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Training Tips

We have combined the knowledge of our favourite trainers to put together a great list of tips to keep you active and running.

As runners, we search constantly for the point in our running and training where everything is just right.This is easier said than done. Most of us believe that if a little of something is good, then a lot will be even better. Whether it's running or trying a new diet plan, nearly all of us will go from one extreme to the other before we find the balance point. When we read that there are benefits from exercising 3 times a week for 30 minutes, we believe that exercising 6 times a week will double the benefits. It takes a while to learn and to accept that a training program has two components: activity and rest. To be successful, we have to find the balance between activity and rest that is appropriate for us.

Too cold or busy to get out and complete a full workout? Jump rope when you can't get out and exercise. It is great for cardiovascular exercise, and it helps promote muscle balance while it strengthens muscles in the legs, arms, shoulders, and back.

Be aware of how windy weather can affect your running. Slow down when running in a strong wind. You are spending six percent more oxygen than in ordinary conditions. Running slower while against the wind will give you the same benefits as when you run fast during normal conditions. When you begin your work out, try to run against the wind, so that during your return you have the wind to your back and are not fighting to run against it when you are more tired.

Training heavy or being great at running in young age does not necessarily means success as an adult runner. Running for kids has to be fun: the risk is lack of interest and injuries. No to long races, no to high intensity training. While children 12 and younger should not specialize in distances up to one mile, teenagers should not compete in races up to 10k and avoid anaerobic training before puberty.

If possible try to avoid the added pain caused by swelling once you experience an injury. Always keep an elastic sports bandage in your workout bag just in case you become injured. By wrapping the bandage around the injured area immediately you will minimise the inflammation.

A common mistake made by runners training for a race is to be in too much of a hurry and not improve gradually and slowly. Do not do an increase in speed training and distance running at the same time. You will not completely improve in one area, but rather it will leave you frustrated and exhausted.

If you have to choose between spending time on your warm up or warm down, choose the warm down. After you run, your muscles will be tight and full of blood. Take time to return your short, tight muscles to their longer, resting state. Stretching your muscles after a workout will help return them to their normal state, which will avoid you experiencing sore muscles days after your workout.

Elastic sports bandages are great during non-workout time, but do not rely on them for support during a work out. They are designed to give way to pressure and the pounding of your body weight during a workout is likely to cause them to move out of position, and leave the injured area vulnerable.

Shoes are definitely the runner's most important equipment, and have to be chosen with care. The first requirement for running shoes is to have a comfortable fit and be well cushioned. If your feet tend to pronate or supinate, then choose a shoe with specific motion control characteristics. Visit the Shoe Finder to find the right shoes for your running mechanics.

Wearing a brand new pair of shoes in a race without having worn them before, shoes too big or the wrong pair of socks may cause you blisters. A good pair of Technical Running Socks should solve the problem. For long distances applying Vaseline directly on the feet avoids blisters (Vaseline is also great to avoid abrasion on the nipples and in between the legs due to the repetitive movements of the running).

Running a lot will not make you become a faster runner. In addition to gradually increasing your distances (training your resistance), you must dedicate some time to training your overall strength and your speed. To build strength, interval uphill runs with downhill ones. To increase your speed, participate in races up to 10k at around 75% of your maximum pace.

Correct movements are the key to safe and fast running. Work on your running technique. Avoid running "on the place" jumping up and down, instead try to go forward. Make sure your feet do not hit the ground flat, slapping the course. Use the swing of your arms to help you go forward.

When running downhill in order to gain speed, yet maintain control, lean slightly forward at the pelvis. In this position the gravity will give you speed but you will also alleviate some of the pressure on your heels. If you try to stop yourself by slowing down, you will use more effort. If you are in competition, you will benefit by not exhausting yourself in trying to reach the top of the hill, because you will have that extra energy to actually run and not "fall" down the hill.

Let's admit it. The worse the weather, the better the challenge (and the satisfaction). A few guidelines to running under the rain include using Vaseline or band aids to protect the nipples from the wet rubbing shirt; the use of technical clothes that wick away humidity (avoid simple cotton); proper dressing for the actual weather conditions (windproof jackets, gloves, hats, etc.).

Plenty of drinking seems to be the necessary ingredient to have fun. While it is not true for alcohol, it is indeed the golden rule of running. Drink before the race, drink at every refreshment table along the race, drink at the end of the race. Do not wait to feel thirsty before drinking: thirst is already a symptom of dehydration. Drink only what you are used to drink. It is not advised to try new sport drinks while on the race because our organism could not digest them properly.

During your workout, resist the temptation to stop running and walk up an incline. Walking up a hill takes more effort than to keep running at a slower pace. Reduce your speed to small, light steps. Keep your breathing at a calm and regular flow, and your upper body movements in sync with your pace. If you stop and walk up a hill, the gravity will make your body seem heavier and thus force you to proceed with a higher expenditure of energy.

Since it takes two hours for food to pass through the stomach, it is not a good idea to exercise within two hours after eating a meal. Fat and protein are particularly slow in being processed through the stomach and into the digestive tract, at a rate of three to five hours. As a result of eating before your workout, the blood normally used in the digestive tract and kidneys is redirected to the exercised part of your body, thus leaves the food just sitting in your stomach.