running

It’s A Long Summer Run Ahead

Getting out and about and exercising during the summer months is so rewarding. We get nicer weather to make the most of, longer days to utilise and, generally, everybody tends to feel a lot happier about themselves. It’s a one-way ticket to success if you start your workout regime at this time of the year, but few people tend to see that. They stick with the idea that starting off at the gym and getting fit and healthy in January is the way to go. Who wants to push their body to the limits in the cold when you’ve got the option of embracing nature and the outdoors when the temperature starts to rise?

Make The Most Of The Weather

We get summer for a few months each year. There are places all around the world that are lucky enough to have it almost all year round, but for the majority of us, we are stuck with the seasons. And who can begrudge that? It offers variety to our training regime and ensures that we are not bored on a day to day basis.

We see different things when we are out running and it gives s the chance to get creative with our routes. Stick to the same thing every single day and you’ll soon begrudge the reason that you’re running and grow complacent and bored with what you’re doing. While the weather is fair and you can get the most out of your days, try and extend your running path a little further each time. Most marathons and training events happen over the summer, so entering yourself for one at the start of summer to complete at the end is a perfect goal to aim for.

Remember To Fuel Your Body

It’s easy to forget just how much more water your body needs when it’s warmer than it does compared to in the colder months. It’s also easy to forget that you need to switch up your foods to cater for the fact that your body will naturally burn more calories in warmer weather.

If you are looking to run for weight loss rather than fitness, then supplement with something like Royal 21 Queen and ensure that you are eating a balanced diet, but if it’s solely for fitness than you need to really make sure that you are taking care of your body in the way it needs to be taken care of. Eating the right food for your body is like fuelling a car; if you are running on gas, it’s silly to put diesel into it. It won’t work.

It’s sort of the same with what you eat before a big run. If you are eating a lot of the wrong foods, your body won’t work in the way that you want it to. You need complex carbohydrates to give you a slow release of energy throughout. Make sure that you have drank plenty before you set off if you are averse to carrying water around with you. Think about the treats that you can have after your run – the healthy eating binge doesn’t have to last forever!

Take Note Of Your Statistics

If you have a smartwatch such as a FitBit, it’s easy to keep a track of how many calories you are burning, what your pulse rate is like throughout your run and how far you have travelled. It’s a good idea to take a note of these statistics and have them on file. There are a few reasons for this.

The first is that it’s a good motivation for you to see how far you’ve come from the start of the summer to the end. It’s a great feeling to look down and see that you’ve burned X amount of calories as well as running X amount of distance.

The second is to be able to gauge how many calories you are burning over a period of time to be able to fuel yourself effectively.

The third is to notice any anomalies in what you are doing and bring them to attention. If you have noticed that your heart rate is deviating from the norm after you have reached a plateau, or are noticing that you’re not running somewhere as fast as you were and reaching your destination in a time that reflects the amount of work that you’ve put into your training, it may be time to seek the help of a professional.

Even if it’s just a false alarm, it’s still a good idea to get checked over to ensure that you are doing everything right and there’s not something  happening within your body. This can be harder to pick up on in colder months as your body has to constantly adapt to the temperature outside and takes longer to warm up. Use the summer months as your motivation to finding out the cause of a problem, if there are any.

Get Social, Pick A Buddy!

The immense thing about running in the summer is that you will actually have people who are willing to do it with you. Whether they’re novices or advanced in their field, running with a partner in tow can do wonders for your motivation – and theirs. Remember to take it at a pace that suits the both of you, or pair up with other people who are on their level if they are uncertain that they’ll be able to keep up at all.

We all had to start somewhere, and it bodes well to humble yourself and remember that when trying to introduce other people to a sport that you may well be a whizz at. It takes a certain amount of dedication, a pinch of time and a whole lot of luck and talent to be really good at something, so nurture the person who decides to take this step and support them on their journey. If they don’t like it, don’t worry – it’s summer, and you are totally free to do what you want!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Exercising? You Need These Nutrients

You need to eat well while you’re exercising. Otherwise, you’re simply not going to get all the benefits possible from your activities. But it’s worth finding out how precisely you should eat when you’re exercising.It’s not enough to say “eat well” – you need to know what nutrients your body actually requires!

Sodium

Many people may cringe upon hearing the word “sodium” in relation to health; they know it essentially means you need to think about the inclusion of salt in your diet. But isn’t that a big no-no? Actually, exercise makes you lose sodium very quickly, and if you don’t replenish that sodium then you can experience cramps. Low sodium levels in the long-term can cause hyponatremia. That’s why sports drinks have added salt in them!

Zinc

When you don’t get enough zinc, your oxygen intake can become negatively affected. So if your exercise is focused largely on cardiovascular and endurance activities (and what good exercise routine doesn’t at least feature these things?), then you need to pay attention to your zinc levels. It’s also great for helping to keep testosterone levels up, which is something that will become increasingly important for men approaching middle-age! Chickpeas, spinach, cashews, and mushrooms are fantastic ways to get zinc into your system. (Psst – so is dark chocolate!)

Omega-3

If you’re working on cardiovascular activities, then you need to keep your heart healthy. And there are few nutrients out there better at protecting your heart than omega-3. To many, this means you need to consume fish and fish oil – something that worries vegetarians and vegans! But omega-3 can be found in abundance in berries, seeds, mangoes, and leafy greens. Precisely the kind of things you can combine in a Ninja blender to make a tasty and nutrient-packed smoothie!

Magnesium

When you exercise vigorously, you’re actually putting your bones through quite the ringer. Those frequent hard impacts that accompany running can cause problems if you’re not keeping up your bone strength. Calcium is usually considered the obvious nutrient when it comes to bone strength, but you mustn’t forget about magnesium. It also helps you retain muscle strength. After all, your muscles take similar punishment during rigorous exercise! Avocados and bananas are great sources – they’re also rich in potassium, helping you maintain your energy levels. (Psst – dark chocolate also contains a lot of magnesium! Seriously, don’t underestimate dark chocolate. But, y’know, don’t pig out on it, either.)

Vitamins B, C, D, and E

It might be a safe assumption that you need all the lettered vitamins when you’re exercising regularly. But it’s good to understand why these ones, in particular, are so important. Vitamin B helps you metabolize fats and proteins, an essential function for people who exercise. (Vegans will probably need to take supplements to keep their levels up!) Vitamin C helps prevent shortness of breath during and after exercise, so stock up on oranges and grapefruit!

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – helps the mitochondria in your muscles regenerate energy during exercise. This helps you maintain endurance. As for vitamin E – well, vitamin E is just really good at preventing illness. And few things disrupt your exercise routine quite like being ill!

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Non-Running Exercises That’ll Make You Run Faster

A lot of amateur runners think that if they just run further or more often that they will improve their mile time. Unfortunately, they eventually hit a plateau, and no matter how hard they train, they can’t break through it and continue improving. The problem with this state of affairs is that it can sap motivation and lead to despair.

The good news is that you can improve your mile time. You just need to stop running and try something else. Here are some non-running exercises that’ll help you run faster.

Up Your Game With Rowing

To get better, our bodies need to be challenged in new and unusual ways. The problem for most runners is that they don’t challenge their cardiovascular system and instead run at the same pace during all their training sessions.

One way to mix up cardiovascular training is to try something different. According to https://bodygearguide.com/best-rowing-machine-reviews/ rowing machines are a great way to prepare for a triathlon. Why? Because they help to tax the cardiovascular system in different ways to regular jogging. While your body is trained to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your legs, it’s less used to providing the same level of service to your back muscles and arms. Forcing your body to adapt to rowing will help when you next go out for a run. Don’t be surprised if you find your mile time coming down.

Single-Leg Squat

When you think about it, running is actually a series of single-legged jumps, one after the other. These jumps put tremendous strain on your knee joints and leg muscles. But despite this, many runners never bother to train their legs. In so doing, they put themselves at risk of injury and cause themselves to have slower mile times.

Single-legged squats are a great way to train for running says http://www.runnersworld.com. Not only do they improve the strength of the knee joint and leg muscles, but they also help the body balance itself biomechanically. Runners who aren’t biomechanically balanced or strong enough often run in a sub-optimal way to compensate. Strengthening the legs can help  prevent suboptimal gaits and make your mile times faster.

Foam Roller Pectoral Stretch

The upper body is one of the most overlooked regions of the body for runners. But it turns out that the trunk region, as well as the upper chest, are critical when stabilizing a runner in motion.

The upper body is important for another reason too: breathing. A stiff upper body that lacks strength can lead to reduced muscle function, low lung capacity and slouching. All these issues can then result in further running issues down the road.

Doing a pectoral stretch on the foam roller can help to reverse these problems and expand the chest area. Opening up the chest helps to stretch out the chest muscle, reducing the amount of rounding in the upper back.

Stretching out the thoracic is helpful too. To do this, lie with your back on the floor and put the foam roller under your lower back. You’ll notice a stretch in your core muscles.

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

The New Reebok Harmony Road Running Shoe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Reebok. All opinions are 100% mine. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

When it comes to running shoes, I’m beyond picky. The right running shoe can help prevent you from various aches and pains. Like shin splints, plantar fasciitis, black toenails, etc. It can also weigh you down, change your footstrike, and lessen the impact of whatever surface you may be running on. Whether you’re a walker or a runner, you only have one pair of feet, and you need to take care of them. Which means paying attention to the shoes you put on them, here’s why I’m loving the Reebok Harmony Road Running Shoe.
Growing up, the importance of properly fitting shoes was always stressed to me. When I became heavily involved in running, it amplified even more, but I understand why. They’re the first thing to lessen the impact while running, but if they’re not right can cause an injury. I mean everywhere you go, your feet take you there, and since it’s the only feet you get; you need to take care of them. Thankfully Reebok has taken this all into consideration when designing their latest running shoe.

Reebok has always kind of been an underdog in running shoes. Many overlook them, but I’ve yet to try a pair that I didn’t love. My first pair of shoes that were only for running – back eight years ago – were Reebok, and it’s the brand I find myself go back to here and there. So when Reebok was looking for runners to try out their new Harmony Road Running Shoe, I was excited to see what they had come up with.

I’ve been testing out the shoes for about a week now, and I’m thrilled with them. I’m picky about my shoes, and even more so when they’re “road” shoes. They’re typically like cement blocks, and prevent your ankle from moving naturally. Something I learned the hard way when I stressed fractured my ankle a couple of years ago. Since I’m breaking them in, I’m wearing them most of the day, and can honestly say they’re one of the most comfortable running shoes I’ve had in a long time.

They’re super lightweight, have plenty of cushion with a shock-absorbing midsole, and have a sturdy outsole. Since they help stabilize and balance your foot, they’re perfect for the trail. Plus because of how light they are they’re great for fast intervals on the track.

The Harmony Road Running Shoe is super comfortable is because of how it’s made. The shoe is made from a synthetic mesh making it breathable, and the SmoothFuse upper is lightweight and won’t cause irritation. The midsole has a Kooshlan TPU foam that helps absorb shock and creates a more natural movement. Plus as you can tell in the picture above, they have a low-cut design allowing your ankles to move naturally, instead of restricting them.

Runner’s World is a registered trademark of Rodale, Inc. All rights reserved.

If you’re an avid Runner’s World reader like me, then you may have seen them named as one of Runner’s World 2017 Best Debut. It’s not hard to see why. The most important part of a running shoe is how it helps you run. The sole of the shoe is super flexible helping it to flex with your foot instead of against it. Making the transition from heel to toe nice and smooth, and more importantly; very natural.

If you’re looking for a natural ride running shoe that will hold up on the trail or the road and can be worn on the track. The Reebok Harmony Running Shoe might just be for you. To learn more and buy click here

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: Healthy Sleep During Training is More Important than Getting Some Shut-Eye the Night Before Race Day

Do you really need a good night’s rest the night before a big run? The short answer is yes and no.

Of course getting adequate hours of sleep the night before a race is bound to make you feel ready to take on the world in the morning. And not getting enough sleep is bound to make you feel sluggish. But how much does healthy sleep or the lack of it really affect athletic performance?

A Single Night of Zero/Poor Sleep Has Little to No Effect on Physical Performance

Yep, you read that right. Getting healthy sleep the night before a big race isn’t actually that important for physiological endurance.

While it sounds crazy, it’s also backed by several scientific studies.

In one Dutch study, a control group of men who had healthy sleep and another group of men who had zero sleep the previous night were pitted against each other in 20-minute cycling time trials.

The healthy-sleep group clocked in an average of 7.68km during their trial. And while the researchers expected considerably lower results from the sleep-deprived group, they clocked in a near-identical average of 7.62km. Other physical measurements during the trial, particularly their average heart rate, also came out near-identical.

In another study in 2007, experts from the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences analyzed a variety of existing studies on how sleep affects physical performance.

Much to their surprise, the experts found that even a few days of poor sleep translated to stable physiological markers of endurance. But while leg strength, oxygen demand at various speeds, and fatigue resistance were all unaffected by a single night of poor sleep, it was mental cognition that suffered.

And it wasn’t the first time that lack of sleep resulted in poorer mental performance.

The Brain is More Dependent on Sleep than the Rest of the Body

In a 2009 study, European researchers found evidence of decreased endurance in athletes who ran after staying awake for 30 hours. However, they also found that the 30-hour lack of sleep had a very limited effect on the test subjects’ actual cardiorespiratory/thermoregulatory function and pacing. Rather, the lowered performance was a result of their altered perception of effort.

The 11 men who were involved in this study completed 2 running trials. The first trial was after they had normal sleep. The second trial happened 7 days later, and after they were kept awake for 30 hours.

While the test subjects ran farther during the first trial, they reported feeling like they ran the same distance during the second trial. This led researchers to conclude that the decreased endurance was psychological and based mostly on their altered perception of effort (especially since they found evidence that a single night of sleep deprivation had limited effects on indicators of actual physical endurance).

Several past studies also indicate that short-term sleep deprivation can result in poorer memory, longer reaction time, and an unstable mood.

You’re certainly bound to not feel good and ready if you haven’t had enough sleep the night before a big race, but don’t let that feeling fool you. While your brain is telling you that you need sleep, your body could very well be as ready as ever to perform during race day.

If you’ve been training regularly and getting adequate sleep (at least for the past week), getting little to zero sleep the night before race day is unlikely to affect your actual physical performance and endurance.

More Sleep in General is More Important than How You Slept the Previous Night

Instead of the single night before your race, what you should really be concerned about is how you sleep on a regular basis.

In a 2011 study on Stanford basketball players, researchers found that extending sleep to 10 hours per night (for 5 to 7 weeks) resulted in increased performance metrics. They also found similar increases when the study was repeated in other sports like tennis, football, and swimming.

As Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory researcher (and study author) Cheri Mah explains, it’s not just about how you slept for one or two nights. Rather, it’s about “prioritizing sleep over the whole season.

While one night without sleep can be slightly detrimental to your endurance, there are some athletes who say that it makes no difference at all. One of these athletes is American long-distance runner Bobby Curtis, who won the NCAA title for 5,000 meters during his senior year on a somewhat irregular sleep schedule.

Curtis says that while not sleeping a few nights before the race didn’t affect his performance when he won the title, his training did suffer when he didn’t get enough sleep over the last couple weeks.

As Stanford’s Cheri Mah rightly suggests, it’s important for athletes to maintain a consistent sleep schedule that ensures they get adequate sleep.

So instead of worrying about how you’ll be too excited to sleep the night before your big race, focus on getting enough sleep during training. That’s when sleep really counts.

How to Pace Yourself

Learning to run properly can be challenging enough, which is why learning to how to pace yourself is important to get right.

If you’ve ever laced up your shoes and headed out the door unsure of what pace to run; you’re not alone. Here are some tips to help you figure out how to pace yourself.

Whether you’re a beginner, elite, or anywhere in between, we can all face the same problem in any given week. The schedule says Tuesday should be hard, Thursday should be steady, and you have heard that most of your long runs should be at an easy effort. You find yourself asking as you run down the road, what is hard and how should this feel? How can a long run ever be easy?! No matter how slow I run, it NEVER seems easy!

Here’s an easy way to figure out and look at effort levels.

Contrary to popular belief this sport doesn’t have to be exhausting, and each run shouldn’t leave you tired for days. Your early runs where you’re learning to cover distance and time should be completed at the speed of chat. Meaning you should be able to talk to the person next to you while running. This is called the “talk test” and is one of the most common ways to gauge effort level.

For those who are more experience, running at “the speed of chat” is how your easy runs should feel in a training week. You should feel totally in control, relaxed, and able to talk while running. Easier to check while running with a friend, but if you’re by yourself, you may find you are running along the street talking to yourself; not a bad thing as long as it helps you gauge your effort! If you want to give this running a score as an effort level 1-10 (1 being the easiest), it could be a 6/10.

The next level

Steady running. This is the backbone of training for the more experienced. It’s not complicated but does require you to be completely honest. You can push this area too hard and run junk miles that leave you too tired for clever sessions that we’ll cover next. This area is perhaps a 7/10 on your scorecard and is still conversational, although the chat is slightly strained.

Threshold running

We can all train like Mo; even if you’re new to the sport, and this is how you do it. This is called “uncomfortable running” or “controlled discomfort.” The key is that you can still talk between each breath, but it’s only 3-4 word answer effort. If you can utter a couple of distressed words; you are working too hard, and conversely, if you can say most of a sentence, you’re not working hard enough. This is running uncomfortable, but with control! It’s certainly not sprinting or running to exhaustion.

You might only be ready to include a few 3-minute blocks of this in a run each week, but it can grow; you can build the volume over the months. We call this running the bedrock to becoming a better runner, and it feels like 8-9/10 and 3-4 word answer effort.

An experienced runner using a heart rate monitor might run near to 85% of their maximum heart rate to remain in this zone. To know exactly how high your heart rate should be; grab a lactate & Vo2 max test from your local Sports Science department or university.

A couple of examples of threshold running sessions are:

5 x 5 minutes at threshold effort built into a 45-50 minute run with a 90-second jog recovery between each block.

This can build to a 6 x 5 minutes then 3 x 10 minutes and eventually you could be running 25-30 minutes of continuous threshold in the last part of a 45-minute run each week. The key is to keep feeling like a 3-4 word answer pace and not progressively harder until you feel like you are in the final stages of a 5k or 10k. Stay in control.

Interval Training & 5K-10K race paces naturally follow on from threshold as being the next level of pain.

It’s time to visit the hurt locker; although if new to running, your 5k or 10k effort will be your easy running pace or maybe threshold if progressing and a few races further down the road.

To a certain point, how the 5K/10K effort or interval training feels is up to you. You could be wise and hold back slightly letting the pace and intensity prescribed build the pain for you, or you could be the headbanger who loves to hit it harder and hang on. The choice is yours but remember to be consistent in this zone.

It’s meant to hurt and sessions such as 6-8 x 1km or 6 x 4 minutes off 75-90 seconds recovery can hurt. They will boost your VO2 max, and make your heart stronger. Keep in mind though that you can’t visit this zone too often; maybe once a week in a training plan once already experienced, running threshold each week and feeling good.

Little Tip –

Join a running group, club, or friends to complete these sessions. Completing weekly interval sessions with others adds competition, company, and disguises the pain and mental strength required.

So next time you leave the house; have a planned route and know what you want from your training. Have a purpose and listen to your body.

Just remember these four levels/zones:

  • Easy Run – Fully conversational at the speed of chat and about 6/10 (60-65% max heart rate).
  • Steady Run – Conversational, controlled, but slightly strained and about 7/10 (70-75% max heart rate).
  • Threshold Running – Controlled discomfort and 3-4 word answer pace or 8-9/10 (80-85% max heart rate, but get tested to be sure!).
  • Interval Training & 5K/10K effort or quicker – No time to chat here and 9/10 or more as the session progresses. It’s 1 or 2 word answer time and perhaps more of a grunt (85 – over 90% max heart rate… ouch!)

Make every run count!

What’re Your Thoughts?

Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

You Can Run Like The Wind

Everyone can run faster if it’s something they really want. Whether you are new to the sport, or you’re a seasoned runner; there are many things you can do to up your game. Sure, you might not be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money anytime soon, but if you put the following tips into practice, you can run like the wind in no time.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Run For Your Life: The Ultimate Guide For Newbies

Running is one of the best ways to get fit and feel great, but what if the most exercise you’ve done recently is walking to the kitchen for a snack? The good news is, if you can walk – you can run. You’ve probably heard it said that when you stop exercising, your fitness levels plummet rapidly. The flip side of that is, when you start, you will feel fitter and more fabulous very quickly! Here’s our handy running guide for newbies on how to get started.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

Guest Post: 5 Best Foods to Combat Post-Run Inflammation

We’ve all been there: The muscle aches, the joint pains, even the tendonitis. While ibuprofen might be a useful aid to easing the pains associated with running, overly frequent use can actually be damaging.

So let’s go natural and hit up the kitchen. There are a whole range of foods that help battle the causes of post-run pains. Plus, I’m on board with anything you can eat!

Here are 5 of my favourite foods to combat post-run inflammation.

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Ben is a former semi-professional cyclist and current kimchi lover. When he’s not eating, or thinking about food, he’s writing about food over at The Online Grill.

3 Pieces Of Advice You Need To Stay Safe While Running On The Open Road

As I have said before, running is an excellent form of exercise to enable you to maintain a healthy weight. And it’s convenient as you can run around your local area rather than having to head for miles in the car to your local gym. However, when you do decide to go out on the open road, you are putting yourself at risk. Therefore, you need to be extra safe so that you can keep safe while getting fit. Here are three pieces of advice you need to ensure you stay safe while running on the open road.

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Ally Gonzales is the creator of RunningSoleGirl. The go-to place for everything healthy lifestyle and conditioning for running. She’s a runner, speaks a total of five languages, and is a soon-to-be college freshman majoring in Exercise and Sports Science.

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