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Cross Country Running Shoes
One of the greatest sports I can think of is cross country running. A popular sport in high school and college athletics, and also a popular activity among outdoor enthusiast and runners in general, cross country running offers the opportunity to get out into nature and experience it in a very personal and intense way. If you enjoy running, either for the health benefits or the runners high, you should try getting out to one of your favorite spots in nature, find a good trail, lace up a decent pair of trail running shoes and go running through the forest.
I remember when I first went to purchase a pair of cross country running sneakers as a high school freshman. The sales person told me about durability and ruggedness and other things he had no knowledge about and sold me a pair of low quality tennis shoes. Well, needless to say I paid for that mistake with injuries and terrible times, but I learned a valuable lesson. It is important to be informed before going to shop for an important item like a trail running shoe. Your health and well being may depend on it, and you canít always rely on the sales clerk to know what he is talking about.
If you are going to be running cross country, you will inevitably find yourself running on every kind of terrain imaginable, from pavement to track to grass to trails through the woods. You will often find yourself jumping over roots and rocks, making sudden inclines or declines and crossing drastically from one type of surface to the next. However, ultimately you are still running, and a running shoe is what you are looking for.
trail running footwear is a running shoe that is generally a little sturdier and focuses on delivering a lot of cushioning and lateral support. The often treacherous and unpredictable paths a cross country runner takes requires a shoe that can withstand a lot of abuse. Trail running shoes are often made to be a little more weather and element resistant, as you will often find yourself trekking through mud, wet grass and perhaps even snow.
One sacrifice trail runners will sometimes make is in weight, as the added protection and durability come at the cost of more material and therefore more overall weight in the mens or womens running shoe. However, as you go up in quality, the trail running footwear will get lighter and lighter, until you find a range of durable, supportive, quality running shoes with the appropriate tread on the bottom and support to survive the rugged sport of cross country running.
Fitting a trail running shoe is exactly like fitting any other athletic footwear. Trail running shoes come in all the varieties that other running shoes do, so choose an appropriate style of shoe for your particular needs. When you try the running shoes on, put on both pair and walk around the store a little bit. Crouch down and bend the toe to see how flexible and comfortable they are, and whether or not they rub around your ankles. Try them on with a pair of socks that are like to the ones you run in, as many cross country runners will have special socks that they wear. Move side to side, jump a little bit and run a short distance.
The shoe should fit snug but not pinch your foot. This is especially important in trail running shoes, because the terrain you will be moving across is so varied and uneven. If a shoe pinches your toes, the result can be anything from twisted ankles to bunions to stress fractures. The runnerís stride depends on a certain range of motion to operate properly during a step, and the trail running shoes you choose should enhance and support that range of motion, not inhibit it.
Base Building For Runners
This can happen: after three years of long runs, races and lots of speed work, you find out that you are getting fed up with doing a session 'because it was on the schedule', or because everyone else was doing it. If you already have two disappointing marathons, try considering base-building. It will open up a whole new lease of life for you. Then you will know why you are doing each run, and if you're an inquisitive type, this will give you more pleasure and motivation
Base training doesn't actually have to mean running. You can start your training season doing pretty much any general training (swimming, cycling, rowing, aerobics) then progress to more specific training later on. Its all about building a good cardio-respiratory system which simply requires consistent, chronic exposure to activity.
For long distance running, an increase in mileage is your best bet. Say, if you are used to running 10k for thrice a week, try doing 15k runs twice a week. Then, check your progress in time in 10k after a month. To achieve that with the minimum injury risk, keep the pace slow and comfortable.
To train for base endurance, 1hr a day of running is a good base target to work up to if you are trying to run good times. This may take some time. All increases should be very gradual and if you are not used to daily running then start with less per day than you think you can manage. And always ease back as soon as you feel and discomfort at all. If your are aiming lower then adapt it to run as many days a week as you can manage and perhaps shorter runs, say, 40min 5 days a week. But 1hr a day is best. From there you can start to add long runs and faster pace efforts (stay aerobic though).
An hour of daily running is ideal assuming that a person wants to maximize his/her potential - of course if you are happy to perform less well or do not have the time to commit further down the road it can be adapted.
Daily running is ideal since injuries tend to creep up on you rather than suddenly pounce out from nowhere. Plus with this type of training, if you run at a steady pace, you won't need a recovery day. Do take note of time over distance. An 1hr at a certain effort is the same for all of us no matter how fast or slow we may be.
It is better to forget the long run while adapting to daily running and building up to the hour. For starters, you can start at 20-25min of running per day. Avoid walking in during the timed run. Take about 1 month or so to build up to 45min a day and then the same again to get to the hour. You could probably do it in less, and will certainly feel able to, but remember that it is the muscles/body that will be under pressure not the heart and lungs.
This is what might be defined as a base for base building! It gets you into shape so that you can build a base. So then spend three months adding a long run and some faster aerobic runs.
If you have never trained this way before, take time to do the base for a base - it will prepare you for the mileage ahead. Base for a base is a preparation stage for beginners, running 3 to 4 times a week. From 6 kilometers of fat-burning pace to 15 kilometers each run. Circuit Training in gym will also be helpful as your cross-training. After which, base-building can now be applied.
How To Get Started In Running
Running is a great way to get in shape and keep fit. If youíve decided to start a running program for whatever reason Ė to get in shape, to lose weight, etc Ė then you need to follow some basic guidelines. If you are over-weight or really out of shape get a check-up from your physician before you start.
Get proper running shoes!
Lots of people start running with inadequate footwear. I advise you to buy a good pair of name-brand running shoes like Nike, Adidas, New Balance etc. At the beginner level you wonít need the top of the line model either. You should be able to find a good pair in the $50 to $70 range. Visit your local running store for some good advice.
If youíre new to running, or havenít run in a long time, then you probably wonít be able to run very far without getting out of breath. By far the best way to start is to alternate running and walking. Run slowly for about 2 minutes and then walk for 2 minutes to recover. Youíll soon be able to increase this to 4 to 5 minute intervals. Then gradually decrease the walking time until you can run 30 Ė 40 minutes non-stop. It may take you several weeks to get to this point. Be patient!
Set Your running Goals
These should be fairly modest to start with, even if you are quite fit. Donít try to run a 26-mile marathon in your first year of running! A realistic goal for the first 6 Ė 12 months would be to reach a point where you can run 6 miles. You might want to participate in a local race or two. These are fun events, and are often community-based to raise money for charity or medical research.
Runners are among the most likely to get an injury of one kind or another. This is usually caused by over-use, but can also come from a biomechanical problem like a weak knee joint or over-pronation of the feet. As a beginner runner you need to be aware of this and build a good base of running before you increase your efforts. Donít be afraid to stop and walk on a run if you are feeling strained.
Run with a friend.
Running with someone like yourself who is just beginning is a great way to get started. You can chat as you go along, and the time (and miles!) will go by really quickly.
Take It Easy!
As you get fitter, the temptation is to run further and faster. This is where itís easy to get hurt. If itís a serious problem like an Achilles heel injury this could knock you out of your running program, and may even discourage you from running altogether.
Keep a Running Log
This is a great way to keep yourself motivated. The basic items you want to record are the date, how long you were out, and how far you went. You can also note the route you took, the weather, companions, and anything else you feel is important. Your running log can become your daily fitness diary. Another important feature of your running log book is keeping track of your total mileage from week to week. If you increase this by more than the recommended percentage (10 - 15%) then you are risking an injury.
The Longest Run During Marathon Training
Every time that I read an article about marathon training I see something pertaining to the longest run in a marathon plan. Why is there so much controversy?
Every marathon runner or coach has his or her own theory about the longest run during marathon training. Some argue that 20 miles in long enough. Others argue running up to 30 miles. And some even say that 15 miles is long enough. Which theory is correct?
In my own opinion the two greatest coaches are Arthur Lydiard and Jack Daniels. These two coaches never had their runners run longer than 22 miles. My interpretation of their coaching system is that they based this distance on the length of time that a marathoner would run during the actual race. During marathon training a distance of 22 miles ran at slower than marathon pace would equal the time running the actual marathon.
My own theory about marathon training follows a similar pattern. I try to lengthen my long run in minutes to the amount of time that I project to be my finishing time. For example if my projected marathon goal is 3 and Ĺ hours. My longest run will be 3 and half hours at my long distance heart rate of between 60 and 75% mhr 3 weeks before the marathon.
Two drawbacks to this theory are under estimating your finishing time and running longer than three hours. Figuring out your estimated finishing time can be a challenge. There are many ways to estimate your finishing time. My personal choice is to take my latest half marathon finishing time and double it and add one half hour. For those whose finishing time projects out to be longer than 3 hours I would not run longer than 3 and a half hours.
A suggestion about longs runs during marathon training. When your long run time starts approaching three hours allow 14 to 21 days between these efforts. Three hour runs take a lot out of you both physically and mentally. Extra time is needed for the body and mind to adapt to these difficult efforts.
My theory about long runs during marathon training has helped to me set my own personal best times in the marathon. I believe this will allow you to reach your own marathon goals also.
Why Is Marathon Running So Popular?
Marathon Running is a wonderful challenge which can be enjoyed by everybody. The huge fields some of the more popular International Marathons attract is ample evidence that the sport is extremely popular.
Now running a marathon is not easy. It takes a lot of training just to finish the race and even more to get a good time. Although some of the natural runners can complete a marathon with a minimal of training, the vast majority need to put in a lot of mileage over an extended period of time. This means going out in all types of weather or spending hours on a treadmill.
What is it that motivates them to run?
Often people watching a big marathon on TV are drawn to excitement and glamour. They are inspired watching ordinary people of all ages and sizes completing the race. They can identify with the runners and feel, that if others can do it, so can they. Sometimes they take up a challenge from their family or friends to prove that they can also do it.
Many runners start with the aim of getting fit or losing weight. They start with short runs a couple of times a week. Slowly they start running further, faster and more frequently. Then they start to enter the shorter fun runs and 10km races. This leads them to the longer races.
OK thatís what gets them motivated to start. What is it that keeps them running? Letís look at some of the attractions.
There is no doubt that running gives you a feeling of wellbeing. No matter how tired you feel before a training run, you always feel so much more energetic afterwards. Not only this, any tension and stress soon dissolves after a couple of kilometers. It is the endorphins that are released into your system when you run which accounts for this. Once you realize this you are much more motivated not to skip your training runs.
Nothing compares with the confidence running gives you. You start to learn that you are no longer bound by the limitations that you had set for yourself. You now feel you can take on challenges that previously you would never have accepted. Best of all, this starts to manifest in all areas of your life, not just running.
Obviously your body tones up. You may lose a bit of weight. You look a lot better. Ailments like indigestion and heartburn vanish. Your energy soars. You are more relaxed.
The camaraderie of the marathon is outstanding. There is a vibe that permeates every event, no matter what the weather conditions. Apart from the elite athletes who compete against each other, the majority of the field is only competing against themselves. These races and the group training runs are like social events. It is a chance to interact with like minded people from all walks of life.
Running provides a wonderful opportunity to meet interesting people and make new friends. Many running clubs often have a strong social bias. They organize regular functions, get-togethers and outings.
Some runners love the training runs they do on their own. The solitude allows them to clear their minds. To solve any problems that have been nagging them. To enjoy the time alone doing what they love.
For some it is a chance to find those special routes. They love to do beautiful scenic runs in the country or explore the neighborhood. They take your shoes with them when you travel so that they can run wherever you are.
Finally the biggest motivator of all is crossing the line. Nothing beats the exhilaration of completing your first marathon. The sense of accomplishment is absolutely amazing. Once you have done this, there is nothing you feel that you canít accomplish. It will bring you back to run marathon after marathon.
This what makes marathon running one of the most satisfying sports. This is why marathons draw so many participants to every race.
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