rec.running Beginners' FAQ Part 1 of 2

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Ozzie Gontang, Mar 13, 2004.

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

    Answers to REC.RUNNING BEGINNERS' FAQ and Interesting

    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. or the web site:

    * 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

    ====================================================================== *

    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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 ;-)

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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]

    ====================================================================== *
    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

    ====================================================================== *
    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. or the web site:

    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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).

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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

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

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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;

    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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

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

    Answers to REC.RUNNING BEGINNERS' FAQ and Interesting

    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    Stretching and strength exercises

    Brad Appleton posts Stretching & Flexibility monthly in rec.martial-
    arts,, rec,alt.arts.ballet,,alt.answers, rec.answers,
    misc.answers,news.answers Ftp-sites:

    tretching_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 @>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

    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."

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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

    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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])

    ====================================================================== *
    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]

    ====================================================================== *
    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]

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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.

    ====================================================================== *
    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:

    or the web site:

    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: