Just the right push to succeed!
While running is an extremely versatile and low-gear activity, there are some precautions you should take before running out the door. Most shoes and running clothes have some reflective tape on the seams, but there’s more you can do to stay safe….
- Avoid Traffic: Sounds logical, but many of us are creatures of habit. It took me many months to change my distance running away from the roads that looked better on maps than in person (my GPS watch helped with that). And if you must run on or around roads with cars, pick roads with sidewalks or shoulders and run facing traffic. Always run defensively, as few runners have inflicted damage on cars…but sadly the opposite occurs quite often.
- Be seen: Running in the dark and even in daylight can be dangerous if cars can’t see you. Where reflective gear, blinking LED lights, a reflective vest, or that neon green or yellow that seems to be growing in popularity. Running is not a fashion show…be seen….be safe.
- Carry an ID: I am often guilty of breaking this rule (and quickly reminded by my better ½). Have something on you that lets others know who you are and who to contact in case of emergency. I used to run with my dog tags…but there are far more practical solutions now-a-days. Check out www.RoadID.com, they have laser-engraved bracelets for under $20 that could save your life or someone that you love.
- Bring water: If your run is longer than 30-40 minutes in the summer heat, you’d be smart to run with a water bottle. There are many runner hydration products out there from water bottle sleeves to camelbaks…or just the plain-ole 20 ounce bottle will do. Be smart in the heat and stay hydrated!
Running safely does not have to be a hassle or an expense…just a few minutes of extra planning. Happy running – be safe!
Avoiding injuries can be one of the biggest hurdles to our fitness routine’s longevity. As a runner, I’ve been sidelined by many nagging pains: knee pain (tendonitis), Achilles tendon micro tears, plantar fasciitis, and shin splints. All of these injuries start with a small pain and can progress to something more debilitating if ignored. You can reduce the chance of all of these injuries with a few proactive exercises…
- Leg lifts: With some simple ankle weights, you can do leg extensions and leg curls. Both of these exercises have helped me when I get knee pain (tendonitis). I do light weight and high repetitions, multiple sets through the day. By strengthening the quads and hamstrings, the tendon takes on less stress from walking, running, and exercising and has time to heal.
- Toe Curls: This one may seem a bit silly…but it works at strengthening the muscles on the bottom of your foot and reduces the chance of plantar fasciitis.
- Squats: I have used one-legged squats and calf raises to help me through many Achilles tendon bouts. By doing them on one leg, it also gives multiple muscles a workout as your body fights to stay balanced.
For more information on these exercises and how to do them, check out the leg exercise page.
You can also find some good injury-specific info on the shin splint, Achilles tendonitis, stress fracture, and plantar fasciitispages. Good luck staying injury-free this summer….it’s the best insurance policy you can take out for YOU!
Exercise of the Month:
The Versatile Push-up!
Push-ups are one of the most convenient and effective exercises that you can add to your daily exercise routine. Push-ups are a great chest and arm workout without the need for weights. In this exercise you are pushing approximately 3/4 of your total body weight with each repetition. For a 150-pound person, this is equivalent to bench-pressing approximately 115 pounds.
To do a proper push-up, lower your body so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor, as pictured above. Do the exercise slowly for maximum benefit. To concentrate more on your triceps and inner pectoral muscles, place your hands 8-10 inches apart. To work the outer part of your chest, place your hands 24+ inches apart, or slightly more than your shoulder-width. As with any exercise, do the amount of repetitions you can comfortably do without taking your muscles to exhaustion. You can gradually increase the repetitions, sets, and frequency over time. This favorite “punishment exercise” is a great addition to any workout and will give you some noticeable muscle changes in a fairly short period of time.
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Encouragement to Succeed!
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