Friday, August 3, 2012

10 Ways to Improve Your Running

[1] Find Consistency
The Problem: Inconsistent running. You go for a run one morning, but the next day you can't seem to find the time. The following day, you don't have the energy to run after work, so you miss another day. And so on-haphazardly.

The Program: Resolve to run everyday at approximately the same time. Don't worry about how far or how fast you run; the important thing is to carve out a specific, regular time and do it.

It doesn't matter whether you choose to run in the morning, at lunch or in the evening; just go with the period that has the fewest potential interruptions and gives you the greatest chance for relaxed, enjoyable running.

 In the summer, it might be the cool early morning. When the weather turns cold, it might be lunchtime, after work, or after school. Whatever time you choose, stick with it and don't give yourself an easy "out." Let your body get into the rhythm of a regular routine and go with the flow.

The Payoff: You"ll feel better when you're running on a regular basis, rather than sporadically. You"ll have a better chance of running faster and farther, too.

[2] Improve Speed
The Problem: You don't like doing speed work, but you know it will improve your half-marathon and marathon times. What to do?

The Program: Try threshold -sometimes called "tempo" -runs. These runs are specifically designed to improve your sustained speed for longer races. How fast should threshold runs be? Around 10-K race pace.
  You can do threshold runs either in one continuous segment or with rest breaks thrown in. Here's an example of the latter: 4 x 5 minutes at threshold pace (say, 8-minute-mile pace if you race 10-Ks in around 50 minutes) with a 1-minute recovery job after each pickup. You should begin and end all tempo runs with 10 or more minutes of easy running. As you get fitter, you"ll be able to go longer. But don't go faster, or the workout will prove counter productive.

The Payoff: You"ll gain strength and speed that is specifically geared to long races such as half-marathons and marathons.

[3] Increase Confidence
The Problem: You lack confidence in your running.

The Program: Often, a lack of confidence is grounded in a fear of failure. In general, we all want to succeed, to be accepted, to measure up. Yet the fear of failure can be inhibiting. In our running, we can become so fixated on the things that aren't going right that we fail to notice our accomplishments.

Here's what you can do about it: First, resolve to appreciate the positive aspects of your running. Think about why you started running in the first place and how far you've come since then. Really notice how your body has changed as you've become fitter.

Second, set doable goals and vow to have fun achieving them. Enjoy the process. There is no right or wrong way to run; there are only different approaches. So stop worrying about Joe's 5-K PR or Karen's marathon pace. When you really reach your goal, savor the moment, relive all the steps it took to get there, and admire your courage and determination.

The Payoff: With more confidence in and control over your running, you"ll have a lot more fun with it. Doubtless, this will translate to improvement.

[4] Extend Endurance
The Problem: Lack of endurance. Your long runs are torture!

The Program: To improve your endurance on long runs, add hill training to your program. Each week (or every other week at least), find a long hill- around a mile in length, if possible. The idea is to work this hill into the middle of an otherwise easy distance run of perhaps 5 to 10 miles. No need to attack the hill, and don't worry about pace, either. Just get over it.

In a month or so, try doing the hill twice while maintaining the same over all distance for the run. Make sure you're recovering between hill repeats. For example, you might hit the hill at mile 2 and then again at mile 5.

The Payoff: Hill running is excellent for improving endurance, and it will make running on flat terrain that much easier. Because you"ll be stronger, your long runs won't feel so long, either.

[5] Create Variety
The Problem: You're in a training rut.

The Program: To get out of it, you need to break up your routine. Like many runners, you may be spending too many days running the same route at the same place.

 The solution is to plan a variety of workouts a month in advance and mark them on a calender. (Do this on the first of every month.) Plan speed work days. Plan long-run days. Plan to run a race. Plan a couple of "excursion" long runs to a nearby state park with scenic trails. Plan days for rest, cross-training, or quality time with the family. Variety is the spice of life-and your vehicle to get out of your rut.

The Payoff: With more variety- and a calender to help you stay with it - each run will have a purpose (i.e., speed, strength, endurance, recovery, rest, fun) and won't simply be a means of satisfying your logbook. You"ll soon feel fresher, stronger, and faster.

[6] Fix Form
The Problem: You've got sloppy running form, which could be causing injuries, tightness, and poor racing.

The Program: Find a full-length mirror. Jog in place in front of it. Is your head held high? Are your hands and arms flowing fluidly past your sides while curving inward just a little when they move in front of your body? Good. Now turn sideways and keep jogging. Are your ears, shoulders, and hips all making a line that meets the floor at a 90-degree angle? Great. Make a mental snapshot of your image in the mirror and get ready to tackle the great outdoors.
  To develop the efficient stride you want, begin walking on a track or flat road. Remember that upright image in the mirror. Walk a little faster. Walk really fast. Then, while keeping the same form, let yourself break into a run. Yes, you've got to pick up your knees a little more- surprisingly little, it turns out -but that's the only change you should make. Stay loose and comfortable. Don't lean forward or reach out with your front foot. Let your feet come down naturally right over your center of gravity. Now you have it.

The Payoff: Even if you don't start running faster, improved form will help you run smoother and more relaxed while increasing your endurance and decreasing your injury risk.

[7] Seek Moderation
The Problem: Just when you get in great shape, you get hurt or become over trained.

The Program:  It could be that you're setting your goals too high and have to train too hard to attain them. Over training is the downfall of many fine runners and a frequent cause of illness and injury.
  Think moderation in your training; it is always the surest path to success. Being moderate doesn't mean you're not supposed to train hard. It simply means you need to be smart about it, such as knowing when a day off or an easy day is in order. A good way to keep track of what's needed when is to keep a training diary. This is an excellent tool for helping you see potential problems before they become actual problems. If you can determine your "red line" -the point at which bad things can happen-you'll be More apt to stay healthy.

The Payoff: Consistent training is the best way to achieve success. You'll enjoy running more and will be more likely to improve when you avoid the down periods caused by over training.

[8] Build Strength
The Problem: Your legs are strong, but your upper body isn't. This detracts from your race performances, especially near the end, when your form breaks down.

The Program: Resistance training is the surest way for runners to build strength. And it doesn't take much time, either. You can get considerably stronger on just one set of exercises two or three times a week. This workout will take less than 20 minutes and should be done after an easy run or on a day off.
  The following exercises will work all the major muscle groups, including the legs. Do them slowly and through a full range of motion with relatively heavy resistance: leg extensions (quadriceps), leg curls (hamstrings) and seated toe raises (shins) for the legs; bench presses (chest and triceps), dumbbell presses (shoulders and triceps), dumbbell curls (biceps), dumbbell bent rows (upper back and biceps), back extensions (lower back), and trunk curls (abdominal) for the upper body.

The Payoff: A stronger body will help you maintain proper posture when the going gets rough. With more definition in your muscles, you'll look and feel better, too.

[9] Stay Flexible
The Problem: Mental inflexibility regarding your running.

The Program:  In running, we talk a lot about staying flexible - in the physical sense. But what we runners really need is more mental flexibility.
  Example: Marathon great Frank Shorter once ran a track session of 400-meter repeats that wasn't going well. In fact, he was several seconds too slow on each 400. So, in the middle of the session, Shorter took his stop watch off and tossed it aside. "I didn't need the watch to confirm that I had the 'heavies' that day," Shorter said. "So I finished the workout without timing."
  Admittedly, we runners like to be tough. That's understandable, because we know that hard work brings improvement. But try to remember that smart and flexible are often better than tough. For example, if there's a 40-mile-per-hour gale wind on the day you have track work scheduled, reschedule it. You want to use your training journal and race goals as guides, yes, but don't be a slave to them.

The Payoff: By staying more flexible in your workouts, you'll be less likely to set yourself up for frustration and failure. Your day-to-day running will go more smoothly.

[10] See a doctor
The Problem: Injuries slow you down
The Payoff: Seeing a doctor as soon as you notice any problems in your body will help get the problem fixed faster.  The faster a problem is fixed, the sooner you will get back to running. Call our office at 419-423-1888 to schedule an appointment at the first sign of injury or damage.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Athlete's Guide to Athlete's Foot

So, you're an athlete and you have probably heard of a thing called 'athlete's foot' but have never really known what it is.  Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus.  It is most often caused by a fungus that is in moist and damp areas like swimming pools and locker rooms.  These places are most often inhabited by athlete's, and therefore the condition was nicknamed athlete's foot.  Symptoms of athlete's foot include...
  • Dry Skin
  • Itching and Burning
  • Scaling
  • Inflammation
  • Blistering
It is important to see your podiatrist if the condition does not respond to proper hygiene or does not go away within two weeks.  Oral or topical antifungal medication may be prescribed to treat the fungus.  If the infection is caused by bacteria an antibiotic may be prescribed.  Tineastat can be purchased through our online product store.  Tineastat combines the powerful anti-fungal medicine Clortrimazole 1%, and potent herbal extracts to create this effective treatment for itching, burning, and the discomfort associated with athlete’s foot) tinea pedis, jock itch, ringworm and other fungal skin infections.

Use these tips from the American Podiatric Medical Association to prevent Athlete's foot from occurring or recurring ...
  • Wash feet daily with soap and water; dry carefully, especially between the toes
  • Avoid walking barefoot; use shower shoes
  • Reduce perspiration by using talcum powder
  • Wear light and airy shoes
  • Change shoes and hose regularly to decrease moisture
  • Wear socks that keep your feet dry, and change them frequently if you perspire heavily

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Le Tour de France


Le Tour de France is an annual cycling event that occurs in France.  The tour was first staged in 1903.  Riders typically ride around 2,200 miles over the span of three weeks and 19 stages. According to Time Magazine, the race was a result of Henri Desgrange, a French Magazine editor.  He launched the race  is 1903 using 60 racers in an effort to boost circulation of his magazine.  His magazine became popular due to coverage of the Tour and the popularity of the tour increased. 

Jersey Wearers

Throughout the tour, several different jerseys are worn by the riders.  The jerseys include a yellow jersey, a green jersey, a polka dot jersey, and a white jersey.  The rider with the lowest overall time of the whole race wears the yellow jersey.  The winner of the points classification wears the green jersey.  Points are added up by points collected in a stage and subtracting penalty points.  Placing high in a finishing stage or winning a sprint earn points for the riders.  My personal favorite jersey is the red and white polka dotted jersey, or the king of the mountain jersey.  This jersey is worn by riders who are first to reach the top of specific hills and mountains.  The white jersey is awarded to the best young rider in the tour.

The Winner

The winner of the race is the rider who has the lowest cumulative time.  The overall winner receives the prestigious yellow jersey at the end of the race.  However, riders can win an individual stage and it comes with great honor.  Riders can also win the various jersey's discussed above during the race. 

Stages and Teams

Throughout le Tour de France there are usually around 20 stages.  There are three different types of stages within the twenty stages.  These stages include time trials, flat, and mountain stages.  Different riders excel in different stages.  A cyclist does not begin the race alone but usually goes with nine other riders.  These teammates use strategy to help their strongest cyclist win.  Teams come from all over the world and represent several different countries. 

The 2012 Tour de France began on June 30 and will continue until July 22.  Tune in and see if you can spot the different colored jerseys!  You can also learn a little about strategy and how teams plan to win the coveted yellow jersey.  The fans are also fun to watch, as the race is a very big event in France. 

Cycling and Your Feet

If watching and learning about the tour has inspired you to get on a bike, here are some tips for cycling and foot care. 

  • The type of biking you do can impact your choice of shoes. For road cycling and racing, shoes that have stiff soles, a narrow heel, and snug fit are best. For mountain biking, the shoes also need a decent tread for better grip and a more rugged sole.

  • For the casual or recreational cyclist, a typical athletic shoe used for running, walking, or cross-training is perfectly fine for biking. Just be sure that the sole is firm and not worn down so that it grips the pedal to avoid slipping
  • Check out this book pictured at below, available through our product store, to learn everything you need to know about cycling.

  • Be sure to contact a doctor before beginning any exercise routine.  Do not hesitate to contact our office if you are experiencing any problems with your feet. Call us at 419-423-1888 to schedule your appointment.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Summer Sports and Your Feet - Swimming, Camping, Tennis

Summer is a great time to be active and play sports.  The weather is nice and gives you the opportunity to take your activities outside.  However, you should take extra precaution with your feet when you are outdoors. 

If you head to the pool to swim some laps, or just relax, don't neglect your feet.  It is very important to apply sunscreen to your feet when outdoors,  the skin on your feet is just as susceptible to melanoma as the rest of your body.  You may also want to invest in some water shoes are take a pair of sandals to wear around the pools.  Pools are warm, moist areas; perfect for fungus and bacteria to grow.  Wearing shoes on your feet at the public pool will protect you from developing fungal nails, warts, cuts and other infections.

You should also protect your feet and ankles from insect bites when outside.  Hiking, camping, and canoeing all expose your feet to insects like mosquitoes and ticks that can be harmful to your health.  Wear shoes and socks and apply bug spray along with your sunscreen to avoid potential problems that could be caused by an insect bite.

Tennis is a classic summer sport.  Don't neglect your feet! Common tennis injuries include ankle sprains, stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, and tennis toe. If you experience recurring or persistent pain, please contact our office for an evaluation.
The best way to prevent foot injuries from tennis is to make sure you condition yourself. This includes building all-around body strength and flexibility; stretching the muscles (particularly in your calves) before, during and after play; drinking lots of water; and wearing the right shoes.

Tennis shoes need lots of cushioning and shock absorption to deal with all the forces placed on your feet during play and to keep your foot and ankle stable. Be sure to choose shoes specifically for racquet sports; running shoes, for example, don't have the support needed for the side-to-side movements common to tennis. Look for a tennis shoes that have a reinforced toe, wiggle room in the toe box, padding at the ball of the foot, sturdy sides, a low, well-cushioned heel that is not flared, and a firm heel counter for support.

If you experience any problems with your feet and ankles as a result of your summer sports, don't hesitate to contact our office to schedule an appointment.  Call us at 419-423-1888 or visit our website to request an appointment.  The sooner your feet feel better, the sooner you will be back in the game!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Foot Care for Hiking

Hiking and camping are great summer pass times.  It is fun to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and retreat into nature.  However, it is important to not let foot pain or foot problems ruin your trip. 

During a hike, your feet are going to take quite a beating if you don't prepare properly.  Step one is to protect yourself from blisters. Blisters are caused by the combination of friction and moisture in your boots or shoes.  It is very important to have the proper boots and socks to avoid blisters and shoe irritations.  Your boots should provide you will a comfortable fit and your toes should not touch the tops or sides of the shoe.  Your feet will swell during a hike and it is important for the shoe to have room for your foot when this happens.  It is also important to shop for your hiking boots during the afternoon when your feet are the most swollen.  This will also help get a properly fitted hiking shoe. 

Socks are also important in preventing injuries during hiking.  Be sure to purchase a pair of socks with moisture wicking properties, this will help reduce friction and the chance for blisters to occur.  Once you have a pair of moisture wicking socks purchased, be sure to take them with you when you buy your boots.  A sock can dramatically alter the fit of your boot so it is very important to have them with you when shopping.

If a foot irritation does occur proper care is crucial.  If you notice any discomfort, stop hiking and remove your boots and socks.  This will allow your feet to air dry and rest.  Examine the feet for hot spots and blisters. Do not pop a blister unless absolutely necessary as this can cause infection. Instead, apply moleskin to the sensitive areas and then change into a clean, dry pair of socks before moving on. If you are prone to blisters,  you can apply moleskin before your hike.

Cracked calluses may also occur during your hike. Removing calluses and conditioning the feet before setting out on a hike is preferable to on-the-trail foot maintenance.  Try ClearZal Callus Cream to remove calluses.  This multi-action formula exfoliates and moisturized in one easy step.  Salicylic acid and TCA, or tricholoroacetic acid, help slough away dead skin cells while urea and aloe vera moisturize new skin.

Check out Step Alive Shoe Center for more information on how to get properly fitted hiking boots and care for your feet.  If you notice any abnormalities in your feet as a result of hiking don't hesistate to call our office at 419-423-1888 or visit our website to request an appointment.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Examine Your Old Shoes Before You Toss Them

It is necessary to replace old and worn out shoes to ensure healthy feet, especially for athletes.  And although wearing those old, run-down sneakers may be bad for your health, it can benefit you to look at them.  Examining your old shoes for points of wear and tear is a great way to get a better fit the next time you buy new shoes. 
  • A bulge and wear to the side of the big toe means too-narrow fit or you have a bunion.
  • Outer sole wear means you turn your foot out. Orthotics may help.
  • Toe-shaped ridges on the upper means your shoes are too small or you have hammertoes.
  • Wear on the ball of the foot means your heel tendons may be too tight.
  • Wear on the inner sole means you pronate or turn your foot inward. Inner liners or orthotics may help.
  • Wear on the upper, above the toes means the front of your shoe is too low.
When you purchase your new shoes, keep the wear patterns of your old shoes in mind.  For example, if you had toe-shaped ridges on your old shoes you should consider going up a size or getting your feet remeasured.  You may also want to buy product to protect your new shoes from wearing down too quickly.  Try Pedinol Ostiderm Roll-On anti-persperant for the feet.  Reducing the sweat trapped in your shoes and socks will increase the longevity of your shoe as well as the health of your feet. Check out and our website for more tips and tricks on how to get the healthiest feet around. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fitness and Your Feet

Your feet are one of the most overlooked body parts when it comes to exercise. As you exercise, pay attention to what your feet are telling you.

Consult your physician before beginning any fitness program. This includes a complete physical and foot exam. This is especially important for those who are overweight, smoke, or haven't had a physical exam in a long time.

Proper fitness requires wearing the right clothes and shoes. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored and loosely woven clothing in hot weather and several layers of warm clothing in cold weather.

The American Podiatric Medical Association stresses the importance of foot care in exercising. People don't realize the tremendous pressure that is put on their feet while exercising. For example, a 150-pound jogger puts more than 150 tons of impact on his feet when running three miles.

Improper foot care during exercise is a contributing factor to some of the more than 300 foot ailments, according to the APMA.

The following are common ailments caused by improper foot care during exercise:
  • Athlete's foot;
  • Blisters;
  • Corns and calluses; and
  • Heel pain (including heel spurs).
Your feet are one of the most overlooked body parts when it comes to exercise. As you exercise, pay attention to what your feet are telling you.

Consult your physician before beginning any fitness program. This includes a complete physical and foot exam. This is especially important for those who are overweight, smoke, or haven't had a physical exam in a long time.

Proper fitness requires wearing the right clothes and shoes. Wear loose-fitting, light-colored and loosely woven clothing in hot weather and several layers of warm clothing in cold weather.

The American Podiatric Medical Association stresses the importance of foot care in exercising. People don't realize the tremendous pressure that is put on their feet while exercising. For example, a 150-pound jogger puts more than 150 tons of impact on his feet when running three miles.

Improper foot care during exercise is a contributing factor to some of the more than 300 foot ailments, according to the APMA.

The following are common ailments caused by improper foot care during exercise:
  • Athlete's foot;
  • Blisters;
  • Corns and calluses; and
  • Heel pain (including heel spurs).
Visit our online product store for products to help prevent these ailments. Try the SteriShoe Ultraviolet light sanitizer to prevent athlete's foot from occuring or re-occuring.  The combination of sweat and heat inside the shoe makes for a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria and fungi that cause tonail fungus, athlete's foot, and fould odor.  To fully minimize the likelihood of new or re-infection, germs must be eradicated at the risk source.  Hundreds of doctors dispense SteriShoe and patients across the US benefit from SteriShoe every day.

Visit for more information about the care and treatment of your feet or make an appointment with us today by calling us at 419-423-1888 or visiting our website,