Avoiding these two common running injuries

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Serious runners often take an injury as a disaster that sidelines them to the couch until they’re well enough to go back on track. The causes of running injuries vary; they can result from overtraining, overuse, improper form, or even the wrong pair of shoes.

Fortunately, runners can minimize the risk of injury while training for or running in a race. The following are two common running injuries and tips on how to prevent them.

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Plantar fasciitis is a condition wherein the plantar fascia, the thick tissue on the bottom of the foot, becames overloaded or overstretched, causing a stabbing pain that comes and goes.

To prevent it, runners should maintain a healthy weight, run on gentle surfaces such as a track or grass, and limit mileage increases to 10 percent per week. Stretching exercises that work the heel cord and the plantar fascia and ice massages after a hard run can prevent the condition from recurring. In addition, runners should choose shoes that provide ample cushioning and arch support.

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Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PPS), also known as “runner’s knee,” is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners. It is characterized by knee pain, knee buckling, and a grinding or popping sensation while walking.

It occurs when the kneecap cartilage becomes overloaded due to poor alignment or overuse. PPS has many possible causes, from flat fleet that provide no cushioning, to wide hips and a greater Q angle that causes the kneecap to track abnormally.

To reduce the risk of PPS, runners could try exercises that strengthen the leg muscles, particularly the quadriceps, to improve kneecap tracking, and stretching exercises for the calves and hamstrings to promote a neutral running gait.

If runners feel pain, they shouldn’t force themselves to run through it or keep training: doing so might worsen the injury. At the first sign of injury, runners should scale back their mileage, get plenty of rest, and consider seeing a physician if the problem shows no signs of abating.

Steven Rindner is a marathon running enthusiast. For helpful articles on marathon running, subscribe to this blog.

REPOST: What Great Leadership Training Does Now That It Didn’t 10 Years Ago

What is the best leadership strategy to-date? Kathy Caprino, a contributor to Forbes.com, shared this interview she had with Ray Carvey, Executive Vice President of Corporate Learning at Harvard Business Publishing in this article below.

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Do a Google search on “Leadership Training,” and you’ll find over 100 million results – academic programs, management training series, white papers, leadership “gurus,” articles, resources and more. Those of us in the leadership space are inundated with new-fangled approaches to understanding leadership, and teaching and training leaders today.

Through working with emerging women leaders at Fortune 500 companies and in academia and non-profits, I’ve formulated my own views about what goes into the making of a truly great leader – one who is capable of articulating a powerful, positive and compelling vision for organizational and individual growth, and who can generate the trust and support needed to execute on this vision.

To learn more about the best of the best in leadership training today, I was excited to catch up with Ray Carvey, Executive Vice President of Corporate Learning at Harvard Business Publishing. Harvard Business Publishing Corporate Learning division partners with clients to create world-class leadership development solutions for managers at all levels in global organizations and governments.

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Image Source: forbes.com

I asked Ray all about what top-level leadership training does now that it didn’t 10 years ago:

Kathy Caprino: What lessons have you and Harvard Business Publishing learned recently about employee training that you didn’t know before?

Ray Carvey:  We’ve learned that there are several key dimensions of leadership training that must be present in all the programs we deliver, if we’re to help organizations thrive and succeed in today’s environments. These key dimensions are:

Developing a leadership mindset.

To evolve as leaders, managers have to internalize the idea that leadership is fundamentally different from managing tasks. Being a great leader means both managing tasks and functions well, but also understanding how to behave and “show up” as a leader. It can be hard to grasp for some, but it can be learned.

There’s a big difference between a learning organization and a training organization.

It surprises me how many training programs exist in a vacuum. They might focus on training on specific skills like time-management, budgeting and coaching, for example, but they incorporate very little business context into the design of their programs, and they measure metrics such as “usage,” rather than real business impact. Top-level training organizations move beyond abstract learning to understand how to align what they’re doing with key business objectives.

Our clients who really do this well speak in business terms, not in training lingo. For them, learning and development initiatives start out with what the business is trying to achieve.  Some business goals we’ve helped clients achieve are building stronger capabilities for innovation, improving client/supplier relations in high-growth emerging markets, or shifting what has been a single-country headquarters mindset to a global one.

If content is king, then context is queen.

Context is so important for effectively incorporating learning into an organization. For learning, getting it right in the context of your organization’s needs is what makes it relevant, meaningful and “sticky.”

Leadership development doesn’t and shouldn’t look the same at every organization. For example, how leaders make decisions at a start-up in a high-growth industry is going to be quite different from decision-making at a 100-year-old organization in an established market.

Read the full interview here.

 

Learn more about different leadership strategies by following this Steven Rindner Google+ Page.

7 Winter Running Tips

Spring races are hard to get ready for when winter weather impacts your training, but implementing some of these tips can help bridge the gap:

1. Use Layers Intuitively – When you layer up for colder weather, do so based on what you intend to remove once you get too warm (i.e. wear a long sleeved t-shirt over your windbreaker jacket, so once removed you still have protection.). This will keep you from the frustration of needing to slow your pace to take off, then put back on the necessary layers you need for protection, etc.

2. Eat Real Food – Eating a gel packet in freezing temperatures is not the most palatable, so winter is a great time of year to try real food running boosts like dehydrated fruit. In addition, cave dwelling during the colder months is an excellent time to brush up on your lifestyle cooking skills to fuel your runs by a solid whole foods diet void of processed foods.

Image Source: bostonmagazine.com

3. Think about Traction – Slipping on slick terrain can inspire indoor treadmill running quickly, but outdoor solutions do exist. Purchase some traction devices that best fit your style and pace of running to keep you motivated and safe during winter.

4. Keep Feet Warm – Contrary to popular belief, keeping the feet warm is less about shoes, more about socks. Go for brands specifically designed to wick moisture away and avoid cotton. Use a running shoe that allows for the foot to be fully relaxed in the toe box so circulation does not impair proper blood flow to the feet.

5. Head, Hands, and Neck – Yes, the number one place for heat loss is your head, followed closely by your hands, but the neck also needs to be covered to keep your body warm. Try a neck gaiter or turtleneck.

6. Stay Motivated – Sign up for an early spring event helps to stay motivated to get out the door on blustery winter mornings.

7. Have a Plan B – Unexpected weather, alarm clocks mysteriously not going off, and failures in the buddy system all happen during winter a bit more than in the warmer months. Having backup workouts, even cross-training (or running on the dreaded treadmill at times) can keep you on track to meet your running goals.

For more on marathon running and related tips, please visit Steven Rindner‘s homepage.

Startup success: Tips on development and marketing

At the onset, building a startup seems simple: take a great idea, put it into practice, and wait for investors. But complications, arising from an economic climate or internal problems, are bound to show up. Before the tech bubble burst, lazy development strategies passed muster, but investors today are smarter and wiser.

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According to research by Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, three out of four startups fail. A possible reason for this is a lack of strategy: entrepreneurs are too focused on building their product and neglect building a strategy to grow and market their business.

It’s important to create an incisive business development strategy in order to raise a startup’s chances of success.

The following are some practices that entrepreneurs can incorporate into their business development plans:

Cut costs, not quality

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Entrepreneurs should forgo the corner office with a view until they could actually afford it. Rent, for a small startup, is an unnecessary cost: a home office will do until needs cry for expansion.

Entrepreneurs should also consider other ways to cut costs without compromising quality. For example, instead of having full-time employees for non-essential tasks, entrepreneurs should consider outsourcing them to freelance workers.

Startups should consider a “release early, release often” approach. Minimum Viable Products (MVP) have only the necessary features needed to earn money and get constructive feedback from early adopters. This is more cost-effective and less time-consuming than creating a product with the maximum number of features on it and hoping it appeals to customers.

Create a marketing plan

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A good marketing plan will build awareness, create and reinforce the company’s image, and develop a solid customer base. It also differentiates a startup from the competition and provides reasons for potential customers to choose its products or services.

The above two tips are just the tip of the iceberg: there are many other things that entrepreneurs need to incorporate into the business, marketing, and financial sides of their business plan. Beginners to the world of business will benefit greatly from the guidance of an experienced business development leader.

Steven Rindner is a business and corporate development executive with experience in several industries. For discussions on business growth strategies, follow this Twitter account.

Learn to Run with Proper Form

Perhaps you are new to running or a seasoned runner fighting injury. Learning the proper form and posture of running is imperative to having longevity and happiness in the sport. The purpose of this article is to teach runners a proven, effective, and safe way to run to avoid injury and improve performance with effortless technique (one in alignment with the body’s natural physiology).

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The Basics of Proper Running Form:

• The proper body position is upright with a slight forward (but balanced) lean from the ankles.

• The core should be engaged with good posture and a straight back.

• The chest should push forward slightly as the arms pump backward and the hips and knees extend.

• Hands should stay near the chest with a short, compact, arm swing. Pump the arms back and let them recover or relax forward.

• To help the legs drive straight and the foot to land aligned underneath a bent knee, the arms should go forward and back with as little side to side motion as possible.

• The elbows should not come forward past the torso unless running at very high speeds.

• The upper body should carry over the foot leaving the feet to lift off quickly and extend behind the center of gravity.

• The feet should strike the ground under a bent knee as the leg begins to swing back under the body. Although the foot will contact the ground slightly in front of the body, it should feel as though it is directly underneath. Generally speaking, the full foot should contact the ground at the same time (a mid-foot strike). However, depending on genetics, the type of footwear being worn, and the running surface, the feet may contact with a slight forefoot landing or very slight heel landing.

• The foot strike should be light and quick and have about a 180-step-per-minute cadence.

 

Tip: Running barefoot for short distances can aid in helping you to feel, understand, and master proper running form.

 

For more on marathon running and related tips, please visit Steven Rindner‘s homepage.

Survival in the evolving technological environment

Technology has changed the way people do business. With different platforms emerging every year, most entrepreneurs are now adapting to various media channels to promote and sell their products and services.

 

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Pointing out the extinction of dinosaurs as an example, Nitin Pangarkar, associate professor of strategy and policy at the National University of Singapore Business School, emphasizes the threat of “technological change” in the survival of companies that fail to adapt in today’s technological evolution.

According to Pangarkar, a company’s ability to integrate internal and external knowledge is crucial for survival. He adds that by achieving this, businesses will not only achieve integration, but will also be able to enhance their competitive position in the market.

In his article, Pangarkar exemplified Kodak’s failure to adapt to the digital photography revolution, and Nokia’s inability to adjust in the smartphone market.

 

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“With an appropriate strategy, companies can maintain, or sometimes even enhance, their competitive positions during technological revolutions. For every Kodak, which failed to adapt, there is a Canon, which successfully handled the challenges posed by such upheavals; and for every Nokia, there is a Fanuc,” he explains.

This said, it is indeed important for companies to stay proactive not only in following technological trends, but also in filling both internal and external knowledge gaps to survive the technological evolution.

 

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Steven Rindner is a results-oriented executive with a strong background in business development and growth strategy across a number of industries including media, technology, real estate services, and healthcare. Follow this Twitter account for the latest in the business world.

Leadership road map: Turning employees into leaders

 

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Staying on top of the game is what company leaders do. However, they have to face the inevitable somewhere along the way. Whether they get a promotion, a resignation, or a transfer, respectable leaders always have an exit plan. Among these is to train people to fill in their roles when they leave. This is beneficial not only to exiting leaders but also for the betterment of the careers of those who are left behind.

Leaders have to prepare employees for leadership roles because even high-potential employees cannot do it on their own. The stage has to be set for them to assume a new position. A proven way to push people to higher performance is through leadership training programs that suit a company’s culture and environment. The use of varied training modalities is important to engage employees. Once is not enough; hence, there’s a need for take-away materials and follow-up instructions for continuity.

 

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Meanwhile, Forbes provides five ways to hone employees’ leadership skills. They are as follows:

1. Teaching them networking skills
2. Showing and giving them the right experience
3. Giving them room to find solutions to situations themselves
4. Doing the mentor-mentee progression
5. Instilling in them the value of an ‘ownership mentality’

Leaders’ mentality must be cognizant of the fact that telling people to lead is totally different from teaching them how to actually lead.

 

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Business executive Steven Rindner is known for his results-oriented leadership style. Know more about leadership strategies and other related topics by following this Google+ page.