9 Info About Running For Women

Some of these facts and tips apply to all runners, but many address the specific needs of women. You may find things you already know, but we’re sure you’ll discover many new ideas that can help you become the runner you want to be. Here the 9 things about running for women that they should know.

1. Running is a state of mind. The only thing that determines your success, or lack of success, is the way you think about your running. If it works for you-if it relieves stress, burns calories, gives you time to yourself, enhances your self-esteem-then it doesn’t matter what any other person or any stopwatch says about your running.

2. For female runners, controlled anaerobic training-intervals, hill repeats, fartlek training may lead to gains in strength and speed similar to those produced by steroids but without the noxious side effects. Why? High-intensity anaerobic running is one of the most potent stimulators of natural human growth hormones-those that contribute to stronger muscles and, ultimately, enhanced performance.

3. In the United States, heart disease kills 10 times more women than breast cancer does each year. One of the best weapons for fighting heart disease is exercise. Exercise lowers your blood pressure and resting heart rate, raises your “good” HDL cholesterol levels and helps you maintain a healthy weight.

4. Running with headphones outdoors is a safety hazard in more ways than one. You won’t be able to hear cars, cyclists or someone approaching who intends to do you harm. Attackers will always pick a victim who looks vulnerable. When you have headphones on, that means you.

5. Fast running burns more calories than slow running, but slow running burns more calories than just about any other activity. In short, nothing will help you lose weight and keep it off the way running does. Besides, it’s inexpensive, it’s accessible, and, if necessary, it can be done while pushing a stroller.

6. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. One important study of running injuries shows that women are much more likely than men to suffer ankle sprains, shin splints, stress fractures and hip problems. (Yet women are much less susceptible to Achilles tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and quadriceps injuries.) To help you avoid injuries, make cross-training-such as pool running, bicycling and weight lifting-part of your program.

7. Statistically, women run approximately 10 percent slower than men at all distances (based on the average difference between men’s and women’s world records). And although a University of California analysis showed that elite women have been improving twice as fast as elite men over the past three decades (14 meters a minute per decade versus 7 for men), women are not going to “catch up” with men. The improvement can be traced to, among other things, dramatic increases in the number of women competing, opportunities to compete and better coaching. Of course, certain individual women can far outpace most men. Ingrid Kristiansen’s marathon world record of 2:21:06 is faster than what 99.9 percent of the world’s men are capable of achieving.

8. You don’t have to be the competitive type to enter a race every now and then. You’ll find that lots of other racers aren’t overly competitive, either. They’re out there because it’s fun and social, and it motivates them to keep on running.

9. Medical wisdom upholds that moderate exercise during a normal pregnancy is completely safe for the baby. The most important precaution: Avoid getting overheated (a core body temperature above 101 degrees could increase the risk of birth defects). To make sure you’re staying cool enough, early in your pregnancy take your temperature rectally immediately after a run. As long as your temperature is below 101 degrees, you can maintain that same level of effort throughout your pregnancy. If you increase your intensity or duration, check your temperature again. Also, skip the post-run hot tub.


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