If you have never "met" before, then let me introduce you to the foam roller, a runner's best friend. While the old adage about "no pain no gain" is in full effect when using the foam roller, the long-term gains far outweigh the short-term discomfort.
The more you use the roller for "self-myofascial relase" (=deep tissue massage to break up the knots and adhesions), the easier it becomes. The discomfort is actually a useful gauge--if there are still pressure points that are super sensitive, well, it's a sign you need to roll those parts more regularly.
Both during pre-race prep and post-race recovery, using the foam roller is KEY for runners.
A simple, straightforward explanation on why cadence is critical. On a treadmill, watch the clock for 60secs. and count how many times the right foot strikes the ground. Most runners' foot strike count will be quite a bit less than what has been scientifically proven to be optimal:
"Here is a magic number for cadence. On average a runner should run at a cadence of about 85-95 on a flat course, 60-65 on uphills and 100+ on downhills."
Amazing that Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world (he holds the World Record for the 100m dash) sprints at a cadence only slightly higher than an efficient marathon runner!!!
I'd be happy to help you develop a more compact stride to enable a biomechanically safer foot plant on the mid foot (rather than on the heal) and that will in turn steadily increase cadence.
To be barefoot or not to be barefoot, that is the question...In running circles, there has been so much attention given to the subject of barefoot running the subject has become a bit of a bear. ; ) I think this article from Runners World Magazine presents both sides evenly and explains the whats, whys, hows, wheres, and whens quite well.
Personally, while I MAY TRY a minimalist running shoe like the Nike Free ONLY ON THE TREADMILL, I would NOT ever wear Vibram 5-Fingers and have no intention of using anything other than expertly designed, fully cushioned running shoes for outdoor runs.
Hectic week at work? Enjoy a relaxing and restful weekend, but make sure to get in a workout (or several). Vigorous exercise is a highly effective way to de-stress, decompress, and progress.
I have heard varying statistics about the relative importance of exercise vs. diet to achieve weight loss. While this article points out some interesting comparative studies, I would contend that the TYPE of exercise is key. Slow no mojo cardio is not going to produce the same weight loss impact as revved up go go tempo cardio. High intensity intervals not only burn calories during the exercise itself, but getting the heart rate up to 90% generates an after-burn affect that continues the fat-blasting benefits for up to 2 more hours!
For all those who are health conscious, you know the broad-based concerns about excess sugar in our diets, and you know how important it is to hydrate thoroughly. When we're working hard to burn calories, we need to be careful what we're drinking to hydrate. Diet soda is artificial, chemical garbage and many juices have little nutritional benefit, are quite caloric, and are often packed with sugar. Plain H2O can get a bit boring though, so what to do? I spice it up, literally and figuratively, with tea. I keep ~15 kinds of tea at home and drink several cups a day.
This website has all sorts of information about the health benefits of tea.