When done on a regular basis, backward running strengthens the legs muscles (hamstrings, calf muscles and soleus) that aren’t used as much as the primary muscles for forward running. The benefits of backward running are better overall muscular balance as well as stretching and lengthening foot and lower leg muscles such as the Achilles and soleus muscles.
Now that summer is here in full force, many Central Texans turn to swimming as an alternative to running and/or as supplemental training. But, many runners who do, also wonder, whether it actually helps their running in any tangible way.
Just the other morning, I finished another hot, long run with my training group and while we were attempting to rehydrate, a relative newbie came by and asked the best to treat a sore calf muscle that had been bothering him. He was diligently stretching the calf after every run, followed immediately by a heated whirlpool and then placing a heating pad on the calf for another 10 minutes. The calf hasn't been responding, was still bothering him and he was worried.
One question every runner invariably asks is the most simple one of all: Why do I run? Especially as we look down the barrel of another long, hot, humid summer, the question of why exactly we do this day after day, month after month, year after year is certain to at least cross every runner’s mind at some point (often in the middle of a long run).
If you have started your training this summer for a fall marathon or half (or about to start it) and have been closely following a training schedule, you probably will have noticed that there’s always an easy day, recovery run or complete rest day following every hard or long run. This is the classic hard/easy training method that nearly every runner follows. Even though there’s a huge difference among training schedules, every reliable schedule incorporates this hard/easy style of training.
As runners, we all recognize the importance of recovery from hard workouts and races. Without adequate recovery, our running becomes stagnant and if the training is hard enough and the recovery is inadequate, injury is certain to follow. One of the most important components of recovery is also the simplest: Sleep. Obviously, we all need to sleep but the more we train, the greater its importance. And yet, due to our stressful lives full of responsibilities, adequate, quality sleep is often something which is overlooked.
Stress is quite simply a fact of modern life. It just is. Stress is also one of the reasons so many people start running. Certainly, running can’t limit or end the stress in your life, but it can help you cope with it better.
As dedicated runners, we tend to pay far more attention to the inner workings of our body than the outside. We run in the Central Texas summer heat and oppressive sun and assume if our legs, heart and lungs are OK, we must be fine. Maybe, maybe not. Many of us suffer in silence as our skin takes a beating.
In 1987, on the final night of the World Champs of Track & Field in Rome, my boss at Runner's World, George Hirsch, hosted a celebratory dinner at this cool ristorante, right on the Tigris River. At that dinner was Frank Shorter, the '72 Olympic marathon gold medalist, a close friend of Hirsch's, who - I believe - was in town doing commentary for NBC. I don't remember the exact context of the discussion, but I do recall clear as a bell that Shorter told me and everyone there who cared to listen that every athlete in Rome was on some type of performance-enhancement drug or another.
The weather hasn't been cooperative for the summer-long Luke's Locker Driveway Series, but tomorrow night (Wednesday, June 3rd) looks like it will be clear and precipitation-free. Although the series started two weeks ago, only that first race has been held. (Last week's was canceled because of the record rainfall.) Tomorrow night's 3.2-mile run/race will begin at 7 p.m. On-site registration is from 6-6:30 and the entire 14-week series will be contested at the Driveway Austin Motorsport Track (8400 Delwau Lane) where the Driveway Crit series of bike races are also held.
It's that time of year again when newspapers and running magazines all will have similar headlines that proclaim: "Beat The Heat." (Runner's World has the same cover line every summer.) Good luck with that. Bet none of those folks who write those headlines actually live and run in the summer in Austin, Texas.
Despite the Great Flood of 2015, summer hydration is still an important fact of our running life in Texas. Certainly, we all have had the wisdom of drinking plenty of fluids in summer drummed into our collective heads. Drink before, during and after hot, steamy summer runs is clearly part of our summer running lifestyle. Our bodies are mostly water so it’s obvious that hydration is key to maintaining a proper balance of fluids that allow us to run despite our brutal summer heat. (Point of fact, summer doesn't officially begin until June 21st but my reckoning it's already here.)
The Runner's High? We've all heard about it, but is it real? Yes and no. A runner's high is a very real, tangible by-product of running. So yes it exists and it's not an illusionary, mythical condition.
My calendar says it’s still spring, but sure feels like we're already knee-deep into summer. Don't let this brief cold front fool you after last weekend's temps topped 90 degrees. 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 around here makes running pretty darn tough. That is, running on dry land.
There’s a nasty rumor going around that summer is finally over and done with. Thank goodness. Marathon season has started all over the country. Two weeks ago was Twin Cities, St, George and Portland. Last weekend there were 26.2-milers in Chicago and Scranton and this weekend offers marathons in St. Louis, Columbus, Baltimore and Hartford. [...]