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Runners! 5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete

Yes, you read that correctly. You, reading this now, are an athlete. An athlete is defined as a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina. So by definition, you are an athlete. That also means that you should start acting like one as well.

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What Does This Mean?

You have finally recognized your status as an athlete, but what does that mean? It means that you are dedicated to your sport and furthering your education on the topic. You are seeking to improve yourself in some way as well as to keep up a status that you have achieved. Even if it is your first day of running, you have achieved the status of runner and must work to maintain and improve that.

So How Does One Act Like an Athlete?

One of my qualms about runners is that they do not treat themselves like athletes and often neglect logic when it comes to the sport. For example, someone who is into lifting weights knows and realizes that you cannot lift the same way, every day, and expect results. However, runners practice a form of this by running the same pace, on the same route, in the same way, every day. They also neglect things like trigger point therapy, functional footwear, rest days, and recovery. They don’t see the whole picture and assume that running is not like other sports. Running is seen as an anomaly with its own set of rules that defy all logic. It is almost comical to watch.

5 Tips to Act Like an Athlete

1. Be a Student of the Sport

6648625-student-running-on-a-running-trackWork to learn as much as you can about your sport and what can make you better. The technology and information changes daily. Stay on top of it and find out what works best for you. Also develop your ability to separate what is marketing and what is true science when it comes to products. 

2. Look at the Body Holistically

holistic-body

Running injuries typically aren’t a result of what ends up hurting. Often, the injury is the pain that is felt because of an inefficiency or weakness up or down the kinematic chain. Also take into account your nutrition, sleep, and other external factors that will affect your running.

3. Allow the Body to Recover

Give yourself the gold standard in recovery. Massage! Unfortunately most of us can’t afford a personal masseuse, but you can do self massage via Trigger Point Therapy. There is nothing better to keep you loose, limber, and ready to go for that next workout. Also make sure you have rest days worked into your training plan, your body needs these to build muscle.

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4. Maximize the Body’s Abilities

The body is complex and every part of the body plays a role in your running. Work to maximize these abilities such as range of motion, strength, length, energy delivery systems, and more. All of them combine to make for a better running experience. Athletes in other sports do a variety of drills to maximize their potential. You should do the same.

5. Start With a Strong Base

We all know that your first training run should not be a 22 miler. You need to build a strong base and build up to higher mileage and stresses. Similar to weightlifting, you have to start small, to get big.

Start Today

You may not have always seen yourself as an athlete, but start today. Start with the simple tasks of eating right, listening to your body, and massage before and after runs. You’ll be amazed at the quality of your workouts when you treat yourself like an athlete. I know some of these tips may not seem like rocket science, but it’s amazing how many runners don’t follow simple logic like these tips.

Always in Stride,

Jack

Rotating Running Shoe Models May Reduce Injuries

In a previous article I recommended that one should be polygamous with one’s choice in running shoe brand and not be afraid of trying new shoes. I also advocate that one should be polyamorous on a daily basis as opposed to a quarterly basis in regards to shoe models. Recent research has shown that rotating a variety of shoes can help to prevent and reduce injuries experienced from running.

The human body gets stronger as a result of stress. For example, if one looks at astronauts and long periods of time spent in space, we can see the effect of not stressing the muscualture. Due to the lack of gravity in space, the musculature is not stressed and therefore grows weaker. Upon returning from space, astronauts are quite weak and have lost significant amounts of muscle mass. NASA states that even during short flights of 5 to 11 days that astronauts can experience up to a 20% loss in muscle mass. This is a perfect example of how the body requires stress to maintain muscle and also to grow it. Astronauts on the International Space Station are required to work out for 2.5 hours a day in order to combat muscle atrophy.

If one stresses their foot with the exact same running shoe, day in and day out, the body is exposed to similar stresses every day. If you run multiple shoe models from multiple shoe brands your foot will be put through different workouts that work the foot in different ways. This will allow certain muscles to do less work on a given day while allowing them to work harder on another day. Scott Douglas states that the researchers from the study concluded that running injuries can be decreased by 39% by rotating a variety of shoes as compared to single shoe wearers. 

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Some of the shoes that make my rotation.

I personally have about 8 different shoes I rotate through during a 2 week period. I do tend to have favorites, but I make sure to keep on switching it up. Instead of rotating two of the exact same shoes throughout the week, pick up a few pairs of running shoes on your next visit to your LRS (local running store) and rotate several different models during the week. While you’re at it, work on rotating the surfaces you run on every day as well. Switch between concrete, asphalt, dirt, grass, and whatever else you can find. Running surface will have an even greater impact on running stress as compared to varying your shoe choice.

Always in Stride,

Jack

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Related Articles

Can Rotating Running Shoes Reduce Injury Risk? (runblogger.com)

Study Backs Rotating Shoes to Lower Injury Risk – (runnersworld.com)

Well-Done Wednesday (8/1/2012)

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here’s this Wednesday’s picks, be sure to read the subtitles on the Kilian Jornet video!

1.Greatness is NOT Just in London, England – Greatness is wherever somebody is trying to find it.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hEzW1WRFTg”]

2. Running Inspiration in Tough Times – from Genki Kitty’s Blog

from Genki Kitty’s Blog

3. The Big Question Mark of Your Day– Think you have a good excuse not to run today? Not a chance. – from Running Myles

4. Summits of My Life – Kilian Jornet fascinates me.  from Chris’ Ultra Blog

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwusaZX6ofs”]

5. A Life That Leads – “You are living a life that leads, dear runner. And you will serve society well by stepping confidently into this role…” – from lovingtherun.com

Overheard – An inspiring story of courage from Ronald McDonald House Charities – from Team RMHC

Happy Wednesday All:) Tune back in for next week’s picks and feel free to send me any you may have found to jack@themotivatedrunner.com!

Always in Stride,

Jack

Well-Done Wednesday (7/18/2012)

Happy Wednesday to you all! Here are this week’s Well-Done Wednesday Picks! I hope you enjoy them:)

1.Doesn’t Get More Honest Than That – from Real World Jess

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from Real World Jess

2. The Underdogs, Always the Longshot – Good YouTube video with a unique, catchy song.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BukuQIJ7-lc”]

3. Change is That Simple  – from Life is Beachy Keen

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from Life is Beachy Keen

4. Finding Legs and Body: Running the Marathon – “Because that’s why I run: you have to keep going.” – from Meg Heery

5. Consistent Training, The Secret to Success – from teamjohnnyusa

Happy Wednesday All:) Tune back in for next week’s picks and feel free to send me any you may have found to jack@themotivatedrunner.com!

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Top 10 Tips You Wish You Were Told BEFORE Your First Marathon

The tips provided in this post will not be the typical ones that you find everywhere else. These tips have been learned from personal experience and are a few things that I wish people had told me before my first marathon:

1. Pinch Your Water Cups – The best way to get water on the go is to pinch your cup right in the middle. Nobody told me this before my first half marathon and I ended up with water all over my face, and very little in my mouth. When you pinch the cup, it prevents the water from splashing out and provides a nice funnel to your mouth.

2. Bring a Roll of Toilet Paper – There will be races when the toilet paper runs out in the port-o-potties. Packing an extra roll makes sure you always have some TP. This also can come in handy if the port-o-potty line is too long, leaving the woods as the only option before the start.

Toilet paper Free Photo http://www.stockvault.net/data/s/125443.jpg

from StockVault.net

3. Pack a Disposable Hoodie/Sweatpants – Many marathons will require you to drop off your race bags and head to the line an hour or so before the gun goes off. This means that you’re stuck with whatever you have on, or you have to discard your extra layers, never to be seen again. It’s much better to discard the used hoodie/sweatpants from the GoodWill than it is your prized race jacket.

4. Bring Extra Socks – Your feet will love you at the end of the race if you have clean, fresh socks to change into. They will feel extremely refreshing after you’ve logged 26.2 in your old ones.

5. Buy Cheap Gloves – Race days are always going to be unpredictable. The morning frost for the first 9 miles or so of an early morning, fall  marathon can be quite nippy. $1.99 gloves can go a long way to fight this chill and can also serve as a place to store gels.

Zero degrees Free Photo http://www.stockvault.net/data/s/107783.jpg

from StockVault.net

6. Use Body Glide – Over the course of 26.2 miles there will be plenty of friction to be had. USE Body Glide! Unless you enjoy red rashes and searing pain for several days, I highly suggest you use Body Glide at any point where you have skin on skin contact. Examples: Armpits, Inside Thighs, Chest, and Inner Calves.

7. Bring Extra Safety Pins – Extra safety pins are a godsend if you have lost yours to pin your bib on or if you need a way to store your gels. I pin gels to the inside of my running shorts as I tend to be a minimalist when I run.

8. No Sudden Speed Bursts – The marathon is a very long race and sudden speed bursts will only serve to sap your energy stores. I made this mistake during the Boston Marathon when running past the girls of Wellesley (5:12 mile). I paid for this mistake dearly. Every mile after mile 18 was torture. Only use speed bursts after mile 22, if you’re feeling good. The 1st mile of the race is also a place where many use speed bursts and you will pay dearly for this over the next 25.2 miles. Take ‘er easy and go out steady and smooth.

9. Stop Stressing Sleep the Night Before – Studies have shown that the night of sleep that matters most is 2 nights before the big race. If you are having issues sleeping the night before, don’t stress it. You are still getting rest by simply being horizontal and most of the energy for your race will be from the previous night’s sleep. I have yet to meet anyone who sleeps all that well the night before, so you’re not alone.

Bedroom Free Photo http://www.stockvault.net/data/s/132353.jpg

from StockVault.net

10. Sit on a Shoulder – If you are feeling tired during the race, try drafting off of someone who is running a similar pace to yours. This can be especially beneficial when it is windy and can help you to save up energy before making your next move. It’s also nice if you repay the favor:)

Well that’s it for our Top 10 Tips You Wish You Were Told BEFORE Your First Marathon! I hope that at least one of these helps you to a great race day!

Always in Stride,

Coach Jack

Well-Done Wednesday (7/11/2012)

Happy Wednesday to you all! Hope your week is off to a great start and your runs are enjoyable:) Here’s this Wednesday’s picks:

1.Stop Lying to Yourself and Rid of the Excuses – “Happiness is an inside job.  I had to fix my insides before I could accept the position, and to do that, I had to discard the excuses.” – from Fit Recovery.

2. “The Difference, Go World” – Nothing better than some Morgan Freeman narrated motivation.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9PZV1e9jks”]

3. Thinking of Skipping Your Run? Not So Fast… – Try these tips to get your butt out the door. – from Canadian Living

4. Log Off. Shut Down. Go Run. – from MuscleQuotes.com

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From MuscleQuotes.com

5. 101 Reasons to Run a Marathon – from www.runaddicts.net

Happy Wednesday All:) Tune back in for next week’s picks and feel free to send me any you may have found to jack@themotivatedrunner.com!

Always in Stride,

Jack

Well-Done Wednesday (7/4/2012)

HAPPY WEDNESDAY AND HAPPY 4th of JULY to the American readers! Hope you all are having a wonderful week and Holiday:) Here are this week’s picks for Well-Done Wednesday!

1.Inspiration Monday – Nice little collection of motivational pictures to get you moving – from tahira’s.

2. This Race Looks Awesome – “A weekend away with friends, camping out in the middle of nowhere, and summiting the highest peak in the Northern Cape. Sounds like fun right?” – from Girl With a Teacup.

3. Why Your Fears Are Ridiculous – Great post on overcoming your fears surrounding running – from Runners-in-law.

4. Love This Quote – This quote is awesome. I fully believe you should always make time for your run no matter what. – from Confessions of a Happy Mom.

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5. Always Be Running – from I Will Not Waste My 20’s!

Happy Wednesday All:) Tune back in for next week’s picks and feel free to send me any you may have found to jack@themotivatedrunner.com!

Always in Stride,

Jack

Well-Done Wednesday (6/27/2012)

HAPPY WEDNESDAY! Hope you all are having a wonderful week! Here are this week’s Well-Done Wednesdays picks!

1.Running Tips: Creating Your Own Beginner’s Luck – from The Modern Me.

2. Lolo Jones Going in for the Kill – from Run Inspired.

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoYGtlbaGcU”]

3. The Voice in Your Head is a Liar – from haute + healthy.

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from haute + healthy

4. What Do You Run For?

[youtube=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRzY8oFX75I”]

5. Newbie Chrnoicles Musings – “It won’t be easy, particularly when you first start running, but it will be worth it.  You will feel better as a result of the actual running and to think, you could inspire someone else just by getting your bum out the door!” from TooTallFritz

That’s it for this Wednesday! Please feel free to share with the great stuff you’ve found or created and I just might feature it next week! Send me an email or leave a comment:)

Always in Stride,

Jack