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Nausea is a feeling everyone dreads. 

You’ve almost certainly experienced that queasy, uneasy feeling at one time or another — perhaps while standing at the start line of a big race… or even out of the blue on one of your weekly routine easy runs… maybe you’ve even experienced it after your run when you’re already finished…

According to The Cleveland Clinic, when you feel nauseous, you experience an uneasy feeling in your stomach that means you might have to vomit.

Let’s have a look at what nausea feels like in a bit more detail, why you may be experiencing it while you run, and what you can do to prevent it…

What Nausea Feels Like

Nausea can feel like a sudden urge to vomit or a low-level sense of discomfort and dizziness.

Nausea feels slightly different to everyone.

Symptoms Of Nausea According To Stanford Health Care:

  • Feeling like you are about to vomit
  • Lack of appetite
  • Profuse sweating
  • Repeated rhythmic contractions of respiratory and abdominal muscles that happen without your control (retching)
  • Stomach ache
  • An uneasy feeling in your chest, upper abdomen, or back of your throat
  • Vomiting

Now that we know how it feels, here’s what may cause these horrible symptoms…

Causes Of Nausea Before, During & After a Run

Pre-race nausea is quite common, it’s caused by the feeling of nerves and anxiety because of the high-pressure situation you find yourself in.

This same anxiety and nerves can be experienced by some in a normal training session too… 

Anxiety is a physiological and psychological state that is typically related to situations perceived as uncontrollable or unavoidable. 

Runners may feel these nerves before a race due to internal and external pressure they have placed on themselves. 

In short, physically, what’s happening to your body at that moment is a result of the anxiety, your body releases adrenaline, which disrupts your digestive system… resulting in the feeling of the need to vomit.

The most likely cause of nausea during your run is dehydration…

Maintaining proper hydration is essential to overall good health. Without water, your cells can’t function.

Other causes of nausea during a run may be if you consume too much salt in your diet, this makes you dehydrated and may make you feel nauseous.

Beginning or ending your run too abruptly without warming up or cooling down may lead to the feeling of nausea.

Nausea could also happen because blood flowing to our gastrointestinal tract and stomach is rerouted to the muscles we’re working on, thus slowing digestion and causing discomfort.

If you’re running in hot weather then you’re probably going to start sweating quite quickly… this is a great way to detox but can also cause dehydration and low blood pressure… which can lead to nausea and most times, vomiting. 

Another common cause for feeling nauseous after a run is when you try to push yourself just a bit too hard and run at too high of an intensity.

5 Reliable Ways To Prevent Nausea Before a Run

  1. Leave 2 hours between your run and your pre-run meal… Rather have a pre-run snack just before you run.
  2. Take extra care with your pre-race meal. (consider a liquid pre-race meal, which is digested quickly, as opposed to more solid foods.)
  3. Warm-up properly. This will relieve a lot of anxiety.
  4. Do a reality check. (Why am I here?)
  5. Visualize your success.

 5 Reliable Ways To Prevent Nausea During a Run

  1. Prevent anxiety by focusing on the things you do have control over.
  2. Run at the correct intensity.
  3. If you take gels, make sure you take them with water and not another carbohydrate drink.
  4. Avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen around your race. Research has associated these with vomiting during endurance events.
  5. Make sure that you are adequately hydrated and that you sip water when you’re thirsty.

5 Reliable Ways To Prevent Nausea After a Run

  1. Avoid eating something too heavy and rich before your run
  2. Stay well-hydrated before and during your run to avoid dehydration.
  3. If you are consuming sugary foods during the race, make sure to ingest them with water to aid in digestion.
  4. Immediately stopping after your last interval or once you’ve crossed the finish line can wreak havoc on your stomach because it’s not prepared for the rapid change in exertion so remember to do a cool-down walk or run.
  5. Use caution when the weather conditions are extremely hot and humid.

Now that we know how to prevent nausea before, during, or after a run… Let’s have a look at a few other nausea-related situations runners may experience. 

How To Prevent Runner’s Stomach/ Belly

Runner’s belly is common. It is estimated that between 30% to 90% of runners and endurance sport athletes experience Gastrointestinal Complaints during training and races. 

When you’re running for an extended period, the blood flow that’s normally directed to your digestive system is diverted to your cardiovascular system.

This can disrupt your digestive process. Resulting in the strong urge to expel whatever is in your digestive system… which could lead to diarrhea symptoms and nausea. 

A more common name for runners belly is runners trots which is characterized by frequent, loose bowel movements. 

5 Ways To Prevent Runners Trots:

  1. Aim to eat your last full meal 2 hours before your run to minimize your chances of Gastrointestinal distress.
  2. Adequate hydration before and during a run can help minimize your risk.
  3. Optimizing gut health is one of the best ways to prevent runner’s stomach.
  4. Chat to a professional about considering taking supplements
  5. Book your consultation with Coach Parry’s nutritionist Nicki.

Reasons & Preventions For Nausea On a Long Run

The causes of why you may experience nausea on a long run can range from things as wide as the onset of hospital serious in other words you’ve been running for a long time and you haven’t been providing your body with any energy and that can lead to people feeling nauseous.

Similarly, if you’ve been taking in too much sugar in particular in the form of things like gels which are a very concentrated form of sugar, and then you’re not taking enough fluids, you can become very dehydrated.

Generally, in longer events where people feel nausea, they tend to abuse anti-inflammatories and pain killers… which exacerbate nausea.

Another common cause of nausea on long runs is overhydration…, water intoxication, which is much more dangerous than dehydration.

People who suffer from nausea become a little bit of an ongoing experiment, you’ve gotta try various things.

Prevention Of Nausea On Long Runs:

This is probably one area worth experimenting with Ketosis, maybe using ketone gels and ketone products that you can use throughout your run.

For some people, it’s as simple as finding a way of using solids…

We’ve had a client that struggled with nausea for a long long time and she ended up experimenting with something very similar to a Chelsea Bun and that worked for her… she has no more nausea issues. Since then she eats Chelsea Buns periodically.

Other solids you can try are nut butter, cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, dates and you can also experiment with MCT oils and Ketone oils.

Note: If you’ve experimented quite a bit and it’s something that just continues to persist then you should go and see a sports physician and do a couple of tests to make sure there isn’t something specific to you from a medical point view. 

Combating Nausea Ahead Of The Comrades Marathon

When you inhale, air enters your lungs, and oxygen from the air moves from your lungs to your blood.

At the same time, carbon dioxide moves from your blood to the lungs and is exhaled.  There we have it, gaseous exchange = Life. 

But what about when you’re running… the same process right?  

But why do we find ourselves huffing and puffing not even 1km into our runs?

Research shows that the best way to breathe while running is to take deeper, longer breaths and to include rhythmic breathing. Runners should aim to keep their breathing as controlled as possible for as long as possible, to do this they should take walk breaks before they reach the point of uncontrollable panting. 

It is in any runner’s best interest to focus on their breathing. By breathing properly, runners can maximize their performance, boost running ease and efficiency so that they can run to their full potential. 

So… how do we do it? 

Breathing While Running

The best way to breathe is to undoubtedly have longer deeper breaths, combined with rhythmic breathing. 

Most people’s breathing rates adjust to the energy demand, so the fitter you are, the more efficient that process becomes. 

When you are running one of your harder runs, your respiratory rates (breathing in and out) will increase substantially, but there shouldn’t be any panting. Your breaths should still be big and you should be clearing out most of the capacity of your lungs so that you can take another deep breath in.

The problem (particularly with less trained athletes) is that when they start getting to that point of increased respiratory rates… They start to pant – Shallow, rapid breathing.

Shallow rapid breathing is inefficient because you won’t be getting rid of enough carbon dioxide and you won’t be inhaling enough oxygen. This is when you would quickly start to feel quite tired, resulting in stitches.

How To Breathe Properly While Running

To breathe properly while running you should take deep breaths at a rate determined by the demand for oxygen in your body.

To achieve this, slow your breathing down by actually slowing down your run. Your first goal should be to achieve that deep rhythmic breathing. It’s important to remember that even if you are breathing rapidly but taking deep rapid breaths then that’s alright. As long as you make sure those breaths are deep.

We recommend the run/walk strategy so that you can run faster for longer while breathing properly.

The run/walk strategy applies because you don’t want to run yourself to the point of not being able to breathe properly so you end up panting and having to walk. 

One mistake we see runners often making is when they reach a hill on their route, they choose to run up that hill until they literally can’t anymore, thinking their legs are failing but more often than not, it is the fact that they can’t get enough air. They are forced to walk.

By taking regular walk breaks you can stop yourself from getting anywhere near that respiratory distress.

The Talk Test

We like to call this breathing strategy for running the “Talk Test”. If you are still able to hold a conversation while running, then your breathing is under control as opposed to the good ole’… TalkAsFastAsWeCan…GASP FOR AIR…TalkAsFastAsWeCan method.

Obviously, if you are racing 5km, 10km & 15km races then holding a conversation isn’t going to work but for training runs and long distances then a good way to tell if you are running easy enough and breathing properly is to hold a conversation.

Belly Breathing While Running

As we mentioned above, deep breathing or belly breathing is what will increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your muscles.

Did you know that breathing deeply also has other amazing effects on your body?

Based on this study, belly breathing improves your focus and has a calming effect, which will improve your mental strength.

Now that we know how to breathe properly while running, let’s take a look at what benefits we gain from breathing correctly…

Benefits Of Breathing Properly While You Run

  • Helps you perform at your maximum potential.
  • Helps your muscles get the oxygen they need to keep going.
  • Activates your core.
  • Helps you maintain a steady running pace.
  • Help your muscles produce less carbon dioxide
  • Improve blood circulation and heart health

We know that our bodies will alter our breathing patterns, in response to changes in our activity levels, but some of us have those breathing habits that may be affecting our running abilities…

Nose or Mouth Breathing While Running

There is really no straightforward answer… 

If you’re heading out for a slow, short distance run then inhaling & exhaling through your nose is perfect. As your pace increases, your body will need more oxygen. This is when mouth breathing kicks in to help out. A lot of people choose to inhale through their noses and exhale through their mouths.

If You find yourself struggling to catch your breath and do the talk test. Then it would suit you to inhale and exhale through your mouth. 

During high-intensity runs and races, it’s recommended to breathe through your mouth only, as it’s more efficient because it allows more oxygen to enter your body and fuel your muscles. 

Whether it’s through your nose or mouth, what is most important is that those breaths are deep and controlled. Once you are used to breathing this way while running, you can start working on your rhythmic breathing. 

Rhythmic Breathing While Running

By rhythm, we are referring to how many steps you take during your inhale compared to how many you take during your exhale.

An example:  if you take 2 steps whilst breathing in and then 2 steps whilst breathing out, your breathing rhythm is 2:2. 

Breathing in a rhythmic pattern allows you to take in more oxygen and put less stress on your body.

Research suggests for a normal, easy run following a 3:2 pattern – (Inhale for three) (Exhale for two), and for a faster run following a 2:1 pattern. 

In our opinion, If following a running pattern feels too complicated, it’s perfectly okay. All you need to do is pay attention to your breath to get a sense of how a comfortable rhythm feels.  You’ll get the hang of it!

Struggling To Breathe While You Run?

As you know, running is an aerobic exercise, meaning your body needs large amounts of oxygen to do the activity.
This can result in you gasping for air – which is normal… And can be managed with the breathing strategies we spoke about above.  

By slowing down, taking deeper, controlled, and longer breathes we can control our “panting” and the oxygen demand should be met = normal breathing. 

If your breathing does not improve then we suggest consulting your doctor as it could be a sign of an underlying health condition. 

How To Stop Shortness Of Breath While Running:

  • Slow down
  • Breathe deeply into your core
  • Use your nose & mouth
  • Remove your headphones (Be in touch with your breath)
  • Correct your posture (Straight back & shoulders back)

Check out this video where Coach Lindsey Parry and Brad Brown team up once again to discuss the most efficient way to breathe whilst running: Here

Intermittent fasting is currently one of the hottest topics in the health & fitness community. It has become increasingly popularized by a variety of people from medical doctors, to influencers to ‘wannabe’ internet health nuts. 

Many recent studies have proven that excessive within-day energy deficits hurt health & performance, even when controlling for daily caloric intake. These studies validate not fasting before training, for males and females.

In other words… by intermittent fasting, by restricting when you consume food…

Women are experiencing menstrual dysfunction, suppressed resting metabolic rates & lower estrogen levels.

Men are experiencing suppressed resting metabolic rates, higher cortisol levels, and lower testosterone levels. 

Let’s dive into intermittent fasting…

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is a strategy in which you intentionally alternate a period of eating with a period of fasting. 

(You do this already when you sleep, but intermittent fasting expands on your normal fasting window)

As athletes ourselves we know that we are always keeping an eye out for the next edge that we can gain over our competitors.  

That’s where intermittent fasting came into play…

How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?

All Intermittent fasting strategies are essentially based on choosing regular time periods to eat and fast.

Someone who is intermittent fasting might try eating only during an eight-hour period each day and fast for the rest. Someone else might choose to eat only one meal a day 3 days a week. 

What Intermittent Fasting Does To Your Body

Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat.

When fasting, your body moves through a fasting cycle, where a number of changes take place:

During the first few hours of eating a meal your blood sugar levels rise, this results in your body secreting insulin. The extra glucose is stored in your muscles as glycogen, this is your body’s primary source of energy and hormones such as Leptin (hunger-suppressing) and Ghrelin (stimulates hunger) shift.

Then, after a good few hours, your insulin & blood sugar levels start to drop, resulting in your body turning glycogen into glucose (energy) 

Your body will slowly run out of liver glycogen stores and look for another energy source… say hello to lipolysis. (fat cells break down to be used as energy)

After not eating for 18 hours+ your glycogen stores in the liver have been depleted, and your body begins breaking down protein and fat for energy instead.

Your body will now be in ketosis. (Using fat for energy)

Being in Ketosis will give you a decreased appetite, weight loss, fatigue, bad breath, and increased levels of ketone bodies in the blood.

If you haven’t eaten a meal by now (48hrs after food), this state is referred to as the “Starvation state”.  Here, your insulin and BHB levels will rise, your kidneys will generate sugar as energy for your brain, and your branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are reduced to help conserve muscle tissue.

After reading what your body goes through during an intermittent fast, it may all seem a bit confusing… 

In a nutshell…

You should not fast before training.  Let’s have a look at recent studies that prove this statement to be true.

Intermittent Fasting & Running: Why You Shouldn’t

Study Number 1:

This study proves that within-day energy deficits (fasting) can hurt health and performance, especially for female athletes. 

Controlling overall daily caloric intake and excessive fasting can have negative impacts on people’s hormones and metabolism. (Impacting bone health & physical adaptation) 

Low energy availability (LEA) is when energy expenditure through running and lifestyle is mismatched with energy intake, leading to short-term or long-term caloric deficits, which provide you with health issues.

This diagram taken from the study shows us how low substrate and nutrient availability negatively affects cognitive and physical function and health as well as performance both directly and indirectly.

LEA causes endocrine changes that increase the risk for reproductive and endothelial dysfunction, dyslipidemia, gastrointestinal problems, reduced appetite, injuries, impaired bone health, and immunological suppression. 

Study Number 2: 

This study looks particularly into the effects of within-day deficits for female athletes. 

25 female athletes on the competitive club level between 18 and 38 years old were included in the study. 

Firstly the females went through tests related to menstrual function and athletic performance while recording activity and food intake in detail. Within-day deficits were classified as any 1-hour window where the energy deficit exceeded 300 kcal. 

Results:

  • Athletes with menstrual dysfunction had higher amounts of within-day deficits, even though total daily energy intake was not statistically different.
  • Higher within-day deficits led to suppressed resting metabolic rate and lower estrogen levels.
  • Within-day deficits led to higher cortisol levels (stress)
From those results we can understand that: 
  1. The reduced metabolic rate from energy deficiency may keep body composition stable, even as the endocrine system changes and health is impacted. 
  2. Within-day deficits can account for menstrual dysfunction due to hourly hormone pulses during different phases of the menstrual cycle. 

Study Number 3:

In 2018 a study was conducted.

Subjects consisted of 46 (18-50-year-old) male cyclists, triathletes, and long-distance runners. All subjects were categorized as trained or well trained.  31 subjects (67.4%) were included in the final data analysis.

In this group of men, 65% had suppressed resting metabolic rates and, despite similar EI and 24-hr EB compared with subjects with normal resting metabolic rate, they spent more time in a severe energy deficit and had larger single-hour energy deficit, which was associated with higher cortisol levels and lower testosterone: cortisol ratio.

EI= Energy Intake, EB = energy intake − total energy expenditure) or energy availability.

Study Number 4:

In 2017 a study was conducted to estimate and compare within-day energy balance in athletes with normal menstruation and menstrual dysfunction with similar 24-hour energy availability/energy balance. 

The study also investigated whether within-day energy deficiency is associated with resting metabolic rate and an increase in cortisol.  

Results: 

1. Female athletes with menstrual dysfunction had higher amounts of within-day deficits

2. Higher within day deficits led to suppressed resting metabolic rate & lower estrogen levels

3. Higher within day deficits led to higher cortisol levels

Study Number 5:

This study was conducted to show us that even though Ramadan isn’t a perfect representation of Intermittent fasting, there are still key lessons we can learn. 

Ramadan is a religious period in which people are unable to consume food or liquid during daylight hours. (From sunrise to sunset)

It is key to note that the results are slightly skewed as people observing Ramadan are not allowed to consume liquid. 

Two Algerian professional soccer teams (55 men) were studied. 

Field tests of physical and soccer performance were collected before, in the end, and 2 weeks after Ramadan in 2004. Players were queried on sleeping habits and personal perception of training and match performance.

The study found that performance declined. Speed, agility, dribbling speed, and endurance was reduced during Ramadan. Similarly, just three days of intermittent fasting during Ramadan significantly reduced speed and power ability. 

Nearly 70% of the players thought that their training and performance were adversely affected during the fast.

Study Number 6:

Dr. Stacy Sims, author of the groundbreaking book ROAR and the movement Women Are Not Small Men

Dr. Sims explains that intermittent fasting disrupts a neuropeptide called kisspeptin, (responsible for sex hormones & endocrine & reproductive function) which also plays a role in maintaining healthy glucose levels, appetite regulation, and body composition. 

The results: Disrupted hormone production, potentially causing health issues such as menstruation cessation, weakened bones, and impaired recovery.

Study Number 7:

This study proves that intermittent fasting depresses the thyroid and increases cortisol, causing an increase in belly fat. It also causes a decrease in fat burning and an increase in energy deficiency = decrease in performance & muscle breakdown.

Cyclists who ate no breakfast, (intermittent fasting) were studied and it was found that performance declined by 3%. A lot of people choose to fast intermittently to burn fat and lose weight… this study proves that the cyclists who ate no breakfast experienced a DECREASE in fat burning.

Now that we have had a look at 7 different studies validating not intermittent fasting before running, let’s have a look at some key takeaways. 

By fasting as a woman, you could cause yourself menstrual dysfunction, suppressed resting metabolic rates, lower estrogen levels, compromised training adaptations, and performance levels.

By fasting as a man you could cause yourself suppressed resting metabolic rates, higher cortisol levels, lower testosterone levels, decreased performance and decreased fat burning.

The point is that you need to consume sufficient energy and nutrients in your pre and post-training meals. 

These pre and post-training meals need to consist of a good amount of healthy protein and good carbohydrates. Research shows that eating 20-40g of protein every 3-4 hours provides a small advantage regarding muscle protein synthesis.

So many people are still getting the message that intermittent fasting and even the Keto diet are what you need to do to gain mental focus, high performance, and weight loss…. 

Now that we know it’s all not true and that you most certainly should not be fasting as an athlete…. Is it ever okay to fast?

When Is It Okay To Intermittent Fast?

For the people who don’t exercise and don’t lead active lifestyles, for the people struggling with metabolic diseases… then it can be useful to fast, bearing in mind that while the attraction of losing weight by controlling your hunger sounds good, there are some long-term and irreversible side effects of intermittent fasting.

But if you are already running and adding intermittent fasting into your strategy, then think again as it does more harm to your body than good. 

Check out this video where Coach Linsey Parry chats to Brad Brown about eating breakfast before a run. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtkJ2QWlDx4 

Stretching is instinctive, we all do it. We all know that amazing feeling of stretching while yawning… it feels so good!

There are two main types of stretches: Static stretches and Dynamic stretches.

Static stretches are done by standing still and holding a single position for a period of time, up to about 45 seconds. 
Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues for your run.

According to experts, the action of static stretching is in essence stretching a cold muscle, which is not good for the muscle, and depending on the nature of the stretch can have the opposite to the desired effect.

Static Stretching & Running

Static stretching doesn’t help you warm up in a way that people used to think it does. 

Static stretching is essentially stretching your muscle fibers, holding that stretch for a few seconds and then letting those muscle fibers pull back together. 

We do not favor static stretching before heading out on a run for 3 main reasons:

  1. There is very little correlation between static stretching and injury prevention. Even though we have always been taught to do this, there is no proof that static stretching can actually prevent injuries. 
  1. When you are static stretching and pulling those muscle fibers apart, you are not allowing your body to achieve an increase in power production when you are running, this is because those muscle fibers won’t have that elasticity needed to bounce back as much as you would need them to.
  1. Stretching after exercise is what causes an improvement in flexibility and reduction in injury risk over time. Stretching before exercise reduces the likelihood of post-exercise stretching.

It is a known fact that runners are creatures of habit and if you have been stretching before running throughout your career then we would encourage a warm-up before stretching.

Impact Of Static Stretching On Running Performance

We see it all the time, runners gathered with their mates in a circle practically STANDING STILL “Loosening up” by doing the good old runners quad stretch up…to run faster and prevent muscle strain. When you think about it, it does sound counteractive right?  

That’s because it is!

Runners don’t actually need that much flexibility. 

The ability to do a split or even touch your toes is not an indication that you’re resilient to injuries or have a better running aptitude.

The majority of running injuries occur within one’s normal range of motion of running. A study conducted by the CDC found that static stretching has zero effect on injury rates.

When you are running you need muscle tension to use your legs as ‘springs’. Static stretching will result in a weaker ‘spring’ and therefore a less efficient run. In other words, static stretching reduces your power output on your run.

There is one word that runners need to live by when it comes to stretching…

Mobility

If your goal is to sprint, run gracefully over rugged trails, tackle some obstacles and break PB’s then mobility is your new best friend. 

If your muscles and joints can’t move through the entire range of motion required with each stride, you won’t run as well as you would like and your risk of injury will increase.

Dynamic stretching and mobility are like two peas in a pod. Dynamic stretching increases joint and muscle mobility.

Dynamic Stretching & Running

Dynamic stretching is when your muscle fibers are lengthening, contracting, and expanding over a repetitive movement. It has been recently proven that dynamic stretching increases your power output during your run.

In this video, Brad Brown catches up with our strength & conditioning Coach Shona Hendricks to talk about whether or not stretching will make you a better runner and if so… what should you be doing?

Dynamic stretches are meant to get the body moving and aren’t held for any length of time. 

According to this study done by the International Journal Of Sports Physical Therapy, runners will reap more benefits from dynamic stretching compared to static stretching during their run.

We aren’t saying that you should never do static stretches. The best time to do static stretches would be after your run, during your cool down. 

How To Stretch Before & After A Run – Safely

A warm-up should consist of some easy running, a few builds, strides, and/or running drills. 

When doing hard training sessions such as intervals, hills, track, or time trials it is important to do a good 15-20min warm-up and to include some dynamic stretching.

For easy, recovery and long runs it is sufficient to start nice and easy for 5-10min before settling into your stride for the rest of the session.

It is still important to maintain flexibility and as such you should aim to spend at least 10min static stretching at the END of each session.

Aim to hold each stretch for a minimum of 30seconds and try to repeat each stretch twice per limb. Focus muscles should be glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, and quads. Calf stretches should be gentle stretches.

Regular stretching post-exercise will help to reduce injury risk, particularly to the lower back, ITB and hamstrings.

Now that you know how, what stretches you should be doing & when you should be doing them, let’s have a closer look at some dynamic stretches…

Dynamic Stretches For Runners

  1. Leg Swings
  2. Activating Glutes
  3. Calf stretching
  4. Groin & Glutes
  5. Hip Flexors

Leg Swings

We recommend doing two types of leg swings.

First Type:
What: Forward and back leg swings, this is to activate your hips, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

How:  Start gently, swing your leg forward and back, try to keep your knee as straight as possible. Then, gently increase your range of motion and the tempo at which you are swinging your leg.

Volume:  Minimum of 10 swings on each leg, but importantly – listen to your body and do as many as you feel you need. (If your legs are feeling a bit stiff then do more)

Second Type:
What: Leg swings side to side, this is to focus on the abductors, so be gentle with yourself.

How: Gently swing your leg from side to side, across your body, and slowly increase that range of motion as well as the tempo as you go along.

Volume: Minimum of 10 swings on each leg, but importantly – listen to your body and do as many as you feel you need. (If your legs are feeling a bit stiff then do more)

Remember that these are warm-up stretches so while you are doing them you should have good intentions.

Activating Glutes

Your glutes are vital for running, they play a massive role in stabilizing the hips.

What: Cross one foot over the other knee and sit yourself down in that position.

How: Hold onto something next to you to help you balance, place your left foot on top of your right knee, now bend into that right knee onto an imaginary chair.  Stand up, swap sides and do the same thing on the other side. 

Volume: Try not to hold this position into a long static stretch, feel the stretch then move on to the next side. Again, if you feel that your body needs this stretch then spend a bit more time doing it.

(This stretch can be amplified by placing your hand on your knee and applying a gentle push.)

Calf Stretching

What: Reciprocated movement of pushing down onto the heel and then forward onto the toes of each foot. 

How: Get into the position of leaning slightly forward against a wall or cabinet, your aim should be to get a good range of motion so push up onto the toes of one foot and down onto the heel of the opposite foot, and then reciprocating that movement. Increase the tempo as you do more.

Volume: 15 to 20 on each leg, depending on how your calves are feeling.

Groin & Glutes

What: Knee up to your chest.

How: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, and bring your right knee up to your chest, whilst doing this motion go up onto your toe on the left foot and vice versa.

Volume: Again, try not to hold this position into a long static stretch, feel the stretch then move on to the next side. 

Hip Flexors

We recommend that if you do struggle with your knees then you should leave this one out.

What: Warming up the hip flexors with a high knee and lunge.

How: Pull your knee up and into your chest, take a big step forward and lunge down into that position with the leg you pulled into your chest in front of you.  Stand up straight and repeat on the other side. 

(Be aware: You do not want your front knee to be pushing over your toes)

Volume: 5 lunges on each leg, but importantly – listen to your body and stop if you feel any discomfort in your knees.

View a video demonstration of all the dynamic stretches above here.

If you need some help with stretching, strength, and conditioning, you’ll be pleased to know we’ve got a free masterclass….  Just for you!

I don’t have time to run today… I have to be at work by 9 am… I need to start cooking dinner soon…

We’ve all been there. It feels like there are never enough hours in a day to fit it all in.

The truth is, all you really need is 30 minutes. 

Studies suggest that just thirty minutes of running can provide incredible benefits to your long and short-term health. There is no need to run for hours to reap the positive effects on your mental and physical well-being.

Let’s look a bit deeper into what happens to your body during a 30-minute run. 

The First Few Seconds Of Running

The hardest part is over, you’ve stepped outside or onto the treadmill and started the run! 

Initially, you’ll feel a burst of power. Your muscles will start using ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides energy to drive many processes in your cells, basically, the energy molecules that your body makes from the food you eat. That burst of power that you feel is the ATP converting to ADP (adenosine diphosphate). 

ADP is essential for the flow of energy in your cells. 

Adenosine Triphosphate & Adenosine Diphosphate

ATP & ADP both play important roles in providing cellular energy. Your muscle cells will turn ADP back into ATP after the initial surge of energy.

It’s easier to think about it like this: ATP is just like a rechargeable battery. When it’s fully charged, it’s ATP. When it’s run down, it’s ADP. However, the battery (ATP) doesn’t get thrown away when it’s run down–it gets recycled and charged up again.

You’re really in it, if you look back, you’re putting meters between you and your starting point, the treadmill is starting to pick up your pace, your watch is letting you know that your heart is pumping and that you are very much alive and best of all, you’re feeling positive

Keep in mind Coach Parry advocates for your training to consist of the 80/20 rule, 80% easy runs (when we say easy, we mean really really EASY), and 20% harder runs. 

Running on a promenade

90 Seconds Into Your Run

You will notice that your breathing has probably become heavy. A poor breathing technique is often the reason why people get an unwanted side stitch. 

It’s good to remember that if you are running one of your easy runs then you should be able to hold a conversation with your running partner or even sing a song. 

So, your body needs to release more of that battery (ATP). To do this, your cells will break down glycogen. This is because your body needs a quick boost of energy, breaking down the glycogen will release glucose into your bloodstream, which will be used as fuel for your cells. 

By now you’ve probably got that voice in the back of your mind telling you that overused ‘old phrase’ that was actually popularized by Jane Fonda in her aerobic exercise videos. 

Let’s say it together… 3.2.1. “Feel The Burn!”

5 Minutes Into Your Run

That “burn” you are feeling is your muscles releasing lactic acid.

The energy you are using is coming from the glucose your body is releasing, that glucose is now being broken down into Pyruvate. When your body is receiving limited oxygen (as it is now), the Pyruvate is converted into a substance called Lactate. 

Lactate allows glucose to be broken down, which essentially allows you to continue running. 

Your pulse is quickening, those drops of sweat are starting to drip down the side of your face and the back of your neck, your heart is pumping harder to move oxygenated blood to your muscles and brain, you feel alive!

Trail runner

10 Minutes Into Your Run

By now, you’re definitely hitting your stride, you can feel that your gluteus maximus, your legs, and your core are helping keep you upright.

This is probably when you’re thinking to yourself: “Damn, I should be doing more of Shona’s Strength Training Classes”. Well, here‘s a FREE strength training program just for you: Click Here.

Your heart is beating FAST. Technically it’s trying to direct blood towards your muscles. To make the best use of the glucose, your muscle cells require as much oxygen as possible.

Say hello to those dreaded, out-of-breath grunts, moans, and groans…

On an easy run, these should be avoided by slowing down even more or even including some walking when necessary.

Don’t worry, it’s not uncommon to run out of breath. There are a few different reasons why you could be out of breath.

Why You Could Be Short Of Breath On a Run

  • A buildup of carbon dioxide in your body from running. This will be a trigger to breathe more rapidly to allow an intake of more oxygen. 
  • Altitude. The higher the level of elevation, the less oxygen there is available.
  • Fatigue of your inspiratory muscles. (diaphragm and external intercostals)

The halfway time is near…. Almost there! 

Sweating runner

20 Minutes Into Your Run

You’ve now been absolutely firing those calories. According to Dr. Daniel V. Vigil, on average, runners burn 100 calories in 1 mile. You’re hot, you’re sweaty and you might be checking your watch a lot more than you were in the first 10 minutes.  

Let’s break down what “sweaty” really means. 

Eccrine Sweat Glands

Eccrine sweat glands occur over most of your body and open directly onto the surface of your skin. These sweat glands are controlled by the Sympathetic Nervous System and regulate your body temperature. 

Apocrine Sweat Glands

Apocrine sweat glands open into hair follicles that surface at your skin, like armpits, scalp, and groin region. These sweat glands produce sweat that is associated with body odor. 

Things are going one of two ways here, either you’re in shape and you’re still feeling pretty strong, or every minute is now starting to feel like an eternity. 

25- 30 Minutes Into Your Run

If you’re in good shape, your muscles and their battery supply (ATP) are plentiful. Your body is shuttling oxygen efficiently and you’re having a good time. 

If you’ve been skipping out on one too many training sessions and haven’t picked up your running shoes in a while then your body is going to be flooded with lactic acid. You’re thinking to yourself… “I’m not sure how much longer I can Feel the Burn for!”

If the above is you, building endurance is your new best friend, check it out: Here

PHEW! You made it! 

The End Of Your Run

You’ve ‘hopefully’ got a gleaming smile on your face from the wonderful mood-boosting dopamine hormones that your body has released, which, along with the endorphin and serotonin chemical messages given off as you run, will lead to ‘runner’s high’ – a feeling of euphoria and decreased anxiety.

We’ve explored what happens to your body during the 30 minutes of running, let’s have a look at how all of it will benefit you.

Remarkable Benefits Of Running For 30 Mins Regularly

Trail runner's legs
  • Improved Cardio Fitness
  • Stronger Bones
  • Improved Sleep
  • Feeling Happier
  • Burnt Calories
  • Feeling Stronger
  • Live Longer
  • Healthy Weight Maintenance
  • Strengthened Immune System

After reading through all those benefits, who wouldn’t want to run for 30 minutes regularly!

If you want to increase your running endurance so that you’re able to run for 30 minutes or more then this is the best way to go about it. In this video, Lindsey Parry talks Brad Brown through the strategy of running longer and faster without getting tired.

We’ve all heard it… “Your knees don’t have enough cartilage left for you to continue running”, “You need to stick to low impact activities like swimming” or “Your love for running needs to come to a swift end”. 

But does sacrificing the activities you love have to be the case? – just because you’ve got arthritis?

We get asked more often than not by runners if it’s still alright for them to run now that they have arthritis…

According to the latest science, you are able to run with arthritis, and contrary to popular belief, running is not bad for your joints. Studies indicate that running helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness.

Let’s have a look at a study conducted by the Osteoarthritis initiative. The researchers had a look at the different levels of arthritis in a group of people as well as their pain levels. 

They then took a look at the same group of people four years later and it turns out that those who continued to run had no increase in their symptoms as shown on x-rays and what is even more noteworthy is that they had less pain than they did four years ago.

Now that we know that running is not bad for your arthritic joints (when done in a controlled and progressive manner),  let’s dive into the impacts arthritis can have on your running…

What Impact Does Arthritis Have On Your Running?

Let’s be real, this does not mean everyone with arthritis will be able to run as fast as they once were able to, a lot of factors need to be taken into consideration. You could have arthritis of the knees, hips, or ankles and these all will have an impact on your running. 

Did you know that there are more than 100 types of arthritis?

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the most common forms and how they impact your running.

Running With Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) commonly results from aging but can also be caused by overuse injuries (ie. continued overuse over time) or obesity. It’s the wear & tear that comes from your joints being overused.

The joints that are mostly affected are weight-bearing joints such as your spine, knees, hips, and feet. What happens is that your cartilage (your body’s shock absorber) begins to degenerate, which makes movement painful and is likely to worsen as your day gets along.

Osteoarthritis is a tricky one because, even though running will undeniably give you fantastic benefits like encouraging blood flow to your limbs, improved oxygen levels, improved muscle tone surrounding your joints, and a reduced load from your joints. 

Strength Training

People with Osteoarthritis might find running on some days to be too high impact and painful, which is why we suggest following a running training program that includes ongoing support, feedback, and adjustment with a particular focus on the correct type of strength training for Osteoarthritis, as well as advice on recovery, as recovery becomes even more important when someone has Osteoarthritis. 

Knowing when to back off and what intensity to train at is VITAL.

Running With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, this means that the body’s immune system is attacking the joints, which causes swelling, inflammation, and pain around the joints. It is likely to be at its worst first thing in the morning.

Combining exercises such as strength and conditioning with your running will strengthen the muscles around your joints which will, in turn, reduce pain, and adjusting your exercises according to how your body feels will help combat the effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Running With Psoriatic Arthritis

Psoriatic Arthritis affects the joints and skin. Psoriasis causes parts of your skin to become patchy, burn, and itch. 1/3rd of people who suffer from Psoriasis will develop Psoriatic arthritis, which causes swelling in the fingers and toes.

Maintaining physical activity such as running will help you maintain your muscle strength and joint mobility which is what people with Psoriatic Arthritis need to manage their condition.

Running volume and frequency should be managed according to discomfort in affected joints – in this case, the feet.

Foot pain

Running With Gout

Gout is a well-known term used for a variety of conditions caused by a buildup of uric acid. This usually affects the feet, specifically your big toes, and then moves to joints throughout the body.

Uric acid is formed when purines (chemicals found in certain foods like red meat, seafood & beans) break down in your body.  

Normally your body can rid itself of uric acid quite easily when you urinate but sometimes the body makes too much uric acid or isn’t able to excrete enough of it. This could happen because your kidneys aren’t eliminating it quickly enough.

Anyone who has experienced Gout will tell you that it causes severe pain and is not to be taken lightly. 

One of the best ways to prevent “Gout attacks” is to run regularly. If left untreated Gout will erode and destroy your joints. Research shows that fat in the body carries more uric acid than muscle, therefore by reducing your body fat, you can reduce your uric acid levels in your blood.

Maintaining cardiovascular health through running is very important for people with Gout.

All of us are built differently and that means our bodies react to running in different ways. You may need to adapt your running routine but the reality of the situation is that keeping active is the best remedy for you.

Running

Does Running With Arthritis Make It Worse?

We know arthritis is not caused by running, but there is still that worrisome voice in the back of your mind wondering… but can running worsen my arthritis?  

By choosing to not run you can make your joints even stiffer and more painful. Keeping your surrounding tissue and muscles strong & mobile is critical in maintaining support for your joints. 

It turns out that your body’s fantastic shock absorber- known as cartilage, enjoys the cyclical loading associated with running. 

Let’s have a look at the different ways arthritis in your knees, hips, spine, and feet affects your running…

Running With Arthritis:

Arthritis In Your Knees

Running with arthritis in your knees means you need to respect your knees, it may sound unusual but it will ensure fewer chances of injuring yourself. 

By respecting your knees we mean:

Strengthening knees
  • Using a proper running training program.
  • Correct biomechanics when running, which you can fix with strength training, or in extreme cases – gait retraining.
  • Avoid shuffling while you run.
  • Listening to your body, and knowing when it’s time to slow down.
  • Strengthening the musculoskeletal structures around your knees so that the load from running is minimized.

Arthritis In Your Hips

One of the first things you will notice that happens to your hip with arthritis is that it becomes extremely stiff and inflexible. This will in turn make the body overcompensate, and place strain on other parts of your body. 

To run with arthritis in your hips you will need to:

  • Consistently do mobility exercises to open up your hips and gain movement back.
  • Strengthen your hip structures such as glutes and pelvic stability. 
  • Strengthening the core will make a big impact as it changes the pelvic tilt and takes the pressure off the hip joint.  
  • Strengthen your leg muscles – hamstrings in particular.
  • Add some cross-training into your exercise program.
Arthritic feet

Arthritis In Your Feet

Running with arthritis in your feet means that you need to improve flexibility & mobility in your feet and ankles and strengthen the muscles supporting your lower limb and feet. This will all aid in preventing stiffness and inflammation. 

Running safely with arthritic feet involves:

  • Choosing the right footwear.
  • Strengthening is important, foot core exercises are neglected, you need to work on the small intrinsic muscles in your feet.
  • Ice and elevation after exercise, the cold will constrict blood vessels which will help reduce inflammation.
  • It is vital to have the right pair of shoes for cushioning and support.

Arthritis In Your Spine

Spinal arthritis can cause a lot of discomfort and pain, it can reduce your ability to run if you don’t take the right precautions.

To run with arthritis in your spine:

  • Stretch and warm-up, this will decrease your chance of sustaining an injury.
  • Run on even terrain, this will help lessen your chances of falling.
  • Listen to your body and know your limits.

So how do you ensure you keep running for years to come and that your arthritis doesn’t bring your running to an abrupt halt…

Running smiling

4 Tips To Safely Run With Arthritis

Here are the 4 things you can do that will have a positive impact on your arthritic joints that will ensure you can keep running for years to come:

  1. Monitor your recovery
  2. Always warm-up & cool down
  3. Try out different terrains
  4. Include strength training

Let’s dive into why each one is important:

Monitor your recovery

Our first and number one tip is RECOVERY. No matter your age or level of fitness, all runners need to recover. 

Runners with arthritis need to take time to let their bodies recover according to their pain levels. Just remember – arthritis has affected your joint’s ability to recover from exercise, which means very often back-to-back runs can no longer be done (ie. runs done on consecutive days).

Although it may seem counterintuitive, positive milestones in running actually happen when you rest, not while you’re training. Your body needs to recover in order to absorb the work that you have done.

Always warm-up & cool down

Skipping your WARM-UP & COOL-DOWN will put your joints at a greater risk of strain and injury. Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up before running as it increases your blood flow to your muscles and mimics the movement you will be doing.

Warm-ups activate the connections between your nerves and your muscles, this will result in your movement being more efficient as your range of flexibility will be increased.

Cool-downs gradually decrease your heart rate and begin the process of recovery. By gently stretching your muscles during your cool down you will bring your body back to its resting state.

Road

Try out different terrains

There is not one specific TERRAIN that has been proven to be better for runners with arthritis, this is something that is subjective and needs to be tested for yourself. 

Some runners find running off-road better for their pain levels, whilst some aim to limit the number of downhills on the route.

We have noticed that running on asphalt is particularly harder for people with Osteoarthritis compared to a trail. We suggest trying different terrains and finding what works best for you. 

Include strength training

STRENGTH TRAINING is so important when it comes to running with arthritis. By fitting strength training into your running program you will reap the benefits of increased muscle and joint strength and have fewer chances of getting injured during your runs. (We’ve created a free strength training plan for masters runners that you can download here)

What Is Vital About Strength Training With Osteoarthritis

  • Technique. Technique. Technique. It’s not about what you are doing but rather the HOW that is more important! Because you have a limited range of motion, you need to modify some exercises to help.
  • Progression of strength training,  You can’t just jump into (excuse the pun) plyometrics. Structured progressive strength work is key to ensuring the strength training doesn’t exacerbate the Osteoarthritis.  

Eg. we would never put lunges into a program for someone with Osteoarthritis, you can get the same effect with a squat and some glute work.

Strength training is in essence resistance training, it involves using your own body weight, or equipment like resistance bands and exercise machines to build muscle mass.

If you’ve made it this far you’re obviously the type of person who wants to keep running for many more years to come. 

If you are, I think you’ll love our upcoming Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

Join us for a free online presentation of the…

The Faster Beyond 50 Masterclass

…and discover how you can run well (and faster) as you get olderwithout training more or harder than you currently are, all while avoiding injury. 

If it feels like you’re training harder than ever but not running the paces you’d like to be running or if you’re constantly tired, fatigued or running in some sort of pain, then this is specifically for you.

Save your seat in this training now…