Recently, there has been an increase in interest in half marathons, particularly from recreational runners. Back in 2000, a little less than 500,000 Americans participated in half-marathon races. By 2014, that number had risen by more than four times as over two million Americans ran the 13.1-mile endurance race.
Choosing a half marathon over a full can actually benefit a runner in various ways; examples are the following:
Less stress on the body: A 2017 study by Spanish researchers compared pairs of half-marathoners and full-marathoners who were of similar age and anthropometric data. After their respective races, the researchers were able to determine that the subjects who did half were less dehydrated and had less muscle damage.
More free time: Because there is less distance to cover in half marathons, the training schedule is also shorter. Most marathon training programs last at least 18 or 20 weeks, but for the half version, complete training can be achieved in 10 or 12 weeks. Runners will not have to sacrifice as much time to be in good condition for the marathon. Also, this means that there is less likelihood of injuries or illnesses impeding the training.
The full-marathon becomes a longer, larger goal: Those who have just started or at the beginning phases of their marathon journey can opt for a 13.1-mile race first, with the full marathon serving as a long-term goal.
There are people who “go for a run” when things aren’t going very well.The feeling of freedom while breaking a sweat is an activity that never fails to soothe the mind. Especially in stressful situations, physical activity has been proven to release endorphins that boost mental capacities. Aside from giving the brain a jolt, these endorphins are also known for being the body’s natural antidepressant.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that managing stress can be learned. Individuals can resort to different activities that can help them cope with anxiety and depression resulting from stressful situations. One of the most effective ways is by engaging in regular physical activities such as running.
As an exercise, running is effective not just in conditioning the person’s physique but also in increasing awareness, focus, and overall function. A body that is in a state of fatigue experiences interrupted interaction between the systems. This is why people who are stressed or are dealing with mental health issues are also suffering from slow metabolism, breathing problems, and heart ailments. Doing a physical activity that follows a rhythm such as running can restore the seamless interaction among the different parts of the body. When the rhythm is restored, a person can sleep well, eat properly, perform cognitive and physical tasks faster, and interact with others better.
Running is a proactive solution that helps alleviate the symptoms of depression and stress. It also restores physical functions that have been disturbed by stress-inducing situations. When the blues come, it’s better to face it head-on by going for a run instead of sulking.
Steven Rindner is a business and corporate development executive with an experience in media, technology, real estate services, and healthcare businesses. For similar reads, follow this blog.
When it comes to running gear, the focus, most of the time, is on choosing the right shoes. While this is crucial whether you are new to the sport or a seasoned marathoner, this fixation overlooks socks, which can change the game.
By selecting the right socks, runners need not worry about blisters, chafing, corns, overheated feet, and unbearable pain. But here now is the dilemma. With advancements in fabric and design technologies, the humble running socks have morphed into hundreds of varieties that may leave any runner dazed, confused, and dashing out the store. So how do you go and pick the right running socks?
While there’s no exact science for selecting a good pair, running enthusiasts offer these basic guidelines:
Study your options. If runners spend time doing research on the best shoes out in the market, the same amount of examination should be dedicated when shopping for socks. And with the plethora of brands and sock types available, you need to be certain about the pair that you need. For example, do you require moderate or maximum cushion? Are you going to use them for long runs or sprints? Are you particular about your socks peeking out from your shoes or would you prefer a no-show? Or are you all about compression wear? These are just some of the questions a runner has to weigh in before purchasing a pair.
Know the materials. See those cotton socks? Best to run away from them. As most runners know, cotton retains moisture. And with moisture, heat, and friction present in your running shoes, you’ll likely end up with painful blisters. The best material for your socks are synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, acrylic, and CoolMax since they wick away moisture and keep the feet dry and cool.
Set a budget. Running isn’t necessarily cheap. You have to spend a good deal for your shoes, clothes, gadgets, sunglasses, and yes, even your socks. A pair of running socks typically sell from $1o to $20. Compression socks are more expensive at around $30 a pair. Remember, you might be needing two pairs of more, so it is best to have a budget while shopping around.
Even the strongest, fastest runners suffer from running injuries. Injuries usually happen when runners work too hard or without caution. But running injuries can be prevented. Here are some of the most common running injuries and ways how athletes can avoid them.
A stress fracture is a crack in the bone that causes discomfort or pain, often affecting the feet or shin. It happens when runners put too much pressure on their steps. For runners to prevent stress fracture, they must take enough time to rest. Continuous bone stress can lead to more injuries.
Achilles tendonitis is the inflammation of the large tendon (Achilles tendon) that attaches the calf to the back of the heel. Repetitive pain or stress usually cause this injury in the tendon area. Tight calf muscles are also to blame for this kind of injury. Runners can treat the area by doing calf stretches and icing the area.
Hamstring injuries happen when the leg muscles are weak. People who are flexible such as athletes and dancers are at risk of such injury due to their stretched-out muscles. Those who have muscular imbalance are also candidates for hamstring injuries. Some runners have to rest for weeks and even months before participating in long-distance marathons. A deep tissue massage can help runners recover from hamstring injuries.
A lot of runners think that foot blisters are normal after every marathon. Blisters can affect one’s running performance, especially those who are running long distance. Blisters can be prevented by stopping at the first signs of a hot spot. Runners can put a gel bandage or a moleskin band around the area.
Many people feel that breathing through their chests or upper bodies is good enough. While shallow breathing can be helpful at times, it can exhaust the upper chest and lungs. Practicing deep or diaphragmatic breathing prevents dizziness and nausea. It can also help the runner take in the appropriate amount of oxygen.
Learn breathing through the nose
Breathing through the nose helps runners breathe deeply and efficiently. People who run in cooler temperatures could experience dry air that can lead to asthma-like symptoms (e.g. coughing and wheezing). The human lungs work best with moist air, and breathing through the nose makes it possible to take in the moist air. It also filters out air impurities.
Match breathing to steps
Think of breathing and running as a dancing routine. Tempo and timing are important in breathing and running. For easy-paced jogs, try inhaling for three to four steps, and exhaling in the same number of steps. For intense runs, try breathing in for one to two steps, and exhaling at the same pace.
Steven Rindner is a business and corporate development executive. He enjoys running when he is not at work. Visit this blog for more running and exercise techniques.
In the past years, dehydration seemed to be the problem that made many runners weak. Not having enough electrolytes in their system affected their performance in marathons. This opened up opportunities for different sports drinks to find their way into the market and become the solution for those who need their fluids.
Since running became popular, sports and fitness experts have seen a new trend—over-hydration or hyponatremia. A body that is overhydrated and in action can also mean a low level of sodium in the blood. This could cause disorientation, confusion, muscle weakness, nausea, and vomiting. In worse cases, it could lead to seizures or cardiac arrest.
Experts from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and International Marathon Medical Directors Association (IMMDA) suggest that runners should only drink when they feel thirsty. People lose fluids at different rates and to avoid getting into extremes, runners should learn what happens to their bodies when it is time to hydrate.
A cup or two of water is safe enough to cover the first hour of a marathon. Sports drinks can also be consumed in small doses. Finishing multiple cups or a whole bottle might even be detrimental to one’s performance. Throughout the process, what’s important is that the body has an adequate amount of fluids to move swiftly.
Steven Rindner is a business and corporate development executive in the fields of in media, technology, real estate services, and healthcare businesses. For more running tips, subscribe to this blog.
Running is a good exercise. It gives people stronger bones and lessens the risk of cancer. Studies even show that running reduces stress, thus making people happier. If you are a runner, these facts may be enough for you to continue running. But if you’re a female runner, there’s more to know on how running’s effect on your body than the abovementioned. The facts below are for you.
Running affects your body differently than how it affects a man’s body. First off, you have estrogen, and this is the greatest difference between you and your male counterpart. Estrogen is the hormone that helps not only in metabolism but also in the absorption of calcium into the bones. Women can intensify their workout or running pace when their estrogen level is high, which happens when the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) from the pituitary gland rise as it releases the egg from the follicle preparing for pregnancy.
However, if you can do high-intensity workouts when your estrogen level is high, you must know how running can affect your menstrual cycle and estrogen levels, too. Running may result in irregular or absent menstruation. When this happens, the estrogen level becomes low, thus, causing lower bone density. Stress fracture may occur because of this, but to prevent this, you can take vitamin D and calcium.
Discharge when running is normal, as well as urinary leakage. According to research, the body movement when running causes intra-abdominal pressure, which leads to the uterus being pressed into the bladder and urethra that results in the leak.
Another thing that running does to a female’s body is that it may increase the risk of yeast infections. Sweat and discharge may cause your natural vaginal yeast to multiply, which can result in infections, discomfort, and severe itching. It’s recommended to wear synthetic garment because cotton and fiber cloths tend to moist more.
For pregnant women who are runners or who might be thinking of running, it must be noted that the activity is considered healthy during the first two trimesters. It helps in reducing nausea, heartburn, and leg cramps, as well as reducing risks of preeclampsia, hypertension, and gestational diabetes. However, pregnant women must avoid running if they are experiencing recurring bleeding and other heart and lungs complications.
Lastly, running affects women’s breasts. Breasts, big or small, endure a huge amount of force when running. The movement affects the breasts’ tissue. Thus, women must wear a bra with excellent support and fit, including molded and padded cups, underwire, and multiple hooks for easy adjustment.
These are just some things that you ought to know about. However, do not make these as excuses for you to stop doing what you love. Go, run!
More running tips and tricks for both male and female can be found on this Steven Rindnerblog .