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How to Select Best Shoes for Your Arch Type

How to Select Best Shoes for Your Arch type

How to select best shoes for your arch type can be a tricky. Running shoes are designed to accommodate various arch types to reduce injuries sustained during running.

Now,  some people are lucky and can get away with wearing any kind of shoes because they have a neutral or average arch.

However, most people really need to have the right type of shoes as a defense  against injury. You might have heard people speak about  Motion control (MC)  and cushion trainer (CT)  shoes. You might have wondered how these shoes effect the way you run. In this post I’ll  explore that very topic.

Which means I’ll be answering the following question:

Do low-arched (LA) and high-arched (HA)  runners respond differently to motion control and  cushion trainer shoes?

tips on dealing with flat feet
dealing with flat feet

 

For more information on flat feet check the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_feet

tips on high arch
Dealing with high arch

For more information on pain associated with high arches check the video below

 

A Caution About The Wet Test

You’ll find it all over the internet. The so called “Wet test” that is suppose to help you figure out what type of feet you have. It involves dunking one foot in some water, then stepping onto cardboard, a paper bag or other porous surface to view your foot print.

If the arch of your footprint is filled in, you likely have flat feet. If the arch isn’t very visible, you have high-arched feet. If your arch is halfway filled in, then you have neutral feet.

The problem with the wet test is that instead of people using it as a guide, which would be okay, they use it as the whole answer. The wet test as far as I’m concerned is a “static  test”, and running is a dynamic event.  Whenever possible, I would also advice one to get a gait analysis at their local running shop or visit  a professional  in biomechanics. They will  watch you on a treadmill to understand the natural motion of your feet when you land or use a   digital step technology that can immediately give them an X-ray like picture  of your feet.

Choosing the appropriate shoe may be more crucial for LA and HA individuals because these individuals have been reported to have an increased incidence of injuries compared with individuals with average arch structure. Once you are certain of your arch type, you are ready to dwell into the matter  at hand.

Understanding What Injury is

Okay,  let’s talk more specifically about the root cause of injury. Generally when we use the term “injury”  we mean that the load applied to the tissue has exceeded the capacity of the tissue to withstand that load.

Stand in front of a speeding bus, and the load that the bus imparts on you will exceed the capacity of many bones and ligaments to withstand that load.  This is a not so lovely example of a traumatic injury.— Dr. Kevin Maggs Biomechanics expert

The Impact of Loading on Runners

When the foot strikes the ground during running the ground produces a force back against the foot.  Technically speaking the force can be broken into  three directional vectors, but the one that you need to concern yourself  is called  vertical loading.

I can almost see you nodding. You starting to get it. What happens if the force of striking the foot exceeds the capacity of the foot muscles to withstand it? You guessed it. You’ll probably have pain and maybe an injury.

Speed of Impact

Without getting deep into runner’s jargon, let’s just talk about one more concept—loading rate. This is just a measure of how quickly  the impact force is applied. Don’t get thrown  by the terminology. It’s really an easy concept. All it means is whether the impact happens in a rapid collision or is more spread out.

An analogy  that is often used to explain the loading rate is that of hitting a wall with a bare fist versus using a boxing glove. If you use the boxing glove the impact is going to slow down and be spread out. You might be sore, but chances  are that you won’t break any bones.

Excessive Motion

Years ago I was in a car accident. The car literally  rolled down a hill.  Even though I wore a seat belt I felt myself twisting, and ended up with bad  stomach cramps. So, excessive  motion can also cause big problems.

Let’s put it together. So far these are the things we need to understand.

  • An injury can best be described as when load is applied to tissue exceeds the capacity of the tissue to handle the load. Think of the speeding bus analogy.
  • When a foot strikes  the ground it produces a force that can be measured  as vertical loading
  • The rate of loading refers to whether there is a rapid collision or the impact is more spread out.
  • Excessive motion can cause pain

The big question than becomes which shoes if you have high arches or low arches will best help you deal with impact load, excessive motion, and thus lessen your chance of pain.

Drum Roll Please

You need motion control  shoes for low arch runners. Usually LA runners suffer from soft tissue  injuries  such as  tendintiss associated with rear foot motion. A MC shoe will lessen the risk of such injuries. It will  have cushioning technology to provide a firmer midsole for better support, but less flexibility.  On the other hand, high arch runners often suffer from bony related injuries such as stress fractures. They need CT sneakers that will reduce the  shock of a hard landing.

Conclusion

As I said in the beginning of this post, running shoes are designed to accommodate various arch types to reduce injuries sustained  during running. You now have the information to understand whether  you need MC or CT shoes to reduce your risk of injury. You now know how to select the best shoes for  your arch type. So, lace up your shoes and  have a good run.

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How to Choose Best Insoles For Plantar Fasciitis

How to Choose Best Insoles for Plantar Fasciitis

A foot pain sufferer once compared the noise he makes when his heel pain intensifies as that of lava about to overrun  a village.

When foot pain feels like lava  about to over run a village
When foot pain feels like lava about to over run a village

Maybe a little dramatic, but if you have Plantar Fasciitis, you know the pain of being stuck in awkward footwear. Shoes without the right arch support and cushioning can increase your symptoms and definitely  make your life hell. So of course you want to know how to choose best insoles for PF. Let’s give  your feet the respect  they deserve.

Looking for a Shoe Solution

Your feet are thinking that you’re not giving them too much love. You get a little dryness on you hands and out comes the body lotion. But you still got some old worn out sneakers on your feet. That means your poor feet have no stability, support, and cushioning—the very things they need in a pair of sneakers to ease the symptoms of PF.

Choosing The Right Support For Your Sneakers

Not all sneakers are made equal, though; there are lots to select from. You will need to ensure you find sneakers with the right support for your feet, and adequate cushion to relieve your symptoms. It can be difficult to tell which supports really give you value for your money. Let’s take a look at.

The model S- pain relief

 

About the product

  • Black contoured shape plate gives supports and stability right alignment
  • Blue forefoot pad gives improved comfort and cushion
  • Green heel pad designed for highest shock absorption
  • Patented tri-plantar supports aligns your heel and ankle
  • Modeled EVA for Contour offers complete length cushioning

Control

Model S insoles are biometrically engineered to help your feet as they move in nature, without stopping them in place or decreasing mobility. This is just another way of saying that they won’t impede  with the way your body was meant to move.

Helping You Move Naturally

However, they have a very big bonus.They take the surplus stress off your muscles. Your body says thanks a lot. Now I can concentrate on making sure that those bones move correctly to support you. This new alignment alleviates fatigue in your ankles, feet, hips, knee, neck and back. A beautiful thing.

Cushion

A medical grade compressible weight, light, compressible, soft and flexible material, that amazingly decrease and manages the everyday strains, stresses, and forces on your feet. Think of the way a suspension works on a car.

Ever ride on a car with bad suspension? You feel every bump.

Comfort

As your body is realigned you will notice greater comfort. Protalus insoles get rid of the issue at its root: misalignment. Insoles treat the cause, bringing relief to the issue. By aligning your body and re-positioning your ankles from your feet up, Protalus insoles ease body pains.

Pain Relief Without Cortisone

Here is a review from a buyer that’s close to my heart. She talks about how she was able to ditch cortisone treatments after using her Protalus insoles.

As most of you know I’m not a big fan of using cortisone to treat PF because I think it only masks the symptoms  and doesn’t get to the root course of the problem. I think you can indeed beat PF without the use of cortisone.

Here is what Other Users Have to Say

 

Best Sneakers for Model S Insoles

Don’t you hate it when someone gives you half a solution to a problem? It drives me nuts. I feel like saying why did you even bother. If you have PF you want to know the best insoles to put in your sneakers. I have given you that information, but my job is only half done. You still need to know what are the best sneakers to use for the model S insoles. Here they  are.

Shoes With Thin Insoles

The slimmer shape of the Model S makes them ideal for shoes with thin insoles. This means they can increase comfort without changing the fit. Some examples of shoes that you can use with the Model S are Converses All Star’s Chuck Taylor, Nike’s Free Series and most Vans.

Lower Profile Shoes

The low heel cup provides a better fit  in low profile shoes. This means that you’d use them  in Adidas and most skate shoes.

Pros

Cushion

Control

comfort

Cons

Price. A bit pricy, but are effective in reducing PF

Shoe specific. The Model S work well  only with shoes that have thin insoles and lower profile. This, however, shouldn’t be a problem if you wear those kind of shoes and want insoles that will be ideal for them.

Vendor update

For those looking for insoles that can be used for shoes with thick insoles there is the Model T insoles . At 4mm the Model T is thicker than the Model S, making it less likely to change the overall fit of shoes with thick insoles. New Balance 547 and 481 are good examples. Also if you wear wide shoes, the Model T will work well.

Conclusion

You now know how to choose best insoles for Plantar Fasciitis. So what are you waiting for. Go ahead and get some Model S insoles,  rock your sneakers  and get on with your life.

 

Bonus Material-Best Sneakers for PF

Hey, thanks for sticking around. As a reward You can check out the best sneakers for PF. Here they are.

Nike Zoom Pegasus 33

They are accessible in women’s and men’s versions. 
 These shoes are lightweight enough for all-day wear, but have the support and padding of a capable racing shoe. They are the best choices for folks who advantage from a bit of bounce in their steps to ease P.F. symptoms. These shoes use Nikes Zoom cushioning. Produced from lightweight foam, and airy, it is designed to bounce power back.  It also provides full-foot padding, with further heel support. This is an updated mode, which has some perfect design refinements over the previous version. They are  quite lower to the ground, and designed to give you a more realistic road feel. That does not mean they gives and take on padding, though. They just ride lower, which means you get more bounce with less wobble.

ASICS Gel Kayano 21

 

The men AISC Gel Kayano 21 is best motion-control running shoe that also offers a lot of stability. It has a solid exoskeletal heel counter that keeps your foot in alignment as well as decreasing pressure on the plantar fascia.

It is sturdier than the Kayano  20, but the toe-box is not quite as broad. While that stops the “windlass device” from causing a plantar fasciitis break out, it also means that if  you have   a broad foot you may need to go up half a size to get the best fit in your   Gel-kayano 21.

Brooks addiction mens walker walking shoe

 

The Brooks Addiction walker is a men walking shoe that maintains its relaxation fit and powerful support after day, or mile after mile. Men report that it feels relaxed right out of the box. You don’t notice the PDRB-triple-density post helping your midfoot, but you will value the stability and motion control that it provides. The shoe also has plus midfoot support and cushioning inside the shoe and on the midsole. If you buy this online shoe, be aware that sizes can run  pretty small.

 

If you want to stop your heel pain 

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How to Ensure Safety in Your Running

How to Ensure Safety in Your Running

Okay, you need to run at night or early morning but you don’t like the idea of ending up as road kill by some driver  who can only see things when they are lit up like Christmas lights. What are you going to do? Well, don’t sweat. I have a solution on how to ensure safety in your running.

How to be Seen  and Keep Safe

Sometimes it’s better to just strap a light to your torso. Reflective shoes or a head lamp might  catch a few drivers attention but not all.

A Photo of Reflective Shoes
Reflective Shoes

So what if you need more. You might want to consider the Tracer 360 and Knuckle lights as they are an example of the most innovative and reflective light wear on the market. But which is best for me, you might be wondering. I have you covered. I promise that by the end of this post you’ll have all the information that you need to make a choice that provides the best solution  for your running safety.

 

Comparison between tracer 360 vest and knuckle lights

Designed-  Let’s say you are one of those runners who has run with  a variety of running accessories over the years including reflective belts, flashing lights, reflective vests, headlamps,  and reflective clothing. Maybe you aren’t completely satisfied. You need to do something about that nagging feeling that you get when running at night. I understand.   I am always looking for tech wear that makes me stand out at night when I’m running.  You have to understand that sometimes drivers don’t pay as much attention to you at night. A person might have had a crappy time at work and  be  so tired that they can barely keep their  eyes open. It happens more times than you think. In a situation  like that it’s certainly to your advantage  to make it as easy as possible to be seen.

This is where the Tracer360 comes  in. The Tracer 360 is a truly exceptional lighted vest.  The vest is really a mixture vest and reflective belt. The back of the tracer 360 has soft material and does not cause any chafing.

Woman Wearing Tracer 360 Vest
Woman Wearing Tracer 360 Vest

What you have is a light item that rests on your back. When comparing it with Knuckle lights the quality of the tracer 360 is quite good. It can take a  beating and holds up extremely well.

How to Wear The Tracer360

 


The reflective vest goes near your chest part, is variable and simply clips in and out to take out it. The clip goes into the opposed side of the belt and makes for a secure fit.  That said,  you need to  push the two sides to get it out so it cannot simply come off by accident. Check the video if you have any questions.

Lights on Your Knuckles

On the other hand,  knuckle lights are the first  single lights that are designed to be worn on your own hands. It’s an ideal place to light your path and be seen, moving with the real motion of your arms while walking or running, the smart design offers a super wide, steady quantity of light that illuminates the complete area in front of you. A lot of  runners and walkers are turned off by the idea of having to hold on to something while moving. This is why similar night lights that required you to hold on to the gadget didn’t cut it. Knuckle Lights allow freedom of motion so they don’t interfere  with your stride.

 The Battery Life of Tracer 360

Battery- it’s powered by 3 triples batteries.  When you press the on button, the tracer 360 first gives you a battery status.  If the battery is fine, it gives you 2 green pulses.  If it’s dying, it provides 2 yellow pulses which means you have an hour left of light and 2 red pulses means you need to change the batteries.

                 

Turning The Tracer 360 Vest Off

As shown in the video above, in order to turn the tracer 360 vest off, you just hold down the on button and the tracer360 will respond with 2 green pulses and turn off. The battery life of tracer 360 is  remarkable when  comparing it  with knuckle lights. It can be illuminate 40 hours non-stop. These options make the tracer360 a high end night safety gear.

The Battery Life of Knuckle Lights

The Knuckle Lights   have Li-ion rechargeable batteries that are covered in an IPX6 water-proof housing.  That means that you can use this  in all kinds of weather without worrying if the knuckle lights will be damaged.  The battery-life is stated to last for 3 to 4 hours on the high power setting, 6 to 8 hours on the low power setting, and 12 to 14 hours in the blinking setting.

Looking Deeper Into The Light Options Of Tracer360

Lights options-  Imagine that it’s dark out side and you want  to hit the road for a few well-deserved miles. Tracer360 uses the complete color spectrum in particularly designed illumination modes to make you extremely visible.  Okay, Maybe not like   a Christmas tree. But believe me you’ll be seen.

This is how it works. Paired with top quality 3M reflective contents the Tracer 360 is nice lightweight substitution for your massive and scratchy safety vest. The Tracer 360 uses the newest in LED and fiber optic-expertise to make you stand out like never before.

The Light Options of Tracer Knuckle Lights

The Knuckle Lights have a LED beam in every unit that has an open spreading beam of light.  This means that you’ll have a wider place that is lit up and it will be simple to see junk or hazards in your pathway.  The LED’s put-out a combined 280 lumens. That is a decent quantity of light. That means that every unit in the high power setting puts out 140 lumens.  There’s a low light setting & a blinking setting as well.

The Features of The Tracer360

Features- The tracer 360 has multicolor illumination modes that are based on visual science and designed to grab the attention of today’s distracted driver. It’s durable, comfortable and totally adjustable to boot. Tracer360 has 6 color options and 5 different flashing modes. 7.0 oz in weight should make you visible over ¼ miles in every direction. Tracer360 Operates on 3 AAA batteries (added) with simple-access Door and high Efficiency.

Pros

  •  Light weight construction
  • Secure, does not  bounce
  • Multiple options to light your preference
  • Simple process to replace the batterie

Cons

  • The vest strap may loosen on very long runs. However, unless you plan on running a night marathon this shouldn’t be a big deal.
  • Battery life. Keep in mind that the 40 hour battery life doesn’t include all the time you might test your vest because of the excitement of getting a cool gear. Also, most times the supplied batteries are not going to be as good as your mainstream batteries.

 

 

The Features of The Knuckle Lights

The knuckle lights have 3 powers setting high, low and blinking with extra flood beams. Knuckle lights has adjustable silicone strap that fits any size of hands and as well as over the gloves. Super bright 4 LEDs gives you 45 lumens per light. Single neat extra feature of the latest version of Knuckle Lights, They have magnets that keep the pair together as a set,making that much harder for people like me to misplace one. The following video has more details.

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Eliminates the neck strain of  a headlamp
  • 280 lumens–bright enough to see entire path
  • Water proof
  • Hands free
  • Rechargeable
  • Two lights

Cons

  • Some users have found  the button on strap difficult  to button

 

 

Price- Although the price of tracer360 (around 70$) runs a bit higher than knuckle lights (55$), can you truly put a cost on safety?

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Conclusion

If you run at night or early morning you certainly  want to keep safe. The last thing you want is to be hit by a distracted driver. The question then becomes what is the best gear for me to use for night running. I think that the Tracer360 and Knuckle Lights offer two excellent options. You don’t have an excuse anymore for compromising your safety. You now know how to ensure safety in your running.

Go ahead and get the Tracer360 or Knuckle Lights and start running safe. 

 

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How to Lose Weight and be a Better Runner

How to lose Weight and be a Better Runner

Your poor feet. They want to be fit and maybe do the cha-cha but instead got to deal with the pressure of extra weight because maybe you’re a bit  too heavy. They want to groove and move but are instead pushed down, slam, bang, into the hard ground. This is what they mean when talking about weight bearing activity. Got it.

Feet of a runner
Feet of a runner

Now if you try to  run in such a condition you might end up experiencing  plantar fasciitis, pain at the bottom of the feet. This will definitely make your running suck. So this post is about how to lose weight and be a better runner.

Ditch The Diet Pills

Pushing diet pills is not my style.  Yeah, I know there are many diet pills and supplements that claim to help you lose weight fast. The thing is that your body doesn’t much like this option. You have to appreciate  that inside you is a nice balance of chemicals that keep you functioning.

Diet pills have a nasty way of disrupting that balance. When you take diet pills, your body sends you a message saying you’re messing up my system. You experience  side effects and your hunger is suppressed. This is definitely not a healthy or beneficial thing.

tips on ditching the pills
Ditch the pills

Another thing, diet pills аrе artificially made, ѕо when уоu stop taking them your problems wіll come bасk. It іѕ far better tо kill the weight problem bу tackling them аt their source. Changing your  lifestyle, habits and preferences іѕ muсh more effective than taking diet pills іn order tо aid natural weight loss.

To Diet or Exercise

Okay, now that we have ditched the pills which is more effective in helping you lose weight, diet or exercise? Obviously, in the perfect world you would exercise regularly, develop a sensible and nutritious diet, get lots of sleep and drink lots of water. That would help effectively return your body to its ideal weight. But if you had to choose one or another, exercising or dieting, which is the most efficient and healthy way to lose weight?

It’s a Mind Thing

Sometimes your brain  just likes doing one thing more than the other.  A  study out of Ohio State University’s College of Public Health indicates that when you spend time on one action or habit, that often creates less time for another activity. You are focusing all your time and energy on exercise so your diet suffers, or vice versa.

In handful of studies published in Psychological Science. 1,200 participants in South Korea, China, France, Canada and the United States were asked what they believe the main factor is that keeps people overweight. Height, weight and other measurements were taken.

An Interesting Revelation

The shocking revelation was, people who believed fitness and exercise was a more important factor for weight loss than proper diet and nutrition actually had higher BMI numbers. They had more body fat. This is because your weight loss mentality impacts your food choices. If you believe exercise is more important than diet for losing weight, you don’t pay as much attention to what you are eating and how much you are eating.

And if you believe that proper diet and nutrition removes more weight than exercise, you are more inclined to pay attention to what you put into your body.

How Much Chocolate to Eat

Just to see if you’re putting it together, here’s a little quiz

Let’s say you were offered some of that chocolate above. If you believe  that staying active is a key to losing weight would you eat more or less than your diet-minded counterpart?

It turns out that you’d most likely eat more.

For instance, in one of the above referenced studies, the volunteers were offered unlimited chocolate. Time and again, those that believed staying active was the key to losing weight ate more than their diet-minded counterparts.

I wanted to explore this mental link between diet and weight  gain because I don’t see it mentioned  much  out there . Yes, I see a lot of  “believe you can do it…rah, rah, rah”, but not the clear explanation of exactly how exercise-minded and diet-minded  individual beliefs impacts  success when it comes to losing weight.

Taking Advantage of Your Weight

Here is some good news about weight bearing activity when it comes to walking. Since walking is indeed a weight-bearing activity it turns out that you’ll burn more calories than those who have less.

tips on running to lose weight
Running to lose weight

What is The Best Exercise?

Okay, we got the diet thing out of the way. Let’s talk about walking. It’s the best exercise to help you prepare for running. Now you can have happy feet. maybe not do the cha-cha, but you can skip the slam, bang, into the ground bit because walking is a low impact exercise.

Walking Can Help You Get To And Maintain A Healthy Weight

Walking particularly at a quick pace and doing it regularly can help you get to and then maintain a healthy weight. Yes, you still need to watch what you eat and aim for a healthy diet, but walking can be another tool to help you drop those extra pounds.

The nice thing about walking when you’re overweight, as I said, is that you burn a lot of calories, even on short and slow walks, simply because you’re carrying so much weight around with you. As you start to lose the weight, your overall strength and endurance increases, allowing you to walk longer, further, and faster. You can also use a pedometer to help track your walking.

The Star- Spangled Banner Test

If you can get someone to walk with you, then you might try having a conversation to see if your pace is okay.

tips on setting your pace
Setting your pace

If you’re so short of breath that you can’t keep up a conversation, you should slow down. Your body is saying I’m not ready yet. However, if you can sing the Star-spangled Banner you’re going too slow. Pick up the pace.

Let NetFlix Help

You can even walk in place at home in front of your TV. Here’s a simple little idea to get you moving more. As you’re sitting on the couch at night watching TV, get up during commercial breaks and march in place until your favorite TV show comes back on.

If you’re using a service like Netflix, make yourself walk in place for 10 minutes in between episodes. Or turn on the TV and challenge yourself to march in place during the entire show. Time will fly while you’re having fun watching TV and moving.

Conclusion

A Bit Info on Your Hormones

If you’re reading this post you most likely  know the usual chitchat about cutting back on fatty, saturated and fast foods. You probably  also know the tip about drinking lots of water, which is often times all your body requires  when you think you are  hungry.

Here is something that you may not know. Runners have shown  after exercises to have significantly higher blood levels of a hormone called peptide YY, which has been shown to suppress appetite. Walkers usually do not have increased peptide YY levels.

So to eat less, you will need to run. But that’s okay. You now have an approach that will help you do just that. It all starts with a good walk.

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How to Have Big Success Beating PF Without Cortisone

How to Have Big Success Beating PF Without Cortisone

If you think taking a cortisone shot to cure your plantar fasciitis pain is a good idea, then you may be surprised to discover that you’ve been misled.  Not exactly deceived, but maybe not been made  aware of  the whole story.

tips on ditching the cortisone
Ditch the cortisone

The truth is that planter fasciitis injections are  problematic because a critical patch of  fat, the heel pad, is located close to the most likely injection site. In short, You need to have big success beating PF without cortisone. There are  side effects of using cortisone shots for PF. What does this mean? Check out the illuminating statement below:

“I ignored my podiatrist’s advice not to have cortisone injected into my heel and asked my family doctor, who obliged,” says Christine Byers, a Boston-qualifying masters runner from Valparaiso, Indiana. “I now have no fat remaining under that heel and can no longer walk barefoot. Custom orthotics are the only reason I’m able to walk or run reasonably comfortably.” Running Times. 420 (Sept. 2014): p28.

Cortisone and Knee Pain

That said,  it’s not your fault if you’ve been believing that you can safely  use cortisone  for foot pain. After all, there have been many cases when upper-body problems or arthritic knees have been treated with some success using cortisone.  Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory drug. When injected into the knee joint, it can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.

It’s a natural leap  then to think if cortisone can help my bad knee it should then help my bad feet. Well, I’m here to clarify things and help you discover the side effects of using cortisone shots for PF.  My hope is that if after reading the information, you’ll think twice before letting someone stick a cortisone injection in your heel. Let’s get started.

Doing Your Job of Not Ignoring Pain

You have probably been told that ignoring pain, hoping that it will go away, will lead to more problems. Foot and ankle pain, for example, that once seemed minor can quickly turn into a major issue needing serious attention. As John Kennedy, M.D., a foot and ankle surgeon at the Hospital for Special surgery in New York, points out: “Each day about 27,000 ankle sprains occur in the U.S.; half of those will end up injuring cartilage, and at least 25% will injure tendons or other soft tissue.” Muscle & Fitness/ Hers. 17.3 (May-June 2016): p50.

So of course you want to do the right thing and not ignore your pain.

First Line of Defense

Cortisone shots not usually considered a first-line or long-term treatment for PF. In fact, your options should look something like this:

Journal of Family Practice 52.9 (Sept. 2003): p714.

How Cortisone Masks The issue

A big problem with cortisone is it that it doesn’t cure what caused your injury. It merely buys you time to temporarily get rid of the pain and resume training. The problem, however, is that experiencing no pain is not the same as being cured. It’s just masking the problem. A Running Times article illustrates the point. It tells the story of  Two-time New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith:

Ten days before the London Marathon, Smith hurt her foot on a 10-mile tempo, badly enough that it was painful to walk. Following an MRI and a consultation with her doctor, she had cortisone injected into the sheaths of two inflamed tendons. “I ran two days later and it felt OK, [then] did a very short tempo to test it and it felt good,” she says. But by the time she got to London, she was back to square one. “It was back to the point where I couldn’t walk on it again–much worse even than before the cortisone. I’m not sure if the cortisone wore off or I just irritated it further by masking the pain, but I don’t think I would get one again.”Running Times. 420 (Sept. 2014): p28.

 Worse Then Masking

At times cortisone injections can, when overused, do more damage than the original  condition it was used to treat.  They can destroy cartilage, rupture tendons near the joint, and damage blood supply to the underlying bone. In short, they can mess you up. Consequently, this is why they have to be the last thing you consider when seeking pain relief for PF.

But the alternatives are hard, you might say. I don’t know how to do them. Really? You would be surprised how doable all the suggested alternatives  are.

Consider the following : limit offending activities. All this means is something as simple as using a cushioned mat over a hard work space, reducing the impact on your feet if you stand  for prolonged  time over one spot. Boom! Done. Easy. Needles anyone? I don’t think so.

Or consider the second option related to the first—wear supportive footwear.  Seeing is believing. This is what an unprotected foot looks like.

Shoes should have adequate arch support and cushioned heels. Worn or ill-fitting shoes can exacerbate PF due to lack of proper cushioning. Over time, running shoes can lose a significant amount of shock absorption. Consequently, a new pair of running shoes can do much to decrease foot pain.

You want to consider the following when getting that sweet new shoe:

Buying new shoes is a lot better than having someone stick a needle in your foot. These are two examples that you can do before considering a cortisone injection. So,  let me ask you something. How old are those running shoes in your closet?

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10 Successful Tips to Make You a Better Runner

10 Successful Tips to Make You a Better Runner

Starting a new running program can be both exciting and scary! The goal for this post is to help you learn how to create your own running program, stay motivated, and  take your running program to the next level. First, let’s chill out a bit. It’s understandable to be excited and want to jump straight in and run a marathon without spending months and months training. However, the reality is that we must train—and here are 10 successful tips to make you a better runner and help make sure you go about things the right way. At the end of the post you’ll find a nice glossary of terms because runners have their own language.

1) Start Slowly

tips on starting slow
Start slow

Yes it’s true; you can’t jump right in and run for 30 minutes straight from day 1! If your body is not used to running or exercise in general then you definitely need to start slowly.

First things first, if you haven’t exercised for a while, are overweight or are recovering from an injury, make sure to speak to your doctor before you start running. And, if even walking fast gets you out of breath, you might want to spend a week or so just walking a little each day to ease yourself in.

Even when you do start running you’re probably only going to be able to do it for around 60 seconds at a time to begin with. Even if you feel like you can run longer, stick to 1-minute intervals of running and walking to help avoid injury. As time goes on you can gradually increase your running intervals and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you improve. Here are additional  things you can do to set a good foundation for your running.

Understanding What  Good Running Form Looks Like 


Your upper body including your shoulders, arms and hand are relaxed. Your arms move side to side in response to your feet. They match your stride. However, they do not cross in front of your body. If they cross your body it causes your torso to rotate which uses energy.

Good form includes good posture. It means you lean forward from the hips instead of at your waist. One good way to accomplish this is to visualize a string running from the top of your head down to the center of your belly, keeping your spine in alignment.

When you need to increase your pace, lean forward at the hips, keeping your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Gravity will pull you forward. When you want slow down, if you’re running down hill for example, stand up straight or lean back just a touch. You’ll automatically slow down.

What about your feet? You want your feet to stay underneath you. If they stretch too far forward you’re forced to land on your heel. If your feet are behind you then you may land more on your toes. Keep them under you for the best foot strike. If you want to increase your pace, instead of making your strides longer, increase your turnover or how fast your feet hit the ground.  Here’s a tip on how to learn good form.

Run in Front of a mirror

It’s a good idea to run in place before you run any distance at all. You can do “mirror drills”. This simply means  running in place in front of a mirror – to make sure that you have proper form. Having your legs and arms swinging opposite is proper form, but on top of that, it’s important for your legs to actually hit 90 degrees, and for your arms to actually swing instead of hanging by your sides. You can practice mirror drills at home in front of your bedroom mirror, or if your gym has a mirror in front of the treadmill, you can practice that way as well.

2) Make A Plan

If you’ve tried and failed to stick to a fitness regimen before then it may be time for a solid plan. If you make a note in your diary of what days and what times you’re going to go for a run then you’re much more likely to actually stick to it!

Try to plan for at least twice a week, preferably three times, with a day off in between each run. This means that you’ll be exercising enough to see improvements, but you’ll also give your body time to prepare in between each running session.

If you don’t want to have to do the planning yourself then thankfully there are a number of running schedules already available out there. “Couch to 5K” is a great example of a free program that’ll tell you when to walk and run and how to build this up over a period of 9 weeks. By the end of those 9 weeks you’ll be able to run 5K! If that doesn’t work for you, here is a plan that you can follow easily. Give your body, and your mindset, time to acclimate to running. How? Easy. Use the walk, run, walk method.

One of the best ways to quickly acclimate your body to running is to start with a plan that alternates running and walking. It’s called interval training and you’ll use it often throughout your running life.

Step One: Set the Foundation

Go out for a mile walk/run. Walk to warm up your muscles. Once you’ve walked for about ten minutes, run. Run at a moderate intensity. You’re not gasping for breath but you feel your body moving. Run for as long as it is comfortable. In the beginning this may be just a minute or two.

That’s fine. Record how long you ran. Now, slow down and walk again and walk until you feel ready to run again. Record how long you walked. Run for the same amount of time you did the first time. So if you ran for two minutes the first time, run for two minutes now. Alternate walking and running until you’ve completed your mile.

Step Two: Repeat

The next time you go out for a run, hopefully within a day or two, repeat the same time and distance. Walk and run for a mile alternating walking with running. If you ran for two minute intervals the first time then run for two minute intervals this time.

Step Three: Begin Increasing

On your next run try to add at least half a minute to each running time. IF you ran for two minutes last time try to run for two and a half this time. If you can increase it by a full minute, wonderful. With each subsequent run, add more time to your running time. Eventually you’ll be running the full mile.

Step Four: Adding Distance

Most new runners eventually start running about three miles each time they go out. The three mile goal is a good one because it’s about thirty minutes per workout. It may be longer or shorter depending on your pace and fitness level. Once you’re running for the full mile you may want to begin adding distance. Add a quarter mile to your run each week.

For example, you’d run 1.25 miles this week, 1.5 next week, 1.75 the week after and so on. This gradual build up helps ensure you don’t deal with overuse injuries. It’s also motivating because the goals are achievable and it gives you a quantitative number to aim for.

Step Five: Increasing Your Speed

Once you’ve reached your three mile mark and are running three miles on a regular basis, three to four times a week, you may want to begin increasing your pace. Interval training is a wonderful way to do that. Remember how you walked and ran in the beginning?

Now, instead of walking and running, you’re running at a comfortable pace and alternating it with segments of running full out. These short sections of increased intensity will help you build stronger muscles and increase your speed. They also  burn more calories!

If you’re wearing a heart rate monitor you can use it to help guide you to choosing the right intensity for your intervals. This five step plan works well for the majority of runners. The benefit of a program like this is that you set the foundation based on your needs and fitness level. You’re in control of the pace and how intense your runs are.

3) Get Proper Shoes

You really don’t need to buy much to get started with running, but there’s one thing that you do need to invest in and that’s a good pair of running shoes! You see, running is a very high impact activity. Every time you land on the ground, your whole body weight is being thrown onto that leg. That affects your ankles, your shins, your knees… everything! This is why it’s crucial to purchase a pair of shoes that can literally help to cushion that blow. You should also buy a new pair for every 300 miles you run.

How do you know which shoes to buy? The easiest way is to head to your nearest running shop. They should be able to do a gait analysis – basically watching you on a treadmill to understand the natural motion of your feet when you land. When they know that, they will be able to recommend shoes to match that and help reduce the chance of any injury.

Your shoes are definitely the most important piece of equipment you need to get started running. However, you may find a few other pieces helpful too.

Shorts/Tights

When you run you want something that won’t rub against your skin. Friction can be painful. Look for loose running shorts for warm weather and tights for colder weather. You might also enjoy compression tights and shorts. These are said to help support your muscles so you can run with less energy and it takes less time to recover.

Support

It goes without saying that when you run you bounce. Male or female, there are some things on your body you just don’t want to bounce. Wear support garments like compression underwear for men and sports bras for women.

Shirts/Tops/Jackets

Like shorts, you ideally want a top that doesn’t rub. Some people prefer cotton t-shirts while others enjoy moisture wicking technical shirts. You may find that you have issues with friction on your nipples – this happens to men and women. A tighter shirt may reduce the friction. Some runners have been known to tape their nipples too. This generally happens more to endurance runners.

4) Warm Up

 tips on  running
Running on the beach

Every time you go for a run you need to take the time to warm your body up. This will loosen up the muscles, gradually boost your heart rate and improve your breathing ready for the workout to come. Warming up simply means doing something less vigorous before moving onto the normal run. A good five-minute walk is pretty sufficient to get you going.

5) Take Time Off

tips on the proper form
proper form

It’s very tempting to go out for a run every day when you’re just getting started – surely that’ll get you closer to your goal! Unfortunately, however, that’s not the case. You are putting your body through a lot of stress, and you need to give it time to adapt. This means taking at least one day off in between runs so that your body can repair itself and get used to running. Remember what I have said in previous posts: If your body is not repairing itself then most likely it is  breaking down.

If you get injured then it’s more important to take time off. It’s crucial that you listen to your body. Muscle aches are normal (and can be reduced by stretching after each run), but joint pains cannot be ignored. A large percentage of runners will get injured at some point, so don’t try to fight it. If your knee is hurting every time you run then it’s better to simply take a couple of weeks off now than to risk making the injury worse.

6) Stretch

Just as you should never forget to warm up for a run, you should also always remember to stretch when you finish a run.  That said, here is something that you should keep in mind.  Never stretch before your run, as stretching cold muscles can lead to injuries.

After a run, walk for a few minutes to cool down and then do some stretches after that. You should hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds, working your way through all of the muscles used in your run. If you’re not sure how to do a particular stretch, there are a number of videos covering the subject online.

7) Don’t Run Too Fast

When you do start running, it’s easy just to go as fast as possible and get out of breath. When you’re finally out for a run, it’s important to do something that is also fundamental for living: You need to breathe. Yes, that which is vital for everyday functioning is also important for running. Now if you go for short sprints  you ‘ll will want to breathe in and out of your nose, rather than your mouths, but if you’re going for a longer run, you should breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. And if you’re struggling to breathe properly, that might be a sign that you need to slow down or take a break.  In other words, if you’re panting right away, slow down. You’re not ready to go that pace yet.

Similarly, don’t try to lean forward or stretch your legs too much. This isn’t the best way to run faster. Smaller strides are a lot better for your posture and  reduce the chances of injury.

8) Set Yourself A Goal

tips on setting your goal
Set your goal

No matter what fitness level you’re at, goals are a huge part of the success equation. You need to make goals that are both realistic and that will push you to go beyond your limits. Aiming to run 5K or for 30 minutes straight is a good example for someone who is starting off with no prior running experience. You could even book yourself in for a race in a few months time!

When you have a goal, you have something to keep you going even when you’re having a bad running day (which you will at some point). It also gives you an end point from which you can break it down into smaller goals for every week until you reach that point.

Of course, when you set yourself a goal, it’s important to track your progress. And, when you meet that goal, take some time out to celebrate that goal before then going and setting yourself an even bigger goal!

9) Take Care of Your Body

It can be very tempting to push yourself when you’re just beginning. You might feel joint twinges and think that you should ignore it, since you’re only running for one minute at a time. However, remember that this is all new to your body – it makes sense that you could get injured at some point.

Note that aching muscles are perfectly normal. There is a difference between a muscle ache and a pain that you need to take real note of.

If you are injured, you’ll need to take time out of running. If the injury comes and goes then be very careful not to push yourself beyond your limits. You may find, for example, that you can run for around 20 minutes before the pain kicks in. In which case, don’t push it! And be sure to see a doctor to get an official opinion.

You can still exercise when you’re injured, just in ways that don’t aggravate your injury. Swimming is a good option as it reduces the impact on all of your joints.

10) Track Your Progress

Even if you have a goal and you have a vague idea that you’re moving towards that goal week on week, it’s still important to track your progress. Studies show that people are far more likely to reach their goals when they make note of how they’re improving. Seeing your improvements in black and white can motivate you like nothing else!

Note that this does NOT mean obsessively weighing yourself. Instead, it means noting how long you run for each time, using apps to track your speed and distance, and even keeping a journal of how fit you feel each time. You could take a photo of yourself before you start running and then take new photos every month to see how your body is changing (because you might not necessarily lose much weight for a while even if you’re getting more toned). Joining a forum and discussion your triumphs and struggles with others who understand is also a great way to stay motivated. You should also be aware of the following:

Know Your MHR

Maximum Heart Rate. There are two common ways to calculate this number. The first is to subtract your age from 220. So if you’re 40 years old then your MHR is 180.

The other is to use this formula – 205 – (.5 x your age). If you’re 40 then it’d be 205-20 which is 185. Note that there’s not much difference between these two calculations.

Your Running Goals Utilizing MHR

Your target heart rate is usually based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate. For example, if you’re going out for a relaxed run then your target heart rate would be 65% of your MHR. Continuing with the example of a 40 year old that target heart rate would then be 117.

Target heart rates for a tempo run would be 85% and interval repeats might push you all the way up to 95% of your MHR.

So a heart rate monitor can help you know if you’re working hard enough or too hard. Additionally, if you’re overweight or struggling with disease your doctor might recommend using a heart rate monitor so you don’t push your body too hard too fast. Heart rate monitors aren’t expensive and they can be a very useful running tool.

Conclusion

You may decide that you’re content to run three miles a day several days a week and that’s enough. There’s no reason to change your running program or set new goals if you are content. The key is to make running something that you enjoy and look forward to every day.

At this point you are now ready to lace your shoes and head out the door to start your new life as a runner. You’ll find that you’re happier, more energetic, and you’ll enjoy better health.

The first step is to read through this post from beginning to end. Then sit back and think about why you want to run and what you want to accomplish. Then create a step by step plan that supports you to achieve your running goals. You can do it! You now have 10 successful tips to make you a better runner.

Common Running Injuries

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a throbbing, aching, and sometimes burning pain in your shin. It’s also called tibial stress syndrome. It can be caused by overpronation (running on the outside of your feet). It can also be caused by stress fractures and overuse. Good shoes and proper running form help reduce the potential for shin splints. Also, remember to start slowly. Injuries are often caused by overuse.

Runner’s Knee

One of the most common injuries to runners are knee injuries – specifically, runner’s knee. It is caused by overuse. People who suffer from runner’s knee feel pain under and around the kneecap. Work on strengthening the muscles round your knee on your off days. Leg lifts are a good way to strengthen those surrounding muscles. When the muscles around your knee are stronger they help keep the kneecap in place and thus reduce the potential for runner’s knee.

Plantar Fasciitis

This foot injury is caused by low arches, weight gain, overuse, and shoes with little or no arch support. The Plantar Fascia is a thick band that stretches from your heel to your big toe. Injury to this band is extremely painful. The good news is that it can be avoided and treated by purchasing supportive running shoes and following a moderate training program.

Blisters

Most every runner gets a blister from time to time. They’re caused by friction in your shoe which may be the result of moisture collecting. Ill fitting socks and shoes can cause them too. If you have a large blister, drain it. Reduce the pressure by popping the blister and make your way home.

If you have a small blister, you may want to leave it in tact and finish your run. When you get home clean the blister thoroughly and cover with a bandage.

Preventing injury is usually a matter of starting your running program slowly and increasing your distance and speed realistically. Tools like a running journal and a heart rate monitor can help you create the kind of gradual program that ensures you meet your running goals without injury or incident.

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