tips

Where to Run (A Newbies Article For takbo.ph)

takbo.ph had recently launched its revamped website, with better eye-catching features and user-friendly navigation. One of the new sections that has been added to the site is a section for newbie runners.

I wanted to contribute to the running community – as such, I have brewed up an article for them, in the hopes that it will be very informative for those who want to try out this morale-boosting activity.

Enjoy reading!

Running gear – check. A small amount of money for whatever might happen – check. A well-hydrated body – check. Warmed-up muscles – check. A fiery soul filled with every intention to run – check.

Congratulations! Now you’re ready to hit the road. The only thing that’s needed now is the perfect place for you to get your legs moving. But before you sweat yourself out, it’s best that you be aware of some of the running surfaces you will be treading on in the course of your running journey.

• TRACK – commonly found in sporting coliseums, like that of the Rizal Memorial Stadium or the Moro Lorenzo at Ateneo de Manila University. Its impact on your feet would be like a cushion since its composition is mostly made out of rubber. As such, you would want to run on this all the time, but of course, like many other things in this world, too much running on track his its own disadvantage, which you will learn later.
• ASPHALT – yup, that black section of road you step that leaves tar pits in your shoes, if you’re unlucky, makes up a portion of the roads here in the metropolis. Unlike track, it’s not as soft as you would expect it to be, but shock is minimized somehow when you land on it.
• CONCRETE – animals step on it, vehicles roll over it, and yes, you’ll be running on it, too. Majority of most running routes that I know of and that you will run on are made of this type of surface. This is hardest running surface ever known to man, so don’t be surprised if your feet and legs start to feel a little discomfort early in your run. Don’t be disheartened – concrete surfaces will be your best friend, as will be seen later.
• TRAIL – with the growth of trail running, this is another surface to explore for runners who wish to try this out. Included in this surface are various types of soil, rocky uphill and downhill paths, and lots of mud puddles, if there’s rain along your way. Try this one out only with trail shoes. You don’t want your expensive running shoes to be soiled in the mud – it’s hard to wash them off, especially if they’ve been left to dry on your shoe for days.

Now among these surfaces, which one should you try first? If you can start your running endeavor on concrete surfaces, that would be better. Sure, it will be hard at first, but that’s only the beginning. Once your legs have been accustomed and have adapted to running on that hard surface you would love to curse on, attempting to break your limits on softer paths will be much, much easier. If you can do a long run on concrete ground, that would be a groundbreaking achievement for you. Once you try out a route that’s primarily made of asphalt, things will be a cinch. Hence, to this I say – concrete surfaces are your best friend.

In pretty much the same manner, if you concentrate on running on track surfaces all the time (or on asphalt), you’ll have a hard time adjusting to concrete. When I was starting out as a runner I would favor running routes that are composed of asphalt and nothing else. In the end, when I signed up for a race that was on concrete ground, I didn’t perform well, and I ended up being injured in the process.

Point here being is, if you can familiarize yourself with all types of running surfaces, then your legs wouldn’t have much of a problem adjusting itself. Don’t concentrate on just one – variety means everything.

Now, to talk about where you should run.

Imagine the world as a really big playground – there are a lot of roads on it that can take you anywhere and everywhere as long as you have the drive and determination to reach your destination. Where you should you run as a beginner? The answer is simple – RUN TO ANYWHERE YOU WANT, AS LONG AS YOU CAN REACH IT. Run to your neighbor’s house. Run to the church nearest you. Run to your significant other’s house, even. Go for it! No one will stop you except yourself.

However, remember to start out with smaller distances first. Don’t go long if you have no experience whatsoever, unless you want to injure yourself. Begin with a 3K effort, then move on to 5K if you feel confident that you can go beyond your limit. Jump to 10K if 5K isn’t enough. Still have that fire in you? Run a half-marathon. Move upwards until you reach that magic number – 42. Who knows, you might even go beyond 42K and do ultra running. But let’s leave that for now.

Your selection of running routes also matters. Here are some tips on how to choose your route:

• Choose a route that is free from pollution as much as possible. Remember, you need that oxygen so that it will circulate around your body. It would be best if there are trees and other types of vegetation on your running route. Not only do they provide the scenery, but they also do the job of absorbing the carbon dioxide coming from the cars that pass by them – not to mention yourself.
• Choose a route that is free from hostility. You don’t want to run near places where there’s full of muggers and other bad elements. Safety is your primary concern.
• If you can, choose to avoid running at national roads at all costs. There’s a chance that you might get run over, although you may have taken extra precaution. But if you have no other choice but to do this, be sure to run against traffic so that you’ll know if something’s about to come your way.
• Choose a route that has a convenience store nearby. In case your hydration belt runs out of fuel and you desperately need to hydrate, then the nearest convenience store would solve that problem for you. Make sure to have a small amount of money on hand for you to get your energy drink.
• Choose a route that can be visibly seen at night. This is especially helpful when you do a night run of your own. Ensure that the streetlights will light your path so that you won’t have to worry about wearing a headlamp and other reflective gear.

Once you’ve chosen your running spot, try it out. But don’t run on the same path for too long as it will get boring in the long run. Feel free to try out different roads and different destinations. Try running to the mall, to the airport, to your office, or to the nearest bank to withdraw your cash. Try discovering new routes that you can share to the running community – who knows, you might even get to know a friend or two. Like I said, the world is your playground and you can reach your destination as long as you know that you will reach it. Prioritize your safety, and you’re good to go.

A lot of websites allow you to map out your run for you to measure how far your destination will be. The one that I have found as the most useful is http://www.mapmyrun.com. This website allows you to plot your start and end points, while showing mile/kilometer markings along the way. If you don’t own a GPS device, then this site would help you a lot to determine how long your proposed route will be. The service is free, so why not try it out? The site also allows you to log your runs, and share your created running routes for other runners to try.

Now you know where to run on and where to run.

Only one thing left to do – HIT THE ROAD, BUCKY!

See you on your practice run, and at the starting line.

Check out the newbies section for more details. =)


The Secret to Successful Interval Training

Lifted from an article from Runner’s World.

I’m training for a 15K and using a Runner’s World Smart Coach plan. One workout has me running 2x1600m@8:33 pace, with 800-meter recovery jogs. At what pace should I run the 800m recoveries? I think 10:00 or 11:00 pace may be too slow. – Eric

Eric, the important thing to remember when running intervals is that the secret to success is in the recovery process — not the speed. We exist in an interval world, where we live, and then sleep to recover for the next day. Without sleep, the quality of our life declines rapidly. And the same holds true while interval training.

The goal of those 800-meter recovery jogs is to allow your heart rate, circulation, and breathing time to recover (like when you sleep) so you can run the next interval just as strong. Knowing this, it might be helpful to think of the 800 meters as a “recovery” rather than a slow-down. Early in the season, this may mean you need to run at 11:00 pace or even walk a little to recover before the next interval. Keep in mind that the payoff comes when you invest in a proper recovery and run at the target fast pace (and not any faster), your body will adapt and you’ll soon be capable of not only running faster with less effort, but the time it takes to recover will decrease as well. (By the way, a heart rate monitor is a great way to watch your effort, fast and slow, and track your progress on recovery time.) This means you may start the season running the recovery at 11:00 pace, but end up around 10:00 to 10:30 pace as your body adapts to the training.

Another important thing to remember: The goal is to run the last (second) interval just as hard as the first. This takes discipline to stay on pace early on and stick with that target pace throughout the workout. This is especially true with interval workouts that include more reps at a harder effort.

Every workout in the Smart Coach Program has a specific purpose and although it’s a challenge to slow down while running intervals, once you do, you’ll find it’s an investment that will pay off down the road.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny Hadfield

Many thanks, Coach Jenny. I will surely keep this in mind whenever I have training sessions that require speedwork. =)