Saturday, March 20, 2010

Run/walking update

I've read through most of Jeff Galloway's book on running (except the chapter on "Running Over 40" which I look forward to) and started my run/walking workouts this week. Goal is to finish a 10K and continue running through the summer and fall. I'm planning on 3 days running, 2 days cross-training and 2 days off per week.

The book is interesting. Mostly good, though there were some things I found surprising. For instance, he says stretching is a leading cause of injuries among runners and recommends doing very little stretching - especially before or after a run. Opposite of what I always thought. I am skeptical and will probably keep stretching some, but with more awareness and not worrying about "how far." One of the worst injuries I ever had (hamstring) happened during a routine stretch after a workout, when I was trying to pull "just a bit farther." He showed 3 stretches that are dangerous and I have been guilty of all of them. He also says he doesn't believe in "carb loading" before a race and eats very little or nothing 12-18 hours before (but does keep well hydrated). Again, interesting. Who knows.

This week I ran/walked about 9 miles and walked another 3 miles. I am s-l-o-w (12-13 min/mile) but purposely holding back since I haven't run in so long, and also at this point more than half of my "run" is walking, so I may get faster over time. If I don't, though, I'm OK with that. I am being VERY conservative - starting with a ratio of 2 min. running alternating with 3 of walking. Next week I'll move to 3 min. running and 2 walking, then 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1 and probably stay around there if it's comfortable. After 3-4 weeks I'll start increasing distance, and maybe try some intervals or other things just to keep it interesting, but first I'd like to run for a few weeks without problems. It's hard to hold myself back because it doesn't feel challenging enough right now, but I just keep reminding myself that running slowly is better than not running at all. Galloway is very good at getting that point across and makes me feel OK with the slow and steady approach.

Today's run was the best yet - I discovered the Porter Rockwell trail and it was great! Lots of kids, dogs, walkers, joggers, and bikers and beautiful scenery. Thanks Tammy for the great tip! The only problem was I could not find the mile markers until I was almost finished - was looking for sign posts and they were painted in red on the ground - so I'm not sure how far I went but with warmup and cooldown I was out there 45 min. so I am guessing it was at least the 3 miles I was "supposed" to do today. Looking forward to getting my Garmin!

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I'd take the bit about the stretching with a serious grain of salt. I think it's a good thing (based on most of the books I've read & people I've talked to) but at the very least it's neutral, not harmful. Stretching COLD muscles is bad for sure though --- so I usually do a light walk/easy racewalk before any stretches. For a hard track workout I racewalk easy for 10 min then do some dynamic stretches before doing hard intervals. At the end of my workouts I do static stretches.

As for carb loading, the available evidence suggests it's a good idea for longer races (>1 hr). But carb loading does not equal pigging out. It just means eating a higher % carbs for a day or 2, and keeping the amounts normal or slightly greater than normal. You do NOT want to feel bloated and nasty before a race! Also, I have found I have to be very careful about dairy the day before a race.

Galloway is a smart guy and has a lot of good stuff but does have some controversial opinions. I'd say that what you read about stretching and carb loading would fall into the controversial camp, along with his idea that you should do 26-mile training runs before a marathon. So enjoy his book but know that many will disagree with some of his ideas.