Monthly Archives: November 2008

Leg Cramps, : What Causes it?

Pain is part of the deal of being a runner.

Leg cramp is a pain that is experienced around the leg but mainly on your calf muscles. Most runners report to feel the pain near the end of a marathon race.

What Rely Causes leg cramps

Most experts agree the primary cause is dehydration. But if you think about it, at a race runners are provided with a lot of water but still runners report feeling pain in the legs. Which makes me conclude water is not the primary cause of leg cramps.

Lack of running experience and inadequate training is the main cause of leg cramps. I ran my first marathon in 2006 and my second in 2007, both of this marathons I suffered cramps near the end. For my third marathon, which was the first time I ran a 42K marathon under three hours and set a Personal best of 2 hours 54 minutes, I did not feel any pain en route to the finish line.

Experience Brings Strength

That third marathon was my best because it was pain free. Three years of marathon training had made my body get used to the stress of marathon running. The more you train the stronger your calf, ankle and knee get.

Keep training and with time your calf’s will get strong.

Why Elite Women Runners Are Running Faster, Better as they Age

“Female long distance runners are like wine, they get better with time”


At the 2008 NYC marathon there were 41 elite women. There average age was 33, Two thirds were 30 or older and nearly a half were 35 and older.

Some of the famous names were Paula Radcliffe 34, the eventful winner, Gete Wami 33 and Catherine Ndereba 36, the fourth place finisher.

And it is not just NYC marathon, just look at this list of 2008 marathon winners;

2008 Beijing Olympic marathon- Constantina Tomescu of Romania, 38 Years young.

2008 Berlin Marathon – Irina Mikitenko,  36 years young.

2008 Chicago marathon – Lidiya Grigoryeva, 34 years young.

Why they are doing so well.

According to an article I read on NYtimes. Ryan Lamppa, a researcher for Running USA, a nonprofit organization that tracks trends in distance running says more women are sticking to the marathon due to economic incentives.  Atleast 5 for the elite winners at NYC marathon have made over US$ 1 million in career earnings.

“If the sport was back in its amateur days, you definitely wouldn’t see as many 30-plus marathoners than you do now,” Lamppa said. “I don’t think they’re staying in the sport purely for the love of it. It’s a nice gig if you can do it long enough. But, you know, it’s a painful gig, too.”

Best Running Shoes For 2008 By Runners World

The good guys at runners world have just announced the best running shoes for 2008. When you start reading this kind of news you know the end of the year is near and X-mas is even closer.

This were the results.

  • International Editors choice – Asics Gel Kayano 14. If for some reason you don’t love this shoe, understand that this shoe was chosen by the editors themselves.  Everyone has right to his opinion!
  • International best update – Adidas supernova cushion 7. The best update awards goes to a running shoe that features a significant improvement in fit and feel, materials or technology.
  • The best looking running shoe – Adidas Response Cushion 17 as voted by 4,200 runners at Runnersworld website.

Marathon Record Holder for Runners Over 90 Years

When I started running marathon at 26 years my plan was to stop at 40. But I guese I will have to reconsinder my retirement plan after I read the inspiring story of 93 years old Fauja Singh.

Mr. Singh is the current marathon world record-holder for runners over the age of 90. His P.B. for marathon is 5:40. Content that his marathon record is secure for now, Fauja ran the half marathon in Toronto in 2006 and set a New world’s record in over 90 category 2:30:02.

Mr. Singh cuts an image of an Indian Sage, wears and runs with a turban and spots a long beared. He is the perfect sage when he humbly says, he doesn’t see what he does as remarkable.

He started running when he was 81, just to have something to do, and he discovered that he first enjoyed the act of running–and later the sport.

Age is no longer an excuse for inactivity and inactivity is no longer the reward for getting old.

Gebreselassie On Why Ethiopia Produces Successful Runners

I was reading Haile Gebreselassie interview on spike magazine and the great man was asked,

Why have Ethiopians been so consistently successful in distance running? His answer was

  1. Genes – Haile Gebresellassie, Kenenisa Bekele, and Dibaba sisters were born in Bekoji. A small village in ethiopia with a population of 33,000. With such a small population their is a big chance this guys are related one way or another. See the story on Bekoji, the village of athletes
  2. Teff, an Ethiopian food, a rich grain with lots of minerals
  3. Poverty, – Ethiopian runners are one of the three wealthiest people in Ethiopia, the others are businessmen and politicians.  In a country of 80 million people, the majority live hand to mouth, and distance running offers the younger generation one of the few ways out.

    Dibaba has built a two story mansion in Bekoji village, the only other is Bekeles’. Motivated by such signs of success, thousands of kids have picked up running.

Lessons In Marathon Running From President George Bush

President George Bush might not be popular with many people but its worthy to note the twice-elected Republican President once ran an impressive 3.44 in the 1993 Houston marathon.

And this is what George Bush told runners world magazine about his experience at 1993 Houston Marathon

“I was distraught after my dad was defeated in 1992, so I decided I was going to set a little project for myself. I wanted to run the White Rock Marathon in Dallas, so I began training intensely for it. I gave myself a month to train for it, and pushed myself incredibly hard as this was after-election therapy. But I got sick, and it was really a foolish attempt on my part. So I set my sights on Houston, which gave me some more time to train. I ran it in 3:44. I ran the first mile in 8:30 and the last mile in 8:30. It was one of the great experiences of my life. I learned that running can make you feel 10 years younger the day of the race and 10 years older the day after the race. I also learned not to be so compulsive.”

Read the rest of the interview at runners world website 

Usain Bolt Diet, Food

Usain Bolt is the fastest man on the planet, so what does he eat?

The answer is in the runners world October 2008 Issue.

The world fastest man doesn’t follow a strict diet.  On an average day he eats

Usain Bolt Breakfast food

Yams and fried green bananas or maybe saltfish and ackee (what is that?)

Usain Bolt Lunch meal

Rice with pork or beef

Usain Bolt Dinner 

Rice with beef or pork

Usain Bolt favourite meal,


To celebrate his first world record he took his entourage to a Mcdonalds.

Kenyan Runner, Daniel Njenga, Collapses after Winning Toronto Marathon

I have just read the following story from Toronto sun website., it happened on 20th october 2008

“Daniel Njenga of Kenya collapsed into the arms of GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon officials yesterday, spent and unable to speak after running the 42.2-kilometre race in two hours, 29:02 minutes.

A doctor and a nurse checked Njenga thoroughly when it was established that he was cramping, officials called in a masseuse to ease the race winner’s pain.

Mumbi Kinyanjui, speaking on behalf of her nephew said Njenga just wanted to “thank God” for surviving the gruelling race through the streets of Toronto.”

The 32-year-old marathon veteran has a P.B. of 2:06:16 in the Tokyo International Marathon in 2002.

Measure Your Cardiovascular Fitness

From The American College of Sports Medicine I found this cardiovascular fitness test – one of the most important indicators of your overall physical health.

This test really couldn’t be easier: all you need is a 12-inch step (or stair) and a stopwatch. You’ll step up and down for three minutes. Alternate your feet and try to maintain a pace of 24 sets—that’s one up, and one down, on each foot—per minute. When the time’s up, sit down and take your pulse immediately: With your fingers lightly on the pulse-point on your neck, count the number of beats for 15 seconds, and then multiply by four for the number of heart beats per minute.

In this case, you’re aiming low. A low number suggests that your body is better able to recover quickly from exertion—a key element of a healthy body—so the lower the figure, the greater your cardio fitness. Once you have the number of beats per minute, it’s easy to gauge your situation.

Excellent: Anything less than 97 beats per minute

Good: 97-127 beats per minute

Fair: 128-142 beats per minute

Poor: 143-171 beats per minute

Very Poor: anything above 172 beats per minute

Don’t despair over an unsatisfactory result, however: Your level of cardio fitness can improve remarkably quickly, with as little as 20 minutes of cardio exercise four to five times a week.

Heart Attack : Can You Die From Marathon Running? Very Low Risk

The sad news from 2008 New York City marathon was the death of a 58 year old runner who collapsed and died after finishing the 42K marathon.

What are the chances of you falling down with an heart attack? A study published in 1996, found that the risk of having a fatal heart attack during, or in the period 24 hours after, a marathon, was approximately 1 in 50,000 over an athlete’s racing career – which the authors characterised as an “extremely small” risk.

The paper went on to say that since the risk was so small, cardiac screening programs for marathons were not warranted.

In another study of 60 non elite runners in 2006, they tested the runners’ blood for proteins that signal heart muscle damage and heart dysfunction. It revealed that runners who had done less than 35 miles per week training before the race were most likely to show some heart damage or dysfunction, while runners who had done more than 45 miles per week training beforehand showed little or no heart problems.

Marathon running is a test of endurance, lets assume it stresses the heart more than shorter running activities, and this may be the reason why marathon runners who are at risk seem to drop down with heart attack.

Ryan Shay tragedy

Its important to note that majority of runners who have died of heart attack were people who had undiagnosed heart anomalies. Other casualties are runners who knew they were at risk but decided to ignore the threat of heart attack. I remember when Ryan Shay died at 2007 US Olympic Trials it was reported his Doctor had warned Shay to cut down on his running because his heart rate was too low and sooner or later he would need to use a pacemaker. If you look at it realistically, Ryan Shay was in the wrong career.

Sign of Risk of Heart Attack

The best way to avoid coming down with heart attack during running is take a heart check and see whether you are at risk. One sign of risk is a big heart. But endurance athletes have big hearts than normal so don’t get scared if the Doctor tells you, “you have a big heart.” The Doctor should consider all factors before making a final conclusion.

Safe Running