Friday 6 February 2015

Running Today and The Origins of Running:

Running has always been an important part of peoples lives. From the start of time it was vital for survival, because if you wanted food you would have to hunt, and to hunt you needed to be able to run. It has evolved since then however, now being seen as a sport which is healthy and a fun way to pass time.

Competitive running is thought to have first originated in 1829 BC, and has come from religious festivals in Greece, Egypt etc. The Greek Olympic games are thought to be what first kick-started running and athletic events competitively.

Nowadays running is a fun, leisurely activity people do, to stay fit, healthy and to socialize with other people. Running clubs, Couch to 5k and various athletic groups are becoming increasingly popular. Schools are pushing athletic modules and encourage their students to run whenever they have the time.

Running is an easy sport to take up. All you need is 30 minutes to spare and you can head out for a run. Even if you feel you're not capable of running for too long a time, you can alternate between jogging and walking. It has enormous health benefits and is a good way to clear your head. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering taking up a sport of any sort.

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Monday 2 February 2015

2012 Olympic Marathon.

This is a video of the 2012 Olympic Marathon in full, at the most recent Olympics, held in London. It is a good example of a fast paced marathon, and you can see the toll the distance takes on the athletes. 

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Thursday 29 January 2015

The Marathon.

The Marathon is probably one of the best known races in the world today. Many people have it set as goal to achieve, whether to walk it, jog it or compete in it as an athlete. 

The idea of 'running a marathon' first originated from the famous run by Phidippides, an Athenian from the city of Marathon, when he ran 140 miles over a rough mountain track to ask the Spartans for help, because the Athenians were under attack from Persia. The Spartans refused his plea and so Phidippides had to run all 140 miles back to Athens to deliver the bad news. He then collapsed and died from exhaustion. Hundreds of years later, the Greek Olympic Games introduced a marathon race of 40'000m.

The modern Marathon is exactly 26.2 miles.It is ran in many countries around the world.Here is a list of some of the most famous marathon courses:

  • Napa Valley Marathon
  • Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris
  • Virgin Money London Marathon
  • Boston Marathon
  • Big Sur International Marathon
  • BMO Vancouver Marathon 
  • Great Wall Marathon, Tianjin, China
  • Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel
  • Big Five Marathon, Limpopo, South Africa
  • Athens Classic Marathon

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Wednesday 28 January 2015

Could Your Nationality Affect Your Preformance?

If you watch any form of event in the Olympics, more often than not you will notice that there is a particular country that dominates the sport. For example the Spanish and Brazilian are usually credited with having the best football players in the world. In the famous Olympic 5000m race, all the first place medallists from 1996 to 2008 have been Ethiopian. 20 out of 25 1st place runners in the marathon have been Kenyan. This has become a recurring trend, seeing them dominate all sorts of distance races. So why is this?

Some people claim that it is the training they undergo. Ethiopians are known for having a strong finish, one in particular, Miruts Yifter who has been fondly nicknamed 'Yifter the Shifter' due to his finishing lap in the 10 000 in 1980. Their incredible finishes have been credited to the amount of speed and hill work they do. They finish every training session with 50m strides and they work on steep, short hills, ensuring they keep their form throughout.

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Another theory is to do with the fact that they train at such high altitudes, which develops their lungs in thin air, meaning that when they come to tracks and race courses in places such as Boston, their body is functioning on twice the amount of air it is used to, giving them an advantage over the other competitors.

Others claim that it is genetics that allow the Ethiopians, and Kenyans as well,
to excel at distance running. One of the strongest arguments about the Kenyan genes is that many of its best runners originate in the Great Rift Valley, which is believed to be where homo sapiens first came from. The community is isolated which has led to claims that there is 'genetic drift' in that region. Genetic drift means that there are similar traits amongst the people living in the area.

No one of these theories have actually been proven to be true and everyone has their own opinion on the topic. One thing we can all be sure of though is that the Ethiopians and Kenyans are an extraordinarily talented group of people and excellent athletes.  

Monday 19 January 2015

Soft Sand Running Technique.

In my last post I talked about the pros and cons of running on certain surfaces. If you plan to run on sand I would recommend you watch this clip. In it you are shown the correct technique for running on sand and are far less likely to contract an injury.

Friday 16 January 2015

Running Routes

Every runner has their favourite route, whether it's up a mountain trail or a run by a road, but very few people seem to know that the surface they're running on can actually affect their running style, ability and even whether or not you get injured.

When you run your muscles create a spring, pushing off the ground below you. Different surfaces change the power at which your muscles react.

Concrete is a hard surface, therefore it provides a firm footing for your feet to spring off. If you are looking for speed a hard surface is best, however it will wear down runners very quickly and the continuous impact could cause injuries such as knee and hip problems.

Grass is a much softer surface, therefore putting less pressure on your joints and muscles. However grass can be affected by weather conditions such as rain or snow, making it muddy or slippy which means that your foot contact with the ground will be prolonged meaning that grass is a lot slower to run on in comparison to concrete etc.

Sand is another surface that people tend to run on and is one of the most unstable underfoot. This means that although it is soft and therefore a lot less likely to cause you knee problems, you will be more prone to ankle injuries. Your feet will find it hard to find stable ground to push of and you run the risk of twisting your ankle or worse.

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Friday 9 January 2015

Hey I'm Laoighse and this is my Transition Year blog where I'm going to be blogging about The Geography of Running. It will be discussing the difference in strengths of athletes worldwide and exploring whether their location in the world effects their performance.