Category Archives: Archive of FREE Articles

When to Replace Your Running Shoes

OldShoesSMQ (from the email bag): I have a question about shoes. I bought my current pair in early January.  I’ve worn them for all my marathon training, putting on about 450 miles. On my last long run, my legs felt achy; they did not feel right.

My marathon is in 4 weeks. Should I get a new pair to race in? Should I consider going with a racing flat? I have run marathons in flats before and am wondering if it would be worth it in this race. There is a weight difference for sure.

Thanks

Ann

A:   Good questions.  Surprisingly, there is no consensus as how many miles you can safely run in a pair of shoes.

How To Defeat Negative Self-Talk

WalkingAwayRunning and racing long distances can be as much a mental challenge as a physical one. Here’s how to effectively manage these counterproductive thoughts.

At critical junctures of a tough workout or race, many runners experience negative self-defeating thoughts.  They begin to doubt themselves, telling themselves that the endeavour is too difficult. They compare themselves to other runners who look fitter or are running faster.  They begin to question if they will achieve their goal.  Their self-confidence becomes eroded.  Effectively managing these counterproductive thoughts is as critical to your success in running as is proper physical preparation.

In our coaching experience, we’ve witnessed runners that consistently race well are those whose mental game is in order.  Conversely, runners that continually fall short of reaching their racing goals usually haven’t yet developed an effective strategy to defeat negative self-talk.

What’s Running Through Your Mind?

human brain with arms and legs running, 3d illustration

By Dr. Kate F. Hays, Ph.D., C.Psych., CC-AASP

Jane, a woman in her late 30s and an experienced runner, wants to qualify to run the Boston Marathon. In order to do that, she needs to complete an upcoming marathon three minutes faster than she’s ever done. Her coach may offer some physical training tips, but as a sport psychologist, what would you suggest?

This question was posed during a recent sport psychology tele-consultation group meeting, and we all chimed in with some ideas. Jane, as I’m calling her, has been thinking about the mental elements of her race. She knows that her physical training has been thorough. According to her training program and the charts, she should be able to manage her goal time.

The #1 Best Workout for Distance Runners?

RunningonTrackSmallAre intervals more beneficial to distance runners than other workouts, such as steady state runs or tempos?

(Intervals consist of short bursts of high intensity runs separated by a recovery period of slow jogs.  Tempos are run at a “comfortably hard” pace, about 85% of max heart rate or an 8 out of 10 on the perceived exertion scale. Steady state runs are run slightly slower than tempo runs).

An article written by Alex Hutchinson in the March/April 2011 issue of Canadian Running reported on a Danish study that attempted to answer this question.

The study consisted of two groups that ran three times weekly.  The interval group ran 5 x 2 minute sprints (5 repeats of 2 minute sprints) at 95% max heart rate. The second group completed hour long steady state runs at 80% max. After 12 weeks, the group running intervals had increased aerobic fitness by 14%, whereas the steady state group increased theirs by 7%.

The Keys to Running Injury-Free

ButtPainPreventing injury is critical to consistently running your best; maximizing the physical, psychological and social benefits you derive from running.

Yet, studies show that on average, 63% of women runners get injured every year. That’s almost two-thirds that are forced to miss training due to injury!

What does science-based research conclude you must do to join the injury-free minority?

What to Eat Before Your Run

EatingBeforeRun“What should I eat before running?” is a question that I’m frequently asked.

While looking through the “email bag”, I came across a query from a reader:

“I usually run 7-10 km (4-6 miles) early in the morning.  Do you have a recommendation on what to eat before I run?” Heather.

Thank you for writing in, Heather.

For runs up to an hour in duration: Assuming you do not have diabetes, a blood sugar problem or any other related medical condition, try running without eating beforehand.  Many runners find that they can comfortably complete early morning runs of this distance without taking in prior food.

How to Stay Energized for Running

stay energized for runningFinding time to stay energized for running can be very challenging for busy women.

Jane has a very hectic work schedule and often finds herself training when her energy level is at a low point.

Jane: Like many women, I have a crazy, busy job.  I commute at 6:30 AM every day and get home around 5:30 or 6:00.  I have two challenges:

  1. Fuelling for evening workouts – I don’t have time when I get home to eat before I workout/train.  I have lunch around noon which is normally a salad with salmon and an apple.  It is a challenge some days to eat a snack given the meetings I attend.  I often am doing my workouts hungry.  Any suggestions?
  2. Energy – at almost 48 years old and with a busy life – any suggestions on keeping up the energy levels?

Dehydration Myths for Runners

WaterBottlesmConventional wisdom among runners is that dehydration is to be avoided at all costs.   After all, doesn’t dehydration cause overheating? Doesn’t dehydration often result in heat distress? Doesn’t dehydration severely impair performance? Aren’t runners who collapse near or at the end of a race severely dehydrated and should be treated with rapid hydration?

Most of the running community will answer these questions with a resounding “yes”.  This all seems very logical and commonsense……….but it is not true!

Over 40 and Stealing the Show

WomanRacingsmMasters runners (runners over the age of 40) are fastest growing demographic in running. An article written by Gretchen Reynolds (that appeared in December 21st, 2011 New York Times Well Blog) quotes French research that studied New York City Marathon finishers.  Dr. Romuald Lepers, one of the authors: “The percent of finishers younger than 40 years significantly decreased, while the percent of master runners significantly increased for both males and females.”

Even more impressive – the French study also found that in recent years, the average finishing time of the fastest men runners age 60+ decreased by 7%; older women’s times dropped a  whopping 16%!!

On a related note, research has great news for older runners who aim to improve their running and racing!

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