Here's some motivation: Walking uphill increases your calorie burn by 10 percent for each degree of incline, says the American College of Sports Medicine. Try this routine on a treadmill — or any hill that takes at least 3 minutes to climb — to blast 207 calories* in 35 minutes.
*Calorie burn based on a 150-pound woman.
1997, Mark Pollock was 21 years old, a recent graduate of Dublin’s
Trinity University and an avid rower. A year later, he was blind, having
suffered sudden — and irreversible — damage to the retinas
in both of his eyes.
This is, of course, no small feat
for any runner, let alone a blind runner. Competitors will be subjected
to wildly changing wind and snow conditions — and springtime
temperatures that typically start at 20 degrees below zero Fahrenheit
and only go down from there. But Pollock is no average runner, blind
or otherwise. So he met with fellow Irishman John O’Regan, a
veteran of the 125-mile Marathon des Sables, and convinced him to join
him as a guide and running partner. They agreed to sign up for the
North Pole Arctic Marathon, which is operated by yet another Irishman,
Richard Donovan, himself a veteran of the Marathon des Sables as well
as seven other ultramarathons.(Why all the Irishmen in this story?
Donovan notes that, including Pollock and O’Regan, roughly 1/3
of the competitors in his race will be Irish. “It’s probably
because there’s so much word-of-mouth in Ireland,” Pollock
laughs. “And people are more likely to commit to something like
this after they’ve had too much Guinness.”)
“In 2002, I ran the course in 3:48,” Donovan says. “It was really cold — about –76 degrees Fahrenheit with the wind-chill — but the footing was good. The next year it was about 50 degrees warmer, but there was soft, loose snow underfoot, which was a real impediment.” That year, Donovan finished second (in a field of 12), in 5:20.
This year, Donovan says, he’s sitting out the race in the interest of fair play (“I’m race director, so my word is final on who wins or loses,” he laughs) but also because he’ll be busy running the show. On race day, he’ll fly with about 30 competitors and a small staff from Svalbard, Norway, to a floating Russian camp called Borneo, about 50 miles from the geographic pole, depending on the weather. “Unlike the South Pole, which is on land, the North Pole lies on top of about 10 feet of frozen sea water,” he explains. “So it’s always moving.”
Once at the Russian camp (which will also serve as the start and finish lines), the runners will hang out in heated tents while Donovan marks the course — a small loop, only about two miles around. “Yes, you have to pass the finish line 13 times,” he says, “but trust me: You want it this way.” For one thing, he explains, shifting polar ice makes a reliable point-to-point race (or even a bigger loop) impossible. There’s also the danger of encountering wide, water-filled cracks, or leads, in the ice. Besides falling into the Arctic Ocean, runners could easily add miles to their route by circumnavigating a big fissure.
There’s also a psychological
benefit to keeping close to base camp, he says. “Running two
miles at the North Pole seems like a whole lot more. There are no buildings
or trees, no visual clues. When you head out towards the horizon, you
really feel as if you’re running off the face of the earth.”
Not surprisingly, Pollock’s attitude spills over into the rest of his life, as well. There’s little doubt that going blind is a life-altering event, he says, but it doesn’t have to be life-stopping. After he lost his sight, he quickly returned to rowing, and won silver and bronze medals with the Northern Ireland team at the 2002 Commonwealth Regatta. And after that, he decided to take up adventure racing — and began his career with the six-stage, 150-mile Gobi March across China’s Gobi Desert, despite the fact that his running experience up until that time topped off at 10 kilometer runs during off-season rowing training.
Running with a guide, Pollock completed the Gobi course — which covers high plains, mountains and sand dunes — in 60 hours, 17 minutes, and the experience left him ready for more. “The Gobi race attracted me because of the very real possibility of failure,” he says. “Staring failure in the face and beating it motivates me. So when I got back to Ireland, I met up with John and we hatched a plan to run at the North Pole.”
Why such an extreme event? “I can’t change the fact that I can't see,” he explains, “but I can choose how I respond to it. I could lie in bed, or I could go and compete in some of the most challenging and rewarding races in the world. Not much of a choice is it, really?”
NOTE: Later this year, Pollock plans
to compete in the Race the Rockies, a 30-day running, mountain biking
and canoeing race across more than 2,000 miles in Western Canada. The
race starts July 8—and he’s still looking for a race
some people, staying healthy is actually pretty simple. It amounts
to fighting off the smaller stuff (colds, flu, infections) and avoiding
the larger stuff like cancer and heart disease. Call it a “two-point” avoidance
Love Your Spuds. It’s the poster child for carbohydrates and America’s
favorite vegetable. Baked or roasted (not deep-fried or smothered in
cheese), it’s also a nutritionist’s dream, delivering potassium
(each packs more than 20 percent of your Daily Value), antioxidants and
fiber (about three grams or 12 percent of your DV).
Get saucy. Tomatoes are the current darling of researchers, thanks to
high concentrations of antioxidants (including lycopene, one of the most
potent). To get the most disease-fighting benefit from your tomatoes,
opt for cooked products, like spaghetti sauce (heating makes lycopene
Learn Labelese. “Lite” foods sell like (reduced-calorie)
hotcakes – but what, exactly, are they? The United States Department
of Agriculture defines “Lite” (or “Light”) as
containing at least a third of the calories (and half the fat) of comparable
products — not necessarily “non-fattening” or even “healthy.” The
bottom line: Read the label to determine exactly what’s in there.
Fill ‘er Up. Losing weight
is a losing battle when you’re
trying to ignore a rumbling stomach. Your best bet: Combining filling,
high-fiber grains and vegetables -- leafy ones (salad greens, broccoli)
and starchy ones (potatoes, corn, squash) -- with smaller amounts of
stick-to-your ribs proteins and unsaturated fats.
Heal the Burn. Heartburn strikes
millions — often during exercise — but
antacids aren’t the only answer (and popping too many can cause
other problems). To prevent it, skip protein- and fat-rich foods (or
big meals) before workouts and drink plenty of water and diluted sports
drinks (dehydration only makes things worse).
Make Olive Your Only Oil. Toss
the margarine and butter. Olive oil contains heart-healthy unsaturated
fat, not artery-clogging saturated (or trans)
fat. And recent research shows that dipping your bread in olive oil instead
of smearing it with butter means you’ll eat less bread (and fewer
Fight Trans Fat. Meet your new
enemy: trans fat, which lurks in many processed foods, raises “bad” cholesterol and contributes
to heart disease – just like saturated fat. But unlike saturated
fat, it’s not listed on labels (it will be, starting in 2006).
In the meantime, avoid it by avoiding foods containing hydrogenated oils.
Steep Well. Numerous
studies show that green and black tea contain catechins, antioxidant
compounds that may help prevent several diseases. To reap
all those rewards, skip the instant powders in favor of old-fashioned
tea bags or loose tea leaves – then add boiling water and steep
for several minutes before drinking.
Save Your Skin. Cancer’s on the rise, but sunscreen isn’t
enough (research shows it can actually increase your risk by encouraging
you to stay
out too long). The latest recommendations call for lotion plus some old-fashioned
common sense: Use hats and clothing to cover up, and avoid the midday sun.
Stop Portion Distortion. Research shows
that Americans consistently overestimate
serving sizes — and underestimate how much we’re eating. Look at
it this way: A serving of rice or pasta should fit into half of a tennis ball,
and a serving of meat or fish is no bigger than your Palm Pilot.
Be Salad Smart. A new report from the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine found many fast-food salads, including
McDonald’s Crispy Chicken Salad
and Wendy’s Chicken BLT Salad, can pack more fat and calories than a Big
Mac. Best bets: Au Bon Pain’s Garden Salad and Subway’s Veggie Delite.
Reach for Chocolate. New research shows
that chocolate actually fights heart disease, thanks to antioxidant flavonoids
in the cocoa powder. For maximum health
benefits (and palate pleasing), choose dark chocolate (with more cocoa) and savor
it at room temperature — on an empty stomach.
Catch up on Calcium. Nine in ten women
believe that calcium is important — yet
nearly half don’t get enough. Missing your daily 1000 - 1200 mg? Eat yogurt
(up to 450 mg/cup), drink calcium-fortified orange juice (300 mg/cup), or add
powdered milk (750 mg/half-cup) to soups or casseroles.
Count Calories, Not Carbs. Atkins fans
may swear by the weight loss powers of
cutting carbs, research shows that it’s the reduction in calories, not
carbohydrates, that pare the pounds. Meanwhile, recent research at Southern Illinois
University and elsewhere shows that limiting carbohydrates also limits your athletic
Conquer colds. Rather not catch one of the billion colds that’ll go around this year? Exercise (it reduces colds by 20 percent) and stay home (air travelers catch four times the colds as the average American). Gotta fly? Pack your own pillow, wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
Yes, you CAN supercharge your metabolism – and you can accomplish it in a single daily workout. The trick is to do high-energy cardio and strengthening moves that create an “afterburn” effect, so your body is still working even after you’ve left the gym. “After an intense workout, you immediately start to rebuild muscle tissue, a process that requires energy. This creates a metabolic boost that can last for several hours,” says Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
To keep your metabolism
revved in the long term, you need to build muscle with regular resistance
training (one pound of muscle burns about 10 calories a day; a pound
of fat burns about three). And to jump-start your metabolism now, try
these five workout strategies:
running is the simplest of activities — one
foot follows the other, taking you from point A to point B. But
times, it can be fraught with mishaps, ranging from the mildly
annoying to the downright dangerous. Here, we tackle 11 of the
most common culprits.
Dizziness can also be caused by a shortfall in nutrients, especially
carbohydrates. Ironically, feeling dizzy can even be a sign that
you’re over-hydrated, adds Lewis Maharam, M.D., medical director
of the New York City Marathon. “This isn’t nearly as
common as dehydration, “ he says, “but it can strike
a novice who grabs three or four cups of water at every aid station
during a long race, or who chugs too much water on a long training
Now what? Sit in the shade or go into an
air-conditioned building and start drinking fluids. If you ’re far from home when dizziness
strikes, make a phone call to get a ride. You may be so dehydrated
or otherwise out of kilter that it’ll take an hour or two
until you’re feeling normal again. If you’re still
feeling dizzy when you get home, or if the feeling becomes more
extreme, call your doctor.
Next time: Drink appropriately, which means
5 to 12 ounces of fluid – preferably
sports drink – every 15 to 20 minutes you’re running.
Bring along your favorite fluid along in a water bottle or stash
it along your route. And sniff out all the water fountains along
the way — and use them.
strike all runners, from the elite to the novice, but they are
most common among new runners or those who are pushing themselves
to run farther — or faster — than usual. They often
occur when food or drink in your stomach pulls down on the ligaments
that attach your stomach to your diaphragm, which controls your
breathing. This causes your diaphragm to go into spasm.
Now what? Jim Spivey, three-time Olympian
and track and cross country coach at Vanderbilt University, recommends
a stitch strikes, concentrate on breathing from your belly with
every exhale, then pull your abdomen and chest in on every inhale.
After four full breaths, visualize the cramp and try to direct
your breath to it, as if you were massaging it away. If that
work after a minute or two, slow to a walk (or stop) and raise
your arms over your head for several seconds. This should help
the muscle to relax.
Next time: Ease into any increases to speed
or distance. Also, wait 2 hours before you run, after you’ve
had a meal or a very large drink. Or at least consume small amounts
fluid) frequently instead of downing large portions at once.
An ankle twist can run the gamut from mild to severe, says Nicholas
DeNubile, M.D., an orthopedic physician in Havertown, Pa. If
you turn it with enough force, you’ll stretch or tear ligaments,
which produces dramatic, immediate swelling. Women are slightly
more prone to ankle twists than men because of the sharper angle
between their hips and feet, but any runner can turn an ankle.
You can do it by stepping on an uneven surface, or just by not
watching where you’re going.
Now what? First, assess the situation:
Did you slightly roll your ankle — or did you really slam it and do some damage? “If
it’s very sore and swelling, you’re done for the day,” says
Dr. Jenkinson. Call a cab. If you must walk home, be sure to do
it gingerly — and slowly — with both shoes on. “I’m
always amazed at how many people take off their shoe to check the
damage, then never put it back on,” he says. “Wearing
your shoe will help keep the swelling down, and keep you from taking
another bad step.” Once home, start the RICE routine: rest,
ice, compression, and elevation. Apply ice three or four times
a day for 20 minutes at a time.
Next time: If ankle turns are a recurring
problem, find a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist who can evaluate
your stride and possibly
fit you with stabilizing orthotics, says Richard T. Braver, D.P.M.,
a podiatrist in Englewood, N.J. Add strengthening exercises to
your regular exercise routine. Try rubber resistance tubing or “wobble
boards,” which are designed to build balance and strengthen
the muscles in your lower legs.
But wheezing is not the sole domain of asthmatics. Anyone can
feel short on oxygen if it’s hot or the air quality is
very poor. In very rare cases, shortness of breath can be a sign
of an oncoming
heart attack, especially if you feel chest pain as well.
Now what? If you’re gasping your way through your run, slow
down and cut it short, says Spivey. Whether it’s asthma or
plain old pollution that’s interfering with your breathing,
the result is the same: Less oxygen is being delivered to your
muscles. And that translates into greater exertion (and longer
recovery times) for the same workout. (If you’re also feeling
some chest pain and dizziness, take it seriously. Stop running
immediately and call for help. If it turns out to be a false
alarm, so what?)
Next time: Pay close attention to the weather
reports, especially air quality, heat index, and ozone warnings,
and scale back both
the duration and the intensity of your runs on problem days.
Also, be sure to bring your inhaler on every run, and start slowly.
Many runners find that a 10-minute warmup keeps them from getting
on the run. If you’ve experienced chest pain, schedule an
appointment with your doctor right away. Meanwhile, don’t
Now what? Depending on your tolerance for
public vomiting, you might want to take the shortest route to
relief (and take comfort
in the fact that you’re neither the first runner nor the
last to lose his or her lunch). Less dramatic options: Take a
breather and walk for a while. Sit on a bench or on the ground
for a minute.
Pregnant women have been known to nibble on saltines to quell
morning sickness, and some runners keep an energy bar on hand
for the same
reason: A little bit of food can help when nausea strikes.
Next time: Know your stomach’s idiosyncrasies— and obey them. “I’ve had to travel overseas many times, and I’ve learned to stick to familiar foods, even when they’re hard to find,” says Spivey. Don’t skip the prerun food entirely, he cautions. Eat at least a few bites of a bagel, banana, or energy bar before heading out. If you have a bigger meal, eat it at least an hour before you start your next run (experiment to find your own personal cutoff time).
Now what? As soon as you feel a blister
coming on, stop running and try to fix the problem. Sometimes,
it’s just a matter
of your sock bunching up or your shoe’s tongue slipping out
of position. If it’s something you can’t solve, walk
home. Once there, wash the area and keep it dry to encourage speedy
healing, suggests Chris Hall, head men’s and women’s
track and cross country coach at the University of Chicago. If
the blister in in a spot that will be subjected to further friction,
you should pop it — carefully: Use a sterile needle,
make a tiny hole at the edge of the blister, and leave the
Next time: Make sure that your shoes
and socks fit properly. Blisters aren’t part and parcel of an active life. They’re
evidence that your feet and your footwear are mismatched. Always
running socks that are made from a wicking, synthetic fabric.
And consider carrying along a product called Blister Block,
sticky pad that absorbs friction in problem areas.
Now what? Rub on some ointment, either old-fashioned petroleum
jelly or one of those new, non-staining products like Aquafor or
Body Glide (even lip balm will work in a pinch). Then re-apply
every half-hour or so.
Next time: Be sure you’re running
in soft, broken-in, breathable clothing without any scratchy
or uneven seams. If traditional
running shorts tend to ride up on you, try tights or bike shorts.
cover problem spots with ointment before you leave home.
Now what? To warm feet and hands, try
this old ski patroller trick: If your feet have gone numb,
keep running and get the blood flowing
again with a series of leaps and squats (pretend you’re
skiing the biggest moguls on the mountain). If your hands are
get centrifugal force into the game by swinging your arms, one
at a time, in circles. Keep your arm loose and make each rotation
as big and fast as you can; keep swinging for at least 20 reps
per arm. (No, you won’t look dignified, but yes, it really
Next time: Invest in good-quality, made-for-the-winter socks and gloves — and get yourself a hat. If it’s often wet where you live, look into waterproof or water-resistant outerwear, mittens and running shoes.
Fecal incontinence most often strikes runners who are experiencing
diarrhea (which, in turn, can be caused by a reaction to certain
foods). Then there’s urinary incontinence, in which a
small amount of urine leaks, often during times of exertion.
a problem for millions of Americans, most of them women who
have had children.
Now what? Find the facilities (or a secluded
shrub, if need be) as soon as possible. And don’t worry about appearances: “I
can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone into a fast-food
restaurant, made a beeline for the bathroom, then walked out again
without buying a thing,” says Spivey. “I used to feel
awkward, but not anymore. Most people understand. And it’s
much better than the alternative.”
If you’ve had to go au naturel, or if you’ve had incontinence
of either type, it’s very important to wash the area
as soon as possible. Both urine and feces will irritate your
Next time: Get into the habit of using
the bathroom before you leave home, says Cathy Feiseler, M.D.,
a sports medicine practitioner
at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Learn where rest rooms
are on your route, and start out with the assumption that you’ll
have to make at least one pit stop.
If urinary incontinence is a problem, talk with your doctor about remedies as well as exercises that you can do. If diarrhea is your downfall, take a close look at your diet. Could be coffee. Could be fiber. Could be milk. Don’t overlook anything, even if you never have a problem with it on non-running days.
Tweaks and Twinges.
Now what? “If you’re running and you feel a slight
pain or twinge, give yourself another minute or two to see if it
goes away,” suggests Jenkinson. If it doesn’t,
stop and try to stretch it out. Still no go? Then call it a
Next time: Know your body, says Spivey,
and pay attention to little problems
before they become chronic.
If you’ve been having
lots of twinges lately (or are recovering from an injury), run
in a loop so that you’re never too far from home, and
stop if things get bad. Never try to run through the pain.
Now what? Assess the situation, says
Jenkinson. “Are you
truly, physically, too tired to go on? If so, then stop. There
are certainly times when it’s smarter to quit.” If
things aren’t quite so bad, walk for a few minutes, sip
some sports drink or a gel, and get moving. Then take regular
the rest of the way,
Next time: The key to avoiding these situations is to plan ahead. Be sure to eat and drink properly before heading out, and start conservatively. Keep the pace down until well into your run. As time goes on, you’ll learn what you can and can’t do as a runner. “I know what I can expect, day to day, and that cuts way down on surprises,” says Hall. That confidence also lets you make the commitment to finish every run, no questions asked. And this helps eliminate all those mental battles along the way, which can be exhausting all by themselves.
It's one of life's great injustices: Running — no matter how religiously you do it, no matter how far or fast you go — doesn't guarantee you a sleek physique.
Sure, we've all seen the rail-thin champions, and probably have at least one running buddy who's built like a whippet. But we also know runners who are carrying more than an extra water bottle around their waists. Or who wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of running tights.
“Runners are always amazed and frustrated when they can't get rid of those little stomach ‘pouches,’” says Bonne Marano, a certified fitness instructor and personal trainer in New York City. “Pouches”? Is this ringing a bell?
To banish those pouches, what you need is an overall conditioning program that improves your muscle tone as well as your endurance, strength and flexibility. “The only way to eliminate those problem spots is to lower your total body fat and increase your muscle,” says Marano. More muscle makes it harder for fat to settle because your metabolism is higher. This means you can burn more calories even when you're not exercising.
But fat cells can be stubborn. And the truth is, it's almost impossible to “spot reduce” parts of your body. Yet you can condition the underlying muscles, which will increase your overall lean muscle mass and morph that flab into toned, tight tissue.
Here, we'll show
you how to do exactly that. For each of four common problem areas – the
stomach, thighs, buttocks, and arms – we offer an exercise that
you can do while running, one you can do at the gym, and one you can
do at home. If none of these exercises work to your satisfaction, we've
got a secret weapon, guaranteed to move the pudge that just won't budge.
Problem #2: Flabby Upper Thighs (a.k.a. “Saddlebags”)
Pudge Problem #3: A Big Backside
You know you should strength train and you've heard the reasons why: Strength training fortifies your bones, prevents injuries, speeds up your metabolism. So why don't you do it? Probably because strength training seems so doggone complicated. With running, you need only tie on your shoes, step out the door and put one foot in front of the other. In contrast, strength training can involve gym memberships, complicated equipment and a big learning curve.
This is why we searched for a strength-training workout that's just as simple as running. And we found one. You can do it at home in about half an hour, and the most important piece of equipment is your own body. "Working against your body weight is a great way to build muscle," says Michael Wood, a certified strength trainer, owner of Sports Performance Group in Cambridge, Mass., and creator of this workout. Unlike fancy gym equipment, your body allows you to perform real-life, multijoint movements that will condition you to run faster.
three sets of the following seven exercises twice a week. Complete one set
of the exercises in order, followed by the first of the three stretches shown below. Then run through the exercises again and follow
up with the second stretch. Complete the third set of exercises and finish
the final stretch.
Stand with your hands on your
hands on your hips and your feet shoulder-width apart. Take an exaggerated
step forward with your right leg. As you plant
your foot, bend your left leg and sink down until your forward knee is
directly above your ankle and your front thigh is parallel to the
floor. Then rise
stepping forward with your left leg, bringing both feet back together.
Continue to lunge forward, leading with your right leg, from one
end of the room to
the other (take about 10 steps). Then switch legs.
Stand on a mat or thick carpet (to decrease injury risk). Start in a squat with your knees above your ankles and your hands behind your head, like a Russian folk dancer. Explode straight up, straightening your body but keeping your hands in place. Land as softly as you can, with your knees bent, then go right into the next jump. Do 8 to 10 more jumps without pausing.
Make it tougher: Throw
your hands up over your head as you jump, like a volleyball
at the net.
To do this combination, stand on the midpoint of a five-foot-long piece of rubber resistance tubing. Hold the handles so the tubing is taut when your hands are beside your hips. From that position, squat, then stand up while doing an upright row—in one continuous movement. For the row, pull the tubing up to your collarbones, keeping your hands close to your body and your elbows out. Do 10 to 12 repetitions.
Make it tougher: Do these squats one leg at a time, alternating legs with each repetition. Hold your free leg straight in front of you, toe flexed, as you squat down. Stand on both legs to do the row, then switch legs for the next squat.