Decisions, Decisions!

It’s so amazing how the central nervous system is constantly making decisions as to how many bundles of fibers it must signal to contract for the many works to be done by some 650 muscles in the body. Sensory organs in the fibers, called stretch receptors, monitor the fibers and send back reports to the central nervous system, and by this feedback they help in the decision-making. You may hate to make decisions, but unconsciously you are making millions of them constantly!

The more fibers that contract and tighten, the bigger and harder the muscle will be. For example, your biceps muscle in your upper arm contracts to lift your hand to scratch your head. Not many bundles of fibers are needed, and your biceps is quite soft. But in the same movement hoist a 30-pound weight to your shoulder, and your biceps will bulge and harden as many more fibers go to work.

Some muscles have a much finer and light control over tension than others. The fingers, for example, can close with an iron grip, or delicately handle thin-shelled eggs. Such muscles contain many fiber bundles, but each bundle with only a few fibers—some no more than 10. Other large muscles, as some in the legs, are incapable of such finely graded movements. They have fewer fiber bundles, but many more fibers in each—often more than 100.

Skeletal muscles have basically two kinds of fibers: dark ones for slower, steady use; white ones for quick bursts of action. (Called slow-twitch and fast-twitch fibers.) Some muscles are almost entirely made up of slow fibers, but others have slow and fast intermingled. Persons who are unusually quick in their movements have more white or fast fibers than those persons whose movements are slower. Agile, athletic gymnasts, for example, need fast fibers for the dazzling and explosive gyrations with which they amaze us. Also, outstanding sprinters have more of these fast fibers than do the long-distance runners. Training makes a difference, but it cannot change the proportion of fast and slow fibers—that’s hereditary, a gift.

Muscles are truly amazing. Their simplest movements are marvels we take for granted. With training, they perform feats of strength and endurance that are amazing. Running is no exception! It truly is a wonderful enjoyment, one of the best preventative medicines and an ability we should never take for granted.

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Where Does the Energy for running come from?

The human body is truly a marvelous thing. Have you ever wondered how we actually get the energy to run?

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the energy-rich source for muscle action. It is formed in the muscle fibers by small bodies called mitochondria and is made in various different ways. Fats in muscle tissue (adipose tissue) are broken down to become free fatty acids in the muscle and also in the blood. Ultimately, in the muscle fibers they are oxidized to deliver energy to make ATP. Glucose from the blood is also oxidized in the muscle fibers to form ATP. Some glucose from the blood is stored in the muscles as carbohydrates, called glycogen. Then, as ATP is needed, this glycogen is broken down into glucose, which, without the use of oxygen, produces ATP.

These methods for making ATP are used simultaneously, but in varying degrees, according to the circumstances. The kind of exercise, its intensity, its duration, the physical fitness of the individual—all are factors governing how much ATP each method will supply at given times. Relative to distance running, however, when the exercise has been intense for a long time, the mainstay for ATP production is glycogen.

Marathoners often do what is called carbohydrate-loading. A few days before a race they gorge on carbohydrates, and in so doing they can maximize and top up the amount of glycogen stored in their muscles by as much as 300 percent. A by-product of this use of glycogen, however, is lactic acid, and it is its accumulation in the muscles that causes fatigue, and eventually muscle soreness. The team at Mudjacking Edmonton often runs long distance races and usually need a day or two to fully recover.

So our bodies mainly use carbohydrates and fats to give us energy while we are running. The more in shape you are the better your body will become at converting fat into energy. The more energy you have the longer you will be able to run and your stamina will be increased.

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5 Great Tips to Help Keep You Running

It’s all fine and dandy to say you want to do something but actually sticking with it is the key. I have 5 great tips that will greatly help you in starting out in this new sport. The first one is to set your schedule. You will want to decide how many days a week you want to run and write them down in a planner or however you want to keep track. You can even write down the exact time you will be running so that you can really plan around it and actually do it.

Secondly, you want to make it a routine. When something becomes routine it’s so much easier to do. It almost becomes natural and you won’t have to write it down anymore, you will just instantly know when it’s time. Also, we as humans are creatures of habit so it will eventually become something that you just have to do or that you feel you need. It’s also good to run at the same time of day because that will also help you establish the routine easier. After 2 weeks you will notice your running skills getting better and that will help motivate you to continue.

Another great tip is to set a goal. Setting a goal is going to help you reach your ultimate plan or larger goal. You will want to have both long term and short term goals to work towards. Start with a simple goal that you know you can attain as this will help you stay motivated and not loose you’re focus. When you do reach your goal, reward yourself with a treat as this will keep you in good spirits.

The fourth tip would be to eat healthy and control your portion sizes. Not only is this going to help you to have more energy to run but will also help your body to lean down. I highly recommend green smoothies with lots of different fruits and eating a mostly plant-based diet. Runners are usually lean and trim. It’s easier on your joints and your entire body to be your appropriate weight for your height when running. I also recommend not eating too heavy before a run otherwise you might get a stomach cramp.

Last but not least, is to find a running buddy. It’s so much easier to have someone to talk to and enjoy the run with. If one of you is feeling down then the other can help motivate you to go and vice versa. You don’t have to go with someone every time but it’s definitely nice to have the support. Plus, time goes by so much faster when you’re having a nice chat with someone.

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Interesting Tips for Running Better

Many people think that in order to run faster in a race they will need to push themselves when training to run faster. But this is not necessarily the case. The more important thing to focus on here is how hard should you run and for how long?

A recent study shows that those who run or train at a lower intensity gained many endurance and aerobic benefits, meanwhile not making them exhausted and stuck with a longer lasting fatigue. Plus, since they never strained themselves, their body is well rested and then able to give the high-intensity needed at the proper time and pace.

If you are like most runners you are more than likely running too long at higher intensities and not nearly enough at milder intensities. The goal would be to do no more then 20 percent of your running at a moderate to high pace. The rest of that running should be a nice easy pace. This will really allow you to increase your distance. When you do need to increase your pace you will feel better and more capable because your body can handle it much better.

Sometimes all your hard training is just not enough to get you to the finish line or to that certain goal your reaching for. This is when a really neat mental trick can be used to get you to that next level. It’s called dissociation.

This cool trick is when you divert the attention away from how you feel and completely fill your mind with a totally different thought. You may need to do this when you’re really feeling the burn at a certain time in a race or just when training hard and you feel like you can’t go any further.

 

Everyone has their own way to dissociate while they are running. One way would be to maybe start singing along to a song on your iPad or just simply start singing a song. You could think about something you’re going to be doing later or maybe plan for your weekend and something fun you might do. This trick is really simple but it can certainly help get you to the finish line or help you achieve a certain pace or distance.

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Cross County Running – A Hard but Rewarding Sport

Cross country running can be a very difficult sport to start participating in, but there is nothing that beats the feeling after you have completed a run. You feel like you really have achieved something wonderful and great.

Since cross country running happens on varying terrains such as mud, water, and hills etc. it can be very challenging on your body and your mind. The land on which you may be running can change greatly between courses. Also, going uphill is extremely difficult especially after you have already been running for a while. Cross country running is actually quite different than just regular running and you really have to actually experience it to know the difference.

The nice thing about this sport is you don’t need to invest allot of money to start up. You just need a good pair of running shoes that are good for all sorts of terrain, a water bottle and of course yourself! Most beginners start with a good quality pair of runners and then they purchase a pair with cross country spikes if they are going to be participating in an actual race. The runners with spikes wear out very quickly so if you’re not planning on racing I wouldn’t waste your money on them.

For beginners, the best advice is just to start up slow and build up your strength. If you start off really hard then there is a huge chance you will give up quickly and never want to do it again. Trust me. You will feel good at first and then in about 5 minutes you will wish you were on another planet, not to mention the after effects. You will feel parts of your body that you never knew existed and they will hurt badly. If you have never run in a long time then you may even need to just start walking, then go to speed walking and eventually to light jogging.

Many people have taken up this amazing sport and built lots of friendships along the way, as the common suffering and final accomplishment at the end is shared with others. If you have not done it already why not give it a try? You just might be pleasantly surprised by how much fun you have and you may never stop running once you start.

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