FAQ for Beginners


The following is an extract taken from rec.running news group.
See below for details.

"Ozzie Gontang" <gontang@electriciti.com> wrote in message


Archive-name: running-faq/beginners/part1

Last-modified: 10 March 2003

Posting-Frequency: 14 days

Answers to REC.RUNNING BEGINNERS' FAQ and Interesting Information

The following posting is a supplement to the regular rec.running FAQ. It provides information of particular interest to people just starting out as runners. It is organised in traditional FAQ fashion, as a series of questions and answers.

Send me,Ozzie Gontang, FAQ maintainer <gontang@electriciti.com> any

corrections, updates, suggestions, or proper info of sources or holder's of copyright. Yonson Serrano is the previous maintainer of the rec.running Beginners FAQ which was originally compiled by Steve Conway.


rec.running Beginners FAQ - a guide for aspiring runners


Once you've finished the beginners' FAQ, you can move on to look in the

Main rec.running FAQ for more information.


or the web site: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/running-faq/

* Index


> 0 Background Information

> 1 Why Exercise ?

> 2 Why running ? (practicality)

> 3 Why running ? (the other reasons)

> 4 Should someone beginning an exercise program get medical clearance ?

> 5 Shoes, socks and feet

> 6 Other equipment

> 7 The first few weeks

> 8 The next few weeks

> 9 Developing further

> 10 Training Schedules

> 11 When to train

> 12 Running alone or with others

> 13 How fast to run

> 14 Dissociation and Association

> 15 Getting out the door

> 16 How the body adapts - what to expect as you get fitter

> 17 Possible injuries for a beginner

> 18 Stretching and strength exercises

> 19 Fitting running into your life

> 20 Running and other sports

> 21 Satisfaction, enjoyment, fun and no fun

> 22 Where to run

> 23 Women and running

> 24 Good books for beginners to read

> 25 Good books for someone coaching beginners to read

> 26 Running and weight loss

> 27 Food and drink

> 28 Starting racing


> ====================================================================== * 0

> Background information

> --------------------------


> We claim no special knowledge about how to start out on a running career.

> This FAQ is the amalgamation of the ideas of a number of people. There is

> no claim to definitive answers and in most areas of training there are no

> definitive answers. You must find the techniques and approaches which work

> for you. We have tried to give accurate physiological information.

> Elsewhere we have tried to indicate the range of approaches that people

> have used. Since much of what is said here is subjective, our personal

> experiences and biases have inevitably had an influence. Humour creeps in

> from time to time, often unannounced.


> ====================================================================== * 1

> Why Exercise ?

> ------------------


> Aerobic exercise will improve your cardiovascular and pulmonary systems

> (i.e. your heart and lungs), improve your muscle tone, may give you more

> energy, may help you lose weight and will help you look and feel better.

> It will reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. Physical activity

> probably increases longevity by one to two years.


> People who exercise are claimed to be happier (R. Carter, "Exercise and

> Happiness", Journal of Sports Medicine 17, 1977). Exercise reduces tension

> and anxiety. Exercise is as effective a treatment for mild depression as

> drugs. Exercise increases perceived quality of life.


> Studies have claimed that healthy adults who regularly exercised had

> greater energy, patience, humor, ambition, greater emotional stability,

> imaginativeness, self-sufficiency and assurance, conscientiousness and

> persistence. They are more amiable, graceful, good-tempered, elated and

> easygoing than control groups. With benefits like these, it's a wonder

> running isn't compulsory ;-)


> ====================================================================== * 2

> Why running ? (practicality)

> --------------------------------


> Running is the most natural form of aerobic exercise. It can be carried out

> anywhere, in most conditions, with a minimum of equipment, by anyone. All

> you need is some shoes, some comfortable clothing and the will power to get

> out of the door and "Just do it !".


> If you are active in other sports, running is an easy way of increasing

> your aerobic fitness and stamina, with benefits to all your activities.


> ====================================================================== * 3

> Why running ? (the other reasons)

> -------------------------------------


> In running you are ultimately dependent only on yourself. It is your own

> discipline that makes you run, and that provides the benefits you reap.

> Running will increase your pride in yourself, and improve your relationship

> with your body. You will surprise yourself with your capabilities and

> reserves, achieve more than you thought possible.


> Running gives you time to yourself. Even running with others you are

> essentially alone. You will be more in contact with the world around you,

> in all weathers and all lights, and more with yourself. Running gives you a

> space to yourself, a time to think, to muse, an active form of meditation.


> People may start running for health reasons, they persist because they

> become runners.


> Running is the classical road to self-consciousness, self-awareness and

> self-reliance. Independence is the outstanding characteristic of the

> runner. He learns the harsh reality of his physical and mental limitations

> when he runs. He learns that personal commitment, sacrifice and

> determination are his only means to betterment. Runners only get promoted

> through self-conquest.


> Noel Carroll [as quoted by Noakes]


> ====================================================================== * 4

> Should someone beginning an exercise program get medical clearance ?

> ------------------------------------------------------------------------


> The advice usually given is that formulated by the American College of

> Sports Medicine (1976) - that anyone over the age of 35 should have a full

> medical examination, including an electrocardiogram recorded before, during

> and after maximal exercise. Persons under 35 who have risk factors for

> heart disease (a family history of heart disease, a history of smoking,

> high blood pressure or high blood fat levels) should also be tested.


> More recent guidelines from the U.S. National Heart Lung and Blood

> Institute (1981) say that you should consult a doctor before beginning an

> exercise program is you meet any of the following criteria:


> 1. You are over age 60 and not accustomed to vigorous exercise. 2. You have

> a family history of premature coronary heart disease

> (under 55 years of age).

> 3. You frequently have pains or pressure in the left or midchest

> area, left neck, shoulder or arm (distinct from the "stitch") during or

> immediately after exercise.

> 4. You often feel faint or have spells of severe dizziness, or you

> experience extreme breathlessness after mild exertion. 5. Your doctor has

> said that your blood pressure is too high, or you

> do not know that it is normal.

> 6. Your doctor has said that you have heart trouble, that you have a

> heart murmur, or that you have had a heart attack. 7. Your doctor has said

> that you have bone or joint problems, such as

> arthritis .

> 8. You have a medical condition that might need special attention in an

> exercise program.


> [the above taken from Noakes]


> Use your common sense. Go to your doctor if you are in doubt.


> ====================================================================== * 5

> Shoes, socks and feet

> -------------------------


> A good pair of shoes is the most important item of equipment to a runner.

> You need a good, basic well-cushioned pair of shoes that fit well. You

> don't need motion control shoes unless you already know that you have gait

> problems (over-pronation or over -supination). You DON'T need expensive

> shoes with flashy gimmicks, unless you are just going to wear them to look

> cool.


> Don't go to a general sports goods store, especially one of the chains.

> Find a real running store. You can recognize one by the flyers for upcoming

> races posted in the window or ask some runners where to find one. Go in the

> afternoon when your feet are at their largest. If possible go on a week

> day, so you avoid Saturday staff. Tell the staff what you want the shoes

> for. If you belong to a running club you may get a discount.


> If your neighbourhood doesn't have a real running store, you could try mail

> order [see main FAQ]. Some of these will give advice over the phone, and

> may let you exchange shoes. They may be a better bet than a mall sports

> store, have a wider range of stock and will probably be cheaper. Don't go

> to a running store for advice then buy from mail order - buy from the

> store.


> Look in the main rec.running FAQ for more information.

> ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.running/

> or the web site: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/running-faq/



> If you find that you get blisters, try out some of the running socks sold

> by the running stores. Double-layered ones work well. They are more

> expensive than cheap "sports" socks, but if you have blister problems, then

> they are well worth it. Another good trick is to apply Vaseline to your

> feet before running. Vaseline also works well if your nipples get sore.


> ====================================================================== * 6

> Other equipment

> -------------------


> You can wear anything comfortable. Depending on the climate - t-shirts,

> sweatshirts, thermal tops, shorts, leggings, lycra tights, tracksters or

> warmup pants, windproofs or rainproofs. The chances are that you already

> have what you need, for the moment at least. The important thing to

> remember is not to overdress (a common beginners mistake) as you will be

> much warmer while running.


> Look in the big rec.running FAQ for more information.


> ====================================================================== * 7

> The first few weeks

> -----------------------


> The most important thing early on is to get into the exercise habit. You

> are (hopefully) embarking on a lifelong path, so taking it slowly shouldn't

> be a problem.


> If you haven't been doing any kind of exercise, start out by walking. Walk

> at a comfortable speed for 20 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week for several

> weeks. Then you can move onto the next stage.


> Walk and run for 15 minutes or for a mile, 4 or 5 times a week. Run when

> you can and walk when it gets too uncomfortable. Run slowly, what counts at

> the moment is time, not speed. Don't try to do more, even if you feel you

> can. If you force the pace you may progress faster, saving a week, or you

> may get injured and be out for six weeks.


> Walk for the first and last part of the sessions, to get your body warmed

> up and to ease down at the end. Look in the main rec.running FAQ for

> information on stretching and warming up.


> If you are already fit from another sport, such as cycling or swimming,

> then it is important that you go a little easier than you might want to

> while you are building up the miles. It is very easy to push yourself past

> what the connective tissues can stand at first, and hence get injured.

> Chuck Amsler says that going for an abbreviated bike workout before running

> worked well for him (good warm up too).


> ====================================================================== * 8

> The next few weeks

> ----------------------


> You should now be running with walking only to warm up and down. Start to

> increase your weekly mileage. Do this by lengthening one of the runs. The

> next week you can increase one of the other runs as well. After a few weeks

> you should consider making one run per week your long run - up to half as

> long again as the others.


> Only increase distances by small amounts - the usual rule of thumb is not

> to increase by more than 10% per week in total distance. Increase either

> the long run or the shorter runs, not both in the same week. Some weeks do

> the same as the previous week, or even do less.


> ====================================================================== * 9

> Developing further

> ----------------------


> Fitness increases dramatically between the first 10 and 20 weeks of

> training. You will probably find this to be the most rewarding period of

> your new running career, with each week yielding greater achievements than

> the week before. However, you should continue to gradually increase your

> training, but not too rapidly, since you will be particularly prone to

> injury in this time (see the Injuries section). You should still be aiming

> to increase distance, not speed.


> After several months you will no longer be a beginner and will have to

> decide whether you wish to just run for fitness or to do more. A couple of

> miles, three of four times a week will keep you fit and healthy. 15 to 20

> miles a week will give you better conditioning. Beyond that, you are

> running for performance.


> ====================================================================== * 10

> Training Schedules

> -----------------------


> We have deliberately not written down a training schedule.. We have

> attempted to list some basic principles and to give you some ideas. A

> schedule will give you something to aim at, may help you get out of the

> door and may stop you doing too much too soon. Some people thrive on rigid

> schedules, some never make them, most have some kind of schedule but are

> flexible about following it.


> You may want to write out your own schedule, using the ideas here and

> elsewhere, possibly based on a schedule taken from a book or magazine.

> Adapt any schedule to your circumstances, and be prepared to alter it in

> the light of experience.


> If you have an experienced and sympathetic runner to coach you, so much the

> better.


> ====================================================================== * 11

> When to train

> ------------------


> Some people run in their lunchbreaks, some in the evenings and some strange

> souls claim to enjoy running in the early mornings. You have to find a

> place in your life for running that you can stick to. If you do run in the

> early mornings, pay special attention to warming up.


> The climate and daylight can have an effect on when you run. High daytime

> temperatures and humidity are a strong argument for running in the early

> morning. Lunchtimes are good times to run when the temperatures are low and

> the mornings and evenings dark.


> ====================================================================== * 12

> Running alone or with others

> ---------------------------------


> Running with a partner can motivate you, can get you out the door when you

> don't feel like it and can give you someone to talk to on the run. If you

> do run with a partner it should be someone of a similar standard, otherwise

> your running will be uncomfortable for both of you. You will be dependent

> on each other's schedules, which may make fitting in running harder. Most

> of us mix running alone and with friends.


> Joining a club that caters for beginners can help with motivation and be a

> good source of advice and coaching. There are also some training groups

> aimed at particular races and many ad-hoc groups based on work, school and

> neighbourhoods. Ask around.


> ====================================================================== * 13

> How fast to run

> --------------------


> As a beginner you should only be running aerobically. Your running should

> not leave you gasping for breath too much. The aim is to "Train, not

> strain". Being able to talk to a running partner is a good sign that you

> are running aerobically and not pushing too hard.


> Heart-rate can also be used as a guide, either using a heart-rate monitor,

> such as those made by Polar, or stopping running and using the

> old-fashioned finger on wrist method (count for 10 seconds and multiply by

> six). Your heart-rate should stay below 70% of max. That is, your target

> heart-rate is


> resting rate + (.7 * (max rate - resting rate))


> where the resting rate is taken when you are laying down doing nothing, and

> the maximum rate is estimated by the formula


> (220-age=predicted maximum heart rate)


> Determining your target heart rate (Target Training Zone)


> 1. Predicted Maximum heart rate: 220-age eg age 55: 220-55=165 beats/minute

> 2. Multiply predicted heart rate by percentage 60% to 70% for beginners. A

> 55 year old sedentary man: 165*.60=99; 165*70=116


> Running faster can wait until your bones are stronger and you are fitter

> and eager to run faster in races. At present you should be more interested

> in running further. Some speedup should happen anyway.


> ====================================================================== * 14

> Dissociation and Association

> ---------------------------------


> "Association" is listening to your body, monitoring its every twinge and

> ache while shutting out all extraneous details. It's what top athletes do

> in races.


> "Dissociation" is tuning out the pains of the body, by talking to our

> running partners, thinking through problems, looking at the view, dodging

> the traffic, watching the squirrels, mentally singing, really singing,

> communing with nature, generally daydreaming. It's what we all do to get

> through our runs. You need to learn how to do it.


> ====================================================================== * 15

> Getting out the door

> -------------------------


> Maybe the hardest part of running. You've had a hard day at the office,

> it's lightly raining and you really don't feel like running. Believe me, 9

> times out of 10, if you get out the door in your running kit you'll feel

> fine after a couple of minutes, enjoy your run and feel better for it.


> You have to learn to tell the difference between apathy and real tiredness.

> One strategy is to tell yourself that you'll only do half the scheduled

> run. If you really are tired, then you'll be able to tell in the first few

> minutes, after which you should go home. If you stay apathetic, maybe

> you'll do the half run, which is better than no run. Most likely you'll end

> up doing your scheduled run.


> On the other hand ... there is room for flexibility. If it's bucketing down

> and blowing a gale, maybe it's better to leave the run until tomorrow,

> unless you are one of those people who like running in wild conditions -

> try it sometime.


> ====================================================================== * 16

> How the body adapts - what to expect as you get fitter

> -----------------------------------------------------------


> As you stress your body, it reacts to make the stressed systems stronger.

> This is sometimes called the "training effect". Once you begin running it

> will strengthen your heart and leg muscles, and increase the number of

> small blood-vessels within them. You will get better at moving oxygen to

> your muscles, and at getting rid of the waste products of muscle activity.

> You should cease to be so breathless when running. Over time your resting

> pulse may drop. Altogether, your body should adapt to make running easier

> and to allow you to run further.


> Unfortunately, your muscles adapt faster than your bones and connective

> tissues, so just as you find you can run faster and further, you become

> liable to injuries. (See "* 17 Possible injuries for a beginner"). Injuries

> tend to strike beginners after 8-12 weeks, so it is a good idea to slow

> down your progression at this point to let your skeleton catch up.


> Noakes observes that there is a dramatic increase in performance after 20

> weeks.


> ====================================================================== * 17

> Possible injuries for a beginner

> -----------------------------------


> The main cause of injury in beginners is the mismatch between the rapid

> development of the muscles and the slower development of the bones. In

> particular, injuries commonly appear between 8-12 weeks after starting

> training.


> The most common symptoms are persistent calf-muscle soreness and discomfort

> along the border of the shinbone (shin-splints). These symptoms will

> usually disappear in time *if* you reduce the training load for a few weeks

> - having more rest days and running less distance. If this does not work,

> consider changing your running shoes to a more shock-absorbent pair,

> running on softer surfaces (a good idea anyway) and possibly seeking

> professional advice.


> You may have a gait abnormality such as over or under pronation and

> supination (how much your foot rolls in and out during its time on the

> ground). Your legs may be different lengths. Sooner or later

> these will cause problems, and you will have to discover what kinds of

> motion control shoes work for you, or if you need orthotics. Hopefully this

> will be in the far future, or never, but be aware of the problems.


> The main rec.running faq has information on injuries and treatment, with a

> large section on shin-splints.


> ====================================================================== * 18

> Stretching and strength exercises

> --------------------------------------


> Brad Appleton posts Stretching & Flexibility monthly in rec.martial-arts,

> misc.fitness, rec .arts.dance,alt.arts.ballet, rec.sport.misc,alt.answers,

> rec.answers, misc.answers,news.answers

> Ftp-sites: ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/alt.arts.ballet

> ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.martial-arts


> Web:

> http://www.enteract.com/~bradapp/docs/rec/stretching/stretching_toc.html


> Stretching can help ward off injuries, help recovery after running and can get

> rid of stiffness before running. Some runners stretch before running, some

> stretch after, some run for a few minutes and then stretch before their

> main run. You can stretch better when warmed up, so after some running may

> be the best time. Personally, I do a few gentle stretches before and after

> running, taking more time and trying to lengthen the stretches only after

> running. Maybe once a week I do a longer (half-hour) session, really

> working on increasing my flexibity, but most people don't bother with this

> type of thing.


> The most important thing to say about stretching is DON'T BOUNCE !!!! The

> old-fashioned ballistic style will do you more harm then good. Stretch

> gently into position, hold and try to get your muscles to relax in the

> stretched position. If you are warmed up, try to lengthen the stretch after

> holding for at least 20-30 seconds.


> A good calf (muscle on the back of your lower leg) stretch is to stand a

> long pace away from a wall, lean onto it then either bring one leg forward

> or lift it off the ground. As you lean into the wall you should feel a

> stretch in the calf of the rear/lower leg. Bending the knee slightly will

> move the stretch lower down the calf. You should look as if you are trying

> to push the wall down.


> To stretch your quadriceps (muscles on the front of your upper leg), grab

> onto something with one hand, lift a leg up towards your bottom and grab

> the ankle with your free hand. Pulling upwards/inwards should stretch the

> muscle. Keep standing upright. Holding with the hand on the same or

> opposite side to the leg will alter the location of the stretch.


> The best stretches for hamstrings (the muscles on the back of your upper

> leg) are done on the floor. Sit on the floor with legs together, then lean

> forward, reaching towards your ankles and trying to keep your back flat.

> Depending in how flexible you are you may be able to keep your legs

> straight or you may have to slightly bend your knees. You can also spread

> your legs apart and stretch to each ankle in turn.


> An alternative for when you can't sit on the floor is to put one foot

> forward until it is ahead of the toes of the other foot, but still the

> normal width apart. Lift the front of the forward foot off the ground, so

> it is now resting on the heel. Bend the rear leg and lean forward. You

> should feel a stretch down the back of the forward leg.


> DO NOT use the old-fashioned hamstring stretch with feet together or apart

> and knees locked in a standing position, or the newer variant with crossed

> ankles. These risk back damage in anyone who doesn't have a perfect back

> and good flexibility, which means most of us.


> There are many more stretches useful for runners - find a book or someone

> knowledgeable to instruct you. Beware of older books or unqualified people

> (or anyone who teaches the old-style hamstring stretch or tells you to

> bounce "to increase the stretch").


> There are a number of popular stretches which are either unsafe for

> everyone or unsafe for anyone who isn't very flexible to start with - these

> include the hamstring stretch mentioned above, the "hurdlers stretch"

> (seated, one leg forward, the other tucked back under the body - put it

> against the side of the knee of the straight leg instead), the floor

> stretch (yoga plough) where the arms are extended and the legs are lifted

> over the body to touch the floor, with the head tucked between the body and

> floor (this presents obvious danger to the neck).


> Experiment with how altering positions affects the stretch. Find what works

> best for you and in particular what helps out your own trouble spots. I

> have to pay lots of attention to my calves and achilles tendons. Some

> stretches work for some people and not others. It all depends on your

> skeleton, musculature and level of flexibility.


> Running strengthens some muscles but leaves other relatively untouched.

> This imbalance can lead to injuries. The most common example of this in

> beginners (and more experienced runners) is weakness of the muscles running

> up the shin. Strengthening these may help to ward off shin-splints.


> Gordon Haverland <ghaverla @ freenet.edmonton.ab.ca>writes about some shin

> strengthening exercises:


> There are 3 kinds of exercise which I tell patrons at my YMCA about for

> strengthing the tibialis anterior. Two are weightlifting.


> 1) Walking up hills (on treadmill). A person has to lift

> their toes more to walk (or run) uphill, which will with time

> cause the muscles in the front of the shin to strengthen.

> Using a treadmill means you don't have to watch your step

> so closely.


> 2) On a seated calf machine. Normal position is to have the

> balls of your toes on the rear edge of the footrest, and then

> contract the calf muscles (mostly soleus (sp?)) to force the

> weight up and down. If you rest the ball of your heel on the

> front edge of the footrest, then you will work tibialis when

> you lift your toes up. Rule of thumb, about half the weight

> you can lift with the rear calf muscles, but it depends on

> how muscle bound you are.


> 3) On a padded bench. Have your ankles overhand the end of the

> bench (you are seated on the bench). Put a dumbell between your

> 2 feet. Then when you dorsiflex (bring toes toward head), you will

> be working the tibialis muscle(s).


> From Ozzie <gontang@electriciti.com> who believes that it's not a matter of

> strengthening the shin muscles but teaching them to be elongated. Here's

> what I do for the posterior tibialis:


> The muscle behind the shin bone is called the posterior tibialis or the

> muscle behind the tibia bone.


> If it is the right leg, cross it so that the right ankle or there abouts

> rests on the left thigh as when you cross your legs. In front of you as

> you look down is your right crossed knee and you are looking at the

> posterior tibialis.


> Take your left hand and place the fingers so they are holding the tibia and

> the thumb is pointing toward the inside of the right knee and resting just

> on the inside of the tibia. Take your right thumb and place it on the left

> thumb and the right hand grasps the shin bone. Push in lovingly at first

> and start at the bottom of the posterior tibialis. As you make a small

> circle with your right foot, you'll feel the muscle push against the thumbs

> pressing in.


> As you continue to make a small circle with your foot, slowly push in with

> the thumbs and slowly slide the right thumb on top of left thumb up towards

> the right knee. Gradually massage out this muscle. You'll notice that you

> have allowed the muscle to gradually relax and loosen....and therefore

> relieving some of the pressure on what is often called a "shin splint."


> ====================================================================== * 19

> Fitting running into your life

> -----------------------------------


> Running takes up time, something most of us seem to have too little of. If

> you want to keep running in the long term, you have to fit running into

> your life.


> A few people can run to and from work, and many run in their lunch-hours.

> Some run after work, some later in the evening and some in the morning

> before work.


> You have to set aside the time to run in, and not allow that time to be

> encroached on by other claims. Early morning is one time with few other

> claims, except sleep.


> ====================================================================== * 20

> Running and other sports

> -----------------------------


> Many people mix running and other sports. As long as you are taking part in

> a predominately aerobic exercise (running, cycling, swimming) 3-5 times a

> week you will be getting all the health benefits of running. If your other

> sport is not predominately aerobic, then you should be running 3-5 times a

> week to gain all the benefits.


> Running should increase stamina in other sports, for example, tennis,

> squash and soccer.


> The best training for running is running.


> ====================================================================== * 21

> Satisfaction, enjoyment, fun and no fun

> ---------------------------------------------


> You should be getting some satisfaction out of your running. A run may be

> hard work, but most of the time you should feel good afterwards and feel

> some satisfaction at having gone out into the rain/heat/delightful summer

> evening and "Just Done It". Some people say every run is fun, others think

> racing is fun, and some people wonder if everyone's definition of fun is

> the same.


> Sometimes running itself will feel easy and smooth and enjoyable. An easy

> day between harder days will sometimes be like this. If you are lucky, some

> days you will overflow with energy, zip up the hills for the hell of it and

> generally bounce around and have fun. Not very often though.


> Finding like minded people to train and hang out with always helps make

> things enjoyable and helps you achieve your goals, if only because "Well,

> if Fred can run X miles, then surely I can !". I feel that having the

> company of like-minded runners helps - providing encouragement, advice and

> mutual support plus the opportunity to take part in team events.


> The Dead Runners Society (DRS) is an listserv (mailing) list which

> discusses all aspects of running, ranging from training tips to wildlife to

> M&Ms to favourite novels to anything. It forms a supportive virtual

> community of runners and friends. Very friendly and on the cuddly side. Not

> necessarily to everyone's taste, and produces a high volume of mail. To

> subscribe, send mail to <listserv@listserv.dartmouth.edu> with the

> following line in the main body of the message: SUBSCRIBE DRS


> If you are a beer drinking party animal, search out the local Hash House

> Harriers for an introduction to a world wide brotherhood (and sisterhood)

> of degenerates who describe themselves as "A drinking club with a running

> problem".


> Running related sports such as orienteering can provide an interesting way

> of getting a few miles in. Orienteering is particularily good since it

> occupies your mind and limits your speed - if you run too hard you can't

> think, get lost and have to stop.


> Most of us go through bad patches where running is a chore and we don't get

> any enjoyment out of it. The best plan here is often to reduce the training

> and maybe try something else for a couple of weeks. Sometimes I go for long

> bike rides, or try to improve my swimming. If you really are burnt out,

> rest is important - exhaustion can put you out for months.


> If running is always a struggle and a chore, with no satisfaction, even

> after months at sticking with it, I would say it's time to try something

> else - cycling, swimming, rollerblading, aerobics, .... Find something you

> enjoy, get satisfaction from - you'll have a better chance of sticking with

> it in the long run, which is what counts.


> ====================================================================== * 22

> Where to run

> -----------------


> Out in the countryside has to be the best place to run. Somewhere you can

> run on soft dirt paths or grass, with no traffic is ideal. Soft surfaces

> make it less likely you will get injured. Even surfaces make it less likely

> you'll turn an ankle, though rougher surfaces will strengthen them.


> Anywhere scenic or interesting should make your running more enjoyable, and

> make it easier to keep your mind off/on how you feel. River and canal banks

> are good places to run (and fairly flat), and so are parks. If you have to

> run by roadsides, or on the road, try to run where there is less traffic

> and less people to dodge.


> Get a map of the area around where you live, preferable a topographic map.

> There will often be paths and trails you never knew existed, or you may see

> how to link up bits of park and path to give a mainly off-road route.


> Most of us do spend our time on the roads. If you want to road race it's a

> necessity. If you have to run in the dark it may be necessary. If you have

> to run on the road itself, face the oncoming traffic, so you see what is

> coming. Don't stick religiously to one route, vary it to keep things

> interesting.


> Running one big loop may be better than running several small ones - it

> stops you giving up. However, if you really need to give up, you'll have to

> walk back.


> If you are confident, running is a great way to see a strange city. Try

> taking a route past the landmarks early in the morning when the streets are

> empty and the light is at its best.


> In places that have hard winters, an indoor track may be the best place to

> run. You'll be out of the weather and have a decent surface. You may also

> get bored out of your mind - it depends on the individual. Get back out

> into the outside world as soon as possible. Know the track etiquette - slow

> runners take the outside lanes. If someone yells "Track!" at you, move out

> of their way.


> Sadly, all the above must be tempered with caution. Some places are not

> safe to run, especially for women. Take care and use your common sense.


> ====================================================================== * 23

> Women and running

> ----------------------


> Women's running records are not as fast as men's, for physiological

> reasons, and women have had to overcome numerous barriers in order to race

> a full set of distances, but women are every bit as tough as men and

> tougher, (men don't experience the marathon of birth).


> There are some specific consideration for women runners. Properly designed

> sports bras should minimise breast injury and soreness. Don't just pick up

> any old sport bra - you need a supportive bra that was designed for high

> impact aerobic activity. Examples include the ActionTech model by JogBra.

> There are also jogbras made specifically for large breasted women. [Thanks

> for help from Lani Teshima-Miller for this section]


> Moderate exercise significantly decreases the severity of premenstrual

> symptoms and may lower the risk of some cancers. Very high exercise levels

> can lead to erratic or absent periods.


> Sadly, there are extra risks for women runners. Each must make their own

> evaluation of risks, but running with others, running in daylight or well

> lit places at night, running in places with other people around should all

> add to a runner's safety. Some may wish to carry an attack alarm and/or

> some other defense.


> ====================================================================== *

> 23a Women and JobBras

> ----------------------


> If you normally wear a bra, you *should* wear a bra for jogging. What you

> should do is buy a bra specifically for jogging, because you need the extra

> support it provides.


> Having started my running being overweight and in need of a jogbra, I did a

> fair amount of looking around--I have found the Action Tech

> jogbra to be the best for your money. You will find a lot of jogbras

> by sports manufacturers, but this one stands head and shoulders above the

> rest because of the amount of support it provides.


> JogBra, a subsidiary of Playtex, used to sell the Action Tech bras.

> However JogBra was bought by Champion in the early 90s and is now

> marketed as Champion Jogbra[TM]'s Action Tech Sport Top. Fortunately, it

> looks like Champion is marketing this much heavier than JogBra ever did.

> They are providing more color selections and seasonal patterned designs,

> more than before.


> Of the two similar styles, the cotton-based Action Tech provides more

> support, while the Supplex top dries faster. Both usually sell for

> around $27 retail, although you can get them on sale for around

> $18-$21 if you look around. I do not recommend the lighter Supplex top for

> those who need *serious* support.


> Proper support is particularly essential for the heavy chested woman, who

> can experience aches and pains from the excess weight (showing up as back

> pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, etc.--and affects posture). The ActionTech

> jogbras tend to squish your chest and are only built to accommodate up to a

> C cup--however, Champion also makes a few models for larger sized women,

> including the Action Shape, and Sport Shape bras. Both of these provide

> lift and separation with individual cups (the Action Tech does not), and

> are available up to size DD, as well as adjustable straps (which you'll

> need if you start losing fat!).


> If your local athletic store does not carry the line, you can find

> them through mail order companies. However, it is strongly recommended that

> you try them on for fit before buying them. You want them snug enough to

> provide support, but not so tight that it constricts your breathing.


> Whether you need to wear a jogbra or not depends primarily on your

> chest size. If it feels uncomfortable or painful to jump up and down

> without a bra, you probably need the support. Small-chested but modest

> people might choose to wear sport top bras, but support is not so much an

> issue. If you fall into this category, you can purchase lycra tops very

> inexpensively.


> When comparing jogbras, some of the things to keep in mind:

> o Does it have any buttons or snaps that can come off?

> o How well are these buttons or snaps sewn on/reinforced?

> o Is there anything on the bra that can rust from sweat?

> o How strong is the fabric? Does it seem flimsy? Cheap?

> o How elastic is the fabric? Don't be shy--pull and tug on it to

> see if it goes back in place. A good jog bra will hold up

> after years of use--the elastic in the material should not

> break or fray.

> o How well is the elastic in the hems covered?

> o Does the bra have a protective inner lining to discourage

> chafing?


> A good jog bra will become an essential part of your running attire,

> along with your running shoes. While I can make do with non-running cotton

> shorts or regular socks in a pinch, I will not jog wearing a regular bra.

> Considering that a jogbra is just a fraction of the cost of a pair of

> running shoes, you should not neglect them or go cheap on them. Buy

> yourself two bras (wear one, wash one) to start.

> Lani Teshima-Miller (teshima@uhunix.uhcc.Hawaii.edu)


> ====================================================================== * 24

> Good books for beginners to read

> -------------------------------------


> Good books for beginners to read

> -------------------------------------

> Galloway's Book on Running (Jeff Galloway)

> The Essential Runner (John Hanc)

> The Runner's World Complete Book of Running (Amby Burfoot)


> _Complete Book of Running_, Jim Fixx, 1977, Random House, New York


> This is a classic running book, which George Sheehan recommended in an

> article about Summer Reading in Runner's World magazine. It's easy to read,

> and gives lots of reasons to run. It gives the beginning runner a desire to

> go out and run for the fun of it. Since it is old, it will tend to be out

> of date on certain topics like injury prevention. Still, it's a great book

> to start with.


> _Getting Fit and Feeling Great_, Dr. George Sheehan, 1993


> This is a compilation of Dr. Sheehan's three books _How to Feel Great 24

> Hours a Day_, _Running and Being_ and _This Running Life_. Also Personal

> Best. George's writings continue to touch the heart and soul of runners

> around the world. He truly was the Mark Twain in sneakers.


> _The New Competitive Runner's Handbook_, Bob Glover and Pete Schuder,

> Penguin Books, Ltd. The Runner's Handbook (Bob Glover) [Mmuch more suited

> to intermediate advanced runners than to beginners]


> ====================================================================== * 25

> Good books for someone coaching beginners to read

> ------------------------------------------------------

> Better Training for Distance Runners (David Martin & Peter Coe)


> The Lore of Running (Tim Noakes) Published: 1991/92

> It's packed with information on just about everything. Noakes is an

> exercise physiologist and is very knowledgeable on the human body,

> especially muscles and bones. He presents a more scientific approach to his

> running book. I recommend this to coaches just because it is so thorough

> and more suited for someone that has been running for a while. I believe

> this is the biggest running book to date. [comments by Gale Richmond

> Stafford]


> Training for Young Distance Runners (Larry Greene & Russ Pate)


> Although frankly all of these are much more suited for someone coaching

> ADVANCED runners; someone coaching beginners would do just as well to

> read the three books on the first list. Steve Patt

> Stevens Creek Software/The Athlete's Bookstore bookstore@stevenscreek.com



> ====================================================================== * 26

> Running and weight loss

> ----------------------------


> [Sherwood Botsford]


> For many this is the reason they start running. It's not a bad reason to

> start. (Are there any bad reasons to start running?)


> Running burns roughly 100 Cals/mile. This varies from individual to

> individual, depending on their weight, and their running efficiency. But

> for ball park calculation it's close enough. Curiously it doesn't much

> depend on speed. Go faster, you burn calories faster, but you also cover

> distance faster. The two effects cancel. If that were all the benefit,

> you'd better like running a lot if you've got a lot of weight to lose.

> Thirty to Forty miles per pound. Ick. However, the effects of running will

> speed up your metabolism somewhat for hours afterword, so you end up

> burning more calories sitting still than you used to.


> Muscles can burn either glucose or fat. (Actually fatty acids...) At high

> speed (more than 70% of aerobic max) glucose burning dominates. At low

> speed (about 60% of aerobic max) fat burning dominates. So if weight loss

> is your main goal, run lots of miles at a pace you can carry on a

> conversation.


> Running doesn't cause appetite to increase much. For many it decreases

> appetite. As long as you're starting to do things because it's healthy,cut

> down your fat intake, and increase your vegies.


> As you lose weight, you will find that you run better, faster, and enjoy it

> more. Further, without the extra pounds banging on your knees and ankles,

> you are less likely to hurt yourself.


> Finally, it took years to get into the awful shape you are in. Be patient.

> It will take a long time to get rid of excess weight. Figure on 1 to 2 lbs

> per month.


> ====================================================================== * 27

> Food and drink

> -------------------


> The type of diet that is good for runners is the type of diet doctors

> recommend for everyone - high in carbohydrate, low in fat with sufficient

> but not excessive protein. Some people find that as they exercise more

> their taste changes to prefer this kind of diet anyway. The archetypal Real

> Runner eats lots of pasta, rice, potatoes and bread, with little rich food.


> It is important to drink sufficient water to make up for that lost in

> sweating. You MUST rehydrate yourself properly. Drink water (or fruit

> juice, etc) soon after a run, and throughout the day. If you run in hot or

> humid conditions, drink before and maybe during the run. Dehydration

> interferes with your ability to deal with heat, making your run miserable,

> and interferes with your recovery, lessening the effects of training.

> Personally I keep a bottle of orange squash and a pint glass on my desk.


> Sports drinks such as Gatorade and Isostar are designed to replenish fluid

> rapidly and to replace energy rapidly (these two functions conflict), as

> well as replacing minerals and vitamins. They have a place in races and

> heavy training, but for most purposes water is fine. You should be getting

> all the energy, minerals and vitamins you need from your diet.


> It has been frequently observed that runners like beer, but it should be

> remembered that alcohol is high in calories and has a dehydrating effect,

> and may also lower your metabolic rate, so you burn less calories. Caffeine

> also has a dehydrating effect.


> ====================================================================== * 28

> Starting racing

> --------------------


> Once you have been running for a few months you may want to run a race. You

> might have started out with one in mind. You should try to pick out a small

> race that you are sure you can finish. It shouldn't be more than 1.5 times

> as far as you regularly run. You will start off faster than you normally

> run, so you don't want to be pushing the distance up as well. At most small

> races, you can just turn up and enter on the day, but entering in advance

> makes it harder to back out.


> The aim of your first race is to finish, hopefully in reasonable shape.

> After a few races, you will have more experience, times to aim at and

> probably a couple of familiar faces that keep just beating you and that you

> *are* going to beat next time :-), but for now, take it easy. Start at the

> back, and try not to get sucked up into running too fast. If you can, start

> slowly - you can always speed up in the last mile.


> ====================================================================== * 29

> How do I get the main rec.running FAQ ?

> --------------------------------------------


> The main rec.running FAQ is maintained by Ozzie Gontang

> <gontang@electriciti.com>.


> Answers to questions frequently asked in rec.running are available.

> Phil Margolies <pmarg@flash.net> checked the following 3 links do go to the

> r.r FAQ:


> ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/news.answers/running-faq/

> ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet/rec.running/

> ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/usenet-by-group/rec.running/


> or the web site: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/running-faq/


> The FAQ will be posted on a 14 day interval so that it will be more readily

> available to the users of rec.running. All eight parts cycle through

> together.


> Part 8 updated on 10/7/98 has a partial list of web sites compiled and

> edited by Wouter. We expect that many will come and go. If you have any

> to add or any don't work, let me know. <gontang@electriciti.com>


> Thanks for any help,


> In health and on the run,

> Ozzie Gontang

> Maintainer-rec.running FAQ

> Director, San Diego Marathon Clinic, est. 1975

> Mindful Running: http://www.mindfulness.com