Do we need professionals to watch our running technique, analyze our every move, and teach us a whole new running style? While running with proper technique is very important, it is also important to know that our form and technique will develop over time with consistent training. One study showed that over 10 weeks of running with no coaching on running technique, novice runners were able to improve their form unconsciously to make running more economical (in other words, to make running easier). An interesting point from the following article raises a great question: “Ms. Moore says. ‘If runners can self-optimize,’ as the women in this study seemed to do, then ‘maybe we should teach runners to learn to understand how the movement feels to them,’ she says, rather than completely change how they run to one standardized form or another.”
To read more, click HERE.
For more information on naturally developing your running form, click HERE.
Target Heart Rate Zone
Exercising within an appropriate target heart rate zone is important for more than a few reasons. It is important to increase the heart muscle’s capacity to handle any strain placed on it. Cardiovascular training can increase this capacity and therefore help the heart to do its job more efficiently. Using a target heart rate zone will also determine if you are training hard enough to reach your goal weather it be health or fitness related. Keep in mind too that knowing your target heart rate zone can help you determine whether you are allowing your body enough recovery time between training sessions.
To learn more, click HERE.
Once you have learned more about training in a target heart rate zone and are more interested in using this to enhance training, you may consider using a heart rate monitor.
For a PDF that provides great advice on choosing the appropriate monitor for you, click HERE.
Keep in mind that as you train your heart will become more fit. This means that your resting heart rate will be lower which means the heart does not have to work as hard to perform. As you progress with your training, recalculate your target heart rate zones if you use a calculation that includes your resting heart rate.
To calculate your target heart rate zone with your resting heart rate follow these steps:
- First you must calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR).
- Next you must subtract your resting heart rate (RHR) from your maximum heart rate, this is called the heart rate reserve (HRR).
- Next multiply that number, your HRR, by the percentage range you wish to work at (i.e. 55%-60%), you have to change the percent to a decimal number first.
- Finally add your resting heart rate to the last numbers calculated.
Here is what the equation looks like:
- HRR x % = ____ + RHR = ____
- HRR x % = ____ + RHR = ____
The last two blanks represent the rate your heart should be working at during your workout in beats per minute (BPM)
Here is an example for a 20 year old with a resting heart rate of 60 beats per minute (BPM), who wants to workout at a low intensity (55%-65%):
- 220-20 = 200
- 200-60 = 140
- 140 x .55 = 77 + 60 = 137 BPM
- 140 x .65 = 91 + 60 = 157 BPM
So this individual should keep their heart rate between 137 and 157 throughout their workout to get the best results possible.
For a helpful link on target heart rate training, click HERE.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
Can soreness be prevented? Do we want to prevent it? Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is the pain we can feel between 12 and 72 hours after exercise. Contrary to popular belief, this is not due to build up of lactic acid, but is due to the muscles repairing themselves. As we exercise, the muscles develop microscopic tears. When the body repairs these tears during recovery, this is an opportunity for the body to become stronger. There are strategies to lessen DOMS, however it may be unavoidable.
For a PDF including more information about DOMS and information on what types of pain may need medical treatment, click HERE.
How important is it to have a strong core in order to reach the finish line? Experts at the American College of Sports Medicine have found that activating the core muscles is important in maintaining proper running technique and helping you move more efficiently. The following link introduces “Chi Running.”
To find out how this may help you improve your marathon training, click HERE.
Maintaining a healthy range of motion is extremely important for everyone, especially runners. Stretching should be included both at the beginning and end of your workout. It is recommended to stretch at least two days a week, however if you have any type of joint issues, stiffness, or reduced range of motion, one should stretch daily.
To learn more, click HERE.
Running in Cold Weather
Deciding what to wear for your workout outdoors greatly depends on the weather.
If you need some advice on dressing for the cold weather, click HERE.
For more safety information when exercising in the cold, check out some tips HERE.
SHOES! One of the most important accessories we need for running is our shoes. There is an art to choosing the best shoe for you based on your running style and feet. If you have access to a running store, or store that specializes in helping you find the perfect fit, this would be a great place to start.
Check out this PDF link for detailed information on choosing your perfect running shoe. Click HERE.
Sprains, Strains, and Tears
We want to avoid injury as much as possible when participating in any type of physical activity. However, the risk for sprains, strains, tears, or worse is possible. Be prepared should you have any issues while training.
To learn more about these types of injuries, download a PDF HERE.
Knee Injury Prevention
As many know, there is a risk involved with any type of physical activity. We can take measures however, to reduce that risk as much as possible. Runners may be susceptible to knee injuries, so it is important to incorporate flexibility and strength training into your running regimen. Be sure to perform all exercises with proper form and technique. Do not over-train; allow your body to rest as needed.
For more information check out a related article HERE.
Choosing a Treadmill
Thinking about buying a treadmill? Download a PDF with some great pointers by clicking HERE.
Reduced Risk for Metabolic Syndrome
We all have many different reasons that motivate us to run. Some run in honor of loved ones, some run to fundraise for the charity they are passionate about, and others feed off of the challenge. Many run solely for the health benefits. Long-distance running can help prevent one’s risk for developing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increase waist size, etc.) that ultimately increases the risk for developing more serious chronic conditions. Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, but also know that exercise causes greater benefits to the body than harm.
For more information, click HERE.
Energy Gels, Beans, and Drinks
At what point of your training should you begin replacing lost fluids, electrolytes, and sugars and why? Any activity lasting longer than 60 minutes may require an extra boost in energy. This is where sport drinks, carbohydrate gels, energy bars, or fruit may come in handy. Our muscles require glucose (sugar) in order to produce energy for movement. The variety of sugars that come in the above energy sources increases the chance that your body with absorb enough sugar to properly fuel the body for the remainder of your workout. It is important to test out which energy source works best for you, once you find that source stick with it!
Download a PDF to learn more by clicking HERE.
Cigna Health & Well-Being Library
For additional information on leading a healthy and fit life, we encourage you to check out Cigna’s Health & Well-Being Library. This comprehensive site, is a great resource for health-related articles, podcasts, finding a doctor and lots more. To visit the Library visit HERE
This is intended to be general health information only and not medical advice or services. You should consult your doctor for medical advice or services, including seeking advice prior to undertaking a new diet, exercise, or training program. Your use of this information is at your sole risk.