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Get back in shape in the fall

 

Fall is my favorite season to run for two reasons: cooler temperatures to do intensity workouts without overheating, and perfect season to get back in shape after taking time off in the summer. Every fall, I look forward to setting new goals whether it is to improve on a personal best or participate in a new event. It is also cross-country season, which is my favorite type of running because it is low key, inexpensive, offers challenging terrain, but more importantly brings me back to my childhood when I first started running in Quebec.

Fall is also a good time for those who want to learn how to run with clinics or clubs. Many of these run excellent programs to match your fitness level and challenge you as well. However, before launching into an exercise routine, visit your doctor. If you decide not to join a clinic, there are many online programs to choose from, but pick the proper running program to avoid overtraining or injury.

Here are my top 6 running tips to get you fall ready:

  1. Gear: Invest in sweat wicking fabrics, a light weight jacket, and long sleeve shirt. A vest is also ideal. Wear tights or capris. Dress for the weather conditions and wear reflective gear when there is less light. Dress in layers. I often wear a running cap to keep my head warm.
  2. Footwear: Visit a specialty running store to get them fitted properly. Trail runners are best for hitting the trails. I have two pairs of shoes to alternate my workouts in. For cross country, I wear trail shoes to keep me from slipping on rocks or loose gravel.
  3. Reward: When the weather is colder than usual, and you don’t feel like running, I find a good way to get me in the mood is to reward myself after a run with a hot drink. Otherwise, running with a friend will also keep you committed to working out. Once a week, I try to run with a friend to keep me motivated.
  4. Social: Join a running group to meet new friends and pick up running tips or advice.
  5. Hydration: Drink plenty of water even though it is cold, and follow a healthy diet. If you have any dietary concerns, ask a registered dietitian before you start running.
  6. Stretch: After your workout, stretch all your muscle groups. I do a cool-down after a hard training interval session then I stretch.

Fall is a good time to try some cross-country running, explore the trails, and improve your performance or get back into fitness after taking the summer off.

Runners’ Health: Don’t let allergies hold you back

Spring is here and so is allergy season. There is good news however for allergy sufferers who run, as their condition may now be controlled and prevented if necessary steps are taken. After suffering for long enough, I decided to visit my doctor to learn which of many allergy medications would be the most suitable. I was diagnosed with rhinitis (hay fever) and was prescribed with Flonase (nasal spray) and Reactine,which are taken before the workout and have certainly helped to make my running experience more manageable.

Back in 2001 when I was living in South Korea, my sinuses had to be drained because of extremely high air pollution and more pollen than I could handle…not conducive to comfortable running.

It is difficult enough to run but to have hay fever on top of that makes your workout less enjoyable. So seeking tips as to how to go about diminishing symptoms was my goal during a phone interview with Dr. Jack Taunton, who was chief medical officer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Dr. Taunton stated” I discovered that certain regions across North America are harsher than others when it comes to allergies. The West Coast of British Columbia is a particularly troublesome place for allergy sufferers because of the vast amount of forested areas and voluminous species of plants and grasses.”

Dr. Taunton further alluded to some people being allergic to certain foods, such as strawberries, some vegetables, dust and pet dander that may trigger an allergic reaction, adding, “Some triathletes are even allergic to certain types of chlorine in the pool,” also showing that for some unlucky people there is no escape. He suggested seeing an allergist (specialist) when symptoms become difficult to manage and to isolate exactly what type of allergy you have.

To summarize, your allergies are caused by the environment or certain foods, according to Dr. Taunton, and the best we can do is try to manage the situation. So what can you do to enjoy your workouts more? “Try breathing more through your mouth,” says Dr. Taunton. Try running when the pollen counts are lowest (check the weather report), wear sunglasses to prevent itchy, watery eyes. Avoid running on trails or in parks at the most dangerous times (for your allergies). Before your workouts, take an antihistamine medication like Reactine. Nasal sprays and eye drops are often available by prescription only. Allergy shots may be the answer and it is also suggested that Green Tea may help provide relief. As already mentioned, however, the best idea is to visit your doctor first to find out if you do suffer from an allergy condition.

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