Archive for November 12th, 2008

If you get into racing too soon, you will likely open yourself up to aches, pains, and even injury. While each person is different, injuries usually happen when you make the body do things it isn’t ready to. This series will attempt to educate new and advanced runners on running injury prevention.

1) Knowing enough. There is a right way and a wrong way to run. You can research it ahead of time, or find this out the hard way. Many of us who have been running a long time may say we found out 20% of the knowledge necessary by pounding the pavement. That first 80% is often what will determine whether a runner will become a life-long runner or become sedentary again.

If you can’t afford coaching, read as much as you can and then implement what you learned carefully. Be sure you truly understand what the author means. Also, you may be able to take advantage of multiday seminars where you can get one-on-one with coaches for a short period of time. It may be just enough interaction to find out what training you could be doing.

And of course, there is coaching. There are two types–a) hands-off (internet, calls, or just giving you a running plan and letting you follow it), and b) actual coaching. I know I have a hard time with in-person coaching, so I do well in-between. Make sure you get a running coach though. This is important because they can easily pinpoint faults in your gait and running habits. Remote coaching is a little bit harder to handle, but it can work if you have plenty of running experience.

2) Having enough base. This is often misunderstood. By “base”, I mean a long period where you engage in long slow distance runs. Some coaches who support twice-a-year marathoning would often do two-month long base building periods for each marathon. For some of us who have been running a long time, all that running can also serve as base.

The mistake I see in most couch-to-5K plans is that it encourages first-timers to schedule a race before their bodies are ready. Even though a 5K is a short distance, it invariably causes much stress to the body (especially a sedentary one) that its effects should not be discounted. I wouldn’t think about a 5K for a trainee until after a 12-week introduction period to running.

3) Weight matters. Don’t speed up until your weight is optimal. If one is way overweight, the stress on your system often adds to the possibility of injuries. Your gait is affected, because weight changes the dynamics of movement.

I advocate slow running for overweight runners. This is where ego will work against someone. If you used to do cross-country but you are 50 lbs overweight, don’t think that you aren’t punishing yourself if you try to keep the same pace.

4) Cross-training is good. There is truth in the saying “you only get good at something by doing it”. Unfortunately, if one just runs then he or she can’t get the benefit of closely related activities. One activity that helps with running is cross-training, or simply going to the gym. Overall strengthening exercises will help with muscle tone, and many of the benefits are also directly applicable (strengthening the heart and breathing for example). Every runner can use a stronger core–abdominals, hips, legs, and upper body. This requirement becomes acute for endurance runners especially since the spine has to carry the upper body for very long periods of time. Improving muscle tone around the abdominals and back ensures that the runner is able to handle the workload.

Here are some helpful links:

Dr. Pribut’s Running Injuries Page

Web MD Guide to Preventing and Treating Common Running Injuries

Familydoctor.org Preventing Overuse Injuries

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Long training night

First we did turbo. Also known as spinning class. It was taxing as always. Tonight, our longest set was 4 minutes race-speed, 1 minute rest, 4 minute race-speed–all at the heaviest gear. No wonder I get exercise-induced asthma after such a session. Anyway, tried to match my breathing with the intensity of the exercise and I think it worked. I actually sped up during the latter 4 minute segment. Kinda cool.

After the bike, I didn’t run the whole way (where the turnaround is at the storage facility); I just went to the light and was supposed to take it easy coming back. As usual, I was Mr. Running Fool and did 7s to sub-7s on the way back. And the friggin’ bezel on the 405 kept rubbing against my jacket, so the light would turn on and off. Have to remember to lock the bezel when I run with it like that, whether in training mode or in watch mode. I eased myself into a walk after the run, and my EIA wasn’t as bad tonight.

Afterwards, I debated whether to go to the gym. Found myself at the parking lot so I thought I’ll just do an hour. I was in TRI gear, so I did get looks. At least my tummy wasn’t bulging out. He he. I ended up doing 2 hours before it was all done. Just wanted to hit certain machines and weights, and I couldn’t leave without getting my fill. Anyway it was all good.

I’m definitely getting stronger. Did the chest press at 40 lbs X 12 X 3; I just graduated to this weight last Sunday and I can already do a full workout! I’ll do it 3 times at this level before moving to 45-50 lbs. I did the overhead chest pull and the row and easily did 130 lbs for each. I struggled with these on Sunday. Was a bit worried about some aches near my back that came with all that running last weekend so I took it easy. I did 540 lbs on the leg press today; still don’t think I should move up to my usual weights. Did the winzorized pull-ups and dips 5 sets of 8 for each (60 lbs counterweight or less than half my weight). Got that done. Also did 2 sets of 3 pull-ups on the chinning bar; my form looks good.

I’m going to keep at this 3 times at the gym per week deal. But I also need to get back to swimming separate from my gym workouts. By the way, I think my TRI coach is a little frustrated with me. He still wants me to continue my strengthening as far as the swim and the bike, but I’m starting to miss workouts especially on weekends. I try not to miss those on the weekdays, but stuff happens. And I can’t mix the workouts on the weekends with my heavy run schedule which won’t lighten up until February. Will see how it will all pan out.

Anyway, long training night (4 hours) but it was all worth it.

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