many of them are Olympic and world champions. There also world record holders among them. Now we talk about Asafa Powell, Veronica Campbell and Tonique Williams-Darling. We also remember Linford Christie, Donovan Bailey, Marita Koch and Marie-Jose Perec from the past.

    However, the point is that they are the only representatives of their nations. They come into sports, show outstanding performance and go away followed by no compatriots matching their level. But only the USA athletes show high-level performance constantly. It’s quite hard to find reasons for it taking into account that the level of training process is also high in many other countries. Actually it is not the training process itself that differs the States from other countries. It is rather sports system organization which selects, raises and motivates athletes.

    Prevalent approach to athletics

    There are two models of sports system organization in the world.

    The first one is the system of state financing developed in most countries. State Sports Department exercises supervision over Sports Federations which provide athletes with good conditions for trainings, medicine care, opportunities for preparations and so on. The State takes care of athletes from the beginning of their career and they feel comfortable in such conditions.

    Many of them come into athletics and train like for fun, considering running from this point of view: “I have an opportunity for training. First I will train for fun and will see if I am good in running. If I’m good, I will pay more attention to trainings. If I’m not, I will just enjoy the achieved level. My country will take care of me and will give me an opportunity to afford such “pleasure” trainings.” For some of them sprint is a hobby. Some of them achieve good results at the local level performing time of 10.4-10.2 seconds in 100-meters dash, and think that it is good enough. Those who are highly motivated progress further and sometimes take prizes at international level. But most of such sprinters don’t even reach a 10-second barrier let alone 9.8-9.7 second time which is necessary for major competitions.

    So there are no good selection process and no high competing environment in such a system.

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association

    One more model is when business interferes with sports and government doesn’t take part in the process simply providing the athletes with conditions. Such model is developed in the USA. Besides professional sports, there is a unique system of university sports organization which gives birth to a huge amount of world-famous stars in athletics. The National Collegiate Athletic Association sports are fantastically popular and widely covered on television and in press. Even world-known bookmakers provide lines for bets on NCAA leagues. No country in the world can boast of such situation. College teams receive huge money from their team sponsors and are interested in achieving high results attracting well-trained athletes. It means that skilled athletes receive scholarships which cover expenses on study and living. For many of them such way is the only chance to enter a university. Thus athletes who competed for a university team are highly motivated in achieving good results. They don’t just train, they secure stability of their lives. Very often at NCAA championships college athletes achieve higher results than professional athletes of other countries.

    There is one more positive aspect of the USA model. Several sport events are extremely popular in the United States. These are football, basketball, baseball, hockey, track and field and some others. Almost all universities have their own teams for participating in these sports. If an athlete at the beginning of his career chooses some event, and some time later it turns out that he is much better in some other event, he can simply change an event within the same university. There are many such examples among Olympic champions at sprint events. Marion Jones who was member of her university basketball team, later became the fastest woman in the world. Famous sprinter Ato Boldon started his career playing soccer. Jim Hines used to be a baseball player in his early years. Eddie Tolan won Michigan state football championships as a high school boy. Much more examples could be mentioned.

    Such conditions give an opportunity to find out really talented athletes, and hard competition compels them to develop their skills very fast. Yesterday’s NCAA champions become top world athletes today. Now it is John Capel, Shawn Crawford, Justin Gatlin, Jeremy Wariner and Lauryn Williams. In future there will be new stars and the National Collegiate Athletic Association model will never fail.

    It’s worth mentioning that Caribbean athletes are good too. But note that many of them studied in American universities.

    One might ask why American athletes are not so good at long distance running as they are at sprint events. The answer is simple – they like action. It’s much more interesting for them to watch a 100-meter race during 10 seconds than wait for the end of a 10-kilometers race for a half of an hour. They are crazy about eye-catching shows. And what could be more eye-catching than short-distance running? It’s not just a part of running or athletics, it’s another kind of sport, where limits of human body performance come out. That’s why they just go and grab world and Olympic titles in sprint and left the rest of events for the others.

    Dream about a marathon

    A marathon is the ultimate dream for many runners. People who have been running for years and some that have never run a day in their life love the idea of finishing a marathon. There seems to be something magical about the concept of a marathon, almost as if it seems super-human to compete in one or even to complete one.

    Have you been pondering the idea of running a marathon for fun or for competition? If so, you must know that it takes months of hard and consistent preparation before the dream can become a reality because a marathon is no walk in the park.

    One of the best strategies for making the dream of a marathon possible for you is to find a partner. Talk to your friends and find someone who is willing to begin the journey of marathon training with you. Figure out a way to mesh your schedules so that you can train together, at least on your long runs. You've heard it said that 'no man is an island,' and that concept it certainly true when it comes to preparing for your first marathon. Most people last a few weeks at best when they have no one to train with and no one to hold them accountable as the training schedule becomes more intense.

    Once you've found the perfect marathon partner you should also take time to research the best training schedule for your time, needs and running goals. Getting on a specific schedule for marathon training will prevent you from overworking yourself or underworking yourself. It is no easy thing to get your body in shape for a twenty-six mile run, so make it a priority to find a schedule and then stick to it.

    Talk to your physician about your dream of running a marathon. It is never a bad idea to check with a healthcare professional for any warnings or advice. See if your physician has any suggestions for ways to supplement your training with adjustments to your eating or sleeping habits. Proper eating and sleeping will only benefit the physical training you do to prepare for the marathon.

    Running a marathon is something that many people dream about but far fewer people actually accomplish it. With some careful planning and a lot of dedication you can be one of the few that makes the dream of running a marathon a reality.

    Why do my feet hurt so much when i run

    If you are a seasoned runner you know the importance of a good running shoe. It can make the difference between a great running experience, or potential injury.

    The problem is not being informed. Most people do not know that there is a proper shoe for your foot type. Knowing your foot type before you hit the stores can make a world of difference whether you want to do brisk walking, jogging or marathons.

    How do you determine your foot type? It’s really quite simple. Get a piece of dark paper and then soak your feet and step on the paper. Look closely at the imprint. There are generally three types of feet.

    1) If your imprint covers most of the feet (not much arch at all) then you have flat feet. You are among the 60% of the population in America with flat feet.

    2) If you show a wide arch and narrow line of your outer foot then you have high arches. You are among the 30% of the population of in America.

    3) If your imprint has a medium arch then congratulations. You are among the 10% of the population in America with the ideal foot.

    Regardless of what foot type you have, there are running shoes that are right for you. As many as 56% of the 30 million runners in America, have injuries from improper shoe selection. So you can see that you do have to do your homework to protect yourself.

    With all the pressure one gets from TV adds or what is popular to wear now, you really need to put the health aspect first. Most likely you will be able to find a shoe that is right for your foot type and still have style.

    To determine the shoe to buy, here are some guidelines:

    1) For the flat-footed person, you will want to buy a shoe that is rigid and stable. This will prevent your ankles from bending inward or outward and it will protect you.

    2) If you have high arches, you will want to look for a very cushioned shoe. High arched feet don’t absorb shock very well so you’ll want that cushion to help in absorbing the shock for you.

    3) For the medium arch or ideal foot, you want the combination of both stability and cushioning for your feet.

    When you try on a shoe it should be snug but not tight and there should be approximately a 1/2-inch between your longest toe and the front of your running shoe. Tip: Shop for your shoes late afternoon when your feet are a little more spread. If it is not comfortable when you are in the store, imagine what it will be like when you are out on a run. So test them well while you’re there.

    In summary, those shoes you bought that were such a bargain may be cause for concern in the future, so pick wisely and may your running experience be smooth and wonderful. Your feet will be most grateful.

    Running indoors has its advantages

    Treadmills have many advantages over real running and walking. Sure, you don’t get to go outdoors in the nature, but you can also avoid bad weather and all the other hazards that come with going out of your house, such as cars and passers-by. It’s much more relaxing to not have to keep your mind and one eye on the potential problems, and just concentrate on your running.

    Apart from that, though, there are many more serious benefits. The ground remains at the same level for the whole run, which avoids you having to constantly adjust the way you’re running – you can build up a pace and then keep going. Also, the run is always at the speed you’re most comfortable with, and you can change it whenever you like. If you do want to run uphill, though, you can simulate that too, by adjusting the gradient of the machine.

    Another advantage is in all the statistics you can collect about your running: because the machine is setting the pace of the run, it can calculate all sorts of things automatically, such as the amount of energy (calories) you have burned. You can also hook yourself to various monitors – heart rate monitors, breathing monitors, and so on – to check all the different aspects of your health when you run.

    One of the best things about running indoors is that you don’t have to be bored while you’re doing it – you can watch TV or read a book while you’re using it. Even though it can be quite relaxing, though, treadmills are still a more effective form of exercise than some complex cardiovascular exercises. Faced with a choice between getting into all sorts of strange positions and contorting my body into odd shapes or just running on a treadmill, I know which one I’d choose.