GBG Magazine February
Running for Your Life!
All you need to know in 9 short paragraphs.
There are magazines and books, personal trainers and team coaches, training runs and gym sessions all full of good information and advice on the "How to" in whichever sport you might be interested. But for some reason best understood by the knucklehead, runners work on the premise that they are immune to the need for any of that. Buy a pair of shoes and off we go. But if we were to stop for a second and check the irrefutable and adapt out fitness regime we would run safer, faster, longer. Succinctly, here is how:
Learn to run landing mid foot - with a relaxed running style and with a quick, short stride length, we quickly picking up the ankle behind us. Work with the forces out there by adding a "controlled fall" and utilising the force of the road coming toward us. If we do that and avoid over striding and heel striking, we can ditch the shoes with the cushioned heel and take up running in flats or run bare foot like kids on the beach!
Learn to love the gym - because muscle loss starts in our 30s. It only accelerates as we age and beyond 50 and 60 reduces at an alarming 1% per year! The antidote? In to the gym for 1 hour! That's all! Working to our limit and with help to ensure no muscle group is ignored. Light aerobic exercise to cool down, stretches to finish and protein intake within 30 minutes to help the rebuilding process will give our muscles something to ponder.
Learn to put form first - nicely aligned, with long back and lengthened spine and the core muscles engaged we become like the needle in cotton with steely core and with everything else lose and relaxed. With good posture we learn to stand tall and exercise with an economy of effort. We start to "body sense" our imbalances making adjustments, avoiding injury as we go.
Learn the benefits of cross training - Yes, it's true! Cross training IS good for you! Swimming or cycling, sculling or squash, soccer or shinty, all include valuable cardio vascular workouts with the ball sports adding the requirements of core work and balance. Exchanging a session on the rower, on the bike or in the pool allows overused running muscles time to recover.
We've all learnt about fartlek training, hills and intervals but the benefits of Ultra Intervals? These little monsters require 8 short bursts of 20/30 seconds of intense effort over a 20 minute workout. Though the effort is hard the benefits in muscle growth, fat burning and reduced work out time are substantial. Rather than a running routine that has us running for hours every day incorporating the Ultra Interval is the best way of ensuring a healthy and long lasting body.
Our age is determined by the flexibility of our spine. We need to start the day and finish all exercise with body looseners on the one hand and some yoga based stretches on the other.
Where does diet fall in all of this? Watching what we eat and watching our weight is easier when we are working out.
And working out? Easier in company. I first learnt about 4 legs being better than 2 in the 1980s from an American author, Jim Fixx, who was the font of all running good sense back then. His sound advice? It is all easier in company. It encourages, motivates and supports in running or gym work, exercising or keeping fit, watching what we eat and how much.
So there we have it. Nine little paragraphs. As a basis for another year, use them in 2013 and we'll not go far wrong.