Sunday, August 1, 2010

Running Mantra - Do It Right

Hey, thats great. But please make sure you don't overdo it”. I heard this almost each time I told somebody that I am practicing for long runs. I could never understood that. I need to run more week after week if I have to run long. My obvious replies were “Don't worry. I know what I am doing” or “I am able to do it. It is not overdone”. Now, when I think more, I believe they should have instead told me – Do It Right. Run, please run but do it right way and do it right away.

So, how do we do it right? Here are various aspects about running, I learnt, on my way, some through research and other hard ways.

  1. Breathing – If your high school teacher taught you to breathe through your nose while running, forget it right now. Somebody told me, breathing through nose is like breathing through straw. Air inhaled through nose is insufficient to supply enough oxygen as required for your running. It is important to breathe through your mouth while running. One of my friend complained about head ache and it was corrected when he started breathing through mouth. You should also set rhythm for your breath. An ideal breathe will be one inhale for every two steps and one exhale for next two steps.
  2. Running Gears – Your feet and your legs are most important part of your runs. Isn't it? There are plenty of materials on net to find a good shoes for your foot. Make sure you get a good running shoes. Another important gear is t-shirt. Do you still run in cotton t-shirts for running. Make it a history now. Dry-fit running t-shirt is lighter in weight, helps your body to breathe better, sweat efficiently and doesn't get as heavier when soaked in sweat as it moves moisture away quickly when compared to cotton t-shirt. Similar to dry-fit tee, synthetic-material socks helps in moving moisture away quicker. If you haven't got right gears, make sure you get now.
  3. Hydration – No less important then any of I talked earlier, is keeping yourself hydrated. Not just while running but also when you are not running. You must always drink adequate water / liquid to keep yourself hydrated. While running, you must drink water / energy drink every 15-20 minutes. The key is to kill thirst before it kills you.
  4. Pace – One of the dilemma, I had when I started running, was how fast should I practice. Not that I could keep running at great speed, but how should I decide what is good pace for me which can help me to practice well and I don't burn myself. The rule of thumb to find optimum pace is the maximum pace at which You can talk comfortably. It might be good idea to run with a fellow runner, with whom you can talk on way.
  5. Warm up and Stretching – It is important to warm and cool down after and before running. Warm up gradually raises your heart beat rate to minimize stress when you start running. It also makes your muscle optimally flexible and efficient. Warm up should include a slow pace run and some dynamic exercises. You should cool down by running slow. Running must be followed by static stretching. It is important to not just stretch your legs but also neck, back, arms which are passively part of your running.
  6. Rest days and recovery – As important is running to you, as important should be recovery. Recovery from your previous training is required to adapt to a higher level of training stress and thus make you better runner. Recovery time varies based on training level. For beginners, you must run only 3-4 days a week. One recovery day a week can be used for cross training like cycling or swimming.

So, the new running mantra - Do it Right!!!

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