Tag Archives: Running

SPI Belt Performance Series Review

 

Here is my review of the SPI belt performance series. I have to say I don’t normally use belts to run with and normally use my Adidas Arm band. Therefore when I was asked to review the SPI Belt (Small Personalised Item) performance series I was curious to see the difference in comfort with the belt. I have to mention that I was asked to review this product and while I was not paid for the review did receive the SPI Performance belt free of charge. However I am not biased in this review and have given my honest opinion of the product from my personal standpoint. This is the only compensation I have ever been given and haven’t been swayed into writing a positive review or trying to sell you any product. I have been for a run with belt on two 5km and one 12km runs.

The look of the SPI Belt:

SPI belt performance series
SPI belt performance series

I actually like the look of the belt and think it is quite attractive. I got it in blue, which just means that the belt is black in colour with a blue zip. Yes its simple but I have no problem with that at all I quite prefer it. Personally I wouldn’t really want an out there belt but that’s my personal opinion, you can get other styles in different series from their website including polka dot or more block colours. However one two of my runs while it did pretty much remain dry a few drops maybe I simply put the belt under my waterproof which obviously made no difference to what the belt looked like and you couldn’t even tell that I was wearing the belt.

It does fit everything I need when I go for a run snuggly and comfortable, its not too tight but compacted enough for the belt to remain small in size. The actual belt with nothing in it is relatively small which is great as it means it’s not bulgy at all if you only take some ID and your keys with you. The material of the belt is dry natural rubber, which I found beneficial as it meant the belt was lightweight but easily able to mould and stretch around the items I put in the belt. I have an Iphone 5C so my phone isn’t the biggest you can now get on the market but the pocket is big enough for larger phones including the iphone6plus and the Galaxy S, which is much bigger than my phone. Normally when I go for runs I tend not too take too much with me as normally I don’t have the option to carry anything with my armband, I can just about squeeze my front door key in. The option with the SPI belt is that you can take a lot more with you and its no issue at all, you could take some money, ID, all your keys with you if you wanted to and the belt would just mould around it. The fact that the belt mould around the item does mean it may look an odd shape dependant on what you put in it but that honestly doesn’t make any difference to be personally especially as I would rather it be more compact and lightweight rather than have lots of extra material. Also the material allows the belt to remain extremely lightweight.

The band and the buckle of the belt seem to be of good quality and the width of the band seems just about right. The band is not too wide but wide enough to get a good grip around you waist/ hip.

The belt also has 4 loops for gels, which seem more than adequate for any ultra distance runner and the gels fit in snuggly. The loops are positioned with 2 on each side of the pouch so it easier to access the gels when you are running and you wouldn’t have to faff around too much to get them out.

Comfort of the SPI Belt:

SPI Belt preference series comfort
SPI Belt preference series

So this is where I ran into some issues personally however in retrospect the belt did a lot better than it properly should. The belt does move around and bounce a little when I run not massively but enough to notice particularly in the first 1km. However certainly by about 2.5km I hardly noticed the movement of the belt. The more you tend to put in the belt it naturally does seem to make it bounce slightly more with the extra weight. To counteract the movement/bouncing you can wear the belt on the hips, which does seem to prevent to the point where I actually was relatively comfortable and forgot it was there. I found that the belt does ride up a little from the hips but its pretty good. I am also not used to wearing a belt which may come into account aswell in terms of getting used to it. Overall I am pretty impressed with the fit of the belt and it was actually a lot more comfortable than I had thought it would be.

The main point to take into account with my review in terms of fit is that I have a small waist and having checked the features of the belt it does say that it fits waists between 29” – 52”. I have a 24” waist so the fact that it doesn’t bounce massively and I am still able to use the belt with relative comfort says quite a lot about the fit of the belt. I have no doubt that on a person with a 29” waist that it was actually targeted for would be no problem with the bounce or movement of the belt at all.

However a 29” waist is the waist of someone that is equivalent to a UK size 12:US 8:euro:40 which does rule out a decent proportion of runners. I do hope in future that SPI bring out an updated version of the performance belt in a smaller size especially as the SPI original, SPI energy running belt with 6 gel loops, belts are designed for smaller waists from 24”-40”. Furthermore the SPI Diabetic belt is also designed for smaller waists from 25” – 50”. If you do have a smaller waist then performance belt while adequate may not be the best SPI product for you.

Practicality of the SPI Belt:

It is meant to be weather resistance but not water resistance and they do sell plastic inserts for your electronics on their website. I placed the belt under my waterproof jacket, as there was a slight drizzle on several of my runs and I had no problem. I also had no problem with sweat however it isn’t scorching weather at the moment in Wales its rather on the cool side so I wasn’t sweating buckets. However due to the position of the belt round my waist compared to an arm band it this respect I would give it a better rating in sweat protection than my usual arm belt. Personally I think that the belt would be fine for sweat and minor drizzle but wouldn’t stand up in heavier condition having said that even when running with my waterproof/windproof jacket I have still be soaked through my base layer and long sleeve top.

Conclusion:

Overall I was impressed with the SPI performance belt, it was able to allow me to carry as much as I wanted on my runs with ease and comfort. It has been created for a simple job and it does well. I would recommend the belt to any runner as it is comfortable and doesn’t really move around. I would like to see SPI adapt the performance belt in the future to have the same size range as the original SPI belt opening up the belt to small waist sizes.

You can check out the SPI performance belt from their website on: http://www.spibelt.co.uk/running-belt-performance-black-blue-c2x18384167

Features and Price of the SPI Belt:

Price: $25.99 or £22.99

  • A large weather resistant pocket and zipper
  • 4 gel loops
  • Able to fit iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Galaxy
  • SPIbelt doesn’t bounce
  • Compatible with 175ml water bottles.
  • The Perfect Spibelt for Runners and outdoor activities.
  • Available in black or with Coloured zippers.
  • One size fits waist 29″ – 52″

 

 

Ask the Osteopath: Runner’s Knee

As an Osteopath especially working in a sports clinic at a Running shop, I see runners come in with knee pain a lot. The most common cause of the knee pain is often Runner’s Knee or Patellofemoral pain.

What is Runner’s Knee?

Runners knee is also called Patellofemoral Pain and is the most common running injury and twice as common than any other running related injury. It is particularly common in runners under the age of 25 as well as in women, Beiser et al (2011). Unfortunately it is often a chronic condition with patients still reporting it 4 years later!Patellofemoral pain is also linked to an overuse injury and more common in marathon or ultra marathon runners, Nielson et al (2013).

What are the symptoms of Runner’s knee?

The pain is normally felt round the front of the knee either underneath or around the kneecap or Patella. The pain is normally when you are weight baring and is often from squatting, going up stairs and of course running. The kneecap is seen as a lever and helps in the movement of the patellofemoral joint, quadriceps and patella tendon, which are all attached to the kneecap, Dixit et al (2007).

What element contribute to getting Runner’s Knee?

There are several different elements that can contribute to developing runners knee these include the balance and strengths of your quadriceps, foot placement and running pattern.

Your quadriceps’ are a group of four muscles at the front of your thigh and the balance and strength of them individually is very important in their function. If one of the muscles say the one at the outside of your thigh is stronger it could cause you knee cap to be pull more towards the outside of your thigh rather than straight down when tense your quadriceps.

The effect of this can increase the pressure and decrease the amount of space in the knee as well as the force at which you foot strikes the ground. These can all contribute to why you experience the pain, Fulkerson & Shea (1990). Research by Cowan et al (2002) points to the outside quad actually starting to work before in the most inner quad muscle when you have this type of knee pain. Furthermore if your inner quad is weak you are more likely to dislocate or have an unstable kneecap, Sakai et al (2000).

You running pattern or gait could be predisposing you to this injury. For more information check out my blog post on the biomechanics of running. It is important to identify, if this is the case as you may need to see a podiatrist or Orthotist for orthotics to help correct this. If you say have flat feet or a low arch it can cause your knee to roll in when you take a step which can cause the outside muscle of your quads to have to work harder to bring the knee back into a neutral position. Furthermore it has also be shown in paper by Kulmala et al (2013) that by changing from landing on the ball of your feet than your heel can also reduce the pain by 15%. Similar studies and results have also been shown from have a smaller stride when you run both affecting the mechanical pull from the quadriceps that can contribute to the pain, Wilson et al (2015).

So I have Runner’s knee, What can I do to reduce the symptoms?

An exercise program is vital to the recovery of runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain. It may be necessary to reduce or stop the activities that are aggravating the pain including running and squat based exercises. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid doing exercise altogether depending on your situation it maybe possible to substitute with swimming or cycling through cross training as an alternative to keep your fitness up while you recovery from the injury. A majority of patients find ice being helpful in reducing symptoms and can be placed on the knee for 4 minutes wrapped up in a kitchen cloth.

An exercise program is vital to the recovery and rehabilitation of runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain. It may be necessary to reduce or stop the activities that are aggravating the pain including running and squat based exercises. This doesn’t mean you have to avoid doing exercise altogether depending on your situation it maybe possible to substitute with swimming or cycling as an alternative to keep your fitness up while you recovery from the injury. A majority of patients find ice being helpful in reducing symptoms and can be placed on the knee for 4 minutes wrapped up in a kitchen towel.

The exercises found in this document are generic for the typical patient with patella femoral pain and may not be suited to every patient’s circumstances.

Exercises for Runner’s knee:

Squat with medicine ball rotation

Squats with Rotation:

Place a ball or foam roller between your legs and as you drop down to a squat position rotation your knee over to the other side. This can be done to both sides or to one depending on your situation

Wall Squat

Wall Squat against a swiss ball:

Place the ball at the curve of your lower back with your hands outreached. Drop down so your knees are at right angles with your knees over your toes and hold for 10 seconds before returning to standing.

Single leg glue bridge

One leg hip lifts:

Lie on the floor with your knees bent. Slowly lift up your hips so it is in a diagonal plane with your knees. Once in this position lift up one leg straight into the air and hold for 7 seconds before returning to the floor.  You can repeat this 5 times and then switch to the other leg and do the same thing.

wobble board proprioception

Standing on one leg on a wobble board:

This exercise to work on your proprioception and balance of your ankle. It would be ideal to stand on a wobble board on one leg. However any uneven surface would be suitable you can start with a pillow and work your way up as you find it easier.

single leg Lunge

One leg lunge:

Start standing and move one leg forwards so your knee is over your toes then step forward and return to neutral. You can do this exercise 10 times on one leg before switching over to the other side.

Squat

Squats with changing angles:

Start with a normal squat with you feet pointed straight in front of you, then start to alter the angle of you feet each time so that you target slightly different parts of the quadriceps muscle. This will help to strengthen the imbalance between the individual quads.

You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.

Completing my First Ever Marathon Wasn’t Even the Proudest Moment of My Day

My son and before the start of the Two Rivers Marathon.
My son and before the start of the Two Rivers Marathon.

I’m a MARATHONER! Those are certainly three words I NEVER thought I’d use to describe myself. I’d never even run before June 2014, and even then – the 1 minute running intervals on Day 1 of the Couch to 5k program I was using were nearly “impossible.”

This wasn’t my first attempt at 26.2 either. After completing the couch to 5k program last year, I ran my first 5k. There were then several more. I ran a 10k and a couple races of slightly longer distance. I signed up for the Four Season Challenge through our local Fleet Feet running store. That was a series of four half marathons, one every season. I thought that too would be impossible, but one-by-one I managed to finish them and began training for the last piece of that resolution. Then, towards the end of August, having logged 120 miles that month in preparation for an end of year marathon, I threw out my back on a 16 mile training run, ending my bid to complete a race of all distances between 5k and marathon in 2015.

Jack was hard at work while dad was out running.
Jack was hard at work while dad was out running.

Having taken some time off from training to recover from my back injury I found a group on Facebook, Streak Runners International. I was immediately intrigued. Though you can join the group, it isn’t until you log 1 mile of running every day for 365 consecutive days that you can become a member of the club. I wanted in. So, October 4th I began my run streak and decided that I would find an early spring marathon in 2016 to train for.

Right around that time I saw a post on Twitter that a runner was using a marathon to raise funds for an organization called I’mME, an organization which started after former Buffalo Bill (and current Pittsburgh Steeler) David Nelson visited Haiti in 2012.

A sight for sore eyes! Jack and Ann Marie suprised me with signs at the finish!
A sight for sore eyes! Jack and Ann Marie suprised me with signs at the finish!

“i’mME is a non-profit organization who exists to End the Orphan Cycle through care, prevention, and partnerships. Since beginning its efforts in Haiti during the summer of 2014, i’mME has provided over 22,000 meals, educated 250 children, rescued 11 orphans, created 37 jobs, and prevented close to 200 children from being abandoned. They are currently in the beginning phases of expanding their efforts to a couple of new countries.” You can read David’s account of his trip to Haiti – and the experiences which led him to start this organization at The Players’ Tribune. I was moved by his story and decided to start a fundraising campaign based around completing a marathon. To date, the campaign which had a goal of $500 – has raised $670 and continues to grow.

Two Rivers Marathon in Lackawaxen PA was one of the first marathons of 2016 (March 26) – and it was within driving distance from Rochester NY. I would have ample time to train for the race and raise awareness and funds for I’mME. Whenever I posted a training update (and I have run every day since October) I also put it out there that I was using this race to raise funds for a great cause. As the miles started to add up, so did the donations. Contributions came from friends at work, family members, numerous running friends from the Rochester running community – and folks I’d never met, runners from running groups I belong to on Facebook were sharing my posts and contributing to the cause. Somewhere along the way, this race became bigger than a runner banging out his first 26.2 mile race and crossing the finish line. Even while running this race, the total raised continued to climb.

Proud to finish a marathon, and more proud of the contributions to I'mME
Proud to finish a marathon, and more proud of the contributions to I’mME

The race itself was awesome. First off, you’d find it difficult to find a value priced race ($70 registering later on) with better swag. In addition to the standard finishers medal and t-shirt, runners received a branded pair of socks and backpack! And with the Pennsylvania hills surrounding this course, runners experienced nature all around them as they ran much of the course along the Lackawaxen River. Though it boasted a net elevation drop of 600+ feet, there were plenty “rollers” as the race director called them, along the way as well. Where I’m from in New York, we call them hills. We would also describe his “small hill” somewhere just short of a mountain but with the first two miles of the course being run downhill you were able to bank some time for the previously mentioned rollers. After around mile 10, the course basically flattened out the rest of the way.

The plan for this race for me was simple. Just finish. I targeted about a 12 min/mile pace shooting to finish in 5:30:00 or less. I figured 5:15:00 to be an achievable stretch goal and anything under 5 hours to be barely out of reach. Aid stations were placed every 2 miles so there was nothing to carry as I planned to hydrate with water and Gatorade every 2 miles and refuel with GU every 4-6 miles.

When the race started, and I hit that downhill start I committed the cardinal sin. Adrenaline pumping and running downhill I hit Mile 1 in 9:29. Conscious of the possibility of burning out by going out too fast I slowed down. Or so I thought. Mile 2, 9:28. I made a real effort to try slowing things down and the “rollers” and “small hill” helped by doing their part. Miles 3-8 ranged between 10:06-10:34.

I did it! I AM a MARATHONER!
I did it! I AM a MARATHONER!

Still feeling pretty good, I hit the 13 mile mark at 2:15:59 which was only slightly slower than my half PR of 2:15. The remaining 13 miles were in the 12’s and 13’s with my slowest mile being mile 24 at 13:48. I knew those last 4.2 miles would be tough though as my training plan maxed out with a 22 mile run, and tough they were. I resorted to my run/walk strategy somewhere around mile 18.

Overall, I just tried to stay within myself, stay at a comfortable pace (even if faster than planned) and enjoy the scenery and experience. There was never a doubt that I would finish, and I knew that the struggles and pain I would endure in my first marathon paled in comparison to the struggles the children and their families I had been fundraising for endure on a daily basis.

I finished my first ever marathon with a chip time of 4:59:25. Proud to have just completed a marathon, and super proud to have finished my first-ever in under 5 hours – the support that all of you have shown in supporting I’mME through my race and fundraising campaign makes me the most proud. Proud to be part of such a wonderful group of people called runners, and proud to call you my friends.

The fundraising campaign runs through 3/31/2016. If you’d like to contribute, Click Here!

A post-race celebratory photo with my son.
A post-race celebratory photo with my son.

Post Half Marathon Advice: What to do after

Congratulations you’ve finished a half marathon. Hopefully you have had a great experience not just with the physical running side but also the atmosphere which makes these events so special. Your recovery starts as soon as you get across the finish line so here is some tips on what to do post half marathon to help avoid the aches and pains over the next few days.

Zero – Five minutes post half marathon:

Don’t Stop!

You may feel exhausted, aching and needing a lie down however the best thing to do is keep moving for at least 10-15 minutes after you finish. Listen to you body but get a cool down in and keep moving even, go for a light jog or a walk. Just try not to sit down straight away, walk to the food or charity tent. Start your post race stretching and put some layers on as your body will loose heat very quickly.

Zero – twenty minutes post half marathon:

Hydrate

It’s vital to replace the fluid that you would have lost throughout your run as quickly as possible to help your body recover. For a half marathon distance try electrolyte sports drink, juice, water or the beloved runners favourite chocolate milk. You want to drink enough liquid so that your urine returns to a pale yellow, if its darker you are still dehydrated. Water is great but as you would have lost salt and mineral throughout your run try a combination.

Refueling

In the first half an hour after you finish you want to eat some small, with main component being carbohydrate with a small amount of protein and fat. Good examples are a banana, fruit either fresh or dried, Nuts, bagels/baps, cereal bar/flapjack, yogurt or chocolate.

2 hours post half marathon:

After you finish your run try to have your main meal; half of the meal should be made up of carbs preferably whole grains with an equal amount of protein. Ginger and honey have also been proven to help and reduce muscle soreness.

Thirty mins – one hour post half marathon:

Stretching and Sports Massage

It wont be the first time you’ve been told about the importance of stretching after a race but there’s a reason way. After you have done your own stretches end the to the sports massage tent and get a massage. The therapist will often be able to detect muscles that you may not have notice being tight as well as getting deeper into the muscles. They will also be able to help you with dynamic stretches, which have been proved to be more effective than static stretches.

The evening post half marathon:

By the evening you should have refuelled and start to relax. Whether your staying in a hotel or you were lucky enough to be local and are able to chill at home make sure you keep moving. Just go for a evening stroll nothing strenuous something simple like a 10 minute walk with the dog at a very leisurely pace will be more than good enough. The most important thing is you get a good night sleep cause lets face it you deserve it!!

Three – five days post half marathon:

Get another sports massage to help with any aches and pains that you may have developed post race. You can read for about the benefits of Sports Massage here.

Four days post half marathon: 

When should you start running again?
The general rule is between 4 days after go for a 2-mile light run just to keep your muscles moving. You want to reverse taper and start to slowly build up the mileage you are doing.

You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.

For other articles on Half marathon’s check out what to in the week before and on raceday.

Half Marathon: Race Day Advice

It’s race day! You’ll probably be feeling a mix of emotions nerve, excitement, fear or all of the above and more rolled into one. Here are some tips to get you to the starting line of your half marathon feeling calm and relaxed.

Early Start:

Get up early and leave plenty of time for breakfast and to get to the start. The last thing you want to do is rush to the venue. Go through your race details of where to drop your kit off and where the starting pen is. Have one last look at the half marathon course details including water stations.

Do a last-minute check of your kit bag make sure you have your shoes, clothes, race number with safety pins attached, timing chip if not already attached to your shoes, water bottle and food. Make sure your kit bag has extra layers for after the race and some dry clothes encase it’s a wet race.

Two – Four hours before the half marathon:

Eat a breakfast you’ve had before don’t try anything new, you don’t want an upset stomach. Try to eat 2?4 hrs before the starting time and aim for 1000 calories. Eat a combination of simple carbs with some protein for example bread/bagels, cereal, nut butter, low-fat yogurt, or milk. If you can’t stomach food try a fruit based smoothie.

Two Hours – Thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Have a pre-event massage 2 hr ? 30 mins before the race. The massage should be light and up-tempo to aid the runner in getting their muscles warm and ready for the race. The theory is to increase the blood going to the muscles. It also has been suggested to improve focus and relax before the race. The practitioner can also help with some dynamic stretches. It should not be used instead of a good warm up and stretches but to complement it. If you want some more information about how sports massage can benefit you check out my blog post on Sport Massage.

Up to one hour before the half marathon:

Keep your fluid intake up and drink 500?700 ml up to the hour before and then no more than 200ml 30 mins before. While you need to make sure you’re properly hydrated before you start, you don’t want to over hydrate or have to stop and take a pit stop mid half marathon.

Thirty – forty-five minutes before the half marathon:

Have a good warm up and stretch. Never stretch cold muscles always go for a light 5-minute jog before hand. Do the same warm-up you are used to and get into your normal pre-race/run routine. For more tips on advice on warming up check out my  guide to the importance of warming up.

Up to thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Drink around 200ml this will be your last main fluid intake till the start of the race.

Twenty to thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Go to the start early, hand in your kit bag and have an old track suit or old foil blanket, to stay warm at the start but something you can just get rid off. Get to the pen 20-30 mins before the start so you know you don’t have to rush or add any extra anxiety.

Two minutes before the half marathon:

Leave it to the last few minutes to take your old kit off.
Most importantly enjoy the race!!
You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.
For other articles on Half marathons check out: What to do the week before, what to do after a half marathon

Half Marathon Advice: What to do in the week before the race

So you’ve signed up for a half marathon! Whether you have competed before or it’s your first half and taking on the challenge. Here are some of my tips of what to do in the week before the race:

1 week before the Race:

Use today as a full dress rehearsal, get up and have the same breakfast you plan to have on the day. This way you can test out everything and have some more confidence going into the race. Try to go for your run at the same time as you plan to do the race. Remember stay hydrated through the day and maintain through this week.

6 days before:

Either take today off or do a light cross training session. You could try the main meal your planning to have the night/lunch before your race. Make sure you get a good night sleep.

5 days before:

Do you last main training session before the race today and practice your routine including your diet, clothing. Try doing the run again at you’re planned  race pace.

4 days before:

Go for a fartlek or short high intensity interval work out to keep your legs moving and to get your heart racing. Fartlek means speed play in Swedish its just a term for interval training or run/walk training.

3 days before:

If you have a rest day planned for the day before and are not traveling aim for a light session no longer than 30 minutes. Start monitoring your fluid intake and make sure your staying hydrated. Make sure you get a good night sleep. Start to increase your carb percentage to 65?70%, but try to avoid beans and other food that may upset your stomach.

Get a good night sleep!!

3-5 days before

Get a sports massage preferably after an easy training session. Depending on how often you normally get a massage depends on how close you can leave it to the event. If you get them regularly you can have one closer to race day. You can find out more at the benefits of Sports Massage on my blog post.

Two days before:

If you have to travel to your race this would be the ideal day, go to pick your bib and other race day essentials including your food and drinks you may want on the day. Start increasing the percentage of carbs in your diet to around 70%. Avoid beans and other food that may cause bloating. If you’re not traveling to the race go for  a short walk or a light cross training session.

The day before:

Go for a very short run first thing to keep your legs moving no more than 20 mins! May attention to your diet with your main meals being breakfast and lunch to give your body enough to digest. Aim to eat easy to digest carbs like pasta with protein and not too much fibre or fat. Drink 2 glasses of water with dinner and then go for a short walk. Get everything laid out and packed for the morning so everything is ready. Set your alarm and try to get a good night sleep.
You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.

For more articles on Half Marathon running check out my race day and post half marathon guides.

No Run Is Ever The Same

I blogged a few weeks ago about my 8th marathon coming up.  It is now completed and several days after.  I’m still trying to determine what made this such a good run.  Was it the weather, atmosphere, clothes, shoes, music, course. Probably all the above and then some.  I completed this marathon and finally got myself a new PR taking 47 minutes off.  It was a out of state run, humid, sunny to cloudy the whole day, two turn around, split from half was at approximately 12.5 mile marker.  At the split off we ran right in between where the half was finishing and the bus stop was to take finishers back to the start line.  Mental, I forgot to add mental.  Running is such a mental / physical sport and I think that is where I lose myself sometimes. It’s so easy to talk yourself into things when you are mentally and physically exhausted.  When you are running so close to the finish of others and you know you have to complete the same amount of miles you just ran to be done is a mental game.  Normally I’m fine once I’m far away enough not to hear or see but, until then it’s a struggle to talk myself into not stopping.  Walking is another struggle when your trying to stay on pace especially when the majority of the field is walking around you.  Normally I do run with at least one person that’s at my pace and we seem to talk ourselves into what ever craziness pops into our heads.  This race however it was just me and me alone to deal with all these crazy notions that popped up saying you need to slow down, you need to walk, you just need to stop. I ran this race for me, my way and well I will never tell you it’s easy because it’s not, but the satisfaction when you cross that finish line and you know you’ve given it everything you had is an amazing feeling!    As I said before I’ve been doing a special challenge along with lots of others.  It’s called My Peak Challenge which is to motivate us to get fit and in turn it benefits Bloodwise which is a charity that supports people living with blood cancer.  I’ve only started with them at the beginning of this year, what a difference just a few months can make.  The program is still going if anyone out there would like to take a look at it.  There is such a great support system with this group it’s just been a unbelievable experience. Exercise videos that are what I would call cross fit, but angled to if your new to exercise you are still able to follow along and menu’s that are terrific. This program is the first time I’ve attempted anything close to cross fit and it’s made a world of difference in the activities I was already involved in. I am so much stronger now than what I was and my time on this race proved it.

noIMG_3312

 

Science behind Treadmill Running

Running on a treadmill may feel like your cheating especially when the weather is wet, cold, windy and generally miserable, however this is where you are wrong. If you are going to brave the elements check out my blog post on what to wear running in winter. The latest research has exposed the truth about some of the myths around treadmill running including the 1% rule and biomechanics that people assume make running on a treadmill easier.

Research:

Biomechanics

There have been many papers into the biomechanics of treadmill running vs. outdoor running the most noticeable studies I have read are by Leeds Beckett University for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and Kerrigan et al for the National Institute of health.

Leeds: There was such minor changes in biomechanics of runners and racewalkers on a treadmill compared to outside that it could not be ruled out as normal variation between the subjects. The changes were was small increases in their stride length as well as decrease in the amount of strides that they took. However while negligble this is not necessary a bad thing as often many runners will train to purposely increase their stride length and decrease the number of strides.

Kerrigan et al: Also noted the biomechanics and therefore the use and strain of the muscles on the treadmill compared to the outdoor were almost exactly with minor differences put down to differences in terrains. On a treadmill you make brief contact with a moving belt rather than a stationary surface however reasearch shows the relative motion is the same and therefore the same biomechanics so the same stress on your body.

For information on the biomechanics of running in general check out my other blog post.

1% Rule

Most people will say that they set their treadmill onto a 1% incline to simulate the conditions that you would find outside but have you ever questioned why?

Andrew Jones investigated why:

The theory was that as you are running on a belt in a controlled enviroment there would be a reduction in air resistance and therefore if you increased the incline you would recreate the conditions. However Jones proven that unless you were running a mile in 7.09 mins or around 4.20 mins a km the influence of air resistance is not detectable. If you are in category of running under 7.09 mile firstly well done!! Secondly you will need to put your treadmill up to 1% to off set the resistance and those even luckier to be running even faster than you will need to put your treadmill incline up to 2 %.

What does all this mean for me?

• It’s easy to train and get used at an even pace that might not be possible outside with weather and terrain changes.
• You can get your runs in no matter what the weather and it wont affect your run
• It’s easy to monitor your technique
• You control the environment; got a race with hills yet there are no hills near where you live no problem you can replicate the course exactly.
• Returning from injury? Worried you’ll over do it and get carried away now you’re back a treadmill can prevent you overdoing it and if you need to stop you won’t be stuck halfway round your loop.

Original article from: A State of Health Blog 

The Force Awakens!

This blog has absolutely nothing to do with the Millennium Falcon, Luke Skywalker, or Yoda’s incoherent sentence structure.

On Saturday last week, I watched the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials and I was completely blown away at the caliber of runner on show. These really were the best of the best and some of the times recorded were absolutely insane. Take the male that finished first for example, he ran the marathon, his first attempt at the 26.2mile distance, in a staggering 2:11:12! I call his race ‘insane’ as I compare his time to that of my fastest marathon thus far…3:53:24. That’s a nearly 1hr 45min difference! He could have caught a flick at the movies and then started his race, and we’d be finishing up around the same time…ridiculous!

I’ll admit, it was the first time I had ever watched a running event on TV which is strange considering my absolute love affair with running, no matter the distance. I was watching the trials after having just completed my training run for the day, a mere six mile tempo run as part of my Half Ironman training. On that note, I must say that I am really enjoying Half Ironman training and am definitely noticing gains on the bike and in my swim. But back to the Olympic Trials. As you know, I ran my fourth marathon back in November last year and achieved unforgettable mental euphoria by breaking the four hour mark at the fourth attempt. This was absolutely my finest hour (or multiple thereof) when it comes to running and no matter where I have found myself running since then, I still catch myself day dreaming about the race that finally broke my four hour hoodoo.

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I did say after November’s marathon that I would be concentrating 100% on triathlon and the Half Ironman in June as a matter of priority and perhaps marathon running would take a back seat for a year or so. Running four marathons in two years has been a drain on me emotionally and I decided that perhaps I didn’t want to put myself through that again in the near future. Reevaluating my goals and trying bigger things in the world of triathlon was my focus for 2016. Well, it still is, but something happened to me on Saturday while watching the trials. While seeing the spectators cheering the athletes on, the contagious energy from everyone involved (from volunteers to local law enforcement) and the sheer joy of completing the 26.2mile distance, something inside of me awoke from its slumber…my marathon passion! I know it has only been three months since I completed number four, but seeing the Olympic Trials on Saturday completely reignited the marathon flame inside of me. I finished watching the trials and decided, yeah, I’ll do another marathon this year.

But where Cameron, where??!!! Well, I’ve entered the lottery draw for the New York City Marathon, if that fails, I’ll do the same for the Marine Corps Marathon taking place in Arlington, VA. I’ll find out about NYC on March 8. If I don’t get into either NYC or the Marine Corps, who knows. It’ll likely be at sea-level again and I do have the Seattle Marathon in my sights but I’m waiting to see what happens with the drawing of NYC first before I settle on an alternate location. Once again, I’ll be looking at late October or November for a potential race date. What will be in my favor for this next marathon is that I believe the pressure is now well and truly off. I do not have any hoodoos to break (such as the sub four hour) and maybe I’ll be in such good shape from the triathlon season that I may score a nice little PR…who knows. I’ll know that I can finish a marathon in under four hours and maybe, maybe there is room for significant improvement.

Until then, it is all systems go for the Ironman 70.3 in June and once that is over, I’ll start out on my goal of completing a fifth marathon in three years.

The force is strong with this one!

#Marathon 8

#Marathon 8 Life’s Journey

Route 66 Marathon 2013 Tulsa, Oklahoma
Route 66 Marathon 2013 Tulsa, Oklahoma (my 1st marathon)

In less than two weeks I will be on the course running my 8TH #Marathon at the Rock N Roll series in New Orleans.  I am hoping for a new PR on this one, if not that’s ok to, just as long as I cross the finish line.  I have been on a long journey for the last 1-1/2 years coming back from a back injury, which slowed me down, and in consequence I gained all my weight back that was lost when I took up the sport of running. I haven’t been a runner all that long, but have succeeded in crossing the finish line several times in the last 4-1/2 years.

This particular marathon coming up though has extra meaning for me.  The fact that I’m coming back, losing weight, doing more than I ever thought first possible, being stronger in mind, body, and spirit. Before the back injury I thought I was doing all I could, but that wasn’t true. This journey back has been full of ups and downs, turns and curves, showing me there’s still room to improve and push to do more. Changing up how I train and what I do in between races.  Not only running during the week, but weight training as well.  I am still not down in weight as I was for my first marathon, it doesn’t seem to matter because I feel stronger.

This marathon coming up is just the beginning for this year.  I have scheduled 2 more marathons, 1 half marathon, inside sprint triathlon, outside sprint triathlon, my first Olympic distance triathlon, and my first half ironman 70.3 distance triathlon. That’s only my schedule to the end of June. This years journey is just beginning and can’t wait to get started.

Go Short Go Long Go Very Long 2014,Tulsa, Oklahoma (my first 50K)
Go Short Go Long Go Very Long 2014,Tulsa, Oklahoma (my first 50K)

I would like to mention a great charity Bloodwise. I have currently been doing a program that the proceeds benefit them.  The program is called #My Peak Challenge, it involves people making a difference in their own lives while helping to raise awareness for blood cancer research. A wonderful and giving actor Sam Heughan along with lots of help started this program last year to raise awareness, funds, and promote healthy living.  I have been amazed at how well this is managed and distributed. You have menus, work outs and the best inspirational community imaginable. You don’t have bad days they won’t let you.  Right now it’s linked up to a special face book page, there are all different ranges of people from just starting out, to exceptional health, to people trying to get back to where they where or better. Please check it out for yourself, It has changed my life these last couple of months and kept me on track and accountable.

With all of this said, I hope everyone of you that read this, will follow me on the rest of my journey. It’s not easy, it’s life changing, in the end IT WILL BE WORTH IT!

left Lifetime Tri Jan 2015 right Lifetime Tri Jan 2016 wanted to share my journey, I'm not done:o)
left Lifetime Tri Jan 2015 right Lifetime Tri Jan 2016
wanted to share my journey, I’m not done:o)