4 Corrections You Need to Make Before Running

Probably one of the most hotly debated topics on the internet apart from whether or not a potato can be called paleo is the idea of running.

Is it good?

Is it bad?

What constitutes “running” anyways?


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Let’s define running as a pace that is around 65% effort and can be maintained for long duration. Not full on sprints, not walking, but somewhere in the middle of those two.

Some may even call it jogging.

On one end of the spectrum you have the people who love running and believe humans were built to rhythmically place one foot in front of another, travelling long distances.

On the opposite end, is the anaerobic camp proclaiming running will rip the testosterone straight from your body and leave you soft, weak and generally pathetic.

So who is right?

Well the question you have to answer is WHY are you running in the first place?

– Do you enjoy running?

– Are you trying to drop a few pounds?

– Do you play a sport that requires running?

– What result are you looking for when you add running to your life?

First off, if you like running who the hell are we to tell you not to do it?

We can give you guidelines and recommendations based on your current fitness level but if you like running, let’s be honest, you’re going to do it regardless. So if it makes you happy, by all means run until your little heart is content, just be aware of the potential consequences if you are inadequately prepared. According to Runners World: bum knees, sore hips, stress fractures, and a variety of other lower body overuse injuries are commonplace among those who run frequently. Doesn’t sound like a fair trade for someone trying to improve their fitness level, does it?

If your primary concern is fat loss, please address these three things before you look to running as your cure:

– Diet

– Resistance training

– Sleep

Contrary to popular belief, these three things will take care of the majority of your fat loss.

If all three are under control, then look to running to supplement your fat loss journey, but don’t make it your staple. It should be used on a MED (minimum effective dose) basis. If you’re losing fat at a reasonable rate, adding more running or cardio may actually hinder your progress.

Be patient, more is not always better.

From an athletic standpoint, there are sports that require the ability to run. If your sport requires it, you have to train it.

Specificity is king from a technical and conditioning standpoint. Does that mean it should compose all of your training? Absolutely not, but it may have a small role to play depending on your sport.

The 4 Corrections people need to make before running are these:

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1) They are too weak.

Most can’t squat without knees buckling or they can only load the movement with marginally heavy soup cans in their hands. Unfortunately, this type of stimulus won’t produce a response necessary to reap the benefits of strength training. Deadlifts? Well if picking your running shoes off the ground is the most hinging and glute work you do, it’s no wonder your body will crumble under the weight you slam down on it during every step. Forces can exceed x2 bodyweight on each strike. That’s significant load to bear, when you have no base strength to begin with.

SOLUTION:

Strength train 2-3 times a week. Including exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges and core will ensure you have sufficient strength to handle forces much greater than bodyweight. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out the workout in this article. It’s a solid lower body program for anyone just starting strength training.

 

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2) They don’t have optimal body composition.

As the great Stu McGill says “You need to get fit to run. Don’t run to get fit.” Does this mean you have to be 5% body fat? No, but it also means you shouldn’t be 30%. If stairs and daily physical activities give you heart arrhythmias, start with strength training while focusing on fixing up your eating habits – this will you drop some fat resulting in a healthier body from both a musculoskeletal and cardiovascular standpoint.

SOLUTION:

Remember the importance of diet and sleep? Well start skipping burger king to eat a more lean meats, vegetables and fruits. Go to bed at a time where you can get more than 7 hours of un-interrupted sleep. These two things alone will do more for your waist line than running ever will.

Having a hard time changing that all at once? Start with a simple habit of cooking one meal at home every day that has some animal protein, vegetables and a little starch. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you are now. Should be more than manageable for most.

 

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3) They don’t know how to run.

Pretty much a no brainer but people always believe they are flawless in everything they do – news flash though, we can almost always improve our technique in physical activity. Poor technical habits lead to injury, fatigue and make running a counterproductive activity despite people’s best intentions.

SOLUTION:

If you haven’t run in years or were never good at running, get a coach to teach you. Despite what you may think there is a technique and being efficient at the ideal running form will save you injuries and headaches down the road.

If you don’t have access to a coach or the funds don’t allow it, read and watch videos on how to run properly. Read about what the difference between barefoot and running shoe mechanics. The information on the internet is abundant and a little extra research from you might just save your joints and improve your technique.

4) They don’t gradually build volume and intensity.

We live in a society that believes if you ain’t dying you aint trying; at least in the realm of physical activity. Unfortunately this could be further from the truth. Start off small. Build up to gradually longer distances, more frequent runs and higher intensities. Coming flying out of the gate will leave you broken, frail and in the running game for a shorter time than it takes Usain Bolt to get to glide his way to a 100m dash victory.

SOLUTION:

For example if you run 3 times a week for 5km, don’t think that the following week you should be running 4 times a week for 10km. A more appropriate progression would be an extra 500m to each day, or one 6km and two 5km runs. Gradually build up you running capacity and only change ONE thing at a time; either frequency or distance. The body adapts better in small increments rather than extremes, unless you want that adaptation to be injury.

Complete in this order and I guarantee you will be running far longer than others who skip any of these steps. Who knows, you may not even need to run at all after re-evaluating your circumstances.

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Photo Sources: sky, man, mistymarathon, kids, exhausted, tp


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