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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    2,698

    Getting back into running- advice?

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    I've been an "on again, off again" runner since college. Never really got serious about it, and typically run only when I can't ride (e.g., travel). That said, I've decided to start running with a couple of friends at a local park once a week. Both the social interaction and the cross-training will be good for me.

    Cycling has given me the fitness to do 2 or 3 easy miles without too much trouble. I'm more concerned about the effects of impact on joints and muscles that aren't accustomed to running yet. I'm also concerned about a nagging IT band that, while better than it used to be, still gives me little twinges now and then (treating with active isolated stretching, foam roller massage and ice, as needed).

    So, experienced running ladies, what advice do you have with regards to injury prevention and how to safely "ramp up" distance for someone trying to get back into running?

    ETA: I do have good shoes that were properly fit by a local running store, so I think I'm ok there.

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Becky; 10-19-2009 at 07:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,365
    You may want to check out Chirunning. There is a book and dvd, and a website. It definitely helped me with running pain and injury free. Your local library probably has the book so I always recommend that first, and then if you would like to own it, you can order it on their site.

    http://www.chirunning.com/shop/home.php
    I can do five more miles.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,498
    +1 on Chi Running.

    And something that's more implicit than explicit in Chi Running - foot strength. Even if you don't decide to transition to barefoot running, you need to have a good foundation, or all the rest of your body mechanics will be off. Yoga and other barefoot regimens - and just walking around barefoot or in Vibram Five Fingers shoes - are good for building foot strength. That's assuming you have healthy bone structure in your feet (I still haven't found an expert I trust to tell me about mine - but that's another thread).

    Having come in two years from running 3-4 miles only when I traveled, to running 3-5 miles once a week, to my first half-marathon yesterday, IMO you need to do any activity at least three days a week to be able to gain fitness and learn good form. I don't necessarily ride three and run three every single week - it depends on what I'm training for at the time.

    The general rule is increase mileage by no more than 10% per week - less than that if you're having trouble with injuries. And be diligent about stretching immediately after a run. A thorough stretching routine takes me at least 20 minutes, sometimes more, which is kind of annoying if I'm running short, but I think it really helps ward off injuries.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,698
    Sounds like I need to find the Chi Running book...my county library system only has it in Spanish!

    Regarding stretching: does it have to be immediately after activity, or can I drive home from the park first (maybe 15 minutes) and stretch where it's warm and dry?

    I've heard of the 10% rule and it makes sense, but what's a safe distance to start with, or is it simply what I can run without "bad" pain? (Injury type pain, rather than good "new muscles" pain.)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    87
    +1 on ChiRunning.

    There is a nice brief pre-run stretch routine in the book.

    I've also found some short yoga routines helpful for post run stretching. Women's Running Magazine had a routine from Sage Rountree. She has quite a few videos & podcasts on her website. She also has training routines for several distances.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    1,365
    I don't stretch beforehand, but I do loosen up as per the Chirunning exercizes in the book.

    For stretching after, I am not that diligent but I do stretch enough to loosen up the hardest used groups. I try to incorporate it into whatever else I am doing at the time if I am pressed for time. Sometimes I run on my lunch break and don't have time for 20 minutes of stretching, so I will stretch while I am "mopping down" and changing in the bathroom. When I am untying my shoes... when I am brushing my hair... etc.

    I also have a farm and in the a.m. have to feed the animals and clean up after them - I try to use that as an opportunity to do both stretching and strength training. Otherwise I just would not have time.

    Becky, if you want to borrow my Chirunning book, I can send it to you if you promise to send it back when you are done. PM me if you would like to borrow it.

    Indy
    I can do five more miles.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,698
    Indy, that's so generous of you! I'm going to check a couple of used book stores nearby but, if they don't have it, I may take you up on that offer.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Portland
    Posts
    183
    +1 on the 10% rule. If your 40 or over, I've even heard 5% per week is a safer rule. Personally, I think 30 minutes is a good place to start - long enough to feel like you've gotten a workout in, but short enough that you won't hurt yourself. If you weren't already in good aerobic shape, I'd suggest couch to 5K. If you find yourself with little aches and pains you still might want to go that route because it really eases you into running and gives your body a chance to adapt to the impact.

    I have a good friend who was in a similar place as you - aerobically fit, but not in running shape. She used couch to 5K, then one hour runner, and then kept building. She's running her first half this coming weekend, and she's only had minor aches and pains through the process (she started the program back in June-ish, I think).

    Best of luck with your running! If you are interested in couch to 5K or one hour runner, google them and you should find info. If you can't find it, PM me and I can send some info on.

  9. #9
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
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    1,668
    I would suggest you start out barefoot or in minimal shoes like VFFs and ramp up slowly. The reason I suggest this is that without the padding and elevated heel of running shoes, you will develop better form since your body has to minimize the impact of your foot contacting the ground. This will help keep you from developing bad habits that can lead to injury and is MUCH easier than starting out in clunky shoes, getting injured, and having to overhaul your form and start from square one again (like I did--that's what led to me switching to VFFs/barefoot). I would also recommend doing some of that running on some rough trails rather than smooth flat surfaces--you will know much sooner if your form is off and it will be easier to tell when you have properly adjusted it. Besides, trails are much more fun to run on than roads anyway :-). The ChiRunning suggestion is another popular method for improving your form; I haven't used it and am not that familiar with it but a lot of people seem to like it; I looked at it and didn't feel it explained things clearly enough. Evolution Running is another instructional DVD that I think has much more straightforward explanations and is based on the African runners who kick serious butt because they are efficient. Sorry for the novel, hope some of it is helpful!
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,698
    Jolt, it's interesting that you mention this, as I've been reading a bunch lately about barefoot running. I'm certain that my poor form contributed to a lot of my running discomfort in the past and I intend to incorporate some barefoot running into my treadmill workouts, but I don't think I'm ready to try it outside yet (especially since it's nearly winter!).

    Any suggestions for shoes that are "barefoot-friendly"? Bonus points for something that I can wear to work, and not just for running/walking. I've looked at the VFFs also, but which model- Classics, KSOs, or Sprints?

    Maybe I should dig out my old indoor soccer shoes- they had almost no built-in cushioning and support!

  11. #11
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    1,668
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    Jolt, it's interesting that you mention this, as I've been reading a bunch lately about barefoot running. I'm certain that my poor form contributed to a lot of my running discomfort in the past and I intend to incorporate some barefoot running into my treadmill workouts, but I don't think I'm ready to try it outside yet (especially since it's nearly winter!).

    Any suggestions for shoes that are "barefoot-friendly"? Bonus points for something that I can wear to work, and not just for running/walking. I've looked at the VFFs also, but which model- Classics, KSOs, or Sprints?

    Maybe I should dig out my old indoor soccer shoes- they had almost no built-in cushioning and support!
    As far as the VFFs, I use and recommend the KSO especially for trails--they don't let in a lot of debris like the others most likely would. Other "barefoot-friendly" shoes I have tried include Teva Proton water shoes (which look enough like sneakers that you can get away with them for casual wear), Onitsuka Tiger tai chi sneakers (which look nicer but do restrict your foot more than the Protons) and homemade huaraches (sandals made from thin rubber with hemp or leather ties; the Tarahumara of Mexico make these from old tires and wear them on their LONG runs). I am still looking for a decent solution for wearing in more professional/formal settings; I can wear the Protons or the tai chi shoes to work but I am a nurse and am wearing scrubs . Once I finish school this spring and get certified as a nurse practitioner I don't think that will fly (or even in NP clinical next semester) because I will most likely have to dress up a little more. Maybe ballet flats? It's already hard enough to find professional-looking or dressy shoes that have a low heel, let alone NO heel, flexible and non-constricting! I hate shoe shopping even more now than I did before starting this whole minimalist thing, and that's saying something.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,698
    Thanks for the ideas, Jolt! I've seen several references to the Onitsuka Tigers and Puma H-Streets as good "barefoot" shoes. I can wear sneakers to work, and have been known to run around the office in my socks (depending on who's here!). I'll definitely be looking for those....

    I'm giving serious thought to a pair of VFF KSOs....I just need to convince myself that something I'm probably too self-conscious to wear in public is still a justifiable purchase!

  13. #13
    Jolt is offline Dodging the potholes...
    Join Date
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    Location
    Southern Maine
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    1,668
    Quote Originally Posted by Becky View Post
    I'm giving serious thought to a pair of VFF KSOs....I just need to convince myself that something I'm probably too self-conscious to wear in public is still a justifiable purchase!
    If that's a concern, I would recommend going with the black ones--less conspicuous that way I would think. If you get the gray/green ones, they will stand out and people may refer to them as "the frog shoes"! There are a couple of other crazy color schemes too. I forgot to say in my other posts what might be good for the colder weather (VFFs + cold weather = miserably cold feet). I will be using the Teva Proton water shoes (sized a little big) with some thick wool socks this winter and hopefully this will work well. It can't really be any worse than wearing standard running shoes in the cold--the cold air goes right through that mesh and the Protons are more of a neoprene material so it will probably be better.
    2011 Surly LHT
    1995 Trek 830

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    4,516
    Resurrecting this thread to point out that Vibram has announced they will make the leather version (the KSO Trek) in Women's sizes starting in the spring. Yay for warmer feet!

    CA
    Most days in life don't stand out, But life's about those days that will...

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,698
    That's great! I just tried some VFFs on last night, and am in love! Santa, are you listening?

    (But now I think I should wait for the KSO Treks...hmmm...)

 

 

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