Why Are You a Runner?

Everyone who likes running has a reason. Adirondack Runners wants to know exactly why you want to run. For some, running is a sort of mecca, a means of finding some peace and solitude when in the zone — and running brings that zone. For others running is for pure fitness — to lose weight, keep your cardio system optimized, or some other fitness related goal. And for a select few, running is a competitive sport.

So what does running mean to you?

When to Take a Running Rest Day

Like any other sport or activity, running can become a habit that is done daily but the danger of overtraining is present when the runner does not give their body adequate rest. Rest is just as important as training and there must be a strict schedule to rest the body from a regular running schedule.

Initially running and walking intervals will be stressful on the body of the beginner and the running intervals should get easier with time, but this does not mean that the body is not taking strain from the repetitive strain and impact. Just as every runner needs to warm up before every session so the runner must also rest. As the runner progresses with the running program and the mileage increases, there will be more pressure to run daily, but it is important to take at least one day per week off running to let the body recover. No matter the fitness levels of the runner, it is always recommended that they take a day off exercise. Two days off running is recommended and one of these days must be complete rest or very low impact exercise such as yoga, pilates or stretching. Rest days can be used to read about running techniques or explore new programmes without actually getting off the couch as the bones, joints and soft tissues need to recover. It is recommended that the two rest days be spread evenly through the week and resting on a Monday and Thursday is an example of a good running program because it leaves time on the weekends for long runs with a recovery day immediately after. This means two or three days of exercise with a rest day between. Two rest days in succession is not recommended as it will be difficult to get started again after a 48 hour rest and the rest of the week will be heavy training. It is relaxing to go for a massage on a rest day or just lie down and read a book instead of hitting the road. Taking a day or two off running also gives the mind a chance to rest and reassess goals and running programmes.

Runners who do not take their rest days often suffer from overuse injuries such as stress fractures, plantar fasciitis or exhaustion. Repetitive strain on the body will weaken the soft tissues. This can lead to further injuries such as back pain or even burnout that will leave the runner exhausted for months. Rather prevent getting an injury by following the proper training program with adequate rest because injury recover will mean at least two weeks of complete rest.

Benefits of rest days include:

  • Recovery time for the body
  • Recovery time for the mind
  • Family and friend time
  • Less chance of overuse injury
  • Less exhaustion
  • Time to persue other interests

There are limitless things to do on this rest day, but exercising is not an option, unless it is something light like walking the dog or shopping.  The body and mind need the rest to prepare for the sessions in future.

Runners Who Cross Train

Cross training does not refer to those runners who run along the road with stern expressions on their face. Cross training is any form of exercise that is different to running and it can be a group exercise class, weight training or cycling. Many runners tend to only run and this form of exercise may be sufficient cardiovascular activity to keep weight under control, but there are certain muscles that are not used. Cross training will also improve the runner’s overall strength to run better. There are many options for cross training and the runner can choose the exercise that they will enjoy the most. While it is recommended that runner’s perform some type of resistance training, they can strengthen their muscles in any way that works for their body. Instead of doing the circuit at gym, they can join a gymnastics class or try a form of martial arts. Not only will this prevent running injuries, it will lead to meeting new people and doing new exercises.

A big concern about cross training for runners who cannot afford gym memberships is the cost involved in developing a healthy, balanced body. Running is free and the cost of equipment is minimal, but cycling and personal training can be expensive. There are cheaper options such as martial arts classes, outdoor boot camp classes or even buying a DVD to exercise with. Runners can buy a pair of dumbbells and a theraband for their home and download some exercises from the internet or tear pages out of a magazine. Usually these exercises are easy to follow and many websites have videos to demonstrate the exercises. Certain equipment such as a BOSU or fitness circle may be sold with a DVD and this will make cross training more enjoyable and cheaper in the long run – pardon the pun.  Another cheap option is to invest in a skipping rope as it helps the runner to quicken their pace, increase stride frequency and increase and power. There are many types of skipping workouts but it is best to start with shorter intervals of less than one minute and then progress to longer intervals and single leg skipping or running skips. Swimming is also a cheaper option although swimming laps is also a form of cardiovascular activity and it is important for the runner to do resistance training. Swimming has the benefit that the joints are not loaded and there is no impact on the body. The water has buoyancy that acts as resistance and there are many exercises that can be performed in the pool with less stress on the body.

Balance training recruits the muscles you use while running and improves stability. A strong core also helps the runner balance and decreases the chance of injury.

Cross training negates the monotony of running and it also gives the muscles time to relax while other muscles do the work. This will decrease the incidence of overuse injuries and boredom and keep the runner passionate about running.

Plantar Fasciitis and Running Shoes

Pain when planting the foot on the ground and pain under the foot is known as plantar fasciitis. The inflammation of the thick tissue under the foot can cause discomfort when running and resting. Called the plantar fascia, this tissue connects the heel bone to the toes. The plantar fascia creates the arch of the foot and any pain in the tissue will hamper performance, but unfortunately plantar fasciitis is a common running injury.

This injury affects active men from the age of 40, obese people who place stress on the feet, long distance runners and people who have a tight Achilles tendon. Achilles tendinitis is often mistaken for plantar fasciitis as the symptoms are similar. Sufferers usually complain of a dull or sharp pain and stiffness at the base of the heel and this area may also ache or burn. The arch is stiff, inflamed and sore and activities such as climbing stairs, getting out of bed and taking the early morning steps and impact are difficult.

The origin of the injury may be from shoes that are too soft, dropped arches or sudden increase in activity. Researchers used to think that plantar fasciitis was caused by a heel spur, but x-rays revealed that heel spurs occur in people who have no plantar fascia problems.Pain management in the form of ice, Tylenol or ibuprofen helps to reduce inflammation. Rehabilitation can be done at the physiotherapist and modalities such as stretching, massage and foot exercises are used. Heel stretching exercises involve lowering the heel off a step and lifting onto the toe. The most important treatment is rest, but this is often the most difficult thing to do when running is such a priority. Wearing good shoes with good support will help contain the swelling of the tissue and night splints could stretch the injured fascia. A heel boot is the most extreme form of orthotics but it takes the pressure off the plantar fascia and reduces friction, but there are also orthotics and heel raises that can be worn inside the shoes to elevate the heel and arch.

Now if you want to run when you have plantar fasciitis, there are some good running shoes that might help with the problem.

Running Shoes

The Asics GEL series

Runners can choose from the Kayano, Nimbus or Evolution models. Asics GEL technology cushions the foot and absorbs shock, while the midsole provides stability. Lacing the shoe higher on the top of the foot stabilizes the ankle and provides more motion control.

New Balance 850

These shoes use “Abzorb” cushioning to reduce shock that magically disappears from the feet instead of spreading to the knees and shins, causing shin splints and knee problems.

Mizuno Wave series

The Wave Riders and Wave Inspire are popular among injured runners as the shoe has heavy cushioning and support.

The Saucony ProGrid Stabil CS

This is not a new shoe, but still popular for heavy runners and the men shoe weighs 14 ounces, while the women’s shoes is nearly 12. The support post runs along the foot from back to front for effective pronation control.

Unfortunately this injury takes longer to heal than a knee or back pain as it is difficult to take the pressure off the foot, but it is important to rest and let the tissue recover or else you may need tissues for the painful tears you will cry if the injury persists.

The bottom line is that there is no guarantee that plantar fasciitis shoes will cure your plantar problem, but NOT wearing the right shoes will certainly make the problem worse.

Tip: visit bestshoesforplantarfasciitis.com for some recommendations on some good shoes that might (stress on the MIGHT) help you if you suffer from plantar fasciitis.

Welcome to The Running Guide

Welcome to The Running Guide! This website is all about running — from what the best runnings shoes are, to marathon running tips, to running nutrition. We are a small site, but run by some passionate runners.

So stay tuned as we bring you the besting running information.