Running Shoes for a Cause

Running is one sport that is almost entirely free to participate in for most people. We take for granted that a pair of running shoes can be bought for less than $50, depending on where you buy them.

But for some people in the world even that amount isn’t possible. Shoes for Africa was started after Mike Sandrock, a sports journalist, came back from a coaching and racing trip to Cameroon, West Africa. He noticed that a lot of the runners ran barefoot. And still beat him, by the way.

The Shoes for Africa project started with a group of runners in Boulder, Colorado, who began shipping new and nearly new running shoes to runners to needy children and athletes around the world.

The non profit has since become One World Running and continues to grow. They’ve also added tee shirts and running shorts to their packages. The group is now a 100% volunteer organization that has begun expanding globally to continue the mission Sandrock set out to accomplish years ago.

In 2001 the organization started putting on races to raise money for the charity. They continue to add more races every year with the money going to One World Running charities. They’ve also recently added soccer cleats and baseball equipment.

Most of the shoes come from donations from individuals and from running clubs and organizations such as the Girl Scouts. Many people have shoe drives to collect new and nearly new shoes for One World. Most of the shoes are in usable condition, and those are the ones shipped to Africa. But even the running shoes that are not in good condition can still be recycled. Those are shipped to NIKE to be ground up and made into running tracks and playgrounds. This is done through Boulder’s Eco-Cycle program and the Reuse-a-Shoe program.



How Runners Can Be More Eco-Friendly

Being eco-friendly means doing minimal harm to the environment. By buying more eco-friendly products and utilizing methods that will save energy and lessen pollution you can become a better steward of the planet. So exactly how can runners do their part to be more eco-friendly?

For a runner to be more eco-friendly they have to take into account everything from the clothes they wear to run in to the distance they have to go to for a race to the type of water bottle they use. This may take a little planning, but it can be done and the planet will thank you for it.

  • Choose local races – Yes, it can be more fun to travel to the Boston Marathon or the New York Marathon, or even to an international race, but it will also increase your carbon footprint. Whenever you can, choose to run in as many local races as you can. To find them contact local running stores and local running clubs. Both will have a good handle on what’s going on in the neighborhood when it comes to races.
  • Find eco-friendly marathons – If you scour the Internet you can find races that have made it a point to be more eco-friendly. They are using green materials, local produce, and instead of throwing away food, they are donating it to help feed the homeless. Runners also donate some of their slightly used shoes and clothes to Goodwill.
  • Don’t drive – Runners are being encouraged to either take public transportation or to carpool with other runners. You not only will be saving the planet, but you’ll be saving money on gas.
  • Bring your own water bottle – Many marathons are cutting down on the costly and wasteful paper cups that end up littering the race path. Some marathons are setting up huge drinking fountains where runners can fill up their water bottles and be on their way without wasting paper cups.
  • Eco-friendly clothes – Many runners are trading their synthetic running fabrics for more organic and green fabrics.

The trend towards more eco-friendly marathons will help educate runners about different ways they can be more eco-friendly .


Why You Should Use Fun Promotional Products at Marti Gras

The biggest event for New Orleans is by far Marti Gras. In 2000 the amount of money generated for the city reached a billion dollars. A lot of the tourism for New Orleans revolves around Marti Gras. I mean, the event is huge! In any given year the average crowd for Marti Gras is anywhere from about 700,000 to over a million.

There has also been a long standing 300 year tradition not to commercialize the event. That is still pretty much the case as far as having no advertising on the floats and other restrictions. But if you want to get your brand noticed by almost a million people in a week, there are still some ways around it.

Fun promotional products are a great way to get your brand noticed at Marti Gras without violating the no advertising rule. Nobody can tell you you can’t wear a T-shirt with your brand’s logo on it. Having just one person wearing a T-shirt with a logo might not stand out in the crowd. But if you had a whole group of people wearing T-shirts with a brand logo it just might attract attention. Of course everyone will be wearing a costume, so you would have to get very clever with the way you display your logo. If your company has a mascot of some sort, you could use that as your costume.

Give away fun promotional products like bottle openers, lighters or keychains that people will keep and use. Give them away at one of the many private parties you’ll find in pretty much any given neighborhood. Give them away to people who are hosting parties. Give them away as prizes. If the fun promotional products are something they will use during Marti Gras and keep afterwards, you have a winner.

You can’t carry an open glass container on the street, but you can wear your booze on your wrists and fill them up at a local bar with your favorite drink. swiggies, wrist water bottles aren’t just for water. Companies have put their logos on them for student orientation week and pub crawls. Hash House Harrier groups around the world fill up swiggies with beer and use them as a beer carrier when going from keg to keg.

Marti Gras is a multi-million dollar party where everyone is in the mood for fun. If your brand is fun and you want to reach a million fun party goers, think about using some unique promotional products at the next Marti Gras celebration.




Make Running Fun For Kids

Kids are like adults. They need variety to keep them from getting bored. This is true for running too. So if you want kids to be interested in running so they will want to keep it up you have to make running fun for kids. And that means adding plenty of variety to their running program.

Get them warmed up with some stretching exercises and some simple games like Red Rover, Red Rover, Red Light, Green Light, and Simon Says. Start out slowly with short distances and move up to longer ones.

Create an obstacle course for them by putting items like cones at strategic distances. Turn it into a fun game for them.

Make it a cross training course by alternating running with climbing, hanging and balancing.

Run with your kids. They like to imitate adults and will do what you do. But pay attention to make sure you don’t overwork them. Little kids can usually only run for a few minutes at a time.

Work in some relay runs in there with continuous and three person relay runs. Some kids running programs also have scavenger hunts. This is another way to break up the running and make it fun for the kids.

Help them to create a goal like running a kids fun run and help them stick to it. Train with them. Gradually build up to better timing.

Whenever your kids achieve a goal, reward them with a healthy snack.

Encourage kids to do their best, but let them progress in their own time. If they enjoy it they’ll stick with it. And if not, don’t force it. Let them find another activity they are really interested in.

Simply running around a track might be enough for adults, but for kids try to mix things up a little.

Why Kids Should Have Their Own Kids Water Bottle

Dehydration for adults is bad enough, but for kids is can be downright dangerous. Part of the reason is that kids absorb more heat than adults, but they sweat less. They also have less fluid and therefore can easily go from mild dehydration to severe dehydration more quickly. They don’t know how dangerous it is for them not to drink water. As a parent you have to encourage kids to drink more water. If kids have their own kids water bottle they are more likely to drink more water. There are some other tricks you can use to get kids to drink more water.

  • Make drinking water fun – If you can make drinking water fun for kids they are more likely to see it as something they want to do instead of something adults are forcing them to do. Kids should have their own kids water bottle in their favorite style and color. If they look at it more as a fun toy than a necessity they will use it more often. They also like to feel like they are “cool” around their friends.
  • Make water accessible – Kids should have an accessible kids water bottle and also have access to good, clean water without having to ask an adult to get it for them. Since small kids may not be able to reach the sink, make sure they have water in the refrigerator or the refrigerator door. If kids have their own water bottle they can easily fill them up with water that’s within their reach. Kids like to imitate what adults do, but they also like their independence. If kids have their own kids water bottle and don’t have to ask for permission from adults they feel more empowered.
  • Make water tasty – Adults and kids alike are more likely to drink more water if it tastes good. Studies have shown that kids will only drink about 50% of the water they actually need if it’s plain and about 90% if it’s flavored. There are plenty of ways to do that even without added sugar. Simply adding some fruit like lemons, limes or oranges helps add flavor to the water without adding sugar or calories. It’s a healthy alternative to sugary drinks and drink mixes.

These methods may not make a lot of sense to adults, but the point is to get kids to drink more water. If kids have their own kids water bottle and easy access to some flavored water, they will drink more water and you can rest easier knowing that they are safe from dangerous dehydration.

Runners Need to Hydrate in the Winter

When the temperature starts to dip and snow covers the street, even the most hard core runners may have a hard time getting up the enthusiasm to layer up and go for a run. And staying hydrated might be the last thing on your mind. Sure, it’s easier to remember to drink enough water and carry enough water when it’s eighty degrees out. But in the winter your body can be tricked into thinking you don’t really need to drink that much. The cool air and snow can mask our sense of exactly how much fluid we’re really losing. And that can lead to dangerous dehydration. So runners need to hydrate in the winter.

It’s not unheard of that up to 8% of total body mass has been lost through the loss of fluid in runners in the winter. This is made worse by the fact that most runners wear multiple layers of clothes on a winter run. You are still sweating, and that fluid needs to be replaced. Dehydration puts stress on your cardiovascular system.The kidneys will begin to produce more urine, which can  lead to more dehydration. Also, your lungs have to work harder to moisten the cold winter air as you exhale. So water is being exhaled every time you breathe.

An extra problem with running in cold weather is that dehydration can lead to frostbite. Your body will try to compensate for the cold by attempting to keep more warm blood in your core as opposed to your extremities. This is why shivering is one thing the body does to generate heat.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking up to sixteen ounces of water prior to exercise and several sips every few minutes during exercise. If you’ll be running in the cold, you can make some of that fluid intake a hot drink such as tea or hot chocolate to help warm up your core before heading out. And make sure you wear enough layers to protect you from the elements, but not too many.



Running While Pregnant

You often hear “check in with your doctor before beginning an exercise program”. This is especially true if you’re pregnant. If you’ve always been a runner, you’re probably okay to continue running while pregnant. But it’s still best to check in with your doctor just to make sure. Everyone is different. Now is the most important time to listen to your body and your doctor.

According to Julie Tupler, founder of Maternal Fitness, pregnancy isn’t the time to start a running routine. When the baby’s major organs are forming in the first trimester, overheating can become a real problem. Instead, she recommends strengthening your abdominal muscles for labor.

Drinking lots of water before, during and after a run is important even if you’re not pregnant. But much more important if you are. If you become dehydrated it can decrease blood flow to the uterus and bring on premature contractions. Yes, it does mean more frequent restroom stops, but it’s much better than becoming dehydrated.

Run on flat surfaces to avoid losing your balance. Make sure you’re not out running in an isolated area just in case you have an emergency. Carry a cell phone with you just in case there are any unexpected emergencies. Let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan to be gone. Even better, try to run with a partner. This is the safest way in case you run into any trouble.

The best thing is to make sure you listen to what your body tells you. Anyone who has been a competitive athlete before may try to push beyond their limits. Now isn’t the time. Don’t push beyond exhaustion. Running while pregnant will be harder. Just expect it. Speed walking is just as good for exercise and may be a safer way, especially the further along you get in your pregnancy.






Woman Innovation Speaker

Fewer than 15% of all patent holders in the world are women. Even fewer women patent holders have a career as a woman innovation speaker. Julie Austin is both. Her clients include Fortune 500 executives, small businesses and government agencies. She’s a women innovation speaker who’s trained scientists from around the world, the largest learning franchise in Korea, senior citizens, kids, retailers, and women business owners on how to beat the competition using the techniques of inventors and innovators.

It takes fearless innovation to become number one in your industry. Even if you get to the top, staying there is just as hard. If your company isn’t constantly innovating, your competition will be and they will eventually jump to the top. Successful companies like Google know this. That’s why they never stop innovating.

Many innovation speakers have never actually innovated themselves. They’ve read about innovation in a book and claim to be experts. Creativity and innovation is something that has to be experienced hands-on. Julie has that experience.

As an inventor she’s bootstrapped and patented a unique innovative product and turned it into a NASDAQ winning success. She has distributors in over 20 countries and has sold over half a million units of her product, swiggies, wrist water bottles with no advertising, no venture capital, no investors, and no technical knowledge or manufacturing experience. This all  started with $5.00, a clay prototype, and relentless perseverance.

If you’re looking to increase sales, create new products and services, boost your marketing campaigns, and stay ahead of your competition, you need to hire a woman innovation speaker like Julie. Why?

Because if you don’t, your competition will. And they will have all of the innovative techniques to jump ahead of your company. By then, it’ll be too late.

Hire a dynamic innovation speaker and a true innovator. Don’t you want every competitive advantage possible?

Innovation Speaker:

Improve Your Running Speed

Slow and steady won’t win the race, but is just fine for most recreational runners. However, if you want to improve your running speed, there are some things you can do.

  • Dynamic stretching – This type of stretching is preferred over static stretching for the athlete who wants to run faster. Through dynamic stretching your limbs get continuous movement and range of motion which helps improve blood flow and warms up the muscles. This type of stretching has been shown to improve running speed.
  • Interval training – Interval training involves mixing super fast running with recovery periods. It’s a little like the run/walk method ramped up. This kind of training isn’t for the beginning runner. Your body needs to adjust before you get to that point. But if you’re running and training hard on a regular schedule, but not progressing, it’s time to start thinking about interval training. It’s basically pushing your body to the point of lactic threshold and burning muscles, then taking a short time to recover. An easy way is to start interval training is with a slow run and then do a high intensity sprint for about a minute. Then repeat the process until you can lengthen the sprints.
  • Hill training – Hill training combines cardio and strength training for a great workout. It lessens the impact force of footfall and reduces the risk of injury. Try adding one hill training session each week to mix up your routine and improve your running speed.
  • Cross training – Cross training is great for runners, but make sure you choose exercises that don’t just mimic running for it to be effective. Try cross training with squats, lunges, and vertical jumping exercises. This trains and strengthens your leg muscles in new and different ways. Cross training helps bridge the gap when you can’t get out and run every day.
  • Rest – And last, but not least, make sure you rest one day a week to give your muscles time to rebuild. Overtraining puts too much stress on your joints and they can become sore or inflamed.

Running Innovation

Being an innovation speaker and inventor of a running innovation product, I like to keep up on the latest innovations in all industries, but especially in the ones I’m connected to, like the running industry.

I love the sport of running because it doesn’t involve expensive equipment, you can do it almost anywhere, and you don’t need other people to get started. Just put on your running shoes and run out the door. But just because running is simple, that doesn’t stop running innovators from trying to reinvent the wheel… or the running shoe.

One of the first things inventors do when they want to come up with a new innovation is start asking questions. Think about the problem and ask as many questions as you can come up with to help solve it. What if I could come up with a better system for hydration for runners? What if I could come up with a hands-free hydration system for runners?

What if your running shoes don’t have heels? That’s exactly what physiotherapist Adri Hartvelt asked the day he came up with the concept for his heelless running shoe. Hartvelt’s company Healus Technology came up with the prototype and partnered with Staffordshire University to develop and test the shoe.

The purpose of this new innovative running shoe is to avoid direct impact on the heel and therefore it helps to reduce running injuries and allows runners to run longer. Faster runners tend to strike the ground with the ball of their foot instead of the heel. Joggers tend to strike the ground with the heel, leading to more injuries.

The Healus shoe concept has been around for a couple of years. It makes me wonder what the next trend in running innovation will be.

Check out this interview with the inventor, Adri Hartvelt: