Tag Archives: running safety

7 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail running is a great way to enjoy the changing leaves, crisp air and great outdoors this fall.  It’s also a little different from road running, requiring a different mindset, different muscles and a bit more time.  Here are seven tips from Team FitNice to help your trail trail runningrunning program get started in the right direction.

Accessorize.  Make sure you’re prepared for a trail running workout with trail shoes, sunblock, a hat, sunglasses and bug spray.  You can also check out running gaiters.  These fashion accessories help keep your ankles and feet safe from stones, sticks and other trail debris while you’re out enjoying nature.

Work on your core.  Running on uneven ground challenges your balance.  The muscles of your core, abs, obliques, lower back, are what help you stay on your feet.  The stronger they are, the more stable you’ll be and that means less likelihood of injury.  Practice balance and core strengthening exercises regularly to help your trail running performance.

Leave extra time.  You’ll be looking for the path of least resistance, rather than the shortest route from Point A to Point B on the trails and that might mean switchbacks or taking the long way around.  Run for time, rather than distance until you’re familiar with different paths and the difficulties they each ask you to face.

Start slowly.  Trails are different than roads or treadmills.  They’re uneven, inconsistent and tougher on ankles and feet.  Adjust to trail running with runs short than you’d do on the road and build up trail runningover a few weeks until you feel 100% comfortable.

Keep going slowly.  With dirt paths, roots to watch out for and lots of other potential obstacles, trail running requires more effort then road running.  Slow down and run by effort rather than pace, even if it means walking uphills in the beginning.

Stay safe.  Consider head lamps, pepper spray and reflective gear.  Always be sure to take an ID, tell someone where you’re planning on going and when to expect you back.  If you can, take your cell phone or a map and be aware of what’s going on around you at all times.  Knowing the rules of the trail, such as yielding to downhill runners, equestrians and cyclists as well as staying on marked trails and running through, not around, puddles will all help you get home safely.

Bring fluids.  Trail running can be unpredictable.  Mud, rain, snow and streams all have the potential to make your run a little more hazardous, making the time it takes you to finish hard to determine.  The last thing you want to do is run out of water, so wear or stash it.  If your route crosses parking lots or picnic areas, drop a water bottle off before you start to run.  You can also use handheld water bottles, mini-bottle waist belts or a hydration pack to make sure you don’t get thirsty.

With these tips, the trail running portion of your workout is sure to be fun, safe and good for you.

Have questions about trail running?  Ask us!  Email Info@FitNicePT.com or fill out the form below.

7 Tips for Running in Snow

Winter isn’t over yet, and there’s probably more snow on the way.  Good news or bad, the same way driving on slippery roads can be treacherous, running in snow can be dangerous, too.  Anything more than an inch or two can put an unfortunate cramp in a training schedule with business closures, poor road conditions and unshoveled sidewalks.  As we head towards March, many runners are deep into training routines for Spring races and a day or two off because of unsafe running environment is much less than ideal.

Here are 7 tips from Team FitNice that will help keep you safe, warm and injury free when you want to, or have to, go running in snow.

Slow down.  You won’t want to run your usual pace in slippery conditions because it’s harder work.  Much like running in sand, running in snow recruits muscles in your inner and outer thighs that don’t work very hard on solid ground.  With them pulling overtime, you’ll feel fatigued sooner.

running in snowUse trail shoes, spikes or Ice Grippers.  Making sure your shoe has ample traction is incredibly important when running in snow.  Good treads, spikes or ice grippers add traction to each footfall and mean you’re less likely to slip, slide or take a spill.

Two pairs of socks.  If you’re heading out in the snow, you’ve probably already faced the fact that your feet might get wet.  Help keep them warm and dry with two pairs of sweat wicking socks.  Make sure your shoes still fit with an extra pair, but don’t be afraid to loosen your laces.

Change your stride.  A shorter stride will help you balance, lowering the risk of slipping and falling.  You can also improve balance by making sure your foot lands directly under your hips.  This increases the surface area of your foot that touches down and better Blizzard of 2014stability.

Find fresh snow.  At least snow that’s crunchy.  Plowed, packed snow is much more difficult to navigate that fluffy stuff that helps you grip.

Think with your eyes.  You want to be seen, so dressed in brightly colored clothing and wear a safety vest or reflectors.  You also want to avoid potholes and icy patches, so be sure to constantly scan your surroundings.

Focus on effort.  It’s hard to run adjust your stride and run in snow.  Be sure to account for the extra work your muscles are doing when you choose how far or how long to run.

Keep your running shoes close and your shovel closer as you prepare for your Spring Race Season.  Use these tips to stay injury free regardless of weather conditions and remember to always put safety first.

Did weather force you to change your schedule?  Ask us to help you get back on track!

Running Safety

As the summer heats up, people are more likely to run when they can find some shade and temperatures are cooler.  The problem with these hours, early in the morning or late in the evening, is they tend to be dark and shadowy.  Darkness and odd hours make running at these times especially dangerous, and even if the sun’s out, there are plenty of other risk factors out there.  One big factor in being prepared for any type of attack or harassment during your run is knowing that even though it’s sunny, you aren’t invincible.  Attackers strike at any time of the day, from early morning to late at night and every hour in between.  Here are seven tips to make sure you have a great run and get home safely.

Have a buddy.  The hands down best way to be safe on a run is to run with a friend.  Two people are harder to attack than one, just like four eyes are better than two.  If you don’t have a friend available for your run, bring your dog.  More alert to danger, your canine can sense it before you do.  Of course, your running buddy needs to be bigger than a microwave and capable of helping defend you.

Carry an ID.  While this may seem simple, most people forget to grab a form of identification because they aren’t bringing along their entire wallet.  You can even write your name and phone number inside your shoe, or use a small luggage tag strung through your laces.

Don’t wear headphones.  This, too, may seem simple.  If music is what you’re paying attention to while sweating out a tough day, you’re less likely to hear an approaching attacker, bicyclist or car.  The tunes distract and slow your reaction time, both of which can spell trouble.

Carry a phone.  Most phones have straps or cases that wrap around your arm, and some are slim enough to slide into a shorts pocket.  Many people use their phones to track their distance and time, but should stick to using it for these purposes only.

Vary your route.  Pretend you have a crazy ex.  They know exactly where to find you, especially if you announce on Facebook or Twitter that you’re heading out, and aren’t afraid to show up.  Stalkers and attackers work the same way.  They stake out routes, and on familiar ones, we tend to space out.  Dealing with new terrain helps keep us alert and more aware of our surroundings, which makes us less of a target.

Run against traffic.  Seeing oncoming traffic makes you much less likely to be hit by a vehicle.

Gear up.  Purchase and use reflector tape, vests or shirts.  Even the blinking lights usually associated with cyclists work, and stay off the roads altogether when it’s dark out.

Now you’re all ready to head for a great run and get home just the way you left it.  Need help finding a running buddy or a new route?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

Working Out with Music

All of the cardiovascular equipment at your gym has headphone jacks, the stereo in that Crossfit box was blasting, and even the yoga teacher had some relaxing tunes coming out of the MP3 player.  Even if you already work out with a beat to get you going, you might not know why you feel so different without it.  Listening to your favorite band while you sweat has numerous benefits, and it’s all about finding what works for you.

Listening to the right type of music has been shown in several studies to increase endurance by up to 15%.  Music also has the benefits of reducing perceived effort, helping your mood improve, and possibly even increasing your metabolic rate.  There are several reasons people see these benefits when listening up while working out, but a big one is that it distracts you from the pain of your sweat session.  If you’re singing along to one of your favorite songs, you won’t also be staring at mileage on the treadmill or rower’s calorie counter.  The predicted source of these benefits is the music’s beat.  Typically, people want to move to the beat of whatever music they’re listening to, which is why pop, rock and hip-hop are incredibly popular on workout playlists.  Syncing your body movements to the music, or getting close, can increase the efficiency of your movements as your brain and body respond to the beat.  A study done by C. J. Bacon of Sheffield Hallam University (Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness. 2012 Aug; 52(4):359-65) found that cyclists who pedaled to music used seven percent less oxygen than those who worked in silence.

All these benefits are wonderful, so wonderful in fact, that USA Track and Field had banned any type of music device from all sanctioned races citing them as a performance enhancer.  USATF has since reformed this policy to apply only to those who are competing for money and awards, but it just goes to show how the right tunes can push you a little harder and a little farther, so throw on your head phones and get going.

You don’t have to pick a playlist just because it’s 128 beats per minute and that’s what you think you’re supposed to sweat to.  Listen to whatever motivates you.  It could be Metallica or Bach, the good news is no one else can hear it!  There are plenty of line sources for sample playlists and even more workout specific remixes and compilations to get you started.  Your best bet is to know what you like and try different things out.  Be careful about where you’re working out with your tunes pumping, however.  You need to be able to hear traffic and others around you, especially if running or biking in a busy area for cars.

Questions?  Training for a race?  Contact us at Info@FitNicePT.com for answers!