I'm not an elite runner. In fact, when I first started--fresh off the couch--I worried about finishing last, especially at small races. I felt out of place, like it was totally obvious to everyone that I didn't really belong there. I tried to remind myself that I'd gotten into running for myself, not anyone else, [...]
Let's face it: Running shoes are not cheap. A good, high quality pair of running shoes from a reputable manufacturer will set you back at least $120. Nevertheless, it's a good investment in terms of your health and fitness. But we can make that investment last longer by taking care of your shoes.
There's no getting around it: Running shoes are not inexpensive. Fortunately, a good pair of shoes is the only piece of equipment we absolutely need. So we're all concerned with getting the most miles out of our shoes.
Welcome to the wonderful world of summer running here in Central Texas. We had a wet, cool winter and spring, but I can guarantee will have another extremely warm summer. Hopefully, not the record-breaking kind we endured a few years ago, but it will be disgustingly hot nonetheless.
Just the other morning, I finished the first of what promises to be plenty of hot, humid long runs with my training group and while we were trying to rehydrate, a relative newbie came by and asked me the best to treat a sore calf muscle. He was diligently stretching the calf after every run, followed later by dipping his legs in a Jacuzzi and then placing a heating pad on the calf for another 10 minutes. The calf hadn't been responding at all to his treatment and he was worried.
Sports drinks are everywhere. They have become so ubiquitous that you can find a cooler full of sports drinks at just about any gas station, convenience store or grocery store (except Whole Foods) in Central Texas.
If you suffer from a baffling series of overuse running injuries, there often is a root cause, other than the usual overtraining, bad shoes, too much racing syndrome. One of the most common conditions that plague runners is something called leg-length discrepancies. In short, the lengths of your legs are unequal. One is longer than the other. For most people, this isn’t necessarily a problem. But for a runner it often is because of the repeated stress that is placed on the lower legs. If one leg is shorter (or longer), the stress is not equally distributed and injuries are often the result.
If you were paying more attention during science class than I was, you know the air we breathe contains more than just oxygen. There are all sorts of gases in our air—some necessary for life and others that are deadly in certain doses.
I got my first taste of road racing as an intern for the 2007 Austin Marathon and Half Marathon. Yeah, I wasn’t even a runner, but that quickly changed. I became immersed in the Austin running culture and smitten with the idea that another sport (besides football and baseball) would allow me to push myself and test my limits. Throughout the years there have been plenty of road races, completing many 5Ks, 10Ks, and even a marathon (2015 Austin!). But I’ve never raced; never thought of winning. I’ve never wanted to win; never thought I could win. I’ve never worked to better my time to win. I’ve never trained and pushed myself to win.
As runners, we tend to pay far more attention to the inner workings of our body than the outside. We run through the Texas summer heat and oppressive sun and assume if our legs and lungs are OK, we must be fine. Maybe, maybe not. Many of us suffer in silence as our skin takes a beating. There is simply no doubt about it, if you are running in the summer, your skin will feel the effects of one or all of the following: sunburn, chafing, wind burn, sweat-induced acne) or just plain, post-run itchiness caused by dry skin.
My calendar says it’s still spring, but sure feels like we're already knee-deep into summer. It hasn't gotten disgusting quite yet, but it's just around the corner (otherwise, known as May). You don’t need me to tell you that the heat and humidity here in Central Texas makes running pretty darn tough. That is, running on dry land.
Bunions. Just the word is repelling and scary. Sadly, bunions are an ugly, yet all-too-common foot deformity that afflicts millions of American women. And some men. The incidence of bunions has risen over the years to the point where it has become practically an epidemic. Especially among women who spend hours on their feet such as nurses, teachers and waitresses, many of whom are also runners.
It isn't exactly a newsflash that we runners are an awfully disciplined, highly motivated group of achievement-oriented, dedicated people. Maybe too dedicated. At least some time we are. To run a marathon or even a half marathon, obviously takes a lot of dedication to put in all the training miles. But many of us tend to do too much and run too many miles, hills, long runs and speed work. If you do, you certainly can get in great shape, but once you go overboard, all the work you put in can develop into overtraining and it’s just as serious a problem for marathoners as training too little. Maybe even more so.
There's absolutely no question that running is a difficult sport. Certainly, it's extremely rewarding, but any long-term training program is a major undertaking requiring a significant commitment. Take a look at what training is. Basically, it's hard, physical work which essentially boils down to adding specific stresses to your mind and body over a certain period of time.
One of the most difficult training concepts to accept is also the very simplest: Rest. That’s right, total rest. Not active rest or cross-training, but complete rest. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a runner, swimmer, cyclist, weight lifter or bowler (OK, maybe not a bowler), but your most important training day should have a big goose egg next to it. A zero. Zilch. Nyet. Nada. Nothing.