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Friday, December 26, 2008
Getting To The Core
Ever have one of those “Ah-hahh!” moments? Took a while but I finally realized that the mid-section or “core” is the support for your entire body. A strong core provides good posture as well as a solid base for the rest of your body to do its job properly. When you run, the power your legs receive originates in your core and moves down to your legs. I initially thought working your abs was how you strengthened your core. It definitely plays a part, but you need to go beyond the abs to optimize your core strength. The goal shouldn’t be to have a 6- or 8-pack but to have a solid core. If you get a “pack” in the process that’s cool (I’m still waiting for mine, LOL!) but it shouldn't be the goal.
There are a lot more muscles than just the abdominals that make up the core. Core muscles consist of the muscles that run along the trunk and torso and generally include the following:
Rectus Abdominis—the "six-pack" muscles that everyone strives for Erector Spinae—three muscles that run from your neck to your lower back
Multifidus—found beneath the erector spinae
External Obliques—positioned on the side and front of the abdomen
Internal Obliques—found beneath the external obliques, running in the opposite direction
Transverse Abdominis—muscles that protect your spine and provide stability; found beneath the obliques
Hip Flexors—a group of muscles (psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus, and sartorius) found in front of the pelvis and upper thigh
Gluteus medius and minimus—found at the side of the hip
Gluteus maximus, hamstring group, piriformis—found at the back of the hip and upper thigh
Hip Adductors—found at medial thigh.
The great thing about building core strength, is that it doesn't take a lot of equipment. There are many exercises that involve no equipment such as crunches, plank exercises, push ups, V-sits, lunges, and squats. Others require basic equipment such as dumbells, a medicine ball, a ballance ball, and other equipement found at any gym. I recently purchased a medicne ball (8lbs.) and have begun to incorporate exercises using the ball into my weekly routine. The December 2008 issue of Men's Health has a great pull-out poster featuring 10 medicine ball exercises from the UNC Tarheel Basketball team training handbook. At first the exercises seem too simple, but the next day you'll discover just how effective the exercises are. Stick with it though and you'll start to see and feel the benefits of the work you're doing. Fitness guru, Mark Verstegen, has a book on building core strength, Core Performance, that I highly recommend. Blue Benadum also has a great routine for building core strength. It’s tough, but it’s good. Check it out at trainingbybluebenadum.com. For a core routine designed for runners try this plan from RunningPlanet.com.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
• Inspired Endurance: Jewelry for the endurance runner
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
See Dane Run!
"As for fitting things in, I have always been of the belief that you fit into your life all that you truly want to. If it is important to you, then you will make it happen. While running the 52 Marathons I was working full-time in patent licensing, fund-raising for Fiddy2, ran my website, wrote race recaps, conducted interviews and did my very best to live a normal life all at the same time. This is not meant to brag but only show what can be done when obstacles are only seen as something to make the journey more worth while."
Keep it up Dane! And, keep us posted on the across-the-country run for childhood obesity awareness. I was very overweight as a child and truly know the importance of helping kids learn early the positive effects of living a healthy life.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Connecting with Other Runners
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Group Runs...It's Good for Ya!
Do you struggle to maintain a regular exercise schedule? I sure do. I’ve discovered that I do much better when I run and/or exercise with friends. Isn’t it amazing how a long run (or any run for that matter) with a group seems to go by faster and is much more enjoyable than going it alone? Whether you’re starved for attention, need that extra diversion to help get you through those last few miles of a long run, or you enjoy the camaraderie or competition of running with others, it does seem to help. Actually it may even be good for your brain to run with others. Recently scientists found that the generation of new neurons (neurogenesis) is increased in the brains of rats when they were exercised in groups. Rats exercised in isolation showed no new growth. Whether this is true in humans or not, I don’t know, but I guess it's another good reason for planning some runs with friends. If you’re in
Thursday, November 27, 2008
If you’re an avid runner, keeping yourself well hydrated (summer or winter) should be an ongoing process. I’m bad about only thinking about hydration about an hour before I run when I gulp down a bottle of water. But if you’re doing long runs of more than 8 miles you should actually be thinking about hydration a few days before. If you’re well hydrated then your urine should be pale in color and you should be voiding around 6 times a day.
Christine Luff from About.com: Running and Jogging suggest drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water or other non-caffeinated fluid about an hour before running. That will give you time to void before you run. You can drink another 4 to 8 ounces right before running.
On long runs carrying water and/or sports drink along on the run is often a good idea. During the summer I like using the handheld bottles. I often run shirtless and the belts tend to irritate me. During the winter the handheld bottles are too cold to handle, so I wear a belt system. I’ve tried several brands of hydration systems, but I’ve found that Amphipod’s products work best for me. They have a handheld bottle that’s flat and is easier to hold than the round bottles. They also have belt systems where the bottles snap on and off, making it easier to use while in motion. What hydration systems have worked well for you?
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Well it was inevitable. The first really cold run of the season hit last Saturday with the temp hovering around 20°. Actually wasn't too bad, once we got going. With the cold comes a whole different set of running concerns. Check out these cold weather running tips by Christine Luff from About.com: Running & Jogging
1. Watch for Frostbite
On really cold days, make sure you monitor your fingers, toes, ears, and nose. They may feel numb at first, but they should warm up a few minutes into your run. If you notice a patch of hard, pale, cold skin, you may have frostbite. Get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.
2. Pay Attention to Temperature and Wind Chill
If the wind is strong, it penetrates your clothes and removes the insulating layer of warm air around you. Your movement also creates wind chill because it increases air movement past your body. If the temperature dips below zero or the wind chill is below minus 20, hit the treadmill instead.
3. Protect Your Hands and Feet
As much as 30% of your body heat escapes through your hands and feet. On mild days, wear gloves that wick moisture away. Mittens are a better choice on colder days because your fingers will share their body heat. You can also tuck disposable heat packets into your mittens. Add a wicking sock liner under a warm polar fleece or wool sock, but make sure you have enough room in your running shoes to accommodate these thicker socks.
4. Dress in Layers
Start with a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat from your body. Stay away from cotton because it holds the moisture and will keep you wet. An outer, breathable layer of nylon or Gore-Tex will help protect you against wind and precipitation, while still letting out heat and moisture to prevent overheating and chilling. If it's really cold out, you'll need a middle layer, such as polar fleece, for added insulation.
5. Check With Your MD
Cold air can trigger chest pain or asthma attacks in some people. Before braving the elements, talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions or concerns about exercising outdoors.
6. Avoid Overdressing
You're going to warm up once you get moving, so you should feel a little bit chilly when you start your run. A good rule of thumb: Dress as if it's 20 degrees warmer outside than it really is.
7. Don't Forget Your Head
About 40% of your body heat is lost through your head. Wearing a hat will help prevent heat loss, so your circulatory system will have more heat to distribute to the rest of the body. When it's really cold, wear a face mask or a scarf over your mouth to warm the air you breathe and protect your face.
8. Get Some Shades
The glare from snow can cause snow blindness, so wear sunglasses (polarized lenses are best) to avoid this problem.
9. Don't Stay in Wet Clothes
If you get wet from rain, snow, or sweat in cold temperatures, you're at an increased risk for hypothermia, a lowering of your body temperature. If you're wet, change your clothes and get to warm shelter as quickly as possible. If you suspect hypothermia -- characterized by intense shivering, loss of coordination, slurred speech, and fatigue -- get emergency treatment immediately.
10. Stay Hydrated
Despite the cold weather, you'll still heat up and lose fluids through sweat. Cold air also has a drying effect, which can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure you drink water or a sports drink before, during, and after your run.
11. Remember Sunscreen
Sunburn is still possible in the winter because the snow reflects the sun's rays. Protect your lips with lip balm, too.
12. Take it Easy When It's Frigid
You're at greater risk for a pulled muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly and run easy on very cold days. Save your tough workouts for milder days or indoors.
13. Be Visible
It's best to avoid running in the dark but, if you have to run at night, wear reflective gear and light-colored clothing. Dress in bright colors if you're running in the snow.
14. Run Into the Wind
If you head out into the wind, it will be at your back at the end of your workout, when you're sweaty and could catch a chill.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Meet the Youngest BlueLiner
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Blueliners Shine at OBX Marathon
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ultra Trail Trekers!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Rich Conquers Ironman!
2.4 mile swim: 00:59:01
Transition 1: 00:13:48
112 mile bike: 06:22:44
Transition 2: 00:06:57
26.2 mile run: 04:30:37
Overall placement: 151/337
Age group: 11/31
The race went surprisingly well. Except for colder than expected air(39 degrees) and water (67 degrees) on race morning, the conditions were perfect. The swim started at the south end of Wrightsville Beach and ended at Sea Path Marina near the Wrigthsville Beach Town Hall. The cold water caused my legs to cramp up several times on the swim. It also left me a little loopy at the end of the swim. It was difficult to just stand up at first and very difficult to change into biking gear—hard to think—hard to use your hands. To make matters worse, the changing tent was packed—chairs around the side and other than that—standing-room only. Luckily, I was able to get a chair to sit on after several minutes. That transition took me almost 15 minutes. The bike was 99% flat and smooth with little to no wind. Temps for the bike started around 40 degrees but must have ended in the high 60's to 70. I stopped three times on the ride—first at about 40 miles to peel off some clothes; next at 60 to peel more clothes and mix up some more drinks (Accelerade), and one more with about 20 miles to go to call my family and give them a heads up that I would be in transition soon (use of electronic devices is prohibited, so please don't tell the refs!). My biggest fear was the run, but it went well too. None of my intermittent hamstring, knee, or hip issues cropped up. I kept a fairly consistent pace throughout. I walked only occasionally at aid stations at which I ate mostly gels, orange wedges, and/or pretzels. I carried my own drink. My parents were at the T2—the battleship—so I saw them at the start and halfway points of the run (it was two 13 miles laps). My wife, Janet and son, Dave were in downtown Wilmington at miles 3 and 16. Dave ran with me a few blocks each lap. All were at the finish. On the first lap, I was just looking forward to finishing it and figured that if I made it at least that far I could consider it a successful outing. Then, once I actually got a few miles into the second lap, I knew I would finish one way or another—I certainly wasn't going to turn around or backtrack! On the second lap, Dave met me near the 24 mile mark and ran over the bridge to finish with me at the battleship. I felt pretty good at the end. But the next morning it was hard to get out of bed or even roll over. I guess the 6 Ibuprofen I took the day before had worn off! I'm feeling pretty good now. It was fun, and although I wouldn't say "never", I currently have no plans to enter another.
Rich, I think I speak for all the Blueliners....awesome job and what an inspiration! You da man! Lucy and Ben do an amazing 40-mile ultra trail marathon. Andy sets a marathon PR. Kelly qualifies for Boston and then Rich completes a full IronMan! What's next for the Blueliners?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Shoe Lacing 101
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Good Luck to The OBX Marathoners!
Two other running buddies—Andy and Kelly—and I recently ran the Ridge to Bridge Marathon in Morganton, NC. This race was on the other side of the state in the mountains. The first 14 miles were down hill! Was a tough race. Kelly and Andy both set PRs. Kelly even qualified for Boston! Wasn't my day. I had to drop out of the race. But it was a beautiful course nonetheless. It's a small race (only 150 runners) and extremely well organized. I'm always looking for new races, especially marathons and half marathons. What are some of your favorites?
Monday, November 3, 2008
Get Out And Vote!
I don't know if either candidate—Obama or McCain—are runners, but even if they're not be sure to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 4th! The lines may be long, so be sure to pack your Gatorade and a Power Gel to aid in your endurance! :-)
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Race Pace Solution
Friday, October 31, 2008
Eat or Not to Eat...
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Marathon Training Plans
http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-244-255-11938-0,00.html The one thing I did learn from using this plan is the importance of speed work.I used the plan last year in training for Chicago and my endurance was the best it's ever been for short- and long-distance races. This year I didn't include as much speed work and my endurance and speed weren't anything compared to last year. So, send me some links to plans you've used. Thanks!