Category: Training

How Biathletes and Hunters Calm their Breathing After Running

 

What do hunters and biathletes have in common? Well, they all do long rounds of cardio while shooting in between. A biathlon usually consists of the athlete skiing across a country trail with the total distance disrupted with four shooting rounds. The first two shooting rounds in a prone position while the other two is in standing position. Those who have tried this even at the amateur level knows the difficulty in trying to calm your nerves in order to shoot and hit your target.

Hunters on the other hand, have to do long distance walking and running after their game and shooting as the opportunity arises. This too presents a level of difficulty in acquiring, shooting and actually hitting your target. Not even the best archery sight with the best bow reviews can help you in hitting your target in this kind of scenario. So how do they calm their nerves after running or walking or skating?

Calming your breathing and consequently calming your nerves is both an art and a science. Elite biathletes and hunters can calm themselves down by lowering their heart rates seconds after they stop and acquire their targets. Here are the techniques that they employ:

  1. Have a steady composure—They tend to remain calm even in every stressful situation. They make it a point to practice a calm composure throughout the day rather than to calm themselves down in haste during the competition.
  2. Train harder—In order to make the body accustomed to stress, you need to train really hard until calming down your breathing, acquiring your target and consequently hitting it is second nature. You have to remember that the ability to lower your heart rate in seconds is a sign that you are at the top of your health. If you cannot attain this ability, that means that you are not that fit.
  3. Practice deep breathing—This is the key to everything. If you do frequent shallow breaths, then that means you’re panting and consequently, your hands won’t be steady. This is a huge problem among hunters and biathletes. You need to practice deep and consistent breathing in order to calm your nerves.
  4. Have the right mindset—Keep anxiety out! You can’t expect to practice all of the techniques above if you are an anxious person. This is particularly true when training and during the actual competition.

The best way to remain calm is to avoid overthinking about the matter. Give yourself time to relax after you have trained really hard. Both mind and body need a breathing space in order to recuperate and regain its strength.

Golfing Competitively? Why Staying in Shape Is Important

This might come out as stating the obvious but, in golf, staying in shape is important if you are aiming towards becoming a competitive golf player. If you are in the amateur side of golfing, you know you should be taking some golf lessons to increase your skills.  But doing some workout and cardio will help you keep up with the competitive level.

Why is it so important to stay in shape while you play golf?  There are several reasons for this:

Golf requires a lot of time

Sometimes, golf games can easily take one full day to complete.  This means that, although it is true you will probably not get any strenuous activity during the duration of the game, you will be at least stay standing up and walking for a long time.  This kind of activity does require you to be fit and in good shape.  Your body must be able to endure it without giving your feet excess work.  To this, you must add the long distances that you will need to move across the course.

Your swing must be good

Having a winning swing is not only about strength but also about concentration.  You should be able to easily control the force you apply when hitting the ball.  The muscles that you usually use during a swing include the latissimus dorsi, the rhomboids, the serratus anterior, the rotator cuff and several others.  These muscles must be up and toned ready for your next swing.   These muscles also help to protect the shoulder muscles from reaching their end point.  Meaning that, if your muscles are not in good tone, they might suffer injuries.  The excess application of force with these muscles might also cause some soreness.  All these conditions can be prevented if you are including a great fit program to your practice.

Stay up for the game all the time

Being always ready for the big game is very important to always remain in the professional level.  If you are already in a fitness program to stay in shape, you know all the efforts you have to make to reach an optimum level and how easy it is to go back to being out of shape.  This is why you should always dedicate some quality time to your shape.

Golf in itself is not a sport that will provide you all the necessary workout for you to stay at the top of your game.  However, there are other activities, such as hiking and running, that will help you stay in shape and maintain your golf level once you have become a professional.

 

 

Recommended Exercises For After a Long Run

Who doesn´t love taking long runs for an intense exercise?  These activities are invigorating, let alone fun.  But it does not have to end there.  Probably the one thing you want to do after a long run is take a long break.  But this is not recommended as you should not put your body to an immediate halt right after strenuous exercise and cardio.  So soothe down your body and stretch it with these exercises right after running:

Walk

This is practically a must after a long run.  Remember that your body must cool down gradually and not abruptly.  After you have made your 5- or 10-km run, for instance, a walk for a last kilometer will do wonders.  Your muscles are warm and pretty elastic;  a short walk will  help your muscles get back to normalcy in a smooth way.

Stretch

There are several stretching exercises you can put into practice.  They are simple and will not cause you any pain (If they do, seek professional advice.). Here are some stretching exercises you can try:

  • Thigh stretch.- While standing, hold your right foot behind you and bring your toes towards your left buttock to stretch the thigh.  Repeat with the other leg.
  • Hip flexor stretch.- Move your left foot forward, both feet facing forward.  Place  your hands on your hips. Keeping your back straight and without bending it, slowly push your buttock forward bending your left knee and keeping your right one straight and the foot flat against the floor. You must feel the stretch across the front of your hips.
  • Calf stretch.- This one is similar to the one above, except that you stretch the leg you left on the back until you feel the stretch on your back.
  • ITB stretch.- To do this, cross your legs, left behind the right. Bend your body towards the right and hold for 15 seconds.  Repeat changing legs.

Use a foam roller

A foam roller can be used at any time and for any kind of working out.  The use of the foam roller is with the purpose of avoiding the build-up of fascia on your muscles.  Foam rolling is relaxing and is a good addition to your post-running routine. Make sure you pick the best fitness foam roller that adapts to your needs and level of expertise.

  • Thoracic rolling.- This will help relax your spine and prevent back pains.  Simply rest your back against the roller and slide up and down.
  • Quad rolling.- To release those quads, place your thighs against the roller on the floor.  To add to the stretch, use a band to pull your leg back while you are rolling back and forth.  Repeat with the other leg.

Feel good and make your body work the best.  Complete your long-running exercise with a good set of cooling down exercises.

Trail Running Training: Run with Ultralight Gear

Trail running is increasing in popularity not only in the UK but in many other parts of Europe and North America.  More and more people are getting into the excitement of ascending and descending trails on hills.  Championships are being organized all over many places and trails range from 5 km to 100-mile super marathons.  It is easy to see that the practicing of this activity requires a lot of energy input and much stamina.

Trail running or mountain running (as it is best known in the UK) is a fascinating activity that will surely allow to drop off stress and make you fit.  You actually need to stay fit in order to keep up to the game.

You already know what type of shoes you must wear; the rigid type that will protect your from jagged stones and will keep you safe on uncharted ground.  But it is also important that you wear some other gear that is ultralight.

Many eventualities may occur in a trail.  You are far from home and you probably are planning on a whole day activity. Therefore, it is necessary to be prepared with stuff you might need.  The First thing is to make sure you trail in company and not by yourself.  In this way, you can split carrying supplies among the team members.

Remember that if you do not want to get tired easily, you must be effective at packing up for a 5-10 km trail.  Find the best ultralight gear at Ultralightcamp.com.  You will find the best and lightest parts to make your mountain running a truly satisfying experience.

Keep yourself light as you will be going up and up along your trail.  You have to possess a great endurance but this does not mean you should add more weight to yourself.  The lighter you pack, the more you will take advantage of the exercise.  Keep in mind that you are not testing your muscular resistance here but rather your cardio resistance.

Trail running is a great activity and what a better way to practice it than with the lightest gear possible.  You will definitively have to carry some important supplies with you as you run.  Water being the most vital.

For much longer marathons and organized events, you have the advantage of having some water and food stations along every 5 km of trail.  But even then, carry light packs to make your exercise about the running and not about the carrying.  Enjoy this growing activity and be active as much as you can, keeping your supplies light and effective.

Biathlon: Running is Still the Best Physical Conditioning

Physical conditioning is one of the aspects you should focus on when you are planning to compete for a biathlon. More than accuracy when using the best air rifle to shoot a target at a required kilometer range, one must be able to physically stand strenuous activities in extreme weather conditions.

People from sunny, warm states who compete in a biathlon usually have difficulties adjusting to immense low temperature, especially in locations where thermal readings drop below zero. Most often than not, this reason hinders some to compete in the said event. Freezing temperature has certain effects on the human body. You must be well conditioned prior and during a biathlon competition.

Effects of Extreme Cold Climate on the Body

  • Alters Metabolism

Have you noticed how you shiver when the weather is cold? That’s your body trying to warm up in order to compensate with the low temperature. In cold climate, there is a significant increase in metabolism due to the increase demand in energy level. If you are not physically fit or properly conditioned, there is a tendency for fatigability or body malaise.

  • Muscle Stiffness

Compared to other sports, athletes participating in biathlon should set their body to a higher level of functioning. Cold climate has a way of inflicting sudden muscle discomfort, especially if they have existing joint conditions. The muscles tend to stiff, losing their flexibility. This can lead to injury and fatal accidents.

  • Decrease Agility

Athletes who are not well conditioned for the event can lose their agility freezing climate. Even though a competitor is proficient in shooting and has a high end rifle from Air Rifle Pro, it won’t do him any good if he shivers in the midst of aiming and shooting. Getting used to the climate is immensely important to avoid this situation.

  • Decrease Oxygen Consumption

High altitude has low oxygen levels leading to breathlessness. When this happens, the vital organs of the body are unable to function well. Without allowing the body to adapt to this kind of circumstances, there is a high probability of system failure. Thus, it is a requirement to train the body at all cost so that it can easily adjust to extreme temperature.

So what is the Best Conditioning? Running!

 

  • Running Conditions the Heart

You always hear that running is good for the heart – that is so true. By making the heart pump at its maximum rate, it enables to develop and strengthen the myocardial muscle. Due to this, the muscle is conditioned to tolerate extreme activities and physical stress that you will be facing during a biathlon competition. Compared to any cardiovascular exercises, running still proves to be the best work out of the heart.

  • Running Conditions the Lungs

I hope you are aware of the significant role of the lungs in oxygenating the whole body. Thus, it is very important to condition these organs. Running does not only enhance the lungs elasticity and capacity, it also regulates your breathing pattern. Proper conditioning of the lungs helps you to easily adjust your breathing and respiratory function in high altitudes where the air has low levels of oxygen.

  • Running Conditions the Muscle

When you are running, your muscles are being worked out. This is essential when you need to develop certain muscle group so you can ski faster and efficiently. Running conditions the muscles to prevent stiffening in cold climate and it also strengthens the muscle to endure the strenuous physical activity you are about to tackle.

  • Running Conditions the Bones

With every step when you are running there is a high impact that confronts the bones. This stimulates the development of healthy bone mass, which is much needed when you are serious about joining a biathlon.

  • Running Conditions the Metabolism

Metabolism and energy expenditure are related. Whenever you cover longer distances when you are running, your metabolism increases. This is the reason why people who engage in this type of activity are able to lose or maintain a healthy weight. It is the same reason how the body conditions itself for proper utilization for energy.

  • Running Conditions the Mind

Running does not only condition the body physically, but mentally as well. According to research, running aids in the creation of new neuron connections in the brain and also stimulates growth of new cells. This leads to better mental function, which also needed in competing in biathlon.

  • Running Conditions the Emotions

I am sure that you heard that running has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. It combats depression and improves confidence. Whenever you are running, the body releases endorphins, which is also known as the happy hormone. In any sports or competition, being calm and stress free allows focus, enhances the proper body functioning and emotional stability.

This is just a short list why running is still the best physical conditioning before joining a biathlon or any sports for that matter. With all the benefits you can enjoy form running, this should be a regular thing that you should do with or without a competition. Good luck with your training.

How Running Will Make You a Better Baseball Player

For many baseball players, training and proper exercises are vital. Professional athletes even spend most of their time in trainings and work out. These workouts and exercises help them improve their strength and condition them for a better playing performance.

In order to gain the right strength and power, each player should go into some series of exercises, often lead by a coach. With baseball, batting power and speed should be the main focus when training. Given that, what possible exercises a beginner baseball player should focus on?

Running and Baseball

If there’s one thing that you need to be good at when playing baseball, that is running in short distance speed. Baseball does not require long distance run; it only requires a short burst of speed from one base to another. You only need a few seconds of sprint to make it to the next base.

 

However, regular running exercises are still needed for you to achieve the stamina and the good cardio power when playing baseball. You need to learn how to run fast in the span of seconds. And you definitely can’t do that if you don’t condition your body with constant and regular running workouts.

The majority of the running exercises for baseball players is to learn how to utilize all the muscles of your feet. If you want to know how to run faster, you need to stop running slow. Do some series of sprints daily and gain that leg strength that you need.

Be a Better Baseball Player

What are the basic things that you must do when playing baseball?  Run faster, hit the ball harder and throw it right! That sounds so easy, right? Anyone can play baseball, but not all can do it better, or best. If you are aiming to be a better baseball player, make sure to learn the craft well and train without ceasing.

 

Thus, other than wishing to have the best baseball bat, you also need to work your way on how to hit that ball really hard. And after hitting that ball really hard, you also need to train on how to run faster. Not to forget about practicing on how to catch the ball right. There are more to baseball than just batting, and that’s what you need to be better at.

Why Choose Baseball?

There are many good reasons why baseball is considered as the most favorite past time in the US.  You can even witness some amateur baseball tournaments in many different schools and some families even make it a perfect bonding sport where all family members can play it altogether.

Comparing it to any other sports, baseball seems to be a less expensive option. It also does not require too much strength to exert when playing. But still a perfect sport to play even for kids. Just make sure that you tone your body in the best way possible.

Performing the right exercises is very much important for baseball players. Address whatever physical imbalances you may have. Keep a strong feet and arms to improve your game. And don’t forget about the power of regular running to improve you in all possible ways!

Stop Running from the Truth – Why a Personal Trainer Can Help You Run Effectively to Lose Weight

It seems that the easiest way most people know how to lose those nasty extra pounds is through running. For some reason it has been a go-to-exercise for the general population. You can see people running everywhere in the hope of shedding off those extra fats. And sometimes it such a pity to watch their efforts go to waste because they make a lot of mistakes and are unaware of the proper running technique. If you are running because you enjoy it, then that’s great! You can use any form you are comfortable with. But if you are running to lose weight, then it’s time to stop running from the truth, you need a personal trainer to guide you.

Why Your Running Technique Doesn’t Help You Lose Weight

Running can help you lose weight as long as you are doing it right. When you started running, you might have noticed that you lost some pounds. However, after quite some time, you don’t see any effect anymore. That is because you have reached a plateau. You need to diversify your running technique and add intensity to it. At Soul Fitness Personal Training, a fitness expert can help you do that safely without overworking and harming your body. Bear in mind that if you want to drop in size constantly you have to keep running farther and farther. This is quite difficult if there is no one to motivate you. Again, hiring a personal trainer can come in handy when you need someone to push you to your limits.

How a Personal Trainer’s Technique in Running will Help You Attain a Healthy Physique

“The bottom line to proper running technique is to work with your body rather than against it.”

~ Anonymous

 Different individuals have different body needs. Thus, there are also different mechanics required when running. Plus, there are also some key principles and techniques that a fitness expert can teach you in order for you to run more efficiently to be able to lose weight and prevent the occurrence of injuries.

Don’t be stuck in mindless running and stop torturing yourself for a little reward. Opt for a private fitness with a personal trainer and level up your running techniques, then watch yourself achieve a healthy body and an awesome physique.

Watch this short video of Do’s and Don’ts of Running

Paddleboarding to Make You A Better Trail Runner

Proper training is definitely important for athletes. The way they perform their skills are most of the time depend on how well they trained and how capable their body are. For trail runners, for instance, it is very crucial that they keep their legs and thighs in shape. And how can you that? Run and perform the right exercises.

Do you know that recently it was acknowledged that paddleboarding is one of the perfect activities to do for training for trail runners? Yes, you read that right, paddleboarding now, can help you become a better runner.

Paddleboarding

You probably wonder how this sport can actually help runners to gain the strength they needed. Paddleboarding is a kind of water sport activity where you have to plant your feet right on the board, keeping your balance while paddling through the water. It uses hobie SUP boards, which can be very similar with that of a surfing board.

 

Paddleboarding is now starting to become very popular because of the tons of benefits that it offers. It is such a perfect way to work out plus having the fun of staying in the water. This sport is considered a light and easy way to keep your body fit and strong.

Paddleboarding to Train?

Many trail runners now consider cross-training, adding paddleboarding on the list. Since with this water sport, you got to put some effort in keeping your balance and gain more standing stability on the board, it hits your leg muscles, keeping it firm and eventually stronger. Many runners who tried paddleboarding significantly saw a great impact on the ankle strength when they run.

This can be good news for uphill trail runners. Since paddleboarding can help you gain the right core strength, you will notice a considerably difference on your strength, you’ll get a stronger legs that can sustain the wear and tear of running uphill.

Trail Running

Trail runners surely need strength works in which are engaging their muscles in many different ways. That’s the only way that they can gain the right drive when running. Downhill running offers a great challenge for anyone. It might damage your muscles if they aren’t strong enough. You might also trip down and that will throw you off.

 

Given all the possible challenge, trail runners are always finding ways to cross-train to improve their strength well. It is also important that you know how to control your speed when running. A sudden change of speed when running downhill can be very risky.  Practice and training are very important if you want to perfect the art of trail running.

Getting Started

If you want to do some cross-training and gain the right kind of strength that you need for running, paddleboarding is the answer. It is such a perfect way to achieve the strength that you need for your legs, knees and ankle but without exhausting them too much. Paddleboarding is a perfect alternative for those looking for a fun way to work out. Try something new for yourself today. Get started with paddleboarding and experience how it can help you become a great trail runner!

Importance of Flexibility for Running

Flexibility

Flexibility is considered the range of motion within a joint or group of joints, or to take it one step further, the effectiveness of a joint to move through a particular range of motion.

It is actually considered one of the four core components of fitness:

1. Cardiovascular endurance

2. Muscular strength

3. Muscular endurance

4. Flexibility

Given that this has been recognized by many of the world leaders in fitness research, it is safe to say it is important for everyone’s general well-being. However, when it comes to sports, and especially running, it becomes even more important.  Here is how to stretch before running.

Injury Prevention and Performance

Although there is the odd contradictory study, the majority of research regarding flexibility for injury prevention shows that it does indeed decrease the rate of injuries, particularly those that result from over-use or imbalances.

The reasons for this are still being sorted out, but there are a few explanations. One is that if your muscles are capable of stretching further allowing your joint to move a little further through its range of motion, that may offer a little bit more “buffer room” when being forced to exert force near the end of your range of motion. In other words, if your muscle are being “stretched” to their limits less often, there’s a lower chance of strain injuries.

Stretching can also help alleviate muscle imbalances. For example, it is very common for hockey players and speed skaters to have extremely tight hip flexors. This can eventually result in annoying back problems, which is one of the last things you want to deal with when preparing for competition.

In terms of running, especially for long distances such as marathons or ultra-marathons, there is a dual benefit to stretching:

First, by increasing your hamstring flexibility by, let’s say 1cm, that will make a huge difference in number of steps required to complete the race. This may result in less required effort, ultimately allowing you to push harder sooner, maybe even resulting in a new PB.

Secondly, by taking a lower amount of steps over a given distance, there is statistically less opportunities for you to injure yourself with a rolled ankle or something silly like that. Additionally, less step may mean less use, and therefore a reduced risk of overuse injury.

The main disadvantage of stretching, at least in the static sense (e.g. sit-and-reach) is that it has been shown to decrease muscular power output. For endurance events, this isn’t really a problem, but for those also participating in a sport that requires a little more explosiveness, this can be a problem especially if you’re looking to reduce risk of injury.

Therefore, it is often recommended that dynamic stretching be performed prior to the event (e.g. leg swings), which has been shown to prevent this loss in muscular power output. Then, during cool-down, it is recommended to perform the standard static stretching that most of us are used to.

Overall

Stretching is extremely important for health and fitness and elite competition alike. The type of stretching you perform is up to you and depends on what sort of training you are doing. Lots of runners perform static stretching before AND after a run, and they find it really helps, so don’t feel limited to only what you read in this article. We simply want to get the wheels turning for you and help you reach your own personal running goals. If you find it boring, we don’t blame you, but finding some peers to stretch with or having some music handy can really help solve that problem!

Sprint Training for Endurance Athletes

When you want a little extra

Running at a recreational level, and especially a competitive level, is definitely a commitment. Not only is it a challenge to achieve your fitness goals, but it can be even more difficult to maintain those achievements for the long term.

Many runners who have participated in our group runs have asked what we do for cross-training. At first, we would simply respond by saying that running is enough training along. We still stand by this comment, but it has become clear to us that ONLY running isn’t necessarily suitable for all individuals, particularly those who run purely for recreation.

Therefore, in this article, we discuss some ways that you may be able to supplement your running workout with a completely different type of activity, allowing you to further personalize your training regime to something potentially more enjoyable for you.

What should you keep in mind?

First of all, given we are a running group, we do not want to discuss forms of training that will hurt any fitness benefits you have seen from running, or anything else that will be bad for your running workouts.

In order to address this, we feel that a focus should be placed on activities that do not cause an undue amount of physical stress to the lower body, those that have a high-risk of acute or chronic injuries, but still provide a different-enough workout that you will find it both enjoyable and beneficial.

Boxing

Are we serious? Yes. Really? Yes.

Although we acknowledge boxing isn’t for everyone, take away any preconceived notions you have and you will see just how awesome it can be. Boxing really incorporates all types of workouts, but these guys and girls can definitely be considered endurance athletes. In fact, we actually started thinking about boxing after a couple boxers joined our running group as a supplement to THEIR workouts!

Many people think boxing is synonymous with fighting, but that is not the case. Most boxing gyms are more than happy to welcome recreational boxers who are simply looking to get or stay in shape, and you can even perform your own workouts at home.

Boxing is similar to circuit training at a fitness gym, where all parts of the body are worked in a highly intense manner, but definitely focusing on endurance and cardiovascular fitness. You will rarely touch a weight, as most exercises are performed under your own body weight. Furthermore, boxing-specific exercises add an extra level of fun, and can also serve as self-defense training.

Boxing is also pretty cheap. All you need is a pair of boxing gloves, hand wraps, a mouth guard (depending on how far your training goes), and your normal gym clothes. Eventually if you want to progress to your own home workouts, you can set up your own punching bag at home with relative ease and have other little things around like jump ropes.

Last note about boxing, you don’t have to spar if you don’t want. A lot of people think if they join a boxing gym that they are automatically volunteering to put themselves in the ring with an opponent. This is not the case, and most gyms are aware that this can even be a liability issue for them, so they shouldn’t ever be putting you in the ring without you coming forward and volunteering on your own. Even then, they will want to make sure that you are ready and comfortable with making that step.

Football and floor hockey

Football is a pretty obvious sport that could cross over to running, and all you need is a pitch and some mates to play around with. However, perhaps a more interesting, or at least unfamiliar, sport is floor hockey. Many community centres are stocked with floor hockey sticks. If you can find or create a couple goals/nets, a ball, and get some mates together, you can have some unconventional fun that likely puts everyone on the same level. It’s also a crazy workout!

Circuit Training

In general we do not want to promote weight lifting if you are serious about endurance running. However, resistance training does not need to be geared towards sprint-type athletes that are looking to bulk up.

If you have a membership at a local fitness centre, consider circuit training. This usually has its own area in the fitness centre and is composed of various exercise machines. If they aren’t grouped together in their own area, you will simply just have to move around the gym a bit more.

In circuit training, you usually perform an exercise on one machine that targets a particular muscle group, then immediately move on to the next machine that targets a different muscle group, and continues, eventually working all muscle groups. People tend to perform the exercises with low weight and high reps, which facilitates enhancements to muscular endurance.

Summary

In general, what sort of training regime you develop is up to you. This will depend on what types of goals you want to achieve and how committed you are to running. Although we suggest the above activities, that does not mean there aren’t any more of similar or better benefit. As long as you aren’t feeling over-worked, are using low weights and high reps, and it is enjoyable, then you should be well on your way to great training regime, and an even better lifestyle!