- Nov 5, 2016 at 11:33 am #3434277
Half an hour a day, slow jog in the woods, no stopping just slowing if need be, a bit of stretching before. Cardio is all good. Finished my first week and besides being a little tired I have no pain. I would rather not get hurt and then back off. My question to you runners is: everything else being aokay so far, is a half an hour a day, five days a week, on pretty soft dirt/ duff too much too soon? I have not run since competitive fencing in my teens, but I am feeling in decent shape and with no particular pains and aches other than the usual/ recurring lower back issues which I have found ways to address and be ok with. Should I worry about running and my back? A friend told me about getting their first sciatic related problems when they started running.
Thanks in advance, KatharinaNov 5, 2016 at 11:54 am #3434280
I am sure there are all kinds of running forums I could consult, but I am a walker/ backpacker first and a number of you know me better than I can describe to a bunch of strangers; that’s why I am asking here. Plus laziness.Nov 5, 2016 at 2:10 pm #3434306
Mercedes ClemensBPL Member
Research is indicating that alternating running/walking results in fewer injuries and less fatigue.Nov 6, 2016 at 2:26 am #3434386
1/ Never ever ever stretch BEFORE a run
2/ Listen to what your body is telling you
Don’t start off forcing yourself to run 5 days straight simply because that’s what you had planned.
Training plans that people like to write in stone only cause major problems IMO, if you’ve run 3 days and feel a bit fatigued, or your legs a bit tight then take a day off.
All the good we get from exercise physiologically speaking is done during recovery NOT while exercising.
So running when you know something isn’t right is what tends to cause problems, and then make little injuries flair up to bigger ones.
Likewise, why rule out walking during a run?
It makes no sense, if you feel fatigued or have some pain the walk for a while.Nov 6, 2016 at 9:23 am #3434409
Bob .BPL Member
@bcbobLocale: Vancouver Island
1/ Never ever ever stretch BEFORE a run
+1. Stretching before a run is a bad idea.Nov 6, 2016 at 10:58 am #3434423
Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
-Strengthen your core. Very important. You’ll protect yourself from back injuries and enjoy running more. A simple way to do this is plank exercises – front, left side and right side – start with holding for 30 seconds for each and get to 1 min or more, and several cycles of each every day or every other day.
-Try to run on soft uneven ground as you’re already doing – much better than hard even pavement.
-Avoid increasing distance/duration too quickly. A good rule of thumb is not to add more than 5 minutes a week to the duration you feel comfortable with now
-Keep good form – avoid heel strike. Midfoot strike is best and easy to get used to with a little practice
-Try to wear low-drop shoes (4-8mm drop, I prefer 4mm) – makes midfoot strike easier. If you use zero-drop shoes give yourself time to adjust so as not to stress your achilles.
-Highly recommend walk-jogging – alternating fast walking/hiking with jogging – which will also help you raise your fitness level while avoiding fatigue. You can use a free app like Seconds, which lets you enter intervals – how many minutes you want to warm up at first with a fast walk, how many minutes you want to jog and how many minutes you want to walk. A good formula for starting would be 2 minutes jogging and 4-5 minutes fast walking. Then you can increase the amount of time you jog to 3 min, 4 min, etc.
-Later when you like you can also do faster jogging/running intervals to help build cardio fitness.
-Be careful running downhill – don’t charge out of control – more impact on your joints and more potential for injury.
-Make sure your shoes give your forefoot enough room to expand especially for longer (+30 min) sessions.
-Not relevant for this season, but note hot weather will fatigue you more easily and raise your heart rate for the same run.
-Give yourself rest days in between runs. Either try every other day, and if you’d like to run more than that, give yourself 1-2 days a week without running.
HAVE FUN! You have amazing forest and coastal trails near you.
+Stretching only after your muscles are warm – and hold the stretches 30-60 seconds, don’t bounce! Start with larger muscles (hamstrings) and move to smaller (calves, achilles)
+Note that joggers suffer fewer injuries than runners while achieving similar health benefits and better longevity according to a study I saw not long ago.Nov 6, 2016 at 11:13 am #3434425
Thanks everyone for the really good tips. I feel conditioned enough as far the cardio part, but the not stretching before part, the alternating days, the rate of increase, the shoes….and other info in very useful to me.
Much appreciated!Nov 6, 2016 at 1:10 pm #3434436
Sue & I run 2 mornings out of 3. The rest day is always welcome. We never jump straight into a really long run after an absence: we always ramp up quite slowly. And we don’t go flat out either, just a nice jog at a comfortable pace for up to an hour. Light-weight shoes of course.
CheersNov 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm #3434443
you are one more knowledgeable voice calling for off days , so I will heed the experienced advice.
The shoes, I bought some light running shoes and at least so far they’ve been just right. The trails are through the woods, quite varied, over roots and eroded washes etc.
I am thinking next week I will jog Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday and find other low impact activities to do over lunch break Tuesday and Thursday. That is if I feel good and have no pain of course.
I am always moving so this isn’t like a desk job person deciding to run ….;)Nov 6, 2016 at 2:33 pm #3434455
That is if I feel good and have no pain of course.
Definitely, definitely, and definitely.
When I was MUCH younger I tried ‘pushing through the pain’. OK, at High School, when I repped for the mile. But these days … no way.
EnjoyNov 7, 2016 at 6:39 am #3434515
The problem with setting a schedule of certain days (i.e. Mon, Wed, Fri) is that your body doesn’t really care what day it is.
With busy lives we have to schedule things otherwise we never get the time to do them, but i wouldn’t have set days written in stone.
If you run on Mon and feel good Tues by all means go for a run on Tues, likewise if you run on Mon but still feel sore on Wed skip Wed.
I was planning on going for a run this morning, but the atmosphere is clagged up with African dust (i’m in Greece) to the point that you can barely see the sun, so i skipped today as breathing in that stuff screws with my chest for days after.
So my advice is to listen to what your body is telling you and go with what it is saying rather than a fixed scheduleNov 7, 2016 at 7:47 am #3434525
I did say that I would try and do that, if I felt all good and up for it . As my post said, not getting hurt is most important to me.Nov 7, 2016 at 7:59 am #3434526
I refrained from responding to your post until I had time to think about how I would coach you based on the information in your post, but that would require more about your goals. Just a couple of additional things for you to consider. Most of the ideas sent your way are good advice, especially the video from Bob on the current research concerning stretching and the positive impact of dynamic stretching as opposed to static stretching on performance. Pay special attention to the description of how duration of stretching impacts overall flexibility. The other issue is how to organize your training days. One of the most successful ways to increase training consistency in older runners and to decrease injury is to increase the length of the training cycle. Your plan has been to run five days over a seven day span. We have found through practice as well as research that expanding the training cycle to nine or ten days can be highly effective. So you could fit your five days of running into the longer cycle which would easily give you the recovery time that you probably need. The other days could be a mix of rest days and active recovery. It would also give you some flexibility if you have to miss a day for work or fatigue as Mark has pointed out. We also often use the longer cycle with younger runners who have trouble handling training loads. I’ve got decades of running and coaching professionally, and I am always glad to help anyone learn how to become their own coach, so feel free to ask any time. Good luck! Old runners never die, they just thin out!Nov 7, 2016 at 10:50 am #3434548
“…that would require more about your goals”
Of course. That is the question.
I am 49, active, short and stout-light , seem built for uphill. Fellow backpackers here can attest that it is hard to get me winded. I work outdoors and my upper body is stroger than my legs even though I walk a few miles daily at my job.
What I am not looking for is:
* running distances/ marathons/ endurance and all that.
* going anywhere, driving, joining anything, spending money ( I change my shoes and take off my jacket and head out in my work clothes) .
What I am not opposed to, as a side effect but not the goal :)
* moving a few pounds of fat around and how cool if they ended up in muscle preferably on my legs.
What I am hoping for :
While I am active I don’t get any cardio so why not use my lunch break and do something good for me. Instead of increasing the time, I see myself varying the speed ( and so distance) I cover in my 25 minutes, depending on how I feel. Since the terrain is so varyied and tricky this should also help me with coordination and proprioception ( spelling?). I already spend time in the woods working, sometimes hiking, often tracking animals and checking cameras so this is another way for me to be there. I have a lot on my mind lately and the slow jog in the redwoods ( without music) seems like a no brainer.
Did I understand correctly to shoot for 5 days in a 9 day span?
Most recent picture of me, courtesy of Nick G, a few days ago after a series of switchbacks. Like a little mountain goat.Nov 7, 2016 at 10:52 am #3434549
Oops, here is that picture.
I feel like cardio ( in nature, not on a machine ) is the missing piece for me.Nov 7, 2016 at 11:38 am #3434556
Ok, that’s a great chunk of information, so here are a few preliminary thoughts:
- Yes, I do mean spreading out your five runs over nine days instead of seven. if you find that too tiring after 2-3 weeks, extend it to 5 in 10 days.
- Keep the pace easy for at least 2 months, maybe longer if you are still having trouble completing the 9 day cycle.
- If you are prone to check your heart rate, think 110-120 as a useful guide.
- Or you can judge your effort on a scale of 1-10 with 6 or 7 your optimal level of effort.
- Your legs will get stronger as long as you are consistent in your running.
- Losing weight can be slow at this level of training without taking care with your diet. But you will get fitter.
- As your running fitness improves your heart rate will begin to drop while maintaining the same pace. If you want to keep improving you will need to up the pace slightly or the length of your runs.
- With your hill climbing ability you have a great advantage over many. Over time your running economy will improve and you will be more and more comfortable.
- Be patient! Running is a different animal from hiking and walking. Different impact levels and different ranges of motion for starters.
- Hiking in the woods is great, and running can be just as rewarding!
Hope this helps.The main thing is to enjoy it. I think your goals are smart and very achievable. Any time I can help, just ask. And by the way, I love the animal photos.
BJNov 7, 2016 at 11:48 am #3434561
Just came in from my jog.
Great info again. I really appreciate the help.
As for the heart rate, I think I got that covered. I have been using my breathing for years in a way that I can keep my heart rate nice and even ( sure …faster, but even ). Breathing efficiently and slowing down when I lose that efficiency is something that helped me when I used to mountain bike a lot and even now when I hike up long steep hills. If I start wanting to breathe in and out of my mouth, I slow down until it gets efficient again, as in getting the most oxygen out of a breath.
The weight loss is not the goal and I know how to lose the few pounds with diet. I would not mind keeping at this weight but swapping a bit of fat for a bit of muscle and slowly is just fine with me.
Another plus is that I start my jog with a lady from Oaxaca, a few years younger than me but same built. She’s been running since she was 8. We start together, then she is off and does a longer loop and by the time she catches up with me we both run at her speed for the last 3 or 4 minutes. So I get to speak spanish for a few minutes :)Nov 7, 2016 at 1:14 pm #3434573
Sounds to me like you are on your way! I figured you might have your effort level dialed in. I hope the running does your mind, body , and spirit good.
BJNov 9, 2016 at 12:05 pm #3434849
First, thanks for all the tips! I will keep asking and even if I don’t respond to everyone, I am taking it all in; this is a new animal for me and I understand I don’t know much about it.
On Monday I did the same jog as last week, about 1.6 miles. Olga was ahead within a few yards and gone ( glad she does not feel the need to wait for me). She goes further so on the way back she catches up with me and I go faster with her the last few minutes. No pain, just more tired than usual in the evening.
Tuesday I forced myself to not go and walked over to a free Qi Gong session in the meadow.
Today…I started strong and stayed behind Olga for longer, watched her bounce and tried to replicate it since my knees seem good. Then had to slow down for a few minutes, then felt a surge and actually ran, not jogged. Caught up with Olga ( I think she may have ran around the water tanks a couple of times since she knew I was behind doing the longer option).. and her smile and thumbs up was great encouragement. We ran the rest together ( easier, flat and downhill grade but more varied trail section) and instead of feeling like the energy was leaving me, I felt the woods gave me energy.
Heart rate was faster ( no devices but I could tell) but still even. Never did breathe in and out of my mouth. Sweat more.
At the end Olga smiled and said ” Me sorprendiste!”.Nov 10, 2016 at 12:03 am #3434960
Hi BJC, are you professional coach? What do you think of the pose method, is it any good? Some trainers seem to swear by it and other not so much.Nov 10, 2016 at 8:27 am #3434979
I have been a distance coach of HS, college, and post collegiate runners for over 35 years, starting when I was still running competitively. I have recently retired but I still have some runners and coaches I advise when asked. As you can tell by my presence on this site, my main interest these days is UL backpacking! More fun to be in the woods.
As to pose running, the studies I have read suggest a couple of things;
- The technique does reduce impact stress on the knees. But what it appears to do is transfer that impact stress to the anke which increases the incidence of achilles injuries.
- 12 week training with pose reduced the running economy of the tested runners, Running economy refers to the amount of oxygen needed to run at various paces. Not a good thing!
- Other studies have indicated that any wholesale changes in running technique too often have negative effects on impact stresses and running economy. Note the minimalist shoe movement that had people raving and at the same time caused a skyrocketing of injured runners showing up on doctors’ doorsteps.
Lastly, I tried Pose running as I got older, and found it inhibited my ability to run freely, so I never tried it with any of the athletes I coached, prefering to let their running technique improve over time through consistent training. I suspect there are some runners with such horrible technique that pose running might help. But for me, running and the strength work to support it will get the job done without forced attempts to change a runner’s individual technique. Hope that helps!
BJNov 10, 2016 at 11:44 am #3435007
I felt good today so went again, knowing I will have 3 days off. Same distance, a little slower than yesterday but it kicked my butt. No pain, good breathing….but it was quite a bit harder this time. Concentrating on navigating the last third through roots and logs and holes without my ankles playing any dirty tricks on me…that was harder too, being tired.
back to work now…Nov 10, 2016 at 12:43 pm #3435011
Sounds like you’re doing great, big thumbs up from meNov 10, 2016 at 12:45 pm #3435012
without forced attempts to change a runner’s individual technique.
There I have to agree with you. Trying to impose someone else’s ‘style’ on a runner is usually a recipe for damage.
CheersNov 10, 2016 at 4:39 pm #3435040
Thank you for the support Mark!
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