What should I eat before I run?

what should I eat before I run?What should I eat before I run? It’s an important question to answer. What and when you eat before a run can make a huge difference in how you feel during the run.

Too much of the wrong thing, too soon before the run, can make you feel sick; while too little of anything can leave you with low energy. Either scenario makes completing the run more challenging than it needs to be.

It’s a lot of trial and error. And it’s very personal. Continue reading “What should I eat before I run?”

Running In the Dark

running in the darkAhhh, fall weather is upon us. Some might say it’s the perfect running weather.

But the days are shorter.

If you’re an early morning runner, that means it’s still dark when your feet hit the pavement. And if you’re an evening runner, the sun may have set before you even get off of work. No matter what time of day, depending on where you run, the dark can be, well, a little scary.

Here are some tips to help you feel safe when running in the dark. Continue reading “Running In the Dark”

The ABC’s of Foam Rolling

abc's of foam rollingThe foam roller has been touted by runners as both friend and foe. And they seem harmless enough. Some of them resemble a short, fat swimming pool noodle, while others look a bit more ominous.

But what does it do? When and how should it be used?

Continue reading “The ABC’s of Foam Rolling”

How To Breathe While Running

how to breathe while running I’ve never really worried about how to breathe while running. I mean, come on – it’s breathing. It’s a natural process. Sure, it becomes more pronounced while running, but I never thought about whether I was doing it right.

That is, until this summer.

Continue reading “How To Breathe While Running”

Two Exercises To Help Prevent Injury

two exercises to help prevent injuryIf you’ve ever had a running injury, you may have wondered how (besides not running!) you could have prevented the injury. The answer often lies in strengthening and stretching; specifically targeting glutes and hips. (Say it with me…glutes and hips…glutes and hips…)

Coach Lauren Evans shared these two targeted exercises that take only a few moments, but can go a long way in preventing injury.

Continue reading “Two Exercises To Help Prevent Injury”

Three Reasons Runners Should Do Planks

When it comes to core workouts, most people think about crunches. But Coach Scott Young says that instead of crunches, runners should do planks.

When we think about core workouts, we usually think about crunches. But Coach Scott Young says that instead of crunches, runners should do planks.

We do crunches all day, especially if we sit at a desk, says Coach Scott. “When you sit up from a chair, you’re doing crunches, and that’s why people get back problems because (only the front) muscles get a workout.

The plank works the “entire wraparound area” – all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominus, the external oblique muscle, and the glutes.

Here are three reasons planks are better than crunches for runners:

Continue reading “Three Reasons Runners Should Do Planks”

Tips for Trail Running

tips for trail running I have to admit, as a relatively new runner, the idea of running trails made me a bit nervous.

Throughout my life – during the teen years, especially – I tended to twist/sprain my ankle easily. My mom always said I inherited “weak ankles” from my dad. (Is there even such a thing as “weak ankles”? ) Anyway, the potential for sprain or worse freaks me out on the trail. I always envision myself rolling my ankle on a rock or on uneven terrain.

But, say the experts, I’m worrying a bit more than necessary.  “Your body does an amazing job anticipating and making corrections,” said running coach Lauren Evans, owner of Fizio in Reno, NV.

Tina Vindum, founder of Outdoorfitness.com, agrees. “Your brain is recording,” she said. “Trust yourself.”

Kinesthetic Awareness

As a matter of fact, it’s a neurological process, and there’s a name for it. Proprioception. Simply put, it’s the body’s sense of self. Proprioception is guided by receptors  (skin, muscles, joints) that connect with the brain through the nervous system so that even without sight, you know what your body is doing.

Here’s a simple demonstration. Close your eyes, then try to touch the tip of your finger to the tip of your nose.  No problem, right?  That same kinesthetic awareness helps you in trail running.

Focus Forward, Not Downward

Both Evans and Vindum suggest keeping your focus 10 to 15 feet ahead of you.  “Don’t look down (at your feet) because…your head’s 8 to 10 pounds and that’s going to mess up your center of gravity,” Evans said. Vindum added, “You can’t run a trail with your neck craned down looking at your feet, you’re going to hurt yourself.

“Your brain records upcoming terrain,” Vindum continued. “It’s like driving down the freeway, you’re not staring at your hood ornament. Look up and see what’s coming.”

Running Downhill and Uphill

When running downhill, the natural tendency is to lean back and use your heels as brakes.. Evans and Vindum both warn against this, as your feet can easily slide from underneath you. They both suggest leaning forward when running downhill. “What I say is I want your nose over your knees, and your knees over your toes,” said Vindum. Keeping your hands in your peripheral helps you keep balance and also helps you slow down, said Evans.

When running uphill, you want to take “short steps, and keep your cadence up high,” said Evans. If it’s a very steep hill, though, it may be better to walk. “Step out, put your hands on your knees and give yourself a little boost. It really helps”.

Happily, these tips have given me a bit more confidence in trail running. I’m looking forward to exploring my “backyard” this summer.

What trails do you like to run? What tips can you share for running trails? Please share your comments.