Women runners are often featured sporting branded sports apparel and gears—from wristbands and socks to water bottles and sunglasses. And so many women who engage or aspire to engage in distance running follow suit and go shopping for similar running wear. Others, on the other hand, simply ignore such sports apparels and dismiss them as mere brand promotions and sports fashionistas’ whims.
Well, those may be true. Some may wear distance running apparels merely for fashion, while some for sponsorship. But one thing’s certain: those apparels aren’t worn by athletes just for those reasons. A high performance athlete wouldn’t just throw on anything that first comes to hand in her closet. That’s because distance running apparels are specially tailored to serve various purposes.
First, there’s the “no cotton” general rule. This is what runners, and even athletes in other sports, follow—from their head band down to their socks. While cotton fabrics may be really comfortable to wear (and most clothing companies advertise their products as “100 percent made of cotton for your comfort”), it’s not actually that popular when it comes to sports wear. That’s because cotton is absorbent. And so when you sweat, the cotton cloth absorbs it. But while it’s a good thing that sweat won’t come trickling down your body, the down side is that the sweat doesn’t dry up easily and stays on the cotton cloth, making you feeling wet nonetheless. And wetness, as you know, may make you feel cold even during a summer run.
What sports apparel makers use instead are fabrics made of wick fibers. Such cloths wick, or draw away, sweat from the skin. And because moisture is pulled from the skin to the exterior fibers of such fabrics, you stay dry and warm even as the moisture on the cloth slowly dries up. Examples of such special fabrics are silk, Cool Max, Thermax, polypropolene, Thinsulate, and DryFit.
But aside from their sweat wicking feature, these fabrics are also lightweight and stretchable. They’re made to be super stretchable so that they’d fit your body like a second skin and cover as many sweating pores as possible. And they weigh far much lighter than similar clothes of ordinary fabrics, so you would be able to run with the least added weight to your body. Plus, their lightness allows you to wear about two or three layers of clothing for long distance runs during cold seasons.
Now, after the cloths, what about the clothes? For underwear, you should wear bras and panties that give you utmost comfort—the primary consideration when it comes to any sports wear. Both should have wide hems that are preferably located on the outside, so they wouldn’t chafe your skin during the run. For underpants, don’t choose flimsy ones that might gradually slide down your butt. Get ones that comfortably hugs your buttocks and hips. And whether you got small or big breasts, your bra should be just right as to provide enough support and breast bounce control without suffocating or making you feel uncomfortably bound.
Distance running apparel need not be expensive and branded. There are many local and online stores that offer affordable sports wear. So, whether you’re seriously into distance running and planning to become the next Deena Kastor, or you simply want to run miles to melt the flabs away, you better get yourself some proper running apparel.
Distance running, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica is any foot race that ranges from 3,000 meters to 42,195 kilometers (basic length for marathon). It includes sprints, middle distance, long distance, marathon, ultra running, and multiday running. Olympic events are held on track with length ranges between 5,000 to 10,000-metre races and marathons are held on roads. However, in the book Running, John A. Hawley qualified events from 800 to 5,000 m as ‘middle distance’ and events at 10,000 m or longer as ‘distance’ races. Races longer than 42.2 km are considered ‘ultra-distance.’
The research paper Nature authored by Dr. Daniel Lieberman of Harvard University and Dennis M. Bramble of the University of Utah, shows how distance running plays a significant step in the development of the human species. The ability for endurance or distance running originated two million years ago and believed as “instrumental in the evolution of the human body form.
Naturally, our species are talented endurance runners as evident in the fossils collected in Africa. The bones were primitive hunters who run animals to death even on a hot weather. “No other animals could run in distance even on a hot day than humans,” says Dr. Lieberman. He further wrote that “the fastest human can run an average of 10 meters for about 10 seconds.
“Running is the most elemental sport there is,” wrote John Jerome, author of the book The Elements of Effort. Humans are genetically programmed to run and incredibly good at it. But in modern times how could a person enhance his ability to run and pursue a sport? Jack Daniels coach and author of the book Daniel’s Running Formula says, that “there are four key ingredients in distance running.” These are inherent ability, motivation, opportunity and direction.
1.) Inherent or genetic ability is having a certain amount of potential starting from the time of your birth. It is having been born with a body that perfectly suits you to involve in sports. Physiologically, the body types of runners are similar to the designs of gymnasts and other players.
2.) Inherent ability is essential in developing one’s potential but it still up to the person to enrich this gift. As Daniels says, “it’s up to you to do what you will with your gifts.” Thus, enters the next ingredient: motivation. It is the use of your God-given talent. Motivation comes from within.
3.) Opportunity is being in a suited environment to develop your skills as runner. It is having the facilities, climate, equipment and the leeway to compete.
4.) Direction involves a coach, teacher or a training plan that can be followed by the runner. It is the ingredient that brings in either positive or negative influence. Distance running just like other sports needs guidance to improve one’s skills and abilities. Coaching is a “never-ending search” for better ways to succeed. A good distance running coach produces “beneficial reactions to training, creates positive race results, and transforms an athlete as better runner.”
However, a good coach is not always recognized for fruitful results when the available talent is not high caliber. Coaches of distance running doesn’t have all the answers on how best to train an athlete and no single system suits every runner equally well. Thus, the first three key ingredients in distance running are equally essential to achieve the best results.
You’ve been running for miles. You haven’t had a sip nor a drop of water or fluid from your kit. Your throat is parched. Your feet are screaming and your back is aching. But you refuse to sit down, to bend over and take a few seconds to rest. In a race, even seconds count. And by the time you reach the finish line, you’re bathed in your sweat and you guzzle down enough water to keep an army of cacti alive for days. It’s a very familiar sight.
A number of people who take up distance running as an exercise have done something like this. Sometimes, it may be because some people can’t concentrate on the running if they have to bother guzzling down water while on the run. Others simply don’t feel good drinking water while they run so they would rather do without it.
For whatever reason it may be, drinking water like this may have adverse effects on the body. One common concern is water intoxication. This is also known as hypotremia. Hypotremia is a condition that indicates overhydration. How does it happen?
During a running race, athletes sweat a lot. This causes the body to lose electrolytes. After the race, athletes start taking in fluids again to restore water to their bodies. However, without the accompanying electrolytes, hypotremia may follow.
Water alone is not enough and too much of it too soon will only lead to an electrolyte imbalance. This condition is characterized by tissue swelling as well as an irregular heartbeat and fluttering eyelids. The latter is a probable result of the fluid that has entered the lungs. Since swelling often puts undue pressure on the brain as well as on the nerves, behavioral symptoms that are very similar to alcohol intoxication may be observed.
The worse is when an athlete falls into a seizure or coma. This happens when the swelling reaches the brain tissues. In extreme cases like this, water intake is controlled and a salt solution given to the athlete. This treatment must be administered to the patient or afflicted athlete even before the cellular damage caused by the tissue swelling has reached a massive level. If done so, the athlete is certain to recover within only a few days.
So make sure that you drink a lot of water over appropriate intervals instead of guzzling liters in one shot. Learn to take your time when you drink your water, when you take in your fluids. Unless you are competing in a race, there’s no reason to rush. Water intoxication is a condition that’s quite easy to prevent if you remember to take time to drink your fluids properly.
As a standard rule, adults in general must take in three quarts of fluid every day. Since a portion of that can already be found in food, 8-12 eight-ounce glasses per day is commonly recommended for a daily intake. However, if the day proves to be too sunny or the weather too hot, or if you engage in regular exercises like distance running that causes you to sweat quite a lot, then you should take in more water. This is also true if you are taking in medicine.
After all, it’s good to drink plenty of water. Just keep in mind to drink right so you won’t have to suffer the effects of overhydration.
Distance running and its several methods of training is as diverse as the practitioners of the sport itself. For those already in the running, the early season training is for repair of weak areas while the late season one is for focusing and cultivating on the runner’s strengths.
Coaches and runners all agree that the keys to an effective training program are the following time-tested principles: detailed planning, correct rest and recovery use, and the gradual increase in training intensities and durations.
Some of these kinds of training are specialized and are focused on particular aspects which they try to improve on (if need be) or eliminate, as the case maybe.
This is a long and steady continuous run where a runner is to keep a particular pace (called “comfortable hard” by runners) for about 40 to 60 minutes with relative ease. This is one area of the training which is most beneficial – it helps develop strength in the cardiovascular system and improves the capillaries in the muscles which in turn enhances the body’s efficient use of its energy sources.
Steady-pace training is the foundation phase which prepares the runner for more intense, and longer, training in the program.
Tempo-pace training (threshold running)
Tempo-pace training is designed to bring the runners at their lactate threshold. This is the intense level of the training where lactic acid begins accumulating in the blood. Continuous running at tempo-pace can be maintained for 20 to 40 minutes. The purpose of tempo runs (as it is also known) is to train runners at an intensity level just below hard-pace running.
The segmented threshold training is a series of shorter runs, 90 seconds to 8 minutes long, with short recovery intervals of one minute or less in-between.
Repetition training is intended to increase the runner’s efficiency by decreasing the oxygen cost of running. It is also to help the runner be aware of pace and rhythm. Per exercise experts, a repeat of one to five minutes of fast running is the ideal repetition training for distance runners.
Another good rule is making the rest time twice as long as the run time.
Interval (high lactate) training
The interval training is the recovery period between sessions of running. Here, the goal is to run specific distances repeatedly at high-lactate blood level, with the recovery ratio of 2 is to 1. (In repetition, it is 1 is to 2.)
Middle-distance runners need to tolerate high levels of lactic acid because it is a result of anaerobic running. The lactic acid here becomes the source of energy in the absence of oxygen. A high level of lactic acid is maintained in the blood throughout the workout.
The duration of each run in an interval session is typically 15-90 seconds (100-600m) faster than race pace. The recovery ratio should be 1 or 2:1 run to recovery. The idea is not to fully recover, but to maintain a high level of lactic acid in the blood throughout the workout.
Speed play training
This training module is really a combination of fast and slow running, contrary to its name. It is a continuous running session that mixes bursts of fast running followed by easy running paces for recovery.
This is also done on various terrains, including hills, flats, and slopes. The speed bursts and the recovery paces are free and unstructured so that the runner feels he is actually playing with speed.
Like the speed play training, surging is also continuous running. While speed play has alternating periods of sprinting and jogging, surging is a steady-pace running going faster well below the sprint speed.
This is done in order to enhance the runner’s ability to begin and respond to changes in the pace while recovering at steady-pace running speeds.
The various training methods in distance running, like that of the other sports, is still developing. New rules supplant the old ones after new research findings, tweaking and making better some good old guidelines. For the old and new enthusiasts, this is good news.
Distance running is a very popular activity. It isn’t just an effective endeavor for physical fitness. It is also a great way to make acquaintances and meet new friends. However, one can’t just merely step into the world of distance runners without being prepared for the sport—whether that’s physical or mental preparation. This is why training is important.
Some people who decide to go into running somehow want to just kick up the dust and run their hearts out. Of course, that’s not very ideal. Going all-out right from the get-go, especially for people who haven’t had some measure of exercise for a long period of time, could prove to be very taxing on the body. Just like runners aren’t born, you don’t simply jog around in your back yard today and participate in the Olympics tomorrow.
The key is to identify where to start your distance running regimen. For most people who haven’t exercised in a long while, it would be better to start with walking for the first few weeks, slowly building up the effort and then proceeding to a mix of walking and minimal running. After several weeks of building up run-walk times, then one can proceed to a full blown running that could span from three to over 10 miles. Some people can start with run-walking right away, while some can maybe run right off the bat depending on one’s endurance and physical condition. Again, the key is to find out the appropriate starting point for your program.
Many experts advocate the “10 percent rule” when training for running. The rule states that runners should add around 10 percent more mileage each week of training. This figure is based on intensive research that found it to be the optimal increase for a steady, effective and safe week-by-week progress. Moreover, abiding by this rule is also a great way to minimize the risk of injury due to over-exertion.
This incremental method for distance running training should prove to be very doable for most people. The biggest deterrent for would-be runners here is that it will take a long time before one can consistently run at a very high level of effort and speed. This is where patience and discipline are tested to the limits, especially for people who want to shave off weight quickly or get to their quickest pace as soon as possible. It’s hard to keep motivation in check while still keeping in pace with the program you or your coach set. Still, it will be easier to get tangible results through this step-by-step training method.
Finding the right program that fits you as an individual is essential to training for distance running. The program will have to address key aspects of your body. These aspects will range from age, gender, weight, health issues, previous injuries or illnesses, and the amount of exercise you’ve had prior to the running program. You can always consult with a running coach if you want, for an objective and professional assessment.
When you follow the guidelines set for your training, you’ll be able to accomplish the goals you’ve set for your distance running activities. It’s all about finding the right pace, and with an adequate training and buildup of strength and speed, you can make sure that you’ll get to the finish line.
“Running taught me valuable lessons. In cross-country competition, training counted more than intrinsic ability, and I could compensate for a lack of natural aptitude with diligence and discipline. I applied this in everything I did.” – Nelson Mandela
Running, especially long distance running was once a sport only for young fleet-footed men. However, in the course of three decades this sport had had surprising changes. More and more people began to realize its many benefits. This includes the gift of camaraderie. For all runners, old and young, a key aspect of running is in friendship, fellowship and camaraderie of like-minded people. That is why people from all walks of life consider running as one valuable sport. The following are just some of the many lessons you can learn in pursuing the sport in running:
1.) It provides you a time to reflect, to discover new sights and places, and to look closely on familiar localities.
2.) It can serve as opportunity for you to have a meaningful and uninterrupted conversations. Running with others provides a leeway for conversations on different aspects of life – a thing that you are restricted to do so during busy days of working.
3.) It can enhance your self-esteem and self-worth. Anyone committed to the experience can learn much far beyond best brand of shoes and training regimen. When you are in sports you tend to be more conscious of your health and well-being. You fully realize that being healthy and caring for your self brings out the best in you.
4.) It teaches you to be persistent in reaching goals. “Negative thinking itself impacts on performance,” says Barry L. Zaret, MD. In his paper Some Lessons of Long Distance Running, he wrote that “anyone completing a 26.2 – mile marathon knows that the success of a long-distance event is governed as much by the cerebral, emotional, and psychological as it is by musculoskeletal and cardio-pulmonary function. By being persistent, a runner is able to hone his skills and ability. Long distance running strengthens your body in handling body stress.
5.) Running also teaches that you must not push yourself beyond the limits to realize a full potential. You must know your limits and be humble with your abilities and potential. Some runners lie about their actual training regimen to show that they are better than others. This mislead followers to thinking that to be good as their idols they must equate their level of training or even surpass it. By pushing yourself beyond the limits you might end up injuring yourself. It is always safe to consult your coach about your training limits.
6.) There can only be one champion. Barry L. Zaret emphasizes the fact that competition for being the champion in distant running lies within oneself. Your goal must always be achieving your best performance or meeting or surpassing previous records. By having this mindset, you will always feel a winner.
7.) Running is a constant trying for better ways. You must always keep a mindset of vibrancy as being good at distant running requires continued activity and fresh challenges. Vibrancy transcends chronologic age and time. This explains why many men in their 40’s and 50’s are still active in running. Physical activity of running brings them sense of vibrancy and let them achieve a healthy lifestyle. As many older men believes, the sport of distant running knows no limits.
You may have heard of athletes having injured their shins, twisted their ankles, or developed some musculoskeletal problem because of distance running. While those may be true, we should think critically and put in mind that running, just like any other sport, has its own risks and, thus, should be properly prepared for and performed.
Physical injury because of too much training and overuse of one’s body is only logical. But if you set out your runs with moderation and care, you’ll definitely reap the benefits of this physical activity. So how can you benefit from running? Here’s a list.
Weight Loss and Shape Maintenance
Studies have shown that those who do marathons or simply run regularly get to have slimmer waists and hips, and leaner bodies. No wonder more and more people are getting into running these days. But another reason is that it’s one of the most convenient ways to burn fatty flabs and get a trim figure. You don’t need someone to work out with you, and you don’t need expensive equipment and gear to run. You basically just have to have a good pair of running shoes that gives enough support to your feet.
Many people think that running quickly, and even instantly, makes you lose weight. Well, that may be technically true, but the thing is, the weight one loses after a run isn’t fat. You’ll naturally lose weight because the body lets out much body liquid through sweat. To lose weight, you should run regularly at gradually increasing speed and distance. It should be gradual so that your body won’t get too much strained.
Good Cardiovascular Health
When you run, you breathe harder. And when you breathe harder, your heart also works double time to circulate oxygen-rich blood around your body. Thus, your heart somehow gets exercised and your blood vessels cleared of unwanted cholesterol build-ups. When you have a strong heart and perfectly elastic arteries, you naturally get lower chances of developing heart-related problems, such as hypertension, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.
Better Moods and Stress Relief
Ever heard of the “runner’s high”? It’s the light, relaxed feeling that athletes experience after running a long distance. And it’s because of the hormones released by our body when we do a physically taxing activity. Endorphin is one naturally produced chemical in our body that helps relieve stress and pain. Running is also said to improve the renewal cycle of brain neurons, which in turn improves memory and learning. It’s therefore no wonder that many doctors include running in therapy programs for mental rehabilitation patients and those experiencing depression.
There was this man who was featured on TV. He was over 90 years old but he could still carry buckets of water and move around as if he was three decades younger. Asked of his secret, he said he simply eats healthy foods and runs a few miles everyday—and then the screen showed him in running shorts that exposed leg muscles young men would kill for.
Aside from preventing high-risk diseases, distance running increases bone density and muscle mass. Plus, it triggers the production of the growth hormone which helps one look young. Thus, one could stay really strong, in shape and youthful looking with less sagging skins, less flapping flesh in the legs and arms, less chances of having osteoporosis, and a glowing skin.
Technology has given man a lot of opportunities to improve his way of life. Health and medicine have improved man’s survival rate and his ability to understand certain diseases that affect bodily functions. Industry and infrastructures have sheltered man against all sorts of calamities and adversities. Transportation is on always on the go to carry man wherever he may choose to go. Indeed a lot has changed mainly because of the technological breakthroughs around the globe. But do you ever stop and wonder how our ancient ancestors faired without modern machinery? Transportation was an issue during those times and our older counterparts had no option but to stick to the basics and run by the distance.
What is running and how does it contribute to the development and improvement of every part of our body? Come with me and let’s take a close look at the fundamentals and basics of running whatever the distance may be. Basically running is a method used by certain animals including man to gain movements by foot. In the sporting world, running is scientifically defined in terms of gait wherein there is a point that both feet are off the ground as compared to basic walking where one foot stays on the ground throughout the movement done.
There is a definitive kind of motion involved in running especially the one observed in us the humans. The legs interchange one after the other during the movements. As leap is done the center of gravity shifts from one leg to the other. The knee absorbs the shock by bending thoroughly and carefully. Running demands a lot of energy from the individual. This is due to the fact that there is continuous shift on where the body weight is as it constantly opposes gravity. In 2004 researchers from Harvard University stated that the capacity of our early ancestors to withstand long distance running was a key factor on our way to an evolved form.
The motion in running can be seen in two parts of the body which are the upper and the lower portions. Lower body motion has three phases. These are support, drive, and recovery. Basically when you run there is a series of long and full strides that take place. Each leg alternates in order to complete the movement. Now the phases occur in different situations. Drive and support is noticeable during the time when your foot is in direct contact with the ground. On the other hand, recovery takes place when your foot has taken flight off the ground. Each leg interchanges in order to maintain the flow for each phase.
The upper body is very important to maintain proper equilibrium in the body during running. There should be a presence of forward motion so as to ensure that stability is up to par. Each lower body motion is paired up by an upper body movement. For example one leg’s recovery is joined by forward drive coming from the opposite arm. While another leg’s support and drive is being complemented by backward motion from the opposite arm. The torso is also involved in the total running motion as it keeps the body in rotational balance along with the movements of the lower body.
Now that you have an idea of what transpires in your body during basic running motions you can now head on to test your body’s limit by the distance.
Nowadays more and more people are into keeping it fit and trimmed and living a very healthy and social life. Due to this there have a lot of sports that employ togetherness and team building. Swimming, water pole, and other type of water sports have been very prevalent. Basketball, volleyball, and baseball are still some of the globally embraced sports.
Even weight training and body building has been accorded as an authentic sport and gathering of health enthusiasts. Amidst all of these activities, one form of training and exercise still flourishes. Wherever people may be running by the distance is still widely accepted as s fun-filled endevour. Come and let’s take a look at the rewards you can reap just by running the distance.
Before you go out and pick your fruits just take a moment and first understand how the labor in running is accomplished. Just like any other sport or activity there is technique that allows you to strategically go through each motion safely and effectively. The first one is that you should practice maintaining an upright posture and a constant forward lean. You have to lean forward in order for your center of gravity to be placed on the front part of the foot thus giving way for the natural spring mechanism of your foot.
Apart from maintaining a good form during the running proper, you should be relaxed along the way while making sure that stability is not compromised. These practices will help you avoid bone crunching injuries. Also you should avoid tilting your chin while running as well as slouching your shoulders.
You can also monitor the rate of your stride and the type which best fits the distance. Remember to keep an eye on your length of stride during long distance running as suppose to having a faster rate of stride. You have to know that running is usually rated in terms of the pace. This is measured by the minute you run in a distance spanned by a mile or kilometer. Keep an eye on the pace of your arms as it is proportional with the rate of your strides. There are different kinds of strides for various types of running. If you prefer to run in longer distances keep in mind that your strides should be kept relaxed.
Now that you know how to run the proper way let’s see how running can improve your overall well-being. Although running pos a slight risk of injury but if you do it the right way you’re sure headed to a better physique and metabolic condition. One of the many benefits of running is improvement in your cardiovascular status. You can now save yourself from being hospitalized due to treacherous cardiovascular ailments just by putting on your running shoes and go the distance.
Running can also help increase your bone density as well as your muscle mass. It is also a key for those who for a long while have wished to loss unwanted extra weight and baggage. But remember losing weight should be done on a gradual basis. Do not force yourself to run long distances instantly because you would only exhaust your body which may jeopardize your running time. Running too has been proven to give a runner some sort of high and emotional boost and more importantly you can be assured of a longer life as it can slow down the aging process.
Don’t waste time and start working your way towards reaping the rewards of running by the distance.
You’ve finished the race. You’ve beaten the rest. Took home the award for the distance running category. You’re elated. You’re so happy you want to shout to the whole world, jump around with joy and basically celebrate until you feel your bones drop. All these are normal. Whether it was your first or twentieth marathon, you ran over all those miles, conquered the pain and ache of your muscles. Now, it’s time for you to take a few days of rest to recover and rest. Here are a couple of reminders you may want to take advantage of to ensure that you’re hale and hearty even when you’re off the field.
First things first: drink. Drink plenty of fluids and water, energy drinks are great too. You need to replenish all the sodium, fluid and electrolytes you lost during the race. This is important. Not doing so may produce an electrolyte imbalance in your body and would lead to adverse effects for you. So remember to drink lots of water after a race. And to drink it right.
After restoring the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes inside your body, if you can handle it, try taking an ice bath a few hours after the race. If you think your muscles are still too sore for that, try doing it after a few days. The cold water will do wonders for your aching muscles, especially for your joints, your quads and knees.
If you’ve been running for a long time, chances are, you’ve also been eating healthy for a long time. It’s even more crucial to make sure that you’re on a healthy diet after finishing a race. You need all the protein as well as good carbohydrates that you can get to repair the damage to your muscles and joints caused by the strenuous exertions required by the race.
If you want to go through your morning routine, just keep everything loose and light. Stretch your muscles easy. No vigorous exercises yet.
Sleep a lot. Don’t worry about it. Your body needs to recover from the fatigue that competing in a race has brought on. It’s normal. After a few days, the fatigue will be gone and you’ll feel good as new and even more prepared to tackle on new adventures.
If you can, go for a massage. There’s nothing else that beats having a professional work out all the kinks on your legs, arms and back. This is a great way to remedy the stiffness in your joints after a grueling race.
Know that it’s normal to feel a little lost and sad after a race. Imagine having to restructure your daily routine around your training and the preparation you did for weeks just to ensure that you were ready for anything on the field. Well, imagine not needing to go through all that anymore or having no goal in sight might make you feel lost. The best solution to that is to find yourself a new goal. Get yourself something else you can pursue. You’ll only be out of sorts if you’re not busy.
Another thing that you must absolutely do, after winning that distance running medal is this: enjoy your win. Jump for joy if you want to. Do the rhumba. Sing hallelujah. Whatever you want, enjoy it. Relish your winning moment. You deserve to.
And after that, move on.