The Ultimate Guide to Running Lingo

Looking to learn more about the running world? Then the below list of running terms is all you need.

Like any other sport, the running world has jargon that can be hard for beginner and advanced runners to understand and remember.

So whether you’re trying to fully understand the meaning of VO2 max or want to learn the difference between a “rabbit” and a “pacer,” this is your opportunity for a thorough running lingo lesson.

Today I have compiled an extensive list of more than 150 words you might encounter in the running world and tried to explain each and one of them in the simplest and clearest ways I could.

And please, if you think I’m missing out on a couple of terms or more, feel free to share them in the comment section or shoot me an e-mail. I will be glad to talk to you and, hopefully, learn something new.

Seriously.

I need to hear from you.

So are you excited? Then let the vocabulary lesson begin…

The Ultimate Guide to Running Terms

Basic Running Terms

Carbs: Short for carbohydrates, this is one of the primary food groups. Carbs are the sugars, fibers, and starches commonly found in vegetables, grains, fruits, and other food.

Carbs are vital for runners because they are crucial for providing energy on the run and speeding up recovery afterward.

Common sources of carbs for runners include pasta, bread, and potatoes.

Glycogen: This is your body’s store of carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to be used for energy.

This form of carbohydrate storage is found mainly in the muscles and liver and is converted to glucose for energy during running.

Warm-up: A critical piece of all running workouts, it consists of 5 to 15 minutes of easy running, jogging, or any light exercise before a prescribed run or race.

The Warm-up is an integral pace because it raises the heart and breathing rates and gets the blood flowing to the muscles, which can help you improve performance and ward off injury.

Cooldown: The flip side of the warm-up refers to the gradual transition back to normal functioning after a run.

The primary purpose of a cool-down is to bring the heart rate to its resting level and release muscle tension before ceasing the exercise.

The 10% Rule: This is one of the most important and widely accepted general running guidelines that states you shouldn’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10 percent from one week to the next to stay injury free for the long haul.

The Run/Walk Method: The Galloway method is a system of training that involves alternating between running and walking intervals during a workout or race.

This is the perfect strategy for beginners runners looking to improve their cardio power and build their fitness base without doing too much too soon.

Running Base: A type of running training that builds a solid foundation of aerobic fitness and endurance over a set period before starting a specific training cycle/plan.

Pace: A term that refers to how fast you are running and the expected time it takes to run a certain distance, typically expressed in minutes per mile or kilometer.

Pace is also used to refer to a particular race pace.

For example, a 5K pace is the estimated time for a runner to cover one mile during a 5K race.

So when a runner talks about running at a 10-minute pace, they talk about the time it takes to clock one mile.

Quads: Short for quadriceps, the four large muscles at the front of the thigh: the Vastus Medialis, Intermedius and Lateralis, and Rectus Femoris.

These muscles are in charge of stabilizing the knee during a foot strike.

Quads’ weakness is linked by research to runners’ knee and other overuse injuries.

Hamstrings: These are the long muscles along the back of the thighs.

Weakness and/or tightness in the hamstrings is a common issue for many runners that might lead to performance trouble and injury.

Therefore, you must follow a comprehensive hamstring strength and flexibility program as a runner.

Aerobic: This is a broad term for any type of physical exercise intended to improve how your body uses oxygen to generate energy and sufficiently meet its energy demands during exercise.

Classic examples of aerobic exercises include running, spinning, walking, hiking, and swimming.

Anaerobic: On the other side,  anaerobic activity is any exercise that causes you to be quickly out of breath, in which your body’s need for oxygen surpasses the oxygen supply.

This term is usually used to describe a very high-intensity exercise not intended to boost the efficiency of your body’s cardiovascular system.

Classic examples of anaerobic activities include sprinting, jumping, and weight lifting.

Endurance: Simply, your body can withstand pain and discomfort and run for extended periods.

An Important component of a well-rounded training program.

Running Economy: A broad term that refers to the many biomechanical and physiological factors that may contribute to your running performance and impact the efficiency of your running motion.

Overtraining: Also known as “burnout,” this is a training condition that’s described as running too long too intensely that athletic performance collapses, leading to all sorts of fitness and health troubles, including fatigue, unwanted weight loss, and chronic injury.

Running Form: Also known as “running mechanics,” this is the science and art of running technique, and it refers to how you should move your body while running.

Contrary to popular belief, there is not such thing as a perfect-form recipe that works for everyone.

Instead, if you are looking to improve your running form, then you should do whatever keeps you injury-free and feels right for you.

It’s, after all, your particular physiology that has the ultimate call.

C25K: Standing for Couch to 5K, C25k is a popular beginner training program that newcomers to running use to build stamina and power without risking injury or burnout.

It’s also a famous Subreddit for the same purpose.

Conversational Pace: This is a running pace in which is the training effort is relaxed enough that you should be able to speak in complete sentences without much huffing and puffing.

This is also referred to as the Talk Test.

Rest Day: An important day in every runner’s calendar that involves no running or intense physical exercise.

Also known as recovery time or downtime.

Interval Training: A broad term commonly used to refer to all types of speedwork and track workouts in general.

Interval training involves alternating between high periods of fast running with recovery breaks of low-to-moderate intensity.

Recovery Run: Used to refer to an easy, slow, and short run, usually at 60 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate, and taking place within a day after a challenging run, such as a speed session or a long run.

Recovery runs are performed mainly at a conversational pace.

Tempo Run: A type of running workout in which you typically run at 75 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes or a specific number of miles.

As a rule, tempo runs must be performed at a comfortably challenging pace.

LSD: Acronym for long slow distance, the longest run of the week, usually taking place on the weekend.

LSD runs are performed at a pace that’s drastically slower than the race pace goal. However, they are vital for training the body to utilize efficiently diverse fuel sources while working on mastering and perfect running form.

Hill Training: Also known as hill repeats, this type of cruel speedwork requires running up and down a hill of a decent degree of incline with a recovery break between each rep.

Hill training is necessary because it can help you build strength, speed, and confidence in the shortest time possible and with the fewest injuries.

Fartlek: A Swedish term that stands for “Speed Play,” a form of speed work format in which the runner performs bursts of faster running, following an unspecific and unstructured training pattern, unlike traditional interval training, which centers around specific distances and/or timed intervals.

Trail Running refers to all sorts of running and hiking trails—mainly through woods, mountains, and natural and dirt paths.

Trail surfaces are more merciful on the body and the exact break you might need from road running. In the UK and Ireland, trail running is usually mountain or fell running.

Cross Training: Or XT for short, this consists of low-impact activities or forms of exercise other than running, such as weight training, cycling, swimming, yoga, and aqua running.

Cross-training is vital in a running program because it can help you prevent injury, boost conditioning and improve every facet of your fitness while adding variety to your training program.

Newbie: Or a beginner, this is a newcomer to running who just took up the sport, and he is beginning to learn the basics by training for a short distance, like a 5K.

Elite: These are the advanced runners.

If you are a beginner or even an intermediate, don’t try to keep up with them because they are fast.

They have done the work.

Triathlete: A type of overachieving athlete that does not only run but bikes and swims, too.

Runner’s High: Refers to the state of euphoria and pure joy experienced by runners either during a workout or right after.

This ecstatic state is mostly the result of the release of norepinephrine, serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, all of which promote a sense of well-being and happiness.

The Wall: Usually used to refer to a point between miles 19 and 26 of a marathon race in which the runner’s energy and power plunge, making them feel physically and emotionally drained, like they’ve got nothing left in the tank, literally.

Resting Heart Rate: RHR measures the number of contractions per minute of your heart when the body is in complete rest—typically measured first thing in the morning, just after stepping out of bed.

RHR is a good measuring stick of your body’s aerobic fitness and a reliable marker of whether you have been overtraining.

Body Mass Index: or BMI for short, is a simple measure to see if you have a healthy body weight for your height.

As a general guideline, an ideal BMI is in the range of 18 to 25.

If you want to calculate your BMI, then check out this link

MHR: Standing for Maximum Heart Rate refers to the age-related number of contractions your heart can make in one minute when working at its maximum.

The easiest way to measure it is by solving this equation: 220 – your age= MHR.

But this method only provides a close guess.

Racing & Competitions Running Terms

400 Meters: The equivalent of a lap around a standard track.

Mile: 5280 feet or roughly 1600 meters—four laps around a standard track.

5K: A racing distance of 3.1 miles.

Perfect for beginner runners.

10K: a racing distance of 6.2 miles.

The perfect combo of aerobic and anaerobic power.

Half-Marathon: A racing distance of 13.1 miles, or 21.1 kilometers.

Marathon: A race that’s 26.2 miles long, or 42.2 kilometers.

Completing a marathon race should be on your bucket list.

Ultra Marathon: Also known as Ultra, this refers to any race distance longer than a marathon.

Some of the most popular ultra races include the 50KM (31.07 miles),  the 100KM (62.14 miles), and the 100-miler beast.

XC: Or cross country running, which is a type of running sport in which individuals or teams compete in a race on a variety of surfaces—such as grass, trails, rocky areas, hills, gravel—typically anywhere off-road or off-track.

Runners who partake in this kind of race are usually known as “Harriers.”

Road Race: All types of races that are held on a road.

Unlike cross country and track and field running, these races occur on measured courses over an established road.

OCR: Stands for Obstacle Course Racing, which is a type of competitive racing event in which runners have to race on muddy terrains while making their way through military-inspired obstacles designed to test their physical and mental grit to the breaking point.

Some popular OCR events include the Warrior Dash, The Spartan Race, Tough Mudder, and The CMC.

Bucket List: A list of races or physical achievements that a runner hopes (or plans) to have accomplished during their lifetime.

Master: Also known as “Veteran,” this refers to any athlete 40 or older.

MP: Stands for Marathon Pace.

GMP: Stands for Goal Marathon Pace.

Race Pace: Your ideal running pace during a race.

World Marathon Majors: These are big guys when it comes to marathon racing, and they comprise six prominent races: Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon, NYC Marathon, London Marathon, Berlin Marathon, and Tokyo Marathons.

BQ: Standing for “Boston Qualifier,” qualifying for the Boston Marathon is one of the ultimate goals for many a runner.

To qualify for this race, you must gain entry by either completing another race at a qualifying time or by a charity slot.

If you are BQ, that must be a source of great pride and delight.

PR: Short for “Personal Record” and also known as “ Personal Best” (PB), this is used to describe the fastest time achieved by a runner for a certain distance or race.

DFL: Acronym for “Dead F*cking Last.”

It’s self-explanatory and refers to the poor last fella to cross the finish line.

DNS: Acronym for “Did Not Start,” which refers to being unable to attend a race even after registering.

DNF: Acronym for “Did Not Finish,” whether because of an injury, bonking, or simply falling short of completing a race in the designated course time.

Clydesdale: Typically refers to a weight-challenged runner.

This is also a category that’s reserved in racing for heavyweight male runners—usually over 200 to 220 pounds.

Athena: Similar to the Clydesdale category, the Athena category is a division for female runners who weigh more than a specified weight—usually 150 pounds and above.

Chip: This is a small computerized plastic device a runner attaches to their shoelace or race bib to keep tabs on progress and run times during a race.

The chip gets activated the second you step over the electronic mat after the official clock time starts and stops the second you cross the finish line.

Just be careful not to forget your timing chip; otherwise, your race time won’t be formally recorded.

Bling: Also known as hardware, these are the finisher’s prizes that participants receive after completing a race course in the designated time.

Bling might take the form of a medal, mug, belt buckle, etc., a source of great pride for many a runner.

Bib: Refers to the square piece of paper with a designated race number that runners attach to their shirts using a safety pin during a race and use to identify each runner in a race.

Bonk: Sometimes used interchangeably with “hitting the wall,” a “bonk” can hit a runner at any time during a race, and it’s usually linked to plummeting blood sugar levels and improper racing fueling.

Legal Wind: “Wind Assistance,” a technical term that refers to any mild wind that can either help or restrict a runner during a race, thus having a significant say in their finishing time.

This is quite an issue since wind conditions that are too favorable can disqualify finishing times from becoming (personal or world) records.

Second Wind: Refers to a phenomenon typically experienced during long-distance running, in which a runner feels an increase of confidence and energy and finds the strength to press forward, often just as they start feeling completely exhausted.

Rabbit: Also known as Pacemaker, or Pacesetter, often employed by the race organizers, this is someone who leads a race—typically middle or long distance events—for the first section then usually drops out of the competition before the final laps.

Jack Rabbit: A runner who takes off too fast from the start of a race or runs with a rapid and sudden movement, looking a lot like a jack rabbit.

Chicked: A term that describes a male runner (or cyclist) who gets passed by a female athlete during a race.

Nothing to be ashamed of.

Kick: Also known as “Giving it All you Got” or “Changing Gears,” this is a broad term for the final push runners give at the final part of a race to boost speed to the finish line, leaving nothing in the tank.

Don’t kick too early in a race; otherwise, you will score a DNF or a DFL.

CR: Stands for the course record.

RRCA: Stands for Road Runner’s Club of America, an organization that promotes the development of running events and running clubs and supports runners from all levels and training backgrounds throughout the U.S.

USATF: Stands for the USA track and field.

IAAF: Stands for the International Amateur Athletic Foundation, a worldwide organization that tends to everything related to running.

Advanced Running Terms

HIIT: Short for High-Intensity Interval Training, a type of exercise involving short bursts of intense activity—running, biking, jumping, squatting, weightlifting, etc.—with periods of low-to-moderate exercise or rest to recover.

Study shows that HIIT is ideal for speeding up weight loss and increasing fitness level like nothing else, and through the roof in the shortest time possible.

Quality Workouts: Refers to any running workout that you perform at a faster pace or longer duration than your daily runs.

Examples of quality workouts include speed sessions, tempo runs, and long runs, all of which require at least one to two days of recovery.

Carb Loading: Refers to revamping glycogen stores in the body by boosting the percentage of carbs intake during the days leading to a big race or long run.

In other words, carb loading is all about eating plenty of bread, bagels, and pasta to do up and increase energy stores.

Cadence: Also known as stride rate, or stride turnover, this refers to the number of steps taken during a minute of running.

According to the expert, the sweet spot for running cadence is around 180 steps per minute, which is believed to reduce the risks of injury and help you run more efficiently.

Gait: In layman’s terms, running gait is the style you run (or how you run for short).

You can have your gait analyzed and broken apart by experts to help you determine any biomechanical deficiencies you might have and help you improve your running form and become more of an efficient runner.

Foot Strike: One of the most annoying sticking points in the running world today, it refers to how and where your feet should strike the ground while running.

Finding the right foot strike is a matter of personal physiology and preference, so you should aim to find what works best for you and ignore the hype surrounding the subject.

MFS: Stands for “mid-foot strike,” in which you land on the ground in the center of the ball of the foot.

This foot strike technique is usually prescribed for runners, and it’s encouraged by the Chi running method and other philosophies.

I happen to prefer this striking pattern.

FFS: Or “Forefoot strike,” a footstrike pattern in which the ball of the foot to toes lands on the ground first.

RFS: Standing for the “Rear Foot Strike” or “Heel Strike,” a footstrike style in which the heel hits the ground first, followed by the forefoot.

It’s believed that an RFS pattern might lead to all sorts of injuries, but no conclusive evidence proves the claim.

Training Log: A training journal or training calendar, a daily record to monitor progress (or lack thereof), boost motivation, and keep tabs on your daily workouts and diet choices.

A training log can take the form of paper, a spreadsheet, an online record, or a Smartphone App.

Speedwork: Also known as track workouts or repeats, this type of running training program involves increasing a run’s pace according to a particular pattern.

Speedwork is typically used to boost speed, leg power, strength, and agility.

Types of speedwork include sprints, hill reps, and tempo runs.

Pyramid Intervals: A type of speedwork format in which the runner works on increasing the faster-running intervals in a pyramid-like fashion with recovery jogs in between.

For example, a simple ladder workout could include intervals of 200m, 300m, 400m, 300m, 200m, and finally, a 100etc.

Negative splits: A running training method in which you run the second half of a run or race faster than you ran the first half

Splits: This is how long a runner takes to cover any defined distance.

For example, if you are running one lap on a 400m track, a split depicts the time it takes to complete one 400m lap.

Junk Miles: The moderate-pace miles a runner might run without any specific reason or rhythm other than adding numbers and volume to total weekly mileage to reach a certain total mileage target.

In most cases, junk miles don’t result in any specific physiological benefits.

Strides: Also known as “striders,” they typically refer to a series of 50 to 100 meters bursts of fast running.

Strides are usually performed after a thorough warm-up before a speed workout or race.

Yasso 800: Popularized by Bart Yasso, this is a renowned speed workout format that involves performing ten sets of 800 meters with 400 meters recovery between each set, and it’s used by runners trying to achieve a definite marathon goal.

Pick-ups refer to short and gentle accelerations in speed performed during a run to either spice up a workout or make it more challenging.

DO NOT CONFUSE with cheesy pick-up lines.

Doubles: Performing two running workouts in one day.

Periodization: An advanced training methodology that manages the training program throughout the year so that a runner can peak for an important event at a certain time.

Typically, periodization involves breaking down a training program into “periods” that focus on different training goals, alternating between high and low-intensity training period chunks.

Plyometric Training: Also known as jump, or explosive training, this type of workout is designed to produce explosive and fast movement through rapid loading and contraction of the muscle in a rapid and fast sequence and manner.

Perfect examples of plyo exercises include box jumps, squat jumps, and burpees.

Aqua Jogging: A low-impact cross-training activity in which the runner performs a running motion against the water’s resistance inside a pool or large body of water, where the runner can’t touch the bottom.

Perfect for recovery and nursing a running injury.

BPM: Acronym for “Beat Per Minute” and commonly known as the “heart rate,” this is the number of heartbeats during a minute.

Specific heart rate training is one of the best methods to help you get the most out of each workout.

VO2 Max: Also known as aerobic capacity, this measures your body’s maximum oxygen intake per minute while running.

Factors determining VO2 max include fitness level, body composition, age, and genetics.

Anaerobic Threshold: Also known as “Lactate Threshold, this refers to a physiological point during a running workout at which massive amounts of lactic acid build up in the bloodstream faster—That’s usually when the body switches from aerobic to anaerobic metabolism.

MPM: Stands for minutes per mile and is used to gauge running pace.

MPW: Or miles per week, the miles you run weekly or weekly training volume.

Brick Workout: A triathlon training term that refers to doing two different workouts back to back, with a run combined with a bike ride or a swim.

Taper: Describes a period of a few weeks before a big race in which the runner reduces their total training volume to store energy.

This period involves less running, and it’s used to sharpen fitness levels before a big race.

Streaking: The act of running for consecutive days for an extended period.

In most streaking cases, at least one mile per day more is requisite for an official running streak.

Also, streaking refers to runners who have completed a race, or a bunch of races, multiple years in a row.

DO NOT CONFUSE running naked through a public place.

Pronation refers to how a runner’s foot might roll inward during a running stride.

It’s a normal part of the natural motion that assists the lower leg in dealing with shock.

Some runners pronate a lot—or overpronate—while others pronounce less or underpronate.

This is an important piece of choosing the right shoe.

Supination: Also known as “Underpronation,” this is a biomechanical term used to describe the outward roll of the foot during the gait cycle at toe-off.

It’s believed that supination can put a lot of stress on the foot, leading to Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and the notorious iliotibial band syndrome.

Quad Buster: When you run down long stretches of steep downhill running, your quads feel like they are on fire, typically performed so fast that you might seem somewhat out of control.

Endorphins are the body’s natural painkiller brain chemicals released during running (and exercising in general) that reduce pain and promote well-being, creating a state of euphoria and typically leading to the experience known as Runner’s High.

Running Terms For Injuries & Problems

Overuse Injury: The most common type of injury that strikes runners of all levels and training backgrounds is typically the result of too much training volume before the body is ready.

Some widespread overuse injuries include plantar fasciitis, stress fractures, and the infamous Runner’s Knee.

Hitting The Wall: Also known as bonking, it describes the complete and utter exhaustion experienced by marathon runners when the glycogen stores are worn-out out and blood sugar plummets to their lowest.

In most cases, bonking can hit from mile 19 in a marathon—especially when following an improper racing fueling strategy.

RICE: Standing for Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate, this is a runner’s first line of defense against most running injuries, and it can help reduce swelling, soothe pain, protect damaged tissues, speeding up recovery in the process.

Foam rolling: A form of self-myofascial release in which a cylindrically shaped firm foam object is used to pressure certain body parts to soothe pain, promote a range of motion and speed up recovery.

Dehydration: This condition in which the runner loses more fluids than they take in, leading to a drop in performance and other trouble.

Some of the main symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, thirst, weakness, and fatigue.

Lactic Acid: A term usually used to refer to muscle burn and stiffness after a hard run.

This condition is the by-product of the anaerobic metabolism of glucose produced when the body can no longer generate energy using oxygen.

In most cases, runners typically use lactic acid to refer to sore muscles and muscle fatigue—especially during or right after hard workouts.

DOMS: Standing for delayed onset muscle soreness, which is any sort of stiffness, pain, or soreness of muscle, usually occurring between 24 to 72 hours following a run. DOMS is the byproduct of tiny tears in the muscles resulting from doing more work than they are used to.

Shin Splints: Also known as Medial Tibia Stress Syndrome, or MTSS, this is a  common overuse running injury that manifests as intense and sharp pain along the front of the lower leg caused by improper footwear, weak calves, or overtraining.

Plantar Fascia: This thick connective tissue runs from the heels to the bottom of the foot.

Under too much stress, just like with Achilles Tendinitis, the fascia become inflamed, leading to the condition commonly known as Plantar Fasciitis.

ITBS: Stands for the Iliotibial Band Syndrome, a notorious overuse running injury that happens when the IT band—the connective issues along the outer thigh and knee— becomes tight and inflamed due to overuse.

DO NOT BE CONFUSED with Runners’ knee.

Tendinitis: Also spelled as tendonitis, this is a tendon inflammation, typically from overuse.

Runners Knee: Also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or PFPS for short, this is one of the most common overuse running injuries caused by inflammation or irritation of the underside of the patella—the kneecap.

Achilles Tendon: Refers to one of the strongest and thickest tendons in the body, located at the back of the ankle, and connects the back of the heel to two major calf muscles: —the gastrocnemius and soleus.

Due to overuse, this vital tendon becomes irritated and inflamed, leading to what’s known to the condition known as Achilles tendinitis.

Chafing: A painful rubbing or irritation of the skin caused by skin-to-skin or skin-to-fabric—socks, underwear, shirt, sports bra—friction.

Heat and moisture might exacerbate the irritation.

It’s painful, and it hurts.

But you can always use moisture creams, such as Vaseline or BodyGlide, to prevent the chafing.

Side Stitch: Also known as the “Side Sticker” or “Side Cramp,” this is a sharp and stabbing pain felt just below the rib cage that occurs during running—especially for beginner runners or during downhill running.

Runner’s Trots: May also be referred to as gastrointestinal (GI) issues on the run resulting in unwanted bowel movement and diarrhea.

Some leading causes of this embarrassing phenomenon include stress, poor diet choices, and, arguably, coffee before a run or race.

Other terms associated with runners’ trots include “Code Brown” and “Fitness leak.”

Chub Rub: A painful phenomenon described as intense chafing caused by the inner thigh rubbing together while running.

Chub rub can be annoying and is common among overweight runners or during hot weather.

Jogger’s Nipples: Also known as “Bloody Nipples,” this is abrasion and soreness of a runner’s nipples due to repeated friction of clothing, leading to bleeding and pain.

Bloody nipples are most common among male and female long-distance runners—, especially during the summer.

Black Toenails: A painful condition taking place because of the development of blood under the nail, commonly caused by wearing tight running shoes or too much downhill running.

In most cases, black toenails heal independently within a few weeks or months.

Runger: Also known as the munchies, this is a type of intense hunger and cravings produced by running.

A short temper also follows the typical runner sensation if the cravings are not satisfied and tamed.

How will you know you got the munchies? If you usually feel like you could eat anything on sight after a long run.

FOMO: This famous acronym stands for fear of Missing Out and is used often.

When applied to running, FOMO describes the negative inner state of being unable to sign up for a race with your running friends and missing out on all the fun.

In some cases, FOMO might lead to fatigue and burnout as runners try their best to compete in as many hard runs and races as possible without considering proper rest and the physiological cost of putting the body under all that workload.

Run Envy: The feelings of envy and jealousy you might experience when you see another runner in the park paying his due diligence when you are not.

It’s perfectly reasonable 😉

Running Terms For Shoes & Other Apparel

Moisture-Wicking Clothing: Refers to any running-specific training fabric made of non-cotton, synthetic fibers, or apparel that can help keep your body warm and dry during a run by wicking moisture from the skin.

This can prevent chafing and a host of other troubles.

Heart Rate Monitor: This is a small device, typically a chest strap, a watch-like wrist receiver,  or an ear monitor,  that’s used to gauge the electrical activity of the heart in real time and record the heart rate for later examination.

Shock Absorption: Also known as “Cushioning,” this describes the shoe’s ability to absorb impact during a foot strike.

In the running, cushioned running shoes are generally a sub-category for running shoes that offer much support and assistance—especially for heavy runners.

Orthotics: These are small insert devices worn inside a running shoe to help correct biomechanical imbalances, preventing pain and injury.

The type of orthotics you might opt for depends on your specific needs and the type of injury you are trying to address.

Gaiters: A sleeve-like garment similar to leggings that a runner (or a hiker) attaches to their shoes and goes up the leg or ankle to protect the feet from the elements, such as water, sleet, dirt, pebbles, rocks, and other debris.

Gaiters are super useful if you do any trail or wintertime running.

Motion Control: Used to describe shoes’ ability to control the foot’s motion, usually made to limit overpronation and other biomechanical issues.

Toebox: Also known as the “Forefoot,” this is the front portion of the upper of your running shoes, the area of the shoe where your toes are.

Toeboxes come in all forms: shallow, medium, or deep, and might also vary in shape and function.

The Upper: Refers to the top half of the shoes, typically the light-weight mesh or leather materials that enclose the shoe.

Outsole: This is the very bottom of most running shoes (the layer of the shoe that hits the ground), typically made of blown rubber or carbon rubber.

Midsole: Refers to the layer for the shoe between the outside and the upper that’s in charge of the shoe’s cushioning abilities.

Typically, midsoles are made from foam materials: either polyurethane or ethylene vinyl acetate, or EVA for short.

The midsole is also vital for shoe durability.

Drop Bag: This bag contains your special race day items and personal gear that you believe you will need during an ultra race event.

In most cases, drop bags are transported by the race organizers to designated aid stations.

GPS: Standing for the Global Positioning System, the famous and reliable system used to track location, speed, and time wherever in the world.

Several running watches and apps feature a GPS that you can use to track running distance, elevation gain, and other factors with a relatively high degree of precision.

Agility Ladder: A handy piece of equipment that allows you to do agility training in the comfort of your own home.

Running Terms Philosophies and Movements

Barefoot Running:  Also known as “Natural Running,” this term refers to running without footwear.

Barefoot running takes minimal running one step further and preaches getting rid of running shoes.

Movement proponents claim that barefoot running can improve performance and prevent injuries.

Running barefoot has gained much popularity recently, and runners practice it worldwide.

Minimalist Running: A running movement that preaches running in shoes without the added cushion and shunning the highly cushioned heeled models that have become the standard shoes in the running world.

In most cases, minimalist shoes are very lightweight, lack high-cushioned heels, and have little arch support and stiff soles.

Naked Running: A worry-free running philosophy that preaches running without relying on modern gadgets and special gear, except for shoes and clothing.

Don’t get me wrong.

This is not streaking; you’ll still have your clothes.

Nothing illegal.

Miscellaneous Running Terms

Dreadmill: A mocking term used to refer to the boredom and monotony experienced during treadmill running.

Many runners are not very fond of the treadmill and regard it with such disdain, so they prefer to call it the dreadmill instead.

Runhole: A derogatory term referring to a runner who talks ceaselessly and without stopping about running and might prefer spending most of his time training to be with family and friends. A runhole is also fluent in the running vocabulary. He can compile sentences in the running vocabulary without giving it much thought. I can be described as a runhole. But don’t be a runhole—most of the time.

Downhill Warrior: A runner who struggles when running the uphill terrain section or even flats a run or race but sprints at maximum speed down hills.

This is a frowned-upon practice because too much downhill running can lead to all sorts of injuries.

Plus, it’s not a well-balanced approach to running.

Wind Chill: This is the temperature that expresses how cold it feels outside, considering the effective lowering of temperature by the wind.

Heat Index: This is the apparent temperature, and it’s measured by combining air temperature and relative humidity to determine how hot it feels outside when relative humidity is added to the equation.

Weather Stalking: The obsessive act of checking the hourly weather forecast before a significant run or race, expecting it to display your ideal conditions.

Runfie: The combination of Selfie + Run, or the picture you take of yourself before, during, or after a run or race to share on social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and let the whole world know about what you just did.

Image Credit – RunSelfieRepeat

Farmer Blow: Also known as the “snot rocket,” this technique used by many runners refers to the art and science of holding one nostril while forcefully blowing the contents from the other with one solid blow.

This skill requires a lot of time and practice to master.

Bandit: A usually frowned upon practice that describes someone who participates in a race without paying the entry fees, robbing the race for the experience without permission.

Carrot: A super attractive male or female runner who motivates you to keep going strong during a run or race by keeping up with their pace as if following a carrot on a string.

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury-free, download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

This guide teaches you how to start running and lose weight easily and painlessly. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

Run, Recover, Repeat: How to Supercharge Your Training with Recovery Runs

couple doing recovery run on a sunday

As a runner, I can attest that recovery runs are an essential part of my training routine, and I’m excited to share why they should be part of yours too.

Have you ever finished a challenging run and felt like your body just couldn’t handle any more pounding? That’s where the Recovery Run comes into play. It’s like a gentle massage for your muscles, an opportunity to flush out lactic acid, and a chance to get your body ready for the next workout.

But it’s not just about feeling good. Incorporating recovery runs into your training program can help improve your running form, boost your endurance, establish base mileage, and even speed up your recovery time.

In this article, I’ll dive deep into the benefits of recovery runs, how to find the right pace, when to schedule them, how long they should be, and tips on incorporating them into race-specific training.

So grab your running shoes, and let’s explore the art of the recovery run!

What is a Recovery Run?

Basically, a recovery run is a short, slow run completed within 24 hours after a hard session, usually an interval workout or a long run.

A recovery run can be of any distance, but as a rule, shorter than your base sessions and performed at a pace 60 to 90 seconds slower than your average run.

Imagine your body as a car that just finished a grueling race. You wouldn’t immediately push it to the limits again, right? You would give it some time to cool down and recover before revving it up for the next race. This is exactly what a recovery run is all about.

Aside from helping your body recover from hard workouts, recovery runs also help to improve running form, build endurance, establish base mileage, and even speed up recovery time.

“Improved” Recovery

First of all, let’s clear up something from the get-go about recovery runs.

Although called recovery runs, research has not yet proven that these runs actually speed up the recovery process in one way or the other.

In theory, recovery runs may help flush the build-up of lactic acid in the muscles.

Once this build-up is gone, the soreness should subside while healing increases.

However, research is still inconclusive. But,, recovery runs offer other benefits that can take your running game to the next level. Let’s check a few.

Fatigue resistance

One of the most valuable benefits of recovery runs is fatigue resistance. By completing a recovery run after a hard workout or during a state of lingering fatigue, you can improve your endurance and power output, according to research conducted at the University of Copenhagen.

May Prevent Soreness

Recovery runs can help prevent soreness in your muscles, particularly in your hamstrings and calves.

They also increase blood flow and loosen up your muscles, preventing them from contracting and tightening up if you do nothing but sit on the couch all day.

Add Volume

Recovery runs can help you increase your weekly training volume, which can also help you improve your aerobic capacity.

The better your base, the faster and farther you can run.

Improve Form

Perhaps the best reason to incorporate recovery runs into your training program is that they can help you improve your running form and biomechanics.

With enough energy to focus on your technique and nothing else, you can work on perfecting your form and preventing injuries.

How To Find The Right Recovery Run Pace

Recovery runs are an essential part of any running program, but finding the right pace can be tricky. It’s important to remember that a recovery run is not a race, and it’s not the time to push yourself to your limits. Instead, it’s a chance to give your body a break and allow it to recover from a hard workout.

Here are two methods to help you find the right recovery run pace.

Method 1: Recovery Run Heart Rate

One way to find the right recovery run pace is to use a heart rate monitor. During a recovery run, you should aim to keep your heart rate between 60% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. This is also known as zone 1-2. However, it’s important to note that we all have different resting and maximum heart rates.

So, to be safe, it’s recommended to perform your recovery workouts at the lower end of that range. For example, if your normal training pace is 6:30/mile, then your recovery pace should be around 7:30 or 8:00/mile. Elite runners can aim for a pace slightly slower than their marathon pace.

Method 2: The Talk Test

Don’t have a heart rate monitor? No problem! Another way to ensure you’re running at the right pace is to use the talk test. During a recovery run, you should be able to hold a conversation without panting or gasping for air. If you’re running with a buddy, try reciting the alphabet or the pledge of allegiance together.

If you’re running solo, try talking to yourself. If you can’t speak in complete sentences, then you’re going too hard. Slow it down and enjoy the run.

The key to finding the right recovery run pace is to listen to your body. Don’t worry about your pace or the distance covered. Instead, focus on how you feel. Are you relaxed? Are you breathing comfortably? Are you enjoying the run? If the answer to these questions is yes, then you’re doing it right.

Pick a Flat Course

There are some important factors to consider when it comes to nailing your recovery run pace. One key element is the terrain.

First of all, consider the terrain. Recovery runs are not the time to tackle steep hills and rugged trails. You want to give your legs a break from the pounding they endured during your last run. Opt for a flat course instead, such as grass, flat trail, or gravel. Concrete and asphalt are not your friends during a recovery run because they can be hard on your feet.

Timing is also crucial. The best time to do a recovery run is within 24 hours of a challenging workout or long run. In fact, some experts recommend doing a recovery run in the morning if you completed a hard session the previous day. This is known as a “double” in the running world, and it’s a common technique used by elite runners to pack in as many miles as possible.

But don’t overdo it with your recovery runs. Even though the pace is slower, it still counts as running, which means there’s impact stress on your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons. If you’re finishing your recovery run sweating profusely and feeling completely exhausted, you’re doing it wrong. You should actually feel better at the end of your workout than you did at the start.

Balancing It Out

It’s important for runners to find the right balance between recovery runs and other types of training.

As a general guideline, aim to do no more than two recovery runs per week and should adjust the frequency and duration of recovery runs based on your recovery needs.

Additional Resource – Your Guide to fun runs

Timing – Recovery Run After a Long Run

According to experts, it’s best to complete your recovery run within 24 hours of a challenging workout or long run. And if you’re a hardcore runner, you can even do your hard session in the morning, followed by a recovery run in the evening.

That’s how some elite runners can pack in as many miles as possible. However, keep in mind that recovery runs are only necessary if you run more than three times a week. If you run two to three times per week, then each session should be a quality workout followed by a recovery or cross-training day.

What’s more?

Keep in mind that just because you’re doing a recovery run doesn’t mean you should skimp on other types of recovery.

Stretching, diet, and sleep should be the bread and butter of your recovery routine.

Don’t Overdo Your Recovery Runs

Every time you pound the track, it still counts as running, no matter the label in front of it.

This involves impact stresses on your muscles, joints, ligaments, and tendons.

Even the easiest recovery pace may aggravate a stress fracture.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re finishing your recovery runs sweating like hell and completely exhausted, then you’re doing it wrong.

The fact is, you should feel better at the end of your workout than you did at the start.

How Long Should a Recovery Run Be

What’s the point of recovery runs if you don’t know how long they should be? Generally, recovery runs can last for 3 to 5 miles or 25 to 40 minutes, depending on your fitness level and training goals.

However, even if you’re an established endurance athlete, covering 30+ miles a week, I’d still suggest no more than 3 to 4 miles for a recovery run. And remember to keep your speed steady and your breathing under control.

Race-specific Recovery Run Tips…

If you race often, then recovery runs should be a part of your post-race recovery strategy.

How quickly you pick up running again after a race depends on the length of the event you’ve just completed, your conditioning level, and when you plan to compete next.

Nonetheless, here is some general advice on when to plan your return to training.

  • Recovery Run After a 5K or 10K. Resume normal training within a few days, depending on your fitness level. The first day after the race, examine how your body feels. Usually, you’ll want to do a recovery run for at least 20 minutes, then stretch your body.
  • Recovery Run After A Half-Marathon. Completing a half marathon pretty much guarantees that you have inflicted some damage to your body. After three or four days, go for a 20 to 30-minute recovery run to help you get back into the swing of things as soon as possible.
  • Recovery Run After A Marathon. The following day following the race, walk around and stretch your body. Avoid running or any form of intense cross-training. Then, after two or three days, lightly cross-training. Next, schedule your recovery run at least a week post-race.

How to Do A Recovery Run  – Listen To Your Body

With all of this in mind, the key to making the most out of your recovery runs—and training in general—is paying attention to your body.

Take a few minutes every day to close your eyes and shift your attention inward to assess how you feel.

Start by performing a full body scan from the top of your head to the tips of your toes.

My favorite time is in the morning.

Usually, during that time, your body will show its true color, so you can easily decide what to do next.

Pay attention, and why not keep track of everything you feel.

Your body is your best coach—it knows best.

Train hard when you’re feeling good, and take it down a notch when you feel like you are coming down with something or don’t have enough energy.

Recovery Runs – The Conclusion

In conclusion, recovery runs are a crucial component of any runner’s training routine, offering a multitude of benefits that can enhance your overall performance. These gentle, slow-paced runs act as a soothing balm for your muscles, allowing them to recover and prepare for future workouts. Beyond the immediate relief they provide, recovery runs contribute to improved running form, increased endurance, and expedited recovery times.

Please leave your questions and tips in the section below

Thank you for dropping by

David D.

How to Do a Run Streak: Benefits, Risks & Tips

How to Do a Run Streak

Should I try a running streak? Is it safe to run every day?

There are common questions I get emailed about a few times every week.

That’s why I want to dive deep into this subject.

In this post, I’m sharing with you the complete beginner’s guide to running streaks and answer a series of basic questions such as:

  • What is a run streak?
  • What are the main benefits of running everyday?
  • What are the potential dangers
  • How long is a running streak?
  • How to start a run streak?
  • And so much more.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

What Is A Streak Run?

A running streak is running on consecutive days for a definite period. Simply put, a running streak is when you run every day.

The length of your run streak will depend on your training goal and personal preferences.

The objective is to run every day, for a week, a month, a year, or however long you see fit. They are all valid run streaks. It can be outdoors, on trails, roads, tracks, or on a treadmill. As soon as you skip—or miss—a day, the streak is no more.

And I didn’t come up with the rules. But they are two official-run streak organizations.

The United States Running Streak Association (USRSA) was established in 2000, and Streak Runners International (SRI) was established in 2012.

These two organizations describe a running streak of running at least one mile—or 1.6 kilometers—within each calendar day.

Usually, these rules are self-imposed—yes, between you and yourself—and therefore are monitored by the runner.

The Unspoken Rule

According to Streak Runners International, Inc., the official definition of a running streak is to run at least one mile, roughly 1.6 kilometers, each day. So that’s roughly 10 to 15 minutes of easy running.

The same organization also lists members’ streaks from around the world.

The Running Streak Community

As you’d expect, the streak-running community is a big one. That’s where the streakers find inspiration, motivation, and guidance. It always feels nice to be a part of something bigger than yourself.

Here are a few places where you can hang out with streakers worldwide.

Facebook Groups

Of course, there’s a Facebook group for that. For example, the Runners World Run Streak Facebook Group has over 40k members. The Streak Runners Interval has around 6000 active members in early 2023.

And most of these groups are super active. So if you become a member, you’ll be getting a lot of running updates, reading many success (and failure) stories, and advice on what it takes to run every day from fellow run-streakers.

When you own a runner, active or retired, you’re automatically entitled to an SRI/USRA membership. Once you maintain your running streak for a year, you can qualify for your streak’s SRI/USRS listing.

But what does it mean to have your running streak listed? Simple. You’ll be able to find your streak achievement listed on the website’s official run streak page.

For example, the Sri and USRA list has over 3000 male and 1800 female streaks. So, yes, that’s quite a lot. And by fulfilling the requirement, you too should be able to join their ranks.

The 11 Running Streak Categories

The running streak community is divided into 11 categorizers by the SRI and USRA and are broken down in terms of years of run-streaking.

These are:

  • The neophyte – one to 4 years
  • Proficient – 5 to 10 years
  • Experienced – 10 to 15 years
  • Well-versed – 15 to 20 years
  • Highly skilled – 20 to 25 years
  • The dominators – 25 to 30 years
  • The masters 35 to 40 years
  • The legends – 40 to 45 years
  • The coverts – 45 to 50 years
  • The hills – more than 50 years (only four total recorded)

The Benefits Of Running every day

Okay, now that you know what running streaks are all about, let’s understand why you even bother doing one.

Make Exercise a habit

If you’d like to make running a habit, like brushing your teeth, showering, or whatever, then run streaking is for you. Habits are formed when we perform an activity repeatedly—that’s the essence of run streaking. A few weeks into your running streak, running will become second nature.

You’ll Become More Flexible

Running daily—no matter the weather or what’s happening around you—will force you to adapt to different situations, which makes you more resilient. This means fewer excuses. You’ll have to get used to early morning runs, adverse weather conditions, and nighttime runs.

Minimal Potential Risk

Running streaks are not risky. On the contrary, research shows that moderate daily exercise improves your overall fitness and health. When you run every day, you typically (and should) start with slow and short runs, which gives your body enough time to re-adapt to the effects of exercise.

Reduced Cancer Risk

Research has suggested that running a mile per day may drastically lower the risk of cancer by:

  • 42 percent for esophageal cancer
  • 27 percent for liver cancer
  • 26 percent for lung cancer
  • 23 percent for kidney cancer
  • 16 percent for colon cancer, and
  • 10 percent for breast cancer

Motivation

Committing to running every single day can be motivating as it pushes you to keep your running habit. Instead of running whenever you have nothing else to do, you’re incentivized to keep training and working towards your goal.

The Cons Of A Running Everyday

Running daily has much to offer, but drawbacks are expected, like any other exercise plan.

Lack of Recovery

The major issue is that running daily may force you to log in the miles when your body should recover. Recovery days are key, and I’m a big fan of them. Even when I do a run streak for a few weeks at a time, I try to schedule at least a day when I feel like my body needs it.

Skipping rest may compromise your ability to get faster and stronger.

What’s more?

If you’re recovering from an injury, run streaking may risk aggravating your condition and causing a flare-up.

Too Much Overload

I hate to state the obvious, but you run a high risk of injury and overtraining when you overload your body. As you already know, running is a high-impact sport per excellence. It can take a toll on your body.

Therefore, when logging a mile (or the miles) daily, you must ensure that you are not overtraining. This means limiting the time, intensity, or type of training you do. Of course, you’ll have to find a way to manage it.

Otherwise, you could be at a higher risk of injury if you don’t manage your training.

Logging the miles every day may cause overuse injuries caused by repetitive trauma.  These often involve stress injuries to your joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Keep Track of Your Overtraining Symptoms

A systematic review of overuse running injuries reported that injury risk increases when weekly mileage exceeds 40 miles for men and around 30 to 39 miles for women. This range seems to be the breaking point for most runners.

This may seem like too much running, but you’re more likely to reach this mileage if you’re logging the miles daily.

Fortunately, overtraining leaves clues. Here are some of the warning signs to pay attention to:

  • Higher resting heart than usual
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Feeling sick and under the weather
  • Unwanted weight loss
  • Appetite problems

Will Running Everyday Help me Lose Weight?

This is one of the main reasons many people want to start running daily, so let me explore this issue briefly.

Here’s the truth.

Running for weight loss is a complicated process. You cannot just run the pounds away. Sure, running every day will undoubtedly increase your calorie burn, but you might not lose weight for any of the following reasons:

  • More stress. As you stress your body by running daily, your cortisol level increases, which may lead to weight gain.
  • More hunger. As you log in more miles, you’ll eat more than usual to satisfy your hunger, which may lead to weight gain.
  • Not eating properly. This goes without saying, but you cannot outrun a crappy diet—no matter how far and/or fast you can run.

The best thing you can do to ensure you’re losing weight is to create an energy deficit. This means burning more calories than you’re taking in. That’s where eating healthy comes into the picture.

Serious about losing weight by running? Then check out my weight loss by the running guide.

Additional resource – Prevent Heart Burn While running

How To Start A Run Streak

Starting to run every day may seem as obvious as running EVERY DAY, but there’s quite a lot to consider.

First, are you even a runner?

Running daily isn’t a good idea if you’re a complete noob. Unless you have a basic fitness level, run streaking may do you more harm than good.

So, as a general rule, ensure you’ve followed a consistent running plan for at least the past year before you try a run streak. Beginner runners should focus on building their overall running fitness before trying to run every day.

For example, if you only exercise once or twice a week, slowly build it up to three or four times before beginning your streak.

Short Streaks & Easy Pace

Running streaks is not about pushing your body to the limit

Start slow. Aim to run at a pace you still feel like you have energy by the end of the session. If you’re completely exhausted, then you likely pushed yourself too far. Running hard miles every day makes you prone to injuries. Your goal is to stay consistent—not smash through PRs.

Instead of shooting for a one-month run-streak, start with a week, then see if you can do more.

What’s more?

Mix in different training methods to get the most out of your running streak—do easy runs, Fartlek, tempo runs, and long slow runs.

How Much Should You Run?

How long your run streak should last is entirely up to you, but establishing a streak goal is always a good idea to keep you on track.

As a rule, commit to running for specific days, weeks, or even months (if you’re ready). Just make sure to set YOUR own goal that’s different from everyone else’s.

Even a goal of running streaking for two weeks can drastically positively affect your physical and mental health.

Make A Plan

The hardest part about a running streak is finding time for it. This is especially true if you have a busy life—just like the rest of us.

Sit down and plan how to squeeze the miles around work, school, family, and friends, then stick to it.

Feel free to get creative. For example, you could run at the crack of dawn, combine a commute with a run, run at lunchtime break, or the night before you go to bed (let me tell you, those night runs are the best).

Change Up Routes

Sticking to the same route over and over can be tiresome.

I’m not against having a few favorite routes up your sleeves, but changing up your running routes now and then is a fantastic way to keep the streak interesting—especially since you’re running every day.

Listen To Your Body

By far, this is the most important piece of advice.

Logging miles daily requires much effort, even when you’re not logging that many miles.

That’s why excessive ambition can hurt when it comes to running streaks.

If you stick to a relatively short and easy runs, nothing bad will happen, but who knows? Running nightmares such as knee pain, ankle sprains, and shin splints are nothing to scoff at.

And whatever you do, please stop your run streak if you’re injured. If taking a few days off is the only way it will heal, take the rest.

Next, consult your doctor if things don’t improve.

The Checklist

Before you jump into a run streak, make sure you already have the following:

  • Proper shoes – Get running footwear that suits your foot type and running style. The right pair will help prevent injuries.
  • Running Clothing. Choose items made of high-performance fabrics. And remember to dress for the weather. Cold and rain are no excuses.
  • Plan a few specific routes around your neighborhood so you know exactly where you need to go.

How to Do a Run Streak – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you plan to run every day for a week, a month, or longer, then today’s post should be enough to get you started on the right foot. After that, the rest is just details!

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong.

David D.

Side Stitch When Running – The Complete Guide

side stitch when running

A Side stitch when running can put a real kink in your training routine.

Though not usually a medical emergency, side stomach cramps during a run can be painful enough to force you to stop training altogether.

In this article, I’ll share everything you need to know about managing a side stitch when running– including:

  • What is a side stitch
  • The causes of a side stitch when running
  • How to stop a side stitch
  • How to prevent side stitches from running
  • And so much more

Sounds great?

Let’s dig in.

Side Stitch Running Explained

What’s medically known as exercise-related transient abdominal pain, or ETAP for short, it’s a pretty common and annoying running condition. More specifically, it refers to localized sharp pain in one side of the abdomen while running. The pain is experienced on either side of the abdomen. However, the stabbing, sharp pain is typically felt on the right lower side of the abdomen, just below the ribcage.

This is often blamed on muscles in the diaphragm spasming, and it’s usually the result of what you eat or drink before a run. It usually strikes the upper abdomen, just below the ribcage. It’s also much more likely to plague the right side and might be linked with shoulder tip region pain.

The Causes of Side Stitches in Runners

Research tried to find out the exact cause of this problem, but still considered idiopathic. The theories range from irritation of the peritoneum to poor blood circulation in the diaphragm, resulting in cramps in the abdominal muscles.

Consuming too much food before a run has also been shown to contribute to the onset of pain. That said, side stitches can impact anyone who runs for a prolonged period.

Every cloud has a silver lining, as side stitches are not a medical emergency or a reason to visit your doctor.

Side Stitch Symptoms

Side stitches can feel different for different runners.

Some runners feel a stitch as a sharp pain, almost like someone is stabbing them. Others report a cramping feeling or a dull ache. In most cases, they occur on the right side of the body.

Typical symptoms may include a pulling sensation, a dull ache, or a stabbing, sharp pain. They tend to dissipate once you stop running and walk them off.

According to a study of Sports Medicine that surveyed over 600 athletes, the pain related to a side stitch had an average pain rating score of 5.6 out of 10.

So you shouldn’t feel bad if you have to slow down because of the pain caused by side stitches. You’ll have to slow down until the pain fades. How long the pain lasts depends as it can var for each runner, so there’s no hard figure.

side stitches

How to Prevent A Side Stitch While Running

While many questions regarding the exact science of side stitches are still without answers, luckily, many measures help minimize or prevent them.

Here are a few.

Warm Up Properly

To help prevent side stitches during a run, warm up properly.

Skipping the warm-up phase may lead to rapid-fire, irregular breathing—this may set the stage for premature fatigue, side stitches, and even injury.

Simply warm up by walking briskly for at least five minutes, then gradually work your way into an easy running effort before picking up the pace.

Planning on doing a hard session (such as a sprint workout)? Then perform a series of dynamic exercises to get your muscles ready for intense exercise.

This is the dynamic warm-up I usually do.

Strengthen Your Core

Runners stand to gain a lot from regular strength training, especially when building core strength—fighting off side stitches is not an exception.

Strengthening your core muscles improves your form efficiency and performance and can help you build a more robust diaphragm.

This helps make it more resilient to fatigue, therefore, less likely to submit to cramps.

So how do you strengthen the core for maximal running performance?

Focus on compound movements like the plank, the Russian twists, Superman, and the side plank that targets your entire core.

Mind Your Pre-run Meal

If you often get plagued with side stitches during a run, take note of your food intake before you head out.

This helps determine if there’s a link (or connection) between your pre-run meals and the frequency (or intensity) of your side stitches.

What, when, and how much you eat before a session may contribute to side stitches. During digestion, blood flow to the diaphragm is severely limited, which may trigger spasms.

As a rule, give your body enough time after a meal to stave off a stitch, shooting for at least three hours before your run. Generally, high-fat, high-fiber foods take longer to digest; therefore, avoid them two to three hours before a run.

You should also avoid concentrated sugary drinks before and during training.

Need a pre-run snack to get you going?

Try having it an hour before your workout, choosing high-calorie, low-protein, low-fat snacks and foods at all times.

Avoid gassy foods.

These build up gas in your digestive system and may cause stomach pain.

Here are some foods to void before a run:

  • High-fiber foods can irritate your gut
  • High-fat and heavy foods
  • Sugary juices and drinks
  • Drinking too much water before a run.

Stop A Side Stitch When Running

Have a bad history of side stitches? Do this next time you’re plagued with side stomach pain: slow it down and breathe deeply to release the tension.

Next, walk slowly and press your finger on the right side of your body while powerfully exhaling and then holding your lips together.

I don’t know how this helps, but it does work—at least for me.

You can also bend your upper body forward and try reaching for your toes with your fingers.

This may open up more space within your internal organs, which, in theory, may help move the liver away from the diaphragm.

Once the pain subsides, pick up your running pace slowly.

The “creating space” method always works for me.

Have a try!

Side Stitch When Running – The Conclusion

Hopefully, the above strategies will help you better deal with side stitches and enjoy your next runs.

Complete Guide To Running At Night – Benefits, risks & Tips

running at night

Want to give night running a try but are afraid?

Then you have come to the right place.

Daytime savings, work meetings, family duties, and so on can get in the way of a running routine during the daytime. That’s why shifting to the nighttime might be the last resort for many runners.

But here’s a little caveat – Running at night requires a different approach than running when the sun is up.

I will share everything you need about safe nighttime running in today’s article.

More specifically, I’ll explain the following;

  • The benefits of running at night
  • The dangers and risks of nighttime running
  • Is it worth it to run at night?
  • Safety tips for running a time
  • And so much more

Sounds great? Let’s get started

The Benefits of Nighttime runs

Here are some of the benefits of logging miles during the nighttime.

More Time

Most of your day is likely booked when you lead a busy life (just like the res of us). Maybe you’ve got a challenging job that requires every hour of the day, or you’ve kids to take care of, feed, and send to school.

INSERT YOUR REASON HERE.

If any of this applies to you, you might feel tempted to give up on running altogether.

But it shouldn’t be.

Running at night removes that excuse. You might have fewer interruptions and distractions following work, so you can put your energy into your run and likely long in one or a few extra miles.

Release Tension

Feeling tensed up during the day? Then your nighttime run is the ideal de-stressed.

Forget about drinking

Forget about clubbing

Forget about unwinding in front of a TV

Forget about Netflix and chill

And forget about those boring and expensive yoga classes.

Get your shoes on and chop away that stress monster one stride at a time. Then, no matter how bad your day was, you’ll feel that flood of endorphins.

In other words, a nighttime run can make you feel better.

Improve Your Sleep

If you run at night, you might experience deeper and higher quality sleep. You might also find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep longer.

Again, don’t take my word for it.

Research consulted at the University of South Carolina reported that individuals who performed mild to high-intensity exercise for a couple of hours could fall asleep 30 minutes later.

But there’s a little caveat.

Research has found that exercising too hard too close to bed time may interrupt sleep quality in some individuals.

So to make the most of your night run, keep the pace easy, cool down properly after, shower, and unwind before you sleep. At the very least, your core temperature should return to normal before hitting the sack.

Fewer Injury Risks

Running when your core temperature is at its peak is ideal for avoiding injuries.

Guess when it is? It’s often between 4 pm and 8 pm.

When your core temperature is at its peak, your muscles will have more oxygen and nutrition, your blood flow will be improved, and your joints will be well lubricated—all of which sets you up for the perfect workout.

Science backs this up. An experiment conducted at London University found that subjects consistently run around a minute faster on a 10K course at night than during the day.

3 Risks of Running at Night

There are particular risks to running at night concerning sleep and safety. Some of these include:

 Visibility issues

Vision is impaired once the sun sets. Noticing bumps, holes, or ice on the road will be harder. Nighttime running can be dangerous. You might have trouble seeing obstructions or vehicles; other road users will find it hard to see you. This puts at a higher risk of accidental collisions.

This is especially true if you focus on breathing instead of being aware of running terrain. (It’s not a deal breaker. I’ll share a few tips later on how to sidestep this.)

Difficulty Sleeping

I touched upon this before, but it merits repeating. This is especially true if you plan to do a hard run at least two hours before bed. Night time intense running raises your heart rate and boosts your core temperature, making it harder to fall asleep.

(Again, I got a few solutions for this. Just hold on.)

Harassment

Depending on where you run, getting harassed can be troublesome. This is especially the case for a female runner.

How to Start Running At night

Without further ado, here are the guidelines for a safe and effective nighttime run.

Have Situational Awareness

By far, this is the cardinal rule of safety.

Situational awareness is the overarching principle of safe outdoor exercise—not just at night but also during the day. Abide by this rule, and you’ll reduce the risk of getting yourself in dangerous situations.

First of all, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid quiet alleys, dark parks, overgrown trails, deserted areas, etc. Instead, stick with busier streets, staying on the left side of the road—preferably under a streetlight—the entire time.

Next, keep your eyes straight ahead, check your sides, and turn to check what’s behind you occasionally—especially if you feel anything out of place.

What’s more?

Keep your eyes open for obstacles that can trip you up: rocks, broken concrete, gumballs, drivers, and everything else.

And please, be wary of any suspicious people on your running route.

No Headphones Allowed

Many runners love to hit the pavement with their favorite tunes in the background—I’m no exception.

But running at night is a different beast. First, your vision is impaired. Thus, you’ll need your ears to guide you forward.

However, loud music restricts your hearing and distracts you from your environment, cutting you completely from what’s happening around you.

According to a study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and The University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, traffic incidents involving pedestrians wearing headphones tripled from 2004 to 2011.

The worst part is that a whopping 70 percent of these incidences resulted in the death of the pedestrian.

If you feel like you have to run with your headphones, at the very least, have the volume low enough that you can hear your surroundings, whether it’s people, oncoming cars, trains, or cyclists.

You can also use one earbud (tuck the other bud safely into your shirt or jacket) and keep an ear for anything heading your way.

night time running

Be Traffic Smart

Traffic is another huge source of headache for runners—especially city dwellers. Cars are the biggest source of danger during night time running.

About 80,000 pedestrians get hurt each year by cars in the U.S., and the risk of being struck increases 10-fold after dark, with the majority of accidents occurring between 6 p.m. and midnight, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The number of fatalities is also alarming. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, roughly 4000-5000 pedestrians sustain fatal injuries in traffic crashes yearly.

And as a runner, you are, basically, a pedestrian on steroids. So here are the sensible steps you need to take:

First, never run in the same direction as traffic. Instead, run against it. By facing traffic, you’ll see oncoming cars clearly if you must make any last-minute evasive maneuvers.

Secondly, do not make the mistake of assuming that a driver can see you. Instead, assume that every driver is busy texting, talking on the phone, listening to the radio, or just lost in thoughts. In other words, run like a defensive driver.

What’s more?

If you can, avoid rush hour time—the fewer vehicles to worry about, the better. Wear a cap or visor if you find headlights blinding.

Here are more traffic rules to follow:

  • Look both ways before crossing the streets, even if a stop sign is nearby.
  • Slow down, or stop at a curb to get a full picture of the road ahead.
  • Make eye contact with a driver before crossing the road.
  • Keep your eyes on reverse lights and an ear for cars with running motors.

Run With a Partner

I hate to sound cliché, but there is strength in numbers.

Running with a buddy gives you extra ears and eyes for danger. This will drastically reduce the risk of someone accosting you.

Pairing up with a buddy can also boost your motivation and consistency. So, don’t you want to be a safe and better runner? I bet you do.

Ask your running friends, and join online runners’ forums. Or just join a local running club. They must have night time running plans.

Leave Word

Let your family members, friends, roommates, or a neighbor know where you are going, as well as what time they should hear back from you.

Once you are back home, touch base and tell them you are safe and sound.

Have Your ID on

Carry your identification with you, such as your driver’s license or some other form of ID. Put it in your pocket, use an ID bracelet, or clip on a tag to your running shoes.

Also, jot down your name, address, blood type, a list of emergency contacts, and any pertinent information.

Protect Yourself

To err on the safe side, consider keeping pepper spray or a Taser gun on you (depending on your state’s laws) to ward off any uninvited animals or individuals.

Have A Phone

Bring your cell with you even if you prefer staying off the grid while running (it’s your solo time, after all, so I won’t blame you).

Opt for an armband if you don’t have a pocket or bag to safely (and comfortably) carry your phone.

Don’t hesitate to call the police—and everyone else—if you’re in a pinch or got yourself embroiled in something bad.

Use Apps

Put modern technology to your advantage by using tracking and safety apps.

Some of the best security apps include safe. This one sends an alert message with your exact location to a list of emergency friends (or Guardians) who can respond promptly.

RunSafe is also another great option. This has the same functionality as most fitness apps, with GPS-enabled tracking.

It also has, like safe,  a sort of panic button that triggers a siren and strobe light, records videos, alerts the authorities, and tells them your exact GPS location.

Vary your Routes

Alter your running routine by running various routes throughout the week. If that’s impossible, run your usual running route backward.

Sticking to a rigid running routine creates a predictable pattern for creepers and stalkers to track you.

But, the less predictable you are, the harder you make it for someone to learn your habits.

Of course, random attacks do happen, but for the most part, stalkers usually pick their victims by observing a given area and looking for patterns.

And if you end up on their radar, they could predict where and when you will be solo during a night run.

The Right Gear For Nighttime Running

Your running gear also matters when running in the dark. Here are the must-have items:

The Right Clothing

Choose clothes designed for the night-conscious runner. It’s key that other road users can see you out there, especially when you’re crossing roads or running on the street.

You can find plenty of running-friendly clothing made of neon, light-reflection materials for nighttime workouts.

The good news is that high-visibility running gear can be lightweight, affordable, and a simple way to stand out during nighttime runs. The more reflective your clothing is, the more visible you will be on the road. Thus, the safer you’ll be.

Reflectors Around your Joints

For more visibility, strap a few reflectors around your joints, mainly your shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles.

Doing so makes you instantly stand out from a still object like a tree or a mailbox and tells drivers which direction you are going. If you cannot afford them, use reflective tape or straps instead.

Headlamps

A good headlamp cuts through the darkness like a hot knife through butter. This can help you choose the safest course while improving visibility. Some modern brands are lightweight enough to attach to your hat or visor without much hassle.

Clear Glasses and a billed cap

These two items are critical for protecting your eyes at night.

The clear glasses act as a sort of shield for your eyes from cobwebs, thin branches, buds, leaves, and other obstacles. While on the other hand, the bill of a cap will protect your eyes from tree branches and other unseen obstacles that might obstruct your path.

Follow your Instinct

In the end, gut feelings are what might save the day.

Hence, if the hairs on your neck stand up for no apparent reason or a given situation is giving you the heebies jeebies, trust that feeling and run to a safer location.

Those gut feelings have protected us for millions of years and are there for a reason.

And do not think twice about alerting the authorities. Call the police in case you notice anything suspicious, whether it’s a person, a car, or a situation, you name it.

In other words, if you see something, say something.

Night Time Running – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re serious about making the most of your night runs, then today’s post should get you started on the right foot.

The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep training strong.

David D.

How to Rotate Running Shoes

running shoes rotatation

If you want to improve your performance and reduce injury risks, then chances you you’ve heard of rotating running shoes.

But is it true? Any proof that backs this up?

Here’s the truth.

Having more than one pair comes in handy for many reasons—some of which we’ll discuss in today’s post.

In this article, I’ll dive into:

  • What’s the meaning of rotating running shoes
  • Benefits of rotating running shoes
  • How many pairs of running shoes do you need
  • How to rotate running footwear
  • Variables to consider when rotating different running shoes
  • And so much more.

Let’s lace up and dig in.

The Meaning of Rotating Running Shoes

So what do I mean by rotating running shoes?

Quite simple. This practice involves having a few pairs of running shoes.

So, for example, if you have two pairs of running shoes, you will switch back and forth between the two.

What’s more?

You’ll be using different running shoes on different days, which helps you cycle through your shoe rotation from run to run.

Let’s look at this from an other angle.

Take a look at your wardrobe. You, hopefully, have sweatpants, jeans, casual pants, work pants, and sleep pants. I’d wager that you don’t wear the same pants every day and on every occasion, right?

You choose your pant based on the occasion. So, it’s not a huge leap to seriously consider doing the same things when it comes to running shoes.

For example, you might wear light shoes for your speedwork run on Tuesday, trail running shoes for your trail run on Thursday, then road running shoes for your long run on Saturday. That’s why experienced runners have more than a few pairs of running shoes in rotation.

Do you Need A Running Shoe Rotation

If you’re only running a couple of times per week, there’s likely no need to have more than one running shoe in rotation. However, once you decide to take things to the next level and go after performance goals, consider having a shoe rotation.

More on this later.

How Many Running Shoes Should I Have?

IF you ask for my advice, I’d say that most runners need at least two pairs of running shoes. If you often run three to four times a week, two pairs of shoes will likely be all you need.

But if you run more often and/or train for a long-distance race, such as a marathon, consider having at least three pairs in your running shoe rotation. The more, the merrier since you’ll likely be running on various terrains, from track and treadmill to roads and trails.

Keep in mind that each running shoe is made for a specific terrain.

Make sure you’re wearing the right shoe for the right terrain. Trails running shoes for the trails. Road running shoes for the road. Don’t do your speedwork on a track using a pair of trail running shoes.

Benefits of Running in Two Pairs of A Shoe

Let’s delve deeper into how rotating your running shoes can help you get the most out of your training and your sneakers.

Reduced Injury Risk

According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, subjects trained in more than one pair of shoes were at a lower risk for injury.

Research has found that rotating running shoes can limit the risk of running injuries by roughly 40 percent, which is one of the main reasons that all runners should have more than a pair of shoes.

Research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports looked into the impact of shoe rotating on injury risk using a sample size of 264 runners.

Research by Malisoux reported that runners who rotate between at least two pairs of shoes are 39 percent less likely to develop an injury when compared to those who only run in one pair of running shoes.

The theory

Pounding the street using the same shoes stresses your muscles and joints in the same way every run. And since running is such a repetitive and high impact, it can overstress these issues, especially when you increase training intensity.

Here’s the kicker.

When you alternate your sneakers, you vary the load applied to the musculoskeletal system, which may help you reduce the repeated load on different joints, muscles, and ligaments.

Don’t get me wrong. Rotating running shoes doesn’t make you immune to injury. You still have to take precautions to limit injury risk, such as increasing weekly load slowly, taking rest days, and following a nutritious diet.

But having more than one pair can provide additional protection against injury, especially if you run a lot and/or often.

Your Shoes Will Last Longer

It’s common knowledge in the running world that most running shoes have a lifespan of around 400 to 600 miles.

Of course, the exact range varies depending on many factors, such as your:

  • Foot strike
  • Running surface
  • Running frequency
  • Running speed
  • Bodyweight
  • Running gait

Here’s the good news.

Rotating running shoes helps elongate their lifespan, which can help you save money.

Here are more ways to make your running shoes last longer.

rotating running shoes

Find The Perfect Shoe

Finding the right sole-mate takes a lot of experimentation. Using more than one pair allows you to test various models and styles and do objective, real-world experimenting. This should help you find your ideal pair of running shoes.

By experimenting with different shoes, you’ll have more exposure to a wide range of running shoes, allowing you to test different models and styles in your running shoe rotation.

Different Shoes For Different Runs 

If you rotate through multiple sets, have a pair for each specific workout.

Shoes will function differently at slow or fast paces and offer different running experiences. This is especially the case as you progress as a runner and start to vary the length and speed of your workouts.

For example, you’ll choose lighter shoes with minimal cushion for faster/shorter runs, whereas, for a longer run, you opt for a shoe that provides a little more cushion.

Here’s the full guide to running shoe anatomy.

Proper Drying

Alternating your shoes gives the one you just used a chance to dry out thoroughly.

This helps remove the fungus and mold that can fester quickly in sweat-laden and moisture-rich shoes.

Long runs can produce an immense amount of moisture in your running shoes. This moisture build-up will eventually break down the component of your shoes, which can result in uneven wear in the uppers.

Good Wash

If one pair gets dirty, you’ll need at least a couple of days to get washed and dry, and you don’t want to skip your important runs just because you washed your running shoes last night.

Run Commute

If you run to or from work, you can leave the extra pair at the office without bringing them back and forth.

Shoe Running Rotating Factors

So what does shoe rotation depends on? Many variables, actually, but the most important ones include the following:

  • Running goals
  • Running frequency
  • Running mileage
  • Running terrain
  • Your budget

Buying More Than One Pair

How to Create A Running Shoe Rotation

Once you decide to have more than one pair of running shoes, you might ask yourself how.

Here are a few guidelines to get you started rotating running shoes.

  • How many? Decide how many pairs you’ll rotate through based on run, type of terrain, and support.
  • Different models. If your budget allows it, you should have at least two pairs of running shoes, ideally two different models with different heel drops.
  • Ask for advice. Next time you head to your local running shoe store for a new pair, ask which two—or three—pairs they recommend for your training goals, foot type, body weight, and experience, and test them all out.
  • Check the heel drop. Using running shoes with a different heel-toe drop is a fantastic way to subtly change your gait and foot strike and get your body working slightly differently.
  • Keep them for the road. Don’t use your running shoes for non-running activities, such as wearing them to the grocery store or lawn mowing. All of those miles add up.
  • Look for good deals. Ask for a discount on the second pair when panning to buy two pairs simultaneously. You can also hunt for sales, either closeout at online stores or running stores
  • Different surfaces. Do your best to vary your running terrains during any given weak and wear appropriate shoes. Changing things by running on trails, dirt paths, paved roads, concrete bike paths, gravel roads, grass, and tracks.
  • Keep track. Don’t run your shoes into the ground. Instead, keep track. A worn-out shoe could increase your risk of developing overuse injuries.
  • Know the signs. Keep track of mileage logged in, and remember to flip your shoe over to assess the wear pattern—if the tread is worn down, change up your shoes.

How to Rotate Running Shoes – The Conclusion

So you are sold out on the effectiveness of having more than one pair of running shoes?

My hope’s the case.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

Prevent Peeing When Running – A Stress Incontinence Guide

peeing when running

If you leak a little while running, you’re likely experiencing stress incontinence. This condition happens when certain movements pressure the bladder, overriding its ability to hold urine back.

Bladder leaks, ranging from mild to severe, are a real problem faced by many runners of all ages. And if you’re looking to the best strategies for preventing peeing while running then you have come to the right place.

In today’s article, I’ll explain the link between running (and exercise) and incontinence and describe how to prevent and treat it.

More specifically, I’ll cover the following:

  • The Link Between Running and Urine Leaks
  •  Why You Pee When Running
  • The Risk Factors For Urinary Stress Incontinence
  •  It is normal to Pee Yourself While Running
  • The Main Categories and Causes
  • How To Prevent Urine Leakage While Running
  • Consult Your Doctor
  • When to Consider Surgery

The Link Between Running and Urine Leaks

First, let’s learn more about incontinence.

Technically known as”stress urinary incontinence (SUI), the condition refers to the involuntary loss of urine triggered by increased pressure or abrupt bladder muscle contraction.

In other words, it’s when you cannot control your bladder.

Incontinence can be a minor nuisance (just small leaks now and then) to a complete loss of bladder control.

Surveys show that incontinence affects twice as many women as men. This may be blamed on hormonal changes and delivery history. At least one in three female runners over 30 may experience bladder leaks while running, research reports.

Why You Pee When Running

In most cases, you’ll experience leakage while running because you’re placing extra pressure on your bladder or pelvic floor muscles. Virtually all types of exercises, such as running, jumping, cycling, and weight lifting, can be under such pressure.

No one is immune. You may also experience leakage when coughing or sneezing.

Simply put, stress incontinence happens when the pressure on the bladder surpasses your internal capacity while running and exercising. In female runners, running puts vertical pressure on the perineum thanks to gravity, which can result in leakage.

Surveys show that around 1 in 3 women sometimes suffer from SUI. The most common reason for SUI is the natural decline in pelvic floor muscle strength that comes with age.

The Risk Factors For Urinary Stress Incontinence

The following increases your risks of SUI:

  • Age, especially in people over 65 years old.
  • Pregnancy and childbirth procedures are often associated with the weakening of the perineum, which causes SUI.
  • A higher body mass index—the more overweight you’re, the greater your risk of developing SUI.
  • High impact activity
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles
  • Having a history of bladder conditions

It is normal to Pee Yourself While Running

Though it’s not normal, it’s more common than you think. Surveys say that 25 million adult Americans deal with urinatory incontinence.

So if you’re experiencing some urine leakage while running, know you’re not alone. Instead, you’re among a large percentage.

Again, don’t take my word for it. This survey has revealed that roughly half of the female runners experience incontinence while running.

What’s more?

Most of the women in the survey had never given birth. This means they had no pelvic floor damage because of pregnancy or childbirth.

The Main Categories and Causes

Urinary incontinence is split into three main categories: Stress Urinary Incontinence (or SUI), Urgency Urinary Incontinence (UUI), and Urinary Overflow incontinence (OUI).

Let’s break them down.

Stress Urinary Incontinence

SUI, for short, is the most common type of incontinence among runners—and the topic of today’s post. This stress has nothing to do with the emotional anxiety you experience when fighting with your partner or preparing for your first marathon.

In this case, the stress stems from intra-abdominal pressure, forcing urine to leak out. This is often triggered by sneezing, couching, jumping, and running.

peeing when running

Urge Incontinence

Often referred to as overactive bladder, this happens when your bladder muscles squeeze incorrectly or lose the ability to relax. This often happens before you can get to the toilet.

Most common in the elderly, urge incontinence may indicate an overactive bladder, a tract infection from the imbalance passage, or prostate problems.

Overflow Incontinence

Overflow incontinence is having the urge to urinate but only releasing a small amount.

Because the bladder isn’t emptying fully, it leaks urine later. This is usually caused by something blocking the urethra, which causes urine build-up in the bladder.

How To Prevent Peeing When  Running

Now that you know why you’re leaking urine while running, what can you do?

The following.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor

The ideal way to limit urinary incontinence in runners is to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, the sheet of muscles that supports the bladder and bowel.

When this sheet of muscle weakens, you may experience urine leakage whenever stress or strain is placed on it, especially when running.

Kegel exercises might help you, in which you consciously engage, then loosen the muscles that regulate urine flow. This helps strengthen your pelvic floor, rectum, sphincter, bladder, and small intestine.

Don’t take my word for it. Research has reported that subjects who performed pelvic floor muscle training regularly were much more likely to improve their leaking than those who didn’t get training.

To locate your pelvic floor muscle, stop urinating in midstream.

If you can do that, you’ve got the right muscles. Here’s how to perform Kegel exercises:

  1. Squeeze the muscle you use to stop urinating midstream.
  2. Hold the squeeze for 6 to 8 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds.
  3. Perform three to four sets daily. And that’s it.

Repeat the movement 12 to 16 times in a row—and remember to do the exercise daily.

Be Prepared

While investing time in strengthening your pelvic floor is a step in the right direction, other measures can help you get back to running comfortably.

Padding is one of them.

Many over-the-counter products limit leaks before they happen. These often consist of small, soft foam patches that gently attach over the urethra to limit leaks while running.

As a rule, use a pad designed for bladder leakage instead of menstruation. According to my research, incontinence pads and sanitary pads are different things. Menstrual pads are designed for that purpose and don’t mesh well with liquid as they’re mainly cottonwood based.

A wide range of incontinence products is also available. These are also designed for runners and people with a more active lifestyle. You can also go for stretchy incontinence pants that provide freedom of movement.

You should also be prepared, especially on long runs. Bring wet wipes or tissue and spray stored in a Ziploc bag in case of an emergency.

Keep a Diary

Use a diary to keep track of your bladder habits. This should help you determine when to hit the bathroom to minimize leaks while running.

Monitoring your bladder mishaps gives you a deeper insight into the severity of your condition, which can also help you develop a more well-rounded bladder control training program specific to you.

Planning to see a physician? Then try to keep the urine journal for at least a week beforehand, then take it to your consultation.

In this diary, record the following

  • Time of urination
  • The volume and types of liquids consumed
  • diuretic liquid consumption, like coffee.
  • Voluntary or involuntary urination
  • Period of time between each bathroom break
  • And anything else related to your urine habits

Bladder Training

As the name implies, bladder training is a plan that involves urinating on a schedule. The objective is to slow the amount of liquid you can hold comfortably.

Bladder training has often been used as a treatment for an overactive bladder. This method can be used alone or with medications and other interventions (some of which I’ll discuss in the following paragraphs).

Bladder training can help improve your stress incontinence symptoms by increasing the length of times your body can hold urine. This method is a low-cost, low-risk, and convenient way that doesn’t inherently require the guidance of a professional.

What’s more?

It’s simple. The program involves peeing on a set schedule to increase the time between restroom uses.

To begin bladder training, hold your pee for five minutes when you feel the urge to use a restroom. Then, slowly increase the time by roughly three to five minutes. Of course, this may feel challenging at first, but sooner or later, you’ll be making fewer trips to the bathroom.

Empty Your Bladder

This may seem redundant, but it’s a step many runners fail to take.

After all, a bursting bladder is more likely to leak than an empty one.

Exercising with a full bladder may also make you feel uncomfortable. It can even cause UT stone, according to research.

As a rule, stop by the bathroom before leaving and completely clear your bladder.

I’d suggest you do a double-void—urinate, wait for a couple of minutes, then urinate again. This ensures you got nothing left in the”tank.”

Plan Your Toilet Stops

As usual, planning is essential.

If you’re running for a long distance, plan your route around where you can stop for a restroom. For example, have a route that passes convenience stores with public bathrooms where you can easily pop in if you need to pee.

You can also use an app like SitOrSquat that shows you where the restrooms are along a pre-planned route.

Remember to bring some change with you, as some service stations may require them to use the restroom.

Breathe Properly

Another thing you can do to better manage your toilet stop is to pay attention to how you breathe. Though you might not see the connection, how you breathe while running can impact your pelvic floor muscles.

Breathing is crucial for limiting pressure on the pelvic floor while running.

On the inhale, the muscles of your pelvic floor are pushed downward, and on the exhale, these muscles draw upward.

If you’re breathing inefficiently while running, your pelvic flood muscles might be impaired, weakening them. This, in turn, may contribute to SUI.

To breathe correctly while running, ensure you’re breathing deeply in a relaxed and synchronized manner.

Wear Black Pants

If you don’t mind sogging yourself but prefer to keep it away from other people, consider wearing black running shorts, leggings, or pants. This simply trick can, at the very least, help you prevent any embarrassing scenarios.

To go the extra mile, consider getting loose-fitting clothing to hide any extra protection you might use to stop leakage while running.

Consult Your Doctor About Urine Leaks

Consult a doctor to determine the right treatment and plan for you. The rest is just details.  Depending on the severity of your incontinence and what you can cope with, your physician may suggest any of the following treatment options:

  • Medication. This can help your bladder retain more, improve your ability to empty it, and reduce urgency.
  • A Botox injection into the lining of the bladder to limit the release of chemicals that trigger muscle contractions.
  • Surgery.

Consider Surgery

Most treatment options for SUI are un-invasive and do not involve surgery, but in some cases, non-invasive intervention might not be enough.

The type of surgery you’ll need will depend on the severity of your condition and how much you can handle. Overall most physicians will only recommend surgery for severe conditions.

The two most common types of surgery to help with stress incontinence are tension-free vaginal tape and burch colposuspension.

Other procedures, used less often, include:

  • Sling procedure
  • Bulking agents
  • Anterior vaginal repair
  • Artificial sphincters

Peeing When Running – The Conclusion

There you have it! You have several options for managing and preventing leakage while running. Try following some of the above strategies, and don’t let stress incontinence keep you from logging the miles.

Running with a Heart Murmur – The Complete guide

heart murmurs in runners

Runners have great hearts. I mean, for real. After logging thousands of miles over the years, a runner’s heart might have bigger arteries, more copious coronary capillaries, and more flexible coronary arteries than the average joe.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. It helps you burn calories, improve endurance, and get in the best shape of your life.

But if you have heart murmurs, high-intensity training can be uncomfortable and quite dangerous.

So what causes heart murmurs?  are you in dangerous? That’s where today’s post comes in handy.

In this article, I’ll cover the following:

  • The causes of heart murmurs from running
  • How to prevent
  • How to treat heart murmurs in runners
  • Can you run with heart murmurs?
  • And so much more

In today’s article, I’ll examine whether you should run with a heart murmur and what to do about this cardiovascular condition.

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

The Anatomy of your Heart

The heart is undoubtedly one of the most important organs in your body.

Made up of chambers and valves, your heart has one of the most important jobs: to keep your blood flowing throughout your body.

The heart has four chambers, two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). Circulation flows through a valve before leaving each chamber of the heart. These valves function as guards that prevent the backward flow of blood.

Yes, it’s an amazing design.

What Are Heart Murmurs?

Before I get into whether you should run with a heart murmur, let’s first define what a heart murmur is to ensure we’re on the same page.

A heart murmur, in short, is the sound made by turbulent blood flow within your heart. This is often triggered by a change in circulation through one of the heart valves. The murmur can be a rasping, blowing, or whooshing sound during a heartbeat.

In other words, it’s an abnormal noise between heartbeats.

Most heart murmurs are benign—common in children and young adults. But at times, they might indicate serious heart problems (more on later).

So what’s causing the switch in blood flow within the heart valves? And is it a sign of a serious problem in the heart?

Here’s the good news.

Heart murmurs can strike both healthy and sick hearts.  Changes in blood flow are often a normal thing in a normal heart—or what’s known as a benign flow murmur.

In most cases, the change in blood flow within the heart can be caused by fever, stress, anxiety, anemia, or an elevated heart rate after a run. In addition, roughly 10 percent of adults and 30 percent of children experience benign murmurs at some stage.

Benign Vs. Abnormal Heart Murmurs

Heart murmurs can be divided into two kinds:

  • Benign
  • Abnormal

As the name implies, benign murmurs aren’t dangerous.

In some people, benign murmur can be caused by pregnancy, intense exercise, severe anemia, or fever.

Surveys show that roughly 30 percent of children and 10 percent of adults have an innocent heart murmur caused by a normal heart rate.

If you have a benign heart murmur, you won’t experience any other symptoms.

However, When a serious heart condition causes a heart murmur, you may experience other symptoms such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Enlarged neck veins
  • Chronic coughing
  • Profuse sweating, especially when you’re done running.
  • Blue skin around the lips and fingertips
  • Cold clammy skin

These symptoms may indicate a serious underlying heart condition that hasn’t been diagnosed. If you’re coming down with any of these symptoms while running and/or at rest, call 911 immediately. You need to get checked up right away. Don’t dilly-dally.

Heart Murmurs In Runners

In most cases, heart murmurs in runners are of the “innocent” variety. The whooshing sound is blood flowing through a normal, healthy heart.

What’s more?

They might indicate an improved cardiovascular function instead of a dangerous heart abnormality. As you get fitter and stronger—especially aerobically, your heart might adapt by somewhat enlarging. This, in turn, allows moving more blood on each contraction.

Keep in mind that not all cases of heart murmurs are innocent. Sometimes, the change in blood flow is caused by a narrowing or leaking of one or more of the heart valves—or, in some cases, a small hole in the heart.

When To Consult A Doctor

I hate to sound like a broken record, but most heart murmurs are not a threat unless you experience any abnormal symptoms; consult your doctor immediately.

The examination—preferably by a cardiologist—will likely include an echocardiogram, which examines the function of your heart muscles and valves.

By doing this, they can determine if your heart murmurs are benign or if they do require medical attention.

In some cases, a heart murmur could be a sign of a problem with your heart. This problem can either result from an abnormal function within the heart or a structural abnormality in one of the heart valves or chambers.

For example, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is a condition that causes an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, can also result in murmurs. This condition can limit or block blood flow from the heart’s left ventricle to the aorta, your body’s main blood vessel.

For these reasons, and some more,  if you have a heart murmur, it’s key to get to the root of the sound. Is it innocent? Or is it caused by abnormal pathology? It’s always better to safe than sorry, you know.

Additional resource – Prevent Heart Burn In Runners

How To Treat A Heart Murmur

Treating a heart murmur depends on the main cause. Benign heart murmurs don’t require any treatment, but dangerous ones need medical attention ASAP, especially if you have symptoms like those listed below.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Ankle swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden weight gain
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Chronic fatigue

Most of the latter are typically treated with medication. However, serious conditions could require surgery.

Some of the most common medications used for managing and treating abnormal heart murmurs include:

  • ACE inhibitors or Beta Blockers—work great for lowering blood pressure.
  • Statins—work great for managing cholesterol.
  • Aspirin or warfarin is an anticoagulant to help prevent blood clots from forming.

Surgery is needed in extreme cases, especially when medication isn’t enough. For example, if one of your heart valves needs to be replaced or has a hole in your heart, you’ll need surgery.

Running With A Heart Murmur

Getting diagnosed with a heart murmur may scare most people from running.

However, most cases are benign, therefore, shouldn’t prevent you from running. But it’s always recommended to get checked by a cardiologist to ensure you understand the cause of the murmur. Then, once you have your doctor’s green light, go back to training.

As I’ve explained in this article, it’s not always the case, and most runners can keep on training when experiencing heart murmurs.

To err on the side of caution, do the following:

  • Consult your doctor to understand the cause of the murmur
  • Check the history of heart disease in your family
  • Stick to a healthy nutrition plan
  • Get a yearly electrocardiogram or chest X-ray
  • Learn how to train by heart rate zones
  • Run regularly
  • Follow proper recovery practices
  • Listen to your body

Preventative Measures For Running With Heart Murmurs

It’s always better to err on the side of caution. So take the following measures to ensure your cardiovascular health is checked, even if you feel healthy.

  • Look into whether your family has a history of cardiovascular conditions
  • Learn how to monitor your pulse during training for rate and regularity. I’d recommend that you learn how to use heart rate training zones.
  • Get a general annual exam, including a chest X-Ray and an electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • Keep a healthy diet
  • And most importantly, keep running. It does your heart good but doesn’t push yourself too hard.

Risk Factors For Heart Murmurs

You’ll be more prone to heart murmurs if someone in your family has some form of heart problem associated with the unusual sounds.

Some of these conditions include:

  • Endocarditis, which is an infection of the lining of the heart
  • Cardiomyopathy, which is the weakening of the heart muscle
  • Hypereosinophilic syndrome is a blood condition that involves an increased number of certain white cells.
  • Some autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • Heart valve diseases
  • Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid.
  • Rheumatic fever
  • Pulmonary hypertension, which is high blood pressure in the lung

Heart murmurs in runners – The Conclusion

Even if you’re the fastest, fittest, and healthiest runner in the world, you’re not immune to heart conditions.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to listen to your body and follow your doctor’s advice.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

David D.

Acid Reflux Running – How To Treat & Prevent Heart Burn In Runners

Why Running Causing Heart Burn?

Looking for the best ways to treat and prevent heart burns when running? Then you’ve come to the right place.

Getting heartburn in the middle of a run sucks.

But, if you’re prone to acid reflux but keen on running regularly, you know too well that running is prime time for heartburn flare-ups.

In today’s post, I’ll cover all you need to know about running when you have acid reflux.

By the end, you’ll learn the following:

  • What is acid reflux?
  • Main symptoms associated with heartburn
  • What’s causing heartburn during running
  • How to treat heartburn during a run
  • How to prevent heartburn while exercising

Note – check with your doctor before applying any advice shared here. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet.

Heart Burn While Running Explained

First, to properly treat and prevent acid reflux during a run, it’s crucial to understand what’s causing it.

Heartburn, as the name implies, refers to mild pain turned into a sharp or burning sensation in the chest area (but has none to do with the heart).

Medically known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), acid reflux happens when the stomach’s content moves up the stomach into the stomach pipe—what’s known as the esophagus

This is normal and happens to most people. It’s only referred to as a condition or a disease when the esophagus exposure to gastric acids exceeds the normal limit. This is especially true when the symptoms are not triggered by food and/or occur at night.

The Main Symptoms

Some of the most common symptoms associated with acid reflux include the following:

  • Regurgitation
  • Burning sensation radiating up from your sternum
  • A dry cough or hoarseness followed by discomfort in your throat (acid or bitter taste)
  • Dysphagia—difficulty swallowing
  • Laryngitis
  • Irritation of the esophagus
  • Increased asthma symptoms
  • Sporadic heartbeat during exercise
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Bloated stomach
  • Halitosis

Causes of Heartburn While Running

The following consists of the most common triggers of exercise-induced heartburn, according to the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA).

Weakness in The Muscle

Heartburn happens when a band of muscle at the bottom of the esophagus, known as a lower esophageal sphincter (LES), becomes too weak, too relaxed, or opens inappropriately. This allows for stomach acid to travel upward into the esophagus.

Running and other forms of exercise can trigger heartburn if the lower esophageal sphincter is too relaxed or weak, especially in exercises that require a lot of abdominal work.

Foods to Blame

You’re more likely to suffer a heartburn flare-up after eating certain foods.

These mainly consist of acidic foods like coffee, orange juice, alcohol, spicy foods, high fiber, gassy food like sodas, and overly processed foods.

The logic here, when your body needs to process more, it will produce more gastric acid.

Additional resource – Can Running Help Cure Your Hangover?

Why Running Causing Heart Burn?

Acid reflux can be a painful condition while running—especially because high-impact exercise, running, for example, often makes it worse.

There are many reasons why. For starters, running usually limits blood flow to the gastrointestinal area, interrupting proper digestion. Running also requires a constrained body position.

What’s more?

All that high-impact movement, core activation, and jostling manhandle the intestines, forcing stomach content to escape. The risks of this occurring depend on many factors, such as your training intensity and the type of food consumed in the hours before the workout.

Again don’t take my word for it. Research from the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that when it comes to running, weight training, or stationary biking, running resulted in the most acid reflux in study subjects.

So should you give up on running altogether?

But just because you get heartburn during a run doesn’t mean you should stop exercising altogether. Running and exercise, in general, can reduce the risks of developing GERD by getting in shape and helping maintain a healthy weight.

Again, don’t take my word for it. A study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology reported that shedding 10 to 15 pounds can curb heartburn symptoms by up to 40 percent.

And it’s not just one research.

Another research out of the Journal Neurogastroenterology & Motility looked into about 15,000 generally overweight subjects who exhibited GERD symptoms for a few years.

The conclusion?

The researchers reported that those who lost more than 5 pounds and reduced their waist circumference by more than five centimeters improved their GERD symptoms.

The key is to make the right adjustments and take proper precautions. That’s where the rest of this article comes in handy.

How To Treat And Prevent Heart Burn When Running

Here are some precautions you need to take to keep this unwanted guest away from your premises.

Avoid the Four C’s

Trigger food can boost acid secretion, limit stomach emptying, or compromise the LES—all of which can set the stage for heartburn.

As a general guideline, avoid the Four C’s.

This includes Citrus, Caffeine, Carbonated foods, and Chocolate.

You should also avoid any fatty food rich before a hard run.

I’d also recommend keeping a food journal for a few weeks.

At least two weeks, since it’s also the proper timing for gastric acid adaptation towards the treatment or changing lifestyle.

Inside it, keep track of the times you eat, the food content, speed/mileage, and whether you experience any stomach issues.

Eat Simple

Whether it’s premature fatigue, IG issues, stomach discomfort, or heartburn, what you eat just before going for a run impacts your running performance.

I can’t emphasize this enough.

So what’s the solution?

Eat something low in protein and fat while high in the right carbs.

But all things considered, the best (diet) course of action is to experiment with different foods till you find a match.

Then, stick with that for the long haul.

Want a fast source of energy before a run?  Try any of the following:

  • Eggs on wholegrain toast,
  • Strawberries with honey,
  • Greek yogurt,
  • Banana with peanut butter.
  • A small bowl of whole-grain cereal.

These snacks should provide you with enough energy without upsetting your stomach.

Time it Right

The less stuff you have sloshing around your stomach while running, the better. Providing your meals with enough time to get digested can drastically reduce the frequency of heartburn.

An empty stomach causes no reflux.

For this reason, avoid eating anything heavy two to three hours before a run. The bigger the meal, the more time you’ll need between eating and running. There’s no way around that.

This should give your stomach enough time to process the food.

You should also experiment with how long before a run to consume the right snack and/or meal.

Drink Lots of Water

Proper water intake naturally cleanses your esophagus and might even help prevent, or at the very least, soothe the symptoms in case of heartburn during a run.

Just make sure not to drink too much.

Too much water in your stomach is as bad as eating a large meal just before a workout.

Moderation is key.

I would rather recommend normal water instead of sports drinks or ion water.

They might be too acidic for your stomach.

Don’t take my word for it.

Research had reported that heartburn-prone athletes suffered from more flare-ups than those who drank water when they had a sports drink during training.

Try Medication

Sometimes, natural remedies and lifestyle changes can’t help much.

Give medication a try.

Some over-the-counter drugs, such as Antacids or Simethicone, can quickly stop the acid in its track and bring some relief.

If the meds feel too much, start with two weeks of moderate intake so your gut linings can adapt well.

Wear Loose Fitting Clothes

Runners swear by compression gear, whether tights or other form-fitting clothing, but such outfits often may prove problematic if you’re prone to GERD.

Tight clothing puts pressure on your abdomen and may force stomach content into your esophagus.

It may also impede proper food digestion. In addition, these “unprocessed” foods contribute to acid reflux.

Add to this the jostling motion of running, and you got yourself a recipe for disaster.

As a rule, choose loose-fitting running shorts, shirts, and other running clothing that gives your body enough room to encourage proper digestive function.

Don’t wait for it.

Or, at the very least, consider loosening up a little and choosing running gear that doesn’t constrict your chest, stomach, and waist.

Seek Medical Help

If changing your lifestyle habits and taking OTC drugs don’t get your workout-induced heartburn under control, consult your doctor.

For more severe symptoms, you might need a prescription from your doctor.

This is especially the case when suffering from intense chest pain, whether running-induced or not.

In some cases, heartburn is like heart attack pain.

Your doctor may prescribe a combination between antacids (such as calcium chewable tablets), proton pump inhibitors (like omeprazole), and H2 blockers (like ranitidine and cimetidine).

Stick with this for at least two weeks straight before you get off immediately.

This way, you may lower your risk of relapse.

In some cases, taking such medication a day before a long run or race may help ease your symptoms—or prevent them altogether.

Just keep in mind that there are downsides to any form of medication.

Only to use in case of emergencies.

Run, Forrest, Run!!

Yes!

DO NOT stop running.

Do not let heartburn interfere with your consistency.

You stand a lot to gain by running with heartburn than living a heartburn-free life as a couch potato.

As you already know, running has a lot to offer.

It can help you get in shape, relieve stress, improve stamina, etc.

Thank you for reading my post.

Feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

Cheers.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome in Runners – The Complete Guide

knee brace for knee pain

Experiencing nagging pain in the outer part of your knee? Then it’s likely a symptom of iliotibial band syndrome.

This notorious overuse injury is caused by repeated knee movements and bending on every foot strike you take while running.

ITBS is one of the most frustrating overuse running injuries. Unfortunately, it’s common in runners due to the repetitive high-impact nature of the sport.

Here’s the good news. Developing ITBS isn’t a death sentence. There are way more than a few ways to help you treat and prevent IT band syndrome.

In this article, I’ll explain

  • What is the iliotibial band
  • What causes ITBS
  • What are the symptoms of IT band Syndrome
  • How to treat ITBS
  • How to prevent ITBS
  • And so much more

Sounds great?

Let’s get started.

Enter The IT Band Syndrome

Before I delve into some of the treatment and prevention strategies for this incapacitating condition, let’s first look at the medical definition of ITBS and some of the main factors that cause it.

Iliotibial band syndrome is an overuse injury of connective tissues of the outer thigh and knee, and it’s one of the most common injuries experienced by runners from all training backgrounds and fitness levels.

IT band syndrome is usually caused by repetitively bending the knee while running. This band is mainly made up of connective tissue or fascia. This elastic group of fibers stretches along your thigh from the hip to below the knee.

Overuse can irritate and tighten the IT band. This can force the band to rub against the hip or knee, which results in swelling and pain. The rubbing may also cause inflammation in the bursa, setting the stage for trochanteric bursitis (another topic for another day).

This injury does not discriminate nor differentiate.

It can hit the beginner runner and elite runner alike.

According to research, this injury accounts for about 10 percent of all running injuries.

But what is the IT band?

The Iliotibial Band Defined

The Iliotibial band is the lower portion of the tensor fasciae latae—or TFL for short.

The IT band is not a muscle. Instead, it’s a thick tendon band of fibers that begins on the iliac crest—the border of the most important pelvis bone—outside the hip.

This band has attachments to its origin from three different muscles:

the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and vastus lateralis.

Next, the IT band runs down the outside of the thigh, then crosses the knee joints and inserts along the lateral segment of the kneecap—or what’s known as the patella—and into the tibia, the major bone of the lower leg.

This tendon has one primary function— ensuring lateral stability in the lower extremity—especially of the knee, as it flexes and extends through its range of motion.

Risk Factors For ITBS

Muscle weakness (and imbalances) and the high impact and repetitive nature of running increase strain and stress on the IT band, leading to pain and injury.

Here are more variables that increase your odds of getting ITBS:

  • Being bowlegged, which is a medical condition called varus deformity
  • Having poor hip or pelvic mobility
  • Ill-fitting or worn-out running shoes
  • Total knee or hip replacement
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Bad running technique
  • Tightness in the lower leg or pelvic muscles
  • Inefficient running gait, such as overstriding.

How to Spot the Problem – The Signs of ITBS

The hallmark of iliotibial band syndrome is painful knees, especially on the outer side of the joint.

ITBS is pain and tenderness along the outer side of the knee where the bone hits above the joint, often coming with a clicking sensation. This clicking sensation is caused by the Iliotibial band tightening and cracking across the knee joint when running.

Many runners have often mistaken it for the infamous Runners Knee (and other knee injuries). But that’s not true.

ITBS is different than the classically notorious runners’ knee.

Therefore, remember that Iliotibial band syndrome isn’t a KNEE INJURY—even if you have pain and significant swelling outside the knee.

For an accurate ITBS self-diagnosis, bend your knee at a 45-degree angle.  If you feel pain outside of the knee, you might have IT band problems.

You may also have ITBS when you start feeling pain and tenderness on the lateral side of the hip or knee after a mile or two of running—Typically after around 5 to 10 minutes.

The pain is often worse when running up or down hills. And as soon as you switch to walking, the pain goes away.

Note: Keep in mind that this is a very debilitating injury. It can sideline you for weeks or even longer—especially if you don’t know how to tackle it right and relieve the pain.

Additional resource – Heart Murmurs while working out

Causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Along with the biomechanical causes, mainly muscle imbalances in the lower body—especially weak glutes and hamstrings—and a lack of flexibility in the hamstrings and hip flexors, ITBS can develop due to other reasons.

Here are a few:

  • Running in improper shoes.
  • Overtraining
  • Running on banked on improper surfaces—especially banked surfaces.
  • Doing too much too soon.
  • Poor ankle range of motion
  • Too much downhill running.

There is a solution, you know

This is one of the most widespread overuse injuries among runners of all ages and training backgrounds.

That’s good news, as plenty of proven ways can help relieve the pain.

How to Treat Iliotibial Band Syndrome In runners

When it comes to preventing this painful injury, there are some things you can do.

Here is what you need to do to get back on track—no pun intended 😉

Back off

Your first line of defense against most running injuries is the widely known R.I.C.E strategy.

So at any sign of trouble, back off from running, ice the painful area two to three times a day, and apply compression using bandages or stockade to reduce inflammation and pain.

You can also use anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen to soothe the pain but take them sparingly and only in cases of extreme pain.

Let the injured area recover at its rate.

In most cases, running will only exacerbate the symptoms of overuse running injury—especially when it comes to ITBS.

It’s simple—if running hurts you, don’t do it.

How much rest you will need depends mostly on the severity of the injury.

As a general guideline, a few days off will do the trick if you spot IT band syndrome in its early stages. But if you’ve been running in pain for some time, you’ll need more rest, weeks, or even months off, away from high-impact activity.

But that doesn’t mean you must sit on your butt and do nothing. You can always cross-train and opt for activities that don’t put too much stress on the injured area.

Cross-Train Right

Anything low-impact will do. I highly recommend regular yoga practice (strength and stretch work in one mix) and regular strength exercise (add the strength moves below to your resistance training).

These practices will help you prevent IT band syndrome and fix muscle imbalances, the leading cause of most running injuries.

Returning to Running After ITBS

In most cases, ITBS stems from biomechanical problems. How fast you can return to your former running mileage depends mainly on your progress in the glute and hip strength and mobility.

The sooner you fix the muscle imbalances at the issue’s core, the smoother and pain-free your return to running will be.

If you catch ITBS before it gets serious, it would only take a few days to a few weeks off the running train for the inflammation outside the knee to settle.

Icing the injured area several times a day can speed up your recovery.

It will only take months to two months of regular strength training to undo the damage and completely recover.

So don’t give up too soon. Just be patient and give it time.

The more you work on the muscle, the stronger it will get, eventually.

How To Prevent IT Band Syndrome While Running

According to my experience and research, this problem will return to your running program after three months or even a year off.

This is most likely because most overuse running injuries result from muscle imbalances. When a muscle imbalance is left unchecked, it tends to stay so, causing many biomechanical problems.

That’s why your IT band might end up inflamed and sore after a couple of weeks of training post-recovery.

Therefore, if you are serious about warding off this condition for the long haul, you need to work on fixing the muscle imbalances that caused the injury, mainly weakness in the glutes and hips.

Strengthen your Hips and Glutes

As I stated earlier, weak glute and hip muscles have a say in ITBS development.

Of course, the iliotibial band itself cannot be strengthened, but building strength in the surrounding muscles should help prevent injury and help speed up recovery by providing support and stability to the knee joint.

Here are five strength exercises that target these areas so you can get back on track in no time:

Lateral Leg Raises

Clam Shells

Hip Raise

Hip Thrusts

Lying Glute Stretch

These simple exercises can help you strengthen the body’s largest and maybe the most powerful muscle group: the glutes. This also adds strength to your hamstrings.

You can add these exercises to any workout, or they can be used as a workout routine on their own—in fact, this is mandatory if you have the condition and are serious about returning to running as soon as possible.

Along with these five exercises, I highly recommend doing a regular core training workout.

Not just crunches and sit-ups but a well-rounded and intense routine.

Roll the IT Band

Foam rolling—a self-massage technique geared toward undoing “fascia knots”—is the best tool for stretching the IT band and relieving ITBS pain.

The pressure applied by a foam roller can help you loosen up the fascia and tendon along the IT band, which promotes mobility and relieves pain.

Here is how

Lie on your side with the roller under your leg.

Then, while using your body weight for pressure, roll your IT band from its origins in the hips down to the knee.

Stop at areas that feel unusually tender or tense and release it slowly. Just be sure never to roll a joint.

Do this simple ITB foam rolling exercise at least once a day, and make it a part of your pre-run warm-up ritual if you can.

Here is the rolling foam routine you need for better and injury-free running.

Keep Tabs on your shoes

Another tip to help you avoid overuse injuries is to replace your running shoes regularly. Worn-out shoes have less impact-absorbing properties, which may increase your IT band pain odds.

Most experts recommend replacing running every 400 to 500 miles—or around four to six months of training for the recreational runner.

Warm Up Properly

A proper warm-up is key for efficient and injury-free training. I cannot emphasize this enough. This is especially the case when trying to stay proactive about ITBS.

I recommend starting all your runs with a 5 to 15-minute dynamic warm-up. The harder the session, the more intense the warm-up.

As a rule, start with at least 5 minutes of slow jogging or power walking to increase your breathing and heart rates. Then perform a series of dynamic exercises, such as inchworms, leg swings, deep squats, lunges, etc., to activate your running muscles and get them ready for speed.

Practice Proper Running Habits

Along with cross-training, foam rolling, and strength training, ensure you are running right.

So if you are serious about preventing overuse running injuries—not just ITBS—then be sure to develop these healthy running habits:

  • Run in the proper running shoes.
  • When it comes to adding mileage, slow and gradual is the way to go.
  • Do your bulk of running on proper surfaces. Steer as much as possible of hard, concrete, and banked surfaces.
  • Work on developing proper form.
  • Keep listening to your body and re-adjust your training approach accordingly. And never ignore pain—the pain usually a sign of something going wrong—so keep an eye on it and never shun it.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome in Runners – The Conclusion

Here you have it. I think that’s it on how to treat and prevent IT band syndrome while running.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

Thank you for reading my post

Cheers.