How To Run Pain Free

Many people are unfortunate enough to experience pain while running.  This can end your run for the day or even months.  There are some simple things you can do to prevent injury while running.  I will give a list of things you can do to reduce your injury rate drastically.

Form

Proper form is key if you want to get rid of pain while running.  Make sure you have light footsteps and do not land on the heel of your foot, rather land on your mid-foot.  This will most definitely take some getting used to.  This can save you from pain in the knee.  Slamming your heel into the ground will cause pain in the kneecap whereas light steps on the mid-foot are much less stressful to bones.  Standing up straight is also good to do while running.  This probably will not alleviate any pain but it will help your running.  This is my go to site on how to have proper form.

Warm Up

Before every run you should go on a very light, slow, warm up.  This should be around a half a mile but it depends on your workout.  The warm up is essentially just to get the juices flowing and loosen your muscles so you don’t strain them during the workout.  Only after the warm up should you stretch.  The stretching will be much more beneficial to you if your muscles are warmed up and loose.

Stretching

A lot of people probably roll their eyes when I say this but it is so important.  I cannot say that enough.  You must stretch before all your runs and do some stretching after.  Before your runs get your hamstrings, quads, calves and any other parts that are sore.  When you stretch it should come after the warm up but we are still getting to that.  Stretching will prevent pulled muscles and also can help alleviate knee pain.  If you experience pain on the side of your knee you might have a tight IT band.  The IT band is the outside of your leg.  A great way to get rid of knee pain is to use a foam roller on your IT band.  I had some knee problems this year and with a few days of rolling I was good as new.  Stretching will also increase your range in motion, which will increase your efficiency as a runner.

Common Sense

You can save yourself from a week of injury from taking a day off.  Common sense is key when preventing injury.  Know your limits and don’t push yourself to far.  If you start to feel pain make sure you ice when you get home and either take it easy the next day or just don’t run.  For you beginner runners make sure you ease into distance.  You don’t just want to start running 30 miles a week with no training.  Slowly inch your way up to the desired mileage.  Patience is key, add a few miles to your weekly distance each week. E.g. 10 miles week 1, 15 week 2 and so on.

I hope all of you find this helpful and have an injury free running career.

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A Different Point of View

With our very busy lives we rarely get the opportunity to sit back and observe our scenery and how cool the world is.  I would like to show some photos, some mine, some of the internet, that show how beautiful the world is.

Beautiful view of the Milky Way

Picture of the internet

I found this on the internet.  It is a long exposure shot.

I took this while on a backpack.  The sun is setting

I took this while on a backpack.  The sun is setting.
Another long exposure shot with some rocks in the foreground.
This is a mountain I took a picture of while backpacking in Colorado
I found this on the internet.  Very cool editing.
Once more I took this while backpacking in Colorado.  We are on a peak looking at the other peaks.
I took this on a hike in July!  It was a very long snow field that we glaciated down.
I found this on the internet.  I think it is the Grand Canyon but do not hold me to that.
I took this while on a hike we started at 2 am.  This is above tree line at around 5:30 am.
I hope you enjoyed some of the photos I found and took.  Some of these were found using StumbleUpon.  I hope you enjoyed some of the pictures and realize what a cool place we live in!
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Skiing Season

The ski season starts soon and I have been waiting to long.  The last month I have been watching ski videos of people shredding up fresh powder and making me jealous.  I have been waiting to go skiing again since the end of last season.  Videos like The Art of Flight and this GoPro video would make anyone want to ski/board.  This Thanksgiving will be the start of my ski season.  

Photos like that get me pumped up.  This season I am looking forward to some things I have never tried.  I would like to Cross Country Ski (good cross training for Cross Country running).  I am also hiking a 14er and skiing down!  A 14er for those who do not know is a mountain that is taller than 14,000 feet.  I have hiked the mountain in the summer but never would I have thought  winter! 

The new season brings new gear.  I am a highschool student so it seems like I am growing an inch every year.  Trying on new boots is always a pain.  Having your foot crunched in a boot, no matter how comfortable, hurts after a full day.  Although it sucks while skiing, taking the boot off is the best feeling in the world.  I have been skiing for 12 years (I am 14) and everyday when I walk to the locker room I think about taking those boots off.

Skiing also brings inevitable injury.  Since I am a kid and us kids do dumb things, there is usually an injury somewhere in the season.  Nothing that will keep you out for a day but maybe a signal to tone it down.  Us kids get injured by either getting big air and falling while trying to do a trick, seeing who can ski the bumps straight down or sledding on your skis.  Sledding on your skis involves taking off your skis and sitting on them while going down a run screaming for dear life.  

I am definitely looking forward to hitting the slopes.  Tell me your stories, what kind of snow you like and where you ski in the comments!

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Odd Cross Country Data

I am sure lots of you have heard of the book Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.  If not you should read it because it’s a great book.    Anyways I was looking at the results of the state cross country race for Illinois.  I then looked at other states results and found that Illinois kicked butt compared to other states.  The runners were just so much faster so I decided to look into it.  I started to look at the results of multiple states to find that Illinois was considerably faster than others.  (Freakonomics will enter later if you are wondering).  This perplexed me because you would think that the places like California and Florida would have faster runners, but they do not!

Here are some links to the different state results:  Illinois, California, Florida.  Now keep in mind that Illinois is a 3-mile race while California and Florida are both 5K’s.  So their races are .1 miles longer.  But if you look at the pace, Illinois has 157 runners going at a sub 5:20 mile pace and 24 runners sub 5:00.  Florida has only 40 sub 5:20 and 3 runners sub 5:00.  I found it very odd that there was such a huge difference in time.  Now I know that the Illinois course is flat and fast (I have run it).  These other courses might be hilly.  I have not been able to find out what their courses were like.

Wiiner=Illinois loser=other states

I emailed the editor of Freakonomics and told him about this.  He said that it was very interesting and they might do a blog post.  I felt very smart when he said something I found out could make it into the blog post of Freakonomics.  I will remind you guys if it happens.  In the meantime leave your explanations for this in the comment section!

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How To Enjoy Running

Running, for most, is tiresome exercised that they have to do when being punished in a sport.  For a small percentage of people, it is fun.  I personally am an avid runner.  A lot of people want to get into running but are faced with pain and just can’t get themselves to do it.  Here I will explain how to start enjoying your runs and instead of thinking about how close you are, think about how you want to just keep on going.

You will need a good pair of RUNNING SHOES.  Some people think they can just run in their basketball shoes or trashed sneakers.  surprisingly if you want to feel good while running you need running shoes.  They should fit snuggly and give you good ankle support.  You also will need to have proper running form.  You should not be taking huge strides while slamming your feet into the ground.  Your footsteps should barely be heard by you.  This website will tell you how to run with proper form.

This next step is the hardest part..  You will need to run for about a month.  This is going to suck at first.  All you want to be doing is long slow runs.  Start off with going 2 or 3 miles a day.  Do this a few times a week.  Then bump up your mileage to 4 miles.  You should start running more often.  Keep doing this for about a month or two.  This is going to be tough and you will probably want to stop.

One of the days you will be jogging along and its going to feel like a huge weight was lifted off your shoulders.  Instead of feeling dead tired you will actually feel good, crazy right!  This is called runners high.  Your going at a decent pace, feeling light on your feet and you feel like you could go forever.  All stress seems to melt away as you focus on the patter of your footsteps.  After the run you will feel less stressed out and your mind will be clear.  Runners high is not something you will feel every run but you will feel good and stress free after your runs.  Hopefully you will continue running for fun and getting good exercise is just another plus!

I hope some of you are determined to break through that wall and start enjoying your runs!  If you experience a runner’s high tell us how it felt in the comments!

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Album Review: Camp by Childish Gambino

Drake and Childish Gambino both came out with albums today.  This is Gambino’s first album and he nailed it.  The album is 13 tracks dealing with stereotypes and struggles growing up.  If you want to read a review for Drake’s new album Take Care, click here.

Outside:  Gambino’s first track.  This song has sweet beat and great lyrics.  Gambino talks about his struggles growing up.  Going to a predominantly white school.  He uses some deep powerful lyrics talking about his childhood.  The chorus is a choir.  It really goes well with the meaning of the song and sounds great to.  4 stars out of 5.

Fire Fly:  This song has a nice electro beat.  It is very upbeat.  This song is much more optimistic than Outside.  Gambino is reflecting on how people did not thing he would make it but in an upbeat.  He raps about how he is now entering into the mainstream and making it big. 3 out a 5

Bonfire:  This track is sick.  This song is more like Freaks and Geeks.  Gambino drops sick beat and some clever lyrics.  Every line is witty and clever.  The beat has some nice snare and something that sounds like Gregorian chanting.  Gambino goes hard on this track.  It is much more intense than the last to tracks and he talks more about women and money.  5 out of 5

Throughout the album Gambino addresses how he was put down as a kid.  He was not accepted because he wasn’t “hood.”  He also talks about the pressure of fitting in with the other rappers.  People don’t think he is a “real rapper” because he doesn’t act “gangster.”  Gambino definitely puts this dispute to rest.  He showed that he deserves attention and made a name for himself.  This album has sick beats and lyrics and is a must buy.  Remember the name Childish Gambino because we will definitely be seeing more of him.  If you want to buy this album click here.

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First Post

This is my first blog post.  I started this blog for fun and to see if I could make some money.  My post will be about whatever is on my mind.  One week it could be an album review and the next it could be about politics.  I will blog AT LEAST once a week.  I hope all of you enjoy The Earth Around Us!

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