rec.running Beginners' FAQ Part 1 of 2

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Ozzie Gontang, Sep 16, 2003.

  1. Archive-name: running-faq/beginners/part1 Last-modified: 10 March 2003 Posting-Frequency: 14 days

    Answers to REC.RUNNING BEGINNERS' FAQ and Interesting Information

    The following posting is a supplement to the regular rec.running FAQ. It provides information of
    particular interest to people just starting out as runners. It is organised in traditional FAQ
    fashion, as a series of questions and answers.

    Send me,Ozzie Gontang, FAQ maintainer <[email protected]> any corrections, updates,
    suggestions, or proper info of sources or holder's of copyright. Yonson Serrano is the previous
    maintainer of the rec.running Beginners FAQ which was originally compiled by Steve Conway.

    ======================================================================
    rec.running Beginners FAQ - a guide for aspiring runners
    ======================================================================

    Once you've finished the beginners' FAQ, you can move on to look in the main main rec.running FAQ
    for more information. ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.running/ or the web site:
    http://www.faqs.org/faqs/running-faq/

    * Index
    _________
    Background Information 1 Why Exercise ? 2 Why running ? (practicality) 3 Why running ? (the other
    reasons) 4 Should someone beginning an exercise program get medical clearance ? 5 Shoes, socks and
    feet 6 Other equipment 7 The first few weeks 8 The next few weeks 9 Developing further 10 Training
    Schedules 11 When to train 12 Running alone or with others 13 How fast to run 14 Dissociation and
    Association 15 Getting out the door 16 How the body adapts - what to expect as you get fitter 17
    Possible injuries for a beginner 18 Stretching and strength exercises 19 Fitting running into your
    life 20 Running and other sports 21 Satisfaction, enjoyment, fun and no fun 22 Where to run 23
    Women and running 24 Good books for beginners to read 25 Good books for someone coaching beginners
    to read 26 Running and weight loss 27 Food and drink 28 Starting racing

    ====================================================================== * 0
    Background information
    --------------------------

    We claim no special knowledge about how to start out on a running career. This FAQ is the
    amalgamation of the ideas of a number of people. There is no claim to definitive answers and in most
    areas of training there are no definitive answers. You must find the techniques and approaches which
    work for you. We have tried to give accurate physiological information. Elsewhere we have tried to
    indicate the range of approaches that people have used. Since much of what is said here is
    subjective, our personal experiences and biases have inevitably had an influence. Humour creeps in
    from time to time, often unannounced.

    ====================================================================== * 1
    Why Exercise ?
    ------------------

    Aerobic exercise will improve your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems
    (i.e. your heart and lungs), improve your muscle tone, may give you more energy, may help you lose
    weight and will help you look and feel better. It will reduce the risk of coronary heart
    disease. Physical activity probably increases longevity by one to two years.

    People who exercise are claimed to be happier (R. Carter, "Exercise and Happiness", Journal of
    Sports Medicine 17, 1977). Exercise reduces tension and anxiety. Exercise is as effective a
    treatment for mild depression as drugs. Exercise increases perceived quality of life.

    Studies have claimed that healthy adults who regularly exercised had greater energy, patience,
    humor, ambition, greater emotional stability, imaginativeness, self-sufficiency and assurance,
    conscientiousness and persistence. They are more amiable, graceful, good-tempered, elated and
    easygoing than control groups. With benefits like these, it's a wonder running isn't compulsory ;-)

    ====================================================================== * 2
    Why running ? (practicality)
    --------------------------------

    Running is the most natural form of aerobic exercise. It can be carried out anywhere, in most
    conditions, with a minimum of equipment, by anyone. All you need is some shoes, some comfortable
    clothing and the will power to get out of the door and "Just do it !".

    If you are active in other sports, running is an easy way of increasing your aerobic fitness and
    stamina, with benefits to all your activities.

    ====================================================================== * 3
    Why running ? (the other reasons)
    -------------------------------------

    In running you are ultimately dependent only on yourself. It is your own discipline that makes you
    run, and that provides the benefits you reap. Running will increase your pride in yourself, and
    improve your relationship with your body. You will surprise yourself with your capabilities and
    reserves, achieve more than you thought possible.

    Running gives you time to yourself. Even running with others you are essentially alone. You will be
    more in contact with the world around you, in all weathers and all lights, and more with yourself.
    Running gives you a space to yourself, a time to think, to muse, an active form of meditation.

    People may start running for health reasons, they persist because they become runners.

    Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and self-reliance. Independence
    is the outstanding characteristic of the runner. He learns the harsh reality of his physical and
    mental limitations when he runs. He learns that personal commitment, sacrifice and determination are
    his only means to betterment. Runners only get promoted through self-conquest.

    Noel Carroll [as quoted by Noakes]

    ====================================================================== * 4
    Should someone beginning an exercise program get medical clearance ?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The advice usually given is that formulated by the American College of Sports Medicine (1976) - that
    anyone over the age of 35 should have a full medical examination, including an electrocardiogram
    recorded before, during and after maximal exercise. Persons under 35 who have risk factors for heart
    disease (a family history of heart disease, a history of smoking, high blood pressure or high blood
    fat levels) should also be tested.

    More recent guidelines from the U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (1981) say that
    you should consult a doctor before beginning an exercise program is you meet any of the
    following criteria:

    1. You are over age 60 and not accustomed to vigorous exercise. 2. You have a family history of
    premature coronary heart disease (under 55 years of age).
    2. You frequently have pains or pressure in the left or midchest area, left neck, shoulder or arm
    (distinct from the "stitch") during or immediately after exercise.
    3. You often feel faint or have spells of severe dizziness, or you experience extreme breathlessness
    after mild exertion. 5. Your doctor has said that your blood pressure is too high, or you do not
    know that it is normal.
    4. Your doctor has said that you have heart trouble, that you have a heart murmur, or that you have
    had a heart attack. 7. Your doctor has said that you have bone or joint problems, such as
    arthritis .
    5. You have a medical condition that might need special attention in an exercise program.

    [the above taken from Noakes]

    Use your common sense. Go to your doctor if you are in doubt.

    ====================================================================== * 5
    Shoes, socks and feet
    -------------------------

    A good pair of shoes is the most important item of equipment to a runner. You need a good, basic
    well-cushioned pair of shoes that fit well. You don't need motion control shoes unless you already
    know that you have gait problems (over-pronation or over -supination). You DON'T need expensive
    shoes with flashy gimmicks, unless you are just going to wear them to look cool.

    Don't go to a general sports goods store, especially one of the chains. Find a real running store.
    You can recognize one by the flyers for upcoming races posted in the window or ask some runners
    where to find one. Go in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest. If possible go on a week
    day, so you avoid Saturday staff. Tell the staff what you want the shoes for. If you belong to a
    running club you may get a discount.

    If your neighbourhood doesn't have a real running store, you could try mail order [see main FAQ].
    Some of these will give advice over the phone, and may let you exchange shoes. They may be a better
    bet than a mall sports store, have a wider range of stock and will probably be cheaper. Don't go to
    a running store for advice then buy from mail order - buy from the store.

    Look in the main rec.running FAQ for more information. ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.running/ or
    the web site: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/running-faq/

    If you find that you get blisters, try out some of the running socks sold by the running stores.
    Double-layered ones work well. They are more expensive than cheap "sports" socks, but if you have
    blister problems, then they are well worth it. Another good trick is to apply Vaseline to your feet
    before running. Vaseline also works well if your nipples get sore.

    ====================================================================== * 6
    Other equipment
    -------------------

    You can wear anything comfortable. Depending on the climate - t-shirts, sweatshirts, thermal tops,
    shorts, leggings, lycra tights, tracksters or warmup pants, windproofs or rainproofs. The chances
    are that you already have what you need, for the moment at least. The important thing to remember is
    not to overdress (a common beginners mistake) as you will be much warmer while running.

    Look in the big rec.running FAQ for more information.

    ====================================================================== * 7
    The first few weeks
    -----------------------

    The most important thing early on is to get into the exercise habit. You are (hopefully) embarking
    on a lifelong path, so taking it slowly shouldn't be a problem.

    If you haven't been doing any kind of exercise, start out by walking. Walk at a comfortable speed
    for 20 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week for several weeks. Then you can move onto the next stage.

    Walk and run for 15 minutes or for a mile, 4 or 5 times a week. Run when you can and walk when it
    gets too uncomfortable. Run slowly, what counts at the moment is time, not speed. Don't try to do
    more, even if you feel you can. If you force the pace you may progress faster, saving a week, or you
    may get injured and be out for six weeks.

    Walk for the first and last part of the sessions, to get your body warmed up and to ease down at the
    end. Look in the main rec.running FAQ for information on stretching and warming up.

    If you are already fit from another sport, such as cycling or swimming, then it is important that
    you go a little easier than you might want to while you are building up the miles. It is very easy
    to push yourself past what the connective tissues can stand at first, and hence get injured. Chuck
    Amsler says that going for an abbreviated bike workout before running worked well for him (good
    warm up too).

    ====================================================================== * 8
    The next few weeks
    ----------------------

    You should now be running with walking only to warm up and down. Start to increase your weekly
    mileage. Do this by lengthening one of the runs. The next week you can increase one of the other
    runs as well. After a few weeks you should consider making one run per week your long run - up to
    half as long again as the others.

    Only increase distances by small amounts - the usual rule of thumb is not to increase by more than
    10% per week in total distance. Increase either the long run or the shorter runs, not both in the
    same week. Some weeks do the same as the previous week, or even do less.

    ====================================================================== * 9
    Developing further
    ----------------------

    Fitness increases dramatically between the first 10 and 20 weeks of training. You will probably find
    this to be the most rewarding period of your new running career, with each week yielding greater
    achievements than the week before. However, you should continue to gradually increase your training,
    but not too rapidly, since you will be particularly prone to injury in this time (see the Injuries
    section). You should still be aiming to increase distance, not speed.

    After several months you will no longer be a beginner and will have to decide whether you wish to
    just run for fitness or to do more. A couple of miles, three of four times a week will keep you fit
    and healthy. 15 to 20 miles a week will give you better conditioning. Beyond that, you are running
    for performance.

    ====================================================================== * 10
    Training Schedules
    -----------------------

    We have deliberately not written down a training schedule.. We have attempted to list some basic
    principles and to give you some ideas. A schedule will give you something to aim at, may help you
    get out of the door and may stop you doing too much too soon. Some people thrive on rigid schedules,
    some never make them, most have some kind of schedule but are flexible about following it.

    You may want to write out your own schedule, using the ideas here and elsewhere, possibly based on a
    schedule taken from a book or magazine. Adapt any schedule to your circumstances, and be prepared to
    alter it in the light of experience.

    If you have an experienced and sympathetic runner to coach you, so much the better.

    ====================================================================== * 11
    When to train
    ------------------

    Some people run in their lunchbreaks, some in the evenings and some strange souls claim to enjoy
    running in the early mornings. You have to find a place in your life for running that you can stick
    to. If you do run in the early mornings, pay special attention to warming up.

    The climate and daylight can have an effect on when you run. High daytime temperatures and humidity
    are a strong argument for running in the early morning. Lunchtimes are good times to run when the
    temperatures are low and the mornings and evenings dark.

    ====================================================================== * 12
    Running alone or with others
    ---------------------------------

    Running with a partner can motivate you, can get you out the door when you don't feel like it and
    can give you someone to talk to on the run. If you do run with a partner it should be someone of a
    similar standard, otherwise your running will be uncomfortable for both of you. You will be
    dependent on each other's schedules, which may make fitting in running harder. Most of us mix
    running alone and with friends.

    Joining a club that caters for beginners can help with motivation and be a good source of advice and
    coaching. There are also some training groups aimed at particular races and many ad-hoc groups based
    on work, school and neighbourhoods. Ask around.

    ====================================================================== * 13
    How fast to run
    --------------------

    As a beginner you should only be running aerobically. Your running should not leave you gasping for
    breath too much. The aim is to "Train, not strain". Being able to talk to a running partner is a
    good sign that you are running aerobically and not pushing too hard.

    Heart-rate can also be used as a guide, either using a heart-rate monitor, such as those made by
    Polar, or stopping running and using the old-fashioned finger on wrist method (count for 10
    seconds and multiply by six). Your heart-rate should stay below 70% of max. That is, your target
    heart-rate is

    resting rate + (.7 * (max rate - resting rate))

    where the resting rate is taken when you are laying down doing nothing, and the maximum rate is
    estimated by the formula

    (220-age=predicted maximum heart rate)

    Determining your target heart rate (Target Training Zone)

    6. Predicted Maximum heart rate: 220-age eg age 55: 220-55=165 beats/minute
    7. Multiply predicted heart rate by percentage 60% to 70% for beginners. A 55 year old sedentary
    man: 165*.60=99; 165*70=116

    Running faster can wait until your bones are stronger and you are fitter and eager to run faster
    in races. At present you should be more interested in running further. Some speedup should
    happen anyway.

    ====================================================================== * 14
    Dissociation and Association
    ---------------------------------

    "Association" is listening to your body, monitoring its every twinge and ache while shutting out all
    extraneous details. It's what top athletes do in races.

    "Dissociation" is tuning out the pains of the body, by talking to our running partners, thinking
    through problems, looking at the view, dodging the traffic, watching the squirrels, mentally
    singing, really singing, communing with nature, generally daydreaming. It's what we all do to get
    through our runs. You need to learn how to do it.

    ====================================================================== * 15
    Getting out the door
    -------------------------

    Maybe the hardest part of running. You've had a hard day at the office, it's lightly raining and you
    really don't feel like running. Believe me, 9 times out of 10, if you get out the door in your
    running kit you'll feel fine after a couple of minutes, enjoy your run and feel better for it.

    You have to learn to tell the difference between apathy and real tiredness. One strategy is to tell
    yourself that you'll only do half the scheduled run. If you really are tired, then you'll be able to
    tell in the first few minutes, after which you should go home. If you stay apathetic, maybe you'll
    do the half run, which is better than no run. Most likely you'll end up doing your scheduled run.

    On the other hand ... there is room for flexibility. If it's bucketing down and blowing a gale,
    maybe it's better to leave the run until tomorrow, unless you are one of those people who like
    running in wild conditions - try it sometime.

    ====================================================================== * 16
    How the body adapts - what to expect as you get fitter
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    As you stress your body, it reacts to make the stressed systems stronger. This is sometimes called
    the "training effect". Once you begin running it will strengthen your heart and leg muscles, and
    increase the number of small blood-vessels within them. You will get better at moving oxygen to your
    muscles, and at getting rid of the waste products of muscle activity. You should cease to be so
    breathless when running. Over time your resting pulse may drop. Altogether, your body should adapt
    to make running easier and to allow you to run further.

    Unfortunately, your muscles adapt faster than your bones and connective tissues, so just as you find
    you can run faster and further, you become liable to injuries. (See "* 17 Possible injuries for a
    beginner"). Injuries tend to strike beginners after 8-12 weeks, so it is a good idea to slow down
    your progression at this point to let your skeleton catch up.

    Noakes observes that there is a dramatic increase in performance after 20 weeks.

    ====================================================================== * 17
    Possible injuries for a beginner
    -----------------------------------

    The main cause of injury in beginners is the mismatch between the rapid development of the muscles
    and the slower development of the bones. In particular, injuries commonly appear between 8-12 weeks
    after starting training.

    The most common symptoms are persistent calf-muscle soreness and discomfort along the border of the
    shinbone (shin-splints). These symptoms will usually disappear in time *if* you reduce the training
    load for a few weeks
    - having more rest days and running less distance. If this does not work, consider changing your
    running shoes to a more shock-absorbent pair, running on softer surfaces (a good idea anyway) and
    possibly seeking professional advice.

    You may have a gait abnormality such as over or under pronation and supination (how much your foot
    rolls in and out during its time on the ground). Your legs may be different lengths. Sooner or later
     
    Tags:


  2. Archive-name: running-faq/beginners/part2 Last-modified: 10 March 2003 Posting-Frequency: 14 days

    Answers to REC.RUNNING BEGINNERS' FAQ and Interesting Information

    The following posting is a supplement to the regular rec.running FAQ. It provides information of
    particular interest to people just starting out as runners. It is organised in traditional FAQ
    fashion, as a series of questions and answers.

    Send me,Ozzie Gontang, FAQ maintainer ([email protected]) any corrections, updates,
    suggestions, or proper info of sources or holder's of copyright. Yonson Serrano is the previous
    maintainer of the rec.running Beginners FAQ which was originally composed by Steve Conway.

    these will cause problems, and you will have to discover what kinds of motion control shoes work for
    you, or if you need orthotics. Hopefully this will be in the far future, or never, but be aware of
    the problems.

    The main rec.running faq has information on injuries and treatment, with a large section on
    shin-splints.

    ====================================================================== * 18
    Stretching and strength exercises
    --------------------------------------

    Brad Appleton posts Stretching & Flexibility monthly in rec.martial-arts, misc.fitness, rec
    .arts.dance,alt.arts.ballet, rec.sport.misc,alt.answers, rec.answers, misc.answers,news.answers
    Ftp-sites: ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt.arts.ballet
    ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.martial-arts

    Web: http://www.enteract.com/~bradapp/docs/rec/stretching/stretching_toc.html

    Stret ching can help ward off injuries, help recovery after running and can get rid of stiffness
    before running. Some runners stretch before running, some stretch after, some run for a few minutes
    and then stretch before their main run. You can stretch better when warmed up, so after some running
    may be the best time. Personally, I do a few gentle stretches before and after running, taking more
    time and trying to lengthen the stretches only after running. Maybe once a week I do a longer
    (half-hour) session, really working on increasing my flexibity, but most people don't bother with
    this type of thing.

    The most important thing to say about stretching is DON'T BOUNCE !!!! The old-fashioned ballistic
    style will do you more harm then good. Stretch gently into position, hold and try to get your
    muscles to relax in the stretched position. If you are warmed up, try to lengthen the stretch after
    holding for at least 20-30 seconds.

    A good calf (muscle on the back of your lower leg) stretch is to stand a long pace away from a wall,
    lean onto it then either bring one leg forward or lift it off the ground. As you lean into the wall
    you should feel a stretch in the calf of the rear/lower leg. Bending the knee slightly will move the
    stretch lower down the calf. You should look as if you are trying to push the wall down.

    To stretch your quadriceps (muscles on the front of your upper leg), grab onto something with one
    hand, lift a leg up towards your bottom and grab the ankle with your free hand. Pulling
    upwards/inwards should stretch the muscle. Keep standing upright. Holding with the hand on the same
    or opposite side to the leg will alter the location of the stretch.

    The best stretches for hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your upper leg) are done on the floor.
    Sit on the floor with legs together, then lean forward, reaching towards your ankles and trying to
    keep your back flat. Depending in how flexible you are you may be able to keep your legs straight or
    you may have to slightly bend your knees. You can also spread your legs apart and stretch to each
    ankle in turn.

    An alternative for when you can't sit on the floor is to put one foot forward until it is ahead of
    the toes of the other foot, but still the normal width apart. Lift the front of the forward foot off
    the ground, so it is now resting on the heel. Bend the rear leg and lean forward. You should feel a
    stretch down the back of the forward leg.

    DO NOT use the old-fashioned hamstring stretch with feet together or apart and knees locked in a
    standing position, or the newer variant with crossed ankles. These risk back damage in anyone who
    doesn't have a perfect back and good flexibility, which means most of us.

    There are many more stretches useful for runners - find a book or someone knowledgeable to instruct
    you. Beware of older books or unqualified people (or anyone who teaches the old-style hamstring
    stretch or tells you to bounce "to increase the stretch").

    There are a number of popular stretches which are either unsafe for everyone or unsafe for anyone
    who isn't very flexible to start with - these include the hamstring stretch mentioned above, the
    "hurdlers stretch" (seated, one leg forward, the other tucked back under the body - put it against
    the side of the knee of the straight leg instead), the floor stretch (yoga plough) where the arms
    are extended and the legs are lifted over the body to touch the floor, with the head tucked between
    the body and floor (this presents obvious danger to the neck).

    Experiment with how altering positions affects the stretch. Find what works best for you and in
    particular what helps out your own trouble spots. I have to pay lots of attention to my calves and
    achilles tendons. Some stretches work for some people and not others. It all depends on your
    skeleton, musculature and level of flexibility.

    Running strengthens some muscles but leaves other relatively untouched. This imbalance can lead to
    injuries. The most common example of this in beginners (and more experienced runners) is weakness of
    the muscles running up the shin. Strengthening these may help to ward off shin-splints.

    Gordon Haverland <ghaverla @ freenet.edmonton.ab.ca>writes about some shin strengthening exercises:

    There are 3 kinds of exercise which I tell patrons at my YMCA about for strengthing the tibialis
    anterior. Two are weightlifting.

    1) Walking up hills (on treadmill). A person has to lift their toes more to walk (or run) uphill,
    which will with time cause the muscles in the front of the shin to strengthen. Using a treadmill
    means you don't have to watch your step so closely.

    2) On a seated calf machine. Normal position is to have the balls of your toes on the rear edge of
    the footrest, and then contract the calf muscles (mostly soleus (sp?)) to force the weight up and
    down. If you rest the ball of your heel on the front edge of the footrest, then you will work
    tibialis when you lift your toes up. Rule of thumb, about half the weight you can lift with the
    rear calf muscles, but it depends on how muscle bound you are.

    3) On a padded bench. Have your ankles overhand the end of the bench (you are seated on the bench).
    Put a dumbell between your 2 feet. Then when you dorsiflex (bring toes toward head), you will be
    working the tibialis muscle(s).

    From Ozzie <[email protected]> who believes that it's not a matter of strengthening the shin
    muscles but teaching them to be elongated. Here's what I do for the posterior tibialis:

    The muscle behind the shin bone is called the posterior tibialis or the muscle behind the
    tibia bone.

    If it is the right leg, cross it so that the right ankle or there abouts rests on the left thigh as
    when you cross your legs. In front of you as you look down is your right crossed knee and you are
    looking at the posterior tibialis.

    Take your left hand and place the fingers so they are holding the tibia and the thumb is pointing
    toward the inside of the right knee and resting just on the inside of the tibia. Take your right
    thumb and place it on the left thumb and the right hand grasps the shin bone. Push in lovingly at
    first and start at the bottom of the posterior tibialis. As you make a small circle with your right
    foot, you'll feel the muscle push against the thumbs pressing in.

    As you continue to make a small circle with your foot, slowly push in with the thumbs and slowly
    slide the right thumb on top of left thumb up towards the right knee. Gradually massage out this
    muscle. You'll notice that you have allowed the muscle to gradually relax and loosen....and
    therefore relieving some of the pressure on what is often called a "shin splint."

    ====================================================================== * 19
    Fitting running into your life
    -----------------------------------

    Running takes up time, something most of us seem to have too little of. If you want to keep running
    in the long term, you have to fit running into your life.

    A few people can run to and from work, and many run in their lunch-hours. Some run after work, some
    later in the evening and some in the morning before work.

    You have to set aside the time to run in, and not allow that time to be encroached on by other
    claims. Early morning is one time with few other claims, except sleep.

    ====================================================================== * 20
    Running and other sports
    -----------------------------

    Many people mix running and other sports. As long as you are taking part in a predominately aerobic
    exercise (running, cycling, swimming) 3-5 times a week you will be getting all the health benefits
    of running. If your other sport is not predominately aerobic, then you should be running 3-5 times a
    week to gain all the benefits.

    Running should increase stamina in other sports, for example, tennis, squash and soccer.

    The best training for running is running.

    ====================================================================== * 21
    Satisfaction, enjoyment, fun and no fun
    ---------------------------------------------

    You should be getting some satisfaction out of your running. A run may be hard work, but most of the
    time you should feel good afterwards and feel some satisfaction at having gone out into the
    rain/heat/delightful summer evening and "Just Done It". Some people say every run is fun, others
    think racing is fun, and some people wonder if everyone's definition of fun is the same.

    Sometimes running itself will feel easy and smooth and enjoyable. An easy day between harder days
    will sometimes be like this. If you are lucky, some days you will overflow with energy, zip up the
    hills for the hell of it and generally bounce around and have fun. Not very often though.

    Finding like minded people to train and hang out with always helps make things enjoyable and helps
    you achieve your goals, if only because "Well, if Fred can run X miles, then surely I can !". I feel
    that having the company of like-minded runners helps - providing encouragement, advice and mutual
    support plus the opportunity to take part in team events.

    The Dead Runners Society (DRS) is an listserv (mailing) list which discusses all aspects of
    running, ranging from training tips to wildlife to M&Ms to favourite novels to anything. It forms a
    supportive virtual community of runners and friends. Very friendly and on the cuddly side. Not
    necessarily to everyone's taste, and produces a high volume of mail. To subscribe, send mail to
    <[email protected]> with the following line in the main body of the message:
    SUBSCRIBE DRS

    If you are a beer drinking party animal, search out the local Hash House Harriers for an
    introduction to a world wide brotherhood (and sisterhood) of degenerates who describe themselves as
    "A drinking club with a running problem".

    Running related sports such as orienteering can provide an interesting way of getting a few miles
    in. Orienteering is particularily good since it occupies your mind and limits your speed - if you
    run too hard you can't think, get lost and have to stop.

    Most of us go through bad patches where running is a chore and we don't get any enjoyment out of it.
    The best plan here is often to reduce the training and maybe try something else for a couple of
    weeks. Sometimes I go for long bike rides, or try to improve my swimming. If you really are burnt
    out, rest is important - exhaustion can put you out for months.

    If running is always a struggle and a chore, with no satisfaction, even after months at sticking
    with it, I would say it's time to try something else - cycling, swimming, rollerblading, aerobics,
    .... Find something you enjoy, get satisfaction from - you'll have a better chance of sticking with
    it in the long run, which is what counts.

    ====================================================================== * 22
    Where to run
    -----------------

    Out in the countryside has to be the best place to run. Somewhere you can run on soft dirt paths or
    grass, with no traffic is ideal. Soft surfaces make it less likely you will get injured. Even
    surfaces make it less likely you'll turn an ankle, though rougher surfaces will strengthen them.

    Anywhere scenic or interesting should make your running more enjoyable, and make it easier to keep
    your mind off/on how you feel. River and canal banks are good places to run (and fairly flat), and
    so are parks. If you have to run by roadsides, or on the road, try to run where there is less
    traffic and less people to dodge.

    Get a map of the area around where you live, preferable a topographic map. There will often be paths
    and trails you never knew existed, or you may see how to link up bits of park and path to give a
    mainly off-road route.

    Most of us do spend our time on the roads. If you want to road race it's a necessity. If you have to
    run in the dark it may be necessary. If you have to run on the road itself, face the oncoming
    traffic, so you see what is coming. Don't stick religiously to one route, vary it to keep things
    interesting.

    Running one big loop may be better than running several small ones - it stops you giving up.
    However, if you really need to give up, you'll have to walk back.

    If you are confident, running is a great way to see a strange city. Try taking a route past the
    landmarks early in the morning when the streets are empty and the light is at its best.

    In places that have hard winters, an indoor track may be the best place to run. You'll be out of the
    weather and have a decent surface. You may also get bored out of your mind - it depends on the
    individual. Get back out into the outside world as soon as possible. Know the track etiquette - slow
    runners take the outside lanes. If someone yells "Track!" at you, move out of their way.

    Sadly, all the above must be tempered with caution. Some places are not safe to run, especially for
    women. Take care and use your common sense.

    ====================================================================== * 23
    Women and running
    ----------------------

    Women's running records are not as fast as men's, for physiological reasons, and women have had to
    overcome numerous barriers in order to race a full set of distances, but women are every bit as
    tough as men and tougher, (men don't experience the marathon of birth).

    There are some specific consideration for women runners. Properly designed sports bras should
    minimise breast injury and soreness. Don't just pick up any old sport bra - you need a supportive
    bra that was designed for high impact aerobic activity. Examples include the ActionTech model by
    JogBra. There are also jogbras made specifically for large breasted women. [Thanks for help from
    Lani Teshima-Miller for this section]

    Moderate exercise significantly decreases the severity of premenstrual symptoms and may lower the
    risk of some cancers. Very high exercise levels can lead to erratic or absent periods.

    Sadly, there are extra risks for women runners. Each must make their own evaluation of risks, but
    running with others, running in daylight or well lit places at night, running in places with other
    people around should all add to a runner's safety. Some may wish to carry an attack alarm and/or
    some other defense.

    ====================================================================== *
    23a Women and JobBras
    ----------------------

    If you normally wear a bra, you *should* wear a bra for jogging. What you should do is buy a bra
    specifically for jogging, because you need the extra support it provides.

    Having started my running being overweight and in need of a jogbra, I did a fair amount of looking
    around--I have found the Action Tech jogbra to be the best for your money. You will find a lot of
    jogbras by sports manufacturers, but this one stands head and shoulders above the rest because of
    the amount of support it provides.

    JogBra, a subsidiary of Playtex, used to sell the Action Tech bras. However JogBra was bought by
    Champion in the early 90s and is now marketed as Champion Jogbra[TM]'s Action Tech Sport Top.
    Fortunately, it looks like Champion is marketing this much heavier than JogBra ever did. They are
    providing more color selections and seasonal patterned designs, more than before.

    Of the two similar styles, the cotton-based Action Tech provides more support, while the Supplex
    top dries faster. Both usually sell for around $27 retail, although you can get them on sale for
    around $18-$21 if you look around. I do not recommend the lighter Supplex top for those who need
    *serious* support.

    Proper support is particularly essential for the heavy chested woman, who can experience aches and
    pains from the excess weight (showing up as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc.--and affects
    posture). The ActionTech jogbras tend to squish your chest and are only built to accommodate up to a
    C cup--however, Champion also makes a few models for larger sized women, including the Action Shape,
    and Sport Shape bras. Both of these provide lift and separation with individual cups (the Action
    Tech does not), and are available up to size DD, as well as adjustable straps (which you'll need if
    you start losing fat!).

    If your local athletic store does not carry the line, you can find them through mail order
    companies. However, it is strongly recommended that you try them on for fit before buying them. You
    want them snug enough to provide support, but not so tight that it constricts your breathing.

    Whether you need to wear a jogbra or not depends primarily on your chest size. If it feels
    uncomfortable or painful to jump up and down without a bra, you probably need the support.
    Small-chested but modest people might choose to wear sport top bras, but support is not so much an
    issue. If you fall into this category, you can purchase lycra tops very inexpensively.

    When comparing jogbras, some of the things to keep in mind: o Does it have any buttons or snaps that
    can come off? o How well are these buttons or snaps sewn on/reinforced? o Is there anything on the
    bra that can rust from sweat? o How strong is the fabric? Does it seem flimsy? Cheap? o How elastic
    is the fabric? Don't be shy--pull and tug on it to see if it goes back in place. A good jog bra will
    hold up after years of use--the elastic in the material should not break or fray. o How well is the
    elastic in the hems covered? o Does the bra have a protective inner lining to discourage chafing?

    A good jog bra will become an essential part of your running attire, along with your running shoes.
    While I can make do with non-running cotton shorts or regular socks in a pinch, I will not jog
    wearing a regular bra. Considering that a jogbra is just a fraction of the cost of a pair of running
    shoes, you should not neglect them or go cheap on them. Buy yourself two bras (wear one, wash one)
    to start. Lani Teshima-Miller ([email protected])

    ====================================================================== * 24
    Good books for beginners to read
    -------------------------------------

    Good books for beginners to read
    -------------------------------------
    Galloway's Book on Running (Jeff Galloway) The Essential Runner (John Hanc) The Runner's World
    Complete Book of Running (Amby Burfoot)

    _Complete Book of Running_, Jim Fixx, 1977, Random House, New York

    This is a classic running book, which George Sheehan recommended in an article about Summer Reading
    in Runner's World magazine. It's easy to read, and gives lots of reasons to run. It gives the
    beginning runner a desire to go out and run for the fun of it. Since it is old, it will tend to be
    out of date on certain topics like injury prevention. Still, it's a great book to start with.

    _Getting Fit and Feeling Great_, Dr. George Sheehan, 1993

    This is a compilation of Dr. Sheehan's three books _How to Feel Great 24 Hours a Day_, _Running and
    Being_ and _This Running Life_. Also Personal Best. George's writings continue to touch the heart
    and soul of runners around the world. He truly was the Mark Twain in sneakers.

    _The New Competitive Runner's Handbook_, Bob Glover and Pete Schuder, Penguin Books, Ltd. The
    Runner's Handbook (Bob Glover) [Mmuch more suited to intermediate advanced runners than to
    beginners]

    ====================================================================== * 25
    Good books for someone coaching beginners to read
    ------------------------------------------------------
    Better Training for Distance Runners (David Martin & Peter Coe)

    The Lore of Running (Tim Noakes) Published: 1991/92 It's packed with information on just about
    everything. Noakes is an exercise physiologist and is very knowledgeable on the human body,
    especially muscles and bones. He presents a more scientific approach to his running book. I
    recommend this to coaches just because it is so thorough and more suited for someone that has been
    running for a while. I believe this is the biggest running book to date. [comments by Gale
    Richmond Stafford]

    Training for Young Distance Runners (Larry Greene & Russ Pate)

    Although frankly all of these are much more suited for someone coaching ADVANCED runners; someone
    coaching beginners would do just as well to read the three books on the first list. Steve Patt
    Stevens Creek Software/The Athlete's Bookstore [email protected]

    ====================================================================== * 26
    Running and weight loss
    ----------------------------

    [Sherwood Botsford]

    For many this is the reason they start running. It's not a bad reason to start. (Are there any bad
    reasons to start running?)

    Running burns roughly 100 Cals/mile. This varies from individual to individual, depending on their
    weight, and their running efficiency. But for ball park calculation it's close enough. Curiously it
    doesn't much depend on speed. Go faster, you burn calories faster, but you also cover distance
    faster. The two effects cancel. If that were all the benefit, you'd better like running a lot if
    you've got a lot of weight to lose. Thirty to Forty miles per pound. Ick. However, the effects of
    running will speed up your metabolism somewhat for hours afterword, so you end up burning more
    calories sitting still than you used to.

    Muscles can burn either glucose or fat. (Actually fatty acids...) At high speed (more than 70% of
    aerobic max) glucose burning dominates. At low speed (about 60% of aerobic max) fat burning
    dominates. So if weight loss is your main goal, run lots of miles at a pace you can carry on a
    conversation.

    Running doesn't cause appetite to increase much. For many it decreases appetite. As long as you're
    starting to do things because it's healthy, cut down your fat intake, and increase your vegies.

    As you lose weight, you will find that you run better, faster, and enjoy it more. Further, without
    the extra pounds banging on your knees and ankles, you are less likely to hurt yourself.

    Finally, it took years to get into the awful shape you are in. Be patient. It will take a long time
    to get rid of excess weight. Figure on 1 to 2 lbs per month.

    ====================================================================== * 27
    Food and drink
    -------------------

    The type of diet that is good for runners is the type of diet doctors recommend for everyone - high
    in carbohydrate, low in fat with sufficient but not excessive protein. Some people find that as they
    exercise more their taste changes to prefer this kind of diet anyway. The archetypal Real Runner
    eats lots of pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, with little rich food.

    It is important to drink sufficient water to make up for that lost in sweating. You MUST
    rehydrate yourself properly. Drink water (or fruit juice, etc) soon after a run, and throughout
    the day. If you run in hot or humid conditions, drink before and maybe during the run.
    Dehydration interferes with your ability to deal with heat, making your run miserable, and
    interferes with your recovery, lessening the effects of training. Personally I keep a bottle of
    orange squash and a pint glass on my desk.

    Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Isostar are designed to replenish fluid rapidly and to replace
    energy rapidly (these two functions conflict), as well as replacing minerals and vitamins. They have
    a place in races and heavy training, but for most purposes water is fine. You should be getting all
    the energy, minerals and vitamins you need from your diet.

    It has been frequently observed that runners like beer, but it should be remembered that alcohol is
    high in calories and has a dehydrating effect, and may also lower your metabolic rate, so you burn
    less calories. Caffeine also has a dehydrating effect.

    ====================================================================== * 28
    Starting racing
    --------------------

    Once you have been running for a few months you may want to run a race. You might have started out
    with one in mind. You should try to pick out a small race that you are sure you can finish. It
    shouldn't be more than 1.5 times as far as you regularly run. You will start off faster than you
    normally run, so you don't want to be pushing the distance up as well. At most small races, you can
    just turn up and enter on the day, but entering in advance makes it harder to back out.

    The aim of your first race is to finish, hopefully in reasonable shape. After a few races, you will
    have more experience, times to aim at and probably a couple of familiar faces that keep just beating
    you and that you *are* going to beat next time :), but for now, take it easy. Start at the back,
    and try not to get sucked up into running too fast. If you can, start slowly - you can always speed
    up in the last mile.

    ====================================================================== * 29
    How do I get the main rec.running FAQ ?
    --------------------------------------------

    The main rec.running FAQ is maintained by Ozzie Gontang <[email protected]>.

    Answers to questions frequently asked in rec.running are available. Phil Margolies <[email protected]>
    checked the following 3 links do go to the
    r.r FAQ:

    ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/running-faq/ ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.running/
    ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-group/rec.running/

    or the web site: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/running-faq/

    The FAQ will be posted on a 14 day interval so that it will be more readily available to the users
    of rec.running. All eight parts cycle through together.

    Part 8 updated on 10/7/98 has a partial list of web sites compiled and edited by Wouter. We expect
    that many will come and go. If you have any to add or any don't work, let me know.
    <[email protected]>

    Thanks for any help,

    In health and on the run, Ozzie Gontang Maintainer-rec.running FAQ Director, San Diego Marathon
    Clinic, est. 1975 Mindful Running: http://www.mindfulness.com
     
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