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For athletes who are always on the lookout for any training accessories that may provide distinct advantages, footwear tends to be high on the list of priorities for maximizing performance. In addition to having shoes that are specifically designed to adhere to the types of workouts you’re partaking in, owning a quality pair of insoles can not only help you get the most out of your exercises, but may also reduce your odds of experiencing an injury as well. However, there are dozens of various insoles that vastly range in price, making purchasing customized orthotics generally a difficult investment to assess. Before you go out and spend money on these potentially beneficial footwear accessories, here’s what athletes need to know when considering the options for shoe insoles:
Insoles can be more than just accessories that promote extra comfort for feet. Orthotics can be customized to provide more support for your feet, allowing for pressure to be evenly distributed so joints aren’t continuously stressed during physical activity. Shoe insoles can also be specifically designed to be effective with your sport of choice, whether it’s orthotics that are used for long distance runners or basketball players who need more support on the court. Because there are 26 bones and 20 muscles in your foot, insoles that cater support to specific regions of a foot can provide benefits for athletes who constantly put pressure on particular areas due to the required movements for the activity they’re performing. In addition to the feet, insoles are noted for helping other areas of the body as well. Feet First Clinic states that regular usage of shoe insoles can also alleviate back and knee pain as a result of proper positioning of bones in the toes and feet. In the end, the ultimate advantages posed by wearing insoles can be traced to boosting comfort and potentially reducing injury risk.
While there may be insole companies that promise you’ll get plenty of longevity and usage from your insoles, it’s generally recommended that insoles should not be continuously worn for long stretches of time. A good rule of thumb to consider when weighing insole options is that the more you use them, the quicker they’ll need to be replaced due to excessive wear and tear. Wearing insoles for too long will only diminish their support and cushioning capabilities for the feet, so trying out less expensive models prior to making bigger investments may be necessary to gauge how much help you actually need.
There are also several types of insoles that will cater to your specific foot needs during physical activity. Athletes who are simply looking for more pain relief on their feet might benefit from adding some comfort insoles, which primarily are sold in gel or foam materials that emphasize cushioning rather than distribution of pressure. Comfort insoles feature more shock absorption technology, which minimizes the impact upon your feet with every step you take. Support insoles are what are generally able to cater to athletes better, as they feature harder materials designed to support your bones and muscles in the feet. These are the types of orthotics that are recommended for people recovering from various ailments, such as plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of tissue that spans along the bottom of your foot toward the heel. These types of insoles come in many types of structures that can redistribute pressure, which in turn frees up tension in multiple other areas of the body, such as the knees, back or hips. If you’re more concerned about which types of insoles can alleviate a particular ailment you’re suffering from, consult with an orthopedic doctor about possible recommendations.
After you have the right design of insole to cater to your workout, knowing the proper fitting and caring procedures is the next step to maximizing orthotic performance. Take your insole out of the package and stand on it by itself, without inserting it into the shoe. Slowly rub your feet into the material, so the insole will begin to shape itself around your foot. After you’ve placed the insole into a shoe, make sure you feel that the orthotic is secure and stable. If you notice that it’s slipping around, you’ll probably need a bigger size.
Depending on the quality or material, the average insole will begin to lose its effectiveness after 12 months of regular usage. During this time, the best way to keep them at top performance is to air them out after any workout or exercise routine. Try washing them once a week, which is a general way to avoid any chance of bacteria buildup. If comfort and stability continue to be an issue for the insoles, it’s probably time to switch them out or upgrade.
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Endurance athletes who take part in marathons, triathlons or century bike rides typically have fitness goals of strength and stamina. Your body needs to be strong enough to carry you long distances, and it needs to have the proper training in order to function for extended periods of time.
Before a race it’s crucial to plan a training program to prepare, and most of this will include running or cycling through intervals of faster and slower speeds, up and down hills and longer and shorter distances. It should also include cross training with strength exercises and core workouts such as Pilates for total body training.
Another factor that should be included in a pre-race program is athletic recovery and stretching. Whether you’re a new or seasoned endurance athlete, you’ll be putting your body through more intense challenges, which is sure to leave you with sore muscles from time to time, but it can also increase your risk of injury. To prevent getting hurt and having a setback, you need to take the proper precautions, which include stretching and massage.
A century bike ride will take you 100 miles, and it will certainly test your mental and physical prowess. This may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s certainly an achievable one that many endurance cyclists aspire to complete.
Being able to bike 100 miles requires serious commitment, dedication, planning and training. Once you decide to take part in a century ride, you need to starting working at least eight weeks beforehand to prepare your mind and body for the challenge ahead. Your training program should consist of long and short rides as well as intervals of different speeds, resistance levels, terrain and hills. It’s also a good idea to cross training with weight lifting to strengthen your muscles and exercises such as Pilates that provide stretching and improve posture.
Another key component is nutrition. Your body won’t be able to last long if it is not being fueled properly. Even slight dehydration can completely zap your energy levels and cause sore musclesand cramps. If this does happen, giving your muscles a massage can help. Additionally, eating the right amount of carbohydrates and fats is needed to fuel your muscles and provide you with the nutrients to keep you going mile after mile. You’ll certainly want to pack snacks to stop and eat during your ride to replenish fuel sources, curb hunger pangs and boost energy. Remember not to pack any foods that are too heavy or hard to transport. A muffin may sound delicious, but it can be messy to eat. Also, be sure not to try any new foods in case it affects your stomach negatively and you have to stop mid-race.
Here are some tasty, helpful snack options to pack for your century ride:
Whether you’re preparing for a cycling race, training for a triathlon or simply appreciate the exhilarating cardio workout you get from riding, your body (the lower half in particular) is certainly being challenged.
Most of your focus will be on the meat of your training – developing programs for each ride to incorporate different terrain, speeds, hills and other aspects of riding itself. But it’s also important to remember that your training doesn’t stop once your session ends. In fact, time spent after you hop off your bike is just as important as time spent on the saddle. Cooling down and taking part in athletic recovery reduces your risk of sore muscles and injuries, which can sideline you and set you back in your schedule. This is especially problematic if you are on a deadline for a race.
After each bike ride you should be taking the time to stretch out your muscles and allow your mind and body to return to their resting states. It’s also useful to incorporate self massage into your routine each week, especially after an intense ride. Massage will help loosen up muscles even further, which is important so you don’t create any imbalances.
There are several key muscles you should focus your massager on after a bike ride: