Last year it was Uli Steidl who took first with Matt Carpenter in second in the inaugural North Face Endurance Challenge this year it was the legendary mountain runner Matt Carpenter who took first and earning a well deserved $10,000 for his efforts. From the looks of the results it was a close race. The always strong Kami Semick was well ahead of second place Anita Ortiz who finished 20 minutes back.
Contrary to popular belief, running should not hurt your body. It is the way you run that is doing the damage and causing pain. Sadly, for many runners, injury becomes a regular inconvenience and a way of life, something that just has to be dealt with and endured. Running is a sport that has a competitive aspect to it. When competition comes before knowledge, the goal changes from minimizing stress to the body to minimize running time. This is when injuries begin to surface. However, with a little practice on technique, injuries are reduced drastically, stress to the body diminishes, and personal running times can be greatly improved. Remember, speed comes after form.
Poor running form leads to injury, wears the joints down at an accelerated rate, and puts high levels of stress on the body. Unfortunately, much of what the vast majority of runners believe they know about running technique is wrong. So what is good form and bad form? Bad form can consist of any or all of the following incorrect techniques, which will lead to pain and injury over time.
Over striding- This consists of when the legs move to far forward in front of the body, putting heavy stress on the knee joints.
Poor foot position- When the feet deviate from a straight line, the joints have to twist with each step. As they move forward while twisting, unnecessary wear occurs.
Poor arm movement patterns- Moving arms across the entire front of the body not only is a waste of energy, but unnaturally twists the hips and torso with each stride. It is an extraordinarily inefficient running style.
Clinched fists or tense face- When you clench your fists and tighten your face, you create tension through the upper body. This causes arm movements and torso position to change, leads to neck and upper back pain and will wear out the runner much faster.
Torso bent to far forward or backward- When bent to far forward, the air is constricted to the lungs and the impact the body receives from being out of alignment increases. When bent to far back, pressure increases on the lower back and over striding usually occurs, stressing the knees.
Landing on the heel of the foot- Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running should be springy and quiet. Landing on the heel of the foot leads to more stress than any other running problem. It delivers an immediate shock to the lower back and can lead to chronic pain and even stress fractures.
Improving your running form can help you run quicker, more efficiently, and with less stress on your body. It helps to reduce the changes of injuries, and allows for a more pleasant run. Making these small adjustments to your form can literally mean the difference between an enjoyable complete run and a DNF (Did Not Finish)
Land on mid-foot- Although heel striking is very common for recreational runners, it is not the preferable way to run. Constantly landing on the heels wastes energy and jars the body. It can lead to significant stress injuries throughout the lower extremities, and even chronic pain throughout the entire back. It should be noted that most running shoes are designed for the runner who lands on their heel. Inevitably these shoes allow a runner with poor form to slide by and develop bad habits. Be wary of expensive running shoes unless you take the time to learn how to run!
Use gravity to pull you forward- Using your legs to push yourself forward will rob you of energy faster than anything. Try to relax, bend your knees, and lean forward at the ankles, rather than the waist. As you lean, gravity pulls you forward. Your feet will begin to come down underneath you, rather than in front of you. Your foot should never hit the ground in front of your body, as this puts maximum strain on your knees. Essentially, the runner’s center of gravity should be directly over the foot.
Posture- Focus on maintaining good posture. Keep your hips, shoulders, and ankles in a straight line. Good posture builds strong core muscles and allows the body to move more efficiently, using less energy overall.
Relax your body- Relaxing your leg muscles, in particular, lessens their resistance to forward momentum as you run.
Breathe- Inefficient breathing forces the body to work harder to meet its oxygen requirements. Breathe naturally and fully from your diaphragm, instead of shallow chest breaths.
Forward movement- Forward movement should not be muscular. It should happen by itself, because of gravity. When you have the proper form, gravity will carry you forward, allowing for an enormous reduction in energy output.
Running can be a sport that is done up until your final days if practiced correctly. Taking the time to learn about running is no different than learning golf, football, or any other sport. If you put in the time to learn, your runs will be fruitful, enjoyable, and your endurance and stamina will increase over time.
Whether you are in a high powered job, moving house, trying to get out of debt, managing to look after the kids whilst staying sane and having a life, day to day living can at times get very stressful. what then tends to happen is we start to feel run down and to top it all off we are then more prone to a virus or cold. Also our skin starts to tell everyone how we are feeling whether it is those tell tale spots or even worse eczema that we thought was long gone flares up once again. When we are feeling and looking this stressed and run down it makes it all the harder to perk ourselves up and get on with things. Instead we stay down and a situation that wasn’t that bad starts to get worse and our confidence start to go down.
Stress can quite simply be summed up as the pressure of having too much to handle. Stress can come from any situation or thought and what is stressful for one person may not be for another. There are many symptoms of stress including: Clammy hands, skin rash, sleep problems, alcohol abuse and depression to name just a few.
There are different types of stress. One is acute stress also named short-term stress. Acute stress can be caused by anything that for a short instance throws you off balance. This could be an instance of bad driving by another person or not being able to find your keys. These feelings of stress may be intense but will go away after a short while. Another type of stress is chronic stress also named long-term stress. This type of stress builds up over a period of time and does not go away. Chronic stress can often leave you feeling mentally and physically drained and run down. This type of stress can be caused by caring for an elderly relative or pressures of work.
You may be surprised to hear that not all stress is bad. Yes constant stress in your life can harm your health and relationships. Some stress can help you deal with change or even get through a challenging situation. Avoiding the negative effects of stress can be avoided by learning how to deal with stress better.
Once you have recognized stress what can you do? Firstly accepting that there will be times when you are going to be stressed will get you through those times a lot easier. To help you deal with the more severe stress then taking these few simple steps will help. Eating a well balanced healthy diet, exercising regularly, using relaxation techniques, spend time with people close to you and getting enough sleep.
Finally, learn how to step back and take a few deep breaths. Just by taking on board a healthier lifestyle and relaxing your body and mind can help you bounce back from stress just that bit easier. If you are suffering from virus or colds because your body is run down, because of stress or even the daily challenges of life then there are oral supplements such as aloeride available to buy that you can take.
Most people know of the importance of exercise as a means of weight loss, strength gains, and increased endurance, but exercise can play a major role in the reduction of stress. Along with just stress relief, exercise can help improve mental health, emotion and mood.
When you exercise, your body produces substances called endorphins (source: Journal of ST). Endorphins are formed within the body to help relieve pain and induce a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Endorphins have a similar chemical structure to morphine. Release of these endorphins can make you fall asleep faster, and may help in the reduction of high blood pressure.
When a stressful situation arises, the body undergoes some 1500 biochemical reactions. This is referred to as the “fight or flight” response. In prehistoric times, stress may have come by means of the threat of being eaten by something very large! The chemical changes in the body produced that “pumped up”, adrenaline rush feeling, preparing the body to fight the beast or run like heck! This was and is the means by which the built up byproducts of the chemical changes are released.
Although traffic on the way to work, or knowing the in-laws are coming next week, hardly compare to the possibility of becoming lunch, the body still goes through the chemical changes in response to the stress. If a “fight or flight” action is not taken, the byproducts continue to circulate and can cause illness. Exercise is a perfect way to expel the problem.
Changing the body’s chemical composition is not the only way that exercise can help alleviate stress, however. Stress can be caused by the expression or repression of anger. Exercise offers a target in which one may direct their anger. Try hitting a racquetball, golf ball, or punching bag. Go to a gym and lift some weights. Often times, “getting it out” can make some of that anger go away.
Some forms of exercise have meditative similarities. Steady-state exercise (running long distances, swimming at a slow pace), may alter one’s state of consciousness as the deep breathing patterns maintained over a long period of time are similar to the breathing techniques used in meditation. Some runners experience a “high” feeling during or after a run.
Exercise can also enhance one’s feelings of self-esteem. By participating in bouts of exercise, one tends to feel better knowing they are doing something for their health.
Setting and overcoming goals can be a great tool in enhancing self-esteem. And don’t forget about improved body image. Perhaps the greatest self-esteem boost comes from fitting into a smaller size or seeing muscles where there once was flab!
During stressful times, muscles contract. During exercise, muscles do work, releasing stored energy and allowing the muscles to return back to their resting state. This also happens with massage.
Sometimes too little in one’s life can be stressful. It is natural for humans to seek out stimulation and excitement. Exercise provides a social opportunity, which can be of some stress relief. Bored with your daily routine? Run with a friend; join in on a pick-up basketball or volleyball game. HAVE FUN!
There are some times that exercise itself can be stressful. If you are a competitive person, you may not want to engage in competitive exercise or sports as a means of relieving stress. If you are playing or competing against someone, you may lose! If you are trying to beat a personal best, you may not succeed! Keep this in mind if stress relief is a goal.
When choosing your exercise, make sure that you pick something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t like to run, DON’T RUN! Try different exercises; talk to a Fitness Specialist. Exercise is more than treadmills and weight machines. Find out what you like to do, and do it!
Stress… Everybody knows it and has experienced it, but how do you deal with it? I believe the best way to deal with stress is to run it off. Yes, I said run! Running happens to be one of my favorite activities. It is a great workout for both mind and body. Running teaches you to work past your physical and mental capabilities making you a stronger person in all aspects of life. For me, running does two things to help deal with stress. One, it builds up my tolerance for stressful situations so I no longer have a low breaking point. Two, it acts as a stress reliever.
If you want to increase your tolerance for stress, I’d recommend you pick running up as your new hobby. The longer the run, the tougher you’ll be mentally. I have had to push myself through some intense runs, one actually resulting in an injury. However, it has helped prepare me for those demanding life challenges that can occur at home, school or in the office. I’m sure it can help you too. (“Journal of ST“)
So maybe you’re not interested in increasing your tolerance, and would rather have an outlet to help deal with your stress immediately. I would then recommend going out for a short run, plain and simple. If you’re new to running, try beginning with a mile a day. If that was easy, bump it up to two or three. Eventually you will find your sweet spot, or the amount of running that makes you feel your best. Three miles is my sweet spot. It is easy enough to do daily and a long enough distance to feel proud about. I always feel happy and stress free after one of my normal three mile base runs.
Before going out for a run, it is VERY important you have the right gear. And when I say gear, I mainly mean running shoes. You can’t simply walk into any store and buy a cool looking pair of shoes. Choosing the wrong pair can have many negative effects on your body and can lead to problems with your feet, knees and back. Thankfully, there are many stores that employ knowledgeable staff who can tell you if you are prone to certain running problems and offer special shoes to remedy it.
Besides being an awesome stress reliever, running is a great way to form a bond with fellow coworkers. I was recently invited to a race (the 29th annual St. Patrick’s parade Corktown race in Detroit) with two other team members here at Biznet, Trevor Fitzgerald and Jim Montgomery. It was a great experience that led to many laughter-filled conversations.