If you’ve been running for a while or read a number of articles or books, you’ve heard that one of the biggest mistake runners make is falling victim to running too much! Part of running or any exercise for that matter, requires your body to adapt to the movement. You want your muscles, bones and tendons to gain elasticity and strength to be able to build and grow stronger. This means you need to build slowly, and stretch and let them grow into your new running plan.
Don’t get me wrong running is very good for your bones contrary to popular belief by non-runners. Your body regenerates every cell in it’s body over certain periods of time; now I’m not a doctor so these are approximations based on articles and books I’ve read: your skin regenerates every 21 days, your muscles and the tendons can take about 6 months to completely regenerate and your bones can take up to a full year. What this means, is with each training run you’re doing minor damage to your body but it will regenerate stronger to prepare you for what you are trying to accomplish. Because of this I strongly believe you should not start training for a half-marathon (13.1 miles) until you are consistently running 15-25 miles a week for at least 4 months, and should include the occasional long run (can include some walking) of about 10 miles. For a full marathon (26.2 miles) I believe it should be at minimum a full 12 months. Now I’m sure there are coaches and trainers that will disagree, but your body needs to adapt to the training to come.
I also concur with the Pose Method of running which teaches the philosophy is that we are born with a set energy capacity: Low, Medium or High. The low energy is someone who can only train 3 days a week. If they train more they get moody and irritable. They need the time to recover between training session. A medium energy person, can work out two days in a row but then needs a break so they can work out about 5 times a week but no more than two days in a row. Again, you can tell if this is you if you work out more and get irritable but you find yourself more exhausted. The last is a high energy; this type of athlete can workout every day. In fact they will get moody and irritable when they skip a day. The key is to determine what is your optimal energy level and honor that. If you don’t your body will not recover and break down and you’ll find yourself getting injured and feeling defeated.
Many new runners try to push themselves into the high category, thinking if they just push through and run as far as they can every day they will get better, when in fact they are just getting tired and injured. First and foremost run with proper form. There is a right way to run. When you run with proper form, running isn’t hard. Breathing will be, but that gets built over time. As I mentioned above your body learns to adapt to this new running you’re doing so when you run with proper form you are putting substantially less weight on your joints when you use gravity to fall.
Proper form needs to be learned and drilled for muscle memory but it’s not hard. In our 321Run Program walks you through the fundamentals that make up the Pose method which include the Pose, the Fall and the Pull.
Every runner runs through the running Pose – this is when the body vertically aligns with the shoulders, hips and ankles of the supporting leg, with the knee slightly bent, while standing on the ball of the foot. You then switch from from one leg to the other by falling forward at your center of mass which is your hips and allowing gravity to do the work. The support foot then pulls from the ground while the other foot drops down freely, we call this the change of support. This creates forward movement, with the least energy use and effort. The end result is faster race times, freer running and no more injuries! This simple sequence of movements: the fall and the pull, while staying in the pose, is the essence of correct running technique.
When you use proper technique along with your proper energy and build gradually you will make it to your training pain free and allow you to run longer with no injury. To learn more about running pain free and get access to drills for free, sign up for the 321Run Program.