Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Running advice bleg

Posted by Lissa on April 16, 2010

Good morning all!  So glad it’s Friday!!  I’m sitting here drinking coffee and blearily harvesting Zombies* and wishing it were 5 PM instead of 5 AM.  Ah well, all good things in time, no?

Hey, do I have any long-distance runners out there?  I’ve been alternating days on the exercise bike along with a weight-lifting regime.  I haven’t been running or ellipticalling very much because I can read Kindle while on the bike and that makes it far more appealing at six AM.  However, with the advent of spring and temperatures above 42 (which they’re not right now, BTW) I’d like to get back into running.

As I’ve written before, I’ve never been much of a distance runner:

*Side note: I don’t need to lose any weight for the wedding, but I swear if I gain even an ounce I won’t be able to breathe in my dress.  I’ve thus been getting back into running — I can now go 1.5 miles before I have to stop for a breather, and I usually do another two miles alternating jogging and walking.  What’s interesting is that I find jogging easier nowadays then I did when I was a hardcore Track-and-Fielder back in high school; I was a pure sprinter and specialized in 100-meter races (the high hurdles and the 4X100).  Now that I’m trying to jog on a regular basis, the concept of pawback makes my life a lot easier.  /side note

Mike is also thinking about returning to running.  He’s been eyeing these, in fact:

Has anyone tried these?  What did you think?  Also, would you like to offer any generic advice about getting used to running without hating every second of every minute that you’re doing it?

*Yes, you read that right.  What, you don’t play ZombieFarm?

14 Responses to “Running advice bleg”

  1. I haven’t tried the Five Fingers myself, but everybody I’ve known who’s used them (three online, two IRL) has loved ’em. Getting the size right when ordering online seems to be a bit of an issue, though, so I’d try to find a brick and mortar supplier.

  2. alan said

    LabRat uses those toe shoe things and says they’re great.

  3. Sean said

    Have had my pair since October & love them. Comfortable and definitely notice a difference.

    A few pieces of advice – definitely go someplace to try them on & size them, otherwise you’ll be going back and forth several times with mail order.

    Build up slow to running distance in them – your lower leg and foot muscles need to adapt to the difference. I can send you a recommended plan that was given to me & seemed to work well. Plus, if you are able to just wear them around the house it helps as well.

    I found the models with velcro to help hold them tighter to my foot work better for me, but YMMV.

  4. mike w. said

    Former distance runner here. I ran XC in high school and continued running pretty regularly through college.

    Sadly I can’t be of much help, as recurring/nagging injuries and the whole full-time job thing have kept me out of it. (and my own laziness)

    It’s funny. I used to take a 3 month break from running each year and getting right back on the horse was easy. Now I’m finding it MUCH harder.

    Once you’ve settled in a bit with some long, slow runs try mixing things up by running ladders and / or hill workouts every once in a while. It makes things more interesting and keeps you from plateauing.

  5. Jon said

    I actually recommend using the Nike Free shoes to ease into the ‘barefoot’ style of shoes, especially if you’ve used very structured shoes previously.

    As for not hating it – either put together a music mix that will engage you (my wife used a mix of hard rock and heavy metal when she was doing tri’s) or use audiobooks. When you’re doing higher mileage running it just getys boring otherwise. Cross-country/trail running is easier to enjoy, usually the scenery is nice and you have to concentrate on the terrain.

    For training plans, head over to http://www.coolrunning.com. You’re already doing essentially a 5K but their 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon plans are all really good, we’ve used them.

  6. I sat next to a guy on the bus who had on the funny toes-y shoes and had bought them for running, as a matter of fact. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but he didn’t have much praise for them.

    Been running more myself lately. Still not a distance runner, but I can enjoy a 3 mile jog with the right music as long as I’m not paying attention to the distance and am just trying to enjoy the run and the exercise. I’ve been doing really intense cardio on the bike 3x a week, and it helps with the stamina. I don’t get nearly as out of breath while running as I used to.

  7. Oh, and I start really slow until I feel my leg muscles get warm and smooshy and I settle in to my pace. Definitely don’t count laps/miles. Alternate running sessions where you run at a nice comfy pace and don’t monitor your distance/time and sessions where you push really hard and make yourself slightly uncomfortable – not quite 4×4 uncomfortable, but 80% of that level of discomfort. Consider it a trade-off; doing a few really hard runs every 3 or 4 runs or so makes it easier to go out on the nicey-nice runs and stay out longer and longer.

  8. Jon said

    Yeah, Tabata-style 4x’s aren’t a good idea for free-form exercises. They’re great for VO2 max improvement and other physiological changes, but without the controlled movement range machines provide they are an excellent way to not listen to your body, push through something and do actual damage. Especially when running on pavement.

  9. secretlivesofscientists said

    4×4 wasn’t a reference to tabata training. It was a reference to track-and-field sprints. Lissa and I ran track together in highschool.

  10. Terence said

    There’s a fitness movement/trend/something called Crossfit which has many adherents across the country.

    I was looking at their message board recently and there was a long thread on Vibram Five Fingers, which you can read here: http://www.board.crossfit.com/showthread.php?t=52818&highlight=vibram+five+fingers

    @Kon; Re Tabata intervals: I work out at home, so I don’t have access to machines, but I use tabata intervals all the time with dumbells or barbells, kettlebells or even hitting a tractor tire with a slegehammer. It sounds like you think tabata intervals (20 seconds of work/10 seconds of rest x8) should only be done on machines. I don’t want any injuries I could avoid. Could you possibly elaborate, thanks!

    • Jon said

      @Terence – the strict Tabata protocol is a 5-minute warmup to get your heart rate up to the target rate zone, then 8 minutes of alternating all-out intensity work for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest.

      Just doing the intervals – 20 seconds working, 10 seconds resting – isn’t a problem in my experience if you aren’t exercising in the as-hard-as-you-can mode. But I’ve both seen and heard (and yes this is anecdotal but I’ve been told of numerous occurrences) people injure themselves doing free-form work, especially with weights. The machine controls your form and range of motion so it’s much more difficult to injure yourself.

      I haven’t seen any research on this to support my observations, so make of it what you will – I’ll look to see what I can find in the literature.

  11. Terence said

    Oops, that should be @Jon, not @kon. sorry.

  12. […] Running advice bleg […]

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