Running Tips

Guidelines for the Beginning Runner.

  • Diet- Diet is essential to health.  Every cell in the human body is replaced in 6 months time.  Some cells are replaced every day. Therefore it is reasonable to proclaim ‘you are what you eat’.  The better quality of food intake you have the better quality of body and mind you have.  Consistency is very important with diet as it takes one’s body time to make sense of one’s diet metabolically speaking.  Therefore we are not big believers in “carbo-loading” before races or miracle diets. Moreover a sensible and balances diet is your best bet.  The body needs protein, carbohydrates and fats to run at it’s best.  Overemphasizing one over the other or ruling one out altogether will diminish your performance or lead to illness and injury. Balance and consistency is paramount.  Ever see Mr. Wayton’s sandwiches? I eat them every day, same ½ pound a day.  This is required to maintain my muscle mass.  The rule of thumb for an athlete is to ingest one gram of protein for every pound of body weight to maintain our health under tough training conditions.  We’re after our healthiest- not our skinniest!!!!! Make sure you have a breakfast- if you’re in a hurry there are many healthy options.  I often have a breakfast bar in the mornings to ensure I meet my energy requirements.  You have to keep the fire burning though- breakfast is important.  Post race/ training meals- studies have shown that ingesting meals high in carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your training run/ race will substantially increase your recovery.  I find this to be true in combination with fluid intake.
  • Hydration is extremely important.  Your internal organs and musculature are full of water, the more water you have in your system the better you’ll operate, feel etc, it’s like the oil in your engine, without it you’ll over-heat. Not all liquids are ideal.  Stay away from Milk (lactose) and Heavy Juices (OJ, Cranberry) that are heavy in Fructose.  Both of these liquids have too much sugar and are much harder for the body to digest. Water, Gatorade, Powerade etc. are your best choices.  Hydration can usually be determined by the color of one’s urine.  The clearer the urine- the better hydrated you are.
  • Try not to eat anything 90-120 minutes before you run.  It takes your body at least that much to digest your food and move it to your intestines.  If you run with food in your stomach you’ll risk cramping up and the high amount of blood it takes to digest your food will pour into your legs causing them to feel heavy.
  • Sleep is extremely important- the better you rest the better you live.  Nature works on a principle of balance.  If you underemphasize your sleep time your awake time will suffer and your energy levels will fall causing your time awake to suffer qualitatively.
  • Training- so you know why we do what we do.
    • Principle of Specificity- the performance principle states that all training should centered on our ability to run as fast as possible over a given distance.  All training should support this goal. 
    • Principle of Disuse.  This principle states that if you don’t use it- you lose it.  This principle shows the importance of consistency in our training pattern- and the unfortunate truth that if we let up- our fitness dies correspondingly.
    • Principle of Progressive Overload.  This principle states that over time your training must exceed, at times, the requirements of race day performances in areas of distance and intensity. Remember this principle during our long runs.
    • Principle of Hard Easy.  This principle states that our hard efforts should be tempered and balanced with easier aerobic runs to support a period of adaptation that it to follow each hard effort.  Hard days should be hard and easy days should be easy. 
    • Principle of Periodization.  Periodization is characterized by training cycles.  Periodization during cross country is defined by our cycles of summer (progressive balance) into the Fall (progression towards competition goals) and our goal period of November (emphasis on competition). All of our training is carefully planned and documented. 
    • Elements of training.
      • Aerobic integrity- this element is crucial to our ongoing success and improvement.  Aerobic limits are yet to be defined and are thought by some scientists to be limitless. The more we train the better we eventually become. This area needs careful and gentle progression so as to avoid severe overuse injuries such as stress fractures.
      • Power- power is our ability to run and perform fast.  One would think that power would be underemphasized during cross country.  However the greater an athlete’s power the more efficient (less watts used) that athlete is at their goal pace. Ie.- the goal pace feels easier. During the season we’ll do daily core routines to increase our muscular power and every Friday during the summer we’ll increase the strength of our lower leg by performing hill repeats. Sprint training also increases an athletes range of motion and allows for greater “muscular viscosity”
      • Lactate threshold work- This are is hardest to define.  Everyone has an intensity threshold.  When an athlete is training at an easy or moderate threshold their body operates on oxygen, or aerobically (with O2).  If an athlete is operating at very high intensities they can’t wait for their body to break down O2 so they use other energy systems (lactic acid), this system is called anaerobic (without O2).  The line at which a person transitions from Aerobic to Anaerobic is called their ‘lactate threshold’.  This threshold can be improved with training- therefore a runner, over time, will use less lactic acid at high levels of performance and will reach their threshold later.  During the summer we’ll work on our threshold with our steady state Monday runs.
      • Anaerobic work- anaerobic work id defined by our body’s ability to manage it’s systems at a high level without the use of oxygen.  This is our least emphasized are of training during cross country and usually takes place the last few weeks of the season.
      • Specificity- if your goal is to run a 9 minute two mile you better darn practice running 9 minute two miles.  Brian Leung began this by running 800’s at 2:15 then added increments until he could master the entire 2 miles in 9 minutes.  This needs to be progressive and patient. 
  • Mental side- To be accomplished at any level in any endeavor you need to be positive and enthusiastic.
    •  A positive attitude will give you an edge, people will want to be around you, and you’ll have much less stress in your life.  Often time you’ll have to “require” this of yourself- IE act positive to become positive.  A positive lifestyle is often times a choice. 
    • Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that “nothing great was ever accomplished without enthusiasm”.  This can be our mantra.  You can apply this to any area of your life and you’ll enhance your performance and importance.  The proper function of man is to live not to exist (Jack London), to make our mark.  We will strive to make this an experience, to have the most fun, to do our best- and to find the outskirts of our potential in order for our reality to meet our capabilities right in the eye. We’ll do it together! We’ll move forward as one.
  • Footwear- footwear is very important.  Try to run on soft surfaces whenever possible.  Your shoes will wear better and your legs will thank you.  My advice on brands would be to stay away from Nike Air- once the pockets go the shoes are worthless. I would gravitate towards Adidas, Asics, Saucony, and Brooks.  These shoes wear a little better.
  • Spikes.  Spikes are lightweight shoes that have metal spikes to increase traction.  They are usually used  for competition and workouts where fast running is necessary. 
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