Showing posts tagged run

‘If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon’

The finish line at a marathon is a small marvel of fellowship. Everyone is there to celebrate how much stronger the runners are than they ever thought they could be. Total strangers line up alongside the route to yell encouragement. Bands play. Some hand out cups of water, Gatorade, even beer. Others dress up in costumes to make the runners smile. The fact that other people can run this far makes us believe we can run that far. It’s a happy thought. It makes us all feel a little bit stronger.

Today, the final line of the Boston Marathon is a crime scene. It’s a testament to how much more evil human beings can be than we can imagine. The bomb — or at least what we think was a bomb — went off at four hours and nine minutes. As Pacific Standard notes, that’s a popular marathon time. It seems likely that the detonation was timed to kill as many people as possible.

But that’s not all it was meant to do. It was also meant to be on television. It was meant to be on the front page of every newspaper, to be the top story of every news broadcast. That way it could hurt even the people who weren’t there. It could make everyone in the country feels a bit weaker, a bit more vulnerable, a bit more scared.

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon,” wrote Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. Her story, as recounted by Dave Zirin, is worth thinking about today:

“Through 1966, women weren’t allowed to run the grueling 26-mile race. But in 1967, a woman by the name of Kathrine Switzer registered as K.V. Switzer and, dressed in loose fitting sweats, took to the course. Five miles into the race, one of the marathon directors actually jumped off a truck to forcibly remove Switzer from the course, yelling: “Get the hell out of my race!” But the men running with her fought him off. For them, Kathrine Switzer had every right to be there. For them, the Boston Marathon wasnʼt about exclusion or proving male supremacy — pitting boys against girls. It was about people running a race. Somehow Kathrine Switzer kept her pace as this mayhem occurred all around her. As she said, “I could feel my anger dissipating as the miles went by — you can’t run and stay mad!”

When the pictures from the marathon were transmitted across the globe, the world saw two opposing models of masculinity: the violence and paranoia of the marathon director vs. the strength and solidarity of the other male runners.

If you are losing faith in human nature today, watch what happens in the aftermath of an attack on the Boston Marathon. The flood of donations crashed the Red Cross’s Web site. The organization tweeted that its blood supplies are already full. People are lining up outside of Tufts Medical Center to try and help. Runners are already vowing to be at marathons in the coming weeks and months. This won’t be the last time the squeakers run Boston. This won’t be the last time we gather at the finish line to marvel how much more we can take than anyone ever thought possible.

I really don’t want to run right now but that’s exactly why I need to go run, because it always makes things better. Here we go

Tips to Dress Properly for Running in Cold Weather
How you dress for the elements can make or break your winter runs. This doesn’t mean you should pile on all the clothes you can possibly manage to stay warm. It is possible to dress too warmly, and the result can leave you sweaty and uncomfortable.
1. Dress in layers.
Wearing several thin layers of clothing helps trap warm air between each layer keeping you considerably warmer than if you were to wear one heavy layer. This includes socks; wearing two pairs of polypropylene socks keeps your feet warmer and drier than one heavy pair.
More: 3 Tips for Training in the Cold
2. Wear the right fabrics.   
One area where modern runners have a huge advantage on those who started out in the running boom of the late 1970s and 80s is in the types of fabric available for running gear. Materials such as polypropylene, capilene, and some wool/synthetic blends wick moisture away from your body and keep you as warm and dry as possible. Avoid wearing cotton because it doesn’t wick moisture and also has very little insulating ability, which will leave you wet, cold and uncomfortable.
3. Wear a protective shell.
It’s critical that you wear some sort of waterproof windbreaker or shell to protect you from the wind and precipitation. Gore-Tex is the best material to wear as it does a great job of releasing moisture from the body while also keeping out moisture from the outside elements. Nylon also does a reasonable job for a lesser price.
4. Cover exposed skin as much as possible.  
A hat and gloves are absolutely necessary once the temperature dips below freezing. Your body will lose the majority of its heat through any exposed skin, so cover up as much as possible. If it’s really cold, you can cover exposed areas such as your face with Vaseline to reduce the potential of frostbite.
Running in cold weather also presents some unique safety concerns. Extreme temperatures can even pose life-threatening risks if you don’t take some basic precautions.
1. Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive home. Make sure that at least one competent person is aware of your plans. If you don’t arrive as expected, they’ll recognize that you’re missing and know where to look for you.
2. Always wear reflective gear when running after dark. Due to the decrease in daylight hours, it’s more likely that you’ll be running in the dark during the winter. Make sure you wear light-colored, reflective clothing so that you can easily be seen by oncoming vehicles.
3. Run short loops. When it’s cold outside, consider running multiple laps of a short course, rather than one longer loop. This ensures that you’ll never be far from home in the event of an emergency. Running a short course also ensures that you won’t be heading into bad weather for an extended period of time, which, aside from being extremely unpleasant, can significantly lower your body temperature.
4. Be careful rounding corners.  At least once a year I manage to fall flat on my face after stepping on an icy surface. The biggest risk occurs when you try to change direction with ice underfoot. Make sure you go very slowly when turning corners and be very careful on icy surfaces. Don’t worry about losing fitness by running a bit slower; the main goal is to get through the run without pulling a muscle or injuring yourself in a fall.
5. Carry your cell phone, identification and some cash with you for an emergency. If you run into a major problem, make sure you have your cell phone handy and enough cash to get you home if necessary. This is good advice for any run, at any time of year. Sometimes unavoidable circumstances can leave you stranded and you definitely do not want to find yourself out in the cold, unable to run, and several miles from home without help.
The main message is this: Running in cold weather requires some planning and some sensible precautions. Once these are taken care of, your runs will be safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.

Tips to Dress Properly for Running in Cold Weather

How you dress for the elements can make or break your winter runs. This doesn’t mean you should pile on all the clothes you can possibly manage to stay warm. It is possible to dress too warmly, and the result can leave you sweaty and uncomfortable.

1. Dress in layers.

Wearing several thin layers of clothing helps trap warm air between each layer keeping you considerably warmer than if you were to wear one heavy layer. This includes socks; wearing two pairs of polypropylene socks keeps your feet warmer and drier than one heavy pair.

More: 3 Tips for Training in the Cold

2. Wear the right fabrics.   

One area where modern runners have a huge advantage on those who started out in the running boom of the late 1970s and 80s is in the types of fabric available for running gear. Materials such as polypropylene, capilene, and some wool/synthetic blends wick moisture away from your body and keep you as warm and dry as possible. Avoid wearing cotton because it doesn’t wick moisture and also has very little insulating ability, which will leave you wet, cold and uncomfortable.

3. Wear a protective shell.

It’s critical that you wear some sort of waterproof windbreaker or shell to protect you from the wind and precipitation. Gore-Tex is the best material to wear as it does a great job of releasing moisture from the body while also keeping out moisture from the outside elements. Nylon also does a reasonable job for a lesser price.

4. Cover exposed skin as much as possible.  

A hat and gloves are absolutely necessary once the temperature dips below freezing. Your body will lose the majority of its heat through any exposed skin, so cover up as much as possible. If it’s really cold, you can cover exposed areas such as your face with Vaseline to reduce the potential of frostbite.

Running in cold weather also presents some unique safety concerns. Extreme temperatures can even pose life-threatening risks if you don’t take some basic precautions.

1. Always tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to arrive home. 
Make sure that at least one competent person is aware of your plans. If you don’t arrive as expected, they’ll recognize that you’re missing and know where to look for you.

2. Always wear reflective gear when running after dark. 
Due to the decrease in daylight hours, it’s more likely that you’ll be running in the dark during the winter. Make sure you wear light-colored, reflective clothing so that you can easily be seen by oncoming vehicles.

3. Run short loops. 
When it’s cold outside, consider running multiple laps of a short course, rather than one longer loop. This ensures that you’ll never be far from home in the event of an emergency. Running a short course also ensures that you won’t be heading into bad weather for an extended period of time, which, aside from being extremely unpleasant, can significantly lower your body temperature.

4. Be careful rounding corners.  
At least once a year I manage to fall flat on my face after stepping on an icy surface. The biggest risk occurs when you try to change direction with ice underfoot. Make sure you go very slowly when turning corners and be very careful on icy surfaces. Don’t worry about losing fitness by running a bit slower; the main goal is to get through the run without pulling a muscle or injuring yourself in a fall.

5. Carry your cell phone, identification and some cash with you for an emergency. 
If you run into a major problem, make sure you have your cell phone handy and enough cash to get you home if necessary. This is good advice for any run, at any time of year. Sometimes unavoidable circumstances can leave you stranded and you definitely do not want to find yourself out in the cold, unable to run, and several miles from home without help.

The main message is this: Running in cold weather requires some planning and some sensible precautions. Once these are taken care of, your runs will be safer, more comfortable and more enjoyable.

25 Ways To Run Faster
1. Nail good form. The key to running (at any speed) is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping the upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with the mid-foot landing under the hip, and swinging the arms forward and back (not side to side!) at low 90-degree angles.
2. Count your steps. Get familiar withstride turnover, or the rate of steps taken while running, regardless of pace. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute and keep their feet close to the ground with light, short n’ speedy steps. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.
3. Get low, get high. Short on gym time? Quick! Try speed training! Intervals, or alternating periods of high and low intensity while exercising, are just one way to build speed and endurance— and burn major calories in less time, too!
4. Stride right. There’s a reason you see all those “real runners” doing short sprints before the big road race. Striders (or strides) are a series of comfortable sprints (usually eight to 12, between 50 to 200 meters each) to improve acceleration technique.
5. Run the ‘mill. Feel the need for speed?  Chase it down on the treadmill! Because the speed belt assists with leg turnover, it’s actually easier to run at a faster clip inside. Plus, the power to push the pace is right at your fingertips. A word of advice these geniuses could have used: Get on the machinebefore turning up the dial.
6. Stretch it out. The jury is still out on whether static stretches before running really prevents injuries[1]. But leaders of the pack know stretching daily (target those hip flexors!) increases flexibilityfor better strides.
7. Pick a pace. Fartleks is a funny Swedish word (yes, our inner 10-year-old boy finds it hilarious) meaning “speed play.” Alternating jogs and sprints will gradually build up speed and endurance, plus you call the shots on when to switch it up.
8. Lighten up. Even ifbarefoot running isn’t your thing, sneakers are getting lighter and lighter to mimic the foot’s natural movement and improve stride. Try a minimalist pair to see if less weight means more energy for faster feet.
9. Get to the core. Fast and fit go hand in hand. Stronger core muscles (especially the lower abs) allow runners to tap into more force and speed out on the road. The best part: Just 15 minutes of core work a few days a week is enough for a faster finish[2].
10. Breathe in, breathe out. Just do it much faster! Learning how to breathe while running at faster speed takes practice. Use both the nose and mouth while inhaling and exhaling to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the muscles. Also, try belly-breathing (not to be confused with belly dancing!), which means filling the stomach with air on each inhale, not the chest.
11. Play with toys. Who doesn’t like new toys? Try a running parachute for added resistance, or if your budget allows, see what it’s like to go for a moon-walk, err, run on an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.
12. Head for the hills. Run just once a week, hill repeats are shown to improve speed, build muscle strength, and add a boost of confidence, too.
13. Add weight. Stronger, leaner muscles will only help when it comes to flying past the finish line. And while runners shouldn’t necessarily take up bodybuilding, just one to two short strength training sessions a week can go a long way.
14. Lose weight. On the other hand, research shows that shedding the pounds (fat, not muscle) can help runners shave time off the clock— an average of two seconds per mile faster per pound lost! Of course, not everyone has the weight to lose (lucky them!), so remember to consult a physician before starting any weight-loss program.
15. Look ahead. Simply looking down at your sneaks or turning your head while running to check out the competition can waste precious time. Instead, focus forward— about 10 to 20 meters in the distance— and keep those eyes on the prize.
16. Toe the line. The whole body plays a role in speed— from the head, all the way to the toes! Pay attention to the piggies and try dorsiflexion (bringing the toes up to the shin) while running. Less of the foot hits the ground for a quicker stride turnover.
17. Jump on it. Take a lesson from Marky Mark in The Fighter and grab a jump rope. Boxers know that fast feet mean fast hands. But for runners, fast feet just equal fast feet.
18. Keep it steady. Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and steady builds speed! A tempo runchallenges speed-seekers to find a “comfortably hard” pace and hold it for a 20-minute period. Just don’t burn out before the run is over like that silly little hare!
19. Skip the sweets. Junk foods guarantee a sugar high, but they also slow us down. Stick to whole grains and pasta instead, which provide long-lasting energy— without the crash.
20. Hold on. Holding planks could give you abs that rival Ryan Gosling’s six-pack. But this specialrunning plank (done two to three times a week), will make you crazy stupid fast, too.
21. Go for a spin. Spinning is all about hip rotation and maintaining tough cadences— and the same goes for running! So put the pedal to the medal with some cross-training on the bike.
22. Fill ‘er up. Addicted to coffee? Turns out drinking caffeine prior to running gives an extra jolt of speed. Even more good news? It’s a totally legal performance enhancer[3].
23. Strike a pose. Get a leg up on fellow runners by adding yoga to your training plan. The increasedflexibility from runner-specific positions boosts speed and aids recovery after a long sweat session.
24. Get enough shut eye. Studies show well-rested athletes have better reaction times and clock faster finishes[4]. And think about it— the faster you run, the more time for kicking back and relaxing!
25. Strip down. When it’s finally race day, take it off! The extra layers and fuel belts, that is. The less clothing and gear on your body, the faster your time— which is why the pros practically get right down to their skivvies to run.

25 Ways To Run Faster

1. Nail good form. The key to running (at any speed) is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping the upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with the mid-foot landing under the hip, and swinging the arms forward and back (not side to side!) at low 90-degree angles.

2. Count your steps. Get familiar withstride turnover, or the rate of steps taken while running, regardless of pace. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute and keep their feet close to the ground with light, short n’ speedy steps. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.

3. Get low, get high. Short on gym time? Quick! Try speed training! Intervals, or alternating periods of high and low intensity while exercising, are just one way to build speed and endurance— and burn major calories in less time, too!

4. Stride right. There’s a reason you see all those “real runners” doing short sprints before the big road race. Striders (or strides) are a series of comfortable sprints (usually eight to 12, between 50 to 200 meters each) to improve acceleration technique.

5. Run the ‘mill. Feel the need for speed?  Chase it down on the treadmill! Because the speed belt assists with leg turnover, it’s actually easier to run at a faster clip inside. Plus, the power to push the pace is right at your fingertips. A word of advice these geniuses could have used: Get on the machinebefore turning up the dial.

6. Stretch it out. The jury is still out on whether static stretches before running really prevents injuries[1]. But leaders of the pack know stretching daily (target those hip flexors!) increases flexibilityfor better strides.

7. Pick a pace. Fartleks is a funny Swedish word (yes, our inner 10-year-old boy finds it hilarious) meaning “speed play.” Alternating jogs and sprints will gradually build up speed and endurance, plus you call the shots on when to switch it up.

8. Lighten up. Even ifbarefoot running isn’t your thing, sneakers are getting lighter and lighter to mimic the foot’s natural movement and improve stride. Try a minimalist pair to see if less weight means more energy for faster feet.

9. Get to the core. Fast and fit go hand in hand. Stronger core muscles (especially the lower abs) allow runners to tap into more force and speed out on the road. The best part: Just 15 minutes of core work a few days a week is enough for a faster finish[2].

10. Breathe in, breathe out. Just do it much faster! Learning how to breathe while running at faster speed takes practice. Use both the nose and mouth while inhaling and exhaling to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the muscles. Also, try belly-breathing (not to be confused with belly dancing!), which means filling the stomach with air on each inhale, not the chest.

11. Play with toys. Who doesn’t like new toys? Try a running parachute for added resistance, or if your budget allows, see what it’s like to go for a moon-walk, err, run on an AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill.

12. Head for the hills. Run just once a week, hill repeats are shown to improve speed, build muscle strength, and add a boost of confidence, too.

13. Add weight. Stronger, leaner muscles will only help when it comes to flying past the finish line. And while runners shouldn’t necessarily take up bodybuilding, just one to two short strength training sessions a week can go a long way.

14. Lose weight. On the other hand, research shows that shedding the pounds (fat, not muscle) can help runners shave time off the clock— an average of two seconds per mile faster per pound lost! Of course, not everyone has the weight to lose (lucky them!), so remember to consult a physician before starting any weight-loss program.

15. Look ahead. Simply looking down at your sneaks or turning your head while running to check out the competition can waste precious time. Instead, focus forward— about 10 to 20 meters in the distance— and keep those eyes on the prize.

16. Toe the line. The whole body plays a role in speed— from the head, all the way to the toes! Pay attention to the piggies and try dorsiflexion (bringing the toes up to the shin) while running. Less of the foot hits the ground for a quicker stride turnover.

17. Jump on it. Take a lesson from Marky Mark in The Fighter and grab a jump rope. Boxers know that fast feet mean fast hands. But for runners, fast feet just equal fast feet.

18. Keep it steady. Slow and steady may win the race, but fast and steady builds speed! A tempo runchallenges speed-seekers to find a “comfortably hard” pace and hold it for a 20-minute period. Just don’t burn out before the run is over like that silly little hare!

19. Skip the sweets. Junk foods guarantee a sugar high, but they also slow us down. Stick to whole grains and pasta instead, which provide long-lasting energy— without the crash.

20. Hold on. Holding planks could give you abs that rival Ryan Gosling’s six-pack. But this specialrunning plank (done two to three times a week), will make you crazy stupid fast, too.

21. Go for a spin. Spinning is all about hip rotation and maintaining tough cadences— and the same goes for running! So put the pedal to the medal with some cross-training on the bike.

22. Fill ‘er up. Addicted to coffee? Turns out drinking caffeine prior to running gives an extra jolt of speed. Even more good news? It’s a totally legal performance enhancer[3].

23. Strike a pose. Get a leg up on fellow runners by adding yoga to your training plan. The increasedflexibility from runner-specific positions boosts speed and aids recovery after a long sweat session.

24. Get enough shut eye. Studies show well-rested athletes have better reaction times and clock faster finishes[4]. And think about it— the faster you run, the more time for kicking back and relaxing!

25. Strip down. When it’s finally race day, take it off! The extra layers and fuel belts, that is. The less clothing and gear on your body, the faster your time— which is why the pros practically get right down to their skivvies to run.