The Stitch

Description:
We’ve all had this one, a sudden sharp pain in the side of the upper abdomen at the base of the ribs. A side stitch typically happens when you’re really pushing yourself and fades quickly when you slow down or stop. The stitch is particularly common for new runners still adjusting to the rigors of running.

Likely causes:
The pain is caused by a spasm of the diaphragm, the muscle that controls your breathing. There are a number of possible reasons for this. If your breathing isn’t controlled and disciplined, the diaphragm may be complaining. If you are running too soon after eating, your heavy stomach may literally be tugging at the ligaments connected to the diaphragm. Or you may simply be running too fast for your body’s breathing machinery to keep up.

Remedy:
A stitch will usually go away quickly after just slowing down or stopping. If you’re in a race or you just don’t want to stop, however, you can often make it go away by bringing your breathing into careful control. Concentrate on belly breathing, pushing your belly out when you breathe in and relaxing it as you breathe out. Take deep breaths on the intake, and exhale suddenly, even noisily. To get the diaphragm to contract in rhythm with your steps, try to inhale and exhale as you land on your left foot. Strange but true, this can help prevent spasms by encouraging the diaphragm to bounce along in sync with your stride.

If the pain is just too much and you have to stop, try bending over and raising your knee on the stitch side while pressing your fingers deep into the painful area and tightening your stomach muscles. Or just walk while belly breathing.

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How Running Helps Your Body

Cardiovascular exercise:

Running is a very good cardiovascular aerobic exercise. When a person runs, you  strengthening the muscles involved in respiration, which helps facilitate the flow of air in and out of the lungs. It also helps improving circulation efficiency and reduce blood pressure.

Regular running helps keep one’s stamina up, and gives you more time before you get that “out of breath” feeling.

Most running watches are equipped with logs for a history of your training to help the individual keep track of workouts.  It checks whether you were truly able to improve your running strength and endurance by checking how fast or how long you were able to maintain a certain pace.

Strengthens leg and foot muscles:

Aside from being out of breath, one of the reasons that people are not able to “go the distance” is  because of the pain in their weak leg muscles. When a person lives an inactive lifestyle, these muscles weaken and are unable to endure moving long distances.

On the other hand, a person who runs regularly would be able to strengthen these muscles making them more capable of enduring longer distances.

Individuals will notice this improvement more today because of  running GPS watch’s  that could accurately track the distances that you have traveled during each training session.

Increases speed and reflexes:

Running regularly would help you increase your speed reflex times. This is because you are able to make your muscles move more efficiently and in a pre-programmed manner due to the continuous training or running movements that you do while running.

You would be able to see a drop in your lap or split times because your muscles in your entire body have now become stronger and more capable to push your pace.

Individuals are able to track this improvement because of  running watch’s capability to track your time accurately up to the hundredths of a second.

Now that you see the benefits of doing running training regularly, what are you waiting for? P{ut your sneakers on, strap on a running watch and get on the road, oval, or athletics track and begin your running training now!  Your body will thank you in the future.

Born To Run-Kenyan

I have had the chance to meet some of the Kenyan runners in the Philadelphia area.  Some told us by Kenyan standards they where a “slow runner” but then would run the race and easily win the race.  One year I ran a 5k race in North Wales , PA.  At the water stop was a new runner to the United States running scene named Cathrine Nderiba. She was cheering on all the runners and giving  out water.  A few years later she won Boston for the second time. Watching this video will make you think about how hard they work to get out of poverty. The hard work in why Kenya is a power house in long distance running.

Running watches, GPS watches, Heart rate monitor and more

Running watches, GPS watches, Heart rate monitor and more.

If you want to train smarter try using a heart rate monitor or a GPS running watch.    Most people have a GPS for the car why not for your runs.  This site has articles to help you train smarter like how to use heart rate monitors and GPS running watches to get the most out of your training. Check it out it will help any runner from the novice to the elite level.

Do Race Winners Train Harder?

The best runners understand that the athlete who wins a race often is not the one who trains the hardest but the one who trains the smartest.  Nothing will decrease your training, fitness or conditioning like an injury especially one that may have been prevented in the first place.  Competitive runners know the fastest way to get to peak performance is not running yourself into the ground and possibly to an injury but the runner who listens to their body.

Runners stress their bodies to the limit.  Speed workouts, increased mileage, and racing add stress to the body.  Recovery is critical.  Recovery allows your body to perform to it’s  fullest potential.  Runners often become to focused on the training and improving one’s times that they ignore warning signs which could result in an injury.

One way to prevent over training is to use a heart rate monitor while you are running.  Heart rate monitors help the individual workout within the individuals target heart rate zone.  The heart rate monitor can be set to beep if you are above (to fast) or below (to slow) your target heart rate zone.  By monitoring your heart rate you get instant feed back  of how hard or easy you are running.  Most runners don’t have a problem running hard, more importantly heart rate monitors let you know if you are actually running easy on your easy days.  You can fool yourself during a run that the pace feels slow but if you have a heart rate monitor on your heart will not be fooled.  A hear rate monitor will help the individual adjust the pace for various terrains and weather conditions.  If you are running up a hill or into a strong wind your heart will have to work harder and the monitor will let you know instantly if you are going to hard resulting in the runner slowing.

Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If something is hurting pay attention to it, find out why, and change what is making it hurt. Rest if necessary, but if the pain doesn’t fade, don’t forget a visit to the doctor’s office if necessary.

Top Three Features For Your Running Watch

If you are shopping around for a good running watch, there are a few criteria that should be considered as essential.

Before you buy any running watch, you should stop to think about yourself as a runner.  Are you a casual runner who just likes to get outside in the fresh air every once in a while and run a few laps around the park?  Or are you a serious, advanced runner who runs every day, rain or shine, possibly even training to run in a marathon?

The type of runner you are should determine the type of running watch you need.   A basic running watch will suffice for the casual runner, while a serious runner needs a running watch with more advanced features.

Whichever type of runner you may be, here are the top 3 things to consider when you are buying a running watch:

1. Does the watch have a countdown timer?

Even if you are just a casual, occasional runner now, you might eventually kick it up a notch and start taking your running more seriously.  In that event, you will want to know your time.   A countdown timer on a running watch will count down from a certain value until it reaches zero.  You might want to keep up with your time as a casual runner, as well, to see if you can beat your own time after a set period.   For example, you might want to record your times every time you run a particular route for a month, to see if your speed has improved at the end of that period.

2. Does the watch have a clear display?

The last thing you want when you are out running is a watch with an inferior display!  You need to be sure and buy a watch with large enough numbers that you can easily see them at arm’s length while running.   Also, make sure that the stop watch display is adequate.  You want something easy to see and read while you are running, so that you can keep up with your time.

3. Does the watch have lap storage capabilities?

You want to be able to store each record of your sessions, so that you can track your progress as time goes on.  So, look for a running watch that will store the data of each session: speed, distance, time.

Before buying a running watch, make sure it comes with those three features! Then explore the roads with your new watch.

Top ten Ways To Avoid Running Injuries

Top Ten Ways To Avoid Running Injuries:

1) Pay attention to your body.

Don’t ignore what your body is telling you. If something is hurting pay attention to it, find out why, and change what is making it hurt. Rest if necessary, but if the pain doesn’t fade, don’t forget a visit to the doctor’s office if necessary.

2) Avoid the terrible “too’s”.

Don’t do too much, too soon, too often, too fast, too hard, with too little rest.

3) Don’t change things that are working.

Don’t look for the latest and greatest running shoe or even training method. Don’t switch from slow and steady to suddenly doing an all interval workout because someone says you will lose weight quicker and with only 20 minutes of “cardio”. Shoes may be cautiously changed and training should be gradually and sensibly changed. Of course slow and steady is not the only way to train, and for most runners it will not be.

4) Increase training slowly.

The 10% rule for most people is the maximum increase per week, not the minimum. Every third week drop your mileage significantly before moving ahead again from the previous week. The recovery week will allow your body to repair while having a “relative” rest week.

5) Wear running shoes (sport specific shoes) and change them frequently

Don’t run in tennis or cross trainer shoes. Some people like to alternate pairs of shoes to retain their shock absorbing capabilities. But whatever you do, make certain to replace your running shoes every 350 – 450 miles of running. If you run over 30 miles per week, and perhaps even less, make sure you use your shoes exclusively for running, so that you do not waste them with walking miles. The walking is admittedly easier on the shoe than running, but still creates wear and tear.

6) Eat healthy: Not too much, not too little, and a bit less junk

Don’t forget to eat enough healthy foods. Make certain to have adequate calcium and healthy fats (such as the omega fats found in certain fish and fish oil capsules). Don’t forget vegetables and protein sources. Check the origin of your food, particularly check farmed fish which may come from countries which have significant issues of safety with their food supply. (In actuality there are some problems, although different problems with farmed fish from all countries and certain safety issues with fish at sea.) Make sure you don’t cut your caloric level too drastically while dieting. You need fuel to exercise.

7) Strength train two to three days per week.

Musculoskeletal fitness is one of the pillars of fitness. Strength training can be helpful for a variety of reasons. Core strengthening helps many people. And improving lean body weight by increasing muscle helps dieting indirectly and is good for your overall health. If you are a serious, competitive, long distance runner be extremely careful with lower extremity weights, and make sure to stop several weeks before a race. Carefully observe how your training sessions go, and make sure they are not slowing you down, or that fatigue from your strength training sessions are not limiting your long runs. It is probably best to do them before a rest day or an easy day. On days where you may be doing both running and strength training, run first, if you are primarily a runner.

8) Warm up gently before running, Stretch gently when finished

Stretching is not a warm up. It is a flexibility exercise. Evidence is mixed on whether it helps avoid injury, but studies of stretching before running do not show any benefit. Stretching works better after you are warmed up. Run easy for your first 10 minutes of running. Take short steps, move slowly, let your body gradually warm up and adapt to the stresses you are about to place on it. There are many changes that your body will be making to make your running go smoothly, efficiently and easily. Give it a chance to get prepared. If you are doing speed work, this 10 minutes will not be enough. You’ll need a longer and more complex warm up.

9) Use a Carb/Protein mix after long runs and after hard runs or workouts.

This can be a chocolate milk shake or a protein powder mix.

10) Enjoy your runs and workouts.

This should ultimately be fun time, and something you look forward to. Find new paths if you need them, use old favorites if you prefer. Find something to enjoy on each run. Even the accomplishment of getting through a run on an extreme weather day (cold, rainy, not a code orange day) can feel great.