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Showing posts with label Jogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jogging. Show all posts

Exercise Addiction Induced Anorexia

Look at the two runners on the right.

Which of them looks more natural and healthy?

If you picked #396, you are correct. He looks way healthier than #301, mostly due to his more muscular physique, better form, whereas #301 looks like he could collapse and die any second.

The differences between #301 and #396 isn't limited to their clear differences in muscle mass however, it is also a matter of differences in how they trained their bodies, how much nutrition they gave themselves while training, and whether they overdid it during the training process or whether they optimized their training / nutritional habits.

There is also a difference in sport. #301 is a marathon runner, which requires endurance. #396 is a sprinter, which requires sudden bursts of sheer speed - which requires more muscle power. However being super skinny is not a necessity for being a marathon runner, rather it is a side effect of Exercise Addiction.


Exercise Addiction is very common to marathon runners because there is a strong tendency to get "Runners High". While running very long distances your brain starts to produce a variety of hormones which act as painkillers to the runner, so that they can keep running. Unfortunately those natural hormones make for a very unnatural cocktail of chemicals, and behaves like heroin on the brain. People get addicted to long distance running, they neglect their health in favour of going running, they aren't eating enough food to take care of themselves, and they end up becoming very skinny as their body starts cannibalizing their muscle mass as energy.

That cannibalization process makes the person head down a very dark road in which they slowly start looking like an heroin addict. (Celebrity and singer Amy Winehouse is an extreme example of this, as she had both an exercise addiction and a cocaine/heroin addiction before she died. She died of alcohol poisoning.)

Essentially what it comes down is that we should be encouraging people to take up sprinting more often, or hiking is also good, because jogging long distances clearly has its dangers.

Exercise Addiction also comes with a host of other health problems, including possible anorexia (which is potentially deadly).

Running marathons can be fun and challenging, but you have to know the risks and give yourself limits so you aren't hurting your body. eg. Anything more than 100 km per week is considered to be exercise addiction.'

Symptoms of Exercise Addiction
  • An unhealthy increase in exercise levels.
  • An unhealthy addiction to euphoric states, not just in the form of "Runners High", but the addict may also seek out other kinds of drugs to increase their addiction to euphoria.
  • Social dysfunction as their addiction causes the addict to push away friends and family.
  • Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, restlessness, depression, guilt, tension, discomfort, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and headaches.
  • Exercising despite injuries and despite emotional trauma.
  • Obsession with appearance and maintaining a skinny physique.
  • May be combined with eating disorders.
  • May lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Addict is dependent on exercise in order to feel happy and gains little or no happiness from social interactions.
As a personal trainer I try to steer my clients here in Toronto away from anything that could cause them physical harm, whether it be sports injuries or a mental disorder. It is in the best interest of my clients that they have a healthy appreciation for exercise and not an obsession which causes them harm. I have written a number of other articles about exercise addiction, often with respect to marathon running.

See Also

12 Tips for Running a Marathon

Tips for Marathon Runners

Running Gear

How to Succeed in a Marathon

Crossfit and Why it is Dangerous

The Importance of Rest Periods

Running on Treadmills - Going Nowhere Fast

If you are like me you probably hate running on a treadmill. You are, as the saying goes, going nowhere fast on those things.

Given the choice between running outdoors and running on a treadmill, I will choose outdoors.

However if the weather is dismal (or it is Winter) then there is certainly an appeal to have the option to go for a run on a treadmill indoors instead. During the Summer when there is beautiful weather outside, you really should be outside getting your exercise, but if its raining or snowing it does make perfect sense to have a backup plan.

However running on a treadmill is SUPER BORING. But there are ways to make it more interesting. It is why many gyms have treadmills with TV sets on them - which I find annoying, because often the sound is broken, no matter how much you fiddle with the headphones.

#1. Pets on the Treadmill

Oddly enough pets - dogs and cats will sometimes join their owners on the treadmill. It is a bizarre phenomenon, but it shows that even animals enjoy getting some exercise.

In the video below a baby raccoon gets some exercise on a treadmill with its owner.



#2. Dancing on your Treadmill

This is oddly enough a growing phenomenon. There are a lot of videos on this topic below. Below is my favourite treadmill dance video.



#3. Listening to Music / Watching TV on the Treadmill

This one is a no brainer really. Nothing complicated there. I shouldn't even have to list this, but I am doing so for the sake of not leaving anything out.

#4. You know you are bored when you...
  • Play with the buttons and settings on the treadmill.
  • Focus on perfecting your running form.
  • Increase the incline for an added challenge.
  • Sideways gallop.
  • Skipping (with or without a skip rope).
  • Marching or Goosestepping.
  • Get those knees up.
  • Try to kick yourself in the butt with one foot.
  • Hopping. (Avoid jumping when the treadmill is going fast. There are lots of fail videos on YouTube for this topic.)
  • Focus on your breathing.
  • Get distracted by how your treadmill sounds like a train.
  • Repeat a mantra.
  • Sing (like you do in the shower).
  • Cover up the monitor so you can stop being distracted by the numbers.
  • Use your arms more.
  • Use the time to think about your life.
  • Plan your day.
  • Plan your weekend.
  • Plan what you will eat for lunch.
  • Plan your vacation or retirement.
  • Imagine you are racing.
  • Imagine you are being chased by zombies.

#5. Listen to an audio book

The easy way to do this is to jog on the treadmill for however long it takes to listen to one chapter. A chapter per day, every day and before you know it you will be feeling fit and have the book done.

#6. Listen to a Podcast

If you have a favourite Podcast you like to tune into to, make your Podcast time the time you also use the treadmill. Apple iTunes has lots of podcasts to choose from if you are not sure what to listen to.

#7. Listen for Trigger Words

Every time you hear a trigger word, eg, "Yes", then you run faster. Every time you hear another trigger word, eg. "No" then you run slower. The idea here is to alternate your speeds when you are running. If your treadmill is next to a window you could change your speed every time you see a black car drive by the window. Pick a trigger or multiple triggers and then use that to guide how often you alternate your speed.

#8. Play Mind Games or Memory Exercises

There are plenty out there to choose from. I like word games myself, wherein you start by picking a topic - eg. plants - and then you pick a word from that genre - eg. rose - and then you try to think of a word that starts with the letter the last word ended with. So rose, easter lily, yew, weeping willow, etc.


There. That should be enough to keep you busy and motivated.


10 Exercise Tricks for Joggers and Would-Be Joggers

Jogging daily is arguably one of the best exercises people can do to lose weight and build endurance. However jogging is also incredibly boring, and many people also assume that there isn't a lot to know about jogging... and thus end up doing it wrong because they don't know any better!

#1. Get the right running shoes! You cannot go jogging in just any old shoes. You need shoes that are both comfortable, have good grip on both grass and pavement, and it should fit you properly. Failure to do these things could lead to foot aches and sports injuries.

#2. Jogging is not running or sprinting. One of the first mistakes beginner joggers do is that they run too fast - or more precisely, they are running when they should be jogging. You are not going for a run. You are going for a jog. You need to learn how to pace yourself. If you are out of breath, you are going too fast. In theory you should be able to jog and talk at the same time. If you are running, you are breathing too hard to be able to talk. If you cannot past the "talk test" then you are going too fast.

#3. Upper body form! Move your arms while you are jogging. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many beginners don't know the basics apparently. Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90 degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.

#4. If you are having difficulty pacing yourself (#3 above) then try a run / walk approach. Run until you are breathing heavily, then walk, run until you are breathing heavily, then walk, repeat. Eventually you will get an idea of how fast to go when you are "just jogging" and then you can focus on that.

#5. Avoid over doing it in the beginning. Many beginners like to overdo things, so here is a quick tip: Jog until you feel distracted by wanting to do something else. This works well because it means your jogging forays will be kept short in the beginning and as you progress and build endurance, then you can switch to a tactic of "jog until you reach a goal" (see #7 below).

#6. Remember to hydrate. An easy way to do this is to construct a jogging route that takes you by a library that has public water fountains. eg. Jog to the library, get a drink, jog back home. Easy. Alternatively carry a water bottle with you - however I personally find it annoying having to carry things while jogging. I don't even like carrying my keys with me while I jog because they jingle too much.

#7. Jog until you reach a goal. If your goal is to jog around the block three times, then jog around the block three times. Easy. Done? Go drink some water. Reaching a goal is a good start, but you should keep it small in the beginning and then slowly increase the amount you jog.

For example jogging around the block once on the 1st week and then twice on the 2nd week and then three times on the 3rd week, that is too much too fast. When increasing distances traveled you should only be increasing by approx. 1% per day. So for example if you jogged 6 days last week, you could increase the distance jogged this week by 6%. If you only jogged twice last week, you should only increase the distance by 2%. Increasing the distance by 10% or more each week will just cause you to become burned out. The amount needs to be very gradual so that your body has time to adjust. Thus when setting new goals you should actually take the time to measure the distances (even if it is just a crude measurement) and figure out how much is "1%".

An easy way to do this is to measure by time jogging, not by distance traveled. So for example if you go jogging for 10 minutes the first week and jog 5 times that week, then the next week you should add 5% to your time - an extra 30 seconds. This may not seem like much in the beginning, but this compounds over time.

10 minutes
10 minutes, 30 seconds
11 minutes, 1 seconds
11 minutes, 33 seconds
12 minutes, 5 seconds
12 minutes, 45 seconds
13 minutes, 25 seconds
14 minutes, 3 seconds
etc

So in 8 weeks you've already increased the time traveled by over 40%. By week 52 you are jogging for 2 hours (and 24 seconds) five days a week. That might actually be too much, so you should set a long term goal of maybe 30 or 60 minutes.

#8. Use both your nose and your mouth to breathe. Nothing wrong with using both. Breathing only through your nose means less oxygen going to your muscles, and this is a time when you want MORE OXYGEN! So breathe in as much as possible.

#9. If you get Side Stitches remember to take Deep Belly Breaths. A side stitch is a sharp, intense pain under the lower edge of the ribcage, more often on the left side. They're common in beginner runners who tend to breathe more quickly and shallow. Proper breathing and a reasonable pace can prevent Side Stitches from happening. Eating too much sugar or drinking high-sugar beverages before exercise increases the likelihood of Side Stitches.

#10. Mix it up once in awhile. Doing only jogging should not be your goal. Mix jogging together with other activities like hiking, rock climbing, going to the gym, socializing with friends, going to a yoga studio, doing body-weight exercises at a public park, etc.

For example if the above mentioned library is next to a park, you could jog to the library, get a drink, go do some body-weight exercises in the park, and then get another drink, and then jog home.

High Intensity Interval Training pays off well - but is it for everyone?

Interval training is a great way to exercise. Nobody disputes that.

And high intensity interval training (HIIT) burns even more calories, and increases the Afterburn Effect which causes you to continue burning more calories throughout the day due to a heightened metabolism.

However HIIT is not for everyone. Especially people who are elderly, out of shape / overweight, have injuries (eg. knee injuries).

Which is why I have introduced Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT) and Moderate Intensity Interval Training (MIIT) as options for my personal training clients. Why? Because on a regular basis the people who actually want to hire a personal trainer are in one of these categories:

Elderly
Overweight / out of shape
Suffering from an injury (eg. knee)

And being told by a personal trainer that you can't do a specific workout becomes a whole Catch-22 scenario. In your head you think you can't lose weight / become fit without doing that high intensity workout. Except you can do the workout - but you need to do it a lower intensity: low intensity or moderate intensity. Especially if you have an injury you need to work around.

It is true that High-intensity interval training (HIIT) offers a bigger payoff from our workouts in less time. But if you can't physically DO the workout due to age, fitness level or injury then you need to do the next best thing.

HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) improves your current fitness level in short sessions, working to increase your metabolism and cutting your workout sessions to a fraction of the time. The goal is to alternate high-intensity bursts of exercise with periods of low-intensity exercise, or active rest.

So for example... Sprinting for 45 seconds, jogging for 45 seconds, repeated 10 times. Total time is 15 minutes and that would be a High Intensity Interval Training you could do at home / in your neighbourhood.

However sprinting / jogging for 15 minutes is a very intense workout. Many people wouldn't even be able to do the first 3 sprints without wanting to stop and rest for 5 minutes.

So a more moderate high workout may be called for.

Sprinting 30 seconds, jogging 30 seconds, walking 30 seconds, repeated 10 times. Total time is 15 minutes. That workout is more doable, but may still be beyond the reach of many people who are out of shape.

One of the goals of HIIT requires you to raise your heart rate up to 85% or more of its maximum capacity. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. Multiply that by .85 (85 percent) and you have your target heart rate.

So for example I am 34 years old. 220 - 34 = 186, x 0.85 = 158.

So if I want to worry about my heart rate I will need a heart monitor on my wrist so I can track how high my heart rate goes.

However I don't believe heart rate monitors are for everyone. While it may help some people to gauge how hard they are exercising and forces them to exercise harder, I think that for people who are overweight / elderly that this is a potentially dangerous practice that could lead to heart attacks (or heart attack like events).

The goal of HIIT (possibly combined by using a heart rate monitor) is to ensure that you burn maximum calories during your workout, as well as maximum calories in the hours following. However burning maximum calories should not involve risking your health and life to do so. Most HIIT workouts last about 15 to 30 minutes.

Thus there is definitely a need for different levels of workouts...

Moderate High Intensity Interval Training (MHIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 70 to 80%
You will still have difficulty talking during this level of workout because you will be breathing so hard.
eg. A running MHIIT would involve a mix of sprinting, jogging and perhaps even some walking.
Aim to workout for 20 to 30 minutes.

Moderate Intensity Interval Training (MIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 60 to 70%
You will be able to talk easier during this kind of workout, but conversations will be dragged out.
eg. A running MIIT would involve a small amount of sprinting, be mostly jogging and some walking.
Aim to workout for 25 to 35 minutes.

Moderate Low Intensity Interval Training (MLIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 50 to 60%
You will be able to talk most of the time.
eg. A running MLIIT would involve intervals of jogging and walking.
Aim to workout for 30 to 40 minutes.

Low Intensity Interval Training (LIIT)

Target Heart Rate is 40 to 50%
Talking will be easy during this kind of workout.
eg. A running LIIT would involve intervals of jogging and resting.
Aim to workout for 35 to 45 minutes.

If a particular workout gets too easy for you and you aren't experiencing any pain / discomfort, try a higher level of intensity. Don't try to deliberately hurt yourself, but do try to challenge yourself as your fitness level progresses.

It is advised that elderly people with heart problems (eg. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the right) jog with a partner in case they develop any complications during their workout. When in doubt stick to a lower pace workout and avoid over-taxing your heart. (And yes, that was a pun on British taxes.)

The more intense the workout the more oxygen you consume. This increase in oxygen, in turn, increases your post-exercise metabolism - and results in you burning extra calories for anywhere from 90 minutes to 24 hours after the workout is finished. The higher intensity the workout the more benefits you see in terms of fat loss, increased oxygen consumption and improved anaerobic capacity benefits in less time.

While Interval Training is usually used for cardiovascular workouts to improve endurance, it can also be used in sport-specific workouts or weightlifting sessions.

You don’t have to be in amazing shape to add Interval Training to your workouts. Choose your intensity based on your fitness level. When in doubt start low and build your endurance / strength slowly.

You should check with your doctor before starting any exercise program, especially High Intensity Interval Training. If your doctor says you’re healthy enough to engage in HIIT then go ahead and try it. If your doctor advises restraint then you would be better off starting off with low or moderate intensity workouts and then progress slowly.


10 Tips for Morning Joggers

Want to go jogging in the morning more often? Here are 10 Tips for Morning Joggers to help get you started and keep you on track.

#1. Schedule a specific time to go jogging. eg. Add an alarm on your phone as a reminder.

#2. Don't time yourself. You are done when you get back home.

#3. Don't worry if you occasionally stop to catch your breath. That is normal for beginners. You will build endurance over time. After a month of jogging you will notice your endurance has gone up considerably.

#4. Choose a route which is relatively short in the beginning and will take you an estimated 15 minutes to jog it.

#5. Progressively make your jogging route longer. After two weeks of jogging the above route (assuming you are jogging 5 to 7 times per week), add another part to the route so it takes closer to 20 minutes. Keep doing that route for 3 weeks and then add another part to it so it takes you 25 minutes. Then another 4 weeks and add another part so its closer to 30 minutes.

#6. Set a cap for how much time you want to spend jogging. If you only want to jog for 30 minutes every day, that is okay. Some people have busy schedules, but you will still be getting lots of health benefits from that 30 minutes.

#7. If you've set a cap your new goal should be to go FASTER. Not sprinting, but aim for a fast jog so that you can cover more distance in the same amount of time. This way you are still challenging yourself.

#8. If you're looking for a challenge go jogging in places which are more hilly - or even places which have stairs, like an university football stadium. (Wearing hiking shoes in wooded areas so you are less likely to slip and fall.)

#9. After jogging do some stretches during a cool down period.

#10. Eat something nutritious after your jog. Raw eggs, a protein shake, a hearty soup or stew will help increase your endurance faster by giving your body what it needs to build new muscle tissue.

BONUS TIP - Drink lots of water after your jog to rehydrate and take a multivitamin. (Extra vitamins never hurt anyone.)

An 160 lb person jogging for 30 minutes burns 254 calories. It doesn't seem like much but if they go jogging every day for a year that is 26.4 pounds of fat that they've shed.

And if they keep jogging regularly they will keep that extra weight off permanently. What is more is that 30 minutes per day is only 2% of their day.

Excuses to Not Go Jogging - and why many of them are just excuses.

Being not motivated is really the biggest reason people say they want to go jogging - and then forget to do so.

According to my informal survey of friends, the following excuses are why many people decide to not go jogging.

#1. "Don't have time."

Really? You don't have time? Jogging for only 15 minutes per day is just 1% of your day. But that 15 minutes per day can make a huge difference in terms of shedding fat.

#2. "Don't have any jogging clothes or shoes."

Go buy some or double check your closet to see what you do have. They don't have to be amazingly fashionable, just work with what you have available.

#3. "Too embarrassed to jog in public."

Multiple solutions. Walk to someplace that is less public. Go jogging in the wee hours of the morning when many other people are sleeping. Jog around your house or apartment building 20 times. Jog up and down staircases.

#4. "Its too cold or raining."

Jog indoors. Check out local gyms, recreation centres, indoor parking lots.

#5. "I don't have a jogging partner."

Find a jogging partner who lives in your neighbourhood. Go jogging and look for other joggers. Or better yet, get a dog. If you already have a dog, take the dog jogging with you.

#6."My joints ache."

Your joints might be aching due to lack of exercise. Start by going for walks, then hiking, and as your joint pain is lessened start jogging gradually.

#7. "My breasts bounce around too much and it hurts."

Buy a really good quality sports bra that fits you properly and significantly reduces the bounciness.

#8. "I don't have a stopwatch."

Do you really need a stopwatch? If so, download a stopwatch app to your smartphone.

#9. "I am afraid of being robbed."

Oh really? Who is going to rob a jogger carrying keys and a cellphone and no wallet or purse?

#10. "I don't like jogging."

Okay. Why? There has to be a reason why.

"Umm, its too much like exercise and I get tired so easily."

You get tired so easily because you don't exercise. Start by walking more regularly, then hiking and gradually build up to jogging. You will discover you love it once you build up your endurance.

BONUS - "I need knee surgery and my doctor said I need to avoid exercises that might hurt my knee."

Okay, that is a legitimate reason. You may want to consider other exercises such as light swimming so you can stay active without putting undue stress on your knee.

But for everyone else who doesn't have a good reason and have lots of excuses, please tell me what your excuse is? Post in the comments below and have a nice day!


Dog Jogging for Beginners

Rule #1. Don't walk your dog - JOG YOUR DOG.

Rule #2. Use a short or medium length leash - this way as your dog jogs, you have to keep up according to their speed. For best results get a leash that goes around your waist.

Rule #3. Stop to drink once in awhile - Give your dog a drink too!

Rule #4. Jog the same speed as your dog is jogging. Not too fast, not too slow.

Rule #5. When your dog is tired it is time for a break!

Rule #6. If your dog is really big or really small you will need to learn to be either faster or slower while jogging.


Rule #7. Avoid areas with high traffic. Less busy streets are best.

Rule #8. Skip your iPod for once. Listen to the sound of your heart and your feet (and your dog's feet) on the pavement.

Rule #9. Eat something after you are done jogging. A protein shake, a boiled egg, chocolate milk - something with protein in it. Feed your dog too!

Rule #10. Remember, DOG JOGGING IS FUN. And the beauty of it is because your dog wants to go jogging it forces you to stick to a schedule.

Note: There is even COMPETITIVE DOG JOGGING. Nothing like a frugal competitive sport to get you in the mood to exercise!



Bored of exercising indoors? Time to find a friend and try something new!

Q

"Hello!

I am bored of exercising indoors. I have been stuck inside most of the winter and Spring doesn't seem to be coming fast enough. However I hate exercising outside when its so cold outside. What can I be doing instead?


I’m an avid runner/cyclist – anything outdoors - but only when it is warm enough to be doing so. How do I stay motivated to train despite the cold?

- Angela W."

A

Hello Angela!

I empathize with you. I don't even bother to bicycle during the winter and I do cycling outdoors (those people who take spin classes and cycle at gyms are crazy in my opinion). However never fear! I have a couple of tricks that I use to motivate myself to train during the winter. You are welcome to use these ideas to help you train during the winter.

#1. It is always more fun to train with a friend, regardless of the season. It will help keep you motivated even when it is freezing cold outside. Try enlisting an exercise buddy or hiring a personal trainer here in Toronto (hint hint). If you can find a friend the two of you can motivate each other - plus twice the brain power means you will come with extra exercise ideas together - like going dancing or taking dance lessons together. It gets you out of the house, it is still technically indoors, but at least you are out trying something new as a cardio exercise.

Even if you don't have a friend to go with you dance classes can be a great way to exercise as a group and meet new friends.

#2. I like to remind myself of how great I feel after a workout. I know that any workout, even an indoor workout, will make me feel better than no workout. Relish in that feeling. It doesn't matter whether the workout is cardio, yoga, weightlifting or even a series of stretches. The more wonderful I feel after I have a workout the more likely I am to stick with it and keep exercising.

#3. Schedule it. I find this helps regardless of what the weather is doing. By having a specific spot in my schedule where I know I have to do something - even if its laundry or washing the dishes - any kind of chore, exercise, task, etc should be scheduled to make sure you do it. I personally have multiple alarms during the day reminding me to do every thing from get up, go jogging, do my daily exercise routine, go to events with friends. Each alarm on my phone has a different song that plays for each task. That way I know what it is and it reminds that it is time to do that task.

#4. I also like to remind myself that having a break between my work periods is beneficial. Sometimes I even have afternoon naps (siestas) to replenish my energy.

#5. Next I challenge myself to do activities that I am not as familiar with - such as trying new exercises that I find online. YouTube is a great source for new exercises, but I also have a lot listed here on CardioTrek for you to browse.

#6. Set a goal. It will help motivate you to stay active so make it a good goal worth aiming for - and make it realistic over the long term so you know you have to stick with it to achieve it. It might be as simple as a big number like aiming to do 10,000 push-ups in 3 months (roughly 112 push-ups per day). That is a completely realistic goal - but imagine how much more fit you will be after completing 10,000 pushups over a 3 month period. Other goals might include 100 yoga classes, running in a marathon, competing in a bicycle race (you don't need to win, you just need to show up and complete the race), trying a new sport like speed skating. Lots of options out there.

Speaking for myself my current goal is to strengthen all the muscles I need for my new 45 lb recurve bow for archery. It is 11 lbs harder to pull than my old 34 lb recurve bow.

If you can't stay away from cycling and running completely, then go ahead and do indoor versions of each. Run on a treadmill, take spin classes or use a bike trainer. I may personally think those things are ridiculous, but for the people who can't stand the cold weather they are certainly an option.

The bike trainer is a fantastic route, because it allows you to put your actual road bike on a stand and cycle. Whenever we get nice weather then you can cycle and run outside when possible (March is sketchy at times that you will sometimes have a hot day when you can do that.

So far the weather in Toronto has been pretty horrible, but cheer up. I am sure the weather will start to get better soon!

12 Tips for Running a Marathon

Running a marathon is the ultimate accomplishment for many runners and joggers whose goal is to stay fit or achieve a personal best, but it is also one of the most difficult fitness goal to achieve (up there with triathalons and Iron Man competitions).

Just running 42.2 kim (26.2 miles) and not hurting yourself is a physical accomplishment, as sports injuries are pretty common when running a marathon.

Regardless of your goals or completion times you need to be prepared. Running a marathon demands intense preparation in all aspects of one’s life, including training, diet, and sleep, and mental preparation. Here are 12 tips that will help any marathon runner reach their desired goals:

1. Plan well, and do so well in advance. A marathon is absolutely not something you just decide to do on a whim. It should take months of preparation. Even as much as six months or a year in advance, depending on your fitness level. Choose a marathon that is months away to work towards, and begin preparation immediately. Start logging your runs and times, starting with shorter runs (2-5 miles, depending on your endurance) during the week and longer runs on the weekend. Slowly work your way up as you build endurance.

2. Set reasonable goals. If you've never run a marathon before, don't think you'll go under-4 hours the first time out. Set goals that will push you, but that at the same time you can actually reach by keeping a log and seeing where your stamina and running capacity is well before the race begins.


3. Do practice Half Marathons. Once per month try running a half marathon and time yourself. Half marathons will give you a better idea of where you will fare when you finally do a full marathon.

4. Set Limits on your weekly running. Your goal should be to run 45 to 50 km (25 to 30 miles) per week. Basically 9 to 10 km (5 to 6 miles) fives times per week. The reason you want to limit yourself is to prevent injuries and stave off the effects of running addicition (which can lead to insomnia and a variety of health / mental problems including OCD). As your legs get stronger and you get significantly better endurance wise you can start increasing your amount of running to 90 to 100 km (55 to 60 miles), but avoid going over the 100 km per week limit. Running obscene amounts can lead to running addiction and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - causing you to lose friends and alienate family members with your addiction. (Running addicts are known to avoid going to the funerals of loved ones because they'd rather be running, go running when on vacation when they should be relaxing, avoid friends/family, etc.)

5. Eat a low-fat, high carb diet. Carbohydrates are the fuel you will need to push through a marathon and for all training runs leading up to it. Make pasta and baked potatoes a staple in your diet. Keep your diet low-fat, but not no fat; focus on good fats, like those found in poultry and fish, are necessary for storing extra energy during your runs.

6. Drink lots of fluids. Carry a nalgene or similar water bottle and try to drink at least one, if not two throughout your day. During runs, stay hydrated by bringing a smaller water bottle. Don't overdo it though: drinking an excess of water will make you feel sick and can lead to cramps, dizziness, and nausea.

7. Incorporate other exercise into your routine. Some weight lifting—particularly with a concentration on the lower body—will help build up muscular endurance for races. Yoga is also extremely helpful to runners in that it helps stretch muscles and develops flexibility, but also is a time for meditation and stress relief.

8. Think you can. Mental preparation is key for helping push through when you hit the wall towards the end of a race. Learn to think positive and visualize success (especially completing a race) in the months leading up to the big event.

9. Develop a regimented sleep schedule. Sleep is necessary for stress relief, body repair, and for your general health and well-being. Be sure to get at least 8 hours every night. Tailor your sleeping patterns leading up to a race to match the hours you will be getting up for a race and going to bed before it. If you are suffering from insomnia it might be because you are running too much (or too close to bedtime). Change your routine so you run in the morning and avoid exercising 4 hours before your bedtime. During weekends or days off try to get naps too to speed up healing process.

10. Find a partner. Some people like running as a solitary endeavor, but most find the most success when running with a partner. You'll be able to push each other and support each other, particularly when the going gets tough. Don't expect to talk that much while running, if you are capable of talking when you should be breathing heavily then you really aren't pushing yourself that hard.

11. Taper leading up to the race. Don't push yourself harder than you ever have before or during a marathon. Instead, taper off how much running you do leading up to a race so your muscles have plenty of time to recover and are at full strength on marathon day. During the race remember that you might not finish the race due to exhaustion - it happens and its nothing to be ashamed of. You will do better next time.

12. Enjoy the experience. Don't get so caught up in how others are doing or get down on any lackluster runs to forget that running marathons is a truly enjoyable activity. During the marathon, take the time to take it all in—the scenery, the crowds, and especially your successes. Make memories that will last long after you cross the finish line.

Maximum Results + Minimum Time

A lot of people in North America really only exercise for one reason: To Lose Weight.

But they don't want to work hard to do it. Exercise? That sounds too much like work. It is that kind of pessimistic and lazy attitude that causes people to become paralyzed by "I'll do it later."  It is therefore no surprise that America has an obesity epidemic when you considered a combined lifestyle of bad diet and lack of exercise. Also to blame is all the nutritional / exercise misinformation being pushed at them by the food industry and even people in the exercise industry who really just want to sell you something.

Well to be fair, I am selling something too. Personal Training. But I am also a strong believer in giving away free information so that people can go the Do-It-Yourself route.

One of the things people are always looking for is ways to maximize their weight loss... but they want to do it in the minimum amount of time required.

This to me is the typical male approach to getting a task done. If you give a guy three boxes and tell him to carry them upstairs one at a time he will look at you funny, stack all three boxes together and then try to carry them up the stairs all at once. Its not lazy, its male logic. "I can carry all three at once and therefore accomplish the task in one shot."

Part of it might be male ego and testosterone, that is for psychiatrists to decide, but the analogy is good.

So how do we apply this to exercise?

#1. You want to maximize calorie loss per minute.

This means you're going to have to compare exercises and pick one that burns a lot of calories in a hurry. The obvious choice is running because that burns the most calories more than any other exercise, but depending on your goals you might also choose weight lifting, a specific sport, skipping rope, jumping jacks or even yoga.

#2. At the same time you want to be able to keep up the activity for the stated length of time.

So for example if your plan is to only exercise for 15 to 30 minutes per day then you ideally want to be burning a lot of calories during that time period and not stopping to rest. So you want to pick an activity that you're certain you can do. eg. Jogging for 30 minutes.

#3. You want to push your limits in order to maximize results.

One way to do this is via Interval Training. So to take the example of running and jogging you could do the following:

Sprint 1 minute, jog for 2 minutes. Repeat 10 times. Total time 30 minutes.

And if you're still not tired after the 30 minutes, sprint for an additional amount of time until you're ready to quit.

The same method can also be used for weight lifting and mixed cardio.

30 lb bicep curls 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Pushups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Chin-ups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
25 lb bicep curls 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Pushups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
Chin-ups 2 minutes, jumping jacks for 2 minutes.
 20 lb bicep curls 3 minutes, jumping jacks for 3 minutes.

Total time 30 minutes.

#4. The Fun Factor.

Running and weightlifting can be pretty boring however. That is why it is important to mix it up with music and other things to make them more interesting. Try and pick music that makes you feel invigorated.  Eye of the Tiger, Super Trouper, Hungry like the Wolf, TV theme songs... whatever gets your heart and mind racing.

If that still isn't enough fun for you my recommendation is to take up a sport every day for 30 minutes (or longer). If its truly fun you will lose track of time and want to do it every day. (This is why I got into archery and boxing in the first place. They're sports I never get bored of.)

If you can find an activity you enjoy that you can do every day for 30 minutes and it doesn't feel like a chore or work, awesome. Then all you have to do is push yourself to your limits in an effort to maximize your results / calorie loss.

Eventually you will hopefully lose track of time and your worries over "minimizing time and effort" will disappear.

#5. Variety.

Always try new things.

If the only things you are doing is running or weightlifting, your body will stagnate. You will reach a plateau where you can't cross an endurance barrier. To get around that you need to try new things and use muscles you aren't used to using. Yoga is good for this, but you can find many other activities which can activate those rarely used muscles. Once you do so you will be able to push your "maximum" to new heights by awakening muscles you never knew you had.

The Benefits of Running Outdoors

If running outdoors is good enough for horses, cheetahs and other animals what makes us think the gym treadmill is so much better?

Because of air conditioning?

Pff!

Get off the treadmill and get outside, and discover the hidden benefits of running and jogging outside!

#1. Fresh Air and Sunshine is a Natural Painkiller

Its true. Fresh air and Vitamin D from the sun acts as a natural painkiller, causing you feel less pain while running and jogging and allowing you to run harder and faster by naturally boosting your endurance.

#2. Varied Terrain

Running on different terrain is great for hitting muscles in different ways. Even better if you live near a beach and can run across sand and/or the boardwalk. Pound the pavement, grass, sand, wooden boardwalk and a hilly ravine and you will discover the differences it takes to go across uneven ground and different surfaces. Going uphill works the quads, sand sprints focuses on the hamstrings and sticking to the grass is easier on the overall impact of the run. This makes running outside better for toning and firming your leg muscles.

#3. More Jumping

You never jump while on a treadmill. Its more of a lazy stride that is regulated by the size of the treadmill itself and your fear of kicking the treadmill. Outside you can run and jump and you jump without even realizing it in the process of running. Jumping exercises the legs more like weightlifting and provides a better - deeper muscle - workout.

#4. It's More Progressive

Running on the treadmill installs somewhat of a psychological barrier. Seeing how fast you are running in a way, limits how fast you will run because it creates a fear factor. Most people won't run certain higher speeds on the treadmill because seeing that speed is intimidating, and they are a little afraid of falling off. And its so loud, the sound of your feet stomping on the treadmill constantly that it becomes bothersome. Running really fast outside in a park or on the beach doesn't make you feel like you're overdoing it, and a light jog doesn't feel like wussing out! And you certainly don't notice the noise so much either.

#5. Nobody Watching You

There are a lot of creepy guys at the gym sometimes and if you are a woman this can really decrease your comfort level. You half expect them to follow you home from the gym and peep at you, becoming all Crazy Joe Davola stalker like. Outdoors the only people who might notice you and be tempted to follow you is people who can actually keep up with you, which will be be comparatively few if you're fleet on your feet. And chasing a female jogger down the street is a sure way to get yourself noticed and arrested.

#6. Most Athletes Train Outdoors

And the reason is because they know the benefits of running and jogging outdoors. Given the option they train outside all the time, sometimes even in the wet and cold. Some sports, like Olympic wrestling, don't really work that well outdoors, but other sports like shot-put which could be done indoors is still practiced outdoors.

#7. It's Refreshing

Nothing is nicer than a run on a warm and sunny day. It's refreshing and revitalizing in ways that words cannot accurately articulate. Even better, a nice long run on a weekend morning, and you have already completed a workout, and ready to enjoy the day.

The treadmill really comes in handy when you want to run at 5am, or immediately jump to the weights before or after at the gym. Running outside is more challenging, better for firming and offers much more interesting scenery. If you run exclusively on the treadmill, try getting out once a week. It will be a change of pace that you may find easy to get used to!

5 Minute Sit Ups + 10 Minute Jog

If you spend 5 minutes every day doing vigorous sit ups you will burn approx. 48 to 60 calories per day depending on your weight.

If your weight is 160 lbs, 48 calories.

If your weight is 180 lbs, 54 calories.

If your weight is 200 lbs, 60 calories.

The interesting thing is that if you do this every day for a month those calories add up. Anywhere from 1440 to 1800 calories.

When you consider that there is 3500 calories in 1 lb. of body fat it makes you realize what a little 5 minute exercise can do over a period of a year. That 5 minutes over 365 days adds up to 5 to 6 lbs.

Now imagine instead of 5 minutes you did something else... like jog a mile every day for a year.

Jogging a Mile = 105 calories if you weigh 160 lbs.

118 calories if you weigh 180 lbs.

131 calories if you weight 200 lbs.

The end result is jogging a mile daily burns 11 to 14 lbs of fat per year. A mile isn't really that far either. The average person can jog a mile in 10 minutes easily.

NOW IMAGINE DOING BOTH! Do sit ups for 5 minutes then go for a 10 minute jog every day. That will burn 16 to 20 lbs of fat per year. Combined with a balanced diet and you will have a body that many people would envy.

See Also
Yoga
Get Great Abs
Lose Weight by Working
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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