Hang My Medals https://www.hangmymedals.com It's ok to brag Wed, 06 Dec 2017 17:28:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mental Tips for Getting Past Injury http://www.hangmymedals.com/mental-tips-for-getting-past-injury/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/mental-tips-for-getting-past-injury/#respond Tue, 20 Dec 2016 15:07:55 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4315 How to Mentally Recover From Injury
Beyond any pain a runner may experience during a hard workout or race is the mental anguish that is experienced during injury. From grief to denial to depression, times of injury can be emotional whirlwinds. Do not let what is going in your running life affect the many other aspects of your well-being. Using the mental tips detailed below you can make it through an injury with minimal sadness.
Reframe
It is easy for ...

The post Mental Tips for Getting Past Injury appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
How to Mentally Recover From Injury

Beyond any pain a runner may experience during a hard workout or race is the mental anguish that is experienced during injury. From grief to denial to depression, times of injury can be emotional whirlwinds. Do not let what is going in your running life affect the many other aspects of your well-being. Using the mental tips detailed below you can make it through an injury with minimal sadness.

Reframe
It is easy for an injured athlete to feel like the world is ending due to an injury. Without an outlet for pent up energy combined the mind spiral that tends to occur (i.e. thoughts of upcoming races, weight gain, decreased fitness, etc.) it is easy to become depressed about the situation. Instead, use a reframing technique to keep your injury in perspective. For instance, if you have shin splints and are in the midst of taking a few days off, remind yourself that it could be worse and you could have a stress fracture that requires weeks off. If you have a stress fracture and are immobile, reframe the situation by reminding yourself that you are fortunate: you are only restricted in your movement for a few weeks while some people are rendered immobile for an entire lifetime.

Set goals outside of running
Times of injury are a perfect excuse to focus on other areas in your life or take up a new hobby. Set goals for yourself, such as to read a new book or cook a new recipe. During your time away from running explore different aspects of your life. It may feel like you are “cheating” on running, but when you re-approach the sport you will have a greater awareness that running is not (and should not be) the only activity that defines who you are. A good strategy is to divide your life into four quadrants: who you are as a runner, who you are as an employee, who you are as a person, and who you want to be as a person. Set goals in each of those four quadrants and focus on achieving them.

Stop Worrying
Injuries give us more time to think, which inevitably can lead to worry. If the injury occurred during a training cycle, worry trends towards whether you will be able to finish the race or even show up on the starting line. When you find yourself beginning to fret, remind yourself that worrying has never made an injury heal quicker or change the outcome of the race. On the contrary, worrying can slow healing because it signals additional stress to the brain.

Find inspiration elsewhere
It can be easy to give up on goals because you have sustained an injury. Find renewed hope by reading inspirational stories of athletes who overcame obstacles, injuries, or tragedies to still succeed. A personal favorite is the story of Joan Benoit Samuelson who had knee surgery 17 days before the 1984 Olympic Marathon Trials, yet still went on to win the race.

Look for the silver lining
Part of being human is adaption to bad situations. When you are laid up because of an injury make the most of it and look for the silver lining. For instance, spending less time running or exercising may give you more time to spend with your family or to work on a side project. You may have a chance to discover new activities, such as yoga, that you have been meaning to try but haven’t gotten around to. It’s okay to enjoy other hobbies just as much, if not more, than you enjoy running. This is a healthy part of your growth as an athlete and puts your involvement in the sport into perspective.

Log your progress
As you get over your injury it can be easy to lose track of how far you have come in your recovery. Keep a log to not only track the steps you are taking to get better (i.e. getting a massage, seeing a doctor, performing rehab activities, cross training, etc.) but also keep track of your symptoms in order to quantify how far you have come. This will help you maintain motivation when the going gets tough.

Develop good habits
Times of injury are great for developing the habits you know you should have but don’t. Have you been meaning to take up weight lifting? Now would be a great time to start working those activities into your routine.

Help others
Use your time away from running to give back to the running community. Volunteer at a local race, cheer on a fellow runner, help another injured colleague through the process, or organize a donation drive to a local charity. Helping others in need will help you have a better perspective on your injury.

Look at the big picture
Remember to take a step back periodically and look at the big picture. Sure, the few weeks or months that you are injured are not ideal, but in the grand scheme of running as a lifelong activity, what does this small period of time matter? One injury will not make or break your running career, but the attitude with which you approach your injury can have implications for your success.

Develop a mantra
No matter how positive you try to remain during your injury there will be days that are tougher than others. Perhaps an unseasonably nice day will make you wish you were out running, or watching a group of runners trotting down the street will make you jealous. Develop a mantra to remind yourself that things will get better. Mantras can include, “this too shall pass,” “everything happens for a reason,” or “tough times don’t last, but tough people do.”

Remind yourself that running is not your identity
Many runners suffer anxiety during injury because they feel that running is a major component of who they are. However, runners should remember that there is much more to life than running and to always have a backup plan for other life areas when setbacks arise.

Let us know if you have some mental tips that you like to use. Comment below or join us on Facebook.

The post Mental Tips for Getting Past Injury appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/mental-tips-for-getting-past-injury/feed/ 0
Essential Gear for Runners http://www.hangmymedals.com/essential-gear-for-runners/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/essential-gear-for-runners/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 15:07:19 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4313 Gear for Runners
Brand new runners are often overwhelmed by just how big the running gear and apparel market truly is. With each brand promising to deliver a product that is bigger and better while also being faster and lighter than anything else on the market, it can be difficult to figure out what you truly need to spend your money on. Below is a guide outlining the necessities that every runner should have in his or her closet.
Shoes

The post Essential Gear for Runners appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Gear for Runners

Brand new runners are often overwhelmed by just how big the running gear and apparel market truly is. With each brand promising to deliver a product that is bigger and better while also being faster and lighter than anything else on the market, it can be difficult to figure out what you truly need to spend your money on. Below is a guide outlining the necessities that every runner should have in his or her closet.

Shoes
Obviously the most important item a runner can buy, this is the one necessity that all runners should spare no expense in purchasing.

If the proper shoe for you is in the $100+ range, comparing that to the cost of seeing the doctor, going to a physical therapist, or having to take time off from running can make the purchase seem more worthwhile.

Additionally, deals on running shoes can be found online periodically through the year, and it is never a bad idea to stock up when your favorite model goes on sale. When purchasing running shoes for the first time, go to a local running store and get fitted by the professionals.

It’s a good idea to make your first running shoe purchase from the store if they helped you find the right fit, but after that it is okay to search for a better deal online.

Socks
For such a simple every day item, the right pair of socks can make or break a run. Socks should be composed of sweat-wicking materials in order to keep feet dry and blister free. Some runners prefer toe socks, which inhibit the development of blisters between toes.

Although running-specific socks are often pricier than their casual counterparts, the additional comfort is well worth the price.

Moisture-Wicking Underwear
A second item that is often overlooked, the difference between moisture wicking underwear and cotton underwear is life changing, especially in the winter months. Look for styles that are seamless and made specifically for working out in.

While improper undergarments are not likely to lead to injury, blisters, or chafing, they will make your run more comfortable, which is why it is absolutely worth spending a few extra dollars on a good pair, especially for long runs or workouts.

Shorts
If you have been looking at running shorts but have balked after seeing the price tag, you are not alone. Yes, running clothes are expensive. However, a good pair of running shorts will make you feel cool (literally) and confident, and will be convenient as well.

Unlike athletic shorts, running shorts have an inner pocket that is large enough to hold a pair of keys and an ID. Some styles also have additional zippered pockets that can store gels or your cell phone. The material will be breathable and moisture wicking, and will also guard against chafing.

Numerous styles are available including compression, split-leg, spandex, or even skorts (shorts with a skirt over the top). Find a style fits your level of modesty and enjoy the benefits that running shorts provide.

Capris
Running capris are the unsung hero of spring and fall running when the weather is not quite cold enough for tights, but too chilly for shorts. Every runner should have at least one pair in his or her closet.

Tights
Attempting to run through the winter while wearing shorts is not advised and can lead to injuries and frostbite. Invest in a good pair of tights made from thick material or ones that are even fleece lined. If you are uncomfortable wearing tights as pants, simply wear a pair of shorts over the top.

Sports Bra
For many women, the difference between a great workout and a failed workout is a properly fitting sports bra. Like running shoes, this is one area where a person should not skimp if the best item for her body is expensive. Women should look for bras with comfortable bands and straps that do not chafe or pinch, as well as bras that are properly compressive.

Base Layer
A good base layer t-shirt is one that is light and moisture wicking, and can also stand up to multiple washings. Thanks to the trend of road races handing out technical t-shirts now instead of cotton tees, beginning runners can avoid purchasing high-priced shirts and simply race a 5k instead!

Jacket
A comfortable wind and waterproof jacket is typically the difference between going out for a run or being forced to work out on the treadmill. Look for a jacket that is fitted and has good pockets.

Sunglasses
Not only do sunglasses protect your eyes, but they can also keep a runner from having poor form at the end of a race or run.

When wearing sunglasses, a person naturally holds his or her head up in order to avoid having the glasses fall off the face; however, at the end of a run, people often look down, which can lead to a less efficient stride. Remedy this problem by wearing sunglasses and as a bonus, you will be less likely to squint, which will keep your shoulders from becoming tense.

Gloves
Nothing can make a run more miserable in the winter than having cold hands. The investment in a pair of gloves that keeps your hands warm and dry is worth every penny!

Reflective Gear
If planning to run early in the morning or after dark, reflective gear is a necessity. Look for tights that have reflective strips behind the knees or shirts and jackets with reflective strips on the chest and shoulders. Alternatively, clip-on LED lights or vests can also be worn to drastically increase visibility.

Compression Gear
If you are prone to calf soreness, shin splints, or muscle cramps, compression socks and sleeves will improve recovery and aid in long runs or workouts. Not just for grannies, compression sleeves can be found on many competitors at every ability level.

Compression works by drawing blood to the lower legs which flushes out soreness inducing metabolites, like lactic acid, and replenishing the veins with fresh blood.

MedalMinder
Our list would not be complete without a solution for showing off your medals. Choose the MedalMinder that you like and brag about your accomplishments!

Tell us about your favorite gear in the comments below or join us on Facebook.

The post Essential Gear for Runners appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/essential-gear-for-runners/feed/ 0
Tips for Coming Back from Injury http://www.hangmymedals.com/tips-for-coming-back-from-injury/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/tips-for-coming-back-from-injury/#respond Tue, 29 Nov 2016 15:06:39 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4311 Injury Recovery Tips
Once an injured athlete has been cleared to return to his or her sport of choice it can be tempting to tackle workouts at the same intensity as before the injury. However, during the first few weeks post-injury athletes should be cautious as to not re-injure themselves. Listed below are tips for returning to exercise safely and effectively.
Take it slowly
Do not assume that you can return to the level you were at immediately before injury. ...

The post Tips for Coming Back from Injury appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Injury Recovery Tips

Once an injured athlete has been cleared to return to his or her sport of choice it can be tempting to tackle workouts at the same intensity as before the injury. However, during the first few weeks post-injury athletes should be cautious as to not re-injure themselves. Listed below are tips for returning to exercise safely and effectively.

Take it slowly
Do not assume that you can return to the level you were at immediately before injury. Even if you cross trained religiously, your body will not be in optimal condition for your particular sport, and your injury will be at risk for relapse. A good rule of thumb is to return at no more than 50% of your volume prior to injury with low intensity for the first week back. The following week you can increase volume by no more than 25%, and by the third week you can jump up to 90% volume while reintroducing intense workouts.

Avoid running with others
Although social running is typically a healthy activity that can make the miles fly by, running with other people immediately after injury may inhibit a runner from listening to his or her body. Running alone enables a person to be fully aware of what his or her body is saying, such as delivering pain cues or requiring a quick break.

Have a plan
When returning from injury it is important to have a detailed plan and to stick to it. Choosing to “play it by ear” can cause you to overdo your return to running if you are feeling especially good. Instead, take a conservative approach by setting activity limits on yourself daily. This tactic will keep you from experiencing a relapse and will recharge your mind, making you excited and ready to run.

Erase expectations
Having expectations about an upcoming racing season or fitness level can push you to try and come back from injury faster than is safe. When you are injured you should eliminate your racing plans, at least temporarily, in order to provide yourself with a pressure-free atmosphere.

Know the difference between good pain and bad pain
You are likely to feel residual pain near an injury site when returning to running, especially if coming back from a muscle or bone injury. If the pain is dull or aching, it is likely safe to continue running, but if you feel a sudden or sharp pain, stop immediately.

Continue cross training
Instead of completely eliminating cross training from your routine as soon as you are cleared to exercise, gradually reduce the amount of time spent cross training and increase the amount of time spent running. Cross training is good for supplementing fitness and its continued incorporation will keep you from jumping back into running too much too soon.

Incorporate strength training
Once your are past your injury begin strength training in order to prevent a re-occurrence. Seek the advice from a doctor or physical therapist on which exercises would be best for you and do them regularly.

Join the Discussion on Facebook

The post Tips for Coming Back from Injury appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/tips-for-coming-back-from-injury/feed/ 0
Sports Drink Comparison http://www.hangmymedals.com/sports-drink-comparison/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/sports-drink-comparison/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 15:05:51 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4309 How Sports Drinks Compare
With the numerous sports drinks available on the market it can be difficult to determine which is best for you. Ultimately, the easiest way to find your favorite drinks is by testing each during exercise, but the guide shown below is a handy explanation of the differences (as well as the advantages and disadvantages) of some of the many products available.
Gatorade
Gatorade is the original electrolyte drink that was developed specifically for the rehydration of ...

The post Sports Drink Comparison appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
How Sports Drinks Compare

With the numerous sports drinks available on the market it can be difficult to determine which is best for you. Ultimately, the easiest way to find your favorite drinks is by testing each during exercise, but the guide shown below is a handy explanation of the differences (as well as the advantages and disadvantages) of some of the many products available.

Gatorade
Gatorade is the original electrolyte drink that was developed specifically for the rehydration of athletes. It is arguably the most popular brand, and is available in a myriad of flavors and formulations. Gatorade also provides carbohydrates which are necessary during long and hard efforts. Besides being available as a bottled drink, it can also be purchased in powder form, allowing users to create their own concentrations and flavors. The advantage is that Gatorade is convenient and there is a flavor available for every palate. However, Gatorade has been criticized for its high sugar content, as well as the effect of this drink on teeth (a study published in The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice found that Gatorade can be more detrimental to tooth enamel than Coca-Cola.) The key to healthy Gatorade consumption is to use it for its intended purpose (for replacing electrolytes and providing energy) as opposed to drinking it after light exercise where electrolyte replenishment may not be necessary.

Powerade
Perhaps the biggest competitor to Gatorade, Powerade has a similar carbohydrate and electrolyte profile to the popular sports drinks. They both contain the same amount of carbohydrates; however, the type of sugars they contain varies. Gatorade is comprised of sucrose and dextrose, while Powerade’s main carbohydrate source is high fructose corn syrup. Some people may choose to avoid Powerade for this reason. Additionally, the electrolyte profiles are slightly different, with Powerade containing 10 mg less sodium, and 10 mg less potassium. An advantage of Powerade is that it contains a better vitamin profile than Gatorade with additional B-3. B-6, and B-12 supplementation.

Nuun
Nuun is a relatively new sports drink brand that markets easy-to-dissolve tablets that are pre-formulated to be dropped into 16-ounce water bottles. The electrolyte profile of Nuun is superior to that of Gatorade and Powerade, as it contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin C. There is also a wider range of products, including Nuun Active (meant for replenishing electrolytes after vigorous activity), Plus for Nuun (containing electrolytes and carbohydrates), Nuun Energy (essentially Nuun Active with added caffeine), and Nuun All Day (hydration for non-active periods of the day). Nuun also has a wide range of flavors in traditional flavors such as lemon + lime and grape, as well as unique offerings like watermelon. However, the new formulation of Nuun contains Stevia Leaf Extract, which has angered some of its customer base.

EXOS
A niche brand in the market, EXOS is a powdered drink mix that replenishes electrolytes lost due to sweat. In comparison to the other brands already mentioned, EXOS provides the most electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, and the ingredient list contains the following: Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Chromium, Chloride, Sodium, Potassium, and D-Ribose. The price of this product may be prohibitive, as it is $35 for 30 servings, and it contains Stevia Leaf Extract as well, which does not make this item a good alternative for people avoiding Nuun due to this sweetener.

Tailwind
Tailwind was designed for ultra endurance athletes seeking a product that was different from the traditional options already available. This product is unique because it is intended to provide all the calories, electrolytes, and hydration needs that are necessary during all day or multi day events. For athletes who have found traditional electrolyte replenishing drinks or carbohydrate sources to cause an upset stomach, Tailwind is specifically formulated in order to avoid that problem. The carbohydrate sources in this powder are sucrose and glucose, which are easily digestible. No artificial sweeteners, dyes, or flavors are used, which is beneficial for people with food sensitivities. The price of Tailwind is also among the more reasonable options on this list, at $35 for 50 servings.

Skratch Labs
Skratch Labs products were originally designed by cyclists looking for a natural solution for hydration and nutrition, due to the abundance of products on the market that contained artificial ingredients. The hydration products from Skratch Labs contain less sugar, more sodium, and are flavored with real fruit instead of “natural flavors.” The result is a simple product with few ingredients. One serving of Skratch contains twice the amount of sodium as Gatorade and the only ingredients are cane sugar, dextrose, sodium citrate, citric acid, magnesium, calcium, potassium, Vitamin C, and fruit juice. This product is an ideal solution for anyone who is looking for a simple electrolyte replacement drink without any additional ingredients.

Let us know what your favorite sports drinks are. Comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.

 

 

The post Sports Drink Comparison appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/sports-drink-comparison/feed/ 0
How Many Miles to Put on a Running Shoe http://www.hangmymedals.com/how-many-miles-to-put-on-a-running-shoe/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/how-many-miles-to-put-on-a-running-shoe/#respond Wed, 09 Nov 2016 15:05:13 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4307 Running Shoe Wear
A common question among runners is how many miles can be safely put on a pair of running shoes. Ultimately, the answer to this question is dependent on a number of factors and there is no right number for everyone.
In general, manufacturers recommend that running shoes can be worn for 300 – 500 miles. With the introduction of materials such as Fresh Foam from New Balance and Boost technology from Adidas, a big selling point is ...

The post How Many Miles to Put on a Running Shoe appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Running Shoe Wear

A common question among runners is how many miles can be safely put on a pair of running shoes. Ultimately, the answer to this question is dependent on a number of factors and there is no right number for everyone.

In general, manufacturers recommend that running shoes can be worn for 300 – 500 miles. With the introduction of materials such as Fresh Foam from New Balance and Boost technology from Adidas, a big selling point is that these shoes will be more durable than those made from traditional materials (hence the higher price tag).

The number of miles that can be put on a pair of shoes is also dependent on the runner’s form, foot strike, weight, biomechanics, and preferred running surface. For instance, a runner with a heavier build who primarily runs on asphalt will wear out his or her shoes faster than a lighter runner who prefers grass and trails. Similarly, a runner with a neutral foot strike may be able to wear a pair of shoes longer than someone who heavily pronates or supinates.

The answer to shoe lifetime also depends on how the shoe is constructed. A lightweight or minimal shoe may not last as long as a heavily cushioned shoe. Racing flats are typically only good for 50 – 150 miles, while certain trail shoe models have been known to last well over 1,000 miles.

The most important component when determining a shoe’s lifetime is to listen to your body. Minor aches and pains in the shins, knees, and hips can often be cured by purchasing a new pair of shoes. It is always a good idea to keep track of how many miles have been logged on individual pairs of running shoes and to look for trends regarding when you feel they should be replaced.

The post How Many Miles to Put on a Running Shoe appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/how-many-miles-to-put-on-a-running-shoe/feed/ 0
Importance of a Running Log for Beginning Runners http://www.hangmymedals.com/importance-running-log-beginning-runners/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/importance-running-log-beginning-runners/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:04:39 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4305 Running Logs For Beginners
One of the most essential tools that every runner should utilize, especially beginners, is a running log. Training journals are as diverse as the runners who write in them, from a simple excel spreadsheet keeping track of daily mileage to a detailed, handwritten journal that tracks distance, time, feelings, weather, route, etc. There is no right or wrong way to log, but listed below are reasons why keeping a log is right for everyone.
Promotes Mindfulness

The post Importance of a Running Log for Beginning Runners appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Running Logs For Beginners

One of the most essential tools that every runner should utilize, especially beginners, is a running log. Training journals are as diverse as the runners who write in them, from a simple excel spreadsheet keeping track of daily mileage to a detailed, handwritten journal that tracks distance, time, feelings, weather, route, etc. There is no right or wrong way to log, but listed below are reasons why keeping a log is right for everyone.

Promotes Mindfulness
Many runners fall into a trap of inconsistency, which can negatively affect running performance. Keeping a log helps runners be more mindful in their training, whether that is not taking too many days off in a row or realizing that a day off may be required.

Keeps Injuries at Bay
Logs also help runners track patterns in their running. If you consistently note that your shins feel sore after particularly hilly runs, a log can help you identify that you should either avoid routes with big topography changes or work towards rehabilitating your shins. You can also look back and see how long certain aches or pains have been bothering you, which will promote taking proper care of your body.

Tracks Progress
One of the best uses of a training log is to track your progress as a beginner. In the beginning it can be easy to become overwhelmed with training, but being able to look back and see how far your running has come since you first began is rewarding and affirming.

Provides Motivation
Once you develop the habit of logging, the training journal can serve as a useful motivational tool. It is much harder to decide not to go for a run when you know that means you will be forced to write a big “0” in your log for the day.

 

 

 

The post Importance of a Running Log for Beginning Runners appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/importance-running-log-beginning-runners/feed/ 0
Proper Form for Running http://www.hangmymedals.com/proper-form-for-running/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/proper-form-for-running/#respond Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:03:56 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4303 Proper Running Form
Running, perhaps more than any other sport, is an exercise in efficiency. How quickly can you get from point A to point B? How quickly can you travel while expending the least amount of energy? How can you reduce your energy output?
These questions are the basis of training and running, and the driving force behind the answers has to do with bio-mechanics and proper running form. To a certain extent, form cannot be changed beyond what ...

The post Proper Form for Running appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Proper Running Form

Running, perhaps more than any other sport, is an exercise in efficiency. How quickly can you get from point A to point B? How quickly can you travel while expending the least amount of energy? How can you reduce your energy output?

These questions are the basis of training and running, and the driving force behind the answers has to do with bio-mechanics and proper running form. To a certain extent, form cannot be changed beyond what nature intended. For instance, runners will never be able to change the width of their hips or whether they are pigeon toed or knock-kneed.

However, other common issues, such as improper arm carriage, can be worked on and fixed. While no one will ever be able to completely change his or her form from looking more like a cross country skier to mimicking a world class 400 m runner, small changes can be made to improve efficiency and ultimately drop time. Listed below are all the important aspects of proper form and what can be done to make improvements.

Head Carriage
You may be wondering what role head carriage could possibly have with running, when feet, legs, and arms are the body parts that propel forward motion. Here is an experiment for you: bob your head up and down, and now keep it still. The bobbing was less comfortable, right?

As you are running, it is important to keep your head level and relaxed as you propel yourself forward. A bobbing head will quickly lead to tired neck muscles, which will lead to tense shoulders, which will lead to tired arms, which will lead to heavy legs.

In running, every single body part is connected and should be addressed as one important cog in the grand scheme of the machine. One way to force yourself to have a still head is to wear sunglasses.

You are naturally conditioned to try and keep sunglasses on your face, which will help eliminate the head bob. Neck stretching and strengthening exercises, such as those practiced during a yoga session, can also help calm the neck muscles that cause this problem.

Facial Tension
Scrunch your face up into a scowl and take notice of how the rest of your body reacts: neck and shoulders likely tense up, as does the mid-back. Now, form a smile on your face and think about how this makes you feel. If you are like most people, your body immediately relaxed.

The same process is true while you are running. Being mindful to keep your face relaxed and free of tension can keep the body relaxed as well. This is a second reason to wear sunglasses or a hat during a race, as keeping your eyes from squinting in the sun is important for maintaining optimal relaxation of those facial muscles.

During a race it is never a bad idea to smile, either. Even if you are not happy, a smile can signal to your brain that everything is okay and will help release tension in other parts of your body.

Shoulders
Following suit with our other experiments, scrunch your shoulders up to your ears and swing your arms. Now, relax your shoulders and repeat the arm swinging movement. Do you notice a difference? During a race you will hear people yell at the runners to relax their shoulders. They are not simply yelling this because a photographer is ahead, but also because releasing that tension will lead to better form and a more efficient stride.

When your shoulders are hunched, notice how the muscles in your back, particularly those near your ribs, also become tense. Any additional tension in your body will lead to inefficiencies and soreness, not to mention a worse finishing time.

Arm Carriage
The most noticeable differences among runners are arm swing and arm carriage. There is a sweet spot for arm carriage that is not too high and not too low.

Stand up and practice swinging your arms at different heights, including with arms squeezed up into your armpits and also with your arms down straight at your sides.

Now, bend your elbow so that your bicep and forearm form a 90o angle and swing your arms as if you were running. This, here, is the sweet spot. Do you notice how your shoulders and back do not have any tension, yet your arms are better able to propel your body forward than when they hung straight at your sides? This is the arm carry you should strive for when you run.

Arm Swing
The way your arms swing is very important and can be the difference between an efficient and inefficient stride. Remain standing and swing your arms with perfect back and forth motion, like a pendulum.Think about the mantra “pick your pocket, pick your nose,” meaning that your hand swings behind your hip on the backswing and towards your nose on the front swing.

Now, swing your arms such that they cross past your belly button, with elbows swinging outward. Do you notice how your hips respond? When your arms cross in front of your torso you introduce lateral movement into your stride.

The more laterally you move the less forward momentum you have. In order to quickly and efficiently get from point A to point B, you should minimize lateral movement as much as possible.

Core
While still standing, relax your core completely and swing your arms. You are likely slightly hunched over with a small forward bend in your hips. Now, engage your core (as if you were trying to show off a six pack) and notice how your posture improves and your arm swing feels more effortless.

Now, repeat the experiment (with engaged and non-engaged core) but walk in place with high knees. Do you notice the difference? Your knees can drive much higher with an engaged core, while you may feel “stuck” when you are slouched.

Hips
Hip alignment is a crucial aspect of proper form, not only from a lateral perspective, but vertically as well. Place your hands flat, parallel to the ground, and rest them on the tops of your hip bones. Look to see that your hands are resting at an equal height relative one another. If not, a trip to the chiropractor may be in order, as uneven hips can lead to multiple imbalances and inefficiencies, not to mention injury.

Next, experiment with the positioning of your hips. For instance, sway your back and push your butt out, titling your hips forward. While in this position, try to lift your knees. Now, do the opposite and draw your stomach in while trying to flatten your back, sending the bottom of your pelvis forward.

Repeat the movement with your knees and notice how much higher your knees can drive. In the latter position, you also likely engaged your glutes by squeezing the muscles in your rear. The gluteus maximus muscles are responsible for producing the power that propels you forward, and for this reason you are also able to drive your knees higher.

Strengthening your lower abs and pelvic floor muscles can lead to better hip alignment which is important for running. To work on your core, practice engaging your low abs by drawing your belly inwards and trying to align your tailbone with the rest of your spine.

Knee Drive
As you have experienced in the previous demonstrations, knee drive is correlated to other issues, such as pelvic alignment and posture. However, we have not discussed why knee drive is important.

This concept may seem counter-intuitive, because we already discussed that forward motion is better than vertical or lateral movements. However, efficiently being able to lift your knees is necessary because this will increase the length of your stride, as well as your power and foot strike, which will ultimately lead to faster running.

Foot Strike
In a perfect world, the most natural foot strike would be for a runner to land firmly and evenly on the ball of his or her foot. However, many factors result in very few people actually achieving this ideal, even among professional runners. Instead, many runners strike on their heels, which is not only less efficient, but can lead to a number of injuries.

In order to understand the difference between a heel strike and mid-foot strike, walk across the room on your toes, and now walk across the room on your heels. Which style of walking was easier? Which style seemed to use the fewest muscles? Walking on your toes should feel more natural, and should also lead to better propulsion, while walking on your heels can give the sensation of taking one step forward and two steps back.

Forward Momentum
For our final thought experiment, consider for yourself what gets from point A to point B quicker: a pogo stick, or a bicycle? You should take this thought into consideration the next time you go for a run. Are your movements more vertical, or more horizontal? In an ideal world, your head would move in a straight line with no additional “bounce” as your feet touch the ground.

How does Poor Form Develop?
Have you ever noticed a child with exceptionally bad running form? Likely not, as children have more relative functional strength than their adult counterparts.

Over time as children transition into adults they begin to sit for longer periods of time (thus inactivating their glute muscles), become tense in the shoulders while sitting at a desk, and develop muscle imbalances from seemingly benign activities such as crossing one’s legs while sitting, carrying a purse, tilting the head to talk on the phone, driving for long periods of time, or even carrying a wallet in a back pocket.

Other factors such as the widening of hips and the gaining of weight also throws off running form. Carrying a water bottle or a phone while running can also change a person’s natural form over time.

Nature vs. Nurture?
Many runners question whether form should be changed. To determine what the most natural form is for an individual, go to a track or other quiet area and try to run as quietly as possible, meaning you should try and limit the amount of noise your feet make when they hit the ground, while still running at a normal pace.

The way in which you run during this experiment is the most natural form for your body and is what you should strive to achieve. Some coaches argue against trying to change a person’s form too much, given that too drastic of a change my lead to injury, especially if new muscles are utilized. For this reason, finding the most natural form for each individual and working towards that ideal is better than trying to fit into a one-size-fits-all mold.

Fixing Bad Form
How should bad form be fixed? The most important tool to use is mindfulness. Simply knowing that your form would be better if you cocked your hips differently or held your arms at a different position can go a long way.

Perhaps an even easier way to fix form is to run more miles. The human body naturally wants to expend less energy and will develop methods on its own to make the additional miles more energy efficient.

Form drills can also help the body create an awareness of the form that is desired while strengthening the muscles required for implementation. Finally, strength training of specific body parts or muscle groups can also lead to improved mechanics.

Should Shoes be Used to Fix Form?
Certain running shoes, especially those from the minimalism trend, are marketed as being able to fix a person’s bad running form. While this assertion is true to an extent (i.e. these shoes will force a person to run more on his or her toes as opposed to on the heels), no one should leave it solely up to a pair of shoes to repair bio-mechanics. Minimalist shoes can be used as a tool, but additional work is required.

The post Proper Form for Running appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/proper-form-for-running/feed/ 0
Hydration Packs Explained http://www.hangmymedals.com/hydration-packs-explained/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/hydration-packs-explained/#respond Wed, 19 Oct 2016 14:03:19 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4301 Hydration Packs
Hydration is an important component of training and recovery, but water fountains are not always readily available, especially out on the trail. For those extra long or hot runs when hydration is necessary, what can a runner do to ensure his or her needs are met? Enter the hydration packs. Available in numerous styles, there is a make and model that fits the need of each type of runner. Listed below is a comparison of the most popular ...

The post Hydration Packs Explained appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Hydration Packs

Hydration is an important component of training and recovery, but water fountains are not always readily available, especially out on the trail. For those extra long or hot runs when hydration is necessary, what can a runner do to ensure his or her needs are met? Enter the hydration packs. Available in numerous styles, there is a make and model that fits the need of each type of runner. Listed below is a comparison of the most popular styles.

Hand Held
Water bottles that are attached to hand straps are perhaps the most popular option for runners who live in especially warm climates or who have special hydration needs. The size of these bottles (typically 6 – 12 ounces) is perfect for a shorter run, but may need to be refilled for any run lasting more than an hour. The hand strap makes these bottles easy to carry, and most also have a zippered pouch that can hold phone, ID, and keys.

Advantages and Disadvantages
Hand held water bottles are great for shorter runs, but their limited capacity makes them impractical if planning to be gone for a long time without a chance to refill the bottle. Carrying a bottle in one hand while leaving the other hand empty can also throw off a person’s form, leading to imbalances and even potential injuries. If prone to tripping over tree roots or cracks in the side walk, having only one hand free can lead to particularly bad falls.

Backpack
A second type of hydration pack is the backpack system, which contains a bladder situated inside a small pouch that is strapped to a runner’s back. A long flexible straw runs from the pack to the runner’s mouth for easy and continuous hydration. These packs are ideal for longer runs as they can hold up to 128 ounces.

Advantages and Disadvantages
The clear advantage here is that runners are able to keep their hands free and more evenly distribute the weight of the hydration pack across their bodies in comparison to a hand held device. The larger size of this pack makes it great for long trail runs or races. Additionally, most packs have additional storage space for holding nutrition, keys, trail maps, ID, and phone. Look for a pack that has a vacuum sealed bladder that will compress as water is consumed, otherwise sloshing will occur when the pack is no longer full. A common complaint among runners regarding hydration backpacks is that the bladder can be a hassle to clean, requiring rinses with vinegar to keep mold and mildew at bay. For people prone to chafing, the straps may also cause irritation.

Arm Band
For runners who would like the lightness of the hand held combined with the hands free convenience of the backpack, an arm band may be suitable. Arm band hydration packs attach to the arm in a similar manner as a phone or mp3 player while containing a small (typically 6 – 8 oz) bottle. These are perfect for a runner attempting a short run on a hot and humid day, or someone who would like to practice hydration during a workout. Two types of options are available – arm bands with removable bottles, and arm bands with a refillable bladder, like the kind found in a backpack.

Advantages and Disadvantages
Arm band hydration packs do not hold a lot of water, which leads to questions of their usefulness. While they eliminate the inconvenience of only having one hand free during the run (as is the case with a hand held bottle), they still can cause poor form, as one side of the body carries more weight. If using the type of arm band that has a removable bottle, grabbing the bottle during a run can be difficult, as one arm must completely cross over the body. The arm band hydration packs that contain a bladder with a short straw may be more convenient. Arm bands typically do not have additional space for storing small items, such as keys, so they may be additionally inconvenient for some runners.

Hydration Belt
For runners who prefer to drink from water bottles and have even weight distribution while keeping their hands free, a hydration belt may be the best bet. These belts loop around the waist and hold two or four 6 – 8 ounce water bottles. Water can be accessed conveniently, and there is no need to clean a bladder and line. Hydration belts are often seen during long trail races or ultra-marathons. Some models contain additional storage space for small items.

Advantages and Disadvantages
Finding the right belt is important as chafing and bouncing can be a major issue if the belt is not the proper fit. For people who wear hydration belts, the sound of water sloshing is not an annoyance, because it is unavoidable with these systems. Runners using hydration belts should be careful to drink from each bottle evenly, as carrying weight discrepancies on the hips can lead to alignment issues, especially among women or those with wider hips. In comparison to a hydration backpack, some runners find the belt preferable because it traps less heat on a person’s back and there are fewer straps to potentially cause chafing.

Fanny Pack
A final type of hydration pack that is common among runners is the fanny pack. Not to be confused with the hydration belt, a fanny pack is a smaller belt that sits on the waist and holds a single bottle that is ergonomically placed at an angle in the pack as opposed to vertically. Some fanny packs contain a bladder with a straw, similar to a backpack. Fanny packs can hold one 12 ounce bottle or a 60 ounce bladder.

Advantages and Disadvantages
The fanny pack is a great system for someone looking for hands free convenience as well as freedom from sloshing (if using the model with a bladder). This style is most customizable, as a wide range of fluid amounts can be carried. Fanny packs also allow for additional small item storage.

And finally the MedalMinder! This really has nothing to do with hydration packs but it is a great way to hang all your medals.

 

The post Hydration Packs Explained appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/hydration-packs-explained/feed/ 0
Essential Gear for Triathletes http://www.hangmymedals.com/essential-gear-for-triathletes/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/essential-gear-for-triathletes/#respond Wed, 12 Oct 2016 14:02:41 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4299 Gear for Triathletes
Thinking of getting into triathlons? Before you begin you should keep in mind the amount of gear for triathletes that is required to successfully complete a triathlon, especially at the competitive level. Listed below are the bare necessities to get you through the swim-bike-run.
Swimming
Unless you are already a competitive swimmer, much of the cost for a new triathlete comes from buying swim gear.
Wet Suit/Tri Suit
Beginners who are unsure whether they will stick with ...

The post Essential Gear for Triathletes appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Gear for Triathletes

Thinking of getting into triathlons? Before you begin you should keep in mind the amount of gear for triathletes that is required to successfully complete a triathlon, especially at the competitive level. Listed below are the bare necessities to get you through the swim-bike-run.

Swimming
Unless you are already a competitive swimmer, much of the cost for a new triathlete comes from buying swim gear.

Wet Suit/Tri Suit
Beginners who are unsure whether they will stick with the sport should pick up a simple wet suit for the swim portion; however, those who plan to stick around for a while should consider a tri suit, which can be worn from start to finish as it is designed to be durable enough to be worn for the swim, bike, and run. The body is quick drying while the shorts are padded for the long haul on the bike.

Wet Suit Lubricant
The neck opening of the wet suit or tri suit is prone to chafing as the athlete continually turns his or her head to breathe. Pick up a good lubricant designed for triathletes and apply liberally around the neck.

Goggles
A good-fitting pair of goggles are essential during the race, and packing an extra pair (or two) never hurts. Look for a tinted pair to use if the race will be held in sunny conditions.

Swim Cap
Many athletes find that a swim cap is most comfortable, especially to avoid having to put a bike helmet on over wet hair. The race will likely include a swim cap in the goody bag, but bring your own just in case.

Towel
Look for a microfiber towel to help you dry off quickly before hopping on the bike during the first transition.

Snack
Eating a snack after the swim and before the bike is a good idea, as is packing race nutrition (such as energy bars or gels) into your pockets or onto the bike.

Water Bottle
Have a water bottle ready in the transition area so that you can quickly rehydrate before getting on the bike. Although your bike will have a water bottle you may not remember to drink until you are well past the first transition.

Bike
If you are planning to participate in triathlons you likely already own a bicycle, but if not, this category will be your biggest expense.

Bicycle
This one should be a no-brainer!

Aero Bars
While not necessary, some riders prefer to be laid out in a more aerodynamic position when riding.

Bike Gloves
This item is one of personal comfort, and may be especially necessary for a longer distance ride.

Helmet
You must have a helmet in order to compete in most triathlons, so be sure to have one that is approved by the race committee.

Socks
Wet feet + cycling shoes are often a recipe for blisters. Investing in a good pair of non-cotton socks is recommended.

Shoes
For best efficiency, consider purchasing a pair of clips for the cycling portion. These will help you better attack the race while expending less energy.

Bike Shorts
If you do not opt for a tri suit (or even if you do) a good pair of comfortable bike shorts will make your ride much more enjoyable.

Shirt
If you are not wearing a tri suit you will need a shirt to wear while riding the bike and during your run.

Flat Kit
Nothing is worse than being half way into the race and getting a flat, only to realize you do not have the means to fix it. Do not let your hard work go to waste and always be sure to have a flat kit on your bike.

Sunglasses
Most triathlons are held during the middle of summer which means blazing sun. Protect your eyes and keep your facial muscles relaxed by investing in a comfortable pair of athletic sunglasses that you are comfortable wearing while running and biking.

Watch
A waterproof watch will help you keep track of how you are doing throughout the race. If possible, take splits during your transitions so that you have feedback for areas of improvement.

Race Belt
You can save yourself time and hassle by attaching your number to a race belt. When you get on the bike, simply flip the belt around so that your number is on your back. When it is time to run, turn your belt around again so that your number is facing forward. Race belts can also hold gels and nutrition.

Run

Running Shoes
Another obvious entry on this list, but important nonetheless.

Elastic Laces
Eliminate having to tie your shoes by wearing laces that automatically cinch in order to shave a few seconds off your time.

Running Socks
If your feet get sweaty during the bike ride you will likely want to change your socks before the run.

Running Shorts
If you are sans tri suit then a good pair of racing shorts will be necessary. Look for a pair that is comfortable and does not chafe.

Water Bottle
Depending on the length of your race and the weather, a handheld water bottle may be a necessity.

Snack
The second transition area is another good time to have a snack that is heavier than a gel.

Hat/Visor
Once you take off your helmet your head will be exposed to the sun’s harsh rays from the mid-day sun. A hat or visor can help you stay comfortable, especially if you opt not to wear sunglasses.

Miscellaneous

Gym Membership
In order to have regular access to a pool for training, a gym membership is required.

Bike Tune-Up
You will want your bike to be in tip-top shape for race day, so be prepared to have it undergo a tune up before the big event. During the tune up your chain and cassette will be professionally cleaned, the brakes will be centered, the rear derailleur cable tension will be adjusted, and all the bolts on the bike will be properly tightened.

MedalMinder
And of course our essential gear for triathletes would not be complete with out a medal display solution. Make sure you have a place to display all those medals. Check out the Triathlon Medal Hangers!

 

The post Essential Gear for Triathletes appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/essential-gear-for-triathletes/feed/ 0
Guide to Overcoming and Preventing Running Injuries http://www.hangmymedals.com/guide-overcoming-preventing-running-injuries/ http://www.hangmymedals.com/guide-overcoming-preventing-running-injuries/#respond Wed, 05 Oct 2016 14:02:06 +0000 http://www.hangmymedals.com/?p=4297 Overcome and Prevent Injuries
Injuries are the bane of every runner’s existence, yet it is extraordinarily rare to encounter a runner who has never been injured. While hindsight is always 20/20, the majority of common running injuries are entirely preventable when approached with a healthy dose of mindfulness and attention. Listed below are the common causes of injury, the most prevalent injuries that runners face, and how they can be avoided.
Common Cause of Injuries
The majority of injuries can ...

The post Guide to Overcoming and Preventing Running Injuries appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
Overcome and Prevent Injuries

Injuries are the bane of every runner’s existence, yet it is extraordinarily rare to encounter a runner who has never been injured. While hindsight is always 20/20, the majority of common running injuries are entirely preventable when approached with a healthy dose of mindfulness and attention. Listed below are the common causes of injury, the most prevalent injuries that runners face, and how they can be avoided.

Common Cause of Injuries
The majority of injuries can be traced back to a handful of common causes. No injuries just magically appear, and many people begin to feel an injury coming on weeks in advance. Keeping a journal to track the way you feel during runs and workouts is an indispensible habit capable of creating mindfulness in an athlete. The following are risk factors that every runner should be aware of.

Improper/worn out shoes
It should go without saying that footwear is a major player in the comfort of a runner. If a particular running shoe is wrong for your foot or your stride, or if the shoe is nearing the end of its usable lifetime, a runner is more likely to experience injury.

Poor bio-mechanics
Bio-mechanics is a fancier word for form. If a runner has bad form, such as a non-neutral food strike, poor knee drive, arms that cross the core, or a bobbing head, these inefficiencies can lead to the expenditure of extra energy, the development of muscle imbalances, and an uneven distribution of stress across the body. Certain form drills, strength exercises, and mindfulness activities can help you improve your form, but the best way to evaluate whether your bio-mechanics are at fault is to schedule an assessment with a physical therapist or running coach.

Training overload
Many injuries stem from overuse, meaning that the body could not withstand the repetition of the constant pounding experienced on the roads. Every runner needs to take the occasional break to give the body a rest. Even elite and professional runners rest from time to time, typically 2 – 4 weeks per year. Scheduled down-time allows your body to recharge and return to running stronger than before. If you are in the midst of a training cycle and feel an overuse injury coming on then it may be wise to cut back on mileage or train on softer surfaces.

Poor nutrition
Nutrition can lead to injury in one of two ways: either an athlete is not eating enough throughout the day, or the athlete is primarily eating non-nutrient dense foods. Both scenarios are common among endurance athletes. There is a misguided school of thought that suggests lighter is faster when it comes to body weight. While this is true to an extent, there is a lower limit where additional weight loss drastically increases the risk of injury. When a runner is malnourished the body will shut down non-necessary processes, such as muscle recovery or calcium storage in the bones in favor of necessary processes such as heart function. When energy gets redirected the body is susceptible to developing disease or serious injury, including stress fracture.

Runners can also be susceptible to injury when they have poor diets. Running increases appetite, which can mistakenly lead athletes to believe they have free reign to eat whatever they would like. This increases the consumption of simple carbohydrates such as cookies and cakes, and does not leave much room for lean proteins, wholesome carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Filling your diet with non-nutrient dense foods can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies that ultimately lead to injury. For instance, Vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium are all nutrients that runners need in order to stay healthy, yet most athletes lack these essential vitamins and minerals in their diet.

Poor recovery
Recovering from workouts is just as important as doing the work. Athletes who are always on the move do not give their bodies an adequate chance to rest, which overworks already tired bones, ligaments, joints, and muscles. Sleep and rest are essential to letting your body absorb hard training, and without proper attention to these aspects runners can easily become injured.

Common Injuries
There are a number of injuries that are common among runners, and over the course of 5 – 10 years, every runner will experience symptoms from at least one of these ailments. Know the signs of these aches and pains in order to better take care of your body.

Shin splints
Perhaps the most ubiquitous of common running injuries, shin splints manifest as pain along the inside of the shin bone and is caused by tightness and/or microtears along the muscle that wraps around the shin bone. This injury is often brought on by running too much too soon, as well as increasing intensity too quickly. Other risk factors include running exclusively on hard surfaces and poor calf flexibility. To diagnose shin splints, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and raise your toes while keeping your heels planted on the floor. If you feel pain in one or both shins during this exercise, you likely have shin splints. The best course of treatment is to take a few days off from running while icing the affected area. Calf stretching is also recommended.

Stress fracture
Common areas prone to stress fracture among runners are feet, shins, and femurs. The root cause of a stress fracture is overuse and is often exacerbated by improper footwear, muscle imbalances, sudden increases in training load, training primarily on hard surfaces, and poor nutrition. A stress fracture can be expensive to diagnose because they do not appear on an X-Ray and require either an MRI or a bone scan. A stress fracture can be reasonably assumed if a dull ache is felt on impact during running and walking. Typically, stress fractures feel best in the morning upon waking and gradually feel worse throughout the day. A common test that doctors perform is to ask a runner to jump on the affected leg: reluctance to do so is often an indication of bone injury. Recovery involves 4 – 6 weeks of being on crutches or in a walking boot and the return to running can be a long, slow journey.

Illiotibial band syndrome (ITBS)
The illiotibial (IT) band is central to ensuring our knees and hips function properly. However, the many stresses from running can make this tendon cranky, causing a myriad of problems. The most common implication of a tight IT band is knee pain, otherwise known as runner’s knee. This problem can manifest in a variety of ways, from mild stiffness and soreness to feeling as if the knee is “locked” and not having full range of motion. ITBS can be difficult to diagnose and a visit to a sports medicine doctor or a physical therapist may be the best way to determine the cause of pain. After ITBS is diagnosed, the injured runner will have treatment to relieve the tight IT band such as massage. Stretching and strengthening exercises will also be prescribed. With mild to moderate ITBS many runners are able to continue running while receiving treatment, as the condition is unlikely to get worse.

Tendonitis
Another overuse injury on this list, tendonitis can occur in any tendon (most often the Achilles tendon or patellar tendon) and causes extreme stiffness and pain while running. Tendonitis occurs when a small tear in the tendon forms and then becomes inflamed. While ice, heat, and massage can mitigate the pain and stiffness, full rest is typically required in order to eliminate the pain completely. Common symptoms of tendonitis include a “creakiness” or “crunchiness” in the tendon, pain that lessens throughout the day as the tendon “warms up,” and greatly reduced range of motion.

Plantar fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a form of tendonitis that occurs in the foot along the plantar fasciia that runs from arch to heel. Runners suffering from PF will feel a continual pull in their foot or heel while walking and running. Like tendonitis, this injury is caused by overuse and can be exacerbated by wearing worn out shoes or shoes that are slightly too big. In the early stages of PF foot strengthening and stretching can remedy the pain, but in moderate to severe cases full rest is required. If you are concerned that you may have PF it is best to see a doctor or physical therapist, as this injury can take a long time to fully heal.

Prevention
There are a number of exercises and activities that can prevent the majority of running injuries, but finding the motivation to complete these activities can difficult. Only after a runner has been injured a handful of times does prevention get taken seriously, as most people cite having limited time. When time is scarce, even cutting daily runs 5 – 10 minutes short in order to fit in necessary appointments or activities is worth running fewer miles.

Fix imbalances
Identify sources of weakness in your body and aim to fix them. Runners commonly have one leg that is stronger than the other which leads to injuries in the weaker leg. A second common imbalance is between hamstring and quad muscles. Runners often have relatively stronger quads and weak hamstrings, leaving them susceptible to strains or pulls. Recent sports science research has even suggested that weak hips are the culprit behind many common running ailments, so paying attention to hip strength can also be beneficial.

Self Care
Runners tend to neglect the simplest of activities and exercises that can pay huge dividends when scheduled regularly into one’s day. Examples of self care include foam rolling, using “The Stick,” or performing muscle flossing drills with a golf ball. Each of these activities aids in recovery, blood circulation, and the release of muscle tension, and even five minutes of self care per day can prevent injury.

Strengthen core
A strong core is the foundation of injury-free running, yet most runners could improve in this area. Hips, abs, lower back, glutes, obliques, and shoulders are all important muscles that are called upon during hard races, workouts, and long runs. Strengthening these muscles will improve posture, reduce muscle imbalances, improve body alignment, and propel you towards faster times. Benefits can be achieved in as little as five minutes per day or by completing fifteen minute workouts 3 – 4 times per week.

Orthotics
If a runner repeatedly experiences the same injury despite taking proper precautions then custom made orthotics may help. A podiatrist or sports physician will analyze your foot strike and stride and determine whether your bio-mechanics may be causing your injury. If so, a shoe insert will be made that provides motion control and gives your foot a neutral landing.

Cross Train
If you feel an injury developing, it is never a bad idea to cross train instead of run. Aqua jogging, cycling, and the elliptical are all good options. For runners whose bodies are unable to handle the stresses of higher mileage or intensity, preemptively taking a day or two off every week and replacing the mileage you would have run by following the formula of 10 minutes cross training = 1 mile of running is recommended.

Good nutrition
Approach eating from the perspective that you are fueling your body for performance. If you would not put low-quality fuel in a sports car, why do the same to your body? At every meal seek to eat a lean protein such as fish or chicken and a complex carbohydrate, like quinoa or wild rice. Fat is essential for runners for good muscle and tendon health, and sources such as olive oil, avocado, and nuts and seeds are great additions to any meal.

Listen to your body
Some days you will get into a run and your body will be screaming at you to stop. Do not ignore these signals. There is no shame in cutting a run or workout short if you are experiencing pain. A day off in time saves nine, and while listening to your body can be tough, sitting on the sidelines is much worse.

The post Guide to Overcoming and Preventing Running Injuries appeared first on Hang My Medals.

]]>
http://www.hangmymedals.com/guide-overcoming-preventing-running-injuries/feed/ 0