Immortal Runners

DeCastella’s victories in the marathon include the first ever World Championships gold medal in 1983, two Commonwealth Games gold medals in ’82 and ’86, one World Record of 2:08:18 in Fukuoka, Japan in 1981, and big city marathon wins in Boston, Fukuoka and Rotterdam. Despite of never winning an Olympic medal – a fate too often suffered by the world’s greatest runners – he finished in the top ten in three consecutive Olympic marathons, a feat not repeated until this day.

DeCastella quickly earned a reputation for his unbelievable grit and toughness during races, especially in the last six miles of the marathon when worse gets to worst. Olympic champion Frank Shorter commented in 1983, “DeCastella is stronger over the last stages of a marathon than any marathoner ever before.” The comment was made right after Deek had surged away from the field in the last kilometres of the World Championships marathon in Helsinki and made his claim to world’s best marathoner official. Two other epic races stand out in his long career.

One year earlier in 1982 DeCastella ran his first Commonwealth Games marathon, which was to become one of the most unforgettable and gruelling finales in marathon racing. Being over a minute behind on the leaders DeCastella made his move at mile 18 and finally caught up with the lead runner, Tanzanian Juma Ikangaa, at mile 24. A fierce battle of surges and resurges ensued, which DeCastella eventually won to run into Brisbane’s stadium victorious.

In the spring of 1983 DeCastella and Alberto Salazar – at the time considered the two best marathoners in the world – raced each other in a world class field in Rotterdam, including the later Olympic gold medallist Carlos Lopes. At 35 kilometres Salazar dropped away from the lead pack and two kilometres before the end only Lopes and DeCastella were left. It seemed that Deek was fated for second place as the Portuguese, who had greater speed over short distances, surged away from him. Yet again DeCastella proved both his legs and his will were made of steel when he gave an all-out effort and outsprinted Lopes in the last 400 metres of the race. It was a show of sheer strength and will-power in a race that will be remembered and treasured for years to come.

DeCastella’s training methods were somewhat unorthodox for their consistency and simplicity. Throughout his entire career he did the same workouts on the same weekdays, week in and week out. People dubbed his method ‘complex training’ but really it was as simple as your ABC and as transparent as water. His week consisted of a hill workout, a speed workout and a long run. Just because of his unfaltering discipline and perseverance – he hardly ever missed a workout – DeCastella slowly and steadily grew out to become a world champion.

Stay Safe While Scuba Diving

It is important to know that not everyone can go diving. As fun as it is, people that choose to enjoy this sport need to meet certain requirements to ensure they are safe when diving. Here is a list of key requirements for safety.

  • Pass a physical – Scuba diving is an activity that is taxing on the body. A doctor should approve an individual before they go on any diving trip. This means ensuring their heart and lungs are in good physical condition. It is typically not safe for people with high blood pressure, breathing problems, or excessive weight to go on such a trip.
  • Get Scuba certified – Getting a Scuba certification provides the diver with the information required to understand how to monitor their scuba equipment, understand proper breathing procedures, as well as understanding how to communicate with your diving partner.
  • Check all equipment before hitting the water. It is better to find errors or problems with your equipment when on dry land then in the water where it could potentially cost you your life.

Once you have made it into the water it is important to remember everything you have learned as well as respecting the waters in which you are diving. To maintain your safety it is essential to do the items listed below.

  • Never dive alone – Always dive with a diving buddy. Never wander far from your diving buddy or guide. Keep them in eyeshot at all times.
  • Equalize the pressure in your ears on a regular basis this helps prevent damage to the inner ear.
  • Do not hold your breath when ascending. Breathing as normal as possible is essential for diver health.
  • Monitor equipment – keep an eye on your oxygen tank and depth of dive.
  • Never ascend or descent too quickly.

Scuba diving is a thrilling underwater activity that is dangerous without taking proper safety precautions. Learn your safety rules and make your diving experience a pleasant one.

Choosing Running Gear

Clothes

I think choosing suitable running clothes is the second most important thing to do to ensure you have an enjoyable running experience. You do not want to feel all wet and sticky in your clothes when running. Personally I always look for Nike Dri-Fit clothes since they are most comfortable to wear and they fit me very well. If you are a tennis fan, you would know that Serena Williams loves Nike clothes as well. They are also long lasting since I have been wearing this Nike singlet for the last 5 years and I expect it could last another few years as well. You also could look for names such as Coolmax and Dri-Weave. They all mean that the fabric has the ability to draw sweat away from the skin to the outside of the fabric.

Socks

The next task on the list is choosing suitable socks. You do not want your feet blistered after a few runs. I have been wearing Thorlos socks and in my opinion, they provide the best insulation and cushioning. Although they are pricey, they can last for a number of years. You may also look for names such as Coolmax, Dri-Weave, or Dri-Fit.

Shoes

Choosing suitable running shoes is the most critical task before embarking on your running journey. When I first started running, after overcoming the unavoidable stitches in the first few weeks, I began feeling dull pain at the front of the lower leg. My personal trainer told me I had shin splint and advised me to see a physiotherapist who told me I needed custom made orthotics in my shoes because I have flat feet. He explained that because I am flat-footed, I most likely over-pronate, meaning my feet roll inward toward the center of the body when I run.  Therefore I also need to buy running shoes that will help maintain stability, that means I should look for words such as ‘solidity control’ or ‘action control’ in the shoes features. I also was told certain brands such as Brooks or Asics were performing better than others. Personally I have had Brooks shoes for the last few years and I have never had shin splint ever since.

As for people with high-arched feet, they most likely under-pronate, or supinate meaning their feet will tend to roll outwards away from the body as they run.  They will need to look for shoes that will absorb a lot of shock, that means checking for keywords like cushioned or flexible in their description.

For lucky people with neutral feet which are the least prone to injury, almost any running shoe will do.

In all cases, the shoes should be tested to see if they are comfortable and not too tight or too loose. Another thing to keep in mind is to replace your shoes when you notice uneven wear in the soles of the shoes, usually after 1-2 years depending on how frequent you run.

Running in the Cold

In spite of my obvious aversion to cold temperatures, I have trained for years all winter long. In Texas, this means crazy temperature swings. As a teen, in Rhode Island, it meant bitter cold and snow. In fact, I can remember as a high school cross country runner racing in snow and ice and wearing shorts (like an idiot). Training in the cold can make you tougher, but take some advice and dress for the elements. Thank God they finally invented cold weather gear that does not weigh a ton and make you look like you are ready for skiing, not running!

The real goal of cold weather running is to maintain motivation, not get too cold and not get too hot. Easier said then done! One solution to this is to just head indoors and stick to the treadmill. I absolutely despise running on treadmills much more than running in the cold, so unless it’s raining; I’m outside. In addition to the boredom, the repetitive motion of the treadmill can put you at risk for other injuries such as stress fractures. It’s best to have some variety.

The key to staying comfortable and cold weather condition is to be prepared for changing temperatures. Dress in layers and don’t be afraid to overdress. Wear a hat and gloves. I even pull out chemical finger warmers if it’s really cold. If it all possible try to run small loops somewhere near your car or a place where you can discard layers if you start to get hot. You don’t want to be ten miles from home and running with a virtual clothe hamper tied around your waist.

If you are overloaded with too many layers, you can just as easily overheat when it’s 30° outside. This will make you nuts because you will lose the energy needed to finish your run, just like a hot day, and you may become soaked with sweat be more prone to thermal injury such as frostbite. As soon as your run is over, do not stand around outside. Immediately change into dry clothing. Your core body temperature drops rapidly after a run. This is why they always shroud you in a blanket at the finish of a marathon, even when it’s hot outside.

Aside for making sure that your temperature is regulated, there are special environmental considerations when running outside in winter. If it happens to snow where you run, you obviously have to watch your step. Be very careful running on ice. Running on snow seems like a breeze, but watch out for ice. If you’re lucky it’ll just be a funniest home videos fall, but you can get seriously injured this way.

Always wear a hat to keep your head warm. This can be a baseball-style cap, but once it gets colder than about 40° however, you will likely have to switch to a hat that covers your ears and does a better job of keeping your head warm. It likely goes without saying that you should avoid natural materials such as cotton, that retain moisture and can put your risk of getting too cold. Always use synthetic materials.

As a general rule, you can get away with shorts or tights and a long sleeve T-shirt when it’s in the 50s. If it drops down into the 40s, you need to add a hat, gloves and an additional layer on top. A vest is a nice addition. Once it gets down into the 30s, it’s better to stick with tights or pants and wear three layers on top, as well as hat and gloves. If you’re brave enough to run when it’s in the 20s, get the jacket out and add layers. Unless you really like to torture yourself, or live in Alaska, it’s probably better to just stay inside when the temperature drops into the teens.

Keep in mind, your body can become acclimatized to colder temperatures if exposed to them often. Most people are a poor judge of frostbite and cold injuries due to lack of experience with frigid weather. Use common sense. Texas weather is nutty, so the layered look is a must this time of year!

Improve Your Scuba Diving Skills

Engage your brain

One should not blindly follow the divemaster. A good diver is the one who uses his own brain. This does not mean that you should ignore what your instructor is saying as he knows better that is why he is your master. But make sure, you are not at his mercy for directions all the time. You should be well prepared in case he goes out of sight for a while.

At all time, you should know, where your boat is, where your buddy is, how much ndl you have left etc.

Test your weighting

This is important as when you are properly weighted, you do not need a lot of air in your BCD. For this you have to do a simple exercise – after a dive, run your tank down to 30-40 bars. Empty your BCD. Lock your ankles together and fold your arms close to your chest, so you don’t scull. When you exhale, you should sink and when you inhale, you should come up the same amount. If you are sinking or not coming up when you inhale, you are too heavy.

If you are going up and down by the same amount, that’s your correct weight for that gear combo. It can change a little depending on the BCD type and saltiness of the sea but it would give you a starting point.

Know your air usage

This is something that you could acquire with practice. All you need is a routine. Start doing this exercise – Before you begin your ascent, note your depth and air. Then notice how much you have when you surface. Maintain a logbook. Also note down whether it was a free ascent or on a line. With time, you would know exactly how much air you need to ascend from 10, 20 or 30 metres respectively. Double check it by testing yourself. Soon, you would have an exact idea regarding how much air you need to surface safely.

Fix your buoyancy

So how do you fix it? Simple – after every 5-10 min into your dive, make sure you are over a sandy patch or you have a water column below you and stop kicking. Try to stay more or less where you are, going down when you exhale and up when you inhale. If this is not happening, add a small squirt of air and repeat until you get it right.

Here comes the tricky part though. Your muscle memory is still used to kicking in a way that keeps you off the bottom. With the above exercise, you have just sprung a surprise on it. In order to re-train your breathing and kicking style, you will do kick-pause-kick-pause rather than kick-kick-kick. Wait till you start to descend before you exhale. Keep practicing this till you get better at it.

Dive with a buddy

I know you are the adventurous type but you have to live a long healthy life, have children, grow old and die. So do not take any chance. Diving solo is always risky. Studies have shown 97% of all fatalities ever have happened when the diver was alone in the sea. So a friendly advice, Always dive with a buddy. It is safe and fun at the same time.

How To Play Netball Safely

Train properly and regularly

First and foremost, it is important for players to train properly and regularly. This is important to help you tone your bones and muscles. Frequent training can also help individuals boost their endurance which is a crucial factor in every game. But, during training, it is best that you follow the program to avoid potential injuries. Not to mention, rest is also important when training to help muscles and bones to unwind and release tension.

Look for reliable teammates and a coach

In order to safely play netball games, it is also essential that you look for reliable teammates and a coach. By having reliable teammates, you can focus on your position and play properly. In addition, your teammates can also help you make better decisions on the court, which can reduce the risk of injuries. Meanwhile, teams with coach can increase safety during games since a coach can assist their players to release their full potential without harming their mental and physical abilities. The coach can also protect players in case they notice unusual actions that may lead to injuries as well.

Do not forget to have a good warm up

Another way to safely play netball games is to have a good warm up. One of the main reasons why athletes get injured is due to insufficient warm up. By warming up before the game, you can stretch your muscles properly. Plus, warm ups can also help you focus for the game, which can help you win.

Participate in games with umpires

Finally, to ensure safety in netball courts, make sure that games are safe and fair, make sure that you have an umpire. Umpires can ensure that all players are safe during the game. Not to mention, hard physical contacts can also be avoided.

How To Play The Mental Game Faster

The key to learning the mental game faster is to focus on 1 thing at a time and never live or relive any tennis matches in your mind too many times, before you play them.

Here is what I mean.

What’s 2+2?

See how you didn’t even have to think before you answered that question?

This is the mental level you are trying to reach with your mental game.

Tennis players tend to play in the past or in the future, instead of in the presence time on court.

This prevents them from playing in the moment.

To learn faster, be more aware of where your mind is on court.

Watch your thoughts and observe your reactions during a match, the minute you find yourself thinking about a mistake and error, quickly bring yourself back to the moment, by breathing deeply and then focus on the next point.

Your goal is to rewire your brain through constant repetitions.

This is where you want to go with your mental game and this is how you can get there and get there fast.

Let Go of All Negativity

You are carrying around a lot of mental baggage right now and it is in your way.

Remove the mental blocks today, this can be done through deep meditation.

When you are in deep meditation, all your problems and your answers are revealed to you in silence, but your job is to be honest with your self and let them go.

Play in the Ideal

Tennis players will follow their ideals, so if you are not where you mentally want to be, take a hard look at your ideal and see if it is congruent with the player that you want to become in the near future.

Then if it isn’t, create a new one that is and play in that one, until you can do it for real on court.

Those 2 tips can help you learn and then master playing the mental game in months.

Remember this.

You are not playing tennis, you are actually playing the mental game.

Many juniors don’t do this and that is why they struggle for their whole careers.

Then I focus on helping them to learn how to play the mental game faster, because the quicker they learn how to play it, the faster they will start winning.

I would say that to you too.

Muscle Cramps in Runners

Muscle cramps or cramping is a condition that most runners have experienced. It is usually defined as a spontaneous and painful contraction or spasm of a muscle or a muscle group such as the calf muscles or hamstrings.

Yes, and also a number of different causes of muscle cramps. Muscle cramps occur in the well-trained athlete, the elderly and is also more common in women during pregnancy. Severe electrolyte or chemical deficiencies or imbalances may also cause muscle cramping, in addition to underlying neuromuscular disorders. The wide variety of people whom experience muscle cramps suggest that there are multiple or different factors or triggers for cramps.

The most common type of muscle cramp seen in athletes is exercise-associated muscle cramps (EAMC). Surveys of marathon runners and Ironman triathletes have reported a prevalence of muscle cramps of 30-50% and 67% respectively (Schewellnus).

Schwellnus and others have suggested that EAMC is actually a result of muscle fatigue and not due to other causes such as dehydration or electrolyte imbalance. Their current concept for the source or etiology of EAMC is that an altered or abnormal spinal reflex activity produces muscle cramping. As the muscle fatigues, the amount of relaxation time in between muscle contractions lengthens. If the relaxation time is too long, or a high rate of muscle contraction is required, such as during running, then muscle cramping may result. Cramping may also be a protective mechanism to prevent further injury to fatiguing or damaged muscle tissue.

Sodium and other electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium have been mentioned in the past as possibly causing exercise-induced muscle cramps, although there is little evidence to support electrolyte imbalance as a cause. The original work looked at miners and other workers exposed to high-heat environment. Two more recent studies by Nicol and Maughan have looked specifically at endurance athletes and were not able to identify an association between muscle cramps and changes in the blood levels of specific electrolytes. However, in some cases, runners and other athletes that have an excessively high sodium sweat rate combined with a low-sodium intake may suffer from cramps due to low sodium levels.

Which athletes are more at risk for EAMC? Manjra studied over 1300 marathon runners and found the following risk factors for EAMC among the runners:

  • Older age of the athlete
  • Longer running history
  • Higher Body-Mass Index (BMI)
  • Less time spent stretching, or irregular stretching habits
  • Family history of muscle cramps

Manjra also found that the marathon runners were able to identify certain conditions that either appeared to aggravate or precipitate EAMC. These conditions included:

  • Duration (or distance) of running
  • Increased intensity of running
  • Running hills
  • Subjective feelings of muscle fatigue or poor race performance.

Treatment for exercise-induced muscle cramps primarily focuses upon passive stretching of the affected muscle groups, as well as correcting any identifiable muscle imbalances and weaknesses. Proper nutrition and hydration during competition and training are also important by preventing early fatigue and susceptibility to muscle cramping.

Join a Dodgeball League

The park blends the joys of sports, entertainment and fitness together. It also has a wide selection of food items and soft drinks give refreshment options galore. Kids can join a party or they can ask their parents to host one. And then, there are hoops to perfect dunking skills, emulate tricks of favourite players and learn some basketball lessons. All this keeps visitors hooked for as long as they remain present at the park.

In addition, the park gives the opportunity to play the favourite game of dodgeball. The game is the latest craze and that’s why more people want to play it than ever before. The game involves a lot of actions, running and jumping et al and that’s why is not fit to play on hard surfaces. On the other hand, it becomes more entertaining and fun when played on soft surfaces. That’s why trampolines are just perfect to showcase your dodgeball skills.

Anyone can play the game, join an on-going match or form a team to join the league. You can compete with buddies over a game of basketball and surprise them with your defending skills. You can score points by dodging the ball aimed to hit you. The real fun lies in evading and escaping the ball and letting it slip past you even without touching any part of the body. If the ball touches you or your body, you will lose points.

More so, opponent players will throw a ball at you with the purpose of making some point off you. You got to exhibit the best of defending skills and let the ball pass by without meeting its purpose. Similarly, you need to aim the opponent players and try to hit them with the ball. While avoiding the ball, you have to make the best use of the courts and showcase your athletic side.