Tis’ the season for Fun Runs!
I have always been a big believer in using your surroundings as tools to exercise. I don’t know about you guys, but when the warmer weather finally arrives and the sun starts to shine, I love getting outdoors to get my blood pumping. For me, there is nothing worse than running on a treadmil, where the only scenery you get is the sweaty people either side of you and the beef cake in the corner simultaneously doing bicep curls and telling himself how good he looks.
We are so blessed to live in a city that is full of beautiful parklands, running tracks and bike trails. The first time that the barometer hits 20 degrees and sunny, I am itching to get outside and amongst the best tracks Melbourne has to offer. For example, in Blackburn alone there are at least 4 or 5 bushy tracks and trails to explore. We even have a lake, and even though it may be harboring dangerous turtles, it’s pretty cool to run around.
After a solid silly season of descending in and out of food comas and an awfully vivid dream about post-Christmas obesity it was time to get my act together. I read Kylie’s great blog post about goal setting for the year and decided to give that a red-hot go.
After making a list of mostly achievable and realistic goals for 2015, with a couple of completely unrealistic ‘get rich quick’ schemes thrown in, I was keen to get started. Over the past couple of years I have met some extremely inspiring people, some whose resilience has motivated me to give back to the community more. Hence, I set the goal of supporting a good cause. One of the other goals I was instantly drawn to and keen to start working on was to run 10km, non-stop. Thus, I decided to combine the two, instantly re-birthing goal number 4 as ‘The Fun Run’.
I had already started running 3-4 x weekly, but I needed something to motivate me to keep going and burn off those Christmas kilos. I had never run more than 3-4km at once so was keen to push myself further.
Many of you that have had no prior training/expertise/fitness that have decided to start training for any kind of distance run may know that starting out is certainly not fun. Words, phrases and scenarios that come to mind include:
- “I’m so puffed out”
- “I get bored really easily”
- “Eating cake is easier and much more delightful than this”
- “I think I have asthma”
- “So I spoke to my GP about my asthma, and he told me I was just unfit”
- “Every thing hurts”
- “When is it going to end?”
These (plus or minus a few profanities) have all come out of my mouth at one time or another while running over the past few years. Therefore to save you some of the anguish associated with distance training I thought I would share my training journey with you all, along with the cause that I will be supporting on the way. Before I begin however, I must press that I am by no means a trained/experienced distance runner so this personal account comes to you from one amateur runner to another (with a hint of osteopathic gold in there too!).
This is the first in a series of blog posts about my training journey. If this is a topic that interests you, look out for more to come!
This is by far the hardest, yet most important part of endurance training.
If you have never been a great or motivated runner, or have only ever ran 2 or 3 km at a time, it is important that you ease yourself into training. First things first, you need to gauge your level of fitness. This can be done easily by finding a measured distance track or even your local footy oval. This is what I love about running; you can just get out there and go.
If you decide to use your local oval, a great way to start is by trying to run 2.5 laps of the boundary without stopping. That would be approximately 1km and a good way to see where your fitness levels are. If you are unable to complete this distance not to worry, just try to complete one lap, or even half to begin with. It’s all about building from here.
Second of all, from an osteopathic perspective it is important that the strength and function of your low limbs is assessed. Some common strains that are incurred when starting to run, especially for distance, are around the hip, knee and ankle. If you are interested in starting, you may like to ask your osteopath for a low limb assessment. That way they can prescribe you any strength exercises or advice which may be of great benefit to you.
I started running again in September of 2014. I already had a base of aerobic fitness, as I had been exercising all throughout winter and previous to this. However, this was mostly done using an exercise bike/spin classes and playing netball, which required a different type of fitness involving shorter, anaerobic bouts of power. It took quite a few weeks of training before I was running 3km without stopping. Depending on your own ability, the time it takes to build up this fitness and the strength needed for endurance running will be entirely subjective to each person.
Goal setting can be a really helpful thing to do while getting started. I recommend an incremental start to training, for example a run, walk, run cycle. If you like the idea of using an oval, initially this can be a great way to increase your fitness. You may also like to apply some high intensity training into your exercise regime as well, as this is another great way to build up your cardiovascular fitness.
I started off running and walking in increments of 1km at a time. I used a local oval for sprinting and a local track for the jogging/walking part. I started my distance training with a history of playing sport/enjoyment of exercise, so running was not foreign for me. However, this is not to say that it wasn’t hard!! The hardest part by far was building up my level of cardiovascular endurance, which required sweat, a few tears and persistence!
Examples of an incremental/high-intensity training regime may include:
– Run 2 laps of the oval, walk 2 laps, and then repeat (number of times at your discretion).
– Time yourself as your training progresses.
– You may like to start a training diary and write down your results each session, so you can see your progress on paper.
– Examples include: distance ran and time elapsed. For me, this was a great source of motivation to keep improving upon.
– Other good ways of keeping record of your distance, speed and time may be using a digital watch with a timer, or fitness app’s such as Map my Run, Nike fitness or the use of the ever popular ‘FitBit’.
– Set out a distance of 100m (or thereabouts) on an oval or track. Try sprinting this distance, and then walking back. Try to repeat this a number of times throughout your training session, at varying levels of intensity if you like. If you don’t have the means to measure this precisely, or you find that 100m is too long, you could try running the length of the cricket pitch instead.
For those people who may not have an extensive background in exercise or running for leisure, another really great resource for beginners is the ‘Couch to 5km’ program. There is a really great app on offer, which can be purchased for around $2.50 at the App store. The program gets you started from 0-5km over a 9-week training schedule. I highly recommend this for anyone who has no experience in running what so ever. If you are interested, you can find out more about it here:
If you have any questions about beginning a training program or low limb assessment, ask your osteopath today!