Category Archives: Increase Speed

How To Get More Oxygen Into Your Lungs

You might think that breathing is a natural process and our bodies will adapt our breathing to suit the intensity of exercise we are doing. If we have poor breathing technique when we are not running then the chances are we will be use the same poor breathing (only faster) when we are running.

The more oxygen you breathe in, the faster you run

Running – in fact any kind of exercise – requires oxygen. You see, energy is released to do work when the cells in our body consume simple sugars in the presence of oxygen. The more work you do, the more oxygen you need. Since there’s only about 20% oxygen in air, unless you want to carry supplemental oxygen like an Everest mountaineer, you have to move more air in and out of your lungs when you’re running. So what can you do to get more of that air in and out of your lungs without feeling like you’re climbing a mountain without supplemental oxygen?

Correct running posture for maximum breathing

First, you should get in the practice of keeping your head and chin up, with your shoulders back. This will help to keep your chest as open as possible. I’ve seen many runners heading down the trail with slouched shoulders, eyes directed down at the ground just a few feet ahead of them. This compresses the chest and can even inhibit airflow down the windpipe into the lungs. Maintaining good posture while running will not only feel better, but will increase your available lung volume. More lung volume equals more oxygen.

Breathe with abdomen not chest

Focus on breathing deep down into the abdomen. As babies, we were all ‘belly-breathers’ with our abdomens rising and falling deeply with each breath. Somehow, as we grow up, we started breathing primarily in the chest. This actually gives us less lung volume as air might not even reach the bottom of our lungs on every breath. Breathing deeply, focusing on moving your belly in and out on each breath will make even more lung volume accessible. In addition to increasing oxygen uptake, belly-breathing can help prevent cramps during running.

Breathing with Nose vs Mouth

Many new runners are misinformed and believe that you should breathe only through your nose while running. Effective breathing while running means getting in enough oxygen to power your body through an intensive workout. The only way to do this is by taking in large, deep breaths through your nose and mouth. Studies done on elite runners have shown they breathe in using both the  mouth and nose.

Don’t wait until you have run for a few miles before you start deeper breathing, the sooner you start the better your body will be oxygenated. If you can get into a good rhythm of breathing that matches your strides it will make it easier to breath enough and in the right quantity. When you breathe out try making a panting noise. This helps you to take lager breaths and align your breathing with your steps.

10 Ways To Improve Your 5K Running Speed

The 5K is the most popular run today and new people are joining this quest every year. although it is a shorter distance than the half marathon, it is not an easy race for many runners. New runners who are physically unfit take more than an hour to complete these short distance. The main reasons why so many runners record a slow time are, heavy legs, breathing problem, side stitch, stomach cramps and injury.

The best way to increase your 5K running speed is by improving your physical fitness, eating well, training smart and racing with your brain.

Improving your physical fitness

1. Build a Foundation: Don’t make the mistake of trying to run too fast too soon. Looking at pro athlete racing on TV may make you think running is easy and you can run as fast as them. Running fast is never easy, those pro athletes run fast because they have been training since they were teens.  Start by running slowly for a period of 4 months. During that period your body will get used to the rigors of road running and get strong in the process. it is after building this foundation when you start thinking of doing fartleks, speed works and interval training. In the early days of running you should be doing jogging not running.

2. Lose Some Weight: The number one reason why people are slow at 5K running is they are overweight. Carrying excess body weight can put additional stresses on your joints and cardiovascular system when running. Studies have shown that losing weight can boost running speed.

For each pound of excess weight you lose you could increase your speed by 2 seconds per mile.

3. Breathing: Running is an aerobic activity. The more you run, the better and easier the breathing. You lungs and heart adapt gradually to the higher running intensity.

Newbie runners are misinformed and believe that you should breathe only through your nose while running. Effective breathing while running means getting in enough oxygen to power your body through an intensive workout. The only way to do this is by taking in large, deep breaths through your nose and mouth. Don’t wait until you have run for a few miles before you start deeper breathing, the sooner you start the better your body will be oxygenated. If you can get into a good rhythm of breathing that matches your strides it will make it easier to breath enough and in the right quantity. When you breathe out try making a panting noise. This helps you to take lager breaths and align your breathing with your steps.

Smart training for a 5K race

4. Find a running partner: Some people prefer to run alone, allowing themselves time to be with their own thoughts. Running alone may be more spiritual but you could be missing out on the many benefits of group running. A friendly running club or running partner with make running a more social pastime, you can share stories, goals or even worries.

Most importantly, a running partner who is faster than you will push you to run faster. You will develop the habit of running fast as you try to keep up with his running pace.

5. Mix things up: Changing your running route regularly will keep the running experience fresh and more interesting. New running routes get your attention away from the effort of running and towards the enjoyment of the experience. The more you enjoy your running, the faster you will run.

6. Music: Using a portable music player while running can help improve your running experience. The distraction of listening to music you enjoy can make running seam easier. Time seems to pass quicker and you feel more upbeat and energetic.

7. Recovery: Running places huge stresses and strains on the body. Muscle cells are physically damaged during training. This trauma can cause soreness and even injury. If your body is given the chance it can repair the muscle damage making them stronger.

5K Running Hydration and Nutrition

8. Water: Dehydration is a threat for all runners. Losing water through sweat and breathing must be replaced in order to stay hydrated. Dehydration can happen both in hot and cold weather. Even experienced runners get this wrong and vastly underestimate the amount of water they need to replenish while running longer distances.

The best indicator of when to drink is watching your thirst.. If you start to feel thirsty then you are already dehydrated. You can lose 3-4 pounds of water per hour when running and this causes a decrease in performance of about 6%.

9. Best Diet for a 5K runner. The best diet for an active runner is one that is heavy on carbs and low on proteins and fats. Running is energy demanding and the main source of energy is carbohydrates. Eat lots of carbs so that you will have enough energy to fuel your runs. The diet is different for runners who are trying to lose weight. They should eat more proteins and lesser carbs.

Best 5K Race day strategy

10. Be economical. Don’t get carried away by the excitement of the race and go out guns blazing.

Your 5k race day strategy should go like this. Start relatively slowly, but not too slow or you won’t be able to make up lost time. Divide your race into three parts. First third run just out of your comfort zone. The second third of your race you can start pushing a bit harder. Then with about a kilometers to go you start piling on the pace and the last half you run all out.

Ten Songs to Make You Run Faster and with Endurance

One of the greatest motivators for runners is music. Listening to good music while running can make you run faster and further. Music has a calming effect while you are doing a strenuous activity. It takes your mind off how hard you are running.

Apart from the calming effect, music is also stimulating. It can pump you up to focus and move faster. If you have been to a night club you are familiar with the moment the DJ switches to a song with louder and faster beats; every one starts dancing faster.

10. Slumdog Millionaire Theme — ”Jai Ho”

Jai Ho was a sound track in Oscar winning movie Slumdog millionaire. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. The song was received very well. Times of idea was quoted saying “it was the toast of the town in almost every part of the world”. Fans posted Videos on YouTube remixing the song, as well as clips of people doing the “Jai Ho” dance featured in the film.

9. We didn’t start the fire – Billy Joel

This is a song that any one grow up in the early 90s will love. The intro starts at a slow pace but you can cut out that bit with a descent music editing software. Although a certain Blender magazine ranked the song No. 41 on its list of the “50 Worst Songs Ever”, the song went all the way to the top of Billboard music ranking. The song has been voted  as one of the all time favorites by runners.

8.Daft Punk – Harder Better Faster Stronger

Released by the French duo in 2001, Harder Better Faster Stronger features a robotic vocal with driving bass and steady beat. The lyrics are quite limited but it’s an amazing song for running. This song is heavily sampled in Kanye’s song “stronger”, which provides a more lyrical and slower version.

7. Pat Benatar – All Fired Up

“All fired up” was the lead single in Pat Benatar 7th album; Wide awake in dreamland. The song reached a high of No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song is no longer available on retail store, you can find in digital platforms like Itunes, Google Play and Amazon music.

6.Fort Minor – Remember the Name

The following lyrics are enough to make you go and find this song on You Tube, “This is 10% percent luck, 20% percent skill, 15% percent concentrated power of will 5% percent pleasure, 50% percent pain and a 100% reason to remember the name”. This song is extensively used in stadiums across the United States, going as far as being the theme for the NBA Playoffs in 2006 and 2007. With its aggressive lyrics and fast tempo, one can easily see why it is popular among sports fans.

5. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, what doesn’t kill you makes you a fighter.” Terrific running song!

4. Black Eyed Peas – Pump It

Another all time favorite among runners. The song has been used in six movies and has been a sound track in three video games. In the official music video there is a scene of people running.

3. Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief

A classic of many playlists, the intro alone is enough to you off your butt and start moving. Runners who don’t like metal music my dislike the music but they will love the beats. It is widely used in movies such as Shoot ‘Em Up and video game Need for Speed: Carbon. It is also the song used to get the Oregon Ducks football team pumped up.

2. Pink – Raise Your Glass

This is a song for all under dogs; that includes almost 99.9% people who are at the starting line of marathons, half marathon, 10 and 5k who can’t dream of winning. Pink describes the song as a “celebration for people who feel left out from the popular crowd.”

1. Survivor – Eye of the Tiger

There can only be one number 1 and it has to be Eye of the Tiger. This song is ranked at number on every running songs playlist that I have come across. The song was the sound track to Rocky Movie. “It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival.” How can you not run faster with such lyrics?! Everyone runner should have this song in their running playlist.

How P90X Can Make You A Better Runner

Although P90X is popular among gym rats, it can also used by runners to improve their running performance. P90X was developed for people who are already fit and want to get more from their work out. Runners who are interested in running faster can use the program to build muscle strength  and power.

The program alone won’t make you a better runner. Running is still an aerobic activity and you need to do the hard road running for your training. P90X comes in as part of your cross training activity. It complements your regular running.

P90X program consists of 12 work outs that are performed over 90 days. The work outs come in 12 DVDs. Each DVD covers a specific work out routine. The work outs that I cover here are those that may be beneficial for runners.

P90X Work Outs That are Beneficial for Runners.

  1. Chest and Back
  2. Plyometrics
  3. Legs and Back
  4. Stretch
  5. Chest, Shoulders and Triceps
  6. Shoulders and Arms
  7. Core Synergistics
  8. Ab Ripper X

P90X, Upper Body Work outs : Chest, Back, Shoulders, Arms

Although running is all about the legs, the upper body is also very important. Famed American coach, Alberto Salazar explained the importance of building upper body strength when he revealed how he transformed British athlete, Mo Farah, from an average runner to a gold medal winner at 2012 Summer Games.

These upper body routines in P90X consists of of push ups, pull ups, and various arm, chest and back exercises. These exercises will help you develop a leaner, stronger and more flexible upper body that will enhance your running efficiency. The fact is, a runner carrying too much fat on the upper body will run at a slower pace than a runner with a leaner upper body.

P90X : Lower Body exercises, Legs and Back

The leg muscles are the muscles that are most active during running. If you want to tun faster and further you will need add leg strengthening exercises to your training. The lower body work outs in P90X are designed to strengthen your quads, hamstring and calves. The exercises consist of lunges, squats, calf raises.

P90X : Stretch

Doing stretching after running is very important. Stretching helps to ease muscle fatigue by relaxing tight muscles and increasing blood flow to the muscles. Stretching is also a good exercise to minimize running injuries. Check out article on Stretching for speed.

P90X : Core exercise

The core is also important because it connects the lower body with the upper body. The AB Ripper and Core Synergistics are good work outs that can go a long way to building a runners core strength. These core work outs help to build a strong abdominal and lower back. A strong core will help a runner maintain a good running posture and improve his running efficiency.

P90x Plyometrics

Plyometrics exercises are all about increasing running speed. The P90X DVD on Plyometrics consists an assortment of jumps, squats, leaps and other movement exercises to develop leg strength, explosiveness and cardiovascular fitness.

P90X is a program that can benefit runners by making them stronger and more efficient as well as improving overall fitness.

Stride Length Vs Stride Rate : Which Makes You Faster?

Improving running speed and time are the most neglected parts of running training. Many recreational runners think that speed should be a concern only to elite runners, but everyone can benefit tremendously from increasing their speed.

There are two ways to run faster. You can move your legs at a faster rate, called stride rate or cadence, or you can take longer steps. A video at the New York City Marathon showed that the top 150 runners had the same cadence, taking 184 to 188 steps a minute. The difference between the top runners and the others was that the best runners took longer strides.

In general you can run faster by either improving your running cadence per minute or by lengthening your stride.

Improving running cadence means increasing the number of steps you take each minute. This can be done by running with short and quick strides. On the other side, lengthening your running stride means forcing a longer stride than your usual one. Both techniques are proven effective at increasing running speed. But which one is the best?

Stride Rate Vs. Stride length

Research has concluded that most elite runners have the same running cadence per minute. The difference that makes the difference for the elite is their stride length. The longer the stride, the faster they run. But forcing a longer stride does not necessarily means that you can faster. In fact it can have a counter-productive effects.

Stride length and over striding

Lengthening your stride can cause you to overstride. Overstriding is one of the most common lower body errors runners make. When you force a longer stride, you create a braking action with each step. This forces your body to slow down and generates added pressure and tension to your feet and knees, thus it increases the risk of injury and knee problems.

This could be a conundrum to many. It’s why many runners get frustrated and angry when they discover that they are actually slowing themselves down when they force a longer stride. But don’t worry, there are some tweaks you can do in order to decrease the effects of overstriding.

The best method for running faster

The best solution for running faster is by combining both methods. Do your best to run as fast as you can with quick and short steps. And at the same time, you should adopt a stride length that is comfortable to you. The most efficient stride length is the innate one – the one you feel most at ease with.

In fact, when you improve your running cadence you will be able to lessen the braking effect and your running form will start adjusting automatically by taking up a stride length that is appropriate for your cadence. Just don’t be harsh on yourself if don’t notice any instant results.

Drill to Increase your stride length naturally.

We have seen it is dangerous to increase your stride length by forcing things. The best ways to increase the stride is by doing a speed work-out known as Strides.

Strides are usually around 100 meters in length. They are broken into three sections; the first section is used to accelerate. During this portion you gradually build your speed so that at the start of the second section you hit your top speed. This isn’t necessarily an all out sprint but rather a controlled fast pace. You then hold this pace for the second portion of the stride. The final section is for slowly easing back down to either a walk or slow jog.

Here is a video by elite runner Katie Koski explaining how to do strides.


Basically, strides can be done anywhere you find room to safely do about 15 seconds of faster paced running. I would recommend trying to do your strides on a softer surface (grass, dirt, a track, etc.) if at all possible and as with any sort of speed work, always be sure and do a good warm-up first.

When doing strides the most important thing is to focus on is your form. You want to work on running fast but relaxed. Also, make sure you are not over striding. Your foot should be landing directly under your body, not out in front.

Add Some Tempo Runs To Your Training To Run Faster

Let’s face it, most of us will hit a speed plateau sometime during our running career. Some of us may be comfortable at that plateau and enjoy the view from there. But if you are one of those people who are always looking to make improvements in your life, you know that challenging yourself constantly can help you achieve your goals.

Running fits that line of reasoning very well. If you want to get faster, to make it simple you have to run faster. One workout to achieve that goal is a Tempo Run.

What are Tempo Runs?

Tempo runs are fast, continuous workouts where you measure the time and the distance of your run. You try to maintain the same pace for the entire run.

This workout should only be done once a week because of the stress it puts on your body. While you can use this workout for a swim, bike, or run, I am going to focus on how to use this workout as part of your running program.

Benefits of Tempo Runs

The purpose of the tempo run is to train your body to use oxygen for metabolism more efficiently. You want to get used to running “comfortably hard”, and knowing what it feels like to push your body hard. When you incorporate this workout into the schedule, your race times will drop.

How To Do Tempo Runs

Look for a day that you have six to eight miles scheduled. Use the first two miles of your run to warm-up. You should run comfortably at the beginning and gradually build up to the pace you want to hold for the tempo run. Obviously, a Garmin or some other GPS based device is really helpful here. You could also complete this workout at the track so you can keep better track of your pace.

Spend the next 3 to 4 miles at your tempo pace. Your tempo pace should be anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds quicker than your 5K pace. I know it sounds fast and it is. What you are trying to do is teach your body to be more efficient. You are also trying to teach your legs to have a quicker turnover. You will be pushing really hard during this portion of the run. On the pain scale of 1-10, you should be at an 8 at this point. If you need to slow down at some point, take it easy for a minute or so and then speed up back to your targeted tempo pace.

It is important for you to cool down as part of this workout. This workout needs to be done with a ton of caution because there is a real chance of injury. So make sure you take at least 1 to 2 miles to cool down. Gradually slow back down to where you are at your marathon pace and just relax. Make sure you stretch after as part of the workout. Here are the phases of this workout:

1. 1-2 mile warm-up starting at marathon pace gradually speeding up to your tempo pace.
2. 3-4 miles at 5K pace minus 15 to 30 seconds. Slow down a little if you need to.
3. Cool down for 1 to 2 miles, gradually slowing down to your marathon pace.
4. Stretch and make sure you breathe into your muscles as you stretch.

Using the Tempo Run will help you make the improvements that you seek as part of your progression as a runner. Keep this type of workout in your schedule and you will feel more comfortable at all paces because of significant improvements in your running and heart efficiency.

Good luck!

Article courtesy of http://26.2ismycooldown.com/

Interval Training For Half Marathon Runners

One method of increasing half marathon speed is doing interval training. Although intervals are great if you want to run faster at your next half marathon, they have to be used with a certain amount of caution.

Doing short bursts of really hard exercise can place huge pressure on your muscles and joints. Your body will suffer an injury of you have not properly prepared it.

This was demonstrated perfectly on a recent sports program on TV. The presenter wanted to test the claim that repeating 30 second sprints, six or eight times in a total of 10 or 15 minutes total exercise per day, three days a week is enough to show significant health benefits. What happened? Within the first 10 seconds of the first sprint he had pulled a muscle in his leg. Trying very high intensity work is great, but only if you are strong enough to take them. And the only way to get strong enough is to build up steadily.

Interval Training Technique To Done When On The Run

One of the best forms of intervals for half marathon runners is the called the ‘Fartlek’. It’s a rather informal way of adding hard bursts of running into your normal routine. Basically, after you have been running for a while, maybe 10 minutes, you set yourself a target. Maybe ‘I’m going to run flat out for the next 30 seconds’, or ‘I’m going to run as fast as I can to that lamppost’. Then you just go for it. When you reach the target, back off to a slow jog (or even walk) until you’ve regained you breath, then back up to normal speed. Further on add a second short sprint, then rest, then another. The first time you try this I doubt if you will be able to do a fourth!

The advantages of this kind of interval are that it ensures that you are completely warmed up before you start pushing the boundaries and the fact that you are already in the middle of a 30 minute run suggests that your body has had sufficient training to avoid pulling a muscle in the first 10 seconds. Don’t think that it’s a breeze though. On paper it may sound easy, but in practice it is really physically demanding. And if something starts to hurt STOP! And at the end, make sure that you jog slowly for the last 10 minutes of your run, to give you a good ‘warm down’ after your exertions.

Don’t try and do intervals every time you go for a run. They are really demanding on the body, which is why you get so much benefit from such a short exertion. But more than once or twice a week will almost certainly lead to injury for even the most enthusiastic runner. And if you are a beginner, don’t try them at all, until you can comfortably run for 30 minutes without stopping. Intervals are not for the faint hearted…literally!

Why Intervals Are The Best For Improving Your Running Speed

There are several reasons why this method is very effective if you want to get faster at half marathon. Firstly it allows you to go at or near maximum effort – something that isn’t possible with a flat work out with no breaks, the rest periods in between allow you to keep going at that maximum level for longer amounts of time. Why is doing exercise at maximum effort matters? Well, just think about two athletes running a 100 meters. One is a sprinter that runs it at a sub 10 seconds, the other is a long distance marathoner who runs it at high but sustainable pace of 6 meters per second. The sprinter can only run 100meters at that speed, marathoner can run for hours. Which one do you think will have a more effective workout? Of course the sprinter.

Interval training allows you to do exercise at maximum effort which produces much better results than exercising at 70% or some such level of your maximum in the same period of time. Time is the second part that makes interval training so great. At some point you reach a level where your fitness is so good that doing exercise in aerobic regime (sustainable level) hardly produces any results unless you do it for hours. But doing them at maximum level with short breaks in between allows you to get a great work out in a short period of time.

How To Increase Running Speed With Fartlek Speed Workout

Do you find yourself stuck at a specific running speed? Are you tired of running at the same pace in every one of your races? There is a workout that is designed for you that will help you increase your running speed. The workout is Fartlek. It is used by runners to improve their speed as well as the efficiency of the cardiovascular system.

Definition of Fartlek

“Fartlek” is Swedish for “Speed Play”. I have also heard people I trust translate it into “Speed Work”, but it really makes no difference. It differs from the other types of speed work in its basic design. In track workouts or even your tempo runs, the pace should be pretty similar. In a fartlek, the speed changes regularly. In a single workout you do a bit of tempo running, run easy, then do some intervals, run easy again, do a few sprints, etc. Fartlek helps to improve your ability to accelerate quickly during a race, either to overtake runner ahead of you or to push your pace up a hill or the last miles.

How to Do It

These are very simple workouts. I would suggest if you have a 3.0 or 4.0 mile run, start out and run the first mile easy, taking time to make sure your body is really warmed-up. Pick up your pace to your 1/2 marathon pace and cover the next 0.5 miles at that pace. Your heart rate should be pretty stable by this point. Now I want you to start picking out landmarks that are about 20 yards ahead of you and literally accelerate until you are under your 5K pace. Once you pass the landmark, slow back down and run steady at a comfortable pace until your heart rate comes back down. If you want to push it, only give yourself about 2 minutes to recover. Get that time down to 1 minute over time. Repeat that process over and over again until you have about a mile left in your workout.

Spend the last mile running at your marathon pace and let your body wind down. Especially after this workout, make sure you stretch and get your hamstrings opened up. This step will help you maintain your stride even after this tough workout.

Common Fartlek Workouts  To get You Faster at Running.

There are several types of fartleks that boost running speed.

Watson Fartlek

Spend a mile warming up and the speed up to :15 seconds faster than your 5K pace for 4 minutes. Spend one minute recovering and bringing your heart rate down. I like to repeat this workout anywhere from four to eight times. I then like to spend a mile cooling down.

Hill Fartlek

Spend a mile warming up. Find yourself a hilly course that is set up with rollers that is preferably about 4.0-5.0 miles long. Spend the entire hills section running the uphills hard, focusing on cresting and running through the top of the hill, and taking it easy on the downhills. Make sure you spend at least a mile cooling down.

Advantages of Fartlek workouts

There are some advantages to fartlek workouts:

It is Fun

It can be real fun for you. No other running workout will allow you to have more fun than the fartlek. Its basically all up to you how you want to maintain speeds or achieve some time goals, as long as you can keep it exciting and challenging. Fartleks are fun to do in that aspect.

Everyone Can Do It

Anybody can do fartlek. It is an excellent introduction to speed training for beginners. It is also great for more advanced runners who have just come out of a longer period of base building. Instead of having to comply to the rigour of structured speed sessions you can just go by feel and get back into faster running more easily.

Improves Endurance and Increases Your Running Speed

Fartlek workouts are, despite the playful nature, still speed running training sessions. They count as “hard” workouts and should be followed by a day of recovery running or rest. Also make sure that you start and end your fartlek session with easy running so that you properly warm-up and cool-down.

Conclusion

A Fartlek workout is one of many tools that you can use to improve your running speed. As you begin structuring your workouts and giving each one a purpose instead of just getting out and running, you can make improvements that to levels that you previously thought impossible! Good luck!

Sleeping for 10 hours Improves Running Performance

The major benefit of sleep is rest and recovery from strenuous physical exercises. Latest research on sleep has reported athletes who sleep for longer hours, up to 10 hours a day, have increased performance levels.

Science of Sleep and Athletic Performance

Scientist from Stanford university, studied players in university football team. “Over three seasons, from 2005 to 2008, the scientists looked at 11 Stanford basketball players. For two to four weeks, the Cardinal kept to their normal schedules. Then for five to seven weeks, they watched what they drank, took daytime naps and tried to sleep for 10 hours every night. After increasing their daily rest, the players sprinted faster and said they felt better in practices and games. Their aim got better too: Their three-point shooting jumped 9.2 percentage points, and their free throw percentage increased by nine points.”

What’s behind the results? “sleeping for long stretches is naturally anabolic: During deep sleep, our bodies release growth hormone, which stimulates the healing and growth of muscle and bone.” Source ESPN sports.

Sleeping Tips For Active Runners.

Now that you know a good night sleep is good for your running, here is a list of tips to help you sleep for longer hours.

1. Take a good look at your bedroom. Is it conducive to sleep? Make sure your room is as close to total darkness as possible. Close your curtains and make use of a towel, if you must, to shield any incoming light from streetlamps. Also, put a towel over your alarm clock – just make certain you can hear it in the morning.

2. When sleeping in a hotel, before they give you your room assignment, specifically ask for a “quite room”. If the highway or airport is on one side of the hotel, mention that and ask for a room on the other side of the building

3. Eat a balanced diet. This will help your overall health as well as improve your sleep.

4. Be sure that you have a comfortable bed. Make sure your mattress adequately supports your spine. Your pillows should be replaced every 2 to 3 years.

5. You shouldn’t spend time in your bed snacking, reading or watching TV. The only two activities that should be carried out while you are in bed are having sex and sleeping. You need to train yourself so that when you finally crawl into bed at night, you will go to sleep.

6. Try not to watch the news just before retiring for the night. Instead, try watching a sitcom or lighthearted movie. Most news is bad these days and it may trouble your mind.

7. Another one of those sleeping tips to help you fall asleep almost on command is to establish a bedtime routine. Make sure to stick to it so you’ll become acclimated and your body will know that this is what we do to get ready for sleep.

8. Don’t drink alcohol before turning in for the night. It can be stimulating and make it difficult to go to sleep.

10. Avoid nicotine and caffeine; these products are both stimulants. You don’t want to be bouncing off the walls!

11. If you are all stressed out and cannot sleep, try writing everything down that has you bothered. Committing these thoughts to paper puts them in the open and helps remove them from your mind.

12. Fix your relationships. If you have a beef with anyone, spouse, friend, child or work mate, try to mend bridges. Some times we think everything is okey but when we take a look deep down in our hearts we realize we are carry grudges. That grudge is a form of repressed anger or hate that eat us from within. Forgiving the person will make our hearts lighter and our minds calmer.

13. Eat a turkey sandwich prior to getting into bed – the tryptophan in the turkey will make you sleepy.

14. If you take a nap during the day, it may sabotage your sleep at night. Resist the urge to nap if you have trouble sleeping at night.

15. Another great tip is to take a hot, relaxing bath. You can even combine it with some light meditation to calm your mind.

16. Did your grandmother ever tell you this one? Drink some warm milk and honey before bed.

17. If you just can’t seem to go to sleep, get up and try doing something for about one to two hours until you are physically exhausted. Just don’t choose an activity that will stimulate your mind and make you want to stay up longer.

18. Take a thorough medical check up to rule out any physical or mental illness. Some times when we can’t be able to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep the cause is undiagnosed illness that we are not aware of.

19. Get a massage. Have your spouse (or whoever) give you a massage just before going to sleep. If you can convince them to give you a full body massage, great. If not, even a short backrub and/or a face and scalp massage can be a big help. Have them make the massage strokes slow, gentle, yet firm, to work the tension out of your muscles and soothe you to sleep.

20. Play some soft, soothing music that will lull you to sleep. There are many CDs designed for that very purpose. Some are specially composed music, others simply have sounds of waves rhythmically breaking, or the steady pattern of a heartbeat. Some will lead you to sleep with a combination of music, voice and other soothing sounds. Download Free Relaxation Music Audio.

Have a good night of sleep and may you run the fastest race.

High Altitude Training Increases Speed, Strength & Endurance

High altitude training is a type of training done in a high altitude region, typically defined as any elevation above 1,500 metres (5,000 ft). Runners who have trained in high altitude have shown an increase in running speed, strength and endurance.

High altitude regions have thin air and oxygen is little. Training in this kind of environment changes your body in one or more ways. The changes are similar to the changes that happen when athletes use banned performance enhancing drugs such as EPO (increases erythropoietin concentration)  and blood doping (Increases red blood cells in the body). In simple terms, high altitude training is another type of legal performance enhancing drug.

How High Altitude Training Increases Running Speed

  1. Increasing the number of red blood cells and haemoglobin
  2. Increasing the number of red blood cells and haemoglobin
  3. increased erythropoietin (EPO) levels
  4. Higher VO2 max,

When this changes happen in a body, a runner is able to transport more oxygen to muscles. With more oxygen reaching the muscles, a runner is able to run faster and further. These changes remain in the body for up to 22 days. After this, the body reverts to the old levels. An athlete must participate in a competitive race within that window to see any benefits.

Effects of High Altitude training on sprinters

It has been shown sprinters whose discipline is primarily anaerobic activity do not necessarily benefit from altitude training as they do not rely on oxygen to fuel their performances.

The Best Altitude Level To Enhance Performance

In a research by (Gore et al., 1997) of highly trained athletes, four weeks of training at an altitude of 1740 m produced no change in mass of hemoglobin in the blood and only a small increase in maximum oxygen consumption . The conclusion was that higher altitudes are needed to stimulate red cell production in athletes. The majority of high altitude centres such as Iten in kenya are located in altitudes of 2400m – 3000m above sea level.  The limit of 300m is important because that is where altitude sickness starts to kick in. The symptoms are headaches, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and feeling sick.

Product in The market that simulate high altitude environment.

Nitrogen Tent. Is a tent that simulates altitudes of up to 2700 m (9000 ft) and can be modified to simulate up to 4000 m (14,000 ft).  The tent is flushed with air diluted with nitrogen. It reduces the oxygen content from the normal 21% to around 15%. The tent is set up on a bed or on the floor. The advantages are substantial: it is truly portable; it can be used with little or no disruption of family life, study, or work; and it is easily the best way to establish the altitude and program of exposure that suits the individual. The units are moderately expensive (US$5500), but comparable to the cost of a trip to a mountain and similar in price to other equipment used by top athletes. See the official website.

High Altitude Training Centres Around The World For Boosting Running Speed

If you want to get faster at running you need to visit one of these high altitude training centres.

Iten In Kenya

This is the most famous high altitude training camp. It is in the home of the fastest middle – long distance runners in the world. Iten is located 2400m above sea level. Iten is a small farming village about 320 kilometres northeast of Nairobi. In the heart of Kenya’s high-altitude, mountainous region of the Rift Valley, its escarpment overlooks the expansive and striking Kerio Valley National Park. At any given time, there are between 600 to 1,000 runners stationed here all trying to boost their red blood cells.

French Pyrenees

This is the high altitude zone that was used by athletes under Coach Alberto Salazar prior to 2012 London games. The results spoke for themselves, Mo Farah won gold and Glen Rupp won silver in the 10,000m.

Training facilities start from Lac de Matemale which is located at an altitude of only 1550 metres, so it is a good place to acclimatize for runners new to the place.

Another location is The national centre for altitude training (track and swimming pool): This facility is located at 1850 metres altitude. Next is Pyrenees 2000 (1700 metres altitude) – this is a forested area located ten minutes drive from Font Romeu on the main road leading to Lac de Matemale.

Next is the the plateau – a plateau at 2100 metres altitude. At this level there are a network of trails that run through scrub and sections of scattered low forest dense.

The highest point is Pico de Aneto at 11,168 ft (3,404 m.).

Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Training Center. This is the place where athletes go to do their high altitude training.

Colorado Springs climbs to an altitude of 6,035 feet. Manitou Springs, just five miles to the west of Colorado Springs, is 6,320 feet. Further west, the towns of Victor and Cripple Creek are over 9,500 feet. The summit of Pikes Peak towers above them all at 14,115 feet.