Monday, July 3, 2017

Running - When? Where? How Often? DO I HAVE TO?!

I hope you’re feeling motivated after last week’s post! You’re going to need all you can muster this week because we’re talking about everyone’s favorite… running! Whether you love it or you hate it, like it or not, it’s a big part of training for The Beast on the Bay. Some common questions I encounter when people ask me about The Beast are “’How often should I be running?’ ‘How long should I run for?’ ‘where should I run?’” and the list goes on! So, in this blog I will give you advice on the when’s, where’s, and how’s of running to prepare for The Beast and a little guidance to get you going!

It takes hard work to end up smiling with the Beast!
So hopefully you all have been preparing for The Beast for some time now, but if not I'll provide for you a little “Couch to 5k” or “Couch to Beast on The Bay” tidbit to get you up and running… Just do it! I know, I know, it’s easier said than done (I’ve been there), but start today! My secret weapon for building endurance is interval running or a run/walk scheme. Basically, you will start by warming up with a five minute walk then run as long as you feel you can with a minimum of 30 seconds, followed by walking until your body feels recovered. Then repeat this for 30-45 minutes for 3 to 5 times a week and you’ll be amazed at the different in your endurance. A word of advice:  running is not the only way to build endurance.  Strength training is an important part of any workout schedule and does positively impact endurance. For an event like The Beast, I highly advise you to strength train 2-3 times per week, but we’ll save that for a later date!

So if you have already been putting those running shoes to work, here are a few things that are important to consider. Change your shoes out after 300 miles. The insoles wear down and can affect your gate. If you haven’t read it, go back to my blog from couple of weeks back and read about the importance of your gear. An aspect of running that maybe overlooked is safety. If you choose to run early in the morning or late in the afternoon make sure you are wearing clothing that makes you visible to drivers. Stopping by your local hardware store and purchasing reflected strips to attach to your shoes and/or clothing is another technique I like to use! We are so fortunate to have places in Erie to exercise that are off the road and easy to access. Some of my favorites include Presque Isle, Asbury Woods, and Scott Park. What is so awesome about Scott Park is their fantastic fitness trail! Along the trail there are stations where certain exercises are posted for you to preform, they start with bodyweight movements and continue into obstacle style exercises perfect for Beast on the Bay training.

Now that you have the how, how often, and where of running, let’s talk terrain! Sand and trail running are an important part of this event, so you need to mix up the type of running you are doing once you’ve mastered pavement. A word of caution from somebody who has fallen multiple times when running trails for the first time: ditch the tunes while running trails or sand for the first couple of times. It can be distracting! Trails and sand are not steady surfaces to run on, so things like branches, rocks, uneven ground can come out of nowhere causing you to have a spill! An injury is no joke, though, so take the distractions out of these training sessions and enjoy your outdoor surroundings.

It’s pretty obvious to most that running on sand is more challenging than pavement. The work done by your tendons, ligaments, and joints is more demanding on sand than running the road, so when doing a sand run, please be wise and add in a couple of days rest post run. With sand, you have a couple options when it comes to surfaces. Soft, dry sand has a lot of give and is quite the unsteady surface making it an extra challenge. Wet, packed down sand can provide a more stable ground to run on. If you are new to sand running, go for the wet and packed down sand. Another question I have received about sand running is whether to expose those toes or wear running shoes and the answer is really up to you. If you choose to run barefoot, remember that your feet are used to being protected and so you maybe in some pretty intense discomfort post-workout. Not to mention you really need to pay attention to the area in front of you for beach debris! Also, train as if its race day, so if you plan on removing your shoes during the Beast, beware that there will be obstacles along the beach which will require shoes! When doing a sand run, do not push the intensity, even if you are an experienced runner. Doing the run/walk method of running is best for you first few sand runs. Increase duration and frequency after training on sand has been done at least once a week for a few sessions.

Okay, so now that you have a good understanding of how to run for The Beast, get going! I hope I run into you all while hitting the pavement, dirt, or sand and if there is something you want some more info. On, please comment on this blog. Ask and you shall receive!