Synchronise your running.COACH (running) calendar with your personal calendar via iCal

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running.COACH offers you the possibility to synchronise your running.COACH account with your personal calendar via iCal. Your trainings will be automatically copied to your calendar. In the following, we will show you how to establish an automatic synchronisation:

Copy the URL for your running.COACH calendar

  1. Log in to your running.COACH account
  2. Click on “export calendar” below the calendarrunning.COACH Kalender exportieren

3. Copy the URL into the clipboard

Google calendar

iCal running.COACH Synch

  1. Log in to your Google account and choose the calendar. Then click on the “+” symbol under “more calendars”
  2. Choose the option “via URL”
  3. Insert the URL of your running.COACH calendar

Changes in your plan will be updated in Google at least once a day.

Subscription of calendars on Mac

It works almost like the synchronisation with the Google calendar explained above. You can find a detailed description here:

Subscription of a calendar 

Subscription of a calendar in Outlook.com 

Subscription of a calendar

Subscription of a calendar in Thunderbird

Subscription of a calendar

Stomach problems when running: Where they come from and what to avoid

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Intensity and digestion in a dilemma: When all systems in the body are occupied by a physical challenge, the stomach gets a raw deal, which often results in digestive problems. Intensive endurance sports and digestion are two activities that limit each other.

Practically everyone who loves longer physical challenges has some experience with digestive problems. The reason is obvious: Intensive physical activity uses the available oxygen primarily for the supply of energy in the muscles, the other systems, such as digestion, are reduced to a minimum. The microclimate of the stomach is often disrupted by physical exertion.

Depending on the location, a distinction is made between problems of the upper and lower digestive tract. Symptoms of the upper digestive tract include burping, heartburn, chest pain, nausea and vomiting. In endurance sports, stomach problems occur mainly in running, cycling and triathlon. The more intense an exercise load is and the longer it lasts, the more frequent are digestive problems. In a 10 km run or a hike, far less than in a marathon or Ironman, for example.

Heartburn and its causes
Heartburn can occur due to increased acid production in the stomach or due to so-called stomach ulcers. Triggering factors can be the regular intake of certain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs or cortisone. Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol as well as frequent large amounts of protein-rich food can additionally cause these disorders. Heartburn is not caused by physical activity, but by a disorder of the closing mechanism between the esophagus and the stomach. Nevertheless, an increased transfer of gastric acid to the oesophagus could also be detected in healthy probands during running. The shocks associated with running are probably responsible for this, because the stomach’s ability to absorb food deteriorates massively as a result of the constant impacts. This phenomenon is much less pronounced when cycling.

If the food is eaten shortly before the run, the reflux of acid is even more pronounced. A temporary decrease in the tension of the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach can provoke a pushing open of the sphincter and thus the backflow of gastric acid, which is additionally intensified by the increased breathing during physical activity.

Drinking: delicate shortly before the competition
Nausea occurs in long distance running mainly during or shortly after the end of a competition. What is striking is that those athletes who drink something before the competition have a 3.3-times higher risk of upper digestive complaints. The decisive factor for this is the delayed emptying of the stomach, as is observed with higher running intensity (75% of the maximum oxygen intake).

Studies also showed that athletes who had a certain degree of dehydration (about 5% body weight loss due to perspiration loss) had delayed gastric emptying. Thus, dehydration increases the risk of gastrointestinal problems during running, which can lead to nausea and vomiting. Other causative factors are intense heat and long running distances. High outside temperatures can impede gastric emptying by reducing intestinal blood flow and mobility.

Be careful with medications
Typical symptoms such as heartburn and frequent burping are an indication of a dysfunction of the lower esophageal sphincter. An examination by a doctor is therefore recommended. Drugs that attack the gastric mucosa should be avoided as far as possible in consultation with the doctor. The most important points for athletes:

  • Pain killers such as aspirin and ibuprofen should not be taken.
  • Avoid nicotine and drink caffeinated and alcoholic beverages with restraint.
  • Effective drugs (such as ranitidine) or so-called acid blockers reduce acid production and can alleviate the symptoms.
  • Hypertonic drinks (e.g. cola or other sweet drinks) should be avoided because of the resulting delay in emptying the stomach.
  • Isotonic carbohydrate/electrolyte drinks are emptied from the stomach as quickly as water and are therefore preferable in small portions throughout the entire run (commercially produced sports drinks such as gels provide the body with energy without straining the digestion too much).

The art in endurance sports lies in the optimal balance between an intensity of performance at which the necessary amount of energy can still be absorbed and the situation-specific food to which the stomach is accustomed. The appropriate intensity also depends on how ambitious an athlete is. If an athlete runs or goes to the limit for hours in pursuit of a best time, there is a great risk that the stomach will rebel even during minor tasks. If, on the other hand, the athlete consciously avoids this and attaches importance to adequate food, then it is possible that he will make it through the course without any problems and will still have reserves in the end, but will not be able to fully exhaust his performance limit. The “perfect competition” is therefore always a search for the “perfect” speed.

Dr. med. Roberto Llano is a specialist FMH for general internal medicine and sports medicine SGSM. Roberto Llano is a team doctor for the Snowboard Federation, the U15-U20 national football team, the Ju-Jitsu national team and the BMX national team of Swiss Cycling and works as a senior physician at Medbase Bern.

Why we run – Why people participate in ultramarathon races

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About the author and the text: Christopher Stern is an orienteer and a runner, and this is the conclusion of his Matura thesis (graduation thesis in High School). Interviews with six ultramarathon runners, three of them female and three of them male, to find out what motivates them to participate regularly in ultramarathon races.

In very short, the motivation can be described by the following words. The ultramarathon is about experiencing an adventure in nature in all its facets, something that is intrinsically rewarding. Ultramarathoners seek their limits and a sense of community. It is about revelling in sunsets and enjoying the tranquillity while running in the mountains and getting into the state of flow.

However, motivation is something personal and differs from runner to runner. Hence, a more specific conclusion split into categories of motivation is given. The conclusion of the thesis draws upon semi-structured interviews and a qualitative analysis. For curious readers, the Matura thesis, explaining the methods and including the original interviews, is linked below.

Their motivation is of intrinsic nature

There are runners which only participate to prove the world that they are capable of running such a distance. Though, to run several competitions means that only intrinsic reasons can motivate enough to withstand such agonies. Experienced runners get mostly rewarded by the experience of the race itself, not by results nor by the admiration of others.

It is about seeking limits

Ultramarathoners want to find their limits. And once they found them, they try to go beyond them. It lies in the nature of long distances to challenge the body as well as the mind. To cope with difficulties, mental lows and the fear of dropping out of the race is part of the experience and appreciated by most of the runners. If they finish despite all the difficulties, the happiness and complacency is even greater.

It is about finding tranquillity through meditation

Tranquillity is the state of being calm. Running can be meditation, it helps the mind to become clear and calm. Most runners know the meditative character a short jog in the woods can have. The experience is said to just become more intense, the longer the distances get. Once an ultramarathoner is out for a day or even longer, his mind has plenty of time to ponder over questions, over their life or even over why they run. The silence of nature is the perfect condition to meditate.

It is about the movement

Running is a simple movement. Deeply rooted by evolution, humans must have loved running since long ago. Ultramarathoners especially love the movement because it adds speed, so more nature can be seen in shorter time, yet it is slow enough to pay attention to the surroundings. They say that if they bike or ski, the attention is more on the technique and the speed is too high to really enjoy the mountains. This leads to the next motivation that all of the runners pointed out to.

It is about nature

Being more specific, it is about mountains, the weather and lights. All of the runners love the mountains. Ultramarathon is their way to explore the vast amount of beautiful places in the Alps or elsewhere. It must be very impressive to get into a snowstorm in the middle of the night and experience a stunning sunrise the next morning.

They love the adventure

To run an ultramarathon is a journey. When they are on the trail for 24 hours or more, they experience a lot of unpredictable happenings. Changing weather, unknown responses of the body or the mind to the stress and a many instances where things can possibly go wrong make an ultramarathon an adventure.

It is about the flow

We all know it. The state when everything becomes easy, when we are completely immersed in the activity. Ultramarathoners enjoy this state for a prolonged period of time, which causes a lot of happiness. To feel the flow is a key aspect of motivation for some of the interviewees. The flow experienced while running might be particularly intense because it is amplified by the endorphine hormone released to let the body cope better with physical stress. This endogenous pain drug leads us to the next topic.

Addiction

Addiction is no motivation, but it can replace it. Certain ultramarathoners might be addicted to their sport. The flow, meditative moments as well as highs and lows are part of both, the ultramarathon or a drug trip. However, keeping in mind that everyone is low when deprived from a beloved activity and that everyone shall have the right to be passionate about something, I would say that none of the respondents was addicted. As long as one does not harm the body and keeps having social contacts, we should not be talking about an addiction. To keep social contacts takes us over to the last motivation.

The ultramarathon community

The community is essential for most of the respondents. As most runners might have experienced this fact themselves, running communities are often respect- and helpful. The community is very familiar and when someone has difficulties along the trail, he or she can always expect the help of the very next runner, even when this is a pro athlete going for the win. The relatively small community, if not at the UTMB, is very exquisite and wild.

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Barefoot running – pros and cons

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Running barefoot changes the running mechanics. This can be advantageous in case of knee problems. But it is important to allow yourself enough time for the adjustment.

Roberto-LIano-14Author: Dr. med. Roberto Llano, Specialist for General Internal Medicine FMH, Sports Medicine SGSM, Head of Medicine Medbase Bern Westside

 

 

In childhood barefoot walking was common practice in summer. Adults, on the other hand, hardly do it anymore. And the runners are divided: For some runners barefoot running is almost like a religion, for others it is totally frowned upon. Both sides have good arguments – but there is little scientific proof. What is certain, however, is that the biomechanics of barefoot running are significantly different from those that are used when wearing shoes. Various studies have shown this.

With shoes, the runner becomes a backfoot runner. This means that the runner places the foot on the heel and rolls over the entire foot. In barefoot running, on the other hand, the midfoot touches the ground first and then rolls a little over the forefoot. The front part of the foot is angled less upwards (dorsiflexion) and the knees are stretched less. This shortens the stride length.

When running barefoot, the foot skeleton absorbs more shocks, so that the transmission of force upwards is less than when the heel lands first. This reduces the load on joints such as the patellofemoral joint, where the kneecap glides along the thigh bone. For runners with kneecap problems, such as osteoarthritis, barefoot walking can therefore be an option. The same applies to back pain.

However, the two biggest advantages of barefoot running are that it trains the foot muscles and trains perception for the underground. Many people use their eyes to orient themselves when walking and running. The feeling for the situation in the room, on the other hand, often withers because it is trained too little. You notice how much, for example, when you try to walk on a line painted on the floor with your eyes closed. At the latest, however, when your eyesight deteriorates with age, a good sense of the ground is all the more important. Barefoot walking trains this perception for the position of the feet in space.

It also offers advantages in other respects, as various typical runner injuries occur less frequently for barefoot runners. These include, for example, inflammation of the sole of the foot fascia (plantar fasciitis), iliotibial syndrome with pain on the outside of the knee or hip and problems with the muscles on the back of the thigh (hamstrings).

To conclude from this that barefoot walking is generally better would be wrong. For example, it causes more problems with the Achilles tendon, the calf muscles and it also leads more frequently to injuries to the sole of the foot. However, barefoot walking per se is not more unhygienic than walking in shoes, as long as you wash your feet afterwards.

If you want to start running barefoot, you are well advised to proceed gently and slowly. Because every experienced runner has a well-established running pattern that cannot be changed overnight. As mentioned, both the foot mechanics and the foot muscles change when running barefoot – and that takes months. Over time, the soles of the feet also become more resistant and can endure an amazing amount. In the beginning, the feet quickly become hot when walking barefoot. You can feel every muscle. This is a good sign. And at the same time the signal to stop. Because it should not become more, in order not to overload the feet. If you expect too much of yourself, you risk a stress fracture of the metatarsal bone in extreme cases. A good idea is to cover only a short part of the usual distance barefoot at the beginning and gradually cover an ever longer part. Or to do the running drills barefoot, but then put on the training shoes again.

Whether barefoot running brings faster times in competition is an open question. There were some competitive athletes who competed barefoot. As a rule, however, you run the fastest with the technique you have learned.

A compromise between running barefoot or in shoes is minimal or “barefoot” shoes, of which there are now many models. As far as running mechanics are concerned, they stand between both types of running. However, the exercise profile is similar to that of normal training shoes. But the same applies to miniature shoes: Give your feet time to change!

female bare feet on white background

Tips:

  • Walking barefoot is healthy. However, barefoot walking should only be done on suitable ground, for example in the forest. Asphalt or other hard surfaces are unsuitable.
  • Running barefoot is not per se more unhygienic than running in shoes. However, injuries to the soles of the feet are more common. Therefore, wash your feet well afterwards and pay attention to good foot care. Daily checks for injuries are important. With the right training, however, the sole of the foot adapts surprisingly well and becomes much more resistant.
  • If you are used to walking barefoot, you can also do this in winter. As long as you run, your feet are well supplied with blood. It is not advisable to run over ice plates or go for a barefoot mountain hike.
  • People with diabetes or sensory disorders on their feet (neuropathy) should not walk barefoot. They feel any injuries or overexertion less well. Diabetes can also affect the immune system and blood circulation, so small wounds can quickly become stubborn ulcers.
  • For special foot shapes (e.g. hollow foot), consult a specialist beforehand. If at all, then only very slowly change over to barefoot walking.

Medbase running.coach

Gear tracking – How many kilometres have I run with my shoes?

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To keep track of the number of kilometres you have run and the number of workouts you have done with a particular pair of running shoes, and thus know when to replace them, you can assign a specific pair of shoes to each workout. You can also define a mileage limit at which running.COACH should display a warning message.

übersicht

Click on any workout to add / track a running shoe and go to the details page (“Edit + Info”). On the detail page you can click on the pen under “Additional information” -> “Gear”.

b2.PNG

An overview of former and active running shoes appears with the possibility of archiving former shoes (so that they are no longer displayed in the overview – they can be made visible again at any time) or adding new shoes. Click on “Add new gear” to add a shoe to the selection.

add new gear

In the upper part of the form you will enter general information about your running shoes. Many shoe models are already stored in the database. If you enter the shoe brand, suggestions will be made in the dropdown menu. Click on the suggestion so that you can also get suggestions in the “Model” field afterwards. The Suffix allows you to enter the colour of the shoe or another distinguishing feature (especially good if you have several shoes of the same model). If you plan to do most of the training with the same shoe, define it as “standard”. This will preselect the shoe automatically.

You can get more information by moving the mouse over the “?” symbols.

add gear

After you have clicked on “Add”, your shoe will appear in the overview. All registered and not archived shoes can now be selected in the dropdown menu under Equipment. The standard shoe will now be automatically assigned to every running workout without any action from you.

Packing list for your running competition

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The training preparation is over, “only” the actual run is still to come. Definitely something to look forward to. If only the annoying packing on the evening before wouldn’t be left. Our list should help you to make the packing process as easy as possible and to make the evening before a bit less stressful.

Clothing

  • Underwear
  • Ev. sports bra
  • Running socks
  • Sports top
  • Running shorts
  • Jacket / Training jacket
  • Rain jacket
  • Running shoes (no experiments: only worn ones)
  • Dry running clothes for warming up and after the race
  • Headgear
  • Longsleeve
  • Start number band / safety pins
  • Drinking Belt
  • Insoles

Hygienic articles

  • Towel
  • Shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush / Comb
  • Scrunchies
  • Sun lotion

Food

  • Energy Bar / Gel
  • Beverages
  • Snacks
  • Ev meal while on the go / snacks for the trip
  • Salt tablets
  • Proteinshake / -bar for after the run

Documents and things relevant for the competition

  • Timing Chip (ev)
  • Bib number
  • Running clock (loaded) and chest belt

Others

  • Money / Wallet
  • Entertainment for travel and distraction (book/music)
  • Mobile
  • Headphones

The packing list for different events can of course appear differently and should be adapted accordingly.

Runners High – The Flow Experience while Running

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Some runners regularly experience a “runners high”, others never experience it. Which conditions are most likely to lead to a blissful “flow-experience”?

Author: Dr. med. Sibylle Matter Brügger, Allg. Innere Medizin FMH, Sportmedizin SGSM, Manuelle Medizin SAMM, Sonographie Bewegungsapparat SGUM – Stv. Leiterin Sports Medical Center Medbase Bern Zentrum

Great, awesome, an incredible feeling of happiness – more than 25 adjectives are used by runners to describe the “runners high”. This proofs how hard it is to grasp this flow-experience.

There is no common definition for this – not to mention a guarantee that you will experience it while running: “I have been a runner for 25 years and can train as much as I want, but the “runners high” is unknown to me, a runner confesses. He is certainly not the only one. Some even doubt that the runners high really exists.

But psychologists agree: the flow experience exists. Not only during running, but also during many other sports and activities. In sports climbing as well as in “diving” into a book where you forget the world while reading. The decisive factor is that it is a continuous activity, without interruptions. Volleyball players, for example, who alternate intensive playing phases with short breaks, therefore hardly ever get into the “flow”.

The first person to investigate the phenomenon in detail was the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced Tschiksentmihaj). He described the flow experience as a state of “unified flow”, in which action follows action and humans merge into their activity, fully focused on what they are doing. Time flies by most of the time. Playing children “master” how to get into the flow. In such moments adults can feel feelings of ecstasy, euphoria or deep inner contentment. Sometimes it even lasts for one or two hours after the run.

But how do runners reach this blissful state in which running becomes effortless? It’s not that easy, and it certainly can’t be forced. But: You can create the conditions for the runners high to appear sooner:

Neither under- nor overstraining yourself
It is important that the current training and one’s own goals match the current performance. For example, if you are dissatisfied with your pace or have unrealistically high expectations, you have a lower chance of getting into the flow experience. Performance-oriented people who set their goals well, on the other hand, have good chances.

Run with your head free and relaxed
If you are tired or chewing on a problem, the probability for a runners high is small. The thoughts should not be focused on a particular thing and the overall attitude to life should be positive.

High training intensity
The flow is almost only reached by those who are both well trained and train at 80 to 90 percent of their maximum heart rate. Beginners can only keep up with this training intensity for a maximum of two minutes. But that is too short. They will therefore hardly ever get into the “flow”.

Schedule sufficient time
The flow experience comes at the earliest after 20 to 30 minutes of running.

Running in a pleasant environment
When running through a city where constant attention is needed to avoid overlooking other traffic participants, switching off is impossible (and not advisable). Some runners are best off on well known routes, such as a route through nature without abrupt changes. Others succeeded for the first time on a route that had not been mastered for some time.

Run alone
When running in a group, the flow experience occurs less often than when running alone. If you are not on your own, you have the best chance of a flow experience if your training partner is similarly well trained.

How the runners high exactly is achieved is unclear. It is triggered by the heart rate, which reaches a certain height. During this almost meditative state, the concentration of endorphins in the blood increases. These substances produced by the body have a pain-relieving and mood-lifting effect similar to morphine. However, they are not the cause of the flow, but rather a (pleasant) side effect.

Not so for the endocannabinoids. They are probably partly responsible for the flow experience. These are various cannabis-like molecules which the body produces and which have an effect on various organs. Endocannabinoids can, for example, protect brain cells from hyperstimulation, relax the soul or have an anti-inflammatory effect in the intestine.

Researchers have also found evidence that the nerve cells in the frontal cortex reduce their activity during runners high. However, what exactly happens in the brain is still unclear. But for those who are able to experience this feeling of happiness, this is probably of secondary importance.

Medbase running.coach