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    Thread: Guide to Running

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      Guide to Running

      In this thread I will discuss in detail, proper cardio-vascular training methodology. If you train incorrectly, it can lead to permanent damage to your joints and ligaments.

      Before starting, I think it’s important that people know where I’m coming from so that they know that I know what I’m talking about and not just making things up as a go along. My father was one of the best NCAA cross country runners in the country in the mid seventies, and still competes at the national level in the masters division.

      I myself, ran three years of track and one year of cross country in high school, then two years of track in college. In college I trained under legendary distance runner Steve Spence. Steve Spence was a four time NCAA champion and ran the marathon in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, getting twelfth place, with a flu. The next year he won the bronze medal in the same event at the world championships.

      Starting
      The most important thing to remember is to start small. Your body can’t handle a marathon if you’ve been inactive, so don’t try one. You may have the cardio for it, but not the muscles. Most running injuries happen to small stabilizer muscles, because these are ones that people tend to forget about.

      Every time your foot impacts the ground, that shock wave travels up your leg and your muscles tighten to absorb it. You quads and hamstrings are massive muscles, and can take it, but they push you, they don’t stabilize you. The muscles around your knees and ankles are tiny, and they are the ones that do most of the work on landing. If these muscles have atrophied, your stabilizers may pull or tear and your joints will jiggle around too much, leading to tendonitis, or even worse, arthritis. This can be especially true for those of you who may be overweight, the heavier that you are, the more strain you put on those muscles.

      When first starting a regiment, do a little jogging, to warm up the muscles, then walk. For the first week, you should do as much or more walking than running. Walking strengthens these small muscles without putting so much strain on them that they will get injured. Once these muscles are strong enough, then you can run.

      Shoes
      A good set of running shoes is a good investment for someone doing a lot of cardio. Like those stabilizer muscles, a proper fitting set of shoes can dramatically decrease the shockwave that travels up your leg and into your joints.

      When buying a new set of shoes, you should also take a week off from anything to strenuous so that they get broken in a little bit and your stabilizers get used to the new shoes. If you went from a pair of shoes that are very good at stabilizing one particular motion, to one designed for something else, the some of the muscles may have weakened. Things like switching from road shoes to cross trainers would certainly do this.

      The best thing to do is to have multiple sets of shoes and alternate them every day. This keeps all stabilizers strong and extends the amount of time that you can train consistently and not have to stop to break in a new pair of shoes. A good pair of running shoes last about 500 miles, so having three of them means that you can run 1500 miles before re-calibrating your legs for a new shoe.

      Make sure that your shoes fit perfectly, specifically around the arch. An arch that’s too high can cause shins splints, and arch that’s too low can also cause shin splints. Shin splints aren’t dangerous, but they are very painful. The shoe itself doesn’t need to accommodate this, if you find a good pair of shoes with the wrong arch support, buy then. You can swap in insoles easily and cheaply.

      Before running
      Some people stretch before running, this is dumb. Stretching pulls on your muscles and loosens them up, you want your muscles tight when you run, or else you aren’t as stable on your feet. You should do a minor stretch, but nothing extensive, and only after your muscles are properly warmed up.

      For sprinting or something like that, stretching is more important, but not for cardio. For the most part, you can just run right out the door. Your workout and your warmup are one in the same, just don’t start out too fast. Even for runners who can do a sub five minute mile, eight minute pace should be the first mile or so of a distance run. For most, nine or ten is best.

      Make sure that you are well hydrated even when it’s cool out. You sweat a lot, but you loose just as much water from your breathing, and people tend to forget that. The reason that you can see your breath when it’s cold out is because you are expelling water.

      Don’t eat. For runs less than 10 miles, eating is not a good idea, your body will burn the food in your stomach before it burns any fat. Longer runs, you should eat during the run, not before. This is not true for a race, during a race you need fast energy, and only food can deliver that. Make it carbohydrates though, not sugar.

      After Running
      Now is the time to stretch, and stretch well. Stretching helps prevent soreness the next day, allowing you to run again the next day. It also helps your muscles stay nimble so that your flexibility is not compromised. Flexibility is what allows you to control your body under any circumstances. If you step incorrectly, how quickly you can move your legs to compensate is directly proportional to how flexible you are.

      Ice. Even if you’re not injured, you have to ice your knees and shins. This is preventative treatment. After 5 miles, each knee has taken over two thousand small impacts, and they need ice to recover. Twenty minutes on, twenty minute off is the best way to do it. This is useful because you can alternate legs and constantly ice.

      Now you may eat, although you should wait a little while, since your stomach is churning and eating might make you sick. Drink lots of water though. The best thing to eat after a run is food that are high in protein. Fish, eggs, and soy are the best.

      Hearth Rate
      How much you push yourself will affect how much weight you lose or how good of a cardio workout you get. In order to lose weight, you should keep your heart rate between 60 and 80%, this is not very difficult, a slow job will keep your heart rate about this level. It will burn fat because it’s not a difficult exercise, your body wants to save it’s carbs and sugar in case something happens to it and it needs to go into fight or flight state.

      Strenuous activity, brining your heart rate between 80 and 95% will burn the food in your stomach and really get your heart beating. Your heart is a muscle too, exercising it is important. The number one killer of people in the us is heart problems, caused by smoking and obesity. Running won’t help with your smoking, but obesity is something that you can control with running.


      I'll add more later.

    2. #2
      Member KingCarnie's Avatar
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      I have a question, ninja. For someone, like me, who has never run for an extended amount of time, what sort of distances would you recommend for running for a start? Any tips for setting up a regimen? Also, I take some supplements for weight training. Creatine, Whey Protein, and L-Glutamine are all in my stack. Would any of these cause problems while running? And on the opposite side, would I see any positive effects from them related to my running?

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      Running uses your muscles so much that creatine will dramatically make your leg muscles bigger, which will kill your stride.

      To start out two miles a day would be good. I'll add that to the sticky later.

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      Legend Jeff777's Avatar
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      Great post Ninja!!

      Would you say running is a full body workout?
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      It doesn't work your arms. It works your legs, core, and shoulders.

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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Ninja, that is good advice, but I don't think all of it applies to everybody. Based on what you have told me, your distance racing times were better than mine, so don't think I am trying to sound like more of an expert. I dabbled in road racing in elementary school and got very serious about track, cross country, and road racing as a teenager. For me personally, I have to stretch before I run. My legs get worn out faster if I don't stretch first. They feel flat and crampy. However, I think everybody should be very slow and gradual in stretching cold muscles. You don't want to jerk them and end up with a pulled muscle. Also, I absolutely have to eat something a few hours before I run to do it effectively. Running without having eaten that day leaves my tank on empty, and it sucks. I pretty much never run in the mornings, but if I do, I eat maybe two pieces of bread or drink a glass of Rice Dream or something 30 or more minutes earlier. Maybe those needs don't apply to most people, but I thought I should mention that they do to me.

      Good thread.
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      If you stretch, your muscles are weaker. You don't want your muscles to be tight, but you don't want them too loose either, loose muscles pull easier and can't keep a tight hold of your joints that way.

      The more power that you use, the more you need to stretch. Football or sprinting should have some good warmup and stretching, not for slow jogging and LSD.

      Running with the tank on empty is painful, but you will loose more weight if you don't. Not completely empty though, you don't want your stomach in a knot.

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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Ninja~~~~

      I signed up for a half marathon in September. I ran 13 miles the other day, so I know I can finish it. . . My shoulders were sore, but not much else. I'm wondering how I should focus my training as I approach race day.
      Abraxas

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      Hmm. I would recommend running 6 days a week. 3 days should be something like 5 miles, 2 days should be like 3, and one day a week do a 10 miler. Do some pushup and pullups to strengthen your shoulders a little bit.

      I'm going to add to this for people who are already in good shape and building on that, and another section for advanced runners who do half marathons, triathalons, and marathons.

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      I just got great running shoes that I would suggest: Nike Shox. I like that it is Nike+, so I can put the Nike+ sensor in it(which I would also suggest if you have an iPod).

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      Ninja - Got anything to say about running on an incline? I've got a treadmill that can do anything from flat to about a 30 degree incline.
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      Go on a small incline unless your calves and shins are already really strong.

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      XeL
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      Will running strengthen my back in any way?
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      yes, your back will be very sore when you start running. Runners have very strong backs.

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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Ninja, what does DDR do for my running? :B
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      The more power that you use, the more you need to stretch. Football or sprinting should have some good warmup and stretching, not for slow jogging and LSD.
      I know the Ole Miss track team used to do it at the beginning of every practice, distance runners (such as Pablo Sierra, Thomas Johnson, and George Kersh) included. Pablo won four SEC distance championships, including cross country, and led half of the New York Marathon in 1996, and George was the 800 meter SEC champion and held the high school national record in the 800 for ages. He ran a 1:46 in high school and got down to 1:44 in college. He came in first in the 800 at the Good Will Games in 1990. Any way, those guys stretched even before really long runs. However, I also knew a complete bad ass coach who believed in not stretching before runs. He thought stretching should only be done three times a week on occasions very separate from runs.
      Last edited by Universal Mind; 07-29-2009 at 05:40 AM.
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      That's been the line of thought for many many years. It changed my freshmen year of college, when all NCAA coaches stopped doing that. The CDC did an extremely large scale study about the effects of stretching before exercise and overturned that thinking in 2004. Damn, I can't find the study itself, but google CDC 2004 and stretching and you'll find lots and lots of articles referring to it. Olympic and NCAA coaches stopped extensive pre-workout stretching then. The teams still stretch, but not nearly as much.

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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      That's been the line of thought for many many years. It changed my freshmen year of college, when all NCAA coaches stopped doing that. The CDC did an extremely large scale study about the effects of stretching before exercise and overturned that thinking in 2004. Damn, I can't find the study itself, but google CDC 2004 and stretching and you'll find lots and lots of articles referring to it. Olympic and NCAA coaches stopped extensive pre-workout stretching then. The teams still stretch, but not nearly as much.
      Wow. I have been out of the loop on that since the early 90's. Maybe that change in thought has to do with why the times have gotten a good bit better.

      It reminds me of how the thinking on running your guts out every single practice changed around the late 60's. My dad used to screw with me for training the way the biggest experts in the world believed in training. He had the 50's and early to mid-60's mentality that you are supposed to push it to the limit every time you run. I think maybe he still does. I could never convince him otherwise.
      Quote Originally Posted by really View Post
      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      XeL
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      Ninja, what is the best the best foundation to run on? Asphalt or grass?
      Last edited by XeL; 07-30-2009 at 04:54 AM.
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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      Ninja, what does DDR do for my running? :B
      It'll increase your joint strength and coordination, it does very good things for your running.

      Quote Originally Posted by XeL View Post
      Ninja, what is the best the best foundation to run on? Asfalt or grass?
      Grass. It's soft but not too soft. Asphalt is way way too hard, it'll give you shin splints. Sand is way way too soft, it'll make your ankles tendonitis.

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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Ninja, I have been trying the reduction in stretching technique with my long runs and bike rides, and my legs are killing me. The new tightness in my hamstrings is pulling my back muscles and making my back hurt too. I really don't think it's for everybody.
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      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      Are you cutting down on stretching entirely or cutting down before running? You need to stretch just as much, you just need to do it afterwards. After many years of stretching the old way, your body needs to adjust to it.

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      Consciousness in the Void Universal Mind's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      Are you cutting down on stretching entirely or cutting down before running? You need to stretch just as much, you just need to do it afterwards. After many years of stretching the old way, your body needs to adjust to it.
      Oh, maybe so. I thought you meant there should not be much stretching ever.
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      God cannot destroy himself because He is Omnipotent.


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      No no no. Always stretch after. The change was about stretching before running only. They found that because the muscles were loosened by stretching before running, they couldn't put out as much power, therefore making runners slower and more susceptible to injury. Stretching is still very important.

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      Quote Originally Posted by ninja9578 View Post
      Some people stretch before running, this is dumb. Stretching pulls on your muscles and loosens them up, you want your muscles tight when you run, or else you aren’t as stable on your feet. You should do a minor stretch, but nothing extensive, and only after your muscles are properly warmed up.
      I'm so glad you said this. I was all ready to come in and give my speech about stretching. Good to see you are well informed and dispelling the old myths about stretching and warming up. You only need to stretch to your range of motion. Being too flexible increases your risk of injury. Showing off your full splits is fun at parties, but it is really only necessary if you need to kick people in the head.

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