A Great Gift for a Race Fan

One of my friends is a huge Formula One fan, so for his birthday we decided to do a few things for him. We got him tickets to watch a race in person, and we got him a cake that was shaped like a car. The cake was much bigger than a normal cake and even had wheels that could turn. It was hard keeping this all a secret from him, because he’s the kind of person who likes to snoop around until he finds out exactly what people are planning for his birthday. He’s discovered what we’ve planned for him in the past and it’s ruined everything, although he didn’t seem to mind.

On his birthday, we blindfolded our friend and told him that we would be taking him to a special place that no one else knew about. He kept asking questions along the way in an attempt to figure out where we were taking him, but he couldn’t figure it out. Once we got to the race, we removed the blindfold and he became excited. Read More

England Netball selects 21 players for full-time World Cup programme

England Netball selects 21 players for full-time World Cup programme

With the netball World Cup set to take place in Liverpool next year, England netball has already selected its 21 players that will become part of the full-time squad.

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World Cup build-up

The netball World Cup tournament will kick off in Liverpool from 12-21 July, 2019. The world’s top 16 teams will compete, including the England Roses who will play alongside rival teams such as Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica.

According to England Netball this is the first time in a generation that England has had the honour of hosting the World Cup. It was previously held in Birmingham in 1995 and in Eastbourne back in 1963.

England’s team

The England Roses are no strangers to netball at a competitive level. Eleven of the 12 players making the list won Commonwealth Gold in April. Eleven players have also been named in the England futures programme.

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As far as women’s netball goes, England is currently doing pretty well. They enjoy a world ranking of second place, having overtaken New Zealand. With Australia holding the top ranking position, the English team will be keen to knock those from down under off their perch at the World Cup tournament.

With a busy training schedule planned, including netball training drill videos such as those from https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Netball/drills.jsp, the team will have a full-on time during the next 12 months as they prepare to battle for victory.

England players also have a line-up of matches to look forward to in 2018-19. They will play the Quad Series, compete in Melbourne to defend their Fast5 title and play a home series against Uganda. All of these before the World Cup takes place in July next year.

Funding dilemmas

Despite the success of the England Roses, netball at national level is suffering a funding crisis. This could have a detrimental impact on the game going forward. Officials from England Netball’s governing body claim that funding is only sufficient for the full-time athlete programme up until 2019. England Netball was awarded £16.9 million in 2017 from Sport England, with £3 million of these funds designated for the national team.

Twenty-three full-time contracts were awarded to England netball players last season, with 12 of those playing overseas in New Zealand and Australia. For the upcoming season, only six of the 21 team members play in Australia.


The Right Time To Run

A major dilemma for some runners is what time of day should they run. Runners should find the time when they are at their best, if possible, to get their run in. For some runners, it may be early morning. For some, it may be in the evenings. And, then there are those that run during their lunch hour. Here are some tips regarding what time may be best for you to run.

Personally, I’m a morning runner. I know that I can get my run in then and not have things pop up during the day that may keep me from going as long as I want. Running in the morning also gives you energy that will last throughout the day. But, if you are not a morning person – running in the morning could be pure torture. And, you don’t want that. After a while, if you don’t get used to being so active in the morning – you may quit running altogether.

There are some runners that like to run during their lunch break. They like the break that it gives them during their work day. It can also give you the energy that you need to get through the second half of their work day. However, if you only have ½ hour or so for lunch, it may be hard to get your run in and get cleaned back up in time.

Many runners choose to run after work or in the evenings. They like the fact that they can erase the stress from their work day before they head home. And, if you run with others, it usually works to meet in the evenings. The downside of evening running is that you never know what may happen during the day. An emergency meeting after work, a presentation that has to be done by morning – you get the idea. Your run can be cut short or even postponed altogether. However, if can be a great time to run.

Basically, it’s a question that only you can answer. It’s up to you and your personality as to when you run. I love my morning runs! Getting energized for my day – and just the peacefulness of morning running is works for me. And, then the beauty of running as the sun in coming up. Whatever time you run, remember the most important thing is to just get o


How To Avoid Injury During Running

Heading out straight from home and running on tarmac around your locality has many benefits. Not least of all is the convenience and speed with which you can be on your way. However, there is a major downside. Running on such a hard surface can lead to aches and pains.

Running off-road is softer underfoot which is better news for your joints. However, the terrain is more varied and thus more physically demanding.

Follow these trail running tips for beginners to get the most out this great activity whilst minimizing the risk of injury.

01: Start Gradually

Introduce trail running into your training schedule gradually. This gives your muscles a chance to adapt to the change. For example, include a trail run once every 2 weeks for say 4 weeks then once a week for 4 weeks and so on.

02: Start Out on Level Terrain

You are only asking for trouble if you set off up a hill on your very first trail run. It takes time to build up endurance particular if you running routes are usually fairly level roads or pavements. It’s far better to start out on a flat trail. Introduce slopes, up and down, gradually.

03: Watch Where You Put Your Feet

Part of the attraction of trail running is working out in beautiful surroundings. But you have to keep a wary eye out for obstacles such as rocks or roots of tree that could, quite literally, trip you up. And, of course, it might be wet underfoot on some parts of the trail.

04: Take It Easy

As a trail running novice don’t focus on running pace. Instead, concentrate on the adjustments to running technique necessary to cope with varied terrain and softer, sometimes slippery ground. Don’t expect to get into a running rhythm as you would running on pavements. Be patient, you’re learning a new skill and that takes time. If you get tired, don’t be embarrassed to walk. That’s far better than risking injury.

05: Tell A Friend

Never venture alone onto a trail without telling someone where you’re going, where you’ve parked the car and how long you expect to be. Always take your mobile phone with you, ensuring it’s fully charged.

However, as a beginner it is far better have a running buddy on the trail. But, don’t be competitive. You’re there to support each other.

Research has shown that running in green spaces results in a greater sense wellbeing than exercising indoors. Trail running, therefore, offers both physical and mental benefits so it’s definitely win, win!

Trail running beginners who follow these tips will, in the long run, progress faster than those go too fast, too far too soon.

You’ll be able to explore all those running trails set in glorious countryside. How thrilling is that!


How To Improve Your Stamina During Running

Building stamina requires time and practice, and the payoffs are worth the efforts. Good stamina is key to getting the most out of your training sessions and enjoying your life. For instance, if you can’t sustain running-or any other cardiovascular training-for more than 20 minutes, then you’re probably no benefiting from the training and may be actually wasting your time and energy.

Therefore, if you want to increase your stamina for running training-or for any other workout regime-here are 3 ways that can help.

Set Realistic Goals

The fastest way to face difficulties with your running training is trying to rush the training by setting over-the border and unrealistic goals. Do not rush this, nor be over-excited to develop good stamina. If your goals are well beyond what you currently can do, you’ll only increase the likelihood of injury and burnouts. Instead, the way to go is to set challenging but realistic goals and build on that.

For instance, if you can run for 10K but it takes you considerable efforts ( you find yourself extremely exhausted and sore at the end of the workout), then you’re overdoing the exercise. The 10K isn’t a realistic goal for you. Instead, aim to run for 3 or 4 miles and gradually build your running distance. After a while, you’ll be able to run that 10K distance without much trouble.

Add Tempo Runs

Adding distance is not enough, you need to make your training more intense. One of the best running training strategies is the tempo run. This type of running trains your body to run further and faster with less fatigue. Also known as lactate threshed training, tempo runs are key in developing metabolic fitness, this means that your body becomes more efficient at handling lactic acid from your working muscle,eventually leading to less fatigue.The more endurance level you have, the higher you push your lactate threshold.

A tempo run pace is 70-80% of your maximum cardio power. This is the point where you start building lactic acid in your legs and working muscles. Start your run with 5 minutes of slow jogging, then gradually increase the intensity and continue with 15-25 minutes of running at about 10 seconds slower than your 10K pace. If you’re not sure how a 10K pace should feel like, just run at a pace that feels comfortably hard, but not too much.

Interval Running

If you don’t have enough time for a tempo run, interval running is the way to go. Also referred to as High Intensity Training Interval (or HIIT), this type of training is ideal for shedding weight, increasing muscle mass, boosting running speed and performance, and enhancing overall fitness and health level.

Here is a beginner interval workout:

– Start with a 5 minute jog for warm-up ;

– Run at interval pace (80-90% of your maximum heart rate) for one full minute, then jog slowly for one minutes recovery interval

– Repeat the cycle 7-8 times :

– End the workout with 5 minutes jog as cool down. Breathe deeply and stretch afterwards.

The above program is just to give you an idea on how to proceed with an interval running workout. Don’t feel the need to follow it verbatim. Use some common sense and adjust it to your own needs and fitness level.

These 3 training guidelines can take your stamina levels beyond what thought possible. They are that powerful. Nevertheless, you need to practice the skill and put into action what you’ve just learned. Speed of implementation is key to success.

David DACK is a runner and an established author on weight loss, motivation and fitness.


Mindfulness Method When Running

In recent years, my own personal research and study has overlapped with my professional work, in a way that has been both fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable.

Following a period of study in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with mindfulness, I have been able to apply the skills gained within it, add them to my own existing understanding and material that I teach and really apply the skills to my own running experience; this article offers a resulting mental skill that you use when you are running.

This type of process is based upon the classic body scan method popularised in recent times by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I would like to add here though that those exploring the field in depth will encounter other very similar processes within the work of Fritz Perls (1951) within the field of Gestalt Therapy and Cooke and van Vogt (1956) wrote too about the same sort of body awareness routine that was used by hypnotherapists back in the 1950s.

The main difference that we are going to encounter though is that most versions of this process are written and done seated or lying down and you tune into yourself whilst absolutely still. Here, you are going to engage in the mindfulness process when very active and are running, so it is very different in that respect.

The main goal of this process though is absolutely the same regardless of where or how you are doing it. You just aim to increase self-awareness. We do this by systematically developing a heightened awareness of our bodily sensations while we are running.

Often, I have found when teaching clients or students mindfulness practices, especially when in the early stages of learning it, they might nod off or drift to sleep as they relax. The beauty of doing this kind of process when running is that you are kept engaged by the natural impetus of your running activity. It is a wonderful level of absorption that you get.

Evidence has shown that elite runners often engage in an associative cognitive strategy that keeps them tuned in to how they are during their running (Morgan & Pollock, 1977). It enables them to tune in and check how capable they are of pushing themselves further whilst running or easing off based upon their awareness of their body, strength and resources.

Therefore, a process of mindfulness is beneficial for that reason. However, the benefits are much more than those simply gained for the purpose of running performance enhancement. There is a large body of evidence that supports the benefits of mindfulness for our physical and mental health in and of itself.

A simple search online will show you how impossible it would be for me to fully exhaust that body of evidence from throughout the years, but is has benefits for specific conditions as well as general health implications.

The runner benefits from good mental and physical health that are advanced by mindfulness and such a practice also enriches and enhances the enjoyment of running in my own opinion and experience.

A couple of quick notes before you begin with this. Throughout your mindful running, be accepting of the noises, sights and places that you encounter, do your best to allow everything to simply become part of the process for you. Likewise, accept your thoughts and feelings as you run too.

Many times I have spoken and written about what Emile Coué used to refer to as ‘the effort error’ – that is, don’t try to force yourself to do this process perfectly. Accept what happens throughout. Don’t try to let go of certain thoughts or feelings, all the time, simply observe it, be interested in your ongoing experience without interfering in it. This is key.

As much as you can, be patient throughout. Enjoy the luxury of the time to yourself, and just be as aware as you can, watch it happening without trying to change anything. If you find that your awareness is distracted or wanders off somewhere else, then accept that too, then bring your awareness back to the process of being mindful.

Simply follow these steps for enjoying mindfulness when running, Mindful Meditation When Running:

Step One: Begin your run and get underway. Imagine that you are smiling to yourself throughout this process. If that brings a gentle smile to your face, then that is ideal, otherwise, continue to imagine it is there.

Once you are running, start to tell yourself what you immediately notice all around yourself. Just offer up a personal commentary of what you are seeing, what you are hearing and noticing about the place you are running in. Accept your surroundings, enjoy them as you tell yourself what it is that you are noticing. Develop and feel a sense of contentment with it all.

Do this for a few minutes and then move on to the next stage of the process.

Step Two: Now start to move your awareness to your own self, and offer up a commentary on your own body, thoughts and feelings. Tell yourself how your arms and legs are moving, how you are breathing, what sounds you are making, and notice your own thoughts and deeper feelings.

Sense your muscles working, notice your breathing as you run and engage with the experience of running in this moment.

Accept all of your ongoing experiences and as you commentate to yourself on your own condition, develop a sense of self-acceptance, and warmth toward yourself. Remember as you notice your ongoing experience, don’t try to change anything and don’t try to stop anything from changing, just keep on track with the aim of your run, doing what you set out to do with your run, and observe yourself.

Forget about the past, forget about the future, forget about everything else and rest your mind on the flow of your awareness while you run.

Do this for a few minutes, then move on to the next step.

Step Three: Now spend some time just zoning in on the breathing as you run.

Notice the sensations of your breathing. Be aware of your stomach and chest rising and expanding as you inhale and notice how they change when you exhale. Become aware of the pace that you are breathing, notice the sensation of the air upon your nostrils and in your lungs, notice if it changes when the terrain of your run changes too.

Observe it, watch it, become fascinated and curious about your breathing. When running, your body knows how to take on board more oxygen as it needs it, so observe that without trying to change it, watch it happening, and accept it, enjoy it and even marvel at the simple pleasure of watching your own breathing, feeling it and tuning into it while you run. If you get distracted away from it, accept that too, and bring your awareness back.

Once you have done this for a few minutes, move on to the next step, unless you want to stay on this step for longer, in which case, move on whenever you are happiest to do so. I have spent many runs just watching the breath and how it changes during runs.

Step Four:Now start to move your awareness and spread it through your body in even more detail. With each body part that you move your awareness towards, sense the blood pumping through it, watch and observe how it is all feeling as you run and let it all happen, accept it happening as it is. Become aware of the skin surrounding each part as well as the muscles working deeper within, then here are some other considerations as you scan through the body, focusing for a few minutes on each area at least, tuning into each area and being mindful of each in depth:

Start with your feet – notice how they land upon the ground. Notice the weight and force of them as they impact the ground. Notice the weight of them when they are in the air. Sense the feelings as they move, notice the muscles and bones and sense all the fibres.

Then move up and through the legs – notice the lightness and heaviness that changes (or not) as you move. Notice the sensations within individual muscles, notice how some muscles seem to effect others. Move your awareness into the knee joints, feel them moving, and then all the way up the thighs and hamstrings. All the time move your awareness inside deeply, connect with the muscles, notice them as they move.

Get a sense of your arms as you run. Notice the angle of your elbows, notice the weight as they move, become aware of the muscles and the sensation deeper than that.

As you breathe, sense your chest and stomach – be aware of how it all moves as you breathe, sense the heart beating within, notice the lungs exhaling and inhaling. Notice the muscles throughout and within as they move.

Finally, move your awareness to the head, neck and face area. What sensations do you notice? Be aware of the scalp, the forehead, notice the expression on your face, how are you holding your jaw, where are your eyes pointing, where is the tongue in your mouth?

Notice all of these things, in detail, spend a few minutes on each area, go into detail with your awareness, be absorbed in area as you run and once you have completed the scan of the entire body with deep mindfulness, move on to the next step.

Step Five: With that awareness of your physical body, of the physiological experience of running, now turn your awareness and attention deeper inside toward your own consciousness. As you continue to notice your breathing, become aware of what your mind is doing now.

What thoughts are you thinking? Are you verbalising your thoughts in your head? Is their an emotional tone to your thoughts? Are there unspoken, non-verbal thoughts, sounds or imagery going through your mind? Just watch it all for a few minutes, as if you were watching a film. Be absorbed in your own ongoing experience.

Then notice the feelings within you. Not just physical feelings, but emotional feelings. Notice your general mood and notice how you react to that mood and how you react to your own thoughts.

As you run, notice how your observations influence your thoughts. Notice how your own running exertions effect your thoughts and mood. Engage in it all absolutely, tune in your own experience in great detail.

Do this for a few minutes, then move on to the next step.

Step Six: Bring your awareness altogether as much as possible. As you notice your breathing, your entire body, your thoughts and emotions, imagine that you step back and just watch it all. So even though you have been very tuned in to it all, imagine stepping back and observing yourself from a slight distance.

Watch your entire ongoing experience from a slightly dissociated stance, you can re-associate any time, but do your best to have an interlude within this exercise and watch your entire experience of you running, be happily absorbed and engaged to just be… Just be aware, nothing else.

As much as you can, keep a developed sense of calmness and peacefulness throughout your run as you carry on with it.

Do this for a while and then move on to the next step.

Step Seven: You can choose to rejoin any of the previous steps or interchange between them throughout the remainder of your run. See if you can retain your mindfulness throughout an entire run.

When your run comes to a natural conclusion, or you have got to the end of it, then connect with your surroundings and the environment, breathe deeply a couple of times and go about your day.

At some stage following your run, engage in some post-run reflection – Once you have stopped running, reflect upon the run. How was it? How was the experience of being mindful? How was it different to other runs? How was it similar? Accept it absolutely as it was and be aware of the entire running experience as a whole.

Enjoy that, it’ll bring some utter joy to your running when it is done with some regularity and your body and mind will thank you enormously for it, as well as your running performance.


Why Running Matters

There has been a lot of debate and discussion in the running community over recent years as to the best way to run. The trend was towards more minimalistic footwear, away from the more supportive footwear. All over the web there are blogs and a significant presence in social media of those promoting this approach to running as being better and more natural. Books were published on the topic and all the running magazines had articles on barefoot and minimalism running. The extraordinary presence online and in the media of the concept was not matched in reality in the market place, with now less than 5% of running shoes being sold are in the minimalism category.

All of the benefits that were claimed for barefoot or minimalism was a thing like a better more efficient running economy and less overuse injuries. All the most recent research that has published in the first half of 2013 has shown that there are no differences between the different running techniques in the rates of overuse injuries. The metabolic cost of running or energy efficiency has also been shown to be the same in all the most recent studies. This simply means that all the claims for the benefits of going without the less supportive footwear are not supported by the most recent research. There are plenty of anecdotes of runners with a long history of running injury who are now running injury free after changing to a more minimalistic running shoe. Similarly, there are plenty of anecdotes of the opposite happening. Previously, via social media, the trend toward minimalistic running was driven by the most vocal of those anecdotes. Now the research is showing that there are not the benefits that were claimed by all the anecdotes and a more common-sense approach is being seen in the media.

What has become increasingly clear recently is that different running techniques load different parts of the body differently. So what is the most suitable way to run for one runner is not going to be the most suitable way to run for another runner. This is in contrast to the widely promoted almost cult-like approaches such as Chi running, Pose running and many other that advocate a one-size-fits all approach to running technique. If a running has a long history of injury, then changing the way they run to get the load of the area that they are having a problem with makes sense. That same change for another running may load another area too much and result in an injury. If a running is to choose the way that they should run, they should continue to run the way they are if they are not having any problems and ignore all the rhetoric and propaganda about a particular running technique is better than another. If they are having problems with the way the run and have a history of overuse injury, then they probably should get advice from a running technique coach on what they can to to improve or change their running technique.


The Reason Why You Must Run

This is my list of why I run and I hope this list will inspire you to either run – or embark on starting to run. Please note though, that the real list is about 50 reasons long so in an effort to honor brevity due to our collective ADD in today’s society I will keep it short. Thanks Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook! Yes, all of which I do use, so I am a guilty participant of our societal problem! Hey, if you can’t beat em’, join em’!

The above is a great transition into the very first reason I run so without further ado, foreplay, chatter – here’s the list:

I run because running, unlike almost any other activity, clears my head. In fact, I find that every time I get the desire to “clear my head” it is usually followed by a sudden urge to go for a run! It’s funny though as it’s almost an oxymoron – the clearer my head gets the more things I find running through it… hmmm… which leads right into reason number two.

If you are a creative spirit or want to encourage more of your creative side, trust me there is nothing like a good dose of oxygen being sucked into your lungs on a nice solid run coupled with the release of endorphins rushing through your body to get those creative juices flowing. Seriously, I wrote this blog in my head on today’s morning run. Literally, half of all my business ideas, blog ideas and workout videos, etc. have been created while my feet were burning tread (wearing shoes) or my toes were crushing sand (barefoot run). In my humble opinion freeing up creative juices leads right into reason number three.

For me – running is a “moving meditation”. I have always been the type of runner who enjoyed running alone – and at one time I had a partner who made me feel bad about wanting to run solo. I realize now, that I just simply cherish that “me time”. Running has always been my therapy time – time to reflect, connect, inspire, rejuvenate, etc. Be warned, reason number four is not so spiritual.

Simply put, running is one of the best ways to stay lean and mean! Yes, I know, “but Rebecca – running’s so hard on the joints”, “running breaks my body down”, “my knees gave out long ago, I can’t run”. Not so fast, even if your body type or joint issues etc. prevent you from running on land, there are many other ways to skin this “cat”. Check out my blog title “Get In the Water” to learn about Aqua Jogging if you have access to a pool or hit the beach and run in the soft sand. If those options don’t work for you, you can get a lot of the same benefits from so many other cool workouts these days – there really is no excuse. I have been lucky that for the past 20 years I have been able to maintain my love affair with running. Which leads right smack into reason number five.

I run because I can! There was a time some over 20 years ago when I couldn’t run because at that time I was very busy being self destructive in an addiction that had hold of me for many years. And then not to sound too cliche here but it’s true, running really was the thing that saved my life – oh yah, that and my good sense to knock it off if I did in fact want to make an impact on this world in this lifetime! Leading me into reason number six.

Do I really need to say any more here? Thousands of studies have been done to prove that a daily dose of just 30 minutes of exercise improves heart health. But specifically, running can lower cholesterol, reduce your resting heart rate, improve lung capacity and help you live a longer life!

There’s nothing like a good, challenging run to keep one humble. I consider myself to be a pretty “fit” person but on any given day I can head out for a run feeling on top of the world and within minutes I am reminded of how fitness really isn’t a destination as it is more of a journey. No matter how fit I feel I am – running quickly puts things back in perspective – whether it’s when I simply pick up my pace and feel winded as I strive to keep at it, or by when I add a few hill repeats which instantly remind me where my “running legs” are truly at or a long endurance run in the soft sand where I realize how every surface taxes my body differently. Speaking of difference – reason number eight.

You never have to see the same things twice if you don’t want to – running affords you the ability of so much variety whether it’s variations of locations, surfaces, workout type etc. I never understood why people would say, “running is so boring” because when you truly explore ALL the possibilities – it is anything BUT boring. Perfect segway to reason number nine.

Running is not boring – especially when powered by your favorite mashup! There is nothing like a great mashup or great playlist to motivate and inspire a fantastic run. Two of my favorite all time running songs – Toto’s Hold The Line or Roundabout by Yes.

Reason number 10 is a combo reason – see how I said the list was really longer than ten. Seriously, though – other than running shoes and an outfit – running is easily accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere and it’s free. There is no heavy equipment needed, no reservations needed, no gym membership required, it’s just you and a pair of shoes getting your fit on!


Tips For Recover After Marathon Races

If you are an experienced athlete with a number of marathons already under your belt, running faster is not just a goal which relies on increasing physical speed, but the attention which is given to recovery. In order to run faster than you did before and exceed previous goals, training and conditioning of your body is necessary. However, fatigued muscles and dehydration are a condition which athletes are likely to gain after running. In order to recover you must focus on receiving hydration and rejuvenating your muscles while replenishing their glycogen supply. It will be essential to picking up where you left off in your mission to run faster.

Once you have completed a major running event, giving time for your mind and body to calm down and recover is perfectly natural. Like the owner of a motor vehicle who notices smoke coming from the hood after many hours of driving and pulls over for a pit stop, you must do the same with your body at some point but preferably after you have met your goal in running a marathon or race.

Through proper training you should have enough stamina and strength built up to endure an entire race, but when you cross the finish line and it’s time to go home definitely plan for a decrease in your physical activity. As you determine how quickly you choose to return to normal training, make sure you have achieved some sort of inactivity for the resting of your body and mind. A gradual return to regular training and major racing can include various forms of informal exercise such as basic workouts to warm you up. Follow these tips in order to make a gradual recovery toward regular training after a race and your chances of running faster than before are likely to increase:

When you have finished a race which is relatively short such as a 10K, wait about 3 days before you pick back up and start performing extreme runs again. This break period is preferable for runners who are accustomed to reaching long distances. If you are not an athlete of this caliber, it is advised that you give yourself approximately 5 days of recovery time before you return to heavy running.

If you are of the category of runners who have accomplished races of a 10-mile distance, you are in a category of athletes who deal with a greater set of challenges due to the demands of this race. Since this level of athleticism places more stress on your body, it is recommended that you wait 4 to 5 days before returning to training and racing. The general recovery period for all marathon participants to employ after completing the event is to maintain zero physical activity for 4 to 7 days, then pick back up with a week of running which is moderate to casual pace. After following this schedule it will gradually condition your body to recover while readjusting it to a state which is suitable for a full return back to intensive training and running.

Let us further examine each of the schedules which you can use after a race to get you back to normal training and running, breaking down the daily activity and timing you will use for each. These schedules apply to those who are fresh off of a short race such as the 5K or 10K, a marathon runner or more advanced race runner who will eventually recover from their racing using off-season recovery.

Athletes who just finished a 5K or 10K challenge should employ the following 10-day recovery regimen. On the first day, plan to rest and do not engage in any physical activity which challenges the muscles you use during running. During this time, you will allow your muscle fibers to cool and stiffen which is the state that allows them to perform for you at their best when it’s time to get physical. Lack of rest after the rigors of a race can lead to tearing of your muscles, which is not a part of your body that is easy to replace.

On the second day, head out for an easy 3-mile run and increase your mileage to 5 on the third day. Day 4, complete a speed play run with your easy running distance increased to 6 miles, on this day you can move at the pace of a 5K run. On the fifth day, go back to resting again and do not exercise. Day six should be another easy 5-mile run which will increase to 10 miles on day seven. The eighth day you should perform a combination of the easy run and sprints at a distance of 4 miles, make sure you find a hill which you can do some uphill runs at eight to ten seconds of full-speed movement. This trade of easy and full-speed high-paced running is a great way to condition yourself to run faster, it is also a technique which helps you to conserve energy over distance. On day nine, do another easy 5-mile run and on day ten mix it up with a warm-up run of 1-mile which transitions into a 4-mile run which concludes with another 1-mile run to decrease your pace.

This next training schedule is for marathon runners who need a good way to condition their body for a quick return to their sport after a race recovery period. In comparison to the regiment recommended for 5K to 10K athletes, this schedule features less mileage as a way to provide marathon runners the amount of recovery suited to their particular physical needs.

Day one is a day of rest, let your muscles recover and regain the oxygen they need to perform while you receive proper nutrition and hydration to rejuvenate your mind and body. On day two you will not be running yet, use this as an opportunity to perform a 2-mile walk. Day three take a dip in the pool for a run which consists of a half and hour in the water. On day 4 you will hop on the running machine for an elliptical workout of 40 minutes, this is an exercise widely favored by injured runners. Day five you will run for 4 miles and on day six you will rest again. On day 7, pick your mileage up a notch to 5 miles and on day 8 get back on the elliptical trainer for a 40 minute run. Day nine is the same as day 7, perform another run of 5 miles. To conclude your recovery training on day ten, do a speed play run of 6 miles at a 5K pace.

Overall, you should look at the road to recovery after a race as a series of physical and psychological challenges. As you replenish and condition your body gradually from fatigue to rest and back to heavy exertion, consider the mental factor which come into play as well. The exercise schedules outlined above are designed as a way which allow you to recover mentally by receiving rest and accepting a gradual return to competitive athletic challenge. This pace is important mental conditioning which prevents athletes from jumping back into physical activity too quickly. With this method you can take time to reflect upon reaching new milestones of speed and endurance at a pace which is naturally suited to the human body, resulting in physical and mental conditioning which will help you run faster.


Things You Must To Know When Running At Night

Yes, it’s that time of the year when running in the dark seems to happen, whether you are running early in the morning or later in the evening. And with the demands of family life, running times are limited to early mornings before work or late after sunset, so that basically means most of my running happens at night during the winter.

But for some, this means spending more time on the treadmill and an end to running outside, but you don’t have to. By making just a few personal safety adjustments, you can continue running your regular neighborhoods or trails, even in the dark.

Run where you know

It’s important when running at night to stick to well-lit and familiar areas. Try to run on routes that you know well. Exploring unfamiliar terrain in the dark is a good way to get injured. Uneven sidewalks, small potholes, sticks and stones, and cracks in the pavement can cause twisted ankles or embarrassing falls. Don’t risk serious injury that can set back your winter running.

Stay light on your feet

Even if you run in familiar areas, you’re bound to step on something unexpectedly. The other day, when I was out running at night, it had been raining previously for several days, but the roads were fairly dry. I had been running on dry asphalt and had forgotten about the soggy ground. As I rounded a curve, I ended up stepping into a huge puddle of mud. Fortunately, I was running with my older running shoes, so I wasn’t as pissed. I moved back onto the pathway and kept my pace. When running after dark, remember to keep your weight on the balls of your feet and be prepared to react to unexpected foot strikes.

Don’t sweat the pace

As you run, pay extra attention to the ground in front of you and less to your tempo. It’s easier react to surprises when your pace is a little slower. It’s more important for you to complete your workout without injury than it is to keep the same pace you keep in the daylight. Slow down on the darker stretches of road and save your speed work for the well-lit areas.

Safety is top priority

Your personal safety should always be a concern during nighttime running sessions because you can’t always see people hidden in dark areas. Let someone know where you will be running and what time you expect to return. If possible, run with a buddy or with man’s best friend.

Stay Street smart

When I run near the street, I like to run against traffic so I can watch the traffic approaching, rather than allow them to come from behind. You don’t stand a chance if a drunk or distracted driver veers off the road in your direction from behind you.

Be visible to them

Runners are very difficult for drivers to see. You may have adjusted to the dark, but a driver may be distracted by the glare of oncoming lights. A driver may not be looking into the area in front of them that is illuminated by their headlights. This light prevents drivers from developing good night vision, so things on the side of the road, including you, appear extra dark and difficult to see. Your best bet for safety is to wear bright clothing and some reflective gear. Here is some of my recommended night gear.

Reflective Vest: Most vests are lightweight and fit over any top to provide high visibility. The zipper or combination zipper and velcro straps can be easily adjusted for most sizes.

Headlamp: I was given a headlight as a gift and found it to be a really handy item. It was powerful enough to cut through the darkness, allowing me keep my pace and still see the path. You can clip the newer lightweight models to your hat or visor and will hardly notice it’s there.

Flashing Light: These lightweight lights are a bright and effective way to make your presence known. Wear the red flashing lights on your back and the white/clear ones on the front of your body. This will help drivers and fellow runners know the direction you are travelling long before they can actually see you. They make you feel safer when you are pounding the asphalt in the dark.

Have a happy and safe winter workout. If you have winter running tips, please share them with us in the comments section.