Thoughts and tips on running – Part 1

Now that I’ve finished my exams (and the 3 day summer festival that followed them), it’s time for a new post on running (!).

As I’ve told you on the “Hello World!” post, seing running as the individual sport that it is it’s a fairly new concept for me (although the sport isn’t).

Have you ever felt running was boring?

My issue with running was not lack of physical ability. In fact, before I had surgery (3 months ago), I was doing well. I could run more than 20 minutes straight without problem.

The issue I had is that I found it boring. Time just seemed to pass so slowly. My breath and legs were fine… but my mind wasn’t. Did it ever happened to you?

When my attempt of running 20 min straight after being inactive for so long turned out to be disastrous, I knew it was time for me to start a new exercise program. And due to my three month (forced) break, I wanted the focus to be on building aerobic capacity.

But what should I do to get back in (cardiovascular) shape? I needed help, and I’m glad I’ve found it in The Runner’s Handbook”by Bob Glover, Jack Shepherd and Shelly-lynn Florence Glover.
The following list consists of the 6 things I felt compelled to share.

6 things that Bob Glover teaches you in The Runner’s Handbook:

1. Overload gently

This is one I always keep in mind.

When you decide to start an exercise regimen, the tendency is to go from being a couch potato to a couch “avoider”. This stresses your body and thus increases the chance of injury.

Take. things. slowly. Make sure you are comfortable doing an activity before you add a new one.

Also, take a day off, once a week. Once you’re well on your plan, your body will crave more exercise, but you should really not listen to it for that one day. This allows your body to rest and endure next week’s training.

2. Keep a training diary

I was a bit sceptic about this one, but now I recognize the importance of keeping a training diary. This way you’re able to keep track of your progress, to know when you should change your shoes, how much you’ve ran and even keep track of injuries and what you did at the time. As you can see, it’s really helpful.

There are people who argue that you should also keep a food diary. Personally, I don’t have one, but it might be a good idea if you are counting your calories or are on a strict program.

Here is a list of the things you should have on your running diary:
–  Week

– Time of the day

– Pace

-Heart rate

-Course (type of terrain)

– Shoes (this is important so that you know when to change them – your running shoes shouldn’t be more than 300 (about  483 km) to 500 miles (about 805 km) “old”).

– Cross training (if you do more than running. In case of weight training, you should keep track on the weights you used as well as the number of reps.)

-Distance on time (ex.: 3 km in 25 min)

– Week’s summary (Totals + comments)

-Total distance / time per week, month and year

– Days off

-Goals for next week

At first this might seem a bit overwhelming and that this diary takes a lot on time. It really doesn’t. All you need is a blank notebook and some willingness to follow the list above (or at least part of it)!

As a sample, here’s an example from my own diary:

Week 2

Running – Bob Glover’s programm (week 5)

Time of the day: 12:00

Duration: 40 min (with a  7  min. warm-up at 6 km/h and 8 min cool down)

Pace: 8 km/h – 3 x 6 min running + 1,5 min walking

Shoes: Nike Bowerman Series

Terrain: Treadmill

Comments: It was not easy to clear my mind and ignore the data on the treadmill. Time went by slowly. Felt the effort – especially on the last 6 mins – although I never felt close to exhaustion. I finished with my face looking as red as a red pepper (lol).

Next day update: some soreness on my legs and bum…nothing incapacitating, though.

As you can see, I don’t have all the elements on the list (sometimes I shut down the treadmill before I point out the day’s data), but I try to include the ones I think are the most important.

3.Plan your week

Plan your running days just like you’d plan your meeting or appointments. Try to spread your workouts throughout the week, instead of doing them on consecutive days.

4. Hard days and easy days

This is a golden rule when it comes to being injury-free. If you just run, try to intercalate your long runs with your shorter runs. Days when the pace is faster with days when you go a bit slower.

If you do cross-training – like I do – you should try to intercalate the things you find more physically demanding with things you do with more ease. For instance, I like to do yoga or “Barra de Chão” classes (I’ve talked about them on my “Hello World” post) the day after I run or do biking.

5. Regularity

When it comes to aerobic capacity, being consistent is key. You should, therefore, do a high intensity aerobic activity at least 3 times a week. By doing that, you make sure you keep your aerobic level throughout time.

In case you don’t like to run, swimming is also a great aerobic activity.

6. Warm up and cool down

Never EVER underestimate the importance of these two. You should do 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking before you start running and you should end your running with 5 to 10 minutes of cool down.

It’s really important that by the time you start running, you feel a bit warm. Similarly, when you finish your run, your heart should not be pumping at maximum speed.

I was shocked when a friend of mine told me he finished his gym workouts with a sprint on the treadmill. Then he would go straight to the shower. Please, don’t do this! If you want to sprint, make sure you walk at least 5 minutes afterwards.

And don’t forget to do your stretches!

Did you find these rules helpful? Would you add anything? Feel free to leave comments!

2 thoughts on “Thoughts and tips on running – Part 1

  1. I loved this article! It’s well written, organized and very educational. I just have one question: why can’t you sprint at the end of your training session? I mean, your friend sounds like an extremely wise person… Shouldn’t you be listening to him, rather than the other way around? :P

    Keep writing, please! :D

    Good stuff!

    • I’m really glad you liked the post, Mike :).

      My friend is the one who should be listening to me! (regardless of how wise he is on other matters).

      The reason for that is that when you stop running abruptly, you may cause the pooling of blood in your extremities. You are also slowing down the waste product removal in your system, causing you cramps, soreness, dizziness (and other pains and strains).

      Along with these consequences comes the increased strain that is put in your heart – and this is one to avoid. Really.

      Thank you for your comment. Just be a bit patient as I have more posts on the way!

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