Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Running in Toronto

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Running, Uncategorized
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There's a running oval here somewhere...

There’s a running oval here somewhere…

After months of not being able to run and being stuck at home doing HIIT, the day has finally come! The skies have been cruel for the past months and it is established that this is the worst winter (and longest) in North America. As Spring season is nearing and clocks have been adjusted for Spring Forward, the weather finally rose above freezing point again this weekend. Snow and ice began melting and the sun shines brighter than ever. Today the weather measured a high of +8 degrees Celsius and low of -3. It’s been the “hottest” since I have landed in Toronto! I was able to try running just a couple of weeks ago when the weather rose to +5 degrees C, but I didn’t last long. Coming from a tropical country, I’m used to wearing comfy shorts while running and feeling the warm and fuzzy headwind. I was not acclimatized enough with the cold freezing weather that dried my throat. The altitude is another thing that I have to get used to. In any case, I gave it another shot today and it was good!
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Running around the neighbourhood.

“B” for Billy, or for ‘Burrows Blvd.’


 
I wasn’t aiming for any time or distance — I just wanted to move and run! Also, I’m still not familiar with the terrain and the possible routes I can take. I didn’t intend to “write” the first letter of my name with the route I took today – it just happened while I was trying to look for good running routes!

The last time I tried running, I felt how hard the pavements are near our house so today I tried different routes and pavements. Most parts of the sidewalk are still wet from the melting snow banks but it was good indication that there are no more black ice to keep away from.
I used the Endomondo app on my Blackberry to record my run and it’s slightly inaccurate, especially on that part where it looks like I ran on the snow field!
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What a nice day out! #FirstTime

What a nice day out! #FirstTime

It was a good winter run over all, based on Cool Runnings standard. Also, considering that there will be another snow storm tomorrow, I’m so glad I did run today. According to the news, “winter storm warnings are in effect across southern Ontario from Kingston to Cornwall, with up to 25 centimetres [of snow] predicted in some areas.”

Winter just won’t say goodbye.

Basketball, anyone?

Basketball, anyone?

SHOP

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If you are an office worker who is dedicated to running but your low back pain from long hours of sitting keeps you from achieving more, then read ahead!

How do you run with pain?

You don’t have to!

The sacroiliac joints – the bones that connect the lowest tip of your spine (sacrum) to your hip bones (iliac) – are considered a source of most lower back pain when your hip becomes compressed, or if there is asymmetry or misalignment of the hips which leads to joint dysfunction and subsequent pain. Compression of the pelvis occurs when seated for a long time, and rotation of the hips occurs in both cycling and running, and combining these two factors can be the cause of low back pain. An especially significant correlation can be seen between low back pain and lack of internal hip rotation mobility.

The development of asymmetry in the hips and improper muscle lengths in the hip rotator muscles can be caused by frequently assumed postures, like sitting for long periods or time or being bent over on a bicycle for hours in the saddle.

This was important to know, and a key to the secret of eliminating the low back pain.

The book “Run With No Pain” is the official, easy and practical step-by-step exercise routine for eliminating low back pain in athletes and includes over 30 exercise videos that teach you exactly how to implement each section of the program.

If you’ve been going to Physiotherapist or a Chiropractor for your pain, then this eBook is definitely much cheaper!

Download it from amazon to your kindle or iPad for only $7.66!

strength training

SHOP

If you’re training for a Triathlon, Marathon, or any endurance event for that matter, what should you eat to fuel your training?
 

 

Your diet can make or break your goals. The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes by Ben Greenfield shows the committed Triathlete which are the best low-carbohydrate food to eat. Remember that what you eat while you train is just as important as how you’re training. Training for a triathlon will push your body to the max, so you have to make sure that your body gets enough energy to sustain your training until race day while maintaining your target weight.

Ben Greenfield summed it up this way:

In a nutshell, pun intended, as you begin to increase carbohydrate consumption above the levels that you need for survival or periods of intense physical activity, you lose your ability to rely on fat burning mechanisms, and you experience the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, including neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinnopathy (eye damage), increased cardiovascular disease risk, potential for cancer progression (tumor cells feed on sugar) and bacterial or fungal infection.

So if the dangers of a low carb diet that I talked about didn’t deter you, and you’re bent on banning bread, take heart. There is a way to do a The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes
low carbohydrate diet the right way. Here are 10 ways to eat a low carbohydrate diet while avoiding common mistakes.

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1. Time Carbohydrates Wisely.

This one is a biggie, so we’ll start with it. One of the main reasons for eating a low carbohydrate diet is because your blood sugar levels stay far more stabilized. But there is a time that you can consume carbohydrate without causing your blood sugar levels to go on a roller coaster ride – and that time is immediately before, during, or after exercise.

So if you are on a low carbohydrate diet, I highly recommend carbohydrate intake for exercise sessions that are 1) intense; 2) involve weight training; 3) are longer than 2 hours in duration.

Although many folks use this as an excuse to eat more carbs than they should there is certainly truth to the fact that “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate” – meaning if you are constantly carb depleted due to zero calories of glucose intake, you can shut down your body’s natural fat burning capabilities. So if you’re planning on exercising, try get at least 500-600 calories of carbohydrate per day, and eat them before, during or after your exercise session if you want them to not affect your blood sugars levels in a potentially damaging way.

2. Take Into Consideration Your Body Fat Levels.

If you’re fat, you’re going to have more fat to burn. Look down at your waistline. Do you have layers of fat that you can grab? A beer belly? Muffin-tops? All of that is fat that can be mobilized if you are on a low carbohydrate diet. But if your body fat is under 7-8% as a male, or in the low teens as a female, then it is highly likely that you’re going to struggle with a consistently low carbohydrate intake – specifically during exercise sessions.

So if I have a client who is 30% body fat, I have no issues with that client staring at the ceiling awake at night craving carbohydrates as their body mobilizes fat tissue for energy, and I generally continue to advise them to watch their carb intake. But if that person is 6% body fat, it is far more likely that they’re going to need that extra fat for insulation or essential fat stores, in which case it might be a good idea to go slam a bowl of rice.

SHOP3. Don’t Eat Processed Crap.

I mentioned this in my last article that typical “low carbohydrate” meal replacement bars and shakes, ice creams or ice cream sandwiches, and other low carb or sugar-free snacks often contain potentially unhealthy ingredients like maltitol, and are chock full of preservatives and highly processed ingredients. If your low carbohydrate diet involves boxed, wrapped and packaged food, it probably falls into this category.

Get this through your head – whether a food is low carbohydrate or not, if it is something you see advertised on TV, magazines, or newspapers you probably shouldn’t eat it. If it’s something you can easily recognize and identify where it grew and how it go to your plate, it probably is OK to eat.

This means that avocados are cool. Guacamole from your grocery store that has (and this is a popular brand):

Skim Milk, Soybean Oil, Tomatoes, Water, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut Oil, Safflower and/or Corn Oil), Eggs, Distilled Vinegar, Avocado Pulp, Onions, Salt, Nonfat Dry Milk, Egg Yolks, Lactic Acid, Sugar, Whey, Sodium Caseinate, Mono and Diglycerides, Gelatin, Soy Protein Isolate, Xanthan Gum, Corn Starch, Guar Gum, Mustard Flour, Black Pepper, Red Chili Pepper, Potassium Sorbate and Sodium Benzoate (Added to Retard Spoilage), Coriander, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Cellulose Gel, Cellulose Gum, Locust Bean Gum, Disodium Phosphate, Cilantro, Gum Arabic, Extractives of Garlic and Black Pepper, Paprika Oil, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Calcium Chloride, Citric Acid, Dextrose, Artificial Color (FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6).

is not cool. This is just one example, but I think it gives you a pretty good idea of what I’m getting at. Eat real food – not processed crap.

4. Inject Carbohydrate Loading Days.

This is another biggie. Long term carbohydrate deprivation leads to a complete depletion of your body’s storage glycogen levels, depression of your immune system, decrease in metabolic function, and a host of other issues that you may be able to put up with if you’re content to lie around on the couch, but that you’re guaranteed to get completely destroyed by if you’re planning on regular physical activity or competition like Crossfit, triathlon or marathon.

LowCarbDietTriath2502

Fortunately, there’s an easy fix, and this is a big part of my new book “Low Carbohydrate Guide For Triathletes”: simply inject strategic carbohydrate re-feeding days into your exercise routine, either the day before your biggest workout day of the week or the day of your biggest workout of your week. On this day, you double or triple your normal carbohydrate intake, and eat at or slightly above your total calorie needs.

The disadvantage of doing this the day before your biggest workout of the week is that you’re often resting on that day, and being sedentary while eating a ton of carbohydrates is not that great for your blood sugar levels. The disadvantage of doing it the day of your biggest workout of the week is that sometimes you’re too busy exercising to eat much, but this is only really an issue for someone like an Ironman triathlete.

5. Use Supplements Wisely.

When you begin a low carbohydrate diet, you’re guaranteed to experience intense carbohydrate cravings. There are supplements that can help curb cravings, including chromium and vanadium (such as in Thermofactor), gymnema sylvestre (but you gotta take about 4000+ mg per day of it, which means you’d really want a physician’s brand version), L-tryptophan or amino acids (if the issue is a serotonin deficiency) and even foods like those I demonstrate in my video: 5 Ways To Suppress Your Appetite Without Taking Pills or Capsules.

For exercise sessions, I actually recently tried out wasp larvae extract (VESPA), which is supposedly able to increase your ability to utilize free fatty acids as a fuel during exercise. I took two packets of it, and was able to go about 4 hours on 1 gel. The disadvantage was that I was never able to go “above threshold”, or into my carbohydrate burning heart rate zone, so I’m not convinced I’d use it in a race, but it could certainly come in handy if you’re trying to get by on a low carbohydrate diet and also do long exercise sessions.

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6. Be In It For The Long Haul.

When you first start a low carbohydrate diet, your weight will plummet as your body sheds storage glycogen and all the water that the storage carbohydrate sucks up like a sponge. So if your goal is weight loss, life is good for the first couple weeks as you shed anywhere from 3-20 pounds, depending on your starting weight.

And then the weight loss stops. In most cases, this is the point where people throw up their hands in despair, convinced that the plan isn’t working, quit the low carbohydrate diet, and go in search of a pastry shop.

But if you stick with a low carbohydrate diet, the weight loss will gradually and consistently continue, especially if you include strategically implemented days where you allow your body’s storage carbohydrate levels to be re-filled.

7. Be Ready For Discomfort

During the first 7-14 days that you go low carb, you’re going to find that your energy levels plummet, you get grumpy, you feel lethargic, and your body simply does not move or perform the way you’d like it to. This is because you are burning fatty acids (ketones) as a fuel.

So a strict low carbohydrate diet can be uncomfortable, and you need to be mentally prepared for that. Implementing the carbohydrate craving tips I gave earlier will help, but ultimately, you will find that you feel the same way as a marathoner does when they “bonk”, which is what happens during a run when your body runs out of storage carbohydrate and needs to begin burning fat as a fuel. This is also called “hitting the wall”.

If the discomfort does not subside, then I recommend you A) identify nutritional deficiencies and get tested for fatty acids and also for amino acids, and also make sure you’re incorporating carbohydrate re-feed days if you’re an physically active person.

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8. Stay Hydrated.

Not only will adequate water help to reduce the carbohydrate cravings you may experience early in the diet, but A) water is also essential for beta-oxidation, which is how your body burns fat as a fuel and B) you’re going to lose a significant amount of storage water as your body sheds carbohydrate stores, so you’ll need more as a dietary source.

I personally drink and recommend ample amounts of soda water, unsweetened Kombucha, water with effervescent electrolytes dissolved in it, water with deltaE and just plain water. What I don’t drink is anything with added artificial sweeteners or sugars. So check your nutrition labels if you’re drinking fluid from packages or bottles, but stay hydrated when you’re on a diet like this.

9. Get Your Fiber.

When you switch to a low carbohydrate diet, the drop in fruit, vegetables, legume and grain consumption can significantly decrease fiber intake and result in inadequate phytonutrient, antioxidant, vitamin C and potassium intake. There is absolutely no reason that you can’t eat liberal amounts of dark leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables on a low-carbohydrate diet. Just be careful with your total daily intake and timing of starchy vegetables or tubers, such as beets, sweet potatoes or taro.

10. Don’t Judge.

This may seem a bit preachy, but I feel compelled to point out the fact that there are a multitude of successful vegan or vegeterian endurance athletes, including ultra-runner Scott Jureky, pro triathlete and ultra-runner Brendan Brazier, pro triathlete Hilary Biscay, US Master’s Running Champion Tim Van Orden, and top ultraman finisher Rich Roll.

Since most vegan and vegetarian diets are definitely not low carbohydrate, this demonstrates that you can succeed without eating a low carbohydrate diet. However, the low carbohydrate or ketogenic approach can be especially successful for fat loss, for learning to burn fats more efficiently and even for reducing risk of, or managing, chronic diseases such as diabetes or cancer.

 

Download THE LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET FOR TRIATHLETES and other eBooks by Ben Greenfield:

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Endurance Training Nutrition: Top 20 Fueling Myths Exposed
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The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes
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Weight Training for Triathlon: The Ultimate Guide
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SHOP

SHOP

Just this Wednesday, the B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) announced that backpacks will no longer be allowed in the upcoming Boston Marathon. This is a safety measure in response to the tragic bombing during the marathon last year which killed three and injured 264 others.

The B.A.A. will instead provide clear plastic bags for official participants for storage of their equipment about half a mile from the finish line.

Jacqueline Benson

Last year on April 21, a couple of bombs placed in back packs exploded near the finish area.

The announcement regarding the ‘no bags policy‘ for the 2014 Boston Marathon was issued early so that participants could plan beforehand and make several adjustments. Apart from this policy, a security screening will also be done on the event so participants should be early.

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The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest yearly race and is one of the world’s best known events. Last year, over 23,000 runners participated in the event. However, the race was halted due to the explosions and prevented many others (around 5,000 more runners) from finishing.

Hopefully, this ‘no bag policy’ will add to the security measures already being done for the safety of the participants and spectators.

The Boston Marathon for 2014 will be held on April 21.
 

Read more from the B.A.A.

 

 

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Watch Ben Greenfield answer that question:

 

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I recommend Ben Greenfield, author of Author of the popular “Beyond Training” book. He is currently the founder and owner of Human Wellness Solutions, a company that develops innovative and cutting-edge fitness and nutrition services and solutions to help people reach their physical and mental performance goals, whether that be to cross the finish line of an Ironman triathlon, or simply shed a few pounds.

Voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and recognized as the top 100 Most Influential People in Health, Ben Greenfield is a fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert, and has authored multiple books and DVDs

Voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and recognized as the top 100 Most Influential People in Health, Ben Greenfield is a fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert, and has authored multiple books and DVDs

    From 2006-2009, Ben was Director of Sports Performance and managed the physiology and biomechanics laboratory at Champions Sports Medicine in Spokane, WA, offering metabolic-based weight loss, bicycle fitting, running gait analysis, swim stroke analysis, VO2 max testing, blood lactate testing, resting metabolic rate analysis, and other cutting-edge procedures for weight loss and performance. He is now a full time coach, trainer, nutritionist and author.

     Ben also owns the Rock Star Triathlete Academy, the internet’s top school for learning the sport of triathlon and how to be a better triathlete, the Superhuman Coach Network, a mastermind and mentorship program for personal trainers and health experts, and Endurance Planet, the world’s leading resource for endurance sports entertainment and podcasts. He was voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year, by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, an internationally recognized and respected certifying agency.

 

His credentials include:

-Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology

-Personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

-Sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)

-Advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta, the “Harvard” of bicycle fitting schools

-Over 9 years experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports

 

 

 

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Holistic Fueling For Ironman Triathletes

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This post is adapted from Matt Fitzgerald‘s article. He’s the author of RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel (VeloPress, 2010) and an expert training content developer for PEAR Sports. Learn more at mattfitzgerald.org
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There’s a reason Olympic runners have coaches—the same reason you may need one.

   Meb Kelfezighi has a coach. So does Desiree Davila. So do Kara Goucher, Shalane Flanagan and Dathan Ritzenhein. Almost all of the American runners who went to the London Olympics last summer work with coaches.

     Self-coached age-group runners might wonder why. After all, running is not a team sport where a coach is needed to decide who starts and who comes off the bench, who plays which position, and so forth. Nor is running a highly technical sport like swimming, where coaches are needed to observe and correct form flaws. Indeed, one of the virtues of running as a sport is its simplicity. Within a few years of taking it up any runner can acquire all of the knowledge he requires to coach himself.

If you ask America’s Olympic runners directly why they have coaches, most of them will not cite their lack of knowledge of the sport. These runners know perfectly well how to train. They seek other things from their coaches. Kara Goucher has said that she relies on her coaches to help build her confidence and to take the burden of planning and interpreting her training off her shoulders. Many elite athletes rely on coaches to keep them from doing stupid things, like responding to symptoms of overtraining by training harder.

Another advantage of working with a coach is accountability. This advantage snuck up on me when, in my late thirties, I chose to work with a coach for the first time since high school. My conscious reason for hiring a coach was that I had run out of ideas on how to improve and I wanted someone to give me fresh ideas. That’s another benefit of working with a coach. And, sure enough, my coach had me try some new things with my training that worked well. This was expected. What was unexpected was the sense of heightened accountability that I felt. I never saw myself as an athlete who cut corners, but when I had a coach to report back to I suddenly found myself not cutting corners that I had cut unconsciously before.

 

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As a coach myself, I may be biased, but I believe that every runner can benefit from working with a good coach. Any one of the above-mentioned benefits—confidence building, stress
alleviation, stupid mistake avoidance, accountability,
and fresh ideas—could make the partnership worthwhile. And the knowledge component should not be underestimated. For lack of knowledge most runners, and even most competitive runners, make fundamental mistakes in their training such as not varying the intensity of their workouts sufficiently.

Once you’ve made the decision to work with a coach you must then find one. The first step in this process is deciding if you’d rather work face to face with a coach in your area of work through the internet and/or by phone with a coach who could be anywhere.

The advantages of working face to face with a local coach are obvious. You certainly won’t do every run with your coach present, but he or she can directly supervise some of your most important workouts. You may also enjoy the opportunity to do track workouts and such with a group of other runners working under the same coach. A coach who sees you run can do things that a remote coach cannot, such as correct your form and observe that you look tired and need a rest.

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One of the advantages of opening up the map in your coaching search is that you can be very choosy. If you insist on working with a coach who has experience with national champions—well, there may not be such a coach available in
your area.

To summarize, I think you should have a coach. Few runners regret the decision to hire a coach, and it’s a small risk in any case. If it doesn’t work out you can go back to talking yourself out of making stupid mistakes with your training.

 

A New Way to Get a Coach.

      Technology has recently made possible a new type of coach – with the endless possibilities of the internet today, you can sign up for coaching online! For runners, I recommend Ben Greenfield, author of Author of the popular “Beyond Training” book. He is currently the founder and owner of Human Wellness Solutions, a company that develops innovative and cutting-edge fitness and nutrition services and solutions to help people reach their physical and mental performance goals, whether that be to cross the finish line of an Ironman triathlon, or simply shed a few pounds.

Voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and recognized as the top 100 Most Influential People in Health, Ben Greenfield is a fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert, and has authored multiple books and DVDs

Voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) and recognized as the top 100 Most Influential People in Health, Ben Greenfield is a fitness, triathlon, and nutrition expert, and has authored multiple books and DVDs

    From 2006-2009, Ben was Director of Sports Performance and managed the physiology and biomechanics laboratory at Champions Sports Medicine in Spokane, WA, offering metabolic-based weight loss, bicycle fitting, running gait analysis, swim stroke analysis, VO2 max testing, blood lactate testing, resting metabolic rate analysis, and other cutting-edge procedures for weight loss and performance. He is now a full time coach, trainer, nutritionist and author.

     Ben also owns the Rock Star Triathlete Academy, the internet’s top school for learning the sport of triathlon and how to be a better triathlete, the Superhuman Coach Network, a mastermind and mentorship program for personal trainers and health experts, and Endurance Planet, the world’s leading resource for endurance sports entertainment and podcasts. He was voted in 2008 as the Personal Trainer of the Year, by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, an internationally recognized and respected certifying agency.

His credentials include:

-Bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology

-Personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

-Sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN)

-Advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta, the “Harvard” of bicycle fitting schools

-Over 9 years experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports

 

Download these books by Ben Greenfield:

$1.10
Endurance Training Nutrition: Top 20 Fueling Myths Exposed
Buy now

$7.66
Run With No Pain
Buy now

$10.97
The Low Carbohydrate Diet For Triathletes
Buy now

$9.99
Weight Training for Triathlon: The Ultimate Guide
Buy now

 

The advantage of this online coaching and training course is that you can have access to the products of one of the best athlete and coach there is at any time you want! Ben Greenfield offers lots of advice, lessons, and training plans from the Triathlon Dominator, to  Running pain free, and strength training. Another great advantage of having an Online Coach is that it costs less compared to when you get a personal coach. When you get an Online Coach, you only pay for a one-time investment for the program you choose, whereas having a personal coach requires you to pay him/her for every session!
 

These programs are proven to work and you can see the many testimonials available for each program. The only setback to having an online coach is that YOU have to push yourself and motivate yourself to be dedicated, consistent, and patient with the program.

Remember that this is not some advertisement that you usually see on the internet claiming instant results – it’s a TRAINING COURSE based on proven exercise programs backed up by sports science. The instructions, demo videos, and even one-on-one online coaching are available with a click from your hands. Like any other training regimen, the results are based on how committed you are to training! The guarantee for each program to work depends on how you guarantee your commitment to it and your passion for running.

Don’t get it if you think you won’t be able to follow consistently and be patient with the results. But if you are passionate with your sport and you really want to commit to train to achieve more, then get coached by one of the best triathletes today – it’s worth the investment!

Ben Greenfield offers numerous eBooks and training courses, and if you are the committed athlete who is wiling to invest time and resources in the best training plan there is, the Ironman Dominator Package is for you:

Triathlon Dominator Package
 

 

**********

 

 

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After 2 months and 10 days of migrating to the land affected by the recent Polar Vortex I was finally able to run! Coming from a tropical country, I see snow only from the movies before. Snow seemed to be just as pure as it is white – silent, gentle, and calming. No one ever told me about the wind chill that comes with it or the slippery black ice. A week after I arrived, there was a snowstorm that affected most parts of Toronto. Another week after that, an ice storm came that caused massive blackouts which lasted for weeks. What a welcome for me!

Today was different. For the past weeks the temperature has always been 2-digits below freezing, but for the next five days starting today, it will finally go up above zero! According to weather forecasts, it will snow for the next two days – snow during positive temperature is not good, so I decided to finally face the cold and try out running.

It's better to look up to the skies and see how it's a nice day to run, than look down at the snow on the ground!

It’s better to look up to the skies and see how it’s a nice day to run, than look down at the snow on the ground!

It wasn’t my best run but I learned that running in the cold (i.e., way below tropical temperatures) is not as difficult as long as you are warmly but comfortably clothed.

Here are some tips on running out in the cold:

  • Make sure you are clothed properly.
First, wear something that keeps your sweat from your skin (nylon/drifit) while keeping you warm. I wore arm warmers as well.

First, wear something that keeps your sweat from your skin (nylon/drifit) while keeping you warm. I wore arm warmers as well.

Wear a comfortable but sufficiently warm sweater.

Your second layer should be a comfortable but sufficiently warm sweater.

Lastly, wear  a warm light weight jacket to make sure you won't freeze after a few laps!

Lastly, wear a warm light weight jacket to make sure you won’t freeze after a few laps!

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Wear additional accessories such as gloves and ear muffs to keep other parts of your body from frostbite.

Wear additional accessories such as gloves and ear muffs to keep other parts of your body from frostbite.

You definitely would like to keep yourself warm by wearing appropriate clothing, but try not to wear too much that it hinders movement.

  • Wear appropriate shoes. Slipping and sliding on the ice while you run is a big concern. However, you wouldn’t want to run using your boots! Make sure that you’re wearing appropriate running shoes. Good news for me that my Asics did well today, I didn’t slip!

  • Try to map out your route . Run on familiar places where you know the roads are properly shoveled and maintained. You can wear snow spikes for your shoes as well if you can’t stay away from icy roads.

    It seems like it was already plowed, but there's still lots of ice and salt on this sidewalk.

    It seems like it was already plowed, but there’s still lots of  snow, ice and salt on this sidewalk.

My shoes and feet loved this clean roundabout!

My shoes and feet loved this clean roundabout!

Deep snow hides the pavement.

Deep snow hides the pavement.

Be careful of slush or ice.

Be careful of slush or ice.

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Watch out for falling snow or even icicles. Also, remember that some branches could easily fall because of the additional weight of the snow they have been carrying.
Big icicles!

Big icicles!

A large branch had already fallen off.

A large branch had already fallen off.

  • Last and most important of all, stay away from Spider Squirrels (or any wild animals)!

Running in the cold is not as difficult as long as you are careful enough and you are sufficiently warm when you run. Always avoid ice and stay aware of your environment. Warm up properly before you run. Another important thing is to remember to keep yourself hydrated! Even in the snow, a cold drink is still better absorbed by the body for hydration. But for now, I prefer a hot drink after my first snow run.

Hot coffee for my "recovery drink." Don't do this at home! :p

Hot coffee for my “recovery drink.” Don’t do this at home! :p

Keep warm and enjoy your run!

 

 

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This article is featured at Onefitstop.au and Ezine.com
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     Many new runners want to improve their speed and strength by doing lots of additional exercises and sometimes even investing on expensive equipment. Doing these things is not bad – if the exercises are done correctly or if the equipment fits the runner, it may show good results. But great improvements in speed can be achieved by doing one simple step: refining your running form. Not only you can run more efficiently, but more importantly you’ll be less at risk of injuries.

Here are some tips to improve your form :

1. Look straight ahead

      Imagine you’re trying to catch someone or something that is moving 10 to 20 feet ahead of you. If you need to check your feet, make sure you don’t keep your head down for a long time. Looking ahead would straighten your spine and keep your neck from tensing up. Also, you can see what’s coming and keep yourself from bumping into something!

2. Shoulders down

      This doesn’t mean slouching your shoulders, but think about ‘pulling your shoulders away from your ears.’ Keep your shoulder blades to neutral, not too tensed or not too slouched down. This helps your arm swing and trunk rotation when you run.


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3. Hands to your pockets

      Don’t put them inside your pockets, but when you swing your arms keep them to the level where your pockets are or where your hands might slightly brush your hip. Keep your elbow at a 90 degree angle and point your hands forward. Remember that you want to move forward so you should swing your arms forward as well, not bringing your hands in front of your chest to keep your trunk from twisting too much.

4. Hold an egg

      You can observe that a lot of runners tend to clench their fists. This small movement causes tightness around the arms and even tension on the neck and shoulders. Imagine holding eggs with each of your hands – you don’t want to break them so gently cup your hands and relax.


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5. Land comfortably

      I once went to a department store in the Philippines to look for a pair of shoes. One salesman ambushed me with his trivia to convince me to buy his shoes. He said that runners should ALWAYS land on their midfoot. I disagree with this notion because runners have significant individual differences from one another. Most runners would be comfortable landing on their midfoot but if you have a high arc, it’s a different story. Also in terms of technique, if you want to sprint then you’re better off landing on your toes. Some people will be more comfortable landing on their heels and then rolling their foot, as long as they have enough heel cushioning. What’s more important is your ‘stride length’ – you wouldn’t want your leg to be way ahead of you unless you are sprinting. Your feet should land directly underneath your body and as your foot strikes the ground, your knee should be slightly bent naturally upon impact.

Land your feet directly under your body.

Land your feet directly under your body.

If you’re just starting to run, try to run naturally and slow first while checking out these 5 simple tips on how to improve your form.

SHOP
As Featured On EzineArticles
 

Also check out ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running

A groundbreaking program that teaches you how to run faster and farther with less effort, and prevent and heal injuries, for runners of any age or fitness level.
In ChiRunning , Danny and Katherine Dreyer, well-known walking and running coaches, provide powerful insight that transforms running from a high-injury sport to a body-friendly, injury-free fitness phenomenon. ChiRunning employs the deep power reserves in the core muscles, an approach found in disciplines such as yoga, Pilates, and T’ai Chi.

ChiRunning enables you to develop a personalized exercise program by blending running with the powerful mind-body principles of T’ai Chi:

    1. Get aligned. Develop great posture and reduce your potential for injury while running, and make knee pain and shin splints a thing of the past.
    2. Engage your core. Shift the workload from your leg muscles to your core muscles, for efficiency and speed.
    3. Add relaxation to your running. Learn to focus your mind and relax your body to increase speed and distance.
    4. Make it a Mindful Practice. Maintain high performance and make running a mindful, enjoyable life-long practice.
    5. It’s easy to learn. Transform your running with the 10-step ChiRunning training program.

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Here’s my write-up for Milo R2 APEX Running School’s Fb page about Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training:

=====================================================================================================
 

This week, we will focus on Speed, Agility, and Quickness Training (SAQ Training), which would allow the runners to improve their ability to accelerate and decelerate while dynamically stabilizing the whole body during fast-paced movements in all planes of motion. SAQ Training also can help the nervous system to respond more efficiently and enhance muscular recruitment (be able to use more/smaller muscle fibers) and coordination when done with correct mechanics.

*SPEED is basically any movement in one intended distance covered divided by time (ie, forward speed).

*AGILITY refers to quick changing of movement direction or speed.

*QUICKNESS is the ability to react to a stimulus and properly change the motion of the body.

Here are some quick intro points on what to expect with the workouts:

    *SPEED is a product of stride rate (number of strides over time or distance) and stride length (distance covered in one stride). We’ll be doing exercises to improve your stride rate and stride length by working not just on muscular strength and flexibility, but most importantly on neuromuscular efficiency. Some aspects of speed may be dependent on genetic factors (like long legs, etc), but keep in mind that Speed is a skill that can be learned through proper drills and mechanics.
    *Improving AGILITY involves the mindfulness of the runner to maintain his/her center of gravity over the base of support while changing directions at various speed. Training for agility enhances neuromuscular coordination, dynamic (or “moving“) flexibility, dynamic postural control, functional core strength, and proprioception. This helps prevent injury as the body learns to control the sudden forces it encounters while running, and it improves the structural integrity of connective tissues.
    *QUICKNESS, or simply “Reaction Time” is the ability to respond and switch the position of the body while moving with power, in all planes of motion and from all body positions. It is also important to be able to assess visual, auditory, or kinesthetic stimuli and provide the appropriate physical response as fast as possible (ie, avoiding a car while running).
    *Precise technique is important for SAQ training so really be mindful of your body and how it moves while executing the drills. Feel which muscles work to stabilize your body and how you keep your center of gravity.

Maximize each drill/exercise by doing the drill at a slow pace first to get your body accustomed to the movement. Gradually inrease your pace for every set. When you feel that you are able to maintain your center of gravity and your limbs (especially your legs) move naturally with the movement, try to do the drill at the fastest pace that you can. SAQ Training will surely improve your running economy so give each drill all that you’ve got and recover well with Milo R2!

Enjoy the workout!

 

 

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Become a TRX Trainer

Plyometrics is a type of training that was first introduced to elite Olympic athletes (first to the Soviets during the Cold War, by Dr.Yuri Verkhoshansky, 1964) but we now know that amateur athletes, adolescents, and even children can benefit from a properly designed and supervised Plyometrics program.

Plyometrics is also known as “jump training” and “reactive training.” The main purpose is to increase muscular power and explosiveness for more efficient performance.
To maximize this type of training, here are some points to help you understand Plyometrics:

  •  It is also known as “Reactive training” as this allows the athlete to react to the ground surface with greater speed of movement. The term ‘reactive’ specifically refers to the quick response of the muscles to the stretch reflex applied prior to the explosive movement.
  • Plyometrics training affects the excitability, sensitivity, and reactivity of the neuromuscular system and increases the rate of force production (power), motor unit recruitment, firing frequency, and motor unit synchronization. Before starting Plyometrics training, the athlete must have achieved an overall strength base, significant core strength, flexibility, and balance stabilization capabilities. These basic requirements would minimize risk of injury while performing the explosive movements of Plyometrics exercises.
  •  In this type of exercise, the Type IIb muscle fibers (or the Fast Glycolytic fibers) are targeted, which are characterized by high force/power/speed production but with low endurance.
    • Plyometrics training consists of three phases: 1) The Loading phase (Nerd term: Eccentric phase), 2) The Transition phase (Amortization phase), 3) The Unloading phase (Concentric phase)
    • The Loading phase is also known as the “cocking” or counter-movement phase. Imagine how an athlete does a squat prior to jumping high. This is gives the muscles a ‘pre-stretch’ which stores potential energy in the elastic components of the muscle, like when you stretch a rubber band.

  •  The Transition phase is obviously the time between the end of the Loading and the start of the Unloading phase. This transition is a very short delay between eccentric and concentric contraction during which the muscle switches from stretching to exerting the force to the desired direction. Timing is crucial during this phase as a prolonged amortization results in less than optimal neuromuscular efficiency. A rapid transition phase leads to a more powerful response.
  •  The Unloading phase involves a powerful concentric contraction (shortening of the muscle) that occurs right after the Transition phase. Imagine the power from a rubber band that is released after it was stretched.
  • Plyometricsis different from “Maximum Power Output Training” where the resistance is forcefully lifted at a given speed. Remember that to make a movement Plyometric, there has to be a ‘reaction effect’ – the muscle sort of rebounds to the next movement to create the stretch-reflex response.
  • Focus on being “light” with your muscles: if you’re doing leg exercises, keep your feet light, refraining from double jumps. Same thing with upper body exercises, quickly explode to the next reps.

An eBook you can download from Amazon combines the latest Plyometrics techniques, helping you increase your workout speed and power, and fortify your muscles against injury with each at-home workout. detailed introduction to the science of Plyometrics and powerful workouts in 8 chapters. You’ll train your muscles to move forward and contract faster with long jumps, tuck jumps, and box jumps. You’ll get your body into athletic response mode with vertical lateral, and barrier jumps that will help you perform better on the court and field. You’ll also increase your upper body and core strength with targeted pushups and twists, and use weights to strengthen your lower back, hamstrings, and butt. Bonus tips throughout mimic a personal trainer, guiding you through each workout with expert precision.

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