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What is the Best Charity to Donate to??

what is the best charity to donate to

We all want to do our bit to improve the world. It’s human nature to see the suffering around us and want to help. But whether you set up a monthly standing order to a charity or decide to do a sponsored run, you need to choose a charity organisation to support. Continue reading What is the Best Charity to Donate to??

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Born to Run for Charity- Matt and the 10k Challenge for Cancer Research UK

run for charity

There are those of us who think about running for charity, others who run for charity. And their are a certain few who were born to run for charity. Sounds a bit dramatic? Hey, this is a blog post, gotta make it  interesting!:-) Today’s featured charity runner is Continue reading Born to Run for Charity- Matt and the 10k Challenge for Cancer Research UK

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Golden couple show how to help your community and lose weight by running

There’s plenty of stuff on the internet promising the holy grail of losing weight super quick. Some of it may work, and a lot of it probably doesn’t. Lose weight by running, lose weight by dieting, lose weight with pills, lose weight by doing nothing. Continue reading Golden couple show how to help your community and lose weight by running

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Running for The Smile Train Charity

smile train charity

Amy Nakai’s Running for the smile train charity. And we’re going to show you how you can (and should) help out too. This the second of our charity runners. Yet another dose of pure inspiration as Amy is someone who has gone from a seriously non-runner to an ultra-marathoner in 4 short years.  Continue reading Running for The Smile Train Charity

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Running for Cake (and running for charity)

Every single day hundreds of thousands of people take in the simple joy that is running. Some of these folks take it a step further and decide to use their time on the road (or the trail) to help others. Continue reading Running for Cake (and running for charity)

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How to Improve Running Endurance (Without Running More)

Are you a runner? If so, it does not matter whether you are training for a half marathon, 10K, or just a jaunt around the block with the dog. Running requires endurance, even if you are only an occasional jogger or an Ironman wannabe. Moreover, the better your endurance, the fewer injuries you will sustain. It’s been suggested that strength training alternated with running could not only reduce injuries but also help improve running endurance.

Running Injury Prevention

Most people can relate to having a busy schedule. Face it, it happens to all of us. On days like this, you usually have to either squeeze a workout into 10 minutes or skip it altogether. However, this is not really an option. According to expert, Dr. Hickey, skipping even one day is risky. Because even the shortest absence can encourage you to consider other reasons to take more time away from running. This is why many accomplished runners abide by a “No Days Off” policy.

What’s more, plenty of research supports the contention that a productive workout can be achieved in 10 mins. a day. Moreover, there are other reasons why an athlete wanting to achieve maximum performance and longevity should dial back their exercise regimen. Namely, those high volume runners who tend to pull out all the stops and push the envelope incur more injuries than those who are more moderate.

Furthermore, research also indicates that runners are at even greater risk of injury when they average over 5 miles a day and 40 miles per week.

Dr. Hickey has over 25 years of experience in running and coaching. Given this fact, he has developed his own views on training and field-tested various scientific theories on the subject to determine what makes sense. However, it should be noted that different techniques work for some and not for others. It depends on the individual and each runner should figure out what works best to improve running endurance.

Improve Running Endurance

Two points should be kept in mind to achieve maximum results from each workout and reduce the risk of injury.

improve running endurance

First limit your runs to 20 miles a week and always have very specific training goals in mind for each workout. Many workout routines often incorporate easy, low-intensity runs of up to an hour and/or long, conditioning runs exceeding 2 hours to improve cardiovascular fitness. Health experts like Hickey feels the risk of injury. And the added stress on the body far outweighs any benefits. Instead, there are great benefits from focusing on CrossFit methods. Specifically, high-intensity, low duration, interval workouts. Which include racing and time trials. Also high-intensity metabolic conditioning workouts that focus on building endurance and stamina can be very effective.

Crossfit Is Key

Support for CrossFit circuit training dates back to a National Athletic Health Institute survey conducted in the 1970s. Participants in this study experienced a boost of 5 to 6 percent in their endurance levels over a 10-week period without running a single step.

crossfit endurance

Moreover, CrossFit workouts yield bonus effects, such as increased stamina, elasticity, better core strength, and mobility, without the wear-and-tear of joint-jarring runs. For example,  by incorporating bike riding into your training regimen. This enhances the oxidative system similar to a light jog without the impact.

Heavy Weights

When you are really crunched for time, heavy weights can maximize workout results and stimulate natural hormones. Activating adrenaline, human growth hormone (HGH), and testosterone (just to name a few), in the body.

This helps produce increased oxygen concentration, lean muscle, and a host of other biochemical benefits. Kettlebell workouts, in particular, are lauded and various studies have detailed the numerous benefits associated with this form of exercise.

Hopefully this helpful advice inspired by Dr. Hickey has given you a clearer picture of how you can improve running endurance. Even if you already have a packed schedule. Any comments?? Drop them below.

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Picking The Best Summer Running Gear For Men

The summer brings blue skies, fine days and perfect running weather(!?!) get out there! But in reality the warm weather brings a whole range of potential problems- chafing, overheating or even skipping your training all together. This guide to the best summer running gear for men will assist you in making an informed decision. So you can enjoy the warm weather while running in comfort.

summer running gear for men

Choosing the best top

This can get difficult – if you’re running early morning you need some protection from the cold. But if that sun peeks out then you can soon start wilting from the heat. Not to mention if there’s a quick heavy shower of rain. This will soon have you soaked to the bone and feeling chilly.

The answer is Technical Fabric (typically synthetic materials such as nylonpolyester or Lycra). It’s lightweight, high performance fabric designed to move moisture away from the skin (known as wicking).

This helps you control your body heat — even in cold temperatures! It also reduces chafing.

Wool might have you thinking of winter. But running shirts made of merino wool are also lightweight and are actually suitable for running in hot and humid conditions.

it might seem counter intuitive but companies such as Icebreaker and WoolX guarantee their outdoor shirts are non-itch and perfect for heat and humidity. Hitting the image below will give you a few more details.

Jackets

You soon find out that cold weather can turn pretty hot after a few kilometers of running. And there’s nothing worse than being stuck with a jacket that’s too hot and too bulky when you’re 6 kms from home.

The key word when choosing a jacket for running is flexibility.

It needs to block out the wind, but be light and allow your body to ‘breathe’.

Fortunately, there has been massive progress in the technology behind sports jacket design. This means the best jackets have all these rolled into one.

What about the bottom half?

Choosing shorts. If you watch the olympics you’ll see most athletes wearing skimpily small running shorts.

best summer running gear for men

You can go for this more provocative look by all means but a pair of loosely fitting shorts may serve you better.

Again it’s important to for them to have that wicking material to draw moisture away from the inner thigh area. This keeps that oh so painful inner leg chafing to a minimum.

Do I need tights?

This is a common question and some men feel that “tights are for women”. This may be true in day to day life but remember some bad ass characters (like Robin Hood or Batman) sported tights and still kicked butt. And I’m pretty sure Darth Vader had some Lycra going on under his suit.

Joking aside- tights or leggings can work really well in keeping those key leg muscles warm.

As with the running jacket, you need something warm but light. And that wicking fabric is a must.

Sunglasses

Ask anyone who’s anyone and they will tell you: “you must run with sunglasses.”

This isn’t just an attempt at marketing! There are two reasons behind the need for shades when you’re out running. First, extended time spent out in UV and UVA rays can damage your eyes. So, unfortunately, cheap non-UV resistant lenses are no good.

Also important for runners is the fact that bright sunshine causes you to squint. This increases the levels of tension and stress in your body and you tire quicker.

In short, good pair of UV protected sunglasses is a must for summer running.

For the last couple of seasons these Under Armour UA Rival sunglasses have been considered one of the best designs.

How About Hats and Skin Protection?

The bottom lip, tips of the ears and thinning hair on the head tend to be prime cancer areas. So no guide to the best summer running gear for men would be complete without head protection.

Sunblock should be applied to all the above areas (factor 30 or above) and remember to re-apply regularly.

The Best Summer Running Gear for Men: Round up

New advances in fabric technology is making it more and more feasible for a comfortable run, even in the height of summer.

Take care to cover up when needed and keep well hydrated.

If you have any tips to add about what the best summer running gear for men is, drop them below in the comments.

 

 

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How to get into the habit of running- and stay there!

how to get into the habit of running

The idea of running is great. Just step out the door and glide round the block, through the local park, and return home for a relaxing shower. Indeed, once you get into the habit, you’ll experience the effects of what is popularly known as the “runner’s high”. Your brain will start releasing feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endocannabinoids while you are on the move, inspiring you to continue exercising even more. It’s eaaaassssyyyy! But, and this is a really big but, before you can enjoy these benefits, you need to be able to push yourself out the door in the first place. The big question is how to get into the habit of running so you don’t stop after two weeks.

how to get into the habit of running
jogging

How to get into the habit of running: The simple way

Unfortunately, experts say that you cannot rely on sheer willpower. According to some experts, when we leave it up to our willpower to take action, its limited resources are overwhelmed quickly. Your resolve becomes weak during moments of stress and fatigue, and your willpower succumbs to the numerous other things that look more appealing than running. To overcome this quandary, here is a detailed strategy on how to get into the habit of running.

1. PLAN AHEAD

According to Duhigg, habits are made up of unique groups of cues (such as mood, time, place, music, certain people, etc.), a reward (e.g. smoothie, hot shower, massage, chocolate, etc.), and a routine (in this case, running). From this end, you can begin by choosing some cues (such as the best route to take, the most convenient time to run, etc.) and rewards that will motivate you to run. Using these cues and rewards, write down a proper plan and post it somewhere you can see effortlessly.

If you run in the morning, you could preload your iPod with energizing music mix. Then decide on a long, hot, relaxing shower as your reward. Every time you hear the music in the morning, you set off to run as usual. All with the image of a long, soothing, hot shower at the back of your mind. Write down this plan and post it somewhere you can see it. Try adhering to it for one week. If you find yourself giving in to temptations, try using different cues or rewards.

2. BE CONSISTENT

The success of your new running habit will depend on your consistency. Create and maintain a regular routine that automatically signals to your mind and body when it is time to run. This includes choosing a specific time of day for the exercise and sticking to it. Try placing your running clothes beside the bed before going to sleep. Also listen to the same workout music when you go out. According to experts, this is necessary in order to create neural pathways that will eventually turn the exercise into a habit.

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3. REWARD YOURSELF IMMEDIATELY

Prepare instant rewards to enjoy after your run. This could be anything you genuinely love, like a small piece of dark chocolate, a smoothie, or a hot shower. The idea is to help your brain associate the activity with an immediate reward and ultimately make it automatic. And the only way to teach your brain about reward is through experience.

4. ESTABLISH A GOOD SUPPORT SYSTEM

Try and incorporate stimulating activities into your running routine to make things more interesting. You could, for instance, squeeze in some socializing time by meeting up with a few friends during the run. Remember to keep tabs on your progress and fitness improvements by tracking your miles.

This four step system should set you up nicely to keep you running regularly.

If you have any other tips on how to get into the habit of running, just drop them below in the comments.

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Top 7 Running Drills to Meaningfully Improve Your Running

running drills

Want to become a better runner, but can’t squeeze in more training time? The answer is running drills

There’s a whole range of drills that can help improve a runner’s efficiency, form, and speed. 7, in particular, stand out due to their effectiveness. You can find them all below!

Top 7 Running Drills to Meaningfully Improve Your Running

It’s recommended that you perform drills in a field, sidewalk, road, or any other unobstructed space. Of course, if you are suffering from an injury, it is best to wait before undertaking one of them. After consulting a physician of course.

1. Straight-Leg Bounds

This drill is often considered to be one of the most difficult to conduct. But definitely not impossible if you are dedicated and practice. This top drill effectively activates glutes more than any other drill. On top of this, it can also improve coordination.

2. Carioca

If you want to increase hip flexibility in order to improve your movement when you run on the track, this drill should be your go-to option. (Just like straight-leg bounds, carioca is also able to improve your coordination.)

3. Butt-Kicks (first variation)

Superb hip flexor strength is extremely important if you want to be a first class runner; butt-kicks can aid you to strengthen this area, as well as reinforce midfoot landing. This drill, in particular, has been noted to be easier to conduct than carioca.

4. B-Skip

For hamstring flexibility, B-skip is a must do! Besides promoting flexibility in this area, it also improves coordination. At the moment, the B-skip can often be seen being undertaken by numerous college students across the country, as it provides results in a short period of time when one is consistent.

5. A-Skip

Easier to conduct than the B-skip, the A-skip is able to improve coordination, as well reinforce midfoot landing and high cadence. You are basically killing three major birds with one stone when you opt to undergo this drill, making it a great one for a beginner.

6. High Knees

This option has the same benefits as the A-skip drill: improvement of coordination, high cadence, and reinforcement of midfoot landing. The only difference is the movement that you are going to conduct in order to obtain these benefits. It is up to you to choose the one that best suits your preferences.

7. Butt-kicks (second variation)

Out of all the running drills mentioned, this drill is considered to be the easiest one, hence being the first option that a beginner should opt for. This running for beginners drill is able to reinforce high cadence and improve quadriceps and hip flexor flexibility.

Best Running Drills Order

These running drills for speed can take you from being an ‘okay’ runner to being a ‘professional’ runner in a short period of time. It’s up to you to take them into account every day. Remember that the order for most workouts is dynamic warm-up, easy running, drills, strides, workout (e.g. repetitions), easy running, and then strength work.

Time Is Everything for Runners!

If you are a beginner, work yourself up little by little. Begin with butt-kicks (second variation) and then proceed to undertake high knees, a-skip, b-skip, butt-kicks (first variation), carioca, and then go for the most difficult one of them all—straight-leg bounds.

Of course, only undertake it when you feel that you are 100% prepared to do so. You should perform 2 or 3 sets of these drills every day. Also don’t opt for more than 3 to 4 drills in one go. This could cost you valuable time, and as you know, time is everything for runners!