Sunday, June 27, 2010

Running for Beginners: Getting Started & How To Keep Going Pt. 2

Amanda's How To Start Running Guide Continued. . .

Part Five: Variety = Better Preformance
     Once you've gotten into the swing of things in your running routine, you might be tempted to run every single day, however, I don't recommed that you do this. When you're running you're putting stress upon your knee joints that can cause a lot of wear and tear over a period of time. TO avoid this it's a good idea to give your knee joints a rest every now and then. Go for a bike ride, swim, do some strength training, practice yoga. Any one of these things are a good source of movement without putting a lot, if any,  stress on the joints.
     Another good reason for doing other types of exercises in between running days is that you are toning other muscles and shedding fat around other areas of the body. The leaner your body, the faster you can run, so using other muscles in your body other than you legs and you will be on your way to becoming a lean running machine!

Part Six: Recovery
     When you do any sort of high impact workouts, the muscles you use are broken down. It's during time after a workout that the body begins to rebuild those muscles and they will either become stronger or weaker depending on what sort of nutrients the muscle has at its disposal to use as building block for the new muscle.

     I have found personally that the best kind of recovery meal is some sort of smoothie. The nutrients in the food are already "chewed up" making for quicker digestion and nutrient absorbtion, which is good what you want so that you can get the nutrient building blocks into your body as soon as possible to build stronger muscles.

Some smoothie combonation ideas:

  • banana/mango/spinach
  • banan/date/coconut water
  • banana/pineapple/spinach
  • banana/grape/spinach
  • banana/spinach/apple juice
Note: Raw fruits and leafy greens will provide you with the correct carb/protein/fat ration needed for your body to rebuild and repair itself. If you want to know a more about the protein myth that has been spread across the nation by medical propganda, then I recommen reading "The 80/10/10 Diet" by Dr. Douglas N. Graham, "The China Study" by T. Colin Cambell and a previous blogpost that I wrote here

     It's also very important - especially if you are participating in high impact workouts everyday - to take a full day off from high impact workouts. Doing so gives your body a break from contantly breaking down and rebuilding muscles on a daily bases. This doesn't mean that you have to be a lie around all day, it just means to obstain from any really strenuous activities. For example, on your rest day you could do go for a walk or do some housework, ect.

Part Eight: Keep Up Your Health
     The key to having an energy filled run and still having strong energy levels through out the day is to make sure that you are keeping the 7 steps of health: NEWSTART
  1. Nutrition - Keeps you fueled for your runs and keeps you from getting sick so you can workout. Eat plenty of carbs from fresh, raw, sweet juicy fruit! Eat some raw leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, and seeds as well and you have yourself a nutrient and water rich diet! 
  2. Exercise - e.g. running
  3. Water - When you sleep you aren't drinking water, when you exercise you sweat out water, and your body is approx. 75% water. If you don't replenish your water body's water supply you won't be running anywhere.
  4. Sunshine - Allows you body to make vitamin D which is used in the absorbtion of calcium (which strengthens your bones so you can run without bone problems) and vitmain D gives you a boost of positive energy (will keep you energized and motivated to run).
  5. Temperance - Alcohol will dehydrate you body and kills irreplacable brain cells, not good!
  6. Air - Fresh air keeps your blood cells running and can give you body a pleasent, relaxing sensation, getting rid of stress.
  7. Rest - When you run you have broken down muscles in your body and released free radicals into your system due to the stress put on your body during ecercise. Your body need to shut down for a minimum of 6 hours while 7 hours is prefered, and 8 to 10 hours would be the best.  Whatever the number of hours you choose, the most crucial hours of sleep that you body needs to regenerate is between 10pm and 2am (has to do with specific hormones that are secreted at this time of night). Miss these four hours and you've dprived your body of muscle repairing time and you will most likely find your energy during your run and throughout the rest of the day will take a nose dive. 
  8. Trust in the Creator - Spiritual peace is important for your emotional well being. Trust in the Creator brings emotional stability to cope with life, which leaves your body free to function positively for your running and anything else in your life.

Part Nine: The Conclusion
     I hope that all the information, suggestions, and ideas that I have provided in this two part article for you, will help you reach your running goal(s). There is so much more information I would have loved to write and share with you, but if I did that I know it would turn into a book!  So I leave instead with this basic synopsis that will steer you in the right direction, and I am sure that over time as you become a better, more seasoned runner, that you will discover many tips and tricks that will benefit your preformance along the way. Good luck!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Running for Beginners: Getting Started & How To Keep Going Pt. 1

     Recently I have been told by several people that they are interested in taking up running and were wondering if I had any tips. I tried to keep my answers brief, however, I found this to be such a challenge that I felt it would be better for t give the bestquality of advice possible by writing a detailed blog post on the subject.

     At the beginning of this year I was not a runner. I swam, I walked, I took karate, I did weights and cardio circuits, but a runner I was not. I had always wanted to take up running but could never find the will power (or the oxygen) to run for more than 30 seconds before quitting. It seemed my fate was sealed, a runner I was not to be.

     This all changed though this year when I met up with a good friend of mine this January. We got to talking and somehow landed on the topic of marathons. Before you know it we somehow came up with the idea that we should try running a half marathon. I was inspired by the conversation and began training for the Georgia ING 2010 Half Marathon.

     I have now been running for almost 6 months (by the end of June) and I now run 5 miles of forest trails almost every morning (I would run more if I had the time)! Most of what I've learned about running has come from my own experimentation and the tid bits I picked up here and there from my family's friends while growing up. I would now like to pass on what I've learned to all you wonderful people out there who want to become runners. ;-)

Amanda's How To Start Running Guide 

Part One: Planning
     Before you can start running it's helpful to first. Take out a pencil, three pieces paper, and find somewhere to sit where you won't be distracted.

     With the first paper, make a list of the things you need before you start running.

     Example List:

  • Running shoes
  • Water bottle (very important to stay hydtrated)
  • Running clothes
  • Ipod/MP3 player (optional)
  • Places to run
     Use the second piece of paper to list your running goals. Having a goal to reach is a magnificant way to stay motivated.

     Example of Goals:
  • Run  a mile in 9 minutes
  • Run 5 miles
  • Run a Half Marathon
     Use the third paper  to write out a basic outline of your weekly schedule so that you can figure out when and how long you can run.

Part Two: Warming Up

     Stretching/warming up your muscles before and after a run will dictate how well you present and future runs will be. If you don't warm up before your run you risk injuries. If you don't stretch out and slowly cool down your muscles after a run, lactic acid build up can make your legs stiff and sore which can inhibit you from running for a couple of days. 

     It doesn't take all that much time to warm up for a run. All you really need is approximatly 5 minutes leg stretches and a couple minutes of fast paced walking should do the trick. For some ideas and examples of good leg stretches visit this site:

Part Three: Breathing 
     It is very important to know how to breathe correctly during a run. People who start running for the first time often experience severe diffuiculty in maintaining there running speed because their improper breathing technique. It isn't complicated and once you know how you are supposed to breathe you will see a great improvement in the ease of you your work out.

     Every second that goes by our bodies are burning energy that leaves behind a carbon dioxide residue in our cells. Our body needs to get rid of the carbon dioxide in our cells and replenish the cells oxygen supply. How is this done? It is done by breathing. When we inhale air into our lungs, the oxygen goes into the depleted cells as the cells release the CO2 into the lungs to be expelled when we exhale.

     When you are running you are burning more energy faster than usual and your body compensates by inreasing your heart rate to pump more oxygenated blood cells into the muscles you're using. The body can't do this though without more oxygen, so your need to breathe while running comes more frequently than when you are walking our resting. 

     If you are unable to provide your body with enought of the oxygen it needs to support your energy requirements you will have to stop running or risk passing out. When you are running you feel the urge to start breathing faster to keep up with your bodies demand for oxygen. However, breathing shallow quick breathes will only cause you distress because shallow breathes won't provide your body with enough oxygen. Taking deep and even breathes is what you want. This might seem difficult to do at first, but is you concentrate on your breathing while your running and maintaining a stable breathing pattern - in. . . and out, in . . . and out, in . .  and out - it will eventually become second nature to you and running will become much easier.

Part Four: Building Stamina

     How far, fast, and how long you run is based upon your level of fitness. The primary muscles used in running are the hip, hamstring, quadriceps (thigh), gluteus maximus (butt), and the calf. The more developed the primary muscles are, the longer the distance they can support. However, the air capacity of you lungs (the maximum amount of air that the lungs can take in when you inhale) also determines how long you can give your leg muscles the oxygen it needs to keep going for any given amount of time.

     The key to running longer and faster is to build stamina. As a beginner your main focus is to build running stamina. On your first run should be used to evaluate your current leg and lung fitness level.

     After warming up start walking as quickly as you can for about 5 to 10 minutes before breaking out into a mildly paced run. Time yourself to see how long you can maintain your pace before you have to drop back into a brisk walk. Keep walking until you've caught your breathe and begin running once again. Keep this walking and running routine up for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on the amount of time you have alotted yourself to work out) before stopping.

     After your first run take note of how long your were able to maintain a mild running pace (e.g. 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, ect.). This is your starting point from which you will work to improve every week. Try to improve your running time by 1 to 2 minutes every week.

     Remember, the longer you run, the more developed your leg muscles and the better you lung capacity will become. Practice, perseverance, and and upbeat attitutude can aslo be of great use to you when building your stamina. :-)

To Be Continued. . .

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Am Still Here

Hello everyone! I am very sorry for my blogging negligence. With summer finally upon us I have been busy training for my next half marathon in October, working hard at my karate studio so I can get my black belt soon, tending my vegetable garden, and helping my family clean and fix up our house.

This post is just to let you know that I'm still here and that a very lengthy blog post will be coming up for you readers to sink your teeth into by the end of the week. I've been working on this particular post for a couple days now because it's so in depth. I'm actually thinking about breaking it up into two parts so I can make my personal deadline for a blg post. The post(s) will be a  How To article about running for beginners. 

So, I hope you are all doing well and stay tuned! :-D