run

How Aging Female Runners Strengthen Their Spine

Aging is a very natural part of life. It might not be the most pleasant experience though. There is a stigma attached to growing older. Society has an obsession with youth. However, there are ways to age gracefully and well. One of them involves daily exercise. Exercise keeps the body strong and limber. Running is a popular exercise that many men and women love to indulge in. Unfortunately, many women experience spine issues that are connected to running. As a woman naturally progresses in age, consider these tips to help strengthen the spine.

Wear Supportive Shoes

Supportive shoes are incredibly important when you are a runner. Your feet hit the pavement really hard and if you don’t have comfortable cushions in place to absorb the shock, this can end up damaging your joints. This will inevitably affect your spine. In order to fully support your body, make sure that you wear supportive shoes that are specifically for running.

Get Professional Treatments

Self-care doesn’t just apply to your body after a long day of work. It also can be applied after a workout. If you know that you have spine issues, it’s best to invest in osteoporosis treatments. To have a professional administer specific care to your back and bones is important. It’s also a good idea to invest in a good masseuse. Massages can do wonders for the lymphatic system and they can also do wonders for your muscles. When your muscles feel strong, this will impact the health of your entire body including your spine.

Work Your Core

Be intentional about doing exercises that strengthen your core. Your core is the area that supports your upper body and your spine. Your core involves your abdominal muscles, and there are plenty of workouts that you can do to strengthen your core. Consider developing a strength-training regimen that caters to this area.

Practice Good Posture

If you sit at a desk all day, understand that this can take a toll on your back. In addition to making sure that your seating is comfortable and supports your back, practice good posture. Work on making sure that you sit with your shoulders back and relaxed. Along with these four tips, make sure to remain gentle with your body. If you’re in the middle of a run and feel pain, slow down and walk. Don’t be afraid to take a break.

It’s also a good idea to try other low-impact exercises like swimming to switch things up. Consider running on asphalt instead of concrete. Asphalt is a lot softer to run on. That way, when it’s time to hit the pavement and start running again, you’ll feel ready to go.

Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym.

How to Improve Your Cadence

When it comes to cadence, we’ve all heard that the magic number is 180 – why is this though? At the 1984 Olympics, famed coach and running researcher Jack Daniels counted the strides of distance runners as they raced, and discovered that nearly all of them took at least 180 steps per minute. Many experts have cited Daniel’s work in suggesting to minimize overstriding, lessen impact forces on the legs, and maintain forward momentum, runners should always aim to hit that number. However, your cadence is hinged on your pace. Even Olympians take fewer steps per minute when they run at a slower speed. As a matter of fact, your easy and 5K paces may differ by up to 20 steps per minute. With that being said though if your cadence at 5K pace is below 180, it needs a boost. Here’s how to improve your cadence at every pace.

Take Notes:

First, establish your baseline cadence for all of your training speeds. On a treadmill, begin at warm-up pace and increase the speed by one minute per mile until you’re at 5K pace. As you reach each training pace (easy, marathon, temp, etc.) give yourself a minute or so to adjust to the speed, then begin counting your steps for 30 seconds. Multiply by two, record the number, then accelerate to your next pace. You should see that as your speed increases, your cadence increases. You can also do this on the track using intervals of 800 to 1200 meters.

Set a Target:

Add five percent to each of your recorded numbers. This is your goal cadence for each pace. According to biomechanics researchers, five percent is an attainable target that is still big enough to significantly reduce impact. So for example, if your easy run cadence was 160, aim for 168; if your tempo was 166, strive to hit 174.

Practice it:

One of the easiest ways to quicken your step is to run with a metronome (there’s an app for that!). You can also use things like JogTunes to find music with beats that match your desired turnover. Otherwise, monitor your progress with a 30-second cadence check every couple of miles. To accelerate the transition, schedule a workout like downhill sprints (Check “Get in Stride” below). If you’re struggling with the new target, lower it by two to three percent. Practice that revised cadence for three weeks, and then bump it back up again.

Get in Stride:

Here are some weekly workouts to train your legs for a faster turnover:

The Workout: Downhill Sprints

Details: After an easy run, do five accelerating sprints (strides) down a gentle grade of 150 to 200 meters, reaching top speed at the bottom. Walk back up for recovery.

The Workout: Fast Feet

Details: Using short, quick strides, take as many steps as you can in 10 meters. Keep your ground contact as short as possible. Jog for 10 meters. Repeat five times.

The Workout: Race-Pacer Tester

Details: Run fartleks of 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minute, and 1 minute at 5K pace. Jog one minute between reps. Do two sets. Count your steps or use a metronome during each rep of the second set.

 

Get Your FREE Guide to Improve Your Cadence

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Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Guest Post: The Best Time, Surface, and Distance to Run (According to Science)

What is the best time to run? What about even the surface or distance?

These are three biggest questions you probably have as a runner. Is it the predawn or afternoon? Grass or sand? 5k or 10k? Setting all personal preferences aside, is there scientific evidence to choose one option above another?

Let’s see what science has to say about it.

1) Best time to run:

It is hard to pinpoint a time that ticks all the right boxes. The optimal time will differ based on your goals or what you are trying to achieve. If you are concerned about performance, running in the evening will be a better option. If you are looking for a healthy lifestyle, running in the morning is what I recommend.

Benefits of running in the evening:

It is not easy to get up early in the morning and go out for a run. If you are not a morning person, you will find it hard to get out of bed, let alone running the miles. It’s relatively easy to keep up a running routine in the evening.

Second, you are more likely to achieve performance-based targets like better speed or distance in the evenings.

Our circadian biological clock has an effect on our energy levels. It decides when we are more alert or sleepy. Most of us have the highest energy levels around 6 PM in the evening. So, running at this time will yield much better results.

Similarly, our body temperature increases as the day goes by. High-temperature results in more blood flow towards lower extremities. Not only that, but our body produces more testosterone in the evening. The lungs are also functioning better at this time.

Keeping all these factors in mind, it is safe to assume that most of us will perform better in physical activities like running, cycling, or swimming in the evening. This is confirmed by several studies. For example, this study observed that swimmers improved their timing as the day progresses. They were significantly faster at 10 PM compared to 6:30 in the morning. Another study found markedly better performance in the evening.

Benefits of running in the morning:

Ever wondered why running is an integral part of military life? Because waking up early and going out to run is the most effective method to cultivate self-discipline. A very recent research suggests that morning people live longer than night owls.

It is not easy but that’s the main point. You must get out of your comfort zone.

A morning run means that you are done with the most important (and probably the hardest) part of your daily routine (i.e. physical exercise) even before others leave the bed. You will start your day with a great sense of achievement.

Waking up early will drag you to sleep early. It means that the relatively unproductive nighttime will be replaced with the more productive time in the morning.

Running in the natural environment is good for your mental health as well. Going out for the run when the sun is rising will help your body produce cortisol. It’s the hormone that keeps you alert. With all this extra time and energy, you will achieve a lot more during the day.

If you are living in some hot and humid region, early morning is usually the coolest time to run. There’s not much traffic and the air is relatively fresh. I couldn’t find a sizable body of research but this one suggests that the air quality is the best between 5 am to 10 am.

You are more likely to choose healthy diet after long bursts of running. So, a morning routine can be an ideal start to a healthy lifestyle.

That doesn’t mean you will have to compromise on performance. Your body will gradually adjust to your exercise routine and you will be able to perform better. Remember, most marathon or half marathon races take place in the morning. Your body will be better prepared.

2) Best Surface to run

Running is a convenient form of exercise because you can do it at any place and at any time. You can run on concrete, find a jogging track, or do it on the beach. Heck, you can run on mountains if you want.

The only concern is the impact or injury risk with different surfaces. Let’s see if you should really be concerned.

Hard surfaces vs. Soft surfaces:

You might think that there’s a greater chance of injury on the harder surface because of the impact.

Right? Actually not.

Our muscles and ligaments are more capable of adjusting than you may have thought. What actually happens is that we alter the stride and force according to the surface. When we are running on a hard surface, we will be gentle with our stride. And when we are running on softer surfaces, we will hit the ground harder.

That resonates with the findings in our meta-analysis of 150+ studies about arch support. It was observed that runners hit the ground harder when wearing shoes with extra cushion. Not only that, but we tend to land on rear-foot while wearing cushioned shoes, which is not the most efficient way of landing.

It means that choosing a soft surface will usually not result in reduced injuries. This is what scientists found when they observed 291 runners. More than half reported overuse injuries or anterior knee pain. However, different types of surfaces didn’t make a considerable difference to injury rates.

It’s not that the surface doesn’t make any difference. A softer surface like the grass is gentle to your feet and less likely to cause feet or ankle injuries. Stiff surfaces can result in a greater load on Achilles tendon. However, the overall injury rate will stay the same. You might avoid injuries in specific regions like ankle or foot but the load will shift to another part.

In fact, running on relatively hard surfaces like road or asphalt have certain advantages.

First, it is smooth and there’s no chance of injuries caused by an irregular surface like an ankle sprain. Second, you will better prepare for long distance races that usually take place on roads. You will also be able to maintain and improve your form over time.

3) Best Distance to run:

They say, too much of a good thing can be bad and running is no different. Question is, how much running can be considered too much?

The answer will differ from one person to another. It also depends on your age and fitness level. Many competitive runners can run more than 50 miles a week. You don’t need to run that much if you are just looking for the health benefits.

Moderation is the best policy:

There are studies that suggest running just 5 miles a week will give considerable health benefits and significantly reduce the risk of death. The same study found that mortality rate starts to increase as the runners go beyond 20 miles a week.

However, this is not conclusive and there are studies refuting this claim. For example, this one found that health benefits do not exhibit a point of diminishing return at less than 50 miles a week.

Truth is that you shouldn’t be too concerned about the miles. If you are just starting, don’t look at anything more than 1 or 2 miles. Don’t push your body too hard and stop before you feel totally exhausted.

Think of increasing the distance after some weeks. It should be a gradual process. Go for longer distance just once or twice a week and see if your body is coping well. If you feel good after the occasional long runs, you can make it a daily routine.

Remember, it’s better to run 5 miles on a consistent basis than trying to run 10 miles and breaking down. There are exceptions of course. You might have to run much longer distances in the peak weeks when preparing for a marathon. It all depends on your objective, fitness, and stamina. The sweet spot is something between 3 – 6 miles for an average person.

Now you know what science tells us about the best time, surface, or distance to run. Even if you can’t get to run at a time or surface of your choice, don’t use it as an excuse to not run.

Importance of a Dynamic Warm-up

Bye-bye-bye static stretching, and hello dynamic stretching! If you’ve read a few of my posts then you probably know how I feel about static stretching. Considering it can reduce performance and increase injury risk while presenting few benefits to runners, I’m not a fan – I’ll cover this more in-depth in an injury prevention series coming soon!

So, if you’re not supposed to stretch before a run, then what do you do? Well… it’s simple: a series of dynamic warm-up exercises that prepares your body to run.

Which if you think about it, static stretching doesn’t even accomplish what a good series of warm-up exercises should, like:

  • Increased heart rate and respiration (prepping your body for work)
  • Improved range of motion and lubricates joints
  • Increased capillary activation (fancy way of saying it’s delivering oxygen to your muscles)
  • More elasticity in your tendons and ligaments (reducing chance of tears)
  • Enhanced performance

That last point is what I really want to stress; I mean a simple series of warm-up exercises can help you run faster? Sign me up!

For some research behind this, in 2015 the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research published a study showing that male runners who were well-trained, run faster after a dynamic warm-up

Maybe more importantly, after years of evidence from runners (myself included) who have simply felt better after a dynamic warm-up, I’m a big believer in these types of dynamic warm-up exercises

Which brings me to share my favorite dynamic warm-up with you:

The Dynamic Sole Warm-up

This routine requires no equipment and can be done almost anywhere.

Since the routines in the Easy Injury Prevention for Runners (Coming Soon!) are all plays on the blog name, so is this warm-up.

Most of these exercises are done standing, so if you’re running a muddy trail, or from your car in the rain, just skip the first couple of exercises (Also, Q&A below!)

Below are instructions on how to complete the warm-up exercises in the routine (PDF w/ photos and instructions coming soon!).

#1. Hurdle Mobility:

In a table position – hands under shoulder, knees under hips – lift your leg so that your thigh is parallel to the ground and shin is at a 90-degree angle from your thigh. Make a circular motion with your knee like you’re moving your thigh over a hurdle.

The next movement is exactly the same, except in the opposite direction.

#2. Cross Over:

Lie in a supine position (on your back) with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your torso up to your left hand. The goal is to keep your shoulder and chest as flat against the ground as possible. There will be a good amount of rotation in your torso and hips as you swing your leg toward your hand. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.

#3. Scorpion:

Lie in a prone position (on stomach) with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg across your back up to your left hand. Keep your shoulders and chest as flat against the ground as possible. Like Cross Over, there will be a good amount of rotation in your torso and hips as you swing your leg over. Repeat the same movement for the left leg.

#4. Squat:

Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes pointing straight ahead. It’s okay if your toes are pointing slightly outward. Sit back with your butt like you’re sitting down in a chair until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Drive your heels down and return to the standing position, ensuring your lower back stays in a neutral position.

#5. Walking Lunge

Step forward with your right leg, flexing the knees and dropping your hips. Descend until your left knee almost touches the ground. Drive your right heel into the ground and push yourself back to a standing position while taking a step forward. Repeat with the opposite leg. Maintain a tall posture, and ensure your knee does not go too far beyond the toes while lunging.

#6. Walking Leg Swings (Zombie Walk)

With your hands straight out in front of you (like a zombie!), swing your right leg up toward your right hand. Keep both knees as straight as possible, and repeat on the opposite side.

#7. High-knee Skips:

Skip forward and drive your right knee up so it’s about parallel to the ground and drive your foot back down to the ground. Alternate each leg. Keep you back ball with an exaggerated arm swing and make sure you don’t slam your feet on the ground.

#8. Side Leg Swings

While standing in front of a wall or pole for suppost, swing your leg parallel to the support so your foot comes up about hip level. Make sure to swing your leg fully extended but not forcefully locked.

Dynamic Warm-up Q&A

To help get you started, I answered some of the most common questions you have asked me regarding dynamic warm-ups, stretching, and when you should do these exercises.

When Should I do This Routine?

This is dynamic warm-up so it’s done before you run, preferably right before running.

If you are traveling somewhere to run (like so many of us do) and won’t be able to get on the ground to do the first couple of exerises, just do the floor exercises at home and the standing exercises when you arrive right before you start running.

How Many Times Per Week Can I do This Routine?

Personally, I consider this an “easy” warm-up routine, so it’s best used before short, easy runs.

For faster workouts, long runs, and other challenging runs (like races), I suggest a more standard warm-up (coming soon!)

Is The Order of Exercises Important?

Absolutely! The sequence goes from general to more specific (floor to standing); simple to complex.

One of The Exercises Causes Pain – What Should I Do?

Skip it. None of these exercises should cause any discomfort, pain (especially sharp or stabbing pain), or hurt in any way.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How to Perform Strides

A top question I get is, “What are strides, why are they important, and how do I do them?” So I thought, I would answer all three of those questions today, because strides are one of the most important drills that should be a part of every runner’s training plan. Here’s a quick answer guide for one of the most essential running drills, and of course an explanation on how to perform strides.

Strides – AKA accelerations – are a staple of just about every high school and university track team. However, the majority of recreational runners never do them despite a long list of benefits. What makes this shocking is that it only takes a couple of minutes to knock out some stride after a run. In turn, this helps improve your training and best of all they can be done anywhere – not just on a track.

What are Strides?

Strides are roughly 100m accelerations where you start at a jog, build to roughly 95% of your max speed, and then gradually slow to a stop. A single stride should take around 20-30 seconds.

To begin, start with four strides and after 3-4 weeks increase to six. Take about 45-90 seconds of walking or standing in between each stride to catch your breath. Running strides is NOT an aerobic workout so don’t rush them – you get ZERO additional benefits by shortening the recovery period! So make sure that you’ve recovered properly before moving on.

Also, keep in mind that strides are very short and you’re only running really fast for a few seconds, so they shouldn’t be too difficult. Remember to stay relaxed during a stride – at no point should you be straining or racing.

Where Should I be Running Strides?

Anywhere! I’ve done them in parking lots (be careful!), sidewalks, roads, fields, and of course on the track. If your yard is big enough you can even do them there.

My favorite way to intelligently use barefoot running in a training plan is to incorporate barefoot strides 1-2 times per week. It’s best to do these on a synthetic turf track where the surface is predictable, plush, and free of debris.

When Should I Run Strides?

There are two situations that they are best used:

#1: After an easy or base run

In this scenario, think of strides like a dynamic stretch. They’re helping to increase your range of motion, increase your turnover, and subtly improving your form. By helping shake out some of the tightness you might feel after miles of running at the same pace, strides can help you feel better for your next run.

#2 Before a workout or race

In this case, strides are preparing your body to run fast. They serve as your transition to sustained, harder running.

In either situation, strides should be run at about the same distance and pace. However, if you’re preparing for a very short, fast race like a mile on the track, you might want to do shorter, faster stride. The opposite holds true as well: if you’re running a half or full marathon, a few longer, slower strides can help you warm up properly.

Why Should I be Running Strides?

Well… there’s a lot of reasons why they should be in your training plan.

  • They help you loosen up after a slow distance run
  • Serve as a transition to faster workouts – especially for beginners learning how to start running
  • Increase your running economy by reinforcing proper form (i.e. they make you more efficient)
  • When done barefoot, they develop foot and lower leg strength with a small risk of injury
  • They prepare you to run fast before a race or hard workout
  • They only take a few minutes

Many runners say they’re able to run faster (with less effort) on their distance runs after adding strides in their training regime after a few weeks. Give them a try for 4 weeks, and let me know how you feel!

Here’s a graph showing you a rough idea of how your effort should look when running strides:

Most of the runners I’ve helped coach tell me that they’ve learned to love strides and they make them feel better. Since they’re short, strides don’t require too much effort and they’re actually easy for most people.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

How You Can Be More Active in Your Everyday Life

When we talk about being active and living a healthy lifestyle, it isn’t just about going for a run each evening but being completely sedentary the rest of the time. In order to be truly more active, then there needs to be some things that we change in our everyday lives. When we are always more active, at work, school or at home, then we are really on the way to living a healthy and active lifestyle. All of those extra things can help us to stay well. So what are some changes you could be making? Here are a few ideas to help you be more active in your everyday life.

Walk More

It might elicit a moan from you or your family, but walking more is a great way to be active. You’re using your whole body, burning calories, and getting your heart pumping faster than it would be in the car. Even something like taking the stairs over the elevator is a good way to be more active and walk more. Plan your time better to walk to more places and you’ll really feel the benefit of it. You could also look to get a step counter to encourage you to be more active. We should be aiming for at least 10,000 steps per day, but many of us fall short of that. You can read more here if you want to http://stepcount.org.uk/. So if you’re curious to see where you are with that at the moment, then a step counter will be a good way to start being more active.

Take Regular Work Breaks

Work or school are going to be some of the places where we find it hard to be the most active. We can’t just get up and leave when we want. However, we can take breaks to have a quick walk around the office or to get a glass of water. You shouldn’t be sat at your desk for hours on end without moving. Consider standing at your desk if you need to, to get your body moving and some weight bearing on your feet. You could even look into getting a bike or elliptical installed under your desk, like this one https://www.hereon.biz/under-desk-elliptical/. What a fun way to be more active when you normally wouldn’t be very active. Employers should take note!

Use Standing Time To Move

Think about times in the day when you stand up but don’t do anything. You might be waiting for the kettle to boil or for the oven to heat up. But use that time to get in a mini-workout. How many squats can you do in the time it takes for your pasta to cook or the kettle to boil, for example? When you’re having a phone conversation, how many times can you go up and down the stairs or do something else that is active like cleaning the house? Multitask and get a few more mini-workouts in each day and it will help you to stay fit and well much more than people that don’t.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

You Shouldn’t “Walk Off” An Injury

While often used as a comedic device, the idea of being able to “walk off” an injury is nevertheless a persistent one. Trip and fall while out running? Walk it off! Stretch too far during a yoga class? Walk it off! However, here are some reasons you shouldn’t walk off an injury.

The whole idea is based on a fundamental lack of understanding about the human body. While there are some injuries which are temporary – momentary spasms of pain that will recede on their own – there is a huge threat caused by trying to “walk off” an injury that can’t be walked off. Of course, you have no way of knowing if the injury you have sustained can be walked off before you try it – but what happens if you give it a go, and what harm are you doing if you’ve calculated incorrectly?

Think About R.I.C.E.

You’re more than likely aware of what “R.I.C.E” means in an injury capacity, but if not, let’s be clear – it’s not this:

What it actually stands for is the way that you should handle an injury:

R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation

While you might think you will always know which injury needs the R.I.C.E. treatment and which doesn’t, you’re probably incorrect. R.I.C.E. is not just for those sudden, sharp injuries like turning your ankle – it should also be used for gradual stress injuries, that you might not even notice are building up.

As a rule, if you feel persistent pain – no matter how mild – in any area of your body, it needs to be R.I.C.E-d.

Strength Through Rest

You might think that because you work out regularly, use supplements like AlgaeCal, and have done your research, then you know best. You know that resting an injury can sometimes be worse for it than anything; back injuries, particularly, have a tendency to get worse rather than better if you cease all exercise.

However, learning about the AlgaeCal plant calcium side effects and researching the latest exercise techniques does not mean that you have the power to see into the future. How do you know the pain you’re experiencing in the moment is the kind that won’t benefit from rest?

Put simply: you don’t. It’s great that you have educated yourself on the supplements you should be taking if you exercise regularly and know your way around dealing with workout aches and pains, but you can’t predict the future. It’s far better to stop the moment you feel pain and make a clear-headed assessment of what’s happening to you.

Pain Isn’t Embarrassing

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the “walk it off” line is often used in comedic terms – i.e. someone walks into a door and is told to “walk it off”. This suggests that pain is an embarrassment, the fault of the person who is feeling the pain.

This isn’t the case. It might be embarrassing to trip over while running, but the pain itself should never be a cause for shame. Bodies go wrong. We make mistakes, miscalculate, and hurt ourselves – it’s completely natural. What is embarrassing is trying to carry on when your body is telling you to stop, thereby inevitably making life worse for yourself. Don’t fall into this trap; if something hurts, stop, evaluate, and then make a decision on how to proceed – no matter what anyone else thinks.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

3 Ways To Alleviate Running Pain

Running is a hard, but enjoyable past time for us. It gets us fitter, it makes us feel good by releasing endorphins into our system, increasing our quality of life overall! However, like any sport, running does come with pains and aches, some more serious than others. There are many different ways to alleviate running pain, and here are the best 3 ways to do it!

Get The Right Pair Of Shoes

Running shoes are incredibly important for the well-being of your legs. They properly distribute the weight of your feet across the sole and support your feet, unlike normal trainers. This is important because naturally, humans run on their feet! But in shoes, we run flat footed, and over extended periods of time, this causes damage to the feet themselves, the ankles and the knees. If you’re not running very often than a normal pair of running shoes will do you fine, but if you’re a more regular runner you need to get specially fitted shoes! Companies like FleetFeetSports offer fitting services and can find the perfect shoe for you, eliminating the risk of getting any foot related issues!

Stretch Out After Each Run

Stretching is also a very important component of running. When you exercise, your muscle contract and relax, however, due to the intensity of exercise your muscles don’t fully relax, instead they keep slightly contracted all throughout your run. If you get back from a run and don’t stretch out, you will continue to feel pain in your legs! Stretching forces your muscles to stop their constant contraction, meaning that you can relax and not have any problems. As an example, many runners will have stumbled across problems with the dreaded iliotibial band, causing a clicking whenever the knee is bent. This can be incredibly debilitating, however, if you purchase a foam roller from companies like Trigger Point there are stretches you can do to slowly nurse the IT band back to full health!

Get Physiotherapy

This is the last line of defense in alleviating injuries, and should only be done if you really need it! Physiotherapy differs from person to person as each problem is unique. However, they do offer medication and exercises after a consultation and examination of the problem you are having. Then a physician will take you through the necessary things you need to do. The treatment can often include massages and other muscular stimulation exercises. If you want to find out more about this topic, because it is very complex and specific, go to PainEndsHere.com. Companies like this are able to offer professional help for those that need it. So, if this applies to you then you should definitely reach out to one of these businesses.

So there you have it! The three best ways to alleviate running pain, any of these are guaranteed to make your pain go away. However, if it is more serious you need to make sure you see a doctor because you can’t remedy everything yourself! If you’re looking for other ways to avoid injuries when preparing for a run, read this.

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

Get Ready To Improve Your Running Performance With A Bike

When it comes to running, whether you are a beginner or an experienced runner, there are some plenty of tips that you didn’t even think you needed. We have touched on the most obvious of them in a previous article on runningsolegirl.com. For a start, a healthy runner, needs to pick the right attire, which means that you need to choose shoes that can absorb the shock and protect your knees and ankles from getting injured. When you run, you need to accept that you are investing in your health. Consequently, you have to be ready to pay the full price for a pair of shoes that will help you to prevent injuries. But naturally, embracing the running side of life doesn’t stop there. Your body goes through a lot, especially if you decide to run long distances. You need to adapt your diet to your workout requirements so that you can fuel your body with all the nutrients it needs to perform. However, you can also improve your running performance with a bike. Want to see how? Read below.

Pick the Right Bike for Your Needs

Just like running requires the right equipment, cycling does too. However, the kind of bike you need will depend on your cycling abilities and preferences. Are you a road cyclist or are you an off-road enthusiast? If you fancy the idea of cycling along natural tracks in the countryside, you might need to studies some of the mountain bike reviews from mountainbikesreviewed.com to find out everything you need from brake power to suspension. As a rule of the thumb, runners need a light to a medium-light bike that is suitable for road and slightly out of the beaten track trails so that you can follow your usual running route. Stay away from heavy bikes, and pick instead bikes that offer a responsive, stable and smooth riding experience.

Bikes Offer a Friendly Training Option

Contrary to running, cycling offers a joint-friendly alternative, that is very helpful if you’re recovering from an injury or if you suffer from painful joints. In truth, cycling regularly can help your joints to become stronger and can gradually help you to prevent the development of long-term weaknesses such as arthritis. More importantly, it keeps your muscles active even through a recovery period, which makes it the ideal activity to maintain your strength without causing your body any further damage.

Bikes Can Develop Your Endurance

Last, but not least, cycling offers an ideal combination of strength and endurance; which can help you to improve your performance. Cycling long distances with periods of sprints is a preferred training method for runners who want to maximize their endurance. Since it gradually develops your muscles to sustain a bigger effort. Additionally, there’s no denying that cycling helps your lung capacity to grow; which is exactly what you need when you are running long distances. You will find yourself feeling less out of breath and able to tackle more sizeable running challenges. As surprising as it might sound; one of the best training approaches for a marathon is to go cycling, a lot!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

5 Tips For Getting Back On The Track After a Muscle Injury

Things are going well. Your running times are improving all the time, you can feel your body adapting to the demands of the sport, and you’re confident that all in all, you’re on the right track (hey) for running success. And then you feel a twitch in your leg and, just like that, you’re laid up and unable to run. There are two options in this scenario: you can lie down and bemoan your luck, or you can do all you can to get back up and running as soon as possible. Let’s take the second option, and get back on the track after a muscle injury.

Keeping Things Cool

If you’ve injured yourself now, then you’re fortunate that it’s summer, because things are about to get pretty cool. When you have a strained muscle, ice will be your friend. How you do is up to you; you can get an icepack and target the sore spot exclusively, or you can be brave and have an ice bath. Settling into a bath of icy cold water might not sound like much fun, but it has bags of benefits before your injured muscle, including boosting your all round recovery, boost circulation, and even give your happiness levels a lift too.

To The Core

You might have a massage to help you unwind, but to recover from a muscle injury? It’s true. A deep tissue massage will relax your muscles, which will soothe the pain of the injured area, and also get those deep-lying toxins and tight muscle areas moving, too. Beyond speeding up your recovery, there’s another obvious advantage to getting this type of massage; you’ll feel extra relaxed, which might be important when you’re not able to release those tensions through long running sessions.

Stretch it Out

Stretching is an underrated tool for runners. For starters, if you make stretching part of your everyday routine then you’ll be greatly reducing your chances of getting injured; indeed, it’s because of inadequate warm-ups that cause most injuries to happen in the first place. When you are injured, stretching will help strengthen your muscles in a low-impact way. When you get back to running, your muscle will be stronger and less like to be re-injured if you’re stretching every day!

To the Pool

Everyone knows how important momentum and being in the “workout groove” is when you’re trying to build endurance and prepare for a long race. If you’re lying on the couch every day, then by the time you get back on the track you might have lost the edge you’ve gained during your training. As such, head to the water when you can’t run. It’ll cause no troubles for your legs, but will help you stay active and build up your endurance. And who knows: you might fall in love with swimming, too.

Rest

OK, last tip: when you’re injured, it’s extra important that your patient and get plenty of rest. If you neglect to do either of these things; then you’ll run the risk of having a relapse as soon as you’re back running. Not what you need!

Ally Gonzales is the founder & editor-in-chief of RunningSoleGirl. Along with blogging she is also juggling attending college and majoring in Exercise and Sports Science with a Sports Management minor.

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