is one of the best ways to keep in shape. Running inside or outside
or even on machines such as treadmills or elliptical trainers.
has the advantage of maintaining good cardiovascular fitness and
has been called the “fountain of youth” for sports. Studies involving
older master level runners, have noticed less of a decline in Vo2
max and fitness when compared with people who don't run. Running
is also a sport that can be open to all levels of fitness. Anyone
can pick up a pair of running shoes and start.
running in Manitoba usually starts in the spring with common goals
of local 5 and 10km road races and possibly a marathon. Often runners
will “do too much too soon”. This is a big cause of injuries and
causes runners to be absent from the sport completely.
should first have a basic level of aerobic endurance that they can
then build on to progress towards races. This is particularly important
in longer races like the marathon or half marathon where advanced
training should begin at least 4 months prior to these goals.
progressively training, athletes will adapt themselves to longer
and harder workloads without getting an over-training injury. Recovery
and days off are necessary for runners of all levels, as the body
cannot be pushed faster than its ability to respond to increased
many excellent running clinics and clubs to help runners progress
and improve. The Running Room, runs specialized clinics in 5km,
10km, half marathon, and full marathon goals, providing training
and peer group support to help achieve these goals.
matter how well the program is designed, runners should still listen
to their bodies. A good program should include specific consistency
(sticking with the plan week by week and training for running by
running). Usually, gains in performance are greater at first but
become slower after months of training. Long-term goals can be realized
but practiced and consistency is needed.
injuries, illness, life stresses and other factors can all interact
with a well planned training schedule, and every training plan must
recognize this and ease up the expectations if they become unrealistic.
There is no shame in downgrading from a full marathon to a half
if the weather is dangerously hot or if the runner is in recovery
from a slow healing injury. In fact, it is considered smart to downgrade
since you can always choose another race at a more convenient time.
prepare the body for exercise. This prevents muscle strains and
will allow a faster recovery form strenuous workouts. Starting with
a light jog or bicycle ride increases the heart rate and gets blood
flowing. Next, stretching the major muscle groups involved in running.
A sustained stretch of 15-30 seconds is suggested although recommendations
down after the exercise brings down your heart rate, breathing,
and minimizes muscle strains. Keep moving at a slow pace for 5-10
minutes, this will help to flush lactic acid out of the limbs. Once
breathing and heart rate are normal, stretches similar to the warm-up
should be done. These are held for longer periods and this phase
should last 10-15 minutes.
earth, dirt, and cinder, give good shock absorption. This requires
more exertion but is easier on joints. Grass also has good shock
absorbency but can be uneven. Sand and beaches can predispose to
injuries. If you have to run on this surface stay near hard packed
sand and limit time on this surface. Pavement is the worst surface
for shock absorbance. Asphalt is better than concrete. Many city
streets are “caterwauled” that is slanted to allow drainage. Running
on this type of surface can lead to overuse injuries. Try to run
on the most level portion of the road.
roads in winter are even worse for impact. On hot summer day's roads
will be much hotter than soft cooler grassy areas. Tracks that are
rubberized are good but if they are too small, (i.e. 12 laps to
a mile) the excessive torsion on turns can limit safe fast running.
– Hill training should be done carefully. This type of training
is helpful in improving performance. Running uphill uses more energy
(but you never get an equal advantage when running downhill) so
try to keep your exertion level consistent when going uphill. Going
down the hill should be done even more carefully to avoid “breaking”
or “falling” while navigating. Practicing good form is essential
in both situations to conserve energy and avoid injury.
Training- involves running at a race pace of faster for small segments
with recovery breaks to minimize stress on the body. These help
to improve performance. The recovery phase starts after each segment.
The goal is to achieve incomplete recovery to develop aerobic and
anaerobic fitness and to prevent you from running too fast. One
way to tell is to resume running once the pulse rate drops below
120bpm, and then start the next interval. Some coaches' use timed
should be challenging but controlled, not too often, and may require
an extra day of recovery. A good coach to maximize benefits but
not cause too hard a workout should follow serious interval training.
Training -can both cause and prevent injury.
Hill training is different than hill running (which is to get up
the hill efficiently). Training involves doing hard workouts, which
will use different leg muscles and improve efficiency of running.
Because this training is intense, it may also require an extra day
of rest. Downhill training is useful in teaching runners to stay
in control as they descend.
Training – (Swedish for speed play) Involves changes of
pace over ranging terrains and distances. It helps runners get used
to different speeds and switching gears.
Training – involves running at a challenging, steady pace.
The goal is to train to fatigue (or close to your lactic acid threshold)
without exceeding it. This teaches runners to run faster and further
before their lactic acid threshold is reached.
Training - helps maintain overall fitness. It is usually
very hard for intense athletes to give up running but it is often
explained that it is better to miss a month or two rather than have
six months of poor performance and not feeling well. It is always
easier to begin treatment of overuse and over training injuries
earlier than later as neglect just makes the problem worse.
Training – marathons are the ultimate race. Proper training
should begin many months in advance and for novice runners the guidance
from a coach or running club is appropriate. A tapered program gradually
peaking in mileage, week by week, and then easing up before the
event should be well controlled every step of the way. This is something
we actively encourage our patients to research carefully to optimize
their training realistically and safely.
are particularly valuable in evaluating running form (poor form
uses more energy) and offering suggestions. Coaches and support
from friends and family help sustain motivation.
training is often the insidious response to doing too much too soon.
The body does not adapt to an excessive workload or the recovery
is not enough. Runners usually notice a decrease in performance
(“Staleness”), extended fatigue, and increased incidence of being
increase in the resting heart rate of 5-10bpm in the morning is
a sign of over-training but this can also be a late sign when other
symptoms have happened. The best treatment is rest. Eating well
and sleeping well will help but stopping running for a while is
often what works best.
cross-trainers may be adequate for someone who does many sports,
running shoes are essential for runners. The most expensive are
not necessarily the best. A good running shoe should fit your foot
in length and width. People with foot irregularities benefit best
from a shoe that helps give them the support they need.
- People with medium arched,
semi-curved feet and neutral pronation need stability shoes
- People with low arched
feet, straight feet or are over pronators (foot rolls inward when
running) generally need a motion control shoe (shoe with straight
shape, hard heel counter, firm mid-sole). This extra reinforcement
prevents the over pronation of the foot during running.
- People with high arched,
curved feet, and under pronate (also called supination) generally
need a cushioning shoe that helps absorb shock better by having
more cushioning and flexible forefoot.
- Heavier runners may also
benefit from the cushioning type.
recommend athletic shoe stores that deal with a large running clientele
and a large selection of running shoes. They will do an assessment
in the store and make sure the shoe is a good fit. Measuring your
foot at the end of the day (or after a run) when it is slightly
swollen will give the best measurement. Women's feet are generally
wider in the forefoot and narrower at the heel and because of this,
women should not wear men's shoes.
shoes are generally lighter but less supportive. We do not suggest
using them if you already have a biochemical problem that requires
are customized inserts made from molds of the feet, to compensate
for imbalances in the foot strike. They also correct over-pronation,
and leg length discrepancy. They are commonly used by runners but
may not always be needed as sometimes a good running shoe for that
person's foot can eliminate the need for an orthotic, which may
cost over $300. Over the counter orthotics are much cheaper. Usually
orthotics are recommended when there are several imbalances or pain.
Unnecessary orthotics can also make things worse.
Podiatrists (foot doctors) and therapists, will make a mold of the
foot and the orthotic is fashioned in a lab out of polypropylene
or fiberglass, which is strong, light, and can allow return to running.
shoes should be considered after 300-500 miles, depending on the
weight of the athlete. The mid-sole wears out before the sole and
this loss of shock absorbency is slowly noticed. Try wearing a new
pair of shoes in comparison with old ones and if the difference
in bounciness is obvious, it is time to replace your shoes.
Your Shoes Last Longer – rotating 2 pairs of shoes every
48 hours will allow them to last longer than wearing 3 consecutive
pairs. This is because the mid-sole cushion requires some time after
a run to slowly re-expand. Also by storing shoes carefully to avoid
compression, extreme heat or cold, and minimizing perspiration build-up
(by air-drying them) will extend their use.
Nutrition For Runners
will optimize performance by following a balanced diet suggested
by the Canada Food Guide. Additionally high carbohydrate diets help
build-up necessary glycogen storage before (and replenish them after)
workouts. There is evidence that high fat, low carbohydrate diets,
may damage athletes and are generally discouraged.
and during the run, carbohydrates also help. For races, absorbable
carbohydrates in sports drinks and gels are commonly used. Caffeine
does make people more alert and can improve performance. But caffeine
can also lead to more urination and upset stomach, and may worsen
some people's performances. Fasting prior to the run is a bad idea
as it deprives the body of glycogen fuel.
Intake – fluids before, during, and after runs are essential
for performance. In hot races, dehydration and hyperthermia is avoided
by regular fluid intake. Even cold running requires water as these
runners can also become dehydrated.
In Hot Weather – constant fluid intake is important. Run
in shade if possible or arrange your practices to run into the wind
near the end to maximize cooling. Running singlets will not take
up sweat like cotton shirts and are more comfortable. During extended
races, officials may limit activities if the ambient temperature
is too high. (measured by a wet-bulb thermometer) Don't push too
hard if it looks too hot. Some races just aren't worth it!
In Cold Weather – be careful about icy surfaces. Wearing
a layered approach will minimize cooling without over-bundling.
Using a scarf or muffler will prevent irritation to the mouth and
keep a humidified space of air for you to breath.
In The Rain - rain is generally fine for running but if
there is any chance of lightening this should be avoided. Listening
to weather notices can help and recently a commercial instrument
that measures electrostatic activity in the atmosphere has been
advocated as a predictor of lightening.
Runners – should watch if there periods become irregular
or absent while training. A significant decrease in body fat can
prevent regular ovulation with decreases in estrogen. This low estrogen
in turn, may lead to early osteoporosis, which in this situation
of running excessively makes it very easy to get a stress fracture.
To monitor this, we check levels and will even suggest to female
runners to go on a birth control pill. This is not for the purpose
of contraception, but to ensure they get a good dose of estrogen
Runners – the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
recommends for women with uncomplicated pregnancies, to let their
own stamina and abilities be their guide for exercising. In low-risk
pregnancies, there is currently no data to confirm that exercise
has any deleterious effects on the fetus. These women are cautioned
to decrease their activity to below pre-pregnancy levels. Exercise
within comfort is recommended. Most women runners cut back to ½-1/3
of their intensity in the last 8-12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Adjust pace as pregnancy
advances. Aim for the same perceived effort and don't go by heart
rate since pregnancy itself alters testing heart rate.
- Increase fluids to at
least 12 glasses of water per day.
- Shorten runs in hot weather.
Severe over-heating of the body (core temperature >37 or hyperthemia)
is not realized during normal exercise since the body regulates
this. Extremely intense workouts in hot weather can raise core
temperature and this is suggested to cause damage to the fetus.
- Stretch carefully since
pregnancy increases flexibility and it is possible to overstretch
- Run on stable surfaces.
With an altered center of gravity, it is easier to strain an ankle.
- Seek medical help if pain,
bleeding or water breaks.
- Cool down after running.
- Pregnant women should
still gain about 25-35lbs in pregnancy. Check with your obstetrician
a normal birth, some women have returned running 2-3 days after,
and 1-2 weeks after caesarian section but each pregnancy is different.
general, if you are feeling sick you need proper rest to get better
quicker. Runners may use the “below the neck rule”. If symptoms
are above the neck – runny nose, scratchy throat, slight headache,
or sneezing, you probably have a minor cold and should run cautiously.
If symptoms like head pounding, or below the neck symptoms – fever,
muscle ache, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or hacking cough
– you should not run.
will prolong illness and very rarely viral illnesses of the heart
can cause myocarditis, leading to sudden death in athletes. After
recovering from any illness, return to running gradually. If you
have lost endurance or strength, there is nothing you can do except
train properly and gradual regain them.
in areas of high pollution can make you less fit with over-exposure
to carbon monoxide and ozone.
general, children under six years old should be encouraged to run
as part of general play and are not usually interested in racing.
Running should be constructed and fun with no adult values superimposed.
Ages 6-12 may wish to run, but some experts limit them to 400-1500m
American Academy of Pediatrics, states it is not appropriate for
pre-adolescent children to compete for awards in adult orientated
events. One concern is the increased risk of muscle and bone injuries
in children younger than 12-14 years old. It is important to emphasize
athleticism (activity for socialization and fitness) over organized
sports (activity for competition and extrinsic rewards). Children
encouraged for athleticism are more likely to be more physically
at an easy pace and maintain control up and down hills. Make sure
the stroller is made for jogging. Many excellent models are available.
Dress children more warmly than yourself since they will be susceptible
to wind-chill without exertion. Some running groups do not recommend
strollers in races. The reason is that races can lead to potential
injuries for race participants and children.
injuries may be at first, slight strains with minor discomfort.
At this point, carefully consider the following:
- Are you doing too much?
- Any changes in mileage,
speed or hills?
- Are you giving yourself
enough rest to recover from workouts?
- Do you have a foot problem
– over-pronation, over-supination or un-equal leg length?
- Do you warm-up and cool-down
- Do you have enough flexibility
and do you stretch properly and frequently?
- Do you have previous injuries
and have they been treated correctly?
- Do you have good running
- Do you have good equipment
– shoes, running socks, clothes?
- Do you eat correctly?
- Do you have any other
injuries/changes in workplace?
- Are you sleeping well?
- Are you under any other
types of stress?
recommend seeing a doctor if you injury significantly limits practice
or daily activities. Persistent pain can be a symptom of a significant
ankle strain or boney injury. If an injury is present the sooner
definitive treatment is needed to fix the problem.
on an over-use problem will only make the total down time from running
longer. Untreated stress fractures need rest from weight-bearing
in order to heal. Cross training is beneficial in giving the part
that is injured a rest while engaging the rest of the body to minimize
loss of endurance, strength, and flexibility.
Water running (even with a water-proof
cast) can enable runners to maintain a similar movement. Using a flotation
vest in the deep end allows a runner to use the same muscles. Although
not perfect, it is reasonable close to running. One minute of aqua
running is roughly adequate to one minute of terrestrial running.