Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a periodic pavement pounder, happy feet can make all the difference.

Selecting The best Pair Of Running Shoes

For runners, selecting running shoes is akin to purchasing a house or a car; you’re going to spend a lot of time in them, so you want something you really like. In addition to a comfortable ride, shoes can play a major role in keeping you running strong.

“Without a doubt, plantar fasciitis, shin splints and other issues can be helped by the right shoe,” said Robert Smith, owner of Robert’s Running and Walking Shop in Huntington, W.Va.

As you set out to find the best shoes for the job, you should first consider the shape of your feet. “Looking at a runner’s foot leads us to what type of shoe they should be in,” explained Smith. The three main foot types are flat, neutral and high arches. Flat feet tend to have fallen arches, making them flexible and prone to overpronation, an inward rolling motion. Neutral feet are the most biomechanically sound variety, putting them somewhere in the middle. High-arched feet are essentially the polar opposite of flat feet. When the arches are particularly defined, the feet end up being rigid, leading to supination, or landing on the outside edges of the feet.

RELATED: Top-5 Shoe Buying Tips For Runners

As a result of the variety of foot shapes, shoe companies have developed models to accommodate runners of all strides. In the selection process, be sure to align your foot type with the proper shoe category. Flat-footed harriers tend to gravitate to a higher stability shoe, as they help prevent overpronation. Neutral runners can often run in many types of footwear, but most commonly go for a moderate stability shoe. Runners with high arches are best suited for a cushioned shoe, providing midsole padding with flexibility.

Once you are directed to the correct category, try on several pair. Most runners need to go up a half size from their street shoes, allowing for one-fourth to a half inch of wiggle room in the toebox. While you want to be able to move your toes around, be sure your heel is snug and secure, avoiding any unnecessary slippage.

In the end, most runners know when they have found the ideal shoe. “Once you are in the right category, you should choose what feels best to you,” said Smith. It should literally feel like a part of your foot, working in concert with your natural foot shape and biomechanics. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a periodic pavement pounder, happy feet can make all the difference.

Going Minimal

With increased media attention on minimalist and barefoot-inspired footwear, many runners are left to wonder whether they should ditch their kicks. While minimalism isn’t for everyone, if you are interested in experimenting with a lesser shoe, it’s important to make the transition gradually.

“We suggest first wearing a ‘step-down’ shoe that is fairly minimal, but there is still something to the midsole,” said Robert Smith, owner of Robert’s Running and Walking Shop in Huntington, W. Va..

Runners shouldn’t go directly from a stability shoe to a minimal shoe, as the change is dramatic and may lead to injury. With minimal shoes, your bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments need time to strengthen and adjust to the new training stimulus. Even once you have fully transitioned to this type of footwear, most coaches advise against wearing them every run.

RELATED: A Shoe Guy’s Take On Barefoot Running And Minimalism

“We always tell our customers not to replace their everyday training shoes with a minimal shoe,” explained Smith.

Keep in mind that while proponents of the minimalist movement point to the fact that feet can be strengthened and gait improved through the use of such footwear, it certainly won’t work for every runner. As with any training, listen to your body and respond if it’s telling you to back off.

Gait Analysis

To find the right shoe, shoe sales staff often watch customers run on a treadmill or outside. “The visual analysis of a customer’s footstrike is an essential part of finding the right shoe,” explained Dan Schade of Fleet Feet in San Francisco. “The goal is to use a shoe to correct any overpronation, help with shock absorption and guidance for supinators or complement their foot strike if they have a neutral foot strike to begin with.” Schade distinguishes the Fleet Feet exam as a tool for shoe fitting and urges runners to seek the advice of sports medicine doctors or podiatrists for gait analysis that addresses injury- or form-related issues. “We work closely with podiatrists, physical therapists and sports chiropractors so we can refer our customers,” explained Schade.

This piece first appeared in the January 2012 issue of Competitormagazine. 

Source: http://running.competitor.com/2012/03/shoes-and-gear/running-101-how-to-select-the-best-pair-of-running-shoes_49598



By Liz Applegate Ph.D.

Image by Levi Brown

From the April 2012 issue of Runner’s World 

Sunny Side Up

Got a dozen on hand? As a runner, you should. Routinely eating eggs affords you amazing health benefits. Here are five reasons to crack one open.

In a study, dieters who had eggs for breakfast achieved a 60 percent greater weight losscompared with those who began their day with a calorie-equivalent bagel. Researchers theorize the quality protein in whole eggs (13 percent of the Daily Value) helps control appetite. What’s more, egg protein is easy for your body to absorb, which makes it a good muscle-repair food after a long run or tempo workout.

Numerous studies have debunked the link between eggs and heart disease. In fact, research shows that eating several eggs a week results in cholesterol particles that are less likely to spell cardiac trouble. What’s more, a unique protein found in egg yolks blocks platelets (the cells responsible for blood clots) from clumping together inside blood vessels, thereby minimizing heart-attack risk.

Whole eggs are one of the best sources of the nutrient choline (one large egg has 30 percent of your daily value, mostly in the yolk). Besides playing a key role in brain health, choline helps keep the body’s circulatory system clear of compounds that would otherwise cause inflammation, which can lead to disorders ranging from muscle swelling after a hard workout to diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Eggs are one of the few natural sources of bone-building vitamin D. One egg supplies 10 percent of the Daily Value. Brands like Eggland’s Best have double that amount.

Yolks contain the pigment lutein, which helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (a leading form of blindness). And while spinach and other greens contain higher amounts of lutein, eggs provide a more absorbable form.

Cracking the Truth
Questions about eggs?
Let us lay them to rest

Nutritionally speaking, they’re the same.
For the hen maybe; for your health most likely not.
Yes. One yolk equals one ounce of salmon.
The nutrition jury is still out, but it’s an earth-wise choice.

Fast Food
Pre-and postrun egg dishes in 20 minutes or less

5 MINUTES: Breakfast
Microwave two eggs, scrambled. Serve inside a warmed, blue-corn tortilla and top with crumbled queso cheese, cilantro, and salsa.

10 MINUTES: Egg-drop soup
Bring 14-ounce can chicken soup, 1 Tbsp ginger-peanut sauce, and 2 cups bok choy to a simmer. Stir in 2 eggs, beaten. Top with peanuts and basil.

15 MINUTES: Egg salad
Spread toast with mix of 1/4 cup minced scallions, 1 Tbsp parsley, 2 hard-boiled eggs, and 2 Tbsp yogurt dressing. Top with jack cheese; broil.

20 MINUTES: Skillet dinner
Heat mix of 4 eggs, 2 Tbsp fresh herbs, and 3/4 cup greens until eggs are almost set. Add tomato slices. Cover; remove from heat; stand 2 minutes.

Source: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/1,7120,s6-242-300—14245-0,00.html



By Vic Brown

Following these 10 injury-prevention commandments of endurance training will help keep you healthy and fit.

1. Rest and Recover

Include rest days in your training plan by taking a complete break from training both physically and mentally. Get off your feet, rest your mind, rest your body for the day. I recommend training no more than two weeks consecutively without resting. Novice and/or masters athletes may require “off” days more frequently. Recovery weeks, typically fewer hours spent exercising or less miles trained, should be included every third to fifth week. Recovery days, easy non-intense training, should follow hard training days.

2. Incorporate Recovery Techniques

There are a number of ways to incorporate recovery into your routine.Biofoam rollers and massage sticks help sore, achy or stiff muscles recover from exercise. Watching movies, spending time with family, reading, listening to music or socializing with friends can all be effective relaxation strategies that allow you to disassociate from physical exercise and reduce tension while developing positive mood states of happiness and calmness.

3. Sleep

Essential for physiological growth and repair, routinely physically active individuals are encouraged to aspire for eight to nine and a half hours of sleep each night. Cardiovascular performance can be compromised by up to 20 percent with sleep deprivation, which also reduces reaction time, the ability to process information and emotional stability. Naps are always icing on the cake.

4. Consume Post-Exercise Fuel

The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, improve hydration, and repair muscle tissue. You should eat 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, preferably as soon as possible, when the muscles are most receptive to fuel. Muscle replenishment and tissue repair can be accelerated if you combine carbohydrates and protein together in a ratio of 4 to 1.

Weigh yourself before and after exhaustive exercise to determine how much water you lost. Stay hydrated by consuming at least 24 ounces per pound of body weight lost within six hours after exercise. Performance begins to decrease after only a two percent loss in body water. Include electrolytes to eliminate the risk of hyponatremia if engaging in activity for more than four hours.

5. Warm Up and Cool Down

A proper warmup is a key component to preparing the body for the demands of any training session or competition. Developing a pre-race warmup is unique to each individual. Performing a warmup will elevate heart rate and VO2, and increase blood flow to the connective tissue and local muscles to be trained. This in turn will raise muscle temperature and help decrease joint and muscle stiffness, therefore improving range of motion.

Warm-up periods of five to 15 minutes are recommended with the effects lasting up to 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of inactivity, re-warming may be needed. On the other side of the coin, the recovery process and preparation for the next day’s training begins with a proper cool down. Low-intensity aerobic exercise, such as aquatic-based training, light jogging or cycling, are effective cooldown activities for clearing lactic acid and lessening the severity of muscle soreness.

6. Integrate Strength Training

Strength training is essential for preparing the body for the rigors of training and racing. It facilitates bone health and enhances injury resistance, including factors that contribute to overuse injuries. It can boost lactate tolerance and assist with delaying fatigue.

7. Use Proper Equipment

Correct equipment minimizes unwanted stress. A bike should fit you, not you fit the bike. Cycling posture and position is individualistic formaximizing aerodynamics, power, efficiency and comfort while minimizing injury potential and discomfort.

8. Follow the 10-Percent Rule

Increase annual training hours, or training volume, by ten percent or less. If you are training according to time, for example, and your triathlon program called for 15 hours of training this week, it’s recommended training hours not exceed 16.5 hours the next week.

9. Interval Train

Proper interval training can improve VO2 and anaerobic threshold. Intervals allow your body to adapt to and eventually race at greater speeds.

10. Know That More is Always Better

Recovery allows your body to adapt to training loads. Conditioning should be specific to the event you are training for. Training volume can be defined as the combinations of how often you work out (frequency) and how long you train (duration).

Vic Brown is an associate strength and conditioning coach at Boston University and assistant coach for Boston Performance Coaching, a triathlon and endurance athlete coaching service. He can be reached at vbrown@bu.edu.

Source: http://www.active.com/fitness/Articles/How-to-Prevent-Injuries-in-Endurance-Training.htm?cmp=17-4-684



Most runners, whether they’re training for a marathon or simply out to get some exercise, will stretch before they take off. It’s a ritual that verges on the sacred, strongly connected to the intuitive sense that priming the muscles is a good way to avoid injuring them during the run to come.

But researchers at George Washington University and the USA Track and Field Association (USATF) report that stretching before a run does not appear to reduce injury at all. In fact, among the more than 2,700 runners in the study, ranging from recreational runners to competitive marathoners, all of whom ran at least 10 miles a week, the scientists found similar injury rates — of about 16% — over a three-month period among those who stretched before running and those who did not.

The idea behind stretching is to lengthen the muscle fibers to increase their function and hopefully enhance performance, helping runners maintain a faster pace or run for a longer period of time. A study of British recruits in the military found that a regular stretching routine before training reduced injury rates from 6% to 1%. But other recent studies among gymnasts, football players and wrestlers have questioned the practice, suggesting that stretching does not impact performance at all.

That’s why Dr. Daniel Pereles, a runner himself, decided to look specifically at the role that stretching might play in running injuries. Most studies on the subject, including the British trial in the military, involved stretching routines that included much more than stretching running muscles; they also incorporated calisthenics and other exercises. Pereles wanted to know specifically whether stretching leg muscles — the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles — would have an impact on injuries.

Through the USATF, Pereles was able to recruit enough runners of various levels to get an answer to his question. About half of the 2,729 volunteers were told to stretch their quads, hams and calf muscles for three to five minutes before running for however long they usually exercised. The remaining half were told to run without stretching.

While he found that stretching did not have any effect on injury rates among the two groups, he did find several factors that did seem to influence whether the runners hurt themselves. Heavier runners, as well as those who had recently suffered an injury, were more likely to harm themselves. Interestingly, Pereles also found that those who switched from a stretch to non-stretch or non-stretch to stretch routine for the study were more likely to get injured. Stretchers who were told not to stretch during the three-month study increased their risk of injury by 40%, while those who switched from not stretching to stretching increased their risk by 22%.

Pereles is still at a loss to explain that trend, although he suspects the change in routine accounts for most of the result. “It’s completely confounding, but by switching routines, it somehow messed them up,” he says.

That’s why his advice, as both researcher and runner, is to stick with what works for you. “If it feels good for you to stretch before you run, then continue if you have the time,” he says. “But if it doesn’t feel good, and you like to run and then stretch, or not stretch at all, then that’s fine too. I can’t tell anyone there is conclusive evidence that stretching makes a difference in injuries or performance.”

He notes that professional athletes, who often spend as much time stretching and warming up as they do training, are combining stretching with other activities for a more dynamic warm-up. Most recreational runners, however, don’t have the luxury of spending that much time exercising. Pereles himself admits to changing his running routine as well, and stretching only a little before a run. Part of the reason, he says, is because he doesn’t have the time, and but part of the reason has to do with the science, which so far suggests that it doesn’t seem to make a difference in injury rates.






Are Your Medications Harming Your Running?


By Laurel Leicht

From the September 2010 issue of Runner’s World 

Running keeps you healthy. even active people sometimes need medications—and when you do, telling your doctor you’re an athlete is key. “Exercise can affect how certain drugs work,” says Lori Mosca, M.D., director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. “And certain drugs affect how you feel while exercising.” So before you pop a pill, do your homework.


Treat sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose

WHY WORRY: Benadryl and Tavist can cause sluggishness and slow reaction times, says Marjorie L. Slankard, M.D., of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

WHAT INSTEAD: Dr. Slankard recommends Claritin and Zyrtec (over-the-counter) and Clarinex and Allegra (prescription)—all have fewer side effects.


Treat high blood pressure, heart palpitations, migraines

WHY WORRY: Beta-blockers may cause fatigue. And because they lower heart rate, they can make it tough for your heart to perform at its peak, making even easy runs feel challenging. That’s why Heather Gillespie, M.D., team physician for UCLA Athletics, says she’d never put a runner on beta-blockers.

WHAT INSTEAD: Opt for calcium-channel blockers, ACE inhibitors, and angiotension receptor blockers (ARBs).


Treat bacterial infections

WHY WORRY: Research shows that taking antibiotics in this family (Cipro, Levaquin, Floxin, Noroxin) triples the risk of Achilles injuries. And your Achilles may be vulnerable for months after your prescription runs out.

WHAT INSTEAD: “If I have an active patient, I’ll give them a different antibiotic, like penicillin,” Dr. Gillespie says. NS


Treat pain relief

WHY WORRY: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Aleve, Naproxen) can impair kidney function when taken in excess before or during a run, especially if the user becomes dehydrated, says David Nieman, M.D., of the North Carolina Research Center and Appalachian State University. Dr. Nieman studied participants of the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run who used ibuprofen to manage discomfort. After the race, he measured participants’ muscle soreness and found that the pill-poppers felt just as achy as those who hadn’t medicated.

WHAT INSTEAD: If you need to pop something before you hit the road, you probably need a rest day. Running through pain could lead to injury. Postrun, Dr. Gillespie recommends acetaminophen (Tylenol), which has fewer side effects.


Treat depression

WHY WORRY: Tricyclics (Endep, Sinequan) cause increased heart rate, which can make you tire faster on a run. They can also cause lightheadedness and delay electrical conduction in the heart, which can lead to an irregular heartbeat.

WHAT INSTEAD: In some cases, regular exercise can be enough of a mood-booster to reduce reliance on these drugs. If not, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft) have fewer side effects. “They still increase heart rate a bit,” Dr. Gillespie says. “But they’re better for active people.”

Source: http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-286-289-13617-0,00.html







Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
 Napoleon Hill



By Joe Battaglia, Universal Sports

New York City Marathon wins Sports Event of Year

NEW YORK — When Mary Wittenberg arrived at the Broadway Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for the Sports Business Awards on Wednesday night, her initial feeling was one of honor.

The 2010 ING New York City Marathon was nominated for Sports Event of the Year, an achievement she felt was tremendous in and of itself.

Up against some real heavy-hitters, including the NBA All-Star Game, the NCAA Final Four, and the Winter X-Games, few in the New York Road Runners camp expected a victory.

Wittenberg, however, believed.

"Four years ago, when we hosted the Olympic Trials, I really felt, ‘Oh man, we should have been nominated,’" Wittenberg said. "The last few years, I kept thinking that’s a big goal and we should be nominated, so when we were, we were thrilled. When we got here I thought, ‘When you look at 2010, so much came together in that year’s marathon. I think we can win this thing.’"

If the marathon teaches anything, race in and race out, it’s that anything is possible.

But even when New York Jets owner Woody Johnson pulled the card from the gray envelope and revealed that the New York City Marathon had won the award, it touched off a celebration among the NYRR staff that was equal parts elation and surprise.

More than any of that, the victory was historic.

For the first time at these awards, recognition was bestowed upon a participatory sport. In a room filled with hundreds of sports executives, agents, and marketers, seeing the likes of Edna Kiplagat and Shalane Flanagan trumping projected images of Blake Griffin jumping a car in the slam dunk contest, Mike Krzyzewski cutting down the nets after another national championship, and Shaun White grabbing big air in super-pipe carries enormous impact.

Do you think it was mere coincidence that Subway, a major sponsor of the New York City Marathon, also took home an award, beating out Papa John’s, Phillips-Van Heusen and T-Mobile for Sports Sponsor of the Year?

"I think it’s a really big statement," Wittenberg said. "I think this is the beginning of people in the sports business world understanding the power of participatory sports. It’s a big deal, and this reflects our world where every day is about participation, whether it be social media or sports."

The victory was equally important for the running industry. Through cooperation with Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s office, the marathon produced approximately $340 million in economic activity for the City and in excess of $30 million for charities in 2010.

While the overarching sport of track and field may be struggling for attention in the saturated American sports market and to shed the stigma of its historical link to doping, affirmation of the New York City Marathon is proof positive that there is still tremendous interest and value in the stories of perseverance at the core of distance running.

"Again, it’s huge," Wittenberg said. "When you see Edna Kiplagat crossing the finish line or Shalane (Flanagan) going to the ground, those images are every bit as compelling as the images in any other sport. Anything we can do to help people know what a powerful and compelling and emotional sport this is, from the front of the pack to the back of the pack, that’s what we want to do."

Perhaps the most compelling story presented during the 2010 race was that of Edison Peña, who showed the world how the sheer will and determination that enabled him to survive 69 days trapped in a copper mine 2,300 feet below the surface of the Atacama Desert near Copiapó, Chile could also carry the man to remarkable athletic achievement.

When Peña crossed the finish line in Central Park some 5 hours, 40 minutes, and 51 seconds after he started on the Verrazano Bridge, he became the most important marathoner of 2010 and provided a lasting image of the power of running.

"Edison Peña, that situation and his coming to New York and his representing all that we stand for, was a moment of a lifetime. We were so lucky to get to celebrate him and I certainly think it was good for the whole industry. I’m sure it was a decisive factor in tonight’s award and got us that broader relevance."

The New York City Marathon’s victory here took on an added element of significance. It should be noted that on a night when tennis pioneer and women’s rights advocate Billy Jean King was present with the Lifetime Achievement Award, Wittenberg was the only female executive to accept one of the 15 awards.

"It’s hugely gratifying," Wittenberg said. "It’s a team effort at New York Road Runners through and through, and I’m so proud of our team because we’re half women. I’m also proud to represent a sport that is half women. Tonight was really special because of what Billy Jean started. She inspired all of these women to be athletes and now women are involved in business and she’s been every bit of a force in that way."

The bar of excellence, both for the New York City Marathon and for the running industry, has now been raised for 2011 and beyond. Wittenberg wouldn’t want it any other way.

"As Billy Jean says, and how I say to our team all of the time, pressure is a privilege," she said, "So bring it on!"