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Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Long distance running tips i've learned

So i was asked yesterday by someone what do you normally require when practicing for a long distance run, so i'll do it in bullet points.
  1. If this is the first time you are practicing long distance running, not to be professional, but to maintain a healthy level of fitness, then you do not need to over-exert yourself on the first run. That leads to an uncomfortable night and a very uncomfortable morning. 
  2. Stretch. Though studies claim this aspect is not required and you can still suffer from injuries,stretching tends to strengthen and prepare your muscles for use,reduces the chance of injury, and strengthens the tendons and nerves that connect to the muscles that tend to rip easily.
  3.  While running, inhale through your nose and exhale through your Mouth. This is my preferred form of circulation.Diaphragmatic  breathing, fills the lower part of you're  lungs, which increases aerobic capacity, reduce stress and eliminates runners cramps .  Also, with practice, allow air to enter and exit through both you're nostrils and mouth which will maximize your O2 consumption 
  4. Posture is key. Slouching or looking down while running, decreases your speed and endurance, as the throat will be slightly compressed, which hinders your breathing. Slouching while running, or running awkwardly with a poor form, causes injury and also reduces performance. 
  5. SHOES. I cannot emphasize enough on footwear. I was around 400 pounds,inexperienced and wanted to learn on my own, and i paid a painful price of severe runners knee and shin splints in the beginning due to poor footwear, which i will let you know in advance, shock shoes are terrible for running. And yes i am talking about those shoes that have those suspension/bubbles that act as shocks. Get shoes that are comfortable, but also allow you to feel the shock of the ground, go to foot locker and use one of the foot sensors they have to recommend you a shoe if you have the convenience or the cash. If not, go to a shoe store and decide long and hard about which shoe would be comfortable.  Personal recommendations would be Acsics Vibram and saucony running shoes, they LAST.  Also, change shoes after 6 months-1year or 600 miles, they do more harm than good after that. 
  6. Avoiding a stitch. This was amazingly simple when i found it out after an accidental discovery. While running, exhale on your left foot. Your diaphragm is moving up and down., constantly putting pressure on the organs in the body, but the liver is the one that usually hurts first,as it is the heaviest organ in the human body. 
  7. Scheduling.  Contrary to popular belief (and montage videos) nobody can start training for a half marathon or a marathon in 1 month, after genuinely being unfit, to being marathon ready, it takes time, and it takes a proper method of steadily increasing your stamina and endurance. Like everything it needs a plan. So This is how i started off. I would dedicated 1 hour to cardiovascular so this is how my schedule looked like: (Don't forget to Stretch!)

    1st week: 5minutes of jogging ,5 minutes of walking rest repeatedly for 1 hour
    2nd week: 10 minutes of jogging, 5 minutes , walking rest repeatedly for 1 hour
    3rd week: 10 minutes of jogging , 4 minutes ,walking rest repeatedly for 1 hour
    4th week: 15 minutes of jogging, 4 minutes of walking rest repeatedly for 1 hour
    5th week: 20 minutes of jogging, 4 minutes of walking rest repeatedly for 1 hour

    Basically You increase your endurance and stamina in stages over a certain period, when you reach the capacity to run for 30 minutes straight, in the 8th week with no rest interval, you are on the wonderful road to becoming a long distance runner. 
  8. Bonus point: High Intesity Interval Training (HIIT) When you reach to a point in running where your distance is good (and you are actually enjoying it and serious about it) start sprint intervals with little rest, or explosive Tabata interval training

    Now that you have finished reading these wonderful tidbits, why are you still here? GO FORTH AND LIVESTRONG!