Friday, March 16, 2012

Principles of Natural Running

Instructional video on natural running, by Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, Director of the Natural Running Center.

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Monday, March 12, 2012

"Love hills and they will love you back." :-)

This Way Up

HEAD: "Keep your head and chest up. Don't slouch," says Olympian Adam Goucher. Attempting to "grit out" a hill, many runners put their head down, which wastes energy by throwing off their form.

EYES: To keep your body upright, "fix your eyes directly ahead of you, not down at your feet," says cross-country champ Lynn Jennings. "You will sleekly move up the hill."

HANDS: "Keep your hands loose, no fists," says Jim Schlentz, who coached Olympian Kate Fonshell. Loose hands help your whole body stay relaxed.

LEGS: "Push your legs off and up, rather than into, the hill," says Goucher. This helps you feel "light," as if you're "springing" up the hill.

GOING UP: Run the first two-thirds of the hill relaxed, then slightly accelerate the last part, while carrying your pace over the top, says Schlentz. "Don't push too hard at the bottom of a hill," he says. "Then you're dead at the top."

BRAIN: "Visualize the crest of a hill 20 meters beyond where it really is, so you run to the top-and keep going," says Jennings. "I would tell myself, 'Up and over, up and over,' and would not relax till past the top."

TORSO: "Lean forward," says Jennings. "It maintains momentum."

ARMS: Coach and marathon champ Alberto Salazar emphasizes accelerated arm action to drive up a hill: "Concentrate on overusing the arms to really power up, so your running almost simulates sprinting." Your arms should form a 90-degree angle at the elbow, and swing straight back and forth, not across your body.

FEET: "Get up on your forefeet and take shorter strides," says Jennings. "Run with punctuation."

GOING DOWN: "Your feet should land underneath you," says Schlentz. "This produces minimal shock on the body." A shortened armswing will help shorten the stride.

WHY BOTHER?: Strength, efficiency, endurance. A study published in the Journal of Biomechanics found running on a steep grade at a fast pace achieved greater "muscle activation" in the legs and hip area than running at a slow pace.

SHORT ON TIME: Short hills provide maximum training effect with minimum injury risk, says elite coach Brad Hudson. Start with three or four repetitions up a hill about 60 to 80 meters long at top speed. Recover fully between runs.

DISTANT MEMORIES: Longer hills teach the body to recruit muscle fibers when they're fatigued. "This helps you develop a kick," says Hudson. Start with three or four reps of a hill 300 to 600 meters long. Recover fully between runs.

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Hill Running

Understanding how to approach hill training and its benefits will enable you to get through the climbs much more easily when you encounter them in an marathon.
The Benefits

Uphill training is really just working against gravity. As we all know, climbing stairs, walking up a steep grade, climbing a ladder or running up a hill creates a lot more work for your body. Your breathing becomes significantly greater, the muscles quickly begin to ache from the acidity being built up in the legs, and your heart rate begins to race upward. It is rather basic, but it is very hard work.The benefits lie in the area of strengthening. "Strengthening your body’s legs will improve your overall running form.
Hill training is probably one of the best single forms of strength training, as it forces the muscles in your hips, legs, ankles and feet to contract in a coordinated fashion while supporting your full body weight. Forms of strength training such as those found in training rooms, including knee extensions, leg curls, presses, and squats are the least helpful routines for runners. It is true that these exercises will strengthen your quads (for example), and strong quads are needed for running. They are being done from a seated position in isolation from the other muscles and not with your full body weight.

Hill running incorporates all of the motions of running and strengthens your leg muscles, tendons and ligaments in concert with each other. Another benefit is the anaerobic conditioning that it brings. Hill training will adapt your legs for better running efficiency.

Types of Hill Training

There are three primary types of hill training routines. Each offers a different set of benefits. One is to run a course that is rolling to very hilly. This is probably the most enjoyable form of hill training and offers some flexibility in how you structure your workout. You can gently run the course (it can be an ½ hour in length or shorter).

The second form of hill training is to run a series of repetitive climbs, manageable, yet difficult enough so that after six to eight you are left pretty fatigued, with a burning sensation in your legs. These lengths of hills can be anywhere from one to three minutes in duration. This will build a good amount of stamina speed and is very beneficial to the marathoner. After each run up, the runner would gently jog back down hill to repeat the same routine.

The third form of hill training is more explosive, incorporating repeats of short yet steep climbs, which will result in more power in your legs. These hills require great arm action and are anaerobic in nature.

Whichever type of hill training you choose and when you run hills on Thursday morning or evening, it is important to concentrate on proper form. This carries over to any form of strength training especially when fatigue, causes inefficiency and adds to the risk of injury.

Hill running should be part of the base foundation phase of your training. Strengthening your legs through hill training will build efficient leg motion and allow for longer stride length, which equates to faster running stride. It is also important to note, though, that since hill training is strength training, it should be reduced well before your next major marathon. You should cut out intensive hill training 2-3 weeks prior to your marathon. Any strength training builds bulk muscle and you must stop it completely to allow the body to re-focus and learn to turnover (the running stride) at rates you will encounter in competition.

How to Run Hills

Running hills correctly can make your next marathon more rewarding. Running hills aggressively will not benefit you physically in any way. It may offer a psychological advantage, but that advantage will be short-lived.

So how should a runner approach a hill? The key is efficiency. Run as efficiently as you can and listen to your breathing. Shorten the stride slightly and don’t lean unnecessarily into the hill. This will better enable you to maintain form while going uphill... If you are wearing a heart rate monitor, try to not let your heart rate go up more than five to seven percent above the target rate you selected. Example: If you are running at 150, then try to keep your heart rate from going over 160. It is equally important to refrain from charging hills that come up very early in a race.

If you become familiar with them through proper training, you will then know how to approach them in an marathon, and can begin to use them to your advantage..
Article BY Coach Alphonzo Jackson,Head East Bay Team

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How to Train for Your First 50K Ultra-Marathon!

Running a trail ultra is a great post-marathon challenge and one that can change the way you run for life.  Although it may seem intimidating at first, once you begin to train, it will feel familiar and more like a slightly altered marathon program.  Here are nine things you need to know to train for your first 50K ultra-marathon.
  1. Train specifically. The more closely you simulate the trail terrain you'll be racing on in training, the more prepared you'll be.  Do your research on the course to identify the level of technical difficulty, hills, altitude, and weather.  Will you be running on single track (narrow trails) with tree roots and rocks?  Will the course roll up and down gradual hills, short steep rocky hills or long climbs at altitude?  Is it a typically hot and humid or dry climate?  Are you running on sand, dirt, rocks or grass?  The more you know the better you can tailor your training to weave in similar terrain and optimally prepare your body and mind for race day.
  2. Merge off road gradually. Although the impact forces while trail running are lower than road running, the demands on your muscles, tendons and joints will be greater when you begin to run on trails.  Every step is unique which ultimately lowers the risk of overuse injury however, because these patterns are new to your body it will need time to adapt.  Start your journey to the trails with a few shorter runs during the week and hold this pattern for the first 4-6 weeks.  Once you begin to feel comfortable, begin to transition your long endurance runs on the trails.
  3. Watch out for trail drain. One sign you know you've run hard on roads is the unmistakeable muscle tightness and fatigue that comes from the impact forces.   You can literally feel the effects of the impact on your body.  This is not the case on trails.  The body hurts less and fatigue shows up in an overall energy drain and decrease in the ability to maintain strong running form (tripping, falling).  Like marathon training, it is just as important to follow the flow of easy and hard workouts to allow your body to acclimate and recover efficiently.   It is wise to respect the new demands of trail running and in the initial stages treat trail runs as harder workouts until your body adapts.  Listen to your body for signs of trail drain (low energy during runs, fatigue, higher breathing rates at average paces, dead legs, and feeling generally tired all day).  If you have the drain, cross-train for a few days at an easy effort and run on flat roads for the week to recover.
  4. Modify your long run strategy. Yes, in order to race longer you need to train longer but you don't need to go crazy.  You can run lots of super long trail runs well beyond the 31 mile race distance, but just because you can, doesn't mean it is the wisest way to roll.  If you invest all your energy for the week in running long, you will also need to invest all your energy in recovery.  Balance out your training recipe with a variety of workouts and you'll improve your stamina, endurance, strength, technical skills and recover more efficiently so you can train harder for longer.  You'll also have an easier time balancing your lifestyle with ultra training too!  Like making chili, if all you put in the pot is black beans, you'll end up with a great pot of warm black beans.  Mix up your long run strategy by running a single long run one weekend as you did for marathon training, followed by a back to back series of long runs the next weekend (ex: 10 miles Saturday + 6 miles Sunday on trails), followed by a cutback long run (8-10) the next.  Continue to build the long endurance runs to 24-26 miles (single long run) and the back to back long runs to 14-16 miles Saturday + 8-10 miles Sunday.  This three week cycle allows you to run long and slowly for the continuity in the single long run, slightly faster and on tired legs the second weekend and recover the third weekend.  Remember to build these long runs gradually just as you did for the marathon training.
  5. Mix it up, run on roads and cross-train. Balance out the rest of your training program with a mid-week 60-80 minute easy run, a faster paced road run (tempo or intervals) to maintain foot speed, and one or two shorter easy paced road runs.  Weave in cross-training activities that are lower in impact and will compliment the needs of the ultra athlete.  Mountain biking is one of the best forms as you are in and out of the saddle developing core and leg strength in your hips and quads all while training without impact.  Don't skimp on the core strengthening exercises (planks, killer caterpillars) and flexibility work (stretching, foam rolling) as it will keep you balanced, healthy and improve your body's ability to run longer with greater durability.  If you are planning to continue to run on roads for training and racing, it is wise to stick with at least 40% of your training one the harder surface as you'll maintain the ability to withstand the impact forces.
  6. Run with the rhythm of the trail. The greatest part of trail running is it teaches you to run by the terrain rather than your watch.  It doesn't mean you have to toss your watch aside, it simply means your normal pace won't mean much on a winding, technical single track trail.  Set a goal this season to run by effort (how you feel – breathing, heart rate) rather than pace.  This can and will change the way you run forever.  One, because you end up running your best effort on any given day (hot, humid, cold, low energy) and two, it gives you a sense of freedom that empowers you to explore beyond your numerical limits.  It allows you train simply by matching your effort to the planned workout for the day (easy, moderate, hard) versus trying to run by a planned pace which may or may not be optimal for the day.  For example, the training plan calls for a 60 minute trail run tomorrow and it is going to be 95 degrees and you haven't slept all week.  Rather than running at a planned 10 minute pace (which would cause you to go into a red line status), you run by feel, refer to your watch only as secondary information and run at a pace that is optimal on the day (much slower).  Because you are wise in running by effort rather than pace, your body rewards you with efficient recovery and allows you to run hard two days later when the weather cools.  Good stuff.
  7. Be self contained.  Although there will be kick-butt aid stations on the ultra course (bananas, pickles, PB&J's, chips, sports drink, water, electrolytes and more) you will need to carry fluids and gels with you on the trail.  Fueling for an ultra is much different than a marathon because you will be out there longer (due to the longer distance and the demands of the trail).  Find the right balance of fuel for you while training this season and learn the hydration system that works for you.  There are three basic ways to go for carrying fluids (handheld bottle, backpack/vest bladder, and waist belt with multiple bottles) Learn more about these three systems here.
  8. Make friends with walking.  Even the best ultra runners utilize the benefits of walking in training and on race day.  Power walking allows you to pace yourself evenly, dim the intensity on technical, hilly terrain and move more efficiently for longer periods of time.  Some ultra athletes set their watch alarms and perform run-walk intervals (ex: run 5 min./walk 1 min. or 15/4) while others run by the terrain and run the flat and predictable sections and downhills and walk the uphills and highly technical parts.  The latter strategy works very well for rolling, hills courses.
  9. Race like the tortoise, not the hare. The secret to successful and joyful ultra-marathon races is in your pacing strategy.  Because any given mile could be flat, rolling, muddy, technical, it is impossible to race by your watch at a specific pace (unless of course you've trained on the course and know it by feel and even then it will be hard).  Rather than relying on your watch, use your natural pacing instincts and run by your effort.  Learning to race by feel will have a tremendous impact on all your other races as it will teach you to run from within and through any racing condition and cross the finish line at your strongest.  Break the race up into three parts and color code them.  Run a light green for the first third where you can't hear your breathing and you're at a happy effort.  Run the second part of the course at an orange where you can just start to hear your breathing but still running at a moderate and controlled effort.  Finish the third section in the red where you can hear your breathing, but you know you are in the last part and have the energy and stamina to push hard to the end.  If you invest in the final act (third section), it will pay off in many hard, but happy miles in the end not to mention a fantastic finish line photo!
Good luck and Happy Trails.
Jenny Hadfield

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Friday, September 09, 2011

Launch of Wheelathon360

Step into my wheels. Race in a wheelchair relay challenge on the Singapore Grand Prix race track and help us raise funds for a sports outreach programme for the physically disabled. Come support me and my fellow physically challenged athletes as we race against Singapore runners and cyclists for a good cause! - Fung, President of HAS Handcycling Association of Singapore

12 November 2011, Sat
4.00pm - 9.00pm

" The outcomes we seek
* Integration
~ For all individuals to be better understood and respected
~ Uniting through sharing

* A collaboration, through the breaking down of stereotypes, and the discovery of what we have in common and what we can do together."         - HiVelocity

FaceBook Photo Album

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Monday, September 05, 2011

SAFRA Singapore Bay Run & Army Half Marathon 04Sept2011

" Running is all about being Better than yourself. " - Anne Date

FaceBook's Photo Album

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Monday, August 22, 2011

6 Yoga Poses to Improve Your Running

Strung together, these six yoga poses form a routine that builds the abdominals, back, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and upper body while also improving balance.

Targeting these areas will give you a strong foundation—which means more power, less chance of injury. Two days a week, cut your runs just a mile short to fit in this 10-minute sequence.

Do the first three poses twice (one side, then the other). Then do the second three poses in the same manner.

You can also try these eight tips from a master yoga teacher to help make your practice flawless.

Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

With your feet, knees, thighs touching, sit into a squat. Extend your arms.

Twisting Chair
Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

While in chair, press your palms together, and rotate to the right.

Twisting Lunge
Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

Step your left foot back while holding the twist. Keep your knee over your ankle.

Warrior III
Builds: balance and overall strength

Balance on your left foot. Fold forward, lifting your right leg. Extend your arms.

Arrow Lunge
Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

Step your right leg back into a lunge, keeping arms extended.

Extended-Leg Balance
Builds: posture, balance, legs

Swing your right leg up and hold it extended in front of you.

Gain flexibility and strength at a yoga class.

Sage Rountree, author of The Athlete's Guide to Yoga, developed this routine. Watch her demonstrate it at You can also order her strength plan (designed to be paired with marathon training) at

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

MILO Marathon the Elimination Race , Manila - 31July2011

" All these efforts are in line with the commitment of MILO® to build a nation of champions. Because MILO® believes that MILO® is not just giving away running shoes, but also providing these kids with something they can wear to be champions not just in sports, not just in school, but also in life. "

DO with the Race Director, Coach Rio.

You know it is always great fun traveling with MO n HAz, but when you plus Jen, Aileen, Sam, Vincent, Bernard and Tang was a " Fun Riot"!

It was one of the wettest marathon I ever ran, it was raining throughout. But, was a great n fun experience running in some of nicer part of Manila as well as navigating thru some of their infamous traffic chaos! :P
35th Milo Marathon Manila Eliminations
DO's FaceBook Photo Album.

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Marina 21K - 23July2011

Art Work by Dennis Quek.

Kudos to the runners, the supporters, the volunteers and the event organizer for making this Marina 21K a enjoyable and fun run for many who came and ran .. regardless... :-)
"If you expect nothing, you're apt to be surprised. You'll get it." 

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Monday, July 11, 2011

Singapore Cancer Society Race Against Cancer - 10July2011

A well spent, meaningful sunday morning of Happy running to show our support for cancer patients and survivors and run for a cause.
Together, we can OUTRUN Cancer!!

FaceBook Photo Album.

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Y Treks : Cameron - Gunung Irau Adventure. 24-26 June 2011

A physically and mentally grueling climb to the summit of Gunung Irau (2,110m) from Gunung Brinchang. This trek requires a good level of fitness & agility to navigate through the mystical mossy forest. Much of the journey requires scrambling on hands & feet, over tree logs, under over-hanging branches and across mud patches. The cool temperate climate and crisp mountain air will refresh & invigorate your senses! 

FaceBook Photo Albums
Y Treks : Gunung Irau , " the mystical mossy climb " 25June2011

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Monday, June 13, 2011

" Run Like Hell " : MR - Bukit Brown Pathfinder Run 12June2011

This Sunday's run was to further explore Bukit Brown before it succumbs to development. As this is a pathfinder series run, we venture and explore with the hope of finding new trails for running.

" The tranquility and the hills make it spiritually and physically enriching run... now we know where the dead ends are in Bukit Brown !"- K3

" It was spooky when Richard Leong ( our Bike guide) said he did not see me in the cemetery trail. I told him I was actually running beside him and I saw he turned pale". :D - Richard Yong.

FaceBook Photos :  DO , Richard Yong. Richard Leong.

"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Y Treks : "CHOO CHOO Trek " - 4June2011

Bukit Timah Station

Route Map : Courtesy of  Tan WeeYeow

A fun and nostalgic 7.5 km walk along the dis-used Jurong-Bukit Timah railway line.

Crossing over a river and a road.

Old Choo Choo Track.

Jubilant YTrekkers : " We came, we saw, we conquered - the mud, the rain, the shine et al. ! "

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Monday, June 06, 2011

Run LiGHT!

Run LIGHT! You will be able to Run on Water! :P
Photo Credit : Courtesy of Dennis Quek, 
5June2011- MacRitchie Reservoir

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Friday, June 03, 2011

The Perfect Form

Running better, from head to toe.
By Jane Unger Hahn From the August 2004 issue of Runner's World

Head Tilt - How you hold your head is key to overall posture, which determines how efficiently you run. Let your gaze guide you. Look ahead naturally, not down at your feet, and scan the horizon. This will straighten your neck and back, and bring them into alignment. Don't allow your chin to jut out.

Shoulders - Shoulders play an important role in keeping your upper body relaxed while you run, which is critical to maintaining efficient running posture. For optimum performance, your shoulders should be low and loose, not high and tight. As you tire on a run, don't let them creep up toward your ears. If they do, shake them out to release the tension. Your shoulders also need to remain level and shouldn't dip from side to side with each stride.

Arms - Even though running is primarily a lower-body activity, your arms aren't just along for the ride. Your hands control the tension in your upper body, while your arm swing works in conjunction with your leg stride to drive you forward. Keep your hands in an unclenched fist, with your fingers lightly touching your palms. Imagine yourself trying to carry a potato chip in each hand without crushing it. Your arms should swing mostly forward and back, not across your body,between waist and lower-chest level. Your elbows should be bent at about a 90-degree angle. When you feel your fists clenching or your forearms tensing, drop your arms to your sides and shake them out for a few seconds to release the tension.

Torso - The position of your torso while running is affected by the position of your head and shoulders. With your head up and looking ahead and your shoulders low and loose, your torso and back naturally straighten to allow you to run in an efficient, upright position that promotes optimal lung capacity and stride length. Many track coaches describe this ideal torso position as "running tall" and it means you need to stretch yourself up to your full height with your back comfortably straight. If you start to slouch during a run take a deep breath and feel yourself naturally straighten. As you exhale simply maintain that upright position.

Hips - Your hips are your center of gravity, so they're key to good running posture. The proper position of your torso while running helps to ensure your hips will also be in the ideal position. With your torso and back comfortably upright and straight, your hips naturally fall into proper alignment--pointing you straight ahead. If you allow your torso to hunch over or lean too far forward during a run, your pelvis will tilt forward as well, which can put pressure on your lower back and throw the rest of your lower body out of alignment. When trying to gauge the position of your hips, think of your pelvis as a bowl filled with marbles, then try not to spill the marbles by tilting the bowl.

Legs/Stride - While sprinters need to lift their knees high to achieve maximum leg power, distance runners don't need such an exaggerated knee lift--it's simply too hard to sustain for any length of time. Instead, efficient endurance running requires just a slight knee lift, a quick leg turnover, and a short stride. Together, these will facilitate fluid forward movement instead of diverting (and wasting) energy. When running with the proper stride length, your feet should land directly underneath your body. As your foot strikes the ground, your knee should be slightly flexed so that it can bend naturally on impact. If your lower leg (below the knee) extends out in front of your body, your stride is too long.

Ankles/Feet - To run well, you need to push off the ground with maximum force. With each step, your foot should hit the ground lightly--landing between your heel and midfoot--then quickly roll forward. Keep your ankle flexed as your foot rolls forward to create more force for push-off. As you roll onto your toes, try to spring off the ground. You should feel your calf muscles propelling you forward on each step. Your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Good running is springy and quiet.

The Perfect Form

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Thursday, June 02, 2011

10 Reasons Running Is Good for You

By Amy Rushlow
Runner's World
Scientists have discovered the fountain of youth—it's running. Studies continue to find that hitting the roads improves health and well-being. "The biggest benefits come from vigorous exercise like running," says JoAnn Manson, M.D., chief of preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Here are the reasons to lace up.                                                           

Look Ahead
People who run more than 35 miles a week are 54 percent less likely to suffer age-related vision loss than those who cover 10 miles a week.

Keep the Beat

Runners who log a weekly run of 10 miles (or more) are 39 percent less likely to use high blood pressure meds and 34 percent less likely to need cholesterol meds compared with those who don't go farther than 3 miles.

Function Well

Men who burn at least 3,000 calories per week (equal to about five hours of running) are 83 percent less likely to have severe erectile dysfunction.

Build Bone

Running strengthens bones better than other aerobic activities, say University of Missouri researchers who compared the bone density of runners and cyclists. Sixty-three percent of the cyclists had low density in their spine or hips; only 19 percent of runners did.

Think Fast

British workers were surveyed on a day they worked out and a day they didn't. People said they made fewer mistakes, concentrated better, and were more productive on the day they were active.

Stay Sharp

A study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported that women who were active as teenagers were less likely to develop dementia later in life.

Sleep Tight

Insomniacs fell asleep in 17 minutes on days they ran, compared to 38 minutes on days they didn't. They also slept for an extra hour on days they exercised.

Sneeze Less

People who exercise for an hour a day are 18 percent less likely to suffer upper-respiratory-tract infections than those who are inactive, according to a study from Sweden. Moderate activity boosts immunity.

Breathe Easy

Researchers had asthmatics do two cardio workouts and one strength session a week. After three months, they reported less wheezing and shortness of breath.

Live Longer

A review of 22 studies found that people who work out 2.5 hours a week are 19 percent less likely to die prematurely than those who don't exercise. A separate study found that active people have a 50 percent lower risk of premature death.

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's Your Turn, Cheer to Inspire -" Matthew Awyong" !

Matthew's doctor has ruled out the possibility of running for him, Matthew is disappointed but determined to finish the race by walking 1.6km.

Today, together with Matthew, we happily went the full distance... :-)

The Boys are Flying!

Our Hero,

Matthew Awyong

MM MO spreading happiness and smiles. :-)

FaceBook Photo Album.

HappyFeet - Be Happy. Just Run


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...