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  • Published: May 3rd, 2011
  • Category: Other
  • Comments: 3

Running Tips To Improve Safety And Efficiency

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Many people are unprepared when they start running so their exercise regime only lasts a few weeks. Often their bodies begin to hurt because they have a faulty running technique. This article will outline a few simple running tips which will help you avoid these problems. You will then be able to run safely and regularly, without having to give up because of an easily avoidable injury.

Firstly you should try not to land on your heel. This is a common mistake which is easy to fix. The heel is not cushioned so when you land on it, it puts unnecessary stress on the rest of the leg. This is the tip which you should make sure you implement first of all, as it will enable you to run faster while putting less stress on the shins and knees, and can help to prevent shin splints. You should also try to avoid stretching your stride as this can make you run very inefficiently. Running like this pushes your leg away from your centre of balance which means you have to place extra force on your hip to allow your body to catch up with your front foot.

Another beginners’ running tip is to maintain a consistent step turnover rate so that your muscles can work to their full potential. The toughness of a run is not determined by the rate of stepping, but by the force you exert with each step. So the speed at which you run is relative to the force with which you push off the ground. If you can incorporate these running tips for beginners into your routine you will reduce the risk of injury while running in a more efficient manner. Your muscles will be used to their potential, and with the addition of some good quality running shoes you will avoid many of the common overuse injuries found in novice runners.

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  • Published: Apr 13th, 2011
  • Category: Other
  • Comments: 2

3 Quick Running Tips For Beginners

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Many people who start out running simply pull on their new running shoes and set off around their local streets or parks. Often, they retire from their fitness regime within a few weeks because their knees start playing up, or their hips or lower back hurt so much both during exercise and afterwards. The problem is that nobody teaches us how to run properly, and most beginners’ injuries are a result of poor technique. Here are a few simple tips which will help you to ward off unnecessary overuse injuries such as shin splints and painful joints.

1. Stop Heel Striking – landing on the heel of the front foot is very common among beginners because they stretch their leg forward, locking the knee, when they stride. Unfortunately, the human heel is not cushioned and is designed mainly for balance. So if you only try out one of these running tips for beginners, this is the one to incorporate into your exercise: always aim to land on your forefoot. This allows you to make effective use of your foot’s natural shock absorber in the arch, and also provides some elastic recoil, which will enable you to run faster with less stress on your shins and knees.

2. Stop Stretching Your Stride – stretching your front leg out in front of you, and landing your foot ahead of your center of balance is a very bad practice. It forces you to land on your heel and since it is usually accompanied by a locked leg, it creates extra stress for the knee joints. You will also find that running this way can slow you down, because you have to pivot your hip to catch up with the front foot before you can push off into your next stride. This means you are running very inefficiently as well as potentially causing harm. So, shorten your stride length and aim to land your front foot underneath your hip. This will allow you to push off much faster, it will enable you to land on the forefoot rather than the heel, and it will minimize unnecessary shocks to your leg joints.

3. Stop Varying Your Turnover Rate – many new runners think that a leisurely jog means a slow turnover rate (also called cadence), while a faster, more competitive run means increasing the number of steps per minute. In truth, you should always aim for 180 steps per minute. Your speed is then controlled by the force you exert on the ground at each toe off. So running for fun should feel as if you are floating along, whereas serious running should leave you with a nice ‘burn’ in your calves, glutes and hip muscles, but your steps per minute should not change. This cadence is ideal for ensuring you maximize the elastic recoil from the springy tendons and muscles in your feet and lower legs, helping you to conserve some of your energy and keep muscle fatigue at bay for longer.

If you can start to include these three beginners’ running tips into your new exercise program, you will find that you can run more efficiently, more rapidly and with less potential for injuries. The only other thing to add is a properly fitting pair of running shoes and you should be safe for your next year of jogging.

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  • Published: Jan 28th, 2011
  • Category: Other
  • Comments: Comments Off on The Pros And Cons Of Barefoot Running

The Pros And Cons Of Barefoot Running

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Barefoot running seems to be going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment. There is so much information on the internet about it and books like ‘Born To Run’ by Christopher McDougall have helped to popularize the form of running throughout the western world. You can buy special protective shoes like the Vibram Five Fingers to protect you feet but still give you that barefoot experience. Even Nike has jumped on the bandwagon with their running shoe the Nike Free which claims to simulate barefoot running while running in a shoe. You’ve got to give the guys at Nike credit for that one; they’ve managed to sell a shoe that gives you benefits of running barefoot. Anyone else thinking of selling ice to Eskimos?

I’m not a barefoot running convert, so don’t think I’m going to spend the next 500 words rambling on about how great barefoot running is. Instead, I aim to discuss the benefits and draw backs of barefoot running. It’s a subject I’ve been thinking about quite a bit recently as one of my friends has just started to work barefoot runs in to her workout and she won’t shut about how great it is. For those of you who are interested, read on. For those of you who are not, bail out now.

To start with I do believe that we, as humans, have evolved to run barefoot. I think that’s just logical. We weren’t even running in cushioned running shoes until Nike brought out the Nike Cortez in 1972, before then we all ran in thin soled plimsolls. There’s no doubt the Nike Cortez has gone on to become a bit of a classic but they certainly are not considered a running shoe anymore. One of the world’s leading physical therapists, Dr. Gerald Hartman, believes that running shoes have the same effect as putting your foot in a plaster cast and that muscles will suffer 40% to 60% atrophy within 6 weeks.

So going with what Dr. Hartman says, running barefoot will strengthen your feet. As a result your arches will arch up further and you will have better elasticity in the muscles and tendons of the foot. Other advocates of barefoot running cite that running without shoes forces you to adopt a forefoot strike which research has shown to be a more efficient foot strike. Running with a heel strike is akin to putting the brakes on, you are placing resistance on your forward momentum, the most efficient runners land on the mid or forefoot and keep their technique smooth and flowing, much like a barefoot runner.

Of course there are many people who would not advise you to run barefoot. If you visit a podiatrist regularly you probably know that barefoot running is not one of their recommended cures for foot pain. Instead the orthotics option is still the go to solutions for treating pain in the foot. There’s also compelling evidence that running shoes provide a certain amount of protection from the elements and hazards on the road such as glass, rocks and thorns. To add to this the bottom of the foot, the plantar surface, is not used to barefoot action and as a result is soft and tender. People running barefoot for the first time may experience plantar pain on the soles of their feet. Last of all there is no avoiding the fact that you will look a bit odd running around without any shoes on.

Like I said, I’m not a barefoot advocate, but I do run in a thin soled racing flat and I do employ many of the same running techniques that barefoot running promotes such as a forefoot strike and a light and smooth stride. So who knows what I’ll be running in this time next year.  Whether you decide to lace up your pronation correction, super cushioned shoes or opt for something a bit more minimal, remember to enjoy you runs and not get too caught up in the heated discussions surrounding this topic.

Ryan is an internet marketer working for a company dealing with car hire and if you want, you can find him on Twitter @ryanogs.

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  • Published: Jan 3rd, 2011
  • Category: Other
  • Comments: 1

Runners Knee And Running Shoes

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Runner’s knee is the bane of many runners, simply because it is such a common but frustrating injury. If it isn’t properly treated it can linger for months if not years, and may never go away unless someone who understands the condition treats the runner. So what can you do about runner’s knee, and more importantly what can you do to help prevent it?

The proper footwear is essential if you want to avoid getting runners knee. It’s no wonder that many people get the condition when they are running on hard surfaces without footwear which cushions the foot. If you have flat feet, then buying running shoes with extra arch support is very important as this stops the tibia rotating inwards. When the tibia rotates inwards it changes the biomechanics of the leg and can lead to excess cartilage wear and, over time, runner’s knee.
One thing to remember is that runner’s knee is not a very accurate description. There are numerous conditions that could be classed as running knee, and health professionals often won’t differentiate between them. If you think you have runners knee – which could mean patella tendonitis, patellofemoral syndrome or something else – then it’s important to go to someone who is used to dealing with runners and the injuries which they are most likely to pick up.

Overall, runner’s knee is something that’s easily avoided. Just make sure that you don’t run too far in a short space of time, limit your training sessions to quality instead of quantity and back off the mileage if you start to feel pain in the knee region. The correct running shoes that are high quality, such as the New Balance MR993, are also essential. Many runners ignore this advice and end up with a serious injury that could have been avoided if they’d been more patient and listened to their body. Knee injuries are very common, but that doesn’t mean all runners need to experience them.

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