Tips Archives: Training
Benefits of Water Running
- Legs must find the most efficient mechanical path through the
water. Extraneous motions of the feet and legs are reduced or
eliminated over time.
- The water's resistance strengthens muscles which can serve as
back-up strength to the primary running muscles. By alternating
off and on, the main running muscles will retain resiliency longer.
These smaller "reserve" muscles will also be able to keep you
going for a little while if you overuse the main running muscles
and need some help to keep going during the last few miles of
- You get a great cardiovascular training session without any
pounding. Since the prime running muscles are not being used,
most injuries can heal.
Blood Sugar Boosters
Even the most conditioned marathoner will suffer a blood sugar
crisis when he or she goes more than about 15 miles. The only way
to win this battle and boost the BSL is to counterattack. Whether
you use PowerBars or other foods, here are the principles which
have led to blood sugar success:
1. Choose a food that is low in fat (less than 10% of total calories)
but which contains significant soluble fiber.
2. Most runners need 200-250 calories about an hour before the
long run to keep the blood sugar level sustained until the half
way point (of a run beyond 15 miles.)
3. If the food is a solid, like PowerBar, be sure to drink at
least four ounces of water for every 100 calories of the food.
4. Cut the food up into small pieces for easier consumption during
the second half of the long run.
5. Drink water with each piece
Test your eating routine during long runs to find the right time
sequence, quantity, etc. for you.
Remember: be prepared to give in quickly. Avoid confrontations.
It doesn't matter if you were "right" if you get hit. Survival is
- Run on the sidewalk when you can. Try to find secluded residential
areas, parks. Obviously, paths and trails are even better.
- Run facing traffic if you must run on the roads. Always be aware
of the shoulder, curb, etc.-a place to leap if necessary. Be aware
of traffic behind you. Many runners have been killed by drunks
or passing cars coming from behind them as they ran "facing traffic."
- Wear reflective gear at night. Use strips of reflective tape,
reflective shoelaces or reflective vests.
- Understand a driver's mentality. He may be in a hurry. He may
be drunk. He may be overweight, and hate you for being trim and
in good health. Don't assume that all drivers will behave rationally.
How to Choose a Training
Is composed of people at your level - not the level you want to
- Takes walk breaks from the beginning of all long runs
- Runs at a pace that allows you to finish long ones without breathing
so hard that you can't carry on a conversation
- Gives you a feeling of comfort and acceptance
- Meets at a time and place which would fit into your lifestyle
At the crest, the effort required for each step decreases. Be sensitive
to this and gradually let the pace increase as gravity allows.
Let gravity do the work. Gravity and increased rhythm should
pull you downhill, with little energy required.
Increase stride length slightly.If it becomes too long your
lose control and must expend energy to slow down. Too long a stride
can pound your knees unmercifully.
Experiment with your stride length going down. Practice
will show you the length that lets you take maximum advantage of
gravity, yet keeps you under control.
Lean slightly forward.
It is usually a matter of territory. Your problem is to figure
out the dog's boundary lines. If you're in his zone, let him bark
to get some of the aggressiveness out, then slow down and make your
way cautiously out of his territory. If he keeps coming toward you,
bend down and pick up a rock or stick; this in itself will usually
scare him off.
Throw the rock or stick if he's particularly aggressive and bend
down to get another. Carry a stick in dangerous dog areas and if
you have to, hit him on the nose. You can also carry dog spray.
Some postmen use a stronger pepper solution which will drive a dog
away without causing lasting discomfort.
The Earlier You Take the
Walk Breaks, The More They Help You
You've got to start the walk breaks before significant fatigue
sets in, at least in the first mile. If you wait until you feel
the need for taking them, it's too late. They will give you little
help. Even waiting until the two-mile mark to take the first one
will reduce their potential effectiveness.
The Discount Rule: The earlier and the more often you walk,
the bigger the fatigue discount.
To put it in shopping terms: You're getting a discount from the
pounding on legs and feet when you take walk breaks on long runs.
If you walk often enough, start the breaks early enough, and keep
the pace slow enough, a 10-mile run only leaves six to seven miles
of fatigue and pounding and a 20-miler leaves your legs feeling
like you've covered only 13 to 15 miles
How Fast Should the Walk Break Be? A slow walk is fine.
If you have a type A running personality and want to walk fast,
make sure that you don't lengthen your walking stride too much.
Monitor the tightness of your hamstring and the tendons behind the
knee. If you feel tension there, walk slowly with bent knees to
keep that area relaxed. Again, a slow walk is fine.
How to Run Efficiently
The most efficient way to run is to have your head, neck and shoulders
erect. When you run leaning forward, you're always fighting gravity.
Note: Good form is something all runners-regardless of ability or
experience-can work on. Racers are naturally interested in improving
from, for it will help them run faster. But beginners and noncompetitive
runners will also benefit from understanding some of these principles,
for good form will make anyone's running smoother and more enjoyable.
- Feet should stay low to the ground, with no noticeable knee
- Upright posture
- Stay light on your feet
- Strive to feel relaxed, comfortable and smooth.
Getting Used To Heat and Humidity
Stay away from heat most of the time. Most of your exercise sessions
should be done in the coolest time possible, usually just before
and just after dawn.
Make sure you've received a doctor's clearance for exercising in
hot weather. Almost no one is excluded, but you want to make sure.
Pick a doctor who thoroughly knows the effects and benefits of exercise.
Be sure to drink water often during hot and humid weather. Keep
a container of water with you all day long and drink small amounts
regularly - about 6-8 ounces per hour if you're indoors. If you're
sweating, increase the amount of water.
To get an exercising body used to the heat and humidity, exercise
during the warm part of the day once a week. At first, go only for
about 4-5 minutes. Gradually increase the amount of warm exercise
by 3-4 minutes each week until you can do 20-25 minutes in the heat
Beware of heat disease. At the first sign of heat problems,
ease your effort and cool off. Heat disease symptoms include but
are not limited to the following: hot and cold flashes, cessation
of sweating, clammy skin, loss of control over muscles, and extreme
heat buildup - particularly in the area of the head, and nausea.
The resistance of the hill will strengthen the lower legs through
repetition. Bouncing, high push-offs, and long striding are counterproductive
to marathon hill form. Many runners aren't reminded about their
form imperfections on the flat, but the extra effort required going
up will aggravate form flaws. Your goal is to find the way of running
which is easier, lighter on your feet, and which requires less effort.
By increasing leg and foot turnover, you can often run faster while
you run easier.
On a long Run
On a long run: How do I know if I'm running two minutes per mile
slower than I could run on that day?
You don't. Even veteran athletes have to guess when invoking the
Two-Minute Rule. When you guess on the conservative side, you win.
You'll recover faster, feel good that evening, and reduce the chance
of aches, pains and injuries, while receiving all the endurance
bestowed by the distance of that run.
The "huff and puff" rule may help: If you're huffing and puffing
so much during the last two to three miles of a long run that you
can't carry on a conversation, you went too fast at the beginning
of that run. On the next run, significantly slow down, take walk
breaks more frequently, or both.
Should Kids Run?
The earlier a child starts running, the better the cardiovascular
foundation for later years. Such a development gives a child a head
start in long-term health benefits and in competition, should it
follow. At each stage, the heart, lungs, and circulatory system
are strengthened and the effects are multiplied through the growing
years. However, the most important ingredients are fun and success.
If a child feels good about running he or she is likely to continue.
The Dangers: I'm not qualified to comment on any possible
damage that endurance running might do to joints, bones or vital
parts of a growing body. I've never seen evidence of sensible training
in children leading to any problems, but if you are in doubt you
should contact your pediatrician or family physician.
One of the real dangers for young runners is psychological burnout.
Most child running stars or top high school athletes never reach
their running potential because of the "too far, too fast, too soon"
syndrome. Well-meaning but overzealous parents or coaches naturally
want to get children involved in healthy activity and may influence
them to train too hard, and race too often. Without the sense of
pace and restraint bestowed by maturity they are driven until they
are bored, disillusioned or discouraged.
Five Steps to Getting Started
Start by Walking.
Everyone needs to feel comfortable and successful right from the
start. Begin by walking for 30 minutes. Keep doing this until it
When normal walking becomes easy, walk briskly for 30 minutes.
Insert a few jogs.
When you are comfortable walking briskly and want to step up the
pace, simply insert 3-4 "jogs" of 100 yards or so (about the length
of one football field or a city block) into your 30-minute walk.
Warm up by walking slowly, build into a brisk walk, and then do
the short jogs when you feel ready.
Increase the Running as Desired.
Increase the running segments as you feel stronger, always avoiding
discomfort. You may eventually fill in the 30 minutes with slow
running - or you may keep your walk breaks.
Step It Up!
Increase the time to 40 minutes three times a week. Work up to 60
minutes for one of these weekly sessions, which will increase the
cardiovascular as well as mental benefits.
You cannot improve if you cannot run. The single greatest cause
of improvement is remaining injury-free. If you're like most runners,
you push it to the limit, and then mother nature steps in and forces
you to rest. This slows your progress, for you must rebuild after
each "down" period. But if you build rest into your training program
you can avoid injuries and interruptions in your progress
Overstride: Puts You
Outside Your Mechanical Efficiency
Even a slight overstride of an inch or so will push your running
motion beyond its most efficient alignment and aggravate the mechanical
action of the legs, knees, and joints. At first, the main driving
muscles have enough resiliency to give you a false sense of smoothness,
enhanced by the action of the muscles running strong. But this extra
burden brings on fatigue more quickly.
Once the calf and hamstring muscles are fatigued, the joints, tendons,
and ligaments take extra abuse, and running form becomes insufficient
and rough. The longer the distance of the run, the more muscle resiliency
will be retained by a shortening of the stride length early in the
run (and staying lower to the ground.)
The Push-off, or light touch-off
The ankle is the most important bio-mechanical construction which
can aid running. When your body is lined up and the ankle moves
into the right position, it will 'lift-off' almost automatically
as the body moves forward, and the back leg gets into position.
1. Don't force the push-off, let it happen. You don't have to consciously
push and use valuable energy. The most common result of pushing
too hard is an extra bounce off the ground, which causes other problems.
2. The light touch of the foot. The ankle is programmed to respond
quickly, with an efficient push forward. Because of the way your
tendons are wrapped around the lever provided by your bone structure,
you will receive this push with little or no cost in muscle energy.
If you try and maximize the light touch of your feet, and don't
force it, you'll receive a continuous flow of quick pushes throughout
3. Forward motion. If you allow the ankle motion to be your main
source of running motion, your movement will become more direct
and forward. This helps to cut out extraneous motions of the foot
and leg which will not just slow you down, but can lead to injury.
4. Your form accelerations will encourage a quick, efficient push-off,
and will teach your ankle to become even more effective in controlling
foot movements. Try to do these accelerations at least twice a week,
5. Visualization helps! During any run, and particularly in the
form accelerations, get a clear vision of your ankle moving through
a very light quick yet effective forward push. Your vision includes
the reduction and then the elimination of extraneous motion in the
ankle area. As you work in this vision between accelerations, your
form will improve.
Why You Need Shoe Advice
1. Even the better running companies are using gimmicks in their
designs: some of the gimmicks work, some don't.
2. There's always a reason why the catalog offers a dramatic discount
on a given shoe.
3. The same shoe may be made in different factories - making each
significantly different in the way it fits, and in the many subtle
ways it works when you run.
4. Only people who are really into running shoes can keep up with
the gossip on running shoes-due to constant feedback they receive
from hundreds of customers each week who really use the shoes for
5. Only experienced running staff people can look at you in a shoe
and tell whether it really fits-and works with your foot in the
- Many of the motions used during a stair machine workout use
- Don't use stair machines if any of these muscles are injured.
- Stair machines build strength in the same way as hill work.
- Can be used as a second workout on a running day.
- Shouldn't be done as an alternative on a non-running day-because
the muscles don't recover.
Three tips on running form:
1. CHEST UP.
Lift your chest. Take a deep breath and hold that position as you
exhale. Imagine that you have a pulley attached to a harness around
your chest. The other end of the pulley is attached to a three-story
building a block away. As you run, lift your chest up and forward;
it leads the way. Don't lean forward, just get your chest up and
out. It will give you extended lung capacity. Don't change your
shoulders or arms at all. Work only with your chest and you'll achieve
better posture and lung efficiency.
2. HIPS FORWARD.
When you pull your chest up it helps pull your hips forward automatically.
Before you start running, get your chest up; then put your hands
on your butt and push forward. Your shoulders, head, hips, and feet
should all be lined up. I this position you can extend your legs
for maximum power. When your hips are under and forward you'll feel
the muscles of the calf being used and hardly any exertion in the
hamstrings. You should feel light on your feet and run quieter when
hips are forward.
3. PUSH OFF
Strongly with your foot. With your ankle brought into position by
a forward chest and hips, a small amount of work from the calf muscle
can produce a major effect in push-off power from your feet. Most
runners lean slightly back as they run and must overcome gravity
with each step. A wear spot on the heel indicates this. It's fine
to land on your heel, but don't stay there. It's harmful to the
knees. The knee cap is pulled tightly into the knee, grinding the
cartilage against the bones. When your ankle does the work, this
knee tension is reduced considerably. If you naturally land on the
heel, don't try to shift suddenly to your forefoot. After landing,
shift your weight to the midfoot and let the ankle exert its leverage.
Gradually make your running an ankle reflex action, which will give
you a feeling of floating, more than pounding.
Running while you're on vacation or if traveling for business can
be tough. It could also be a very worthwhile experience. A change
of scenery can rejuvenate your running or let you get to know a
new city or town. The tips below were taken from John Bingham's
"Rules of the Road" article featured in Runner's World Magazine.
1. There's always a place to run and something to see.
2. Know where you are. Drive around a bit to see if there are sidewalks
or decent streets with good shoulders. There may be a park with
a well-maintained path right around the corner.
3. If you don't know where to run, just ask. A receptionist in a
local hotel, a business associate you're working with, etc. Yes,
some may look at you like you're crazy, but you may be surprised
at how often he or she will reach down below the desk and pull out
a map with well-marked running routes.
4. Worst case scenario is that you simply have to run out and back.
5. Keep track of a few landmarks. One of the easiest ways to change
a short run into a long run is to get lost. 6. Always carry identification,
a piece of paper with the address and phone number of where you're
staying, and some money.
Do I need to take walk breaks on the short runs during the week?
If you can run continuously on shorter midweek runs, you don't
have to take the walk breaks. If you want to take them, do so. Walk
breaks on midweek runs will ensure that you recover from the long
ones at the fastest pace.
Home | Site
Map | Contact Us
About Jeff | Training
| Resources | Nutrition
| Training Groups
| Retreats | Merchandise