Running Drills

As I mentioned, the primary reasons for using these movements is to help athletes correct some of the many technical errors that occur when they are running at high intensities. The reasons that these errors occur are due to several factors. Most often, it is simply due to the fact that athletes have never been instructed on the right ways to move when they run, or what they should be thinking about as they sprint. This is usually because their coaches don’t really have any idea what to tell them. Another reason is due to lack of coordination.

Running fast requires the coordination of many muscles working simultaneously. Lack of coordination causes the brain to do more work to keep athletes from losing their balance, so it has to slow the body down to compensate. Other reasons are lack of physical strength in the legs and weak cores (abs, hips, lower back).

My point in saying all of this is that in order to learn how to do speed training drills correctly, athletes and the coaches who teach them must be able to see these drills done the right way. Descriptions of drills (and even still photos) are a poor representation of the specific ranges of motion that athletes must learn to do as a part of a complete speed training program. The reason they need to learn these drills in the first place is because they don’t do them right or have running styles that limit their ability to accelerate, maintain top speeds and generally perform to the best of their abilities.

So if you attempt to teach or learn the drills that address these issues by reading about how to do them instead of watching them on video, you are doomed to make errors in your comprehension. In short, you won’t get a full understanding of the techniques and then you will simply reinforce an entirely new set of bad habits that must be broken again in order to achieve the results that bring you to this site today. In fact, I have never seen anyone properly teach themselves or others how to do a useful speed training drill by reading about it.

On top of that, you have to make sure that the speed training drills that you are learning are actually going to reinforce proper mechanics. Some popular drills teach athletes the wrong ideas. For example, high knees and butt kicks are age old exercises that teach athletes to continue to run at less than their full potential. Why?

High knees teach athlete to drive their knees up and let the ankle come out from underneath the hips when running. To run faster, athletes must drive the foot down into the ground with the foot landing underneath the hips. Butt kicks teach athletes to bend at the knee when running as if they were doing a hamstring curl.

Yet, the leg never operates in this way when running even though it may look like it. This is why you should never have athletes do hamstring curls in the weight room. It is a waste of time and effort.

Overview of Slacklining

There are a few different styles of slacklining that include tricklining, slackline yoga, highlining, rodeo slacklining, waterlining and windlining. Each brings about its own set of new challenges.

Tricklining is a very popular style of slacklining that usually done low to the ground. Trickliners showcase an impressive array of technical flips and tricks. The tricks range in difficulty. Some of the more simple tricks include walking forward and backward, turning around, dropping to a knee and jumping onto the line from the ground. The more advanced tricks include jumping, surfing, back and chest bouncing, flips and spins.

Slackline yoga is when you do yoga poses on a slackline. This type of slacklining is usually performed on a one-inch line with low tension. Slacklining with little tension makes the line a lot more sensitive to each movement made. Low tension on a line is a great challenge by itself. So doing yoga poses on said line takes a great deal of concentration and skill.

Highlining is when the slackline is elevated high above a surface. Highlines are usually set up between two rocks that have a big drop. Most highliners use a safety harness or leash to keep the sport as safe as possible. However, pros like Andy Lewis and Dean Potter have been known to walk highlines without a leash. That increases the risk but makes the completion that much more impressive.

Rodeo slacklining is when the ends of the slackline are placed high with no tension. This causes the slackline to hang down like a “U” shape. Rodeo slacklining allows the opportunity to use the slackline as a swing. It is also a great style to surf the line because of the amount of back and forth movement.

Waterlining is when the slackline is set above water including lakes, rivers and pools. The reflection of the surface of the water can be a distraction making it more difficult to keep focus. Waterlines can be set up ranging high above the surface of the water to just below the surface. Waterlining can be very useful to practice tricks on.

Windlining is when the slackline is set up in very windy conditions. Even a slight wind will cause the slackline to ripple and/or shake. The windier it is the harder it becomes to maintain balance. This makes windlining a great challenge.

Hopefully this brief overview gave a bit of insight to the wonderful sport of slacklining. It is both challenging and fun no matter the style. Such a unique sport has only room to grow. So be apart of the growth today and go have some fun!

Deadly Sins of Running

Decreases the size of your heart

Small muscles use less energy and are more efficient. Consider the difference in energy consumption between a 50cc scooter and a huge V8 4×4 truck. Our heart is a muscle just like the rest of our muscles, if you force the heart to keep running for long periods of time it will naturally shrink to use less energy and become more efficient. Remember that energy is a valuable commodity and the body wants to retain as much as possible.

Causes injury through repetitive movements

When you run 2.5-3 times your bodyweight is transmitted through your joints. Now imagine this type of force being repeated over and over again for long periods of time, eventually your weakest joint will give out. Usually the ankles or the knees are the first to go. Many runners then opt for some kind of support or brace which only exacerbates the problem by moving it on to the next weakest joint whist keeping the old injury still weak.

Slows down your metabolism

The more muscle tone you can maintain, generally the higher your metabolism. Muscle is highly metabolically active and requires constant energy to survive, so the more muscle tone you have the more calories you will be burning at rest. Long distance running will often deplete your energy stores and then start breaking down your muscle tissue to use as energy. If you want some serious muscle wastage and to reduce your metabolic rate then keep running.

Produces more body fat

Fat is one of our body’s favourite sources of energy. The more you run the more your body prepares itself for your next run. You will actually start to hold on to more fat so you can run for longer next time.

Boring and time consuming

Some people run for fun, but lets face it most of us run to get in shape and lose that excess belly fat. The truth is running is very time consuming and there are better ways to get great results in a lot lot less time.

Cardiac distress and heart attacks

Evolving from our hunter gatherer days we had no real necessity to run long distances, in fact the only running we ever did was in short bursts to avoid predators or to catch food. Our body simply isn’t designed to run long distances and the stresses you put your heart under during this time can set you up for a heart attack. It’s a fact that many long distance runners do die of heart attacks.

Fat burning slows right down

The body is an amazing machine and will adapt to anything over time. The more time you spend running the better you become at running and the more efficient you get at using less energy. So what starts off as a great calorie burner quite quickly becomes almost useless at burning excess calories. Ultimately runners then have to run further and further to get the same calorie expenditure that they achieved when they first started.

Ironman Triathlon Training

The Ironman Triathlon is the most challenging of all triathlons. Triathlons come in different lengths. Sprint triathlons are on the one end of the spectrum (short) and the Ironman is on the other end (long). How much swimming you do in the triathlon depends on which one:

  • Sprint or Olympic – triathletes swim ½ mile
  • International – triathletes swim .93 miles
  • Long – triathletes swim 1.2 miles
  • Ironman or Ultra – triathletes swim 2.4 mile

Triathletes used to swim last in an Ironman but due to safety reasons, it is now the first event. The idea here is that you’d be better off passing out from exhaustion on asphalt than you would be out in the big blue ocean.

Open-Water Swimming Different than Pool

Swimmers find the open-water in a Triathlon very different from being in a pool. It’s as different as riding a bike in a gym is from cycling out on a wooded trail. Or, take your own experience with the treadmill. Running inside is different from running outside.

While most of us have played in the surf at beach, we may not have tried to competitively swim in a straight line to a distance, compensating for the current and watching out for other swimmers. Most triathlons won’t have shores where swimmers can just dive in. You’ll need to run in to the point where you can swim. Some swimmers find their experience overwhelming to the point where they lose their focus and become disoriented.

Training in your pool is a vital part of training for your Ironman. Just don’t leave your training there. Make sure you get some open-water time as well.

Ironman training needs to focus on more than endurance training

Ironman training focuses on more than just endurance training. When you’re triathlon training for an ultra length event such as the Ironman you’re no longer in a training program, as much as your training program has become your life, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week!

Your training goals depend on your race goals. If you are an experienced triathlete, then your goals probably revolve around improving your time. If you’re new to triathlons in general, you probably want to focus on finishing.

Training for Ironman requires long-term commitment

Make sure that you don’t short change your training by limiting your activities to only swimming, cycling, and running. You must incorporate stretching and cool down exercises to help minimize injuries while you train. You should also make weight-training an important part of your training as well as consider some form of cross-training to help balance out your muscles.

When you’re training for an Ironman, your training program must incorporate training in a fatigued state to get your body used to those types of demands. Training for a marathon is one thing. Consider what running a marathon will feel like when you’re already tired from your swim and bike events.

Another important aspect of training for your Ironman is to understand and apply endurance nutrition. You must now see yourself as an elite athlete; you cannot remain ignorant about nutrition and not expect it to impact your performance.

Running Shoes for Marathon

As I began to research different training programs and decide which race to choose for my first event, I quickly realized that there was some essential equipment I was going to need in order to succeed. At the top of this list was clearly a high-quality pair of running shoes. Little did I know at first, but the selection of the right running shoes can be more complex that one might imagine.

After having my feet measured and a running analysis performed on my stride, I soon picked out a pair of Asics running shoes that felt like I was running on air. These shoes not only provided the stability I needed but were light enough to not feel like I was running in boots. I paid the $110 required and was ready to go.

As the 16 weeks of training passed, I was grateful to have a good pair of running shoes. The shin splints that I got at the beginning of training soon faded and my running became much more enjoyable. In the end, I not only finished my first marathon, but completed it in under my goal of 4 hours.

I firmly believe that my success was due, in part, to choosing the right pair of running shoes. I would encourage anyone wishing to start a running program to spend the time and money to find a high-quality pair of running shoes. Your running success may just depend on it.

Running Recovery

  1. Phase 1: Minutes after the race. The first phase of recovery starts when you cross the finish line. Drink something with electrolytes to replace what you lost, and eat something within the hour. Walk around for a bit – fight the urge to sit down.
  2. Phase 2: The few days after the race. No running. Your muscles will be sore for a few days, possibly worse the second day than the first. Don’t try to “run out” the soreness. This could prolong your recovery.
  3. Phase 3: One week after the race. You can start back running briefly and easily – no hard or long runs. The soreness may be gone, but you are still a ways from recovery. You may still feel tired, and your legs may still feel heavy. Just go with it – these are normal feelings.
  4. Phase 4: 1-3 weeks after the race. You can begin running, but the frequency should be less often than regular training, the pace should be slower, and you should still refrain from long runs. You can cross train in between runs, but nothing too strenuous. Gradually, you will return to your pre-marathon training schedule.
  5. Phase 5: 4 weeks after the race. Barring any lingering pain or signs of injury, you should be mostly recovered by this point. You can reintroduce some speed work and long runs. However, don’t try to introduce both elements in the same week.
  6. Phase 6: Mental recovery. This phase, often called “postmarathon blues,” may occur anywhere from a few days after the race and last for weeks or months afterwards. Your legs may be ready to run, but your mind is not. This is not cause for worry – this phase is temporary. One way to beat the blues is to refocus on a new target – choosing another race is a great way to become reenergized.

Phuket Scuba Diving Sites

Anemone Reef

The Anemone Reef is about 500 meters from the Shark Point Marine Sanctuary and is surprisingly rich in sea anemones that are prominent throughout this region of shallow reefs. The limestone pinnacle that rises nearly 25 meters from the seabed is easy for divers to explore. Anemone Reef has plenty of marine life such as barracuda, jacks and tuna, as well as other smaller fish and even harmless leopard sharks.

Koh Doc Mai

Koh Doc Mai is a massive limestone rock that has risen from the seabed. This small surface area is covered in jungle that covers the entire area and flows over the sheer cliff faces. This region has some of the finest wall diving opportunities in Thailand and includes underwater cliffs, soft corals and colorful marine life (ghost pipefish, seahorses, nudibranchs and white eyed moray). This site is great for divers of all skill levels with diving depths in the region of 5 to 25 meters. For the more experienced diver, there are a variety of caverns to explore on the eastern edge.

King Cruiser Wreck

The King Cruiser became an artificial reef in May 1997 when the ferry struck the Anemone Reef which lead to a major tear in the bottom of the vessel. This dive site is about 1.5 miles from Shark Point and a practical destination for the supervised beginner and advanced diver. Over the years, the wreck has started to deteriorate, which is slowly making it a more difficult dive site to explore. Even though there are mild to strong currents in the region, there is still great visibility up to 20 meters. The King Cruiser is a rich site for plenty of marine life, including the porcupine fish, scorpion fish, lionfish, yellowtail barracuda and snapper.

Guide to Rehydration

Dehydration

A two per cent loss in body weight caused by dehydration can lead to a 20 per cent drop in performance for runners and even a one per cent drop can diminish the performance of some runners.

Many runners taking part in marathons do so with a level of hydration of between two to five per cent, though runners do need to be careful about hydrating too much as they run. If you’re drinking as much as 800ml of fluid per hour in order to maintain your dehydration level at lower than two per cent, then you could be drinking too much.
For many runners, modest dehydration is a normal and temporary condition not leading to any serious medical conditions.

Drinking on the Run

If you’re a long distance runner, you need to learn how to drink while on the move as frequent small sips are best in order to prevent overloading your stomach. Tips to practice drinking while running include running a circuit around your home, stopping off each time you pass to grab a drink. You can also try stopping off at any shops that you pass to buy a drink, or if you’re running on a treadmill, take a bottle of water with you and take a drink every three miles or so.

During a Race

Most people are right handed and tend to veer off to the right, so consider practising veering off to the left to grab your drink as this may be less crowded. It may also be easier to head for the end of the table as there may be less people than at the front.

If you need to stop, don’t feel you have to keep running while you drink. You’ll only lose a few seconds if you walk while drinking but make sure you stick to the side of the road out of the way of other runners.

After a Race

It’s important to start a run or race hydrated and equally important to replace lost fluid after a run.
A good guide is to drink around 500ml of fluid two hours before a run – try water, a sports drink or diluted fruit juice – and another 150ml just before you set off. Your body will then have enough time to get rid of what it doesn’t need before you set off.

For after a run, general guidelines are that for every kilogram of bodyweight lost, you need to consume one and a half litres of fluid. During the first 30 minutes after a run, try to drink around 500ml and keep taking on small amounts every five to ten minutes. Listen to your body and if you have a headache or feel nauseous you need to keep drinking.

Overdrinking

Runners do need to be careful not to drink too much after hard exercise as excessive consumption is a potential danger.

Hyponatraemia – “low blood sodium” – is caused by excessive water consumption which lowers the concentration of sodium in the blood and can be very dangerous. In mild cases, hyponatraemia causes bloating and nausea, but in extreme cases it can lead to brain seizure and even death.
Women in particular need to be careful about hyponatraemia as they tend to sweat less so need to drink less. An average woman needs to drink up to 30 per cent less than an average man to ensure their blood doesn’t become diluted, lowering sodium to a dangerous level. A safer alternative is to drink a sports drink which contains sodium.

Researchers have also found that drugs such as asprin and ibuprofen impair the body’s ability to excrete water and so can increase the risk of hyponatraemia.

Exactly how much you need to drink depends on how heavily you are sweating so you need to try different approaches to hydration in order to establish a strategy which works for you.

Exactly how much is enough?

To check if you are hydrated before you start to run, the easiest way is to check the colour of your urine which should be pale yellow.

Generally we need to drink two to three litres of liquid a day but runners taking part in hard training sessions or races need to drink more.

Researchers recommend that you drink one and a half times the fluid lost during a run – an easy way to work this out is to weigh yourself before and after a run.

Experiment during your training to establish how your body responds to dehydration and find out what works best for you.

How to replace Fluids

Runners need to replace sweat lost with fluids – water, diluted juice and sports drinks are all good choices. If you’ve been running for less than an hour, plain water is fine, but if you have been running hard for longer than an hour, drinks containing sugar or maltodextrin – a slow-release carbohydrate – and sodium may be better.

Researchers have found that sports drinks which contain carbohydrates increase the amount of water absorbed into the bloodstream.

The difference in sports drinks

There is a vast range of sports drinks on the market, from hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic drinks. A hypotonic drink is more dilute than body fluids – there are fewer particles per 100ml, which means that it is absorbed faster than water.

Squash diluted at least 1:8 with water, or one part fruit juice diluted with three parts water are examples of hypotonic drinks.

Isotonic drinks have the same concentration as body fluids and are absorbed as fast as or faster than water. These drinks are a good compromise between rehydration and refuelling and examples include Isostar, Lucozade Sport or fruit juice diluted half and half with water or squash diluted 1:4 with water.

Hypertonic drinks offer a higher dose of energy with the fluid and reduce the speed of fluid replacement. These drinks include cola, lemonade or neat fruit juice and are more concentrated than body fluids and absorbed slower than plain water.

Injuries and Adult Figure Skaters

Unfortunately, not all my injuries have been so tame; the scraped elbows were healed in about a week, although I have a nice little scar on the right one as a reminder. Nearly three years ago I tore a hip flexor muscle. At one point, the pain was so bad that it kept me awake at night and I could not walk for long distances. I kept skating all through this time, but there were several elements I could not do because of the pain, weakness and reduced range of motion. Physiotherapy didn’t really help and the sport medicine MD figured it was arthritis and I should consider another sport. Having said this, the x-ray of the hip really didn’t show very much in the way of degenerative changes, so I started working with an osteopath. I am also now working with a kinesiotherapist who has given me gentle, but very specific, exercises to improve the range of motion in the hip.

But that’s just me…. Let me tell you about two other adult skaters that I know. (Names are fictitious but the injuries are real!)

Susie broke a wrist when attempting an axel. It was actually one of her first attempts when she returned to skating after being off for many years and she was in her early forties at the time. She arrived back at the arena several weeks later with a metal pin in her wrist and swore she would never try the axel ever again, she was only going to work on her single jumps and spins. Well it wasn’t long before she got tired of that, so now she’s got her axel back and has just started landing a double salchow. This was after telling us for a year that there was no way she was ever going to work on D Sal… too hard, she didn’t want to get hurt like she did doing axel…. Now it’s, “No way am I ever going to work on my double loop… too hard, etc, etc.”

And then there’s my friend Annie. She broke her leg on a flying camel approximately two years ago, requiring surgery and a whole lot of metal reinforcements. She was back on the ice in time for Adult Nationals the following year… not at 100%, but on her way. Last I heard, she still had a pin in the ankle but was busy getting all her doubles back.

The worst kind of injury is the one that seriously shakes your confidence and instills fear. I have often seen this with adult beginners who take a bad fall and sustain a major injury, such as a concussion and never come back. Their fear is very understandable; as adults we have responsibilities away from the arena, such as work and parenting and cannot afford time off to recover from an injury. It certainly makes me think twice before attempting a risky element.

My advice is to listen to what your body is telling you. Don’t be afraid to say “I’m not going to try that element; I just don’t feel that I am ready for it” a good coach will help you to work through this fear and devise strategies for helping you build your confidence. I also recommend that you find a good team of therapists to help you with preventative maintenance and when needed, repairs.

Beginner Half Marathon Training

Course

One of the factors that determines the time to finish the race is the course itself. A hilly course is more challenging than a flat course.

Running Base and Training

Another factor that determines the time is the amount of training and effort put in before starting the race. If you plan to run a half marathon with very little training, the impact of the distance on the body is going to be huge. You will feel tired and weary towards the end. You may have to slow down considerably towards the end of the race to finish it if your training is insufficient.

Proper training ensures that a good running base is developed before the race. If the long runs are done correctly for training, the distance for the half marathon seems a lot easier.

Pace

Another factor that determines the time is the pace of the person. Some people have better pace than others. For a beginner, any pace between 10-14 minutes/mile is good. This leads to a finish time of 2:20 to 3 hours.

The first and foremost consideration for any runner for a first half marathon should however be to cross the finish line and not worry about the time. The finish time can be improved once the first half marathon finish line has been crossed.