Monday, June 7

A Newbie helping out the Newbie

Questions, I think these are one of the things that we newbies have in common to the sport. Just like a four year old child, we are grasping all the concepts and ideas that running has to offer. Ideas that question everything ranging from shoes, running form, nutrition, and what not. I have been running for about 10 months and right about now, I would like to share some of my experiences so that they can be able to help out those who are just starting to get into the sport.

How do I start running?
You get out of your house and run! DOI! haha Kidding aside. The first step I believe is setting your mind right. Running is a very enjoyable sport, but I believe you should look to the future even before starting. A lot of people get caught up in what they call "Ningas Kugon" and this is what stops a jogger from becoming a runner. Running can be somewhat of a time and physically demanding sport, so you need something to hold on to while your out there. Imagine doing this three times a week every morning or after work, it can get pretty hard out there. So you need to have a deeper reason for this, cause if you will be running with no goals, it would be hard to see where you are going. 

Have a goal in mind, take a look at what you want to seek out. A few possible goals could be:
  • Run your first 5k race
  • Lose Weight
  • Quit Smoking
  • Do the Marathon in the future
  • Total Lifestyle Change
  • Look better than your EX haha
What ever your reason may be, make sure it is something you want to do. Your the one making the choice to run anyways so its best to find your own reason for all this.

Now its time to run!!!

Depending on your fitness level, you first have to create a base for running. When I started running, the idea of continously running for 15-20 minutes sounded like an eternity in which I would already be crawling by the end of it. What I suggest is getting down to the basics with walk/run intervals. It isn't as glamorous as the other runners in the track, but don't worry cause they too most likely started this way. 

Bellow I have put up a link on two different programs that are popularly used when starting out with your training.

The Couch-to-5K Running Plan                        Training for your first 5-K

If you want to start with something lighter, here is the most basic program I could find. I took it off Workouts should be done, three times a week.
Stage One

Takes you from ground zero to running 45 minutes using a one minute walk, 10 minute run program. 
WeekWalk MinutesRun MinutesRepetitionsTotal Minutes

Stage Two

Gradually weans you off walk breaks so you can comfortably run 60 minutes without stopping. 
WeekWalk MinutesRun MinutesRepetitionsTotal Minutes
7walk 1, run 40, walk 1, run 18 (total=60 minutes)
8walk 1, run 45, walk 1, run 13 (total=60 minutes)
9walk 1, run 50, walk 1, run 8 (total=60 minutes)
10run 60 minutes continuously!

What sort of gear do I need in running?
It's a little confusing and honestly quite tempting (especially if you've been bitten by the running bug) to go out and get all these different running gear being sold in the market today.

There is a wide range of choices like singlets, shorts, skins, caps, heart rate monitors, gps tracking watches, energy belts, shades, etc. WOW!! Ease up on there. Here is my general rule, if you can run without it and it doesn't affect your training efficiency in any way, think twice before buying it. 

Although, there is one gear you MUST get before running, these would be running shoes. I highly recommend on investing on running shoes before you start the sport. For one it will help motivate you to keep running, but the more important benefit here is how much more you will be able to enjoy and stay injury free through out the sport. Running can take its tole on your muscles and especially your knees. Having proper shoes for the sport can help lessen the chances of injury.

What sort of running shoes do I need?
Typically speaking there are three types of shoes. These are trail running shoes, your "normal" running shoe, and racing flats.

For simplicity sake I will focus on the "normal" running shoe in this entry. There are three sub types of shoes which are neutral, cushioning, and stability shoes. Which one you will be using will highly depend on what type of pronator you are. 

While we run, our feet land differently from each other and that causes us to have varying "needs" when it comes to running.

Neutral = Neutral Shoes

Overpronator = Motion Control or Stability Shoes

Underpronator = Cushioning Shoes

To find out which type you are, you will need to get your gait checked. There are two stores in the metro that can do that for you. These are RUNR and Second Wind. Here they well let you run on their treadmill, then a video analysis will help check the angle of your landing and from there they can easily advice you on what type of runner you are.

After knowing your gait, you can now browse that certain type of shoe and then buy your first pair of running shoes. YAY!!!!

What is the proper running form?
Now in this issue there is a lot of debate going on from Chi Running, Barefoot Running, and what not. So there is basically a mix of different running techniques right about now. Here though is a video that I found, which has the basics of each running style and which I believe is at least the fundamentals of running forms.

What should I be eating before my runs?
Most people, especially those who want to lose weight think that not eating before your run is the fastest way to lose that gut. That is actually a false myth which will leave you with adverse effects more than anything. Eating before any workout is a must (especially in the morning) since you will be expending energy. How can you finish your workouts if you have no energy to use? Pretty much makes sense right?

Next question is, what should we eat? Well after watching the seminar "The Science of Traithlon" I learned two things. 

1. We should be eating 200-300 calories two hours before working out. The food should generally be low in fiber since the fiber leads to that pain in our stomach while we exercise. In the last hour before our workout, it should only be water.

2. We should be eating high-glycemic food about 10 minutes before working out. Generally this would be "sugary" things so that it will help send a spike through out our body and give us an energy boost. 

What should I do if something begins to hurt in my body?
When something hurts, generally that means that a certain muscle is being overworked or it could be due to improper form. The medication I usually do for this is ice, stretch, and rest. What I like to do is visit the Runner's Body over at Runner's World and I try to find out what muscle hurts. From there I research on how to stretch and strengthen that certain muscle.

What sort of warm up should I do and what stretches?
I preach the warm up before stretching routine. I like to do dynamic stretches before a workout. Examples of these are doing lunges, squats, arm circles, push ups, or what not. These are all done with no weights. Why is that? Well, I remember reading how static stretching is used to relax our muscles and help it loosen its stiffness. It's kinda like the "off" button somehow in terms of our muscle. Doing the dynamics stretches on the other hand gets it ready to do more. The dynamic stretch is somehow the prequel to the main workout. So in short I do dynamic stretches at the start of the workout and static stretches at the end.

I hope I covered most of the questions you would have had. I am not saying that these are the right and only way of doing things but, this is what has worked for me and I hope they could help you too.