Monday, February 24, 2014

Three great Treadmill workouts for the winter

For some of us, the cold and snow of winter signal the return to the treadmill. Treadmill training doesn't have to be mind-numbing, though. A repertoire of creative workouts can allow you to both have fun and significantly increase your fitness through the winter. Here are three of my favorite workout routines. You can do one per week for the next three weeks to spice up your winter training. Just make sure to recover properly as the body is not used to hard workouts throughout the winter - compression socks are a great recovery tool.




Workout #1: The Pyramid
Warm up for 15-20 minutes at an easy run pace then begin the incline pyramid.
Step 1 (climbing):
Run 3 minutes total at steady state pace but adjust the incline every minute (1 minute at 4 percent incline, 1 minute at 5 percent and 1 minute at 6 percent) then 
Recover for 2-3 minutes at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace

Step 2 (climbing): 

Run 4 minutes total at steady state pace (1 minute at 5 percent incline, 1 minute at 6 percent and 2 minute at 7 percent) then

Recover for 2-3 minutes at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace

Step 3 (the peak!): 

Run 4 minutes total at steady state pace (1 minute at 6 percent incline, 1 minute at 7 percent and 2 minute at 8 percent) then

Recover for 2-3 minutes at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace

Step 4 (descending): 
Run 4 minutes total at steady state pace (1 minute at 7 percent incline, 1 minute at 6 percent and 2 minute at 5 percent) then
Recover for 2-3 minutes at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace

Step 5 (descending): 

Run 4 minutes total at steady state pace (1 minute at 6 percent incline, 1 minute at 5 percent and 2 minute at 4 percent) then
Recover for 2-3 minutes at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace
  
Cool down for 10-15 minutes at an easy run pace. 
Workout #2: Six / Sevens

Warm up for 15-20 minutes at an easy run pace then begin the six/sevens.

Run 90 seconds at 6 percent incline and marathon pace
Recover for 1 minute at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace
Run 60 seconds at 7 percent incline and marathon pace
Recover for 2 minutes at 0 percent incline and recovery run pace

Repeat this 6 to 10 times then cool down for 10-20 minutes at an easy run pace.

Workout #3: Faster, Faster

Warm up for 15-20 minutes at an easy run pace then begin the faster, faster repeats.
Run 400m (or a quarter mile) at easy run pace then increase the speed and
Run 400m at tempo run pace then increase the speed again and
Run 400m 5K race pace
Recover for 2 minutes at recovery run pace

Repeat this 4 times then cool down for 15-30 minutes at an easy run pace. You can set the incline anywhere between 0 and 1 percent based on your preference.
Enjoy your workouts :-)


Monday, February 10, 2014

Shin Splints and Running

Shin splints occur when stiff or overworked muscles and tendons in the lower leg begin to pull on the tibia bone and the connective tissues around the bone. Many athletes, particularly runners, experience this painful injury. You can heal most cases of shin splints with rest and other simple remedies. If you do not treat shin splints properly, the condition can get worse.
TIPS:

  • Increase your mileage gradually and run in moderation. Shin splints frequently occur from overuse. Do not become a "weekend warrior" and run a long run of more than six miles only once a week. Instead, break up your mileage over the course of the week to avoid injury.

  • Run on softer surfaces, such as grass and trails. The pounding and shock to your legs from running on harder surfaces like concrete or asphalt is a common cause of shin splints. Alternate your runs to include some trail or sand running.
  • Warm up for a few minutes before a run. Stretch for 8-10 minutes, focusing on your calf muscles. Warm-ups and stretching will improve blood flow to your leg muscles, which can help prevent injury. Implement a short stretch routine after your runs as well.
  • Discontinue running if you feel any shin pain. Rest and elevate your legs. Cease from running for a few days and continue the RICE treatment. Icing the injured shins can relieve the pain and help them to heal, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Place ice packs wrapped in paper towels over your shins for 20-minute periods. Ice your shins four to eight times every day until shin pain dissipates. Reduce swelling in your shins by elevating your lower legs. Elevate your legs while you sleep for one or two nights. While your shins heal, you can relieve pain with over-the-counter medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
          If the shin pain stops, you can continue running, but remember to increase your mileage gradually.

  • Replace your running shoes. Running shoes lose their cushion and support with wear, resulting in more shock to your legs with each foot strike. Replace your shoes about every 600 miles.

Important: