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Top 5 Christmas gifts for a runner

Monday, 05 December 2016 by

Ah, the month of December! The Xmas markets, the mulled wine, the snow, Christmas… All of this make us dream every year. However, Christmas time means Christmas presents. Presents that you wish to offer to your loved ones. And every year, this is the same baffling.

 You are always afraid of offering the wrong gift, with the risk to end in a drawer and to be never used. So imagine trying to find a useful gift to your friend/brother/ mum (whoever the person can be), who is crazy about running and who wants a brand new running accessory for Xmas…

 In order to avoid the outboard and to give you some good ideas, here is the top 5 Xmas gifts to offer to your runner one… Let’s go!  

The Basis: the right pair of shoes
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I don’t want to go too much into details on this subject as I have already written a complete article about it.

You maybe guessed it but this is THE basis for running. Make sure you choose the right shoes, according to her or his running profile. Do not hesitate to ask the person what kind of shoes she or he usually choose!

They should be comfortable as well as holding on well onto the feet, in order to maximize the protection. Ideally, you should always pick shoes with half a size or a full size above your usual size to provide comfort and room to the feet as they usually swell during exercise.

 

Running yes, but while listening to music please!

Woman and man running outdoors together

Here again, the subject is controversial. For some people, running while listening to music is a no-no as they want to pay more attention to the environment, whereas others can’t run without. If your friend belongs to the second category, please tell the person to pay attention to everything that is around for safety reason!

The best way for your friend to run while listening to her or his favourite songs is to choose earphones, which insert well in your ear and stay in it. There is nothing more annoying that earphones which fall at every stride!

Otherwise, you can also go for an audio headset.

And ideally, go for a sporty armband, scratched around the biceps, much more handy and safe for the smartphone than a bag.

 

The holdall object: the running belt

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More than an accessory, this belt will be a real partner during your friend’s run. The person must take one if the running time is over an hour! Handy, it will allow to bring a lot of stuff, such as something to hydrate. Now you start understanding how hydration is important.

If the person goes for more than a 30min run, he or she must take something to drink. Please tell your friend to drink enough fluid before, during and after the run.

He or she can also bring some food: energy bars will allow to manage better the tiredness and to keep energy for the last kilometres. Before the effort, tell your friend to eat a cereal bar and to keep some energy bars for the run. Please avoid buying you’re mate chocolate and sweets too sweetened which can put the tummy upside down!

I strongly recommend you to choose a belt with lots of pockets, in order to have the bare minimum: cool water, a bit of food, the phone, the keys and some money, just in case.

 

Choose the right socks for maximum comfort!

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So now, here is a delicate matter: you have to know that socks are as important as shoes. It’s up to you to choose between cotton socks or synthetic ones. But here again, the most important criteria is comfort. It’s really your own choice.

A good pair of socks must enable the foot to breathe and to absorb sweat without getting a damp foot.

They mustn’t crease, nor slip in the shoe, nor tighten the ankle, nor being too thin or too thick… It’s up to you to find the right balance!

In order to avoid blisters, I suggest you to pick the double layer socks, especially if your friend have sensitive feet. In addition, these are the most comfy socks!

 

 

And the top notch running accessory: a pair of Run Profiler!

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If you don’t know what Run Profiler is, you have passed by something amazing. What is Run Profiler: it’s a pair of connected insoles that you can put in any running shoes. This is the perfect gift for your runner! They will analyse precisely:

  • The run, thanks to a 3D tracker. The person will exactly know the position of the feet while running, the kind of stride… Each movement of the run will be analysed. Thus, information will be provided regarding the warm up and how to avoid wasting energy unnecessarily.
  • The management of the tiredness and the risk of injury. Run Profiler detects the drop of reactivity and measure the fatigue thresholds during a run, and also the instability of the posture. Run Profiler also prevents from potential hazardous movement.
  • The performance is analysed and some information will be provided on how to improve one’s running, by giving key issues to work during the following session.

Roughly speaking, Run Profiler is a personalized coach, which adapts itself to everybody’s session. A must have!

 

Some more accessories to conclude…

Of course there are plenty of other useful running accessories to go running. We can mention, for example:

  • The adapted outfit for an efficient running. Pick high quality clothes and not a cotton T-shirt you would buy in the first shop you see. The body must breathe and avoid sweating too much: choose synthetic material for the T-shirt, the shorts, the bra… Try to avoid definitively cotton, if you want to buy your friend an outfit that dries quickly!
  • A Road ID: what is that? It’s a small electronic unit, with a bracelet shape. It allows the user to provide the necessary information, useful to her or his identification and to help saving life. Your friend can indicate if he or she is diabetic, allergic, haemophiliac, prone to heart problem… it’s very useful in certain circumstances, such as dog bites or a bad landing. Think about it!

This article is now finished, I hope I gave you good gift ideas!

So, what are your going to buy to your runner finally?

See you soon, you running maniacs!

 

Sources: Le Petit Shaman, Merci pour le chocolat (French running blogger), Strength Running, Running Competitor, Active.com.

 

Hi everybody! I don’t know if you have noticed but it’s freezing outside! Yes, we say hello to fur coats, scarves and woollen hats, the temperature is close to zero degree… To make it short: Winter is back!

And when it’s winter time, most of outdoor athletes start to hibernate, so do runners. Many running adepts choose winter for their annual break.

However, winter shouldn’t be an excuse for not practicing running during this period. You have to know that the minimal temperature for running is -18C°!

In this article, I’ll show you that, with a good equipment and some advice, running in winter can be as pleasant as running in spring! So put your shoes on, it’s time to run!

Having the good equipment: the basis to go running when it’s cold outside2016-01-life-of-pix-free-stock-photos-feet-forest-ground-juliensister

You maybe guessed it but you can’t run in winter with your usual equipment. You are most likely to catch a cold, but you also have a highly risk to perform poorly. You’ll be freezing quickly and you will only want to stay in bed with a good hot chocolate! Don’t worry, I will explain how to dress up to go running when it is cold.

First of all, dress warmly. You have to adapt your clothes to winter conditions: favour synthetic fabrics, such as polypropylene (which enables to keep heat against your body) or technical outfits, perfect for isolating your body from low temperatures. You can also go for nylon outfits, in order to protect you from wind and rain. If you are sensitive to the cold, you can wear a fleece jacket too.

Now that you have protected your upper body, you must cover up some other parts of your body. In fact, these “strategic areas” are your body’s extremities, such as:

  • The head. You lose 30% of your body heat by the head! In winter you must wear a woollen hat while running.
  • The hands. Put gloves on, you will see, you will feel much better. You can also wear mittens.
  • The feet. Put thick socks on, with a running skin or a fleece trousers. Useful tip: to stay warm, you should wear trail shoes and socks!

The best way to keep your body warm is to adopt the three layer technique:

  • The first layer consist of wearing a second skin outfit, lightweight, close to your body to keep you warm, allowing your skin to breathe.
  • The second layer should be an isolating outfit, breathable, a fleece or a Gore Tex one.
  • The third layer is a protective jacket, weatherproof. You have the choice between a windproof jacket or a rain one (avoid especially K-Way, which is not breathable): it’s up to you!

Nevertheless, if it’s really cold outside, you can always try the onion technique, which consists of adding more layers, in order to insulate your body at most!

Please avoid heavy and thick outfits! Favour multilayer, in order to have more freedom in your movements and run better!

Now, you can be sure to be well covered! However, you are still not ready. Indeed, you will have to face the changes of weather that occur at this period. Your greatest enemy will be the icy wind: you can’t avoid it and this wind penetrates your clothes while running. Here is a useful tip: when you start running, run against the wind, so that when you are on your way back, later on, it will be in your back. Why? Because you will start sweating when you run. With the wind in your back, you will avoid catching a cold and it will cool you when you get too hot!

Finally, here is the last advice I can give you, which can seem odd: do not cover yourself too much, in order to not ruining the race effort. You have to be cold a little bit at the beginning of your training. Dress as if it’s 20° higher than the actual temperature, in order to avoid sweating and running in damp clothes.

Put the emphasis on a good physical preparation!

11392284956_8c52f438ca_oThis is THE best way to be efficient before a winter race.

First of all, warm up before you exercise longer than usual, without pushing too hard, in order to minimize the risk of injury. In winter, you have much more risk to get injuries, because of low temperatures. Indeed, when you start running, your muscles are cooler in winter than in spring or in summer. In order to start your training well, your muscles must be warm.

In order to warm up your muscles well, I advise you to do the following exercises: rotate your ankles, do some heel-to-buttock and run slowly during 20mn. Start with small strides, then lengthened them. You can also do these exercises indoor: you are ready to run!

Stretch well AFTER your training and please avoid to do it outside! Go back home, take your time and once you’re in, stretch for roughly 5mn, normal. With the cold, your muscles stiffen and chill faster than usual and muscle tears are much more common. If you stretch carefully, you will avoid stupid injuries. Stretch out the adductors, the hamstrings, the buttocks, the quadriceps and the calves.

Pay attention to your breathing during your running too! Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth: it will enable to warm the air before it reaches your chest. To breathe well, take in a big gasp of air and exhale through your mouth, to completely empty your lungs, while contracting your abdominals. You sure are ready to face your winter races!

Running when it’s cold outside: a good or a bad idea?

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Running in winter has its benefits and its drawbacks.  It’s possible to run daily when it’s freezing, it’s not that complicated. Okay, this is not the ideal season to go running but let me remind you that, to improve your running performances you have to be regular. It all depends on you.

Indeed, according to John Castellani (physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine), low temperatures shouldn’t be an excuse for not practicing sports. As muscles and joints are more sensitive in winter, runners are apprehensive about practicing their activity at this period of the year. Just pay attention to the weather conditions but still go running that will do you good.

Winter running brings many good things, such as the reinforcement of your metabolism: indeed, you will be fit and feel good, since you spend a lot of energy every day. Thus, you will also avoid the famous winter weight gain (due to the inactivity implied by low temperatures and the usual laziness), because you burn a lot of calories when you run.

You will also be capable of facing the well-known winter blues. When you run, you release hormones like endorphin, which prevent you from sinking into that temporary uncomfortable mood.

Moreover, according to a survey of the Environmental Science and Technology, people who are running in winter have more energy, are less depressed than the average, less prone to diseases and to winter chills and are full of energy. Nothing but positive results!

Latest advice to conclude…

As this article comes to its end, it’s time for me to give you my last (but not least!) advice.

  • Go to the GP: you will need his approval to go running in difficult weather conditions. Beware of asthma and chest pain! Be sure to be able to run at any temperature.
  • Beware of wind burn on your skin! Cover your hands, your nose and your ears well. If you spot redness on your body, apply moisturizing cream on the affected area.
  • Drink plenty of fluid: you become dehydrated faster than you think in winter. Breathing cold air and being exposed to the wind highly increase the risk of dehydration. So drink before, during and after your daily run.
  • Take some food with you: running in winter makes you hungry. Your body spend much more energy to fight against cold. If you are planning to run more than an hour, take a little snack with you, like dry fruits or energy bars.

That’s all for this article, I hope you will go running despite the cold weather and the snow!

And by the way, what are your tips to run in winter?

See you soon, you running maniacs!

Sources: Jogging Course, Cosmopolitan France, Camille Pic (Running Blogger), Running Addict, FitNext, John Castellani (physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine), Shape, Very Well, Tom Holland (physiologist and expert in running).

Hi everybody! Today we meet up for a new article on the Digitsole’s blog! We will focus on a regular concern for lots of runners which is: how can they improve their running performances?

But let me warn you first: you won’t progress quickly in running. It takes time. A lot of time. Sometimes, you only see the results after few months of training! Here is my advice: be patient, don’t be disappointed if you don’t see your performances improving after a month or even two. The best way to improve your performances is to stay motivated no matter what and to never give up. Trust me, you can all succeed.

I want to make it clear that what I am going to explain now is not a magic trick that helps making progress quickly. These are some advice and methods that work for a majority of runners and that have been tested more than once. Be strong, you’ll get there!

The key to success: find your ideal stride!

For those who ignore what a stride is, it’s the way a runner strikes the ground at every step. In fact, it’s the way you run!

W1e’ll never insist enough on this point but finding the ideal stride adapted to your running profile will enable to progress
significantly. Here is some advice to help you define the stride that suits you. It’s free so make the most of it!

First of all, try to avoid running on the heel part of the foot, especially on hard surfaces like pavement: when you land on your heel after a stride, you stay in contact with the ground and your foot constantly carries all your weight, which is bad for your performance. You have to pay attention to the flight time in order to minimize the contact with the ground. Thus, with a rearfoot stride (the heel hit the ground first), the ground impact can cause long term injuries or trauma (because of shock waves that spread through the joints).

However, if you still want to run rearfoot, you should favour surfaces like grass or soft surfaces, which are less “rigid”.

You should also try to shorten your stride: long strides won’t take you further. As a matter of fact, this type of stride isn’t effective, because it takes a lot of energy for often mixed results. In order to understand the length of your stride, you must know that your stride has to be equal, more or less, to your size. But it also depends on the way you run!!!

Little strides enable you to spend less energy and they can “protect” you from joint injuries. It will be less demanding for your joints, which will give them time to strengthen and to be less prone to injuries. Listen to your joints, they will thank you!

You maybe guessed it, but ideally, the progress in running, for several reasons, is linked to the forefoot stride (tiptoes hit the ground first). Just like I told you in my previous article, the forefoot stride is the best one for supporting, in particular thanks to the muscles present in the calves. Thus, running in forefoot will highly strengthen your muscles, as they will carry your entire weight.

The footstrike will be then reduce, which will benefit to your joints and your bones, as they will endure less the shock waves, thanks to the elastic energy (which will be stronger in the Achilles tendon and will allow you a better stride).

If you want to change your stride, it is possible: you will succeed if you train hard, are motivated and have a lot of willingness. This is also a long term practice, as you’ll see the first results after few months of training: hold on, you’re almost there!

Choose a training program adapted to your profile!

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Here, we get down to business. In order to improve yourself in running, you definitively have to choose a training program, adapted to your profile. To make it short, it has to be individualized. This training is intended to be aligned with your specifics, regarding your physical fitness, your sportiness, your expectations and it has to be based mainly on your own goals. But we will talk later about this.

Choose a solo training at the beginning, in order to check out your running level.
To establish the best training, you have to understand what your strengths and your weaknesses are. The main goal is to reinforce your strengths and to improve your weaknesses. Do not hesitate to build some trainings on a specific weakness in order to try to correct it at most. This is what we call “specific training”. This kind of training has for aim to improve a specific point.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to some running world’s clichés, like for example, running fast = a good running. Well…No. Running fast is not necessarily the case. Try to avoid running as fast as you can, especially in you can’t keep pace with that rhythm, as you risk a lack of efficiency.

Finally, never lose sight of your goals: the more you’ll wander, the less you’ll improve yourself.
Plan, manage and optimize your time in order to be committed to each goal. Thus, you’ll be able to see what worked and what should be changed.

Check out your goals!

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Try to stick to achievable goals, especially if you are a real beginner: do not always think competition!

Define your objectives. Running 30mn without being breathless is an objective per se. The most important thing is to assimilate bases and to apply them correctly. You can also choose to improve your MAS, your speed, your stamina… It all depends on you! Defining your objectives will help you understand why you train. Thus, you’ll be able to move forward calmly.
However, these objectives also depend on your motivation and on your ability to manage them!

Never forget your final goal, your Holy Grail, your Golden Fleece: it will enable you to better plan your training cycles, so that they will be as efficient as possible (an effective training will enable you to improve yourself a little bit in every ability).

Finally, I advise you to go out of your comfort zone, by questioning your running practice habits and to adapt yourself to new challenges. Running is like Pokémon: you have to evolve. Among these challenges, the biggest one will be challenging time. Try to run 30mn and see how many kilometres you covered. The important thing is to run further, at ease as possible while keeping a good intensity. So, put your shoes on as you are now ready for a little running session!

To conclude…

Of course there are some other ways to improve your running, but I chose to spend time on those technics which work and are the most efficient ones. Nevertheless, here are some additional advice: 

  • Drink, drink, and drink again enough fluid. A bad hydration can lower your performances and make your recovery time less efficient. So, take your bottle and fill it up as soon as it is empty.
  • Warm up well: start by running at a speed lower than your session’s one while warming up. Run at your usual speed after 7-10mn. You should favour exercises like heel-to-buttock, lifted knees, side-stepping and bouncing strides to warm up your muscles well. Never forget that the more intensive the training is, the longer the training must be. If you don’t warm up, you highly increase the risk of injury!
  • Do not neglect recovery time! It’s during this period that you improve best. During recovery time, you give your body all the tips to run better and to improve yourself considerably. So, have a rest, have a long sleep and hydrate yourself to avoid soreness. 

If you are looking for a way to measure your performance, you can try Run Profiler, which analyses your performance in 3D and gives you indication of your run in real time, to help you improving your skills!

That’s all for this article, I hope you can improve yourself thanks to these advice!

And you, what are your tips to improve your running performances?

See you soon !

 

Sources : Running Addict, Shape, Running Competitor, Cassidy Philips (running expert), Asics, Alex Figueroa (running coach), Urun.

 

Hi everybody! Today is a special day: it’s the inauguration of the Digitsole’s Blog! In this section, I will do my best to give you a taste of running… So that you will want to run every day!

 To start well this blog, I suggest you a damn good article about how to choose the right running shoes… Let’s go!

Step 1: Ask yourself the right questions

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The purchase of your running shoes will highly depend on these harmless questions, which are, in fact, key issues:

  • How often are you going to run?

As you may know, you are not going to buy running shoes designed for an everyday run if you run once in a blue moon. Get some advice and have a clear view of your goals.

  • On which surface are you going to run?

Once again, it seems obvious that running shoes which are designed for a soft surface, won’t fit on a hard one.

For example, if you decide to run on pavement, you should go for standard running shoes (designed for road surface, they are lightweight and flexible, for an excellent cushioning and to get your feet stabilized during your strides). However, if you choose to run on surfaces like grass or on a muddy road, you should go for trail shoes (designed for running in a natural environment with stones, mud, roots on the ground. It will provide you with stability, support and protection).

  • What kind of runner are you?

It seems logical, but, of course you are not going to buy top-of-the range shoes, especially if you know nothing about running…
You have to define precisely your level: are you an absolute beginner (who has never run before), an intermediate runner (you run once a week at least, but you don’t take part of any competition) or an experienced runner, who is seeking for performance?
It will help you a lot, to know what kind of runner you are, when you choose your shoes.

 

 Step 2: Identify your stride and the shape of your foot!

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This is THE most important criteria while choosing your shoes. There are three kind of strides:

  • Supinator (the foot tends to fall on the outside edges)
  • Neutral (without lateral support)
  • Pronator (with inside support)

Be aware of your footstrike: it’s the way your foot attacks your stride and then hits the ground after the attack. There are 3 types of footstrike:

  • Forefoot Strike (FFS): tiptoes hits the ground first, perfect for cushioning, thanks to calf muscles.
  • Middle Footstrike (MFS): the foot goes flat on the ground. It’s the most uncommon footstrike.
  • Rearfoot Strike (RFS): the heel touches the ground first. This footstrike concern 75 to 90% of the runners. This kind of footstrike can lead to long term injuries.

If you want to learn more about your footstrike, you should definitively use the Run Profiler insoles, which analyse your stride in 3D and in real time!
You should also consider your weight too. You’ve guessed that a 143 lb runner won’t chose the same shoe model as a 198 lb one, who needs more cushioning, rigidity and a solid upper.

Last point to take into consideration – and not least! The shape of your foot. There are three types of foot:

  • Flat
  • Neutral
  • High arches

If you have flat feet, you should go for a pair of running shoes with low arch support. These shoes will give more flexibility to feet proned to overpronation (an inward rolling motion).

The neutral foot have the largest variety of movement, on the biomechanical side.

The opposite of a flat foot is a high-arched foot (with a very marked arch support), which tends to rigidity and supination (landing on the outside edges of the foot). 

The useful tip: always pick a shoe with half a size or a full size   above your usual size to feel more comfortable!

  

Step 3:  Between minimalism shoes or reinforced shoes, what should I choose?

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Minimalism is a new way of running, which really caused a stir recently and which is really close to the barefoot running aesthetic (literally: running “bare foot”). It’s almost a spiritualistic movement, which is really popular at the moment: the aim is to be closer to Nature, to run as naturally as possible. This is possible thanks to minimal shoes, which enable runners to feel the ground, to have more freedom during their run. In fact, barefoot running means running without artifice. You will have the impression that your shoes are a second skin! 

This new way of running has been adopted by many runners and they absolutely love it!

Nevertheless, let me warn the most experienced runners among you all: honestly, it’s almost impossible to switch directly from a steady shoe to a minimal shoe: your muscles, your bones, your tendons will need more time to get used to these new sensations and to get stronger.

However, if you really wish to test minimal shoes, you should go first for lesser shoes, which are “in between” shoes, between minimal running shoes and standard running shoes: the shoe loosens up the foot, provide less stability and are less rigid than “normal” running shoes but it enables more freedom regarding your stride.

To test the minimal shoes, you should favour surfaces like grass and muddy ground as they are less “rigid” and offer more freedom. Beware of the stones!

At the perfect opposite of minimalism, we have the brand Hoka, which offers us to test shoes with reinforced insoles: these are thick running shoes, with a normal weight (0, 6 pounds for an 8, 5 shoe size) with more cushioning and support than other types of running shoes. These shoes are recommended for people with flat feet.
Their little extra?  The Meta-Rocker system, that helps the movement of the foot from heel to front, without forcing, giving you meanwhile good accelerations. These shoes are also extremely comfortable!

So, are you rather minimal shoes or reinforced shoes? It’s up to you!

Did you know? Even if you feel at ease in your minimal shoes, many experts recommend not to wear them for every run, if you want to avoid having joint injury!

 

Step 4: Analyze your gait!

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Finally, to choose the right shoes, you should definitively analyze your gait. It’s easy as ABC: you just have to ask to a running shoes specialist to look at you walking! Thus, you will choose the right shoe, adapted to your running profile and that will prevent you from getting hurt. You should also pay attention to the pronation factor (it’s the way your foot rolls into the inside when you walk and run), which influences the way you run and can increase the risk of injury. Do not neglect it during your choice!

The little tip:  you should also seek advice from chiropodists or doctors, in order to be sure of your choice!

To conclude…

The perfect shoes or insoles that will fit everyone do not exist. Some runners will feel at ease in Adidas or in New Balance shoes, whereas others couldn’t wear them at all! The important thing is your personal feeling, how you feel in your shoes, to know if you can run miles and miles with them… knowing that you have to change your pair after 498 miles!

Moreover, if you want to run with the connected insoles Run Profiler, you should go for natural shoes, with an outside flat insole, without arch support. These shoes represent 60% of the current running shoes market!
The specificity of these shoes is to have little to no cushioning. Nevertheless, they provide you with the protection needed during a run!
More than 100 runners tested Run Profiler and 90% among them adopted these insoles, especially those who run with natural shoes.

That’s all for this article, I hope you have enjoyed it! Shall we meet on the finishing line?? See you next time, you running maniacs!

 

Sources: Cédric Mousseau, expert in running shoes, running-competitor.com, testeurs-outdoor.com, runners connect, asics, life hacker, rei.com.

 

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