Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Best Cities for Running!

September 27, 2016

In the October issue of Runner’s World, they analyzed more than 250 cities (populations greater than 160K) with the highest number of households per capita who reportedly participated in some form of running over the last twelve months.  Data was gathered from a variety of sources to create five categories of special importance to runners (presence of sanctioned clubs, races, and running stores; the number of trails, open spaces, running tracks, etc.; ideal running weather; access to healthy food options; and safety [crime and traffic] for pedestrians).   Here’s the list of the top-50.

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Boston, MA
  4. San Diego, CA
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Minneapolis, MN
  8. New York, NY
  9. Omaha, NE
  10. Denver, CO
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. Madison, WI
  13. Colorado Springs, CO
  14. San Jose, CA
  15. Los Angeles, CA
  16. Rochester, NY
  17. Pittsburgh, PA
  18. Tucson, AZ
  19. Raleigh, NC
  20. Boise, ID
  21. Oakland, CA
  22. Philadelphia, PA
  23. Sacramento, CA
  24. St. Louis, MO
  25. Buffalo, NY
  26. Virginia Beach, VA
  27. St. Paul, MN
  28. Richmond, VA
  29. Santa Rosa, CA
  30. Charlotte, NC
  31. Las Vegas, NV
  32. Tampa, FL
  33. Lincoln, NE
  34. Albuquerque, NM
  35. Cleveland, OH
  36. Cincinnati, OH
  37. Milwaukee, WI
  38. Atlanta, GA
  39. Des Moines, IA
  40. Irvine, CA
  41. Salt Lake City, UT
  42. Baltimore, MD
  43. Spokane, WA
  44. Honolulu, HI
  45. Indianapolis, IN
  46. Phoenix, AZ
  47. San Antonio, TX
  48. Miami, FL
  49. Oklahoma City, OK
  50. Houston, TX

Source: runnersworld.com/bestcities

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Fun Fact Friday!

September 16, 2016

The fun fact for today . . . did you know that 150,000 gallons of water pour over the Niagara Falls per second?

To add some more fun facts to the mix (courtesy of the October 2016 issue of Runner’s World) that will tie in with running as well as the upcoming Niagara Falls International Marathon (October 30, 2016).

  • .32 = the average amount of water, in gallons, that a runner sweats out per hour.
  • 4:19 = the median time it takes to finish a marathon.
  • 1.38 = the approximate amount of sweat, in gallons, that a runner perspires in the course of running a marathon.
  • 721 = the number of finishers at the 2015 Niagara Falls International Marathon.
  • 995 = the number of gallons sweated out at the 2015 Niagara Falls International Marathon.
  • 151 = the number of years the race needs to be held before marathon runners sweat out one second’s worth of  Niagara Falls’ output.

Back in the Groove!

July 30, 2016

Discipline, consistency, persistence . . . this has been the last six weeks as I have slowly regained my motivation and my stick-to-it-iveness with an exercise/diet program.  I started from scratch/ground zero in mid-June having gone more than a year-and-a-half between regular exercise, and boy, was it challenging, but it was time.  I’ve been able to maintain my focus now for several weeks and feel as though I’m truly back in my exercise groove.  I’ve been alternating my workouts with running, speed walking, and bicycling (and occasional weight workouts), and I feel great.  I’ve also change my diet a bit and have cut out a lot of the sugars and carbohydrates that I had come to love — they are now just the occasional reward.  Not only do I feel good, but I’ve dropped some of my unwanted pounds as well and I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.  It’s good to be back.  I may not get back to the fitness levels I possessed in my late 30s early 40s, but any improvement over my current levels is better than nothing.   My goal now: to stay in the groove while on vacation and traveling.  Wish me luck!  (What, me worry?  Piece of cake, right?)

Necktie of the Month – January 2016!

January 2, 2016

IMG_0818Happy New Year one and all! Well, it’s that time of year again.  The time to make resolutions that will probably only last a week or so.  But, in the spirit of resolutions, and since one of the most common resolutions is to get in better shape (e.g., exercise and/or eat correctly), it seems fitting to post my necktie of racing runners.  Whether or not you are a runner or have made getting into better shape a goal of yours this year, this novelty tie should prove to be inspirational.  This necktie was a gift from a friend of mine (thank you Bill Fisher).  He actually had two of these ties and decided to share one with this fellow runner last January; who am I to refuse a gift (and a necktie no less)?  And, because of the numerous colors incorporated into this tie, it will compliment almost any colored shirt in my closet.  However, due to the navy blue background, this necktie will look the best with my blue and/or beige dress shirts.  Are you ready to go for a run?

Timing is Everything!

September 30, 2015

Last weekend, the movie A Walk in the Woods was released in theaters throughout the country.  The movie is based upon the 1998 book by the same title by travel writer Bill Bryson that described his attempt to hike the Appalachian Trail (2,189 miles) from Georgia to Maine.  A very entertaining movie that got me thinking  . . . perhaps I might want to add this activity to my “bucket list.”  Ironically enough, when I opened the October issue of Runner’s World magazine, there was a column (The Latest) that reported upon the new world record on traversing the Appalachian Trail — Scott Jurek (ultrarunner) completed the distance (including the 515,000 feet of elevation change) in 46 days, eight hours, and seven minutes!  Wow, I’m exhausted just thinking about this blistering pace.  Below I will compare the new numbers versus the old record holder’s numbers, but before I get to that, here are some “fun” statistics about Jurek’s trek:

  • Fifty days without shaving
  • 8 showers taken (longest stretch between showers: 38 days)
  • 26 bear sightings
  • 3 injuries (endured)
  • 12 ticks removed
  • 4,000 bars/gels consumed

Jurek set the record at 2:03 PM on July 12th.  Here’s the head-to-head comparison.

Statistic / New Record Holder / Old Record Holder
Name / Scott Jurek / Pharr Davis
Age at the time of the record / 41 / 28
Direction of travel / North-to-South / South-to-North
Average hours of sleep per day / 4.5 / 6
Average daily calorie burn / 6,500 / 6,000
Highest mileage in a day / 59 / 60
Warmest day / 95 degrees / 101 degrees
Pairs of shoes worn / 8 / 7
Average pace per mile / 18:30 / 20:00

Source: Runner’s World magazine, October 2015

Self-Diagnosis for the Die-Hard Runner!

August 25, 2015

If you are a runner, chances are you have experienced one or more of these maladies. The secret to a successful and long running career revolves around being able to diagnose what’s wrong and either treat it (or prevent it in the first place).  Four of the more common lower-leg injuries include: calf strains, shin splints, stress fractures, and achilles tendinitis.  There are things you can do to prevent any of these from happening, but if you do succumb, then diagnose and treat it early.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to know the difference between simple aches and pains and an actual injury.  When in doubt, always consult a physician.

Do you have discomfort in your calf (twinge, tightness, excruciating pain)?  Chances are you have a calf strain. To treat it…

  • Don’t run.
  • Ice for 15 minutes, five times a day.
  • Wear a compression sleeve for the first 48-hours.
  • Elevate your leg above your hip for the first 48-hours.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications can help.
  • See a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve.

To prevent it . . .

  • Foam roll/stretch your calves daily.
  • Strength train.

Do you have tenderness or achiness along your shin?  This could be one of two things: shin splints or a stress fracture.

To treat shin splints . . .

  • Reduce your mileage and start cross-training.
  • Apply ice for 15 minutes, five times a day.
  • Consider arch supports if you tend to overpronate.
  • If the pain doesn’t subside with rest, stop running and see a doctor (to rule out a stress fracture).

To prevent them . . .

  • Always increase your mileage gradually.
  • Strength train (target your glutes and core).
  • Shorten your stride.
  • Be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D.

To treat a stress fracture . . .

  • Get medical care.
  • Avoid activities that put weight on your leg.
  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D.

To prevent them . . .

  • Increase your mileage gradually.
  • Have the right running shoes (overpronation can cause this issue).
  • Strength train (focus on the glutes and core).
  • Shorten your stride and increase your cadence (puts less stress on your shins)

Do you have mild to severe soreness along the Achilles Tendon?  Chances are you have Achilles Tendinitis.

To treat it . . .

  • Don’t run.  Swim, bike, or pool-run.
  • Ice for 15 minutes, five times a day.
  • Foam roll and strength train your calves.
  • See a doctor if there’s a lump in the tendon (sign of a tear).

To prevent it . . .

  • Do plyometric exercises.
  • Foam roll calves daily.
  • Increase mileage gradually.

Go forth and run well!

Source: Runner’s World magazine, August 2015.

Managing Your Sweat!

June 3, 2015

I really should have known this much sooner in my running/exercising career, but alas, I never considered it important enough to actual put pen to paper to arrive at a number needed to stay sufficiently hydrated.  This would account for the occasions (running and hiking) when I found myself cramping toward the end.  No matter how much I thought I was drinking to stay hydrated, it obviously was not enough.

And falling into the category of one who “sweats buckets” (i.e., I sweat a lot! Especially in the summer.), I should have applied this formula much sooner in life.  I’m sure it would have saved me from falling victim to cramps — the ultimate goal hijacker.  So, here’s the formula that I should have consulted years ago . . .

1.  Stand on the scale
Weigh yourself, then do an hour-long race-pace run in temperatures similar to what you will experience at the event (don’t drink [or pee] during this trial).  Upon your return, weigh yourself again.
EXAMPLE:
Weight 1 – 200 pounds
Weight 2 – 197 pounds

2.  Find your sweat rate
Multiply the difference by how many hours it will take you to complete the event.  Divide this total by your starting weight.  This is the percentage of your weight loss.  Subtract two percent.
EXAMPLE:
3 x 2 hours = 6
6/200 = 3%
3%-2% = 1%

3.  Fill your bottles
Multiply this percentage by your starting weight and then multiply this new number by 15.4.  This is the amount of water (in ounces) that you need to drink to ensure your peak performance.
EXAMPLE:
0.01 x 200 = 2
2 x 15.4 = 30.8 ounces.

Source: Men’s Health magazine, May 2015, p. 26.

I’ll Take the Stairs!

May 11, 2015

Yes, I always take the stairs (whenever possible) — it’s healthier and sometimes quicker than waiting on some elevators. But I have not yet caught the bug to actually stair-climb (i.e., race) my way up some tall buildings.   Stair-climbing has become a competitive sport and there are several races around the world for you to choose from . . . of course, here in the states, the race up the Empire State Building in New York City seems to be the one that most people are aware of.  For more information on tower running, check out http://www.towerrunning.com/ — this site provides a wealth of information on this sport.  Piotr Lobodzinski is the current world cup leader in the male division while Suzanne Walsham is the leader of the women’s division.  Runner’s World magazine even did an article on Suzy this month . . . here are some of the interesting facts/statistics about this 41-year-old Australian athlete (currently living in Singapore):

  • considered the world’s leading female stair-climber
  • has won 42 stair-climbing races
  • won the Vertical World Circuit and the Towerrunning World Cup (for the last three years)
  • has won nine (9) consecutive Swissôtel Vertical Marathons (Singapore)
  • won the race up the Empire State Building this year (her record sixth win in this race) — she reached the top (86th floor) in 12:30
    • 1,576 steps to reach the top of the Empire State Building
    • averaged 8.72 seconds per floor
    • knew she was going to win by the 40th floor (she couldn’t hear anyone behind her)
    • mantra: 2-4-6-8-turn

Walsham was quoted saying “I see run-ups as a race between me and the building.  The bonus is there’s always an amazing view at the end.”  (Runner’s World, May 2015)

Easy Warm Up!

August 19, 2014

I’m definitely one of those runners that really doesn’t do much warming up prior to heading out for my runs.   But the September issue of Runner’s World magazine (Sage Rountree) offers some easy suggestions for warming up your muscles while getting into your shoes.  Simply brilliant!

These activities will help to “activate your glutes, warm your leg muscles, and loosen your hip flexors and hamstrings.”  From the looks of it, you may need to have really well-developed balance to accomplish these tasks, but with time I’m sure we can all get there.

1.  Stand tall.
2.  Squat.
3.  Pull on your sock.
4.  Reach for your shoe.
5.  Roll your ankle.
6.  Tie your shoe.

Repeat with the other foot.

Here’s a video that demonstrates these techniques.

Has Your Running Flat-lined?

July 20, 2014

How often do you find yourself at that point that your exercise routine simply doesn’t seem to be providing you any improvement?  Stuck in a rut?  Bored?  The good news, you shouldn’t have to overall your entire routine to start seeing improvement again.  Here is a list of ten “tweaks” that you can institute to help you get fitter, faster, and more motivated . . .

1.  Add one mile to your long or tempo run.  Builds endurance.
2.  Move up the race-distance ladder, e.g., 5K to 10K.  Increases motivation.
3.  Add one repeat instead of just trying to do your repeats faster.  Work on your speed.
4.  Buy a new running accessory.  Provide yourself with some inspiration.
5.  Add a strength-training exercise.  Will assist with injury prevention.
6.  Add one daily fruit or vegetable serving.  Gives your body more nutrients as fuel.
7.  Add one dynamic stretch.  Provides a greater range of motion.
8.  Add one nightly half-hour of sleep.  Will increase your healthiness and your happiness.
9.  Take a running vacation.  Gives you something to get excited about.
10.  Add one non-running cardio session.  Variety is the spice of life.

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s start tweaking!