Platypus' Beginners Guide to Running

Caporegime
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Platypus's Beginners Guide to Running

Introduction
I have noticed an increase in threads asking for advice about running (probably due to the weather getting better!), and as a result decided to embark upon this thread, and is inspired in no small way by GordyR’s awesome guide to bodybuilding.

Note: It is a work in progress! And could be stickied if considered good enough :p I'm hoping it will become a thread for people to throw together some useful ideas. I am by no means an expert, and I would always advise people to research a sport before taking it up. The advantage of running is that it is simple, and absolutely anyone can do it.

Hopefully this guide will be useful, and not consigned to page 31 of the Sports Arena, never to be read; if it is, at least I’ve had fun writing it, thinking about what I’ve gotten out of the sport. Hopefully it will encourage new runners, and point out things to others that they might not have known. I am hoping that it can become a useful resource. If you note an error in anything I’ve written, would like something clarified, or simply have something useful to add please don’t hesitate to either post or email me (in trust). This is here for everyone, lets at least make it useful!

I’ve also included a brief beginners section specifically for Marathons as they seem to be an overwhelmingly popular reason for people to start running (“I want to run the London marathon!”) – I figured that experienced runners already have their training and race plans. If people want me to though I can post some more information for that.

Quick Links (new window)
 
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Why Run at all?
There are many reasons to run, but mostly:
  • Get fit
  • Lose Weight
  • De-stress
  • Sense of achievement.
  • Raise money for charity
  • Improve your sex life!

I took it up myself because I'm naturally a good shape for it. Medium height and slim. Others take it up to become fit. Running regularly is a great way of staying fit, and getting into shape. If you want to lose weight, its one of the best exercises to do so, assuming you have enough discipline to change your diet somewhat. Running is great for de-stressing: going out and pounding the roads has a therapeutic rhythm to it. Perhaps one of the best reasons to take up running is the sense of achievement. I can guarantee that you will never forget the first time you cross a finish line, and if you are brave enough to try a marathon, there is little that can beat crossing under that banner. It has also been scientifically proven that running improves your sex life! :p

Myths
If I take up running I’ll become super-fit!
Only if you do it regularly, and take care of yourself by following the readily available advice. Join a running club, stretch, fix your diet, get some proper shoes, and you will become fitter. Don’t forget – you can run casually for fun as well as to become an elite athlete!

If I take up running I’ll lose weight
Whilst it is true that running is one of the most effective sports to lose weight, it won’t matter at all if you don’t fix your diet.

I’m too unfit/fat to run!
Rubbish. Tosh. Claptrap. Whilst it is true that initially you will find running easier if you are fit, it is nonsensical to think that you cannot take up the sport. Anyone can run. If you are overweight and/or unfit, start by walking. This will help strengthen the muscles in your legs and back, which are used when running. Go for a brisk walk three times a week, gradually breaking into a slow jog. It will take time, but you will get quicker, and you will feel so much better!

A few things to note: What I consider to be the most important thing when considering running is your shoes - I cannot stress this enough: Get your shoes fitted, and do not scrimp on them! Please read the guide to shoes below.

Whatever you do: before a run, make sure you stretch: Even if it means you cut 10 minutes out of your daily run. Please visit http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/126.shtml for an excellent list of stretches you should be doing before and after every run. This should not be an optional start/finish to any runner’s session. It can be the difference between an easy, enjoyable run, or serious recurring injury.
 
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Top tips for beginners
  • Start slowly and build up:
    It is very easy to get carried away and try to do too much too soon, especially when returning from injury or illness. Aside from possible disappointment and loss of enthusiasm, this can lead to injury, or the recurrence of a prior incumbency. Start slowly, always stretch well before and after a session, and if you are completely new to running begin by walking first.
  • Get decent running shoes:
    The one essential piece of kit is a properly fitted pair of running shoes (see the shoe section).
  • Have a running log:
    A simple diary that records every run you do, no matter how long or short, a great way to motivate. It also provides important benchmarking data, and can be easily stored in excel to make some fancy graphs, if you are that way inclined!
  • Have a goal:
    Training on a regular basis is helped greatly by having something to aim for, be it that first 10km race, to lose a stone, or that sub 3-hour marathon. Whatever the goal is, make it achievable so that when working towards it, the motivational aspects take care of themselves.
  • Stretch:
    One of the most important aspects of running. Stretching makes muscles more flexible and reduces the chance of injury. Stretch for a good 10 minutes before and after a run (see the stretching section).
  • Join a running club:
    Running clubs are exactly that, a group of people that love running. Most are happy to take on complete beginners so don't be shy to ask. The people around you have all been there, and will be a source of help, inspiration and motivation.
  • Run safely:
    73% of accidents involving vehicles and runners are the fault of the runner, not the driver.
  • Drink lots of water and eat properly:
    Runners burn up more energy than non-runners, both while they are running (on average 100 calories per mile) and afterwards. See the diet section.
  • Enjoy your running!:
    Don't let running become stressful. Don't set unrealistic goals, or use an unrealistic training plan.
 
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I have undergone something of a life changing revelation in regards to running and shoes.

A lot of this information still applies, however be open minded and consider barefoot running.

Shoes

One of the advantages of running compared to some other sports is that you don't need to buy much kit. However, above all you need a pair of shoes that is right for you. I cannot stress this enough: Have your shoes fitted professionally.

Whenever possible, go to a specialist running shop where you can have ‘Gait Analysis’ performed. Also, you will get a better selection, and more importantly good advice. Support running shops rather than the big chains. If, after consulting a running shop you are still concerned (or the specialists raised specific problems with your style), you may want to see a podiatrist.

Wearing incorrect or ill-fitting shoes can lead to blisters, painful shins and joints, or even worse, injury. Many people are permanently put off from running due to not having the right shoes, something that can be solved in a simple 15 minute consultation with a shoe expert.

What sort of shoes should I buy?
There is no such thing as a "good brand" of shoes, or a "best model". Every runner is different in the way they run, and different running shoes are suitable for different running styles. And it is quite possible that a £50 pair of shoes would suit you better than a £100 pair. Below are some common terms you may hear banded around in a running shop – don’t worry if you don’t know what they mean, just ask! The staff are there to help.
  • Over-Pronation:
    This is the most common complaint, and refers to when the foot lands, and rolls inwards too much.
  • Supination (or Under-Pronation):
    This is rarer, and is where the foot doesn’t roll inwards enough, thereby not cushioning the impact enough.
  • Orthotics:
    If your style is severe enough, you may be recommended orthotics. These are (in the more severe cases) moulded to your foot, and then inserted into your shoes, in order to support your feet and legs better whilst running.
Try as many models as it takes. A specialist running shop will have no qualms about letting you try on several pairs of shoes. Indeed, on my last visit to Advanced Performance in Peterborough, I went through roughly fifteen pairs before I found the right shoe.

Quick Tips
  • Go to a specialist running shop:
    Don't go to a general sports chain. You need an experienced shop assistant to watch you run in different models to see how they affect your running style.
  • Go during the week:
    When the full time staff are there - they will usually be more expert than part-time Saturday staff.
  • Try the shoes:
    Don't just put them on, but run up and down the street in them. You need to feel comfortable in them, as well as be reassured that they have the right degree of stability for you. If the shop won't let you do this, go to one that will.
 
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What To Wear

The clothes worn during running can greatly affect your performance. Whilst it isn't necessary to spend hundreds of pounds on the latest line of summer fashion from various manufacturers, it is necessary to ensure that you give your body the best chance it has to perform, and clothing is a good place to pick up some easy advantages.

When you exercise, you generate heat irrespective of how cold the ambient temperature is. As your body warms up, it will try to cool itself by sweating. The idea behind the clothing you wear, should be to draw the sweat away from your skin so that it can evaporate in to the atmosphere.

It's hot, its sunny, I want to run!

Great, obviously running in heat is easier then the cold. You can wear less, and remain warm! Whilst there isn't much advice to give here, be sensible and wear suncream if it is sunny, even if its not hot. Remember to keep hydrated as this will affect your performance and can lead to cramps.

A note on Cramps: A recent article in runners world magazine has mooted the idea that cramping up is not related to dehydration at all. However - this has not been scientifically proven/unproven. Either way, drinking plenty of water will, if nothing else, help you perform better.

I want to go running, but its so cold!

Exercising when cold can be risky. If you don't stretch properly, or keep your muscles at a warm enough temperature, strains, pulls and even tears become more commonplace. The basic premise of running in the cold should involve two layers of clothing: A base layer and a protective layer. The base layer will typically be light, thin, and wicking. This means the sweat will be transported away from your skin sooner, and evaporate faster, using less energy and thusly meaning you lose less heat. The protective layer should be thin aswell - the heat trapped between two thin layers helps to keep you warm. If you need to wear a coat, don't go for a heavily waterproofed coat as it is less breatheable; a light wind/waterproof combination is best.

What is this Wicking stuff you mention? Why is it better then my favourite cotton t-shirt?

Cooling is aided greatly by Wicking material, which is generally a thin layer, well perforated, that sits closely on the skin. As the sweat soaks through the thin material, and the perforations, it sits on the outside of the cloth, and is easily evaporated. Cotton, however, absorbs the sweat, and as a result gets cold, heavy, and remains wet. This steals energy and warmth from the skin and the body gets colder. In the worst case scenario this can lead to hypothermia.

I can only run at night, any useful tips?

The most important thing about running at night is keeping safe. This doesn't mean just from cars, but sadly from some people aswell. If possible, stick to populated areas, and try to make sure that you always run with someone else. Aside from the notion of safety in numbers, if you are running in less civilised areas and get injured, you have someone to help you. Take a mobile phone, and stick to sensible paths that you can see. If possible take a torch or a bike light, there is nothing worse then going on a cross country run and turning your ankle in the middle of nowhere because you didn't see a divot.

Make sure you can be seen. From reflective clothing to lights, always ensure that if you run anywhere near roads that you can be seen. A flourescent vest, or a couple of arm lights are a good start, but the easier it is for a car to see you, the less likely you are to be hit.
 
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Diet

Diet is of vital importance to any athelete. It provides the necessary energy for the sport, and aids in recovery and maintaining and building muscles. As a runner specifically, your diet should be biased towards complex carbohydrates, with plenty of proteins, and vegetables.

On the whole, try and get plenty of:
  • Carbohydrates
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Iron
  • Vitamin E
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin B6

Vitamin C

This is particularly useful, helping to reduce blood pressure, boosts your mental positivety, and helps you push through the pain barrier more. The RDA for Vitamin C is 60MG, but for atheletes, it should be at least 200MG, based on how much Iron is in your diet. The RDA for Iron is 41mg for women, and 35mg for men. To absord this iron properly, you need to supplement it with Vitamin C to the tune of 1:5, eg 205mg for women, and 175mg for men.

Vitamin C content of some Vegetables (in milligrams)
  • Brussels sprouts 135 (1 cup)
  • Cabbage 48 (1 cup)
  • Potatoes 22 (1 medium sized boiled)
  • Lettuce 18 (4 inch diameter)
  • Carrot/Onions 9 (1 cup)
  • Broccoli 162 (1 stalk)

Vitamin C is chemically active in producing Collagen. This substance helps injuries heal, and become strong enough to prevent re-occurrence. When injured, taking up to 1000mg of Vitamin C for a week can significantly boost the healing time, and the strength of the mend in the muscle.

Vitamin C encourages the formation of lymphocytes, which help fight infections. Training with a cold can be bad for the body, so boost your Vitamin C intake during a virus to get back on the road quicker.


How to boil vegetables

Vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, which aid in the building and maintaining of muscle, and in recovery. Remember: if they are placed in cold water in a saucepan and then brought to boil, about two thirds of the vitamin’s strength will be destroyed. If placed in boiling water from the outset and the water is later used for soup, about two-thirds of the strength will be maintained.

Quick Diet Tips
  • If you exercise regularly, you need to eat and drink more:
    If you start exercising but go on eating the same amount, you will lose weight (great for the people who set their goals to losing weight, but extremely detrimental to people that want to get better at running). Running, jogging or walking a mile burns on average 100 calories; and if you run regularly, your resting metabolism will increase. If you run 40 miles a week, you'll need to eat about 800-1000 calories a day extra.
  • Eat plenty of a wide variety of fresh or unprocessed foods:
    Your body needs carbohydrate, protein and fat, as well as vitamins, mineral, trace elements and water. If you deny it those things, you are likely to become lethargic, ill or get injured.
  • Drink lots of water:
    Try to consume at least 2 litres a day. Always have a bottle of water on your desk at work, and sip regularly during the day. Being properly hydrated will improve your running and even your complexion! Tea and coffee don't help: they are diuretic (ie they make you urinate more) so they increase the need to drink water.
  • Eat more complex carbohydrates:
    About half of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates. This means lots of potatoes, pasta, bread, cereals and fruit. Where possible, try to eat unprocessed foods. Unfortunately, most pasta (the runner's staple) is refined: go for wholemeal instead.
  • Eat a low fat diet:
    You should not eliminate fats altogether, but they should not form more than about 15 per cent of your calorie intake each day.
  • Replenish your carbohydrates within two hours of exercise:
    Your muscles will recover much more quickly, and your body will increase its capacity to store glycogen, if you eat easily digestible carbohydrates (eg bananas) or drink a recovery sports drink soon after exercise - preferably within half an hour, and certainly within two hours.
  • Keep a food diary:
    You might be surprised by what you are really eating, even if you think you have a healthy diet. For a week, keep track of everything you eat, and break it down into carbohydrate, fat and protein.
  • You probably don't need many vitamin supplements:
    If you eat a varied diet and you ensure that your fruit and vegetables are fresh, you should get the vitamins and minerals you need. But some runners on a heavy training schedule take a multi-vitamin tablet each day, and if you are prone to infections you might want to take Vitamin C and Zinc supplements.
  • Eat little and often:
    Ideally, start the day with a big breakfast with plenty of carbohydrates, such as muesli or toast. This will give you more fuel for the day, and help to increase your carbohydrate intake.
 
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Beginners Marathon Guide
If you are completely new to running, it is unadvisable to run a marathon within a year. Marathons are one of the most punishing things you can put your body through, and it needs plenty of training to be ready. Certainly you shouldn’t attempt a marathon with less then 8 months training, as this could lead to serious injury.

Begin by walking a few times a week, bearing in mind that you want to begin to prepare for a marathon roughly 4-6 months before, not including regular running – that is to say irrespective of your normal running you should be prepared to start a specific training plan 4-6 months before the event.

Remember: A marathon will stress every single part of your body. Running is an impact sport, and if you don’t train sufficiently, you could injure yourself.

Quick beginners tips
As a brief guide, weekly training for a marathon should include:
  • a long slow distance run
  • tempo run, building up to 18 miles
  • one or two speed sessions
  • some strength or hill sessions, possibly replacing a speed session
  • recovery runs
  • a rest day

The order in which you do these during the week will depend on your other commitments. Some basic guidelines for doing this are:
  • Do not put two hard sessions on consecutive days (ie speed sessions and hill sessions should be separated by a day of lighter running, though you can just about do an long run the day after a speed session)
  • Do not increase your distance by more than 10% from one week to the next
  • Make one week in every four a lighter week
  • If you miss a session, don't try to catch up.

A basic training guide
  • Monday - easy recovery run
  • Tuesday - hills or speed
  • Wednesday - tempo
  • Thursday - speed
  • Friday - rest
  • Saturday - moderate pace run
  • Sunday – Long distance run

Week by week guide (by weeks to marathon)
Week 24-17
This is the time where you lay the foundations. Gradually build up, adding no more than 10% a week to your weekly mileage. Your long runs should gradually extend out until you can run a half marathon comfortably, and preferably 16 miles without too much difficulty. If you cut this section short, you increase the risk of injury later.

Week 17-4
Begin your tempo runs at 7 miles in week M-15 Build up by a mile a week, until week M-4 when you should aim to run 18 miles at race pace. Your long runs should include some 20 mile runs, at least 2 and preferably 3 weeks apart. You should aim to do 3 or 4 of these, the last being about 4 weeks before the marathon. Include 4 weeks in which you focus more on strength training (say in weeks M-12 to M-8), cutting back on some of your speed training.

Week 3-1
Taper down. Maintain the same effort levels, but cut your distances by 25%, 50% and 75% in the last three weeks respectively. You should not run longer than a half marathon in this period.
 
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Useful Diet Science


Christina Robilliard is a registered nutritional therapist in practice in Central London. said:
Hydration - Water, the forgotten nutrient

The human body is composed of 25% solid matter, and 75% water.

Your bones are are a quarter water. The muscles that drive your performance are three quarters water. If you dehydrate a muscle by only 3% you cause about a 10% loss of contractile strength, and 8% loss of speed. The truth is dehydration amongst athletes goes unrecognised and unacknowledged, even though the effects of dehydration during physical exercise have been well documented. A new paradigm has been presented regarding the function and role of water in human biochemistry. It is now generally believed that it is the water in our bodies that regulates all functions of the body, including the activity of all the solutes that are dissolved in it. This is contrary to the previously held belief that the solute composition is the governing factor of all biological functions of the body, i.e. the water is just the packing material. Life on earth could not exist without its unique physical, chemical and electrical qualities. Why then if water covers 70% of the planet and makes up 70% of our bodies, is chronic dehydration pandemic? Perhaps it is due to its abundance that we take it so much for granted. The most elaborate dietary regimes and costly nutritional supplementation can only work if a person is well hydrated.

When you become dehydrated a cascade of chemical events take place. Your body naturally begins to increase production of histamine. Histamine is present in all body tissues and produced by the mast cells found in connective tissue. Not only is histamine a mediator in inflammation, but it acts as a neurotransmitter, directing and operating the subordinate systems that promote water distribution to various tissues and organs. These subordinate systems involve the action of the hormones vasopressin and renin-angiotensin, as well as prostaglandins and kinins. When levels become excessively active the mucus membranes of the lungs, for example, can become irritated and in time the muscles and tissues that make up the breathing mechanism can go into spasm, resulting in severe breathing problems and at worse asthma . This in addition to long term damage to the immune system is bad news indeed for the athlete.

When the core temperature rises while training the blood that would otherwise be available for the muscles is used for cooling via respiration and perspiration. The body will do this automatically as temperature moves out of the preferred narrow range. It is this loss of water that ultimately impairs physical performance and interferes with normal cognitive function. Intense exercise can increase heat production in muscles 20 fold. Don’t be fooled by lack of thirst and not feeling thirsty. These sensors are inhibited by strenuous exercise.

Fluid replacement is a much misunderstood and frequently misguided aspect of nutrition and performance. Here are some guidelines:

Prehydrate – by drinking extra water for the 2 days preceding the event and continue up to 20 minutes before the start. Your stomach requires that much time to empty. Carbo loading will increase your water loading yield. In order to store each gram of glycogen, the body has to store 2.7gms of water. It is possible to consider yourself optimally hydrated when you urinate frequently and your urine is clear.

During performance take all the plain water you can get. This is particularly important for events of 30 minutes and over. Ideally water intake should match sweat loss and a prehydrated athlete has more water to spare, meaning better times and improved recovery. Cold water leaves the stomach far more quickly than room temperature water. Sip, don’t gulp and stay away from the carbonated drinks that slow absorption. The single most important factor that affects the rate of water emptying is its glucose content. The more glucose present, the slower the gastric emptying time. This includes commercial sports drinks containing high levels of simple sugar – don’t be fooled by the false feeling of increased energy. For events of 1.5 to 2 hours or longer some additional glucose and electrolyte support may be beneficial. Fructose is the preferred choice as it doesn’t stimulate insulin release like glucose does, and also replaces liver glycogen better.

Rehydrate – with plain, cold water, sipped, not gulped. Avoid everything in the goody bag until you are at least four glasses ahead, to avoid cramps and possible nausea. Continue to drink extra for the following 12 - 36 hours. To establish when hydration has been adequately recovered, you should weigh yourself prior to training or competing and again afterwards, ensuring you have drunk the equivalent amount of water lost. As a rough guide 1 pint of water equals 1 pound of lost weight. If you calculate water loss as a percentage of body weight, losing more than 1% of bodyweight can have serious consequences. The major electrolytes lost during exercise in sweat can be found in fresh fruit and vegetables, (including salt). Ensure you diet contains plenty of these.

The message is use water for what it is, the main component of your body and keep it as pure as possible, either bottled or filtered. Drink small regular amounts frequently. Drink your water fridge temperature. Do not rely on the thirst mechanism. Rehydrate using the one pint to one pound principle. Consider electrolyte replacement when exercise exceeds 1.5 hours. Carbohydrates store water – carbo load 6 days prior to competition. Keep dietary intake of fresh fruit and vegetables high. Where indicated appropriate testing of mineral levels can be carried out by a registered nutritional therapist.


In praise of protein

Protein is found more abundantly in the body than any other substance except water; fifty percent of the dry weight of your body is protein. The haemoglobin that carries the oxygen in your blood is protein. The structure of your genes and your brain cells is totally protein. All bodily functions from the blink of any eye to the creation of new muscle are controlled by enzymes and all enzymes are proteins. Protein is crucial for good health. The deficiency of this substance can cause poor stamina, hormonal problems, poor immune system function, lowered resistance to disease and slower recovery from training. It is vital you get it right.

Essential amounts of protein will vary with individuals and your body needs will vary as your body goes through its natural cycle of building and cleansing, training and recovery. Your metabolic / body type and your constitution will also determine your protein requirements and whether your needs can be met via a vegetarian diet or whether more concentrated sources of protein are preferred.

As protein is digested it is broken down into amino acids. There are 22 different acids, all of which must be present in the body. However, 10 of these are essential for life and must be supplied by the diet. These amino acids are used in the structure of body tissues, hormones, enzymes and antibodies (hence chicken soup being a good cold remedy!). Protein sources that contain all the essential amino acids in abundance are fish, chicken, animal meats and eggs and are referred to as ‘dense’ proteins. Small amounts of one or more amino acids can be found in beans, rice,grains,cereals and soybeans. Consequently, these are not considered "high quality" sources of proteins (some even go so far as to consider them in the wrong ratios for human nutrition) and must be eaten in combination and in abundance. Rice for example, although it feeds more than half the world, will not maintain lean tissue, one reason why rice eaters are almost all small-boned, small-muscled people. If you do combine grains and legumes your body can get sufficient of each amino acid to maintain health. However, when fighting illness or training hard dense protein is usually the better choice. The demands of an athlete exceed the normal criteria for ‘health’. During exercise, the body uses protein at a much faster rate. If you increase the intensity and duration of exercise protein needs increase even further. Tour de France cyclists require two and a half times the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowances) to stay in protein balance (allowances which have little relevance to athletes to begin with).

What is little understood by athletes is the role of protein in the regulation of blood sugar, via the hormonal system. This is called ‘glycaemic regulation’ and involves eating small and frequent meals combining a balance of carbohydrate and protein at each meal or snack at approximately 2:1 (grams or calories). This way of eating is particularly useful for hormonal support by reducing the stimulation of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone elevated by exercise, especially excessive training and contraindicated at continually high levels in the body.

Listen to your body. Is your body is telling you your protein needs to come from higher sources? If you are taking in enough protein, are you breaking it down (assimilating it)? One of the requirements of protein is to manufacture digestive enzymes needed for protein digestion. In clinical practice I find many athletes lacking in these enzymes. If your body is telling you your protein needs to come from higher sources and you have problems digesting it, you may require some digestive aid in the form of enzymes for a while.

Once you have chosen which protein you are going to eat, the quantity as well as the quality is important. Too small an intake will cause problems already mentioned and too much (especially if not digested properly) can stress the system. It is possible to overload the system with protein and this can lead to problems of excessive toxicity, whereby the body is unable to adequately remove dangerous wastes. Trial and error will help you decide your individual needs. The key is to match your protein intake to your training programme. Superior protein supplements for those that require them are now available. My preferred form is concentrated nutrients derived from prime quality lean white fish, harvested from deep unpolluted ocean waters i.e. nature’s way or ‘food form’.

I believe that understanding how training and diet affect hormonal systems is the real key to achieving athletic performance. Athletes that compensate a low protein intake by taking in too much carbohydrate (especially refined carbohydrate) can expect constant hunger, difficulty losing body fat, decreased oxygen transport to muscle cells and decreased endurance. A profile I come across frequently in my practice. The truth is a high carbohydrate, low protein diet has adverse hormonal effects.

Think of food as a modulator of hormones and exercise and food go hand in hand. If the 2:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio is maintained for 5-7 days the body has the time period to make the appropriate hormonal adjustment. When your body is in balance you will experience exceptional health and peak performance. Food is not just a modulator of hunger – it is your medicine and your ticket to good health. The simple truth is that if the proteins you eat are poor quality then all the structures of your body will be poor quality. You need optimum levels of protein to build optimum structure and body proteins are not there forever, they die and need to be replaced.
 
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Useful Resources
http://www.runnersworld.co.uk - Popular running magazine with a vast wealth of resources, from kit to training.
http://www.coolrunning.com/ - A good collection of running resources.
http://www.foot.com/ - Look after your feet!
http://www.runnersworld.ltd.uk/ - Plenty of good advice for beginners and experienced runners alike.
http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/
http://www.halhigdon.com/ - A wealth of information for runners, from beginner to expert.

Exercises & Stretches
http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_1/126.shtml
http://www.running4beginners.co.uk/StretchingAnd.html
http://www.runnersrescue.com/Stretching_Running.htm
http://www.momentumsports.co.uk/TtStBody.asp
http://www.runningthings.com/running-stretches.php
Couch Potato-5K training guide - Thanks to Mad Old Tory

Marathons
Start to Finish Marathon Guide
A fantastic marathon training resource.

Ultra-Marathons
http://www.ultrarunner.net/
http://www.multidays.com/
http://www.ambitionevents.com/

Shops
http://www.advanceperformance.co.uk/ (Peterborough & Cambridge)
http://www.northernrunner.com/ (Newcastle)
http://www.runnersneed.co.uk/ (London)
http://www.soleobsession.co.uk/ (Salisbury)
http://www.runningbath.co.uk/ (Bath)
http://www.birminghamrunner.com/ (Birmingham)
http://www.peteblandsports.co.uk/ (Kendal)
http://www.bournesports.com/ (Stoke)
http://www.sub-4.co.uk/ (Stoke)
http://www.runways.ie/store/ (Dublin)
http://www.amphibianking.ie/ (Bray)
http://wiggle.co.uk/default.aspx?cat=run
http://www.sweatshop.co.uk/
http://www.upandrunning.co.uk/
http://www.snowlines.co.uk/acatalog/running.html
http://www.virginrunner.co.uk/
http://www.sportsshoes.com/
http://www.startfitness.co.uk/
http://www.joejogger.co.uk/

Diet
Owen Bader's guide to Sugar
 
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A Brief Guide to...Barefoot/Minimalist Running

BFR = Barefoot Running. MR = minimalist running.

http://therunningbarefoot.com/begin-here

This is based on my own personal experiences and research over the last six months. As one of the barefoot running guru's says "Be a skeptical consumer of advice, even from me."

Why did I start to look at Barefoot/Minimalist running?
Like many runners, roughly 90% in fact, I have had running injuries. And I haven't enjoyed my running in recent years due to chronic knee/back/leg problems. I haven't been able to train for a while without injuries. A friend at my running club recommended a book to me, and whilst there are certain issues with it and I don't take everything it says as blind truth, Born to Run has become something of a bible for me. I spent some time hanging round barefoot running forums before I took up minimalist walking, to ease myself in to it, all the time reading further and further into the subject before I finally worked up to jogging and running.

It's worth noting at this point that I rarely wear shoes, apart from where its unavoidable (public transport for example). Within a week of walking around not wearing shoes, my posture was significantly better; I've always been a bit of a sloucher but my walking frame is a lot better, and feels a lot more comfortable. I have no hard evidence for this other than how I feel and look when I walk (my improvement in posture has been noted by friends).

There are of course however pitfalls to be wary of.

Barefoot Running University said:
Here is a list of a few of these drawbacks to barefoot running that rarely if ever receive attention. Most of these tend to be exceptions rather than rules, so they are not universal. If you experience these, be assured you are not alone.

Your feet are sensitive in the beginning, and that sensitivity registers as pain. We like to code this with the term “discomfort” or “unique sensation”, but most people will feel pain. This is a good thing as most of us are pretty adept at avoiding pain. This is what makes this form of learning so effective.

cont...http://barefootrunninguniversity.com/2011/05/25/some-taboo-truths-about-barefoot-running/

Links
http://barefootrunninguniversity.com/
http://borntorun.com/
http://therunningbarefoot.com/
http://runningtrainingplan.com/runningpress/2009/the-first-barefoot-run-25th-july/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19188889
http://barefootrunners.org/story/as...ebate-continues-bill-katovsky-wwwzero-dropcom
http://barefootrunners.org/story/track-shoes-broke-400-minute-mile-courtesy-wwwzero-dropcom
http://www.freethyfeet.com/

Is it for me?
I've no idea, and if I claimed otherwise I'd be lying and potentially causing you injury. I've turned to MR as a means to reducing injury, and so far my experiences have been positive; I run MR twice a week, BFR once a week, and still run in my old trainers - I just concentrate a lot more on my stride whilst shod in my trainers, and try to replicate my MR/BFR stride.

Hell I don't even know if its for me long term - the furthest I've run MR is 3.4KM (to a landmark and back to my house) and BFR is just over a mile (a double loop of Jesus Green). My goal is to slowly build up to the point where I can comfortably run a 10K either via BFR or MR.

One thing that needs to be made clear is that there is not a huge amount of evidence to compare BFR/MR to shod running. It's a popular movement that is gaining impetus, and there is a fair bit of evidence around to show benefits of it, it is still a movement in it's infancy - much like modern running trainers were 40 years ago. One thing it is worth pointing out is that since the invention of the modern running trainer (1967), there is absolutely no evidence at all that injuries have decreased, despite all the fancy gimmicks in trainers.


*****TBC*****

I'll add more info as I go, and detail more of my experiences.
 
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Soldato
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Great post!

Though I can't run more than a mile without stopping, the muscle that runs down my shin just locks up and goes rock solid. Very painfull and I have to stop and stretch and wait for a mintue then carry on, very annoying and it's holding my HIIT training back. Shins feel bruised and sore the next day.

Running on concrete/ tarmac is impossible so I have to doing my training on grass as this allows me to run a little further.

Crazy thing is though that I play football every week for 90 mins without any problems at all :confused:
 
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This is most likely a combination of the following:

You play football, which involves a lot of stop/start type motions, running is a more sustained sport and so your muscles are more used to sprint/quickfire/burst movements. If you want to run, take it easy for a few weeks and put a few miles on, then start to jog a bit quicker.

The muscle that runs down your shin is the Tibialis Anterior (or Interior), and probably goes stiff because you don't stretch it enough before warm ups, and your calf muscles aren't strong enough for your running action. Again taking it easy and building up slowly will help this.

As I've said above, check your shoes! Ill-fitting shoes can cause injuries and put people off running for good. If running on roads/tarmac is hurting you, you probably need high-medial support shoes, find a running shop nearby and find out.

Hope this helps :)
 
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Excellent guide, i was thinking about compiling something for us beginners!

Would you say its advisable to run a 1/2 marathon in the first year of running, i have been running since jan properly,in the last month or so i have been running 10-12km 3 times a week, without stopping, its a crap pace mind you, it takes me an hour to do 10km:(

Target is to run the GNR later this year.
 
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platypus said:
This is most likely a combination of the following:

You play football, which involves a lot of stop/start type motions, running is a more sustained sport and so your muscles are more used to sprint/quickfire/burst movements. If you want to run, take it easy for a few weeks and put a few miles on, then start to jog a bit quicker.

The muscle that runs down your shin is the Tibialis Anterior (or Interior), and probably goes stiff because you don't stretch it enough before warm ups, and your calf muscles aren't strong enough for your running action. Again taking it easy and building up slowly will help this.

As I've said above, check your shoes! Ill-fitting shoes can cause injuries and put people off running for good. If running on roads/tarmac is hurting you, you probably need high-medial support shoes, find a running shop nearby and find out.

Hope this helps :)
I do lots of stretching, just doesn't help. I very much doubt that my calfs aren't strong enough but I suppose it's a possibility.

Treadmill running is easy and no problem, running around the gym on the mats doesn't cause me problems and grass helps. I just don't understand how I can play football for so long without pain, yet I step out the front door and before I'm at the end of the street it's hurting and after half a mile I really need to stop.

I do lean on the outside of my foot quite heavily and I think this is playing a big part. Is there a site that lists where the nearest specialist shop is to me just outside Manchester, I think I should visit one.

When I asked my doctor about it he said it was lactic acidosis, have heard of this? My doc is an idiot though. :o

Thanks for the help :)
 
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Chong Warrior said:
I do lean on the outside of my foot quite heavily and I think this is playing a big part. Is there a site that lists where the nearest specialist shop is to me just outside Manchester, I think I should visit one.

When I asked my doctor about it he said it was lactic acidosis, have heard of this? My doc is an idiot though. :o

Thanks for the help :)
I'm trying to find a definitive list of running shops, but I do know that there is a good running store in the Triangle (old Corn Exchange) in the centre of Manchester called Up & Running (link now added), that will perform gait and video motion analysis for you.

Lactic acidosis is simply the build up of lactic acid in your muscles, and is generally due to you not taking enough glucose in before and during exercise.
 
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wohoo said:
Excellent guide, i was thinking about compiling something for us beginners!

Would you say its advisable to run a 1/2 marathon in the first year of running, i have been running since jan properly,in the last month or so i have been running 10-12km 3 times a week, without stopping, its a crap pace mind you, it takes me an hour to do 10km:(

Target is to run the GNR later this year.
Glad you find it useful, hopefully others will too!

If you've been running since January, and you're already at 60minutes/10KM, you're doing fine! Don't worry about judging yourself against any other pace, you're running 6 minute Kilometres already, thats a pretty good basis for going forward, should you choose to carry on with your running.

As you're doing 3 10KM runs a week as well by this stage, you clearly have the fitness capacity.

The best thing is that you have a goal, the Great North Run. Its not unrealistic at all for you to do a half marathon in your first year. Remember - keep a log! Then, lets say you complete the half marathon in 2 hours. Keep up with your training, and aim to beat it by 15 minutes your next half marathon race. Its both exciting and motivating to work through a goal like that.

A goal like raising money for charity also really helps, my charity of choice is the British Heart Foundation, but there's countless out there, and maybe one that is special to yourself.

If you want any more advice/specific training advice for a half, just ask :)

Edit: I am hoping to build up more resources for training, I just haven't had time. I stuck the marathon one up because thats the 'biggy' that gets most people into running in the first place ;)
 
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Soldato
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Very good guide. :)

I've just started attempting getting fit again so I've been down the gym and out running. I've got myself some good trainers as like you said I was getting creasing pain down my shins. That sorted now I can do 3miles in 30mins which while isn't great I'm getting better and feel I can push more.

My first target will be to do a few 10km.
 
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platypus said:
Glad you find it useful, hopefully others will too!

If you've been running since January, and you're already at 60minutes/10KM, you're doing fine! Don't worry about judging yourself against any other pace, you're running 6 minute Kilometres already, thats a pretty good basis for going forward, should you choose to carry on with your running.

As you're doing 3 10KM runs a week as well by this stage, you clearly have the fitness capacity.

The best thing is that you have a goal, the Great North Run. Its not unrealistic at all for you to do a half marathon in your first year. Remember - keep a log! Then, lets say you complete the half marathon in 2 hours. Keep up with your training, and aim to beat it by 15 minutes your next half marathon race. Its both exciting and motivating to work through a goal like that.

A goal like raising money for charity also really helps, my charity of choice is the British Heart Foundation, but there's countless out there, and maybe one that is special to yourself.

If you want any more advice/specific training advice for a half, just ask :)

Edit: I am hoping to build up more resources for training, I just haven't had time. I stuck the marathon one up because thats the 'biggy' that gets most people into running in the first place ;)

Thanks.I must say im addicted to running at the mo, sometimes its a drag after work to get motivated, but once im out on the road, its great, im normally buzzing all night.

I use a Nike + dongle thingy to go with my ipod to log all my runs, works very well imo.
 
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Just a quick note wohoo, I haven't had time to include this yet in the guide.

Don't go for a long/strenuous run if you are very tired. Do something light if you are adamant about going for a run, but if you run whilst very mentally or physically tired, it can really hamper your recovery.

Quality rather then quantity is very apt.
 
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