45th BMW BERLIN-MARATHON on 16 September 2018

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  • Running types: Are there different running techniques and which one is right?

    There are different techniques but retraining is difficult.

    The main distinction between running styles is whether the foot lands with a toe, mid foot, or heel strike. Running style is automatically established when an individual first begins to run. Because the musculoskeletal system is adapted to running technique, it is often difficult to adjust the style of movement without also drastically changing the way in which the body distributes weight and pressure. Typically, a change in running technique is recommended only in the instance of specific orthopedic problems.

    Forefoot strike

    The forefoot strike is associated with increased stress on the leg muscles as well as increased pressure on the forefoot. The entire body weight and acceleration are absorbed by the calf muscles when landing, resulting in higher stress upon the Achilles tendon. For this reason, Achilles tendon complaints are frequently reported among forefoot strikers. Running on the forefoot requires greater strength in the calf muscles to prevent symptoms of overuse.

    However, this style of running does have its benefits. Because most of the landing impact is absorbed by the muscle, this technique is relatively easy on the joints, especially in the hips and knees.

    Heel strike

    When the heel strikes the ground, the impact of landing is applied immediately and directly to the joints. However, some of the landing force is absorbed by the arch and the inward pronation of the foot. No definite conclusions can be made as to whether the stress to the joints and cartilage is significantly higher with the heel strike technique than with the forefoot strike. While a change to a forefoot strike technique is not essential, a personal gait analysis is recommended.

    Midfoot strike

    A compromise between the forefoot and heel strike, running with a midfoot strike is a widely preferred technique.

  • Pregnancy: Is it okay to participate in endurance sports during pregnancy?

    Endurance sports may be done during normal pregnancy through the second trimester. In fact, some women may notice that cardiovascular changes associated with pregnancy (e.g. increase in blood volume) actually increase aerobic capacity in the early stages of pregnancy. Frequency of endurance sports should be gradually decreased according to increase in body weight, eventually switching to less demanding activities such as water aerobics and gentle swimming in the third trimester.

    Although it is important to maintain a high level of physical fitness throughout pregnancy, training volume should not be increased at this time. Endurance sports should be avoided in high temperatures as pregnancy impairs temperature regulation in the body. Pregnant women that choose to engage in endurance sports should maintain an adequate carbohydrate intake to prevent the onset of hypoglycemic conditions.

  • Cold weather: Is it wise to run in cold weather?

    Running in temperatures just below freezing requires only a few extra layers of clothing; however, runners should take extra measures to protect the respiratory tract in temperatures lower than -10°C. At very low temperatures, cold air is no longer warmed up as it passes through the nasal mucosa, instead passing directly to the bronchial tubes. This could lead to irritation and inflammation of the air passages. For this reason, it is advisable to adjust your training to avoid especially cold weather.

  • Fartlek: What is Fartlek?

    Fartlek is a form of interval training used to improve speed and endurance. This method involves frequent changes in pace and intensity during a single workout. The Fartlek method often includes varying the resistance on stationary bikes and hill training.

  • Continuous and interval methods: What is continuous running? What is interval running?

    The continuous method requires the maintenance of a specified speed and intensity of movement throughout the training session, while interval training calls for a systematic variation of speed and intensity. The interval method alternates between high stress (increased speed) and low resistance (slow running or walking) to improve anaerobic capacity.

  • Strength training: How important is strength training in endurance sports?

    Muscle strength, especially of the torso stabilizing muscles, is of great importance in endurance sports. Several studies find that runners who also participate in other sports have a lower incidence of injury from strain and overuse. Studies have shown that the body strength of runners is indistinguishable from that of individuals participating in other sports. However, running stress is connected with increased strain on the musculoskeletal system; therefore it is especially important that the muscles surrounding the spine are strong and stable enough to shield the joints.

  • Recovery: How long does the body take to recover after exercise?

    Recovery time is dependent upon duration and intensity of exertion and the physical fitness and capacity of each individual. Moreover, recovery tends to vary between different parts and functions of the body. While creatine phosphate stores may be replenished almost immediately, the normalization of the cardiovascular system can take between 6 and 24 hours. The replenishment of muscle glycogen and fat stores in the liver and muscles requires between 1 to 5 days, and more than 3 days is required for the regeneration of proteins in the muscle fibers.

    The resting heart rate may be used to assess the recovery process. Insufficient recovery time will result in a higher heart rate during exercise. An increase of 510 beats per minute indicates a partial recovery. Larger heart rate variability can be used to determine whether or not the body has undergone full recovery.

  • Weight loss: Is running an effective weight loss technique?

    Weight loss occurs when the body exerts more energy than it consumes. Regular running increases energy consumption and may result in weight loss as long as excess energy consumption is not matched by food intake. Running also builds muscles strength. Because muscle weighs more than fat, a person may notice a change in bodily appearance without a significant drop in weight.

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