Main Page
Training Logs
Current Training
Message Board
Training Section
My Rants
Recommended Reads
Guest Articles
The Other Stuff
Learning From The Past
The "Other"Stuff
This section of the site will be dedicated to the "other" stuff.  What is the other stuff?  It's all the extra things that come in to play in optimizing your performance.  A couple examples of these things would be nutrition and diet, strength training, sleep, stretching, and supplements.

  1. Sleep
  2. Diet
    1. Strategies_for_Altering_Diet
    2. What_Americans_Eat
    3. Fuel Sources
      1. Carbohydrates
      2. Protein
      3. Fueling_up_before_a_morning_workout:
      4. Fueling_up_hours_Before_a_Race
    4. Hydration
    5. Vitamins and Minerals
      1. Free_Radicals_and_Antioxidants
      2. Fat_Soluble_vitamins
      3. Vitamin_and_Mineral_Chart (includes water soluble)
      4. Supplements
  3. Recovery from Workouts
    1. Recovery_using_Food
      1. The_Ideal_Recovery_Sports_Drink
      2. Glycogen_Utilization
      3. Energy_drinks
      4. Muscle_Damage_during_exercise
  4. Running Form and Stride Mechanics
    1. The Correct Way to Run
  5. The_Effects_of_time_off
    1. Cross-Training
    2. Cross_training_in_the_water
    3. Cycling

    This is often one of the most neglected things that can enhance your performance.  Too many times, runners have very bad sleeping habits.  Most of us have to get up early in the morning for a morning run and instead of going to bed early we opt for less sleep.  Just look at Paula Radcliffe and
Hicham El Guerrouj
!  Radcliffe has cited that she gets 10-11 hours of sleep a day with about 9 being at night and the rest in a nap. My purpose is to educate, so I feel there's a need to inform you that several studies have shown that sleep deprivation the night before a physical performance does not effect your bodies ability to use either its aerobic or anaerobic systems and to use those systems to their maximum. BUT studies have shown that chronic sleep deprivation, less than six hours of sleep per night for as little as one week, reduced muscular function and it's ability to metabolise glucose by up to 40%.  This means less breakdown of that glucose into ATP(energy). Sleep provides a period of recovery and repair for your body and muscles.  In addition to this, the less sleep you get the more susceptible you become to sickness and such because less sleep lowers your immune system.  There have been studies that have shown that if you get less than 6 hours of sleep compared to 8 a night, that your immune system is 50% less effective.  In addition to this, less sleep could lead to weight gain, because of the diminished secretion of the brain hormone, leptin, which regulates appetite.  Also lack of sleep can effect your mood and make you irritable.  Enough of this preaching, lets get to some more facts.  The most important sleep that you'll get before a race is actually two nights before the competition, not the night of.  So if anything, make sure you get sleep then.  Just in case you wanted the scientific stuff, the reason we know this is it's been shown in studies that the some effects of sleep deprivation on performance ( a drop in VO2max) have shown up two days after the sleepless night with normal levels the day after.
    So how much is optimal?  Well the general recommendation is 8 hours for a NORMAL person.  It's only logical to assume that runners need more than a normal person to function, since we are constantly stressing and then adapting (through recovery, or sleep).  As a general suggestion you should be able to wake up at a reasonable time without an alarm clock and feel rested.  If you can't do this, try going to bed slightly earlier each night until you find a point where you can wakeup unassisted at a reasonable hour and feel refreshed.  Sleep should also be constant.  Your body develops a rhythm that it follows based on your sleep patterns.  Therefore it's a smart idea to go to bed and wake up at similar hours throughout the week and to not deprive your self of sleep during the weekday and then "catch up" on the weekend.  If you alter your sleeping pattern by going to bed later, than you will get less deep sleep and you will probably wake up at normal time and won't be able to sleep in because your body is adjusted to your pattern.

    Why is diet so important to a runners performance?  Because it is our fuel that allows the muscle to operate at maximum levels.  If you have read the training section, it's easier to see why diet plays such an important role after seeing how our bodies use carbs, proteins, and fats to produce energy for our muscles.  The food we intake is like our gasoline.  Would you go and put regular gasoline into an Indy car and expect it to perform up to the level it performs at when you put premium gas into it? No, so why should it be any different for humans.  We can either take in regular or premium fuel.  Now, I'm not saying you have to eat perfectly, because that just won't happen.  We have to be realistic here, but eating better is the key.

    Strategies for altering diet
    Before we talk about what you should change in your diet, lets talk about how you change it.  The key in changing your diet is small changes.  Drastic changes to ones diet does not work very well.  Let's face it, most of us have probably been eating a certain way all of our life.  We get accustomed to eating certain foods all the time and have our favorites.  Some of these foods become comfort foods for us, and if we just take all of them away, we'll most likely see withdrawal symptoms.  That's why it's important to make small changes, adapt to that change, then make another small change, so that you are slowly changing your old diet to a "better" one with minimal withrawal.  I find it's best to try and fix one thing in your diet at a time.  Maybe every season, try to improve something.  Some examples are eliminating cola's for next CC season, or cutting down from two "junk food" candy or desserts per day to one per day, or eliminating fast food.  If you really love something, like say you are hooked on mcdonalds, slowly cut it down and then if you feel like it eliminate it.  For example, let's say you go to a fast food restraunt 3 to 4 times a week.  Well for CC season, try and limit it to 2 times per week, then for track season limit it to 1 time per week, then for the summer, limit it to once every month, or something like that.  Just like in workouts, progression is the key.  You want to slowly faze things out or limit them over a long period of time.  This will work better than completely changing everything.  Now it is possible to just flat out eliminate some things if you have enough will power and they aren't something that you just die to have.  It's easier to cut down on those things than it is the things you've grown accustomed to having.

What Americans Eat?
These are just a couple fun facts that show you how the American diet has changed as a whole over time and how we eat today.  It's actually pretty scary:
Fuel Sources
    In the past couple of years these have been getting a kind of bad rap from the public media.  People start spewing off about how eating more carbohydrates then your body needs will lead to those carbs being turned into fat.  While this does happen, it's much less likely then what was once believed.  Converting carbs into fat tissue is in fact the last resort of your body  if the carbs can not be used for anything else! Before carbs would be stored as fat, they are used to restore glycogen stores.  If glycogen stores are full and you have excess carbohydrates, then you simply burn more carbs than fat to get rid of your excess carbohydrates.  If you have taken in too much carbohydrates and this causes you to burn less fat while your burning off the carbs, then any excess fat you take in might be stored instead of burned, because your body is burning less fat.  So you see that the fat is what is still getting stored, not the carbs.  This just goes to show that eating in excess of any food source can lead to weight gain, neither fats, proteins or carbs are good or bad, as you need certain levels of all of them.  Any diet that says that one of these is "bad" is probably a unhealthy "Fad" diet.
    Carbs are the foundation of an athletes diet.  They should make up the majority of your calorie intake.  The reason for this is because it is the body's most versatile fuel source.  It can be metabolised for energy both aerobicly and anaerobicly unlike other sources such as fat which can only be used as energy aerobicly.  IIt only makes sence that as the intensity increases the percentage of carbohydrate used for energy increases.  In addition to being vital for the use of energy for your muscles, carbs also are stored in the liver, and keep your brain and central nervous system functioning optimally.  Carbohydrates can be divided into two groups, Simple and Complex carbs.
    Simple carbohydrates are those that can be broken down and used for energy quickly.  These include monosaccharides and disaccharides.  Simple carbohydrates are simple sugars.  Monosaccharides can be divided into fructose, glucose, and galactose.  Glucose is what your muscles use for energy, as well as the fuel source for your brain.  The other two sugars can be converted to glucose for energy in the liver.  Disaccharides include combinations of the three simple sugars.  They combine to form Sucrose, Lactose, Maltose, Dextrose, and Maltodextrin.  These simple carbohydrates are essential in longer races such as half marathons and above.  By taking a simple carb containing product, such as some gels or sports drinks, the athlete is helping delay the depletition of his glycogen stores by replenishing himself with energy throught the consumption of these carbs.  In addition, they are useful for post race, recovery, that's why they're found in such sports drinks as gatorade.
    Complex carbohydrates are more dense fuel sources that take longer to digest, but provide a more steady stream of longer lasting energy.  Complex carbs include polysaccharides, starches, and fiber.  The complex carbs are broken down into the simple sugars mentioned above and then converted to glucose to use as energy by the muscles or stored in the liver.  Fiber provides no calories to your body as it is not digestible.  Even though is is not digestible it provides many benefits and that's why it's recommended that you intake about 25 grams of fiber per day.  Foods high in complex carbs include pasta, potatoes, and grains.
    Carbohydrate intake is extremely important.  With low glycogen stores you will not perform up to your capabilities.  You need full carbohydrate stores to function optimally.  For more on glycogen see glycogen in the training section.  Glycogen stores will be depleted on longer runs and during intense sessions such as intervals.  To help replinish these stores faster you need to consume some type of carbohydrate within 15-20 minutes after the conclusion of the excercise for optimal recovery.  In addition to replinishing your glycogen stores in your muscle, your liver glycogen stores need to be replenished.  The stores in your liver are crucial to the optimal function of your brain and central nervous system by providing them fuel.  It's interesting to note, that following sleep, your glycogen stores in your liver is what is severely depleted because of the 8-10 hour fast.  That's why you need some sort of carbohydrate in the morning before working out or racing, or else you will not perform up to your capabilities in the morning.

    Unlike Carbs and Fat, proteins major job isn't to supply fuel for your body.  Protein provides only about 10% of your total energy requirements during exercise.  However, protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues (see muscle damage section below), and contributes to various enzymes and hormones that aid in metabolism.  Protein is made up several amaino acids chained together.  These proteins can be used for energy by converting them to glucose, through gluconeogenesis, or fattty acid in the liver.  Some proteins can be converted to energy without this breakdown.  In total there are 20 amino acids that your body needs.  Of these twenty, 9 are called essential amino acids because your body can not make these and you must get these from food sources.  Food sources can be divided up into incomplete and complete proteins.  Complete proteins provide all 9 of the essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins only provide some of them.  Complete proteins are found in animal products.
    Proteins aid in exercise in several ways.  One of the most important proteins for runners found in your body is hemoglobin.  It's found in red blood cells and is responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the muscles, thus it's important to have adequate supplies of hemoglobin so that your aerobic system works optimally.  As you train, your red blood cell levels increasing, resulting in greater hemoglobin production.  Proteins also make up myosin and actin in your muscle fibers (see mitochodria in training section for more information).  These filaments interaction is critical in muscle contraction.  One has the ATP energy stored in it while the other has enzymes to break down the ATP for energy, promoting contraction when the blockade between these two molecules is broken, and thus they are able to slide back and forth interacting with each other.  Training increases the number of these two molecules present in your body.  In addition to this, several protein enzymes are present during the breakdown of carbohydrates and fats for energy.  Without adequate supplies of these enzymes, the process couldn't take place or would produce diminished amounts of energy.

    Fat is your bodies primary energy source during low intensity exercise.  Also, once your carbohydrate stores are depleted in an event such as the marathon, Fat becomes the primary fuel source.  In addition some vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K, (see vitamin section) are stored in fat.  Just like carbohydrates and proteins there are several types of fats, some better than you than others.  As is talked about in the breakdown of Fat section, Fats can give enormous amounts of energy, the problem is that they also require more oxygen because of the high number of carbon atoms, meaning their breakdown is less oxygen efficient than carbohydrates. 
    The difference between fats is how much they are saturated.  What I mean by saturated is how many hydrogen atoms it has.  The more hydrogen atoms it has, the more saturated it is.  So a fat fully saturated will hold as many hydrogen atoms as it is allowed to.  Unsaturated fats on the other hand do not have many hydrogen atoms.  The more saturated a fat is the more solid it will be at room temperature, such as the fat on steak.  Animal products are usually high in saturated fats.  Saturated Fats are often considered "bad" fats because a high intake of these fats has been shown to lead to some diseases such as heart disease and forms of cancer.  In general, you want to limit your intake of saturated fats.  Obviously you will get some since animal products contain them, but try and consume lean cuts of meats or lower fat milk to limit your intake.  Also, avoid the foods that have lots of saturated fat and give you no other benefits like vitamins.  For instance a nice cut of meat might have some saturated fat in it but it also is a good source of Iron which is essential, therefore you can take the bit of saturated fat in order to get the iron.  The same can be said for milk.  Milk contains some saturated fat but it also contains calcium and Vitamin D, so the tradeoff is well worth it.
    Unsaturated Fats are those that are not carrying their apacity of hydrogen items and are liquid at room temperature.  These are either monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.  The fats are seperated into these two categories based on their saturation.  Unsaturated fats are normally considered the "good" fats.  Most of the fats in your diet should come from these.  Monounsaturated fats are those found in such things as peanuts, almonds, and olive oil.  Polyunsaturated fats are found in vegetable oils and most nuts.  In addition omega-3 and omega-6 are two essential fatty acids that are unsaturated.  These are two essential fats because your body can't make these fats, thuss they have to be taken in through diet.  Omega-6 fatty acids are essential in the function of the immune system and vision and can be found in vegetable oils such as corn, sunflower and peanut oil.  Omega-3 fatty acids has been foundd to reduce the chance of heart attacks by reducing blood clotting.  These fats come mostly from fish.
    The third kind of fat are Trans-fats.  These are man made fats that are found in many processed foods and are often considered worse for you than Saturated fats.  Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have been processed so that hydrogen is added to the original fat.  These fats have been linked to a lowering of the good cholesterol, HDL, in your body.  Fortunately, now food companies are requiered to list the amount of trans fats in their product on the food labels.  Also in ingrediants, you will see the word "hydrogenated", such as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil."  Try and avoid these fats.

    Fueling up before a morning workout:
    Before a morning workout many people don't eat anything.  This is a bad idea because you will be running on depleted fuel levels. Between the time of your last meal and the time you wake up can be a long time. Your basically fasting for about 10+ hours, give or take some.  Breakfast is meant to break the fast, hence Break-Fast.  Because of this long period of time without consuming any fuel sources, your glycogen levels will be depleted somewhat, most notably your liver glycogen levels. You liver glycogen levels are essential in providing energy for your brain and central nervous system. In addition with the lowered glycogen stores your body uses protein to be converted to glycogen through gluconeognesis (or something like that). This is much much less effecient than using carbs as fuel and takes more steps and such to produce similar amounts of energy. So your training will be of less quality when using protein as an energy source. This is especially true if you have a longish run, or intense intervals.

    Before an "easy" run you should be fine with a normal breakfast. It might be rough the first time or two, but you'll most likely adapt. Before a harder run, I'd suggest something that's easily digestible and won't cause you stomach problems. Before an intense workout try and have something that is easily and quickly digestible.  This means something with limited amounts of fats and proteins as these take longer to digest than carbohydrates. You have to experiment, but some suggestions include a granola bar, toast, honey, some fruit or fruit juice, or maybe some dilluted gatorade.  One strategy may be to split your normal breakfast in two.  Have half of it before the run and half after.  This will allow you to fuel up before the run, and the refuel after the run without adding anything extra to the day's normal meals.

Fueling up hours Before a Race
    This is a bit different that before a normal run.  You don't want to have any stomach problems or have a bloated feeling in your stomach.  The important thing to remember is how much time you have before a race.  This should help determine what kind of foods will provide you with the right amounts of energy.  For example with Carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates are absorbed and digested the fastest, then low-fiber complex carbs, then high-fiber comples carbs.  So complex carbohydrates will give you more longer lasting energy instead of as much quick energy as simple sugars will give.  Proteins and Fats take a much longer time to digest and stay in the stomach longer than do Carbs.  Based on this information, as you get closer to the race, the more quicker and easily digestible foods you want, and as you get further away from the competition, slower digestible foods are fine.  Your last decent sized meal should be taken in far enough in advance of the race as to allow the food to be out of your stomach.  This normally takes about 3 or 4 hours with foods high in carbohydrates.  So if you have a morning race at 10am, then optimally you would have your breakfast at 7am or a little before.

    This is one of the most important and often over looked things when it comes to diet.  Being properly hydrated has increadible benefits.  Your body functions much better when it is hydrated.  Lack of hydration has not only been shown to decrease your concentration levels and your coordination, but a 1 to 2% decrease in body weight because of water loss has been shown to decrease performance by 15-20% and decrease speed by 6-10%.  You need the water for several reasons.  The simple explanation is that if your muscle is made up of about 65-75% water and the fact that all the chemical reactions in our muscles occur in a fluid environment, it only makes sence that in order to perform maximally you need adequate stores of fluid.  Secondly, if you live or train in hot environments it's even more important to stay hydrated.  As you know, you tend to sweat a lot during these hot days.  This is because sweating and the evaporation of it is your body's natural cooling mechanism.  Without ample fluids, this will be impaired.  So you also have to replace the fluid that is lost during this sweating.  In general for every pound you lose during excercise, it's 16 ounces of sweat lost.  So to rehydrate for this pound of weight lost, you have to drink between 16 and 24 ounces of fluid.  In addition to losing fluid during sweating, you also lost sodium chloride.  This is where your sports drinks (gatorade, powerade, etc.) come in handy.  Most sports drinks have a good amount of sodium to replace what you lost during sweating.  A good amount of sodium is about 110mg per 8 oz. of fluid.  What happens if this sodium is not restored?  Well lack of sodium has shown to effect your neuromuscular coordination and along with lack of fluid, lack of sodium can cause cramping.  It has been recommended that "normal" people drink eight glasses of water daily.  Well besides the fact that that is an "old" rule, and the fact that your water intake will differ because of individual sweat rate variations and such, it's a safe bet that you need to take in more than that per day.  If you feel thirsty, this means that it's already past the time that you should have been drinking fluids.  Therefore, drink water and drink it often. Carry that water bottle to class and fill it up all the time.  Urine color is often a decent indicator of hydration.  You want to have between a pale yellow color to clear urine, not the bright yellow that a lot of people have.  Also, another good sign is pretty frequent trips to the bathroom.

    Free Radicals and Antioxidants:
  Free radicals are basically destructive atoms or molecules that damage the cells in your body. In basic chemical terms they are a molecule which has an "uneven" number of electrons, meaning that when a bond is broken in a molecule, it leaves a free unpaired electron. This electron strives to be stable (paired) so it "attacks" a stable molecule trying to "steal" it's electron. Well if it steals it, then the previously stable molecule, becomes unstable and is a free radical.  So the cycle continues over and over again.  As you can see this causes damage to the cells in our body.  The most damage is done when the free radicals interact with important cellular items such as DNA.  Free radicals can interfear with cells in several other ways.  One way is that they can interfear with the cells ability to absorb nutrients and get rid of waste.  In addition they can ultimately cause cells to die.

    How do these originate? Well a couple of ways, through normal metabolism (using glucose for energy), to fight a pollutant in your system(such as a virus) or environmental facotrs such as pollution and other chemicals (cigarrette smoke, radiation, insecticides, other chemicals) can create free radicals in the body.  In addition to this diet has been shown to influence free radicals.  A high fat diet and excessive fried foods has shown an increase in free radicals.

    How does your body combat these things and end the cycle? Through antioxidants. Antioxidants are various compounds that help prevent free radical damage. They buffer or neutralize the free radicals by giving them an electron to balance them out. (antioxidents don't become free radicals as they can be stable without an adequate pairing of electrons). Antioxidents are the various nutrients, vitamins, minerals,etc. Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene, and selenium  have been shown to neutralize the effects of free radicals. Fruits and Vegetables are rich in antioxidants so eat them up! For information on these antioxidants and other vitamins see the chart below for daily intake guides, and maximum intake guides because you can "overdose" on some vitamins.
    In addition to this it should be noted that running, and other endruance exercises, increases your normal metabolism significantly.  Because free radicals develop through the use of glycogen as energy, which is the main source we use in distance running, then it only makes sence that with an increase in exercise, and increase in free radicals occurs.  But with regular exercise, not just once or twice a week but consistanct training,  your body also increases the ability of the antioxidant defense system.  So it seems as if the defense system increase parallels the free radical increase.
    One of the best examples of seeing the effects of free radicals was given in the book Run Strong in an article called Fortifying and Supplementing Your Energy Levels by Kyle Heffner. He gives the example below:
             "To illustrate oxidation or free-radical damage and how nutrients help protect us, slice open an                   apple and expose the slices to the air for an hour or so.  You may notice the slices becoming
              darker because of the oxidation.  If you pour lemon or orange juice over the slices, however,
              they will not darken.  The vitamin C in the juice buffers the free radicals." (pg. 152)

Vitamins and Minerals
    These are organic compounds that are needed in small amounts for your body to function properly.  They are generally divided into two kinds: fat soluble and water souble.  Most of the time (the exceptions being B6 and B12), excess amounts of water soluble vitamins leave your body through urination, meaning you piss out the stuff you don't need.  Fat soluble vitamins are stored, and thus more likely to be toxic if you take in too much of these, as the excess amounts aren't just pissed out.  RDA= Recommended Dietary Allowances.  UL=Upper tolerable limit

Fat Soluble vitamins (include Vitamin A, D, E, and K)
    Vitamin A
    Excess amounts of Vitamin A are stored in the liver, so you can overdose on this.  It's function is to aid the epithelial cells (skin cells), help with vision, and improve immunity.  In large doses it can cause birth defects and can be immunosupressant.  Where do you get Vitamin A?  From fish liver oil, orange, yellow and green fruits and vegatables (carrots, spinach, canteloupe, etc.).   RDA is 700-900 mg, with the upper tollerable limit set at 3,000mg.  Also, taking vitamin A with vitamin E increases your body's ability to use it.
    Vitamin D
    Vitamin D can be found in two sources, either from food or from sunlight, where UV rays trigger Vitamin D synthesis by the skin.  The purpose of this vitamin is to regulate the amounts of calcium and phosphorous in your body.  Thus it only makes sence that Vitamin D promotes absorbtion of Calcium, leading to stronger bones.  It can be found in fortified milk (which most milk is), fortefied cereals, and different kinds of fish. The RDA is 5-10mg, upper limit is 50mg.
    Vitamin E
    Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in sunflower oil, wheat germ, peanut butter and almonds .  The RDA for Vitamin E is 10-15 miligrams, upper limit is 1,000mg.  The main functions and benefit of Vitamin E is that it preserves cell membranes and protects the cells from oxidation.
    Vitamin K
    This vitamin has 2 forms.  It has a plant form (phylloguionine) and a bacteria form (menaquionine) with it's main function being to aid in blood clotting.  It can be found in foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and asparagus.

Vitamin and Mineral Chart
Vitamin Name
Food Source
Other facts
(vitamin B1)
Pork and enriched bread
Carbohydrate metabolism (turn carbs into glucose
Alcohol destroys thiamin, RDA=1.1mg
(Vitamin B2)
Milk, broccoli, cheese, almonds
deamination (unraveling) of protein structure, helps digestion of fats
UV light destroys it.  RDA=1.1mg
(Vitamin B3)
Fortified grains, meat
transamination (making amino acids), converts protein to glucose, high doses lower cholestrol
Most you should take is 35mg. RDA is 14-16mg.
Vitamin B-6
Avocado, Wheat Germ, Bannanas
Protein metabolism and hemoglobin synthesis
A deficiency can cause anemia.  RDA=1.0-1.7mg Upper tolerable limit=100mg
Folic Acid
Breakfast Cereal, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits
DNA/ RNA and hemoglobin synthesis (produce and maintenance of cells)
RDA is 400 micrograms per day, upper limit is 1,000mcg.  If too much is taken, it can trigger B-12 deficiency.  Can cause anemia if deficient.
Vitamin B-12
animal products
Hemoglobin synthesis
deficiency can cause different types of anemia. RDA=2.3mg
Vitamin C
Citrus Fruits
antioxidant, neutralizes free radicals (destructive chemicals that damage cells)
RDA is 60mg,  may help prevent heart disease and cancer, said to "cure common cold", but scientific research hasn't backed it up yet.  RDA=90mg, upper limit=2,000mg
Milk based products, salmon, broccoli
muscle contraction and in your bones and teeth
If our calcium levels are too low to aid in muscle contraction then the calcium is taken from your bones.  RDA=varies, but 1,000-1,300mg per day
Magnesium whole grains, spinach, leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds
maintains normal muscle and nerve function, helps your heart beat, keeps bones strong, helps immune system, aids in digestion of  food sources.
RDA=310-420 mg per day
Drugs have potential interactions with magnesium levels
oranges, carrots, apples, fish, tomatoes, most sports drinks
lost in sweat
lack of potassium causes cramps, nausea, muscle weakness, decreased performance.  Potassium levels need to be replaced when sweating during exercise.
processed food, salt
we most likely get way too much of this per day because of our salty diets.  During/After exercise you need to replace the amount you lost from sweat.                                           
red meats, fish, poultry, beans
found in hemoglobin(proteings involved in oxygen transport), regulation of cell growth,
Iron deficiency leads to limiting the oxygen delivery to cells (meaning tiredness and decreased performance)  Too much is toxic.  Vitamin C aids iron absorbtion.  Exercise increases iron loss.
RDA=10mg for men, 15mg for women.  Upper limit is 45mg.
Oysters, red meat, liver, whole grains
found in almost all cells, heal wounds, support immune system, DNA synthesis
RDA=8-11mg   UL=40mg
seafood, whole grains, beans, spinach
an antioxidant that protect against free radicals


    If your a high mileage runner who eats a balanced diet then you will most likely get you get the recommended amount for almost all vitamins.  Because the runner is exercising and burning more calories then the normal person, then the increased food intake to supply enough energy usually makes it possible for runners to match their vitamin needs.  Simply put, because runners consume more overall amounts of food than non-athletes, then because we took in more food, we're more likely to get adegquate vitamins if we have a balanced diet.  However, you should evaluate your own diet to see if anything is missing and if something is then eat more foods to get that vitamin regularly or take a vitamin supplement.  Let's face it, there are some foods that no matter how good they are for us, we might just can't force ourselves to eat them.  For example if you hate almost all vegetables and rarely eat them, then you need to supplement your diet with something to replace the nutrients that you don't get from eating enough vegetables.
    In general a good multivitamin should suffice in supplementing your diet.  All of the more important vitamins and minerals are listed above in the chart, but some that distance runners need to keep a close watch on are iron, calcium, and B-vitamin complex, especially in girls.  These  vitamins are normally the ones that distance runners have deficiences in.  It should be noted that you should never take calcium and iron supplements at the same time as the calcium inhibits the absorption of the Iron.  Iron can be dangerous if taken in too high of doses, so have a doctor monitor your iron intake.  A lack of iron or B-vitamins can lead to anemia, which will severely limit your running performance.
    Now when searching for a vitamin supplement it's important to find a quality one.  Many of the cheaper made supplements have synthetic forms of the vitamin that are not as effective and don't absorb as well.  Therefore your not getting the amount advertised on the bottle.  The supplement industry is not regulated by the government like drugs, so it's tough to pick out a low and high quality supplement.  Look for supplements with "GMP" or "cGMP" on the label.  This means Good Manufacturing Practices, and means that they followed guidelines that were developed by the FDA and USP (U.S. Pharmacopia).  Look for USP on the label because this means it has passed the USP test on the dissolvability of the vitamin.  Also, check the list of ingrediants to see if the vitamin uses high quality or low quality ingrediants (this affects their absorbability.)

Here's a list of the high and low quality vitamin forms (from Fortifying and SUpplementing Your Energy Levels by Kyle Heffner):

Vitamin Low Quality Ingrediants
Calcium Calcium Carbonate, oyster shell
Copper Cupric oxide
Magnesium Magnesium oxide
Vitamin C Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin E alpha-dL-tocopherol

Vitamin High Quality Ingrediants
Calcium Calcium Citrate, Calcium lactate, Calcium hydroxyapetite
Copper Copper sulfate, cupric acetate, alkaline copper carbonate
Magnesium Magnesium gluconate
Vitamin C Calcium ascorbate w/bioflavonoids, ascorbyl palmitate w/ bioflavinoids, magnesium ascorbate w/ bioflavonoids
Vitamin E alpha-d-tocopherol, mixed tocopherol (notice the difference is that the good kind is dtocopherol, while the bad is alpha-dL-tocopherol)

Recovery from Workouts
    Optimal recovery is essential if you expect to get the most out of your training.  As described in the training section, the basic principal to training is stressing a system, then letting it recover and adapt.  When you stress a system, you are causing tissue breakdown, glycogen depletion, etc.  For example, running a long run depletes your glycogen stores (see training section: glycogen).  You have to replinish these carbohydrate stores before you get the benefits and can tax them again.  If you continually deplete your glycogen stores and don't replinish them, then you will be training with less and less glycogen stores, meaning you won't get maximum benefit, and won't be able to train as long or at as high of an intensity.  Keep pushing the training without adequate recovery and that leads to over training and you can enter a fatigue zone, which is harder to recover from and return to normal.  If you over train and get in a fatigue zone or valley, then racing performances will suffer big time, meaning there's no way you will run up to your potential.  It is during recovery that the adaptation to training occurs.  You rebuild your muscles, replinish your energy, and other such things during recovery.  What influnces your recovery from day to day?  A lot of things ranging from sleep, diet, genetics, lifestyle, stress, and exercise intensity.  For diet, such things as taking carbohydrates after exercise to help replace the depleted glycogen stores, and taking in protein to help regeneration of muscles and tissues that suffered breakdown during intense exercise.  As I said in the glycogen section, it can take between 24 and 72 hours to replenish your glycogen stores after certain hard anaerobic workouts.  In addition to this part of diet, rehydration is also key.  I've discussed the benefits of hydration above and would just like to reitterate how important it is.  As you lose more sweat due to exercise, then this will lower your blood volume, which means your heart rate has to increase to get the same amount of blood to be pumped to your muscles.  So as sweat loss increases, less and less oxygen rich blood is getting to your muscles, because of the decrease in total blood volume.  Thus it's important to keep yourself hydrated.  After intense training sessions, in addition to taking some sort of protein-carb mix for the benefits mentioned above, it's important to cool down.  Easy jogging will help to increase blood flow to the muscles, allowing the waste products that are built up (such as lactic acid), to be removed easier and for the blood to carry vital nutrients to your muscles faster.  It will also help return certain hormone levels to normal, that are heightened during intense exercise.  These hormones (such as adrenaline) help regulate such things as blood pressure, breathing, and glycogen breakdown.  Thus it's important to cool down to speed the removal of the hormones to bring them back to normal levels.  The cool down should consist of about 10 to 15 minutes of jogging.
    Even with cooling down, a day or so after a hard session you will still have some effects of the training in you.  Most likely your muscles will not be fully repaired and your glycogen stores won't be replinished.  So what do you do?  Do a recovery run.  These are easy runs that last up to about one hour.  I  normally do a recovery run for the next run after a hard session.  So if I have a hard session monday afternoon, then tuesday morning is a recovery run, and depending on how I recover, tuesday afternoon could be a recovery run too, or it could be a normal aerobic run (slightly faster pace than recovery runs, but still easy and aerobic).

    Recovery using Food
   Following hard or long training sessions it's important to recover.  
For after hard or long runs rehydration, the main things you need are carbs to restore the glycogen stores in your body, replinish the lost fluid lost, repair the muscles, and replace the electrolytes lost through sweeting. Carbs replinish glycogen stores, almost any fluid replinishes fluid lost, protein helps repair muscle damage, and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium and chloride) replinish those. So it seems as if the best would be a mix of all of those things. In the past, almost all of the recovery drinks on the market had just carbohydrates because the puprose was to restore glycogen stores.  Recently studies have shown that small amounts of protein might enhance the rate of glycogen replenishment.  However, the carbohydrate is still the most important thing, studies have shown that without high enough amounts of carbohydrate it doesn't matter if there is portein or not.  Carbohydrates is what helps restore the glycogen stores.  The addition of protein is believed to help aid in this process in addition to helping repair muscle damage.
    The type of carbohydrate also matters.  Ideally you want a fast acting carbohydrate taken in right after the workout.  This is because some carbohydrates can be digested and delivered to the muscles faster than others.  In general you want a simple sugar, but even simple sugars are digested at a different rate.  For example Glucose, Sucrose, and Maltodextrin are faster acting simple sugars, while Fructose or high fructose corn syrup are slower acting sugars and actually are digested and absorbed at about half of the rate as the others.  So in a recovery drink you ideally should have one of the faster acting sugars, or high glycemic carbohydrates.  In addition to the quicker absorption of a fast acting carbohydrate, they also provide a more rapid insulin response which is a very good thing and will be explained shortly.    After 24 hours complex carbohydrates may be more beneficial for replinishing stores.  It should be noted that the ratio of carbs to protein is up for debate.  be between 4:1 and 7:1 if you are using a drink for recovery purposes. Also the carb % should be about 6-8% for the most rapid absorbtion during an exercise.  More than this can be used as a recovery, but during an exercise this is the best percentage, because more than this will slow movement of fluid into the circulatory system, which compromises body temperature regulation.
    It's important to consume something quickly after the completion of exercise because the quicker you get something in your body, the quicker glycogen synthesis and replinishing occurs. After working out there is a rise in insulin sensitivity.  Insulin is important becase it aids in glycogen and protein synthesis in the muscle and delivers the broken down protein and carbs to the muscles.  In addition to this it increases blood flow.  The body reaches highest insulin sensitivity within 15 minutes of the exercise, and a significant drop in sensitivity occurs after 30-45 minutes. Therefore it is vital that you should aim to consume your sports drink within 15 minutes of completion of exercise and at least within 45 minutes.  If you wait longer than that, glycogen will take much longer to be absorbed.  In fact, after 2 hours your body actually becomes insulin resistant.  Another reason why it's important to consume carbohydrates soon after exercise is because the enzyme, glycogen synthase, that is responsible for storing glycogen is at it's highest immediately post exercise.  This happens because this enzyme becomes increasingly active as less glycogen is available.  So as glycogen is depleted, glycogen synthase levels rise, and as glycogen is replaced, the synthase levels fall.  Thus it's important to refuel as soon as you can after exercising, because this is when your glycogen synthase levels are the highest and this will allow for a quicker refueling of the glycogen stores. 
The reason behind limiting muscle damage and the intake of protein working is because during and after long or intense workouts, your cortisol (a catabolic hormone) levels are high.  Cortisol breaks down muscle protein causing damage to the muscles.  In order to counteract this rise in cortisol, carbohydrates and protein should be taken in immediately after exercise.  These fuel sources seem to inhibit the rise in cortisol.  If enough of these are taken in after exercise you can actually shift from a catabolic (breakdown) state to an anabolic (building) state in the muscles.  This allows for repair of the muscle fibers that occured during the workout.  In addition to cortisol causing breakdown and muscle damage it also suppresses the immune system.  This means that following hard or long workouts your immune system is suppressed and the likelihood of getting sick increases.  The amino acid glutamine can help counteract this because it enhances the immune system.  However during exercise the glutamine levels drop too.  That is another benefit of taking in a drink containing protein.  Most sports drinks that contain protein have glutamine in them.
    The replacing of electrolytes is also up for debate.  Companies like gatorade have always boasted that replacing electrolytes is essential.  Some studies have shown that sweating during exercise doesn't have a significant effect on the amount of water and electrolytes in body fluids.  In addition your normal diet will most likely fully replinish the lost electrolytes.  However, if you are working out for a long period of time or very intensly replacing electrolytes during exercise is probably a wise think.
       Also solid foods can accomplish the same thing as a recovery drink, except for the rehydration part. So you can get all the benefits of a fancy recovery drink by drinking water and some food that contains high enough carb content. The only down side is that they don't absorb as fast as a liquid based item.  Water by itself doesn't do a whole lot for recovery except for rehydration, but your missing on the other three things. You should consume lots of water throughout the day for hydration, not a lot of the other sugary drinks as this adds calories when all you need is hydration.
    It also should be said that depending on the intensity glycogen replinishment should occur within 24-72 hours.  It's been shown that if you have a high carbohydrate diet, that complete replinishment will occur within 24 hours in most cases.  If you use a low carbohydrate diet an continue to train, the glycogen stores will never fully recover and will be pushed lower and lower and you'lol fall into a state of constant glycogen depletion.

The Ideal Recovery Sports Drink
The Ideal sports drink based on science so far and according to the book The Performance Zone by John Ivy and Robert Portman should contain the following ingredients.  I agree with their findings:

Per 12oz. of liquid:

Glycogen Utilization
    To get an idea of what lowers your glycogen stores the most, studies have shown that repeated anaerobic bouts with rests in between at 150% VO2max can deplete glycogen stores with 20 minutes of work.  Anaerobic bouts with rest at 120% of VO2max can deplete glycogen stores in about 35 minutes of work.  Running at 85% of VO2max will close to fully deplete glycogen stores in about 110 minutes, with 60 minutes at this pace depleting glycogen stores by 50%.  Running at 75% VO2max will deplete glycogen stores by about 80% in 200min of running, and by 50% in about 100 mintues.
    At 75-80% of VO2max, or around your Lactate Threshold, you use up about 2mmol/kg of wet muscle per minute.  At 95-100% of VO2max you use about 3mmol/
kg of wet muscle per minute.  At about 115% of VO2max you use 5mmol per minute.  At speeds of 125% VO2max you use about 6mmol per minute.  At 150% of VO2max you use about 10mmol per minute.  It should be noted that these are averages and your individual difference could be substantial.
    Now what do these numbers mean?  Well if you run at these intensities than that's how much glycogen is used per minute.  The total amount of glycogen stored depends on several factors.  The most important one being diet.  It's been found that individuals who eat a low carbohydrate diet will have significantly less glycogen stores than individuals with a higher carbohydrate diet.  This means that low carbohydrate individuals have less glycogen to be used as energy, so they will not be able to exercise as long or as intense because they will run out of fuel before a similar runner with more glycogen stores.  Just to give you an idea of what is normal for glycogen levels, when carbo-loading, marathoners have been found to have glycogen stores of about 200mmol/kg.  Normal glycogen stores when not carbo loading for an athlete eating a normal diet of between 55%-70% carbohydrates have been shown to contain between about 110-170mmol/kg.  A low carbohydrate, such as maybe the atkins diet, where only 15% of the diet comes from carbs has been shown to limit glycogen stores to as little as 50mmol/kg!
    Now during exercise I've already talked about how your body burns more fat at lower intensity levels before it uses more carbohydrate or glycogen stores for energy.  As the exercise intensity increases, the more your muscle glycogen stores are used as the predominant energy source.  In addition to this, I've talked about (in the muscle fiber section) how at different intensities you use different amounts of muscle fibers.  During different intensities these muscle fibers will use up different amounts of their glycogen stores.  During low effort exercise at 50% of your VO2max, your Slow Twitch fibers will only use about 50% of their glycogen stores in 3 hours!  Only 25% is used up in the first hour at this pace.  This is because at these intensities, more fat is being used as a fuel.  During this exercise your FT-a fibers use barely any of their glycogen stores at all, and FT-b use basically zero.  During exercise at 70% of your VO2max, near full glycogen depletion of the muscles occurs at about 2 hours of exercise, with all three fiber types being gradually depleted to an extent.  Your ST fiber still deplete first and most rapidly, followed by your FT-a, then finally by your FT-b.  At about 1 hour of exercise at this intensity, ST fibers show to be depleted by 75%, FT-a fibers show 50% of their original glycogen content, and FT-b fibers show 25% of their glycogen content depleted, so they still have 75% of their stores left.  From 1 hour to 2 hours, it can be seen that as the ST fibers become increasingly depleted, the FT fibers take over.  As both deplete much of their stores, and their total glycogen content declines at a much steeper rate during the second hour of exercise.  This shows the recruitment pattern of the muscle fibers during these two intensities.

Muscle Damage during exercise:
    Running, especially longer or intense running, has been shown to cause some temporary damage to the muscles. Sceintists have seen small microtears in the muscle.  This has been shown to occur at the muscles Z-line.  Z-lines are striations in the muscle in which actin filaments are attached which seperate the contractile units of a muscle.  Basically, they play an important role in providing support for the muscle fibers when they are activated.  The reason that this muscle damage may occur is because of eccentric contractions of the muscle during running.  Eccentric contractions means that the muscle lengthens as it is trying to shorten at the same time to generate force.  This happens because in running because we also have the force of gravity acting on us and to resist this motion some muscles need to lengthen.  This explains why you might feel more sore following running a race or course with a considerable amount of downhill running on it.  To resist the force of gravity while running downhill, your muscles have to create a big amount of eccentric as well as concentric contractions.  This means that while your muscle is trying to shorten to propel you forward, it's also trying to lengthen to absorb some of the shock and to resist gravity.  Thus, the great amount of tension leads to some microtears in your muscle.
    These tears are not permanent though as your body is fully capable of repairing the microtears.  In fact, your body repairs and iproves the muscle after this damage.  That's why you might notice that when you first do hill repeats, you get sore, but then after doing them several times over a couple weeks, you don't get that sore anymore.  The muscle adapts to the stress being put on it, so that more fibers and more connective tissue is added making the muscle better able to deal with the stress put on it.  This backs up the idea of adaptation, and is the reason that you can't get away from doing different exercises for too long.  For example if all you do is jog slowly all summer, then you try and race at a high speed, your muscles aren't adapted to this stress, so many microtears will occur, making you perform less than optimally and have a harder time to recover.  While if you slowly introduce faster paced stuff, your muscles slowly adapt and have more fibers and connective tissue to withstand the pounding and speeds that you plan on running at.  These microtears in the muscle can allow for the cell membranes, or sarcolemmas, to be ruptured.  This means that the organelles and nutrients in the cell can escape and other things normally outside of the cell can come in.  Some have suggested that this opening up of the cell allows for more calcium ions to enter the muscle cells.  The increase Calcium levels in the muscle cell restricts the breakdown of fuels for energy.  This means that when there are these microtears in the muscle, they can't produce as much energy for the muscle to use, leading to weaker contractions and quicker fatigue.  Thus it's important to consume some protein following intense or long exercise to aid in the repair of this muscle and tendon damage.

Energy drinks:
All they are is high in caffeine (which does show performance enhancing capabilities, but you gotta be careful and experiment with it if you choose, because it can cause stomach problems). ALl that's in these things are carbs and caffeine basically. The other "added" energy ingredients such as taurine, ginseng, etc. don't do anything really. Most research has shown that they don't aid in any way in endurance training. If you want to know further specific on different ingredients and their claims and really what they do, just let me know. Anyways energy drinks give high amounts of carbs yes, but they have relatively small amounts of water and the high levels of caffeine, combine to promote dehyrdration, not exactly what you want for a recovery or during or before hand drink. Also, the more caffeine you take in, the more resistant you become to it's effects. So you gotta start upping the anty big time if you regularly drink caffeine drinks to get the same benefits as when you started.
    The thing that would benefit you would be the caffeine in the drink. However some research has shown that it's only effective when takin alone (not with a drink such as in coffee). The benefit of it for longer distance running is that it's been shown to stimulate fat burning, so during early parts of the race you'd burn more fat, saving your glycogen (carb) stores. The extra glycogen stored means you can go longer or faster without depleting your glycogen stores fully. The problem is that it's been shown to cause stomach problems and can increase bowel activity. Which sucks if you are running a race and that's a problem.
Caffeine works, but the extent of it's aid has produced mixed results. As I mentioned above if you take it often, then your body slowly adapts to the levels your taking and you have to take more to get the same effects.

Running Form and Stride Mechanics
    Throughout the training section I've talked about how important your running form and mechanics are.  To further illustrate this point, look how much emphasis the Morracan training system puts on running form.  From a young age, their athletes stride is anaylzed and made more efficient.  Even older athletes form is adjusted.  One such example is that of one of the great Morrocan 10k runners, Salah Hissou, who altered his stride and arm swing after already running 27:09 for 10k!  El Guerrouj stride is almost perfect with an extremely relaxed upper body where all his arms do is swing back and forth in rhythm with his lower body thus helping his rhythm and stride.  His lower body has great foot strike and push off too.  Now how do we get our stride to look like that of El Guerrouj or one of the many great kenyans?
    That's the tough part.  As I see it you have to work on correcting your stride while running normally and consciously trying to change certain things.  Some coaches try to accomplish this through form drills, but many of these drills do not translate well to running.  The drills isolate different parts of the stride and work on it that way, but the problem with that method is that the different phases of the stride do not work independently, they all work in sync together.
    The reason I like this method is that ultimately you will be running, not performing strange drills, when you want your stride to be efficient.  By working on your stride while running normally you get a greater sence of how the motions are supposed to feel when done correctly.  Thus you can recall that feeling better when in race situations when you want your form to be perfect.  The downfall to this system of changing your strides is it's a bit more complicated at first because you need to know what an efficient stride looks like and compare it to yours.  This is best done through a very knowledgable coach, but if you don't have one, with a  bit of studying you can learn the basics and help improve your stride still.  The best way to do this is to go get a video or picture sequence of a world class runner known for his smooth stride (such as Bekele, El Guerrouj, or Wilson Kipketer).  If it is a video of them racing, then slow the video down and look at his stride frame by frame noting the different phases of the stride (I'll discuss those later and what to look for shortly).  Then go get a video of yourself racing or running at race speed and compare your stride broken down frame by frame to the elite athletes.  Notice all the differences that you can, from where the athlete's foot hits the ground, his toe off, his knee lift, his arm swing, head position, etc.  These differences should be rather obvious when you compare the two strides.  This is the first step to fixing your stride.  You have to identify the problems.  The next step is trying to fix these problems.  Rather than trying to fix all of them at once, focus on one thing at a time.  This means that you shouldn't try and focus on foot strike and arm swing and push off all at once because you are taking so many strides so quickly that you will go crazy trying to pay attention to all of these things at once.  First off, to learn how to fix the problem you should get someone to video tape you doing strides.  The strides shouldn't be hard as you want to focus on running relaxed as you are trying to work on your stride mechanics, not get a great workout in.  The reason to video tape the strides is so that after each one or maybe every couple of ones, you can go back and look at your stride in slow motion and see if you are fixing the problem.  When doing these strides focus on one of the problems that was noticed when comparing your stride to one of the elite athletes.  Try to visualize what that athlete did and incorporate it into your stride.  One example of this is let's say you are a heal banger, meaning your lower leg extends out past your knee and you land heel first.  When you looked at El Guerrouj you noticed that his foot makes contact with the ground almost directly under his knee and flat footed.  So when doing stride you try and emmulate what you saw.  Think about dropping your foot as soon as your knee extends so that your foot cycles through in a wheel like fashion and lands directly under your knee and you land on the mid section of your foot.  Keep thinking about this on each stride and note how it feels, maybe more choppy or like you are taking really short strides at first.  Remember what you thought about on each stride to try and get your body to do this action.  Maybe, even write what you thought about down after each stride.  Then go to the video tape and see if it worked.  Analyze each stride and see if you were doing it correctly or wrong.  If you notice that you were doing it correctly on one strider, then look back and see what you were consciously thinking about on this strider.  Once you figure this out, then you have a cue of how to run correctly.  This cue or feeling is very important.  If whenever you think of this thing, then you run more correctly, then you know that in your mind this is your cue to run correctly.  Anytime you want to work on that portion of your stride think of that cue, whatever it is.  Once you have your cue or feeling then you can start working on running correctly all the time.  This is done by focusing on this feeling throughout workouts or runs.  Now obviously you can't think about it all the time, but try and focus on it maybe once every mile or two on an easy run, just consciously try and run right for a couple minutes.  Or maybe on the first or last repetition of interval training.  Now that you know how to correct your stride, what things make up a good stride and what things should be looked at when comparing your stride to that of an elites?  That is our next topic.

    The Correct way to Run
       Speed= Stride Length X Stride Frequency.  Stride Frequency can be defined as the number of strides per some unit of time.  Stride Length can be described  as the distance traveled between each foot contact.  At any given speed their is an optimal ratio between stride frequency and stride length.  Both stride frequency and stride length are affected by a variety of measures including the athletes physical makeup, his muscle fiber distribution, his biomechanics, flexibility, and strength.  All of these factors will help determine the athletes stride frequency and stride length.  In this article, we will concern ourselves with the biomechanics affect each of these aspects and how to determine an optimal blend.
The three basic phases of a stride are the drive phase, recovery phase, and support phase.  The drive phase occurs when the foot is pushing off the ground.  The pushing off should occur from the ball of your foot. 
        The recovery phase happens when the leg comes off the ground and swings through from the hip with the knee leading the way.  The knee joint closes and the foot comes close up to the body.  This means the angle goes from a fairly straight diagonal line from the hip to the foot at the point right after takeoff to a very small angle of speration as the knee comes through directly under your center of your body.  This closing of the knee joint has to occur to give the athlete a shorter lever to increase the angular velocity of the leg coming through.  Think of it as a pendulum swinging, if the heel kick comes through too low, the leg will be a longer level, so it will cycle through slower, just as with the arms if you extend them straight down and swing them they will not swing through the same range of motion as fast as if they are bent at the elbow joint. As your knee continues to come through the angle will increase again, but not to the straight diagonal that was seen during takeoff.  The knee should cycle through until it naturally comes to a stop in front of your body.  Do not try and lift the knee higher than it's supposed to go.  Many times coaches will yell "Drive and lift your knees!", but this is incorrect.  When you think about driving, the knee should be driven forward at an angle, not straight up.    When this stoppage of the knee occurs the lower leg should cycle through and strike the ground almost directly under the knee so that there is a 90 degree angle between the ground and your lower leg at contact.  Thre foot should make contact with the ground at mid foot, or flat footed, and not with the heel.  The intial foot contact actually takes place on the outter edge of the foot, but this happens so fast it's rarely noticed and is only the intial contact, not the support.  Where the foot hits depends on the speed that the athlete is going.  If he is all out sprinting, the foot contact will be higher up on the foot near the ball of the foot, but even with this front of the foot landing in sprinting the heel still touches the ground.  As the speed is reduced, the foot strike occurs to be more flat with most of the foot making contact at the same time. 
        When the foot hits the ground, this becomes the support phase.  If the heel hits first then this creates a breaking motion, ruining the wheel like cycle of your stride, and it also takes a longer time to move from the support phase to the drive phase as you have to cycle from heal to midfoot to ball of your foot, instead of midfoot to ball of your foot.  In addition to this the human body is meant more for pushing then pulling.  That is why it is important for the foot strike to occur at about 90 degrees with the ground, so that the athlete does not have to "pull" his body over his body, and can instead go quicker into the driving phase.
       The drive phase is where you actually move your body.  When driving to push off you will have both a vertical and a horizontal component.  The idea is to optimize the ratio between the horizontal and vertical forces.  Too much horizontal force and the athlete will be extremely flat and appear to skate or shuffle along the ground.  Too much vertical force and the athlete will have to much bounce along the track.  The idea is to optimize these so that the athlete gets his stride length and frequency in balance.
      During the drive phase the athlete should think about driving himself down the track or road by thinking about applying force by extending your hip down and a little back.  The motion of extending the hip, should be thought of as a cranking of the hip. The downward motion gives the athlete a more vertical push and the back a more horizontal push off.  This means that there should be a slight bounce in the athletes stride and it should never competely flatten out.  In fact world class sprinters have a vertical oscillation of between 6-8cm. Flattening out completely eliminates the vertical part of the drive phase and you will not cover as much ground per stride.  If the athlete eliminates the vertical component too much then his stride length would be too short and thus the stride would be inefficient.  If the athlete has too much of a vertical component then his frequency might be less and his stride length might be less.  That's why it is best to have a slight bounce because most people tend to flatten out almost completely and take quick, choppy strides that have no power behind them.  One way to tell if you have a slight bounce is to look at some object in the horizon and make sure it is not staying flat as you run and it appears to bounce up and down slightly.
       Since the force and therefore speed comes from an application of force onto the ground, which then gives an equal and opposite force back, the amount of push onto the ground helps govern an athletes speed.  Once the foot has made contact with the ground, and the athlete extends the hip downwards and back, this makes the drive leg be extended with the knee joint almost completely open.  The push off should occur until a stretch reflex of the leg occurs.  This stretch reflex occurs from fully extending your hip backwards and pushing off completely.  
This stretch reflex makes it where the leg cycles through the recovery phase automatically until the hip flexor returns to its normal position.  Because of this, it brings the leg through much faster than what it could have been brought through if you conciously forced the leg through the recovery phase without the full stretch reflex.  Not getting the full stretch reflex could occur from cutting the drive phase off too quickly, by getting quick with your feet and lifting the foot before the cycle is complete, or from not extending your hip fully.  This leads to the recovery phase with the knee swinging through into the original position and the whole cycle starting over again.  As can now be seen, the recovery phase is actually a product of the hip extension during the drive phase.  In most cases, the athlete should not try to interfear with his recovery phase, because they are most likely caused by a problem in the drive phase.    For instance a too slow recovery phase is most likely the product of not fully extending the hip.  The athlete should concentrate on push off and foot placement.
        Now what about the upper body?  The arms are very important to your whole running form.  They work in conjunction with your legs to make a whole smooth cycle.  If your arms aren't working with your legs, then it can throw your whole running form of and mess with the cycle of your legs.  For example, if your upswing of your right arm goes to far forward, then that could make the left foot also go too far forward making it land to far out in front of your knee, instead of underneath it. foThey swing opposite of the legs.  So the right arm and left leg go forward at the same time, and vice versa.  The arms should swing as a pendulum from the shoulder.  The swinging motion should come from the shoulder joint and not from a twisting of the trunk and shoulders.  For distance running at slow to moderate speeds the arm should be bent at a bit less than a 90 degree angle.  The backwards swing should stop when it feels natural but this happens at around the point when your hand gets about to the hip for most distance events.  The hands should be closed with the thumb resting on top but they should be relaxed.  During the entire swing through the arms should be kept close to the body and should not cross across the midline of your chest.  When sprinting the arm swing is a bit different.  The front swing is similar with the arm swinging forward at about a 90 degree angle, but it shouldn't swing any more forward then during a normal run.  The backswing is where the difference occurs.  The arm will open up much more and will go further back. During the downswing, instead of your hand passing by above your hip, the hand should pass by next to your thigh. This opening up of the arm swing will allow for greater drive from the opposite leg.  The elbow and arm still stay close to the body and should not swing out wide.  After your hand passes by your thigh, then the elbow should go back upwards with the elbow still being bent.  At this point a lot of athletes will let their elbow straighten out and have their be a straight diaganol line down their arm, but it's important to keep the elbow bent so and driving upwards on the backswing.
    With explaining all of this, it should be said that the key is to stay relaxed!  Running tight is never a good thing and all movements should be relaxed and look effortless.

A few keys to remember for running correctly during all distance running:

The Effects of time off
    As athletes in a sport that puts a lot of pounding on the muscles, bones, joints, etc. it is inevitable that we will be forced to take time off.  Most runners take voluntary time off after the season too, whether it's a day or a month.  The question becomes what happens to our body physiologically when we don't run for this extended period of time.
    In this discussion I am referring to what happens when no running is done at all.  Several studies have shown that even minimal running can help maintain fitness for a decent amount of time.  When you first stop training the effects can be seen after only 48 hours.  After  48 hours there is a decline in enzyme activity in the mitochondrial.  This decrease in activity shows that your bodies ability to operate aerobicly is starting to decline.  After a week of not running, the aerobic capacity has been seen to drop by between 10 and 50%.  In addition to this drop in aerobic capacity and enzymes, other changes in the muscles start to occur.  The number of capillaries in the muscles has been shown to decrease by between 10 and 20% in 5 to 12 days of not training.  The drop in the number of capillaries limits our aerobic abilities because the capilarries is where the exchange of oxygen and CO2 in the blood takes place.  With less of these present, the bodies ability to transport as much oxygen from the blood to the working muscles decreases.
    In addition to these changes found in the skeletal muscle system, the cardiovascular system also sees the effect of detraining.  There's a decrease in the heart's pumping of blood throughout the body at maximum efforts after 5 to 12 days of inactivity.  This results in less blood flow, meaning less oxygen to the muscles and less clearing of waste products that the muscles produce, such as lactate.  So as you continue to take time off, lactic acid will accumulate more then when training.  For example, if during training you could run a 5 minute mile with 5mmol of lactate produced.  After a week or two off, then the lactate levels may be 6-7 mmol during a 5minute mile run.  The bodies ability to store glycogen also reverts to untrained levels during time off.  As time off is taken, the body can store less and less glycogen, meaning that there is less fuel for the body to use (for more on what glycogen does see glycogen section).  After only 4 weeks of not training, glycogen storage capability drops all the way to that of an untrained person.
    Now that we've discussed the physiological effects of time off, what about racing performance?  That's a difficult question to answer because of individual differences and how each athlete reacts.  The above mentioned effects take place no matter what, but in taking time off, you also let the stressed body recover.  During the first couple of days, your letting your bodies glycogen stores replinish and muscles and tendons repair from the stress put on them.  Also, your body adapts during recovery, so you can actually benefit from the time off as some good adaptations will take place initially as you adapt to the training done before hand.  At some point your race performance has to decline as the effects of the resting and repair wear off and the detraining takes over.  Based on research and by people's testimonials this usually happens after about 5-7 days of no running.
    How long does it take for you to lose all fitness?  That question can't be entirely answered because athletes background differ by so much.  To give you an idea though one study took an untrained athlete who ran a 6 minute mile and trained him for five months.  When he first ran the six minute mile, over 14 mmol of lactate accumulated.  After the 5 months of training, he only accumulated 4.5 mmol of lactate during a 6 minute mile.  After only 4 weeks of not running, the lactate level increased from 4.5 to over 7 mmol.  It's estimated that after 6-8 weeks of no running, his lactate levels would return to the 14mmol seen when he was untrained.  To take this to the extreme after 6 months or more of no running, almost all physiological differences between an untrained person and a runner dissapear, so that they both appear the same.
    It's a shame that it takes so long to increase the phsyiogical adaptation that take place due to running, and only a short time to lose them.  Thus it's obviously best to never take long extended time off.  However, sometimes this isn't possible due to an injury that makes it impossible to run.  During these forced breaks, cross training has been shown to keep some of the aspects at a high level, while others have decreased as if you weren't training at all.  This is because some of the frequent cross-training exercise we do aren't specific to running.  This means that you use different muscles more and therefore adaptations don't occur in the normal running muscles.  So when you choose to cross train you want to do an activity that most closely mirrors running and uses similar muscles.  Some examples of these might be deep water running or elliptical training.  In the next section, I'll talk more about the effects of cross training in maintening fitness.  When you can control how much time off you take, for example a break after the season, try and limit it so that you don't lose some of the adaptations you've built up with hard work.  Only take 5 days or maybe a week of max at the end of the season, so that detraining doesn't fully take effect.  Having said all of this, it can be seen that one day off every now and then does not have a detraining effect, only after 48 hours or more do the effects start to take place.

(Source for statistics in this article, Running: The Athlete Within by David Costill   and Physiology of Sport and Exercise)

    The key to cross training is to try and maintain what you've built up by running.  In this section, I am talking about cross training because of an extended layoff from running due to injury.  When selecting an activity for cross training, the more the activity simulates running the better.  This is because of the principle of specificity.  The more specific the workout is to the event your training for, the better.  So obviously the best training for running a race is running.  However when running can't be done you have to move on to the next best thing.  The activity needs to resemble running because you want to recruit the same muscles that are used during running.  There's not a lot of point in doing a lot of hard cross training if it uses completely different muscle groups.  You may be increasing or maintening the muscles aerobic capacity for that group of muscles, but that will do little good if those muscles aren't used in running. The choices for cross training are numerous including XC skiing, cycling, water running, swimming, elliptical machine, etc.  The problem with this type of training is that with the absence of the impact in running you lose some of the benefits.  For example, without the impact, you don't get the same benefits in muscle development that's seen in running because the impact and combination of lengthening and shortening of the muscles that creates micro tears during running doesn't occur.  While this seems like a good thing, your body actually adapts to these micro tears while it's repairing them, making the muscles more resistant and stronger than before.  So during cross-training you lose this action, but the problem is that you don't want impact during cross training because the impact is what aggrevates most injuries. So the problem is that you will lose some of the muscular benefits.  This makes the emphasis on cross training in retaining your aerobic benefits and adaptations that have taken place and then hopefully when you return to running, you will be aerobicly fit and just need the muscles to catch up.

Cross training in the water:
    Swimming and deep water running are often used by injured runners.  They both provide a good aerobic benefit with no impact.  There are a variety of different workouts that can be done in the pool from regular swimming to deep water running with a floatation device to treading water.  All have their various benefits.  It's important to note that your heart rate will be slightly lower in the pool for the same effort when training out of the pool because of two things, the pressure of the water, and if swimming the horizontal position of your body which makes it easier for your heart to pump blood throughout your body because it isn't working against gravity as much as in an upright position.
    Pool running is beneficial because it closely resembles regular running.  The movements are fairly similar so that you work on the same muscle groups.  In addition to this some studies (such as the one here) have shown that with 4-6 weeks of cross training replacing running, factors such as running economy, VO2max, and lactate threshold can be maintained.  As mentioned above, the problem is keeping your heart rate high enough.  In the pool, your heart rate is normally about 15 beats lower at the same effort.  Therefore it takes more effort and work to get your heart rate up high enough.  This is one reason, that swimmers are notorious for doing lots of interval training.  Because of that reason, simply running with a vest or floatation device doesn't get the heart rate up high enough most of the time.  Instead of doing steady runs, try doing fartlek type workouts.  I have found it's best to use runnign witha  flotation device as easy running, treading water using a running motion as a medium to hard effort, and treading water with your hands held out of the water as a hard to sprinting effort.  Treading water is just what it sounds like only you try and keep your arms and legs moving in as close to a running motion as you can.  Treading water with your hands out of water is just like it sounds.  You tread water in a running motion and hold your hands up out of water.  This makes you naturally increase your leg turnover a lot just to keep your head out of water.  For workouts a combination of these three running motions can form the basis of a good hard fartlek.  Start with an easy warmup of running with a flotation device, and then work into alternating all three type of water running with various lengths of times spent doing each.  Be creative in designing these workouts as water running can be very boring.  Try setting a radio out next to the pool to provide a distraction.  Some good fartleks can be done with changing running styles with each song, or one of my favorites is to listen to a baseball game and do a fartlek based on the game.  Sometimes I'll alternate running motions and effort with each out recorded or I'll do treading water while the game is going on and then during commercials run with the flotation device for a recovery.
    If your injury does not hurt when mild impact is done actual running in the water can be done in the shallow end of the pool.  Basically you just run back and forth in the shallow end of the pool, keeping as close to as you can your normal running motion, including arm swing.  The water still limits the actual amount of impact on your body because it's like your running in slow motion.  It's a good way to transition back to normal running after being injured as you slowly add more impact.  This type of cross training is very good for working on the muscles.  Because of that fact, a good strategy might be do alternate doing water running in the shallow end of the pool and deep water running if your injury allows you to as one would predominately work on the cardiovascular system while the other works on the musclulature system.  You may want to consider wearing some old shoes when water running as the bottom of your feet will blister or "burn" pretty easily as the bottom of the pool isn't too comfortable on them.
    When working out in the water, to make the exercises more difficult resistance can be added.  For both shallow water and deep water running, one of the best forms of resistance comes in wearing old baggy jeans.  In both cases they add resistance making both exercises much more difficult.  In fact treading water sometimes becomes so difficult that it will in fact look like you are drowning, and I've been asked on more than one occasion while doing that exercise if I needed any help, and on one occasion a lifeguard actually "saved" me and my friend when he swam out to us, gave us the life preserver, grabbed one of us, and we told him to go away and leave us alone.  Anyways, jeans are a great way to add resistance, just make sure that they're old and you don't care about them because the chlorine will ruin them.

    This is another common exercise used for cross training.  You can get sme great aerobic benefits from cycling, but unfortunately it doesn't resemble running as much as we might like.  Therefore, you are developing some muscles more than needed and other less than needed.  Even though it's not a great substitute for running, it can still be used with other cross training methods with success.  The main benefit of cycling is that it's easier than swimming to get your heart rate high enough to work on your aerobic system for a long time.  Therefore, cycling is a good means to keeping your cardiovascular system in shape.  In addition to this their is little pounding so it can be done with a wide variety of injuries.  Of course this little impact isn't all good, as discussed in the swimming section above.  One "problem" might be the amount of time needed to spend on the bike to get similar aerobic benefits as running.  There is no real good conversion for cycling miles to running miles, but it's safe to say you need to spend more time on the bike then you would running.  In addition to this, the lack of pounding and subsequent muscle damage allows you to recover much faster than with running.  This means that the amount of "hard" workouts can be increased significantly.  You don't have to follow the old "hard, easy" routine like in running.  The good thing about cycling is that you can work on a variety of different training zone.  It's possible to do harder shorter aerobic capacity work, longer aerobic rides, and lactate threshold workouts.  I have found it best to do the harder interval workouts on a stationary bike, while doing the longer rides on the rode.  This is because, during the ahrder workouts, you don't exactly want to be worried about stopping at stop signs and steering and such because most of us aren't experiences cyclist. While I'm not qualified to go into detail about how to succesfully train each of these systems during cycling, I will provide a glimpse, and suggest that you pick up a good cycling training book if your going to be injured for an extended period of time.  If it's just a couple weeks, the following should suffice.
    Think of hard cycling workouts as running workouts.  You have to do a warm-up, then some "strides" before your ready to go hard and then follow it up by a cool down.  A good rule of thumb is when doing cycling intervals, do the same thing as you would if you were running intervals, only use the time it would take to run that interval and add 25-50% of that time, and cycle that amount.  For example if you want to do something similar to 800m repeats, that would be about 2:20, then cycle for 3:20-4:00 minutes or so at the same effort level, which can be judged by breathing or heart rate.  Your rest breaks should be just easy cycling or spinning if your on a stationary bike.  For lactate threshold workouts do efforts of about 60 or more minutes in total.  Instead of just a 60 minute hard ride, you can break it into sets of 15 or 20 minutes at threshold effort with a couple minutes rest in between.  To judge the effort of these you can either use heart rate or judge by breathing like you would running a threshold.  In addition to these types of workouts, hard anaerobic workouts can be done.  Also, riding up hills, or doing repeats up hills is an excellent workout.  Besides these types of workouts long continous rides at a moderate pace should be done.