How to Prevent Bonking Your Run

Runners, in general, dedicate months of preparation and training in order to join and survive a running event, especially a marathon.

When the big day comes, runners usually avoid getting injuries while running so that they can complete the run they’ve prepared for. Aside from sustaining physical injuries, there’s another undesirable incident runners try to avoid: bonking.

Bonking, also known as hitting the wall, happens when a runner reaches extreme exhaustion while running. The level of exhaustion is so severe that, it’s not only your body that’s incapable of running anymore; your mind and drive are affected as well that you no longer have the motivation to complete your run and finish it within an acceptable time.

Many runners, even experienced ones, encounter bonking even after years of knowledge and skill in running.

It is believed that bonking happens when your body’s glycogen levels are drained and fats are being burned. Your body starts to feel extreme fatigue combined with muscle cramps and loss of will to run. However, there is some research which revealed that encountering bonking during running has many causes, not only glycogen depletion. Factors such as levels of blood glucose, muscle fatigue or damage, plus mental stress affect the possibility of experiencing bonking while you run.

Luckily, many experts have found ways to prevent runners from bonking. Here are some of the practices you can do in preparation for your runs so you won’t hit the wall:

Since your body needs to store adequate glycogen to be able to fuel the muscles and complete a run, carb loading would be extremely beneficial. Carb loading should be started four days before your race. Vegetables, pasta, oats, and rice are excellent sources of carbohydrates. Increase your carbohydrate intake by 70 to 90 per cent.

Eating after every run will also help a great deal. After running, your body would need to refuel to be able to recover sooner. Eat within 20 to 30 minutes after running to help your body restore the energy you’ve used.

Though it is important to train your body to run faster for months before the race, it’s equally imperative to give it enough rest to avoid too much stress that may cause bonking as well. During the last two to four weeks of your running training, you must start tapering. Tapering is the practice of running with decreased intensity or mileage with the aim to reduce exhaustion days before the race.

During the day of the actual race, you must eat breakfast, about four hours before you begin your race.

You must also plan ahead on how you would manage refuelling while running. Refuelling is even more crucial while you’re actually running. Refuel with a sports drink or gel every 40 or 30 minutes. Hydrating is critical as well. Bring water to rehydrate yourself and replenish the water your body consumed.

Since The Bonk is also caused by mental pressure, you must also learn to condition your mind into thinking positively. You mind should be in a happy mood when you run. If you run with your mind having negative thoughts, it’s possible that it will affect your body into thinking it is experiencing tiredness, triggering The Bonk to happen.

Countless runners experience bonking from time to time, but with the help of proper mental and physical preparation, you can stop this from happening and avoid all the efforts you’ve put into training from being wasted.

15 Jun 2016

The Different Types Of Running Belt

We all have that same problem, where do we put our phones and other accessories when we go for a run? We have all tried just putting our phones into our pockets only for them to fall out and hopefully not break! Even when our pockets have zips they don’t really get the job done as the phone will still swing about creating a rather uncomfortable run.

There weren’t many options apart from just to leave our belonging at home until the invention of running belts. The running belt market is certainly a competitive one with new designs coming out all the time which have led to running belts changing quite a bit over the years to suit a number of different purposes from the more trendy and fashionable runner to the more serious athlete.

We would recommend reading over a number of running belt reviews to find the best running belt for you. However, the most popular running belts amongst running enthusiasts come in 3 stand out designs:-

1) Tubular

The tubular design can be seen in the consumer favourite the Flipbelt. What makes this style of belt stand out is that it doesn’t have pockets in the traditional sense rather than the storage compartment stretches throughout the entire belt as it wraps around your body. Due to its simplistic design it gives the belt a much sleeker look and feel. The belt is typically able to do this by being made out of a stretchy, elastic material that provides ample storage whilst still fitting perfectly and staying in place. More and more brands are adopting this style and we will be sure to see future innovations and improvements on this design.

2) Compartmentalized

The SPIBelt is probably the best example of what we mean by a compartmentalized belt. A compartmentalized belt is more closely resembles a more traditional belt that relies on zippers and buckles in order to attach around your body and keep your valuables safe. In the past this type of belt was usually guilty of not fitting correctly especially during the stress of running and moving about. However, with the introduction of more modern belts they have been able to tweak the design to minimize the movement of the belt when running.

3) Running Pouch

The running pouch is a unique design created by the Running Buddy. It varies greatly from the other designs in that it is not actually a belt as it doesn’t wrap around your body. The running pouch actually attaches on to another belt or item of clothing using magnets to stay in place. Belts using this design tend to provide more storage space than the other kinds of belts however they do tend to sacrifice a bit of comfort for this extra space.

We would personally recommend either a tubular belt or compartmentalized belt from which the Flipbelt and SPIbelt are the stand out products respectively. There is a good article comparing the features and benefits of both belts here.

18 May 2016

How to Manage Asthma While Running

something that one has to prepare for since this respiratory condition causes troubles in breathing.

Running or joining marathons when you’re asthmatic may seem like an impossible task; but Paula Radcliffe, who was diagnosed with asthma since she was 14 years old, became a world record holder for the women’s marathon.

However, even if it is possible for someone with asthma to start running or even join running events, sufficient preparation is necessary to ensure safety. If you’re suffering from asthma and you are planning to run, here are some helpful tips you can use:

First of all, you must consult your doctor. Seek professional advice to find out the severity of your condition, the level of running intensity your body can sustain, and for you to know what medication you would need in the event you face asthma attacks.

It is wiser to take asthma medications prior to running as a preventative measure. Asthma medications will relax your airways to help you breathe comfortably as you run.

Bring emergency medication, cell phone, inhaler, and water with you. Meds, mobile phone, and inhaler will come in handy in case you get asthma attacks while running. Water will help you hydrate and will prevent your throat from getting dry – and having a dry throat is one of the most common scenarios that cause asthma attacks.

Warming up before running is important, too. You have to prepare your lungs for what’s to come and you can do so by warming up. You can alternate walking and jogging so your lungs may adjust to the exercise much easier. Don’t skip your warm up just because you’re planning to save your lung energy and use it in the actual run as suddenly running at full speed may definitely trigger an asthma attack.

Pollen and cold air set off asthma attacks so you have to do your best to avoid them. Protect your nose and mouth from taking in cold air when you run. You may also want to schedule your runs at the time of day when the pollen count is at its lowest. Additionally, take a shower after running to ensure that there are no pollens stuck in your hair. Remove your running clothes immediately as you arrive home.

If you have a running buddy, make sure that the person knows of your condition so they can adjust accordingly. Some runners who may not be aware of your condition are likely to run their normal, fast speeds; and it is probable that you would want to keep up with their running speed that you push yourself past your limits.

Cooling down is as important as warming up. Don’t stop so suddenly when you’re done running. Allow your lungs to adjust and relax gradually. It’s best to transition to a slower running pace little by little.

Running with asthma can be challenging, especially at first, but it is possible and manageable. Just keep in mind to be prepared before trying it. Don’t let asthma stop you and you will discover how enjoyable running can be.

16 May 2016

Should You Run While You Are Sick?

Runners preparing for competitions undergo intensive training for months. This training usually follows a strict schedule which runners adhere to. Still, even runners aren’t invincible; everyone is at risk of getting sick anytime. It’s understandable why some runners insist on practicing or running in preparation for competitions even when they’re not feeling well—they don’t want to miss a day’s practice or miss an opportunity to run because it may affect their overall progress.

However, is it really safe to run while you’re feeling sick? Will missing a day or two in running really impact your running performance?

Some runners follow the ‘neck rule’ in deciding whether or not to run when they’re ill. The ‘neck rule’ dictates that if your sickness is only affecting body parts above your neck—when you’re just experiencing headaches, stuffy or runny nose, then it shouldn’t stop you from running. On the other hand, when you’re experiencing pains below your neck (severe sore throat, chest pains, muscle aches, etc.), you should skip running. This rule is also followed by David Nieman, Ph.D., head of the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University. Dr. Nieman is an experienced runner himself, and has joined 58 marathons and ultra marathons. Moreover, a research led by Tom Weidner, Ph.D., director of Athletic Training Research at Ball State University, found out that running does not worsen the condition of people with colds, as long as runners with colds don’t push themselves beyond their limits. Additionally, running when you’re suffering from colds can actually make you feel better because the exercise helps clear out nasal passages due to the adrenaline released when running.

However, you should always be cautious when you opt to run while sick. Don’t expect your performance to be as great as it was when you’re feeling well. Be extra aware of how your body feels and decide carefully if you really can run despite your illness.

If you have a fever, it is wiser to skip running. Take as many days off as you need to recover. Running with high fever may lead to complications and will just delay your body’s recovery. A day or two without training won’t hurt your running performance, and if recovery takes longer than that, you can always work on getting your performance back. A study conducted by Elizabeth Ready and Arthur Quinney proposes that for it won’t take long for athletes or runners to get back to their initial fitness.

Once you get enough rest and feel an improvement on how you feel, it’s normal that one of your priorities would be to get back to running. Take it easy and give your body time to adjust. You may start running at a moderate pace with short distances.

Getting sick is normal for both runners and non-runners. Sure, you want to take care of your progress in running—just don’t forget to protect yourself as well.

23 Apr 2016

How to Run Faster

how to run faster

Many runners want to run faster, even those who don’t have plans on joining marathons. Winning marathons is not the only good thing runners can get from running faster than others; running fast also burns calories and help get rid of guts quicker.

Running regularly can be a challenge itself, and turning it a notch higher by wanting to run faster may not only be physically beneficial but mentally rewarding as well. If you believe you’re ready to run faster, here are some tips you can use to boost your running speed:

Figure out your current speed. Before planning to run faster, it’s only logical to find out what your current running speed is so you know what you need to surpass.

Running faster requires strength. You need to have a stronger body to be able to increase your speed. Simply put–hit the gym. Follow a strength-training program to improve your strength.

Eat right; avoid sweets and greasy foods. Sweets and greasy foods generate fats, and fats will slow you down while running. Remember to stay hydrated at all times. Drinking water as well as energy drinks (or even fruit smoothies) can greatly help you get fueled and avoid dehydration. Make sure you drink fluids before running.

Practice resisted sprints. Run on upward slopes or hills repeatedly. This will result on faster running speed when you run on flat surfaces.

Make sure that you are well rested. Athletes and runners who have adequate sleep tend to give better performance, studies reveal.

Proper gear and clothing will also help a lot during actual running. The lighter your clothing is, the lighter you are. Take off any excessive and unnecessary piece of clothing. Also, choose a light pair of running shoes that just feels right for you.

In contrary to the popular belief that you should not drink coffee prior to running, coffee can actually boost your running speed. A study published by Todd Astorino and other researchers at California State University state that caffeine improves speed by 4-24 seconds. Drink a cup of coffee an hour before running. This can be useful to runners, especially those who plan to join marathons.#
Learn how to manage your breathing. Fast runners are also fast breathers. Use both your nose and mouth when breathing to get the maximum oxygen you can while running.

Focus on the road. Every second matters in running—and every second used looking at your shoes or someplace else, other than the path you’re taking, is a second wasted.

Try interval training. Interval training is switching or alternating between fast running and slow jogging. Speed and endurance can be developed with interval training.
Stretch before you stride. Stretching your muscles prior to running can help you become more flexible for longer, better strides.

These are just some of the steps that can be taken to increase running speed. It sure seems like a lot of work–but with dedication, determination, focus and discipline, all this hard work will pay off once you see and experience the change in your own running speed.

28 Aug 2015

Best 5 Supplements For Running

supplements

A balanced diet consisting of nutrient dense foods including fruits and vegetables is essential to maximise your running performance. Once this is taken care of you might want to consider supplements to fill in any holes that are still present or to help gain that extra performance edge.

Creatine

Creatine is one of the most studied supplements around and has been proven to work. It is typically associated with strength and power athletes however it does have some uses for endurance athletes as well.

Even endurance athletes will require bursts of speed and so will have some strength and power training as well so why not take advantage of a supplement that will boost this area of performance.

Some runners may be fearful that supplementing with creatine will lead to them gaining large amounts of muscle mass however this shouldn’t be a concern, it’s not that easy to gain muscle.

Fish Oil

Omega 3 deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies. Only a small number of foods contain omega 3s such as fish, flaxseeds, walnuts. As a result even the healthiest of eaters may not be eating them in sufficient quantities.

If you are eating these foods in adequate amounts then you will not need to supplement it otherwise you should supplement with fish oil which contain EPA and DHA.

Iron

It is recommended that men consume 10 grams per day and pre-menopausal women 15 grams. Women have a higher requirement due to iron losses during menstruation. Problems then arise as women will eat fewer calories than men which means less calories in order to consume the required amount of iron.

There is some evidence to suggest that anemia (iron deficiency) is more common in endurance athletes due to iron losses incurred during sweating and other exercise related mechanisms. In most cases your iron intake should be adequate via consuming iron rich foods such as tuna and beef.

Multivitamin/multimineral

Multivitamins are generally considered as an insurance policy against dietary gaps not providing you with the essential nutrients you need. Whilst this is valid you should be careful that you aren’t megadosing and getting too much of one or more vitamin or mineral.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is perhaps the most common nutrient deficiency and is associated with an increased risk of some cancers and reduced athletic performance.

The main source of vitamin D is being out in the sun and since people are spending less and less time outdoors it has led to deficiencies.

If you choose to purchase supplements I would recommend using discount codes. Voucher codes are a great way to save money and get your pay cheque to stretch a little further. I personally like to use discount codes at these retailers:-

http://www.thefitnessrecipes.com/musclefood-discount-code-voucher/

http://www.thefitnessrecipes.com/myprotein-discount-code-voucher/

14 Jun 2015

The Benefits Of Running For Your Heart

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Whilst it should be obvious that exercise is good for your health there is some research to suggest that it is possible to overdo it. Some studies have found that long term endurance athletes can be at an increased risk of abnormal heartbeats and even of scarring of the heart muscle.

Having said that the actual number of runners having a heart attack whilst doing a marathon is extremely small which would suggest the strain on the heart is not excessive.

The study performed by the University of Hartford contained 42 runners along with their spouses with ages ranging from 33 to 59. Their spouses were much less active often performing less than two sessions of moderate exercise each week with many not doing any formal exercise at all.

It was found that the marathon runners were thinner than their spouses although few of those spouses were actually overweight. The runners also had better indicators of cardiac health such as lower blood pressure, heart rates and lower bad cholesterol levels. It was found that marathon training did not cancel out long term bad health habits or a family history of cardiac problems.

The researchers found no correlation between the number of hours trained and the levels of plaque in their arteries. This suggests that marathon training does not directly damage the heart.

The overall findings of the study suggests that frequent endurance exercise will likely not hurt your heart and will most likely strengthen it. The most surprising finding was that the spouses were relatively healthy. This is likely due to them sharing certain aspects of their healthy lifestyle leading them to moving around more frequently.

13 Jun 2015

Running Just 5 Minutes a Day Will Provide You With Long-Lasting Benefits For Your Health

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According to a recent study on exercise and mortality, running just 5 minutes a day will significantly lower the risk of dying prematurely. The results of the study suggest that the health benefits from just a small amount of exercise are much larger than previously thought by experts.

Moderate forms of exercise such as brisk walking has been a common exercise recommendation in recent history with the government’s formal 2008 exercise guideline recommending that people should perform 30 minutes of moderate exercise on the majority of days during the week.
Research on that number has been lacking with very studies fully investigating the effects of vigorous exercise on disease risk and lifespan and ever fewer studies looking at the amount of exercise required to achieve the same result.

From the recent study it was found that runners had a 30 percent lower risk of dying from any causes when compared with non runners with their risk of dying from heart disease was 45 percent lower. This was even the case when the results were adjusted to take into account individuals who were overweight or smokers. It was even found that overweight smokers who ran were less likely to die early in comparison to those who did not run no matter their smoking preferences or weight.

On the whole, runners were expected to live 3 years longer on average when compared to adults who did not run.

Interestingly the benefits of running were fairly similar no matter how much or little people ran. Whilst people who ran for more than 150 minutes a week lived longer than those who didn’t run; they didn’t live significantly longer than those who ran as little as 5 minutes a day.

The study did find that overall, runners had a smaller risk of dying when compared with people who performed moderate exercise such as walking. The researchers further stressed that it’s not running specifically that is giving these health benefits and that it is likely exercise intensity which is the key to improving longevity. So if you don’t like to run that you can substitute it with vigorously pedaling a stationary bike or another strenuous exercise of your preference.

12 Jun 2015