subtitle: seriously, People, we lucky up in herre.
I had a question about whether those nutrient chews I see in the running store actually work to replenish energy and electrolytes. I sweat a lot when I run, so I want to know if I should try them. Anyone used them on longer runs or hikes? I want to try my hand at longer runs and I think they’d help, if only to reduce side cramps…
Most distance runners are very familiar with energy/electrolyte gels and chews (Gu, ClifShot, etc). Generally, they are consumed if your run/activity is going to last 45 minutes to an hour or longer as this is the point at which your body typically needs electrolyte20replenishment. If you dip too low with salt and electrolytes – common to all but particularly for heavy sweaters or on humid days, you may experience muscle cramping or, at the very least, a reduction in performance. Most of these gels/chews recommend taking them every 45 minutes during a sustained work out. For me, if my run will be under an hour, I just stick with water. Any run over an hour, I add Gatorade and/or an energy gel every 45 minutes. They work! However, I have heard different runners have experienced upset stomach with certain brands/flavors. So experiment with the available options until you find one right for you. Beware, though, as none of them taste particularly great (think eating stale yogurt.)
I am really enjoying running, however, I feel like I am having a hard time really progressing with my running. I have a really high heart (only when I exercise), and I think that might be holding me back. It’s usually in the high 180s when I’m running about 5.5-6 mph, so it’s tough to go much faster than that. Oh, and I’m 26 and not overweight… Puzzling, huh?
I’ll leave it to the doctors out there regarding your heart rate. As always, any prospective runner should consult with their doctor about their own unique physical characteristics. I can only speak about my own experiences. For the most part, a typical runner experiences an elevated heart rate when they move out of the “comfort zone” past their trained aerobic capacity. A high heart rate usually means the runner is going faster or farther than their body is trained to handle. This can be a sign of overexertion. However, there is also a training technique that purposely raises the heart rate. If I’m looking to increase my overall speed, I’ll design specific work outs to run for short periods at what’s described as an “uncomfortably hard” pace. This is done through track repeats, interval training, hill training etc. My heart rate jumps during these intervals. By doing these work outs in short durations, at first, a nd gradually increasing distance over time, your body eventually adjusts to the increased effort. Your heart rate settles in at your normal training level despite the faster speed and/or greater distance.
I am a very pokey runner. It’s not that I want to look like a sloth moving, but for some reason it’s where I find my groove. How can I improve my speed while still maintaining distance (which is just about 2.5-3 miles)???
I always tell myself “If you want to run faster, you have to train faster”. It sounds simple but it can be a challenge if you really don’t want to turn your relaxed, enjoyable daily run into something a bit more exhausting. The bottom line is that you have to push yourself a bit. This doesn’t mean you have sprint out the door every run and return as a defeated pile of sweat soaked flesh. But you DO have to push your speed to an uncomfortable level periodically. When I first started running several years ago, it was a challenge to run one mile. Now, I rarely go less than five miles. That didn’t happen overnight. I’d add just a bit of distance every couple of weeks. Maybe one more trip around the block one week. Maybe circle the cul-de-sac a few extra times the next week. Eventually you can handle greater distances. Really, it’s the same with speed. You’ll see results through dedication and time.
To start, on your next run, pick a set of three mail boxes and move from your normal training pace to a harder-than-normal pace. Make it just a bit uncomfortable. When you get to the third mailbox, don’t stop but return to your normal pace and keep going. Maybe you only do this once on your next run. Then, maybe twice a week later. Before long, you can sprinkle these “pick ups” through out your run liberally maybe going five or six mail boxes before settling back to the normal pace. And, guess what? Before long, you’ll start noticing that your “normal” pace seems quite a bit faster than what you remember it being. Over time, pushing your pace makes your normal pace seem surprisingly easy and you find yourself unconsciously speeding up! It can be tough when you are in one of those speed zones but you can remind yourself that it’s only for a few more seconds and then you can relax again.
By the way, this is called “fartlek” training (Swedish for “speed play”) and is a common speed training technique. And, yes, fartlek is a real word believe it or not. Go ahead and snicker.
even though i have proper running socks and my wonderfully fitted running shoes, my feet sometimes feel like they overheat. any ideas as to why? and no, this isn’t just on ridiculously hot days.
Hmmm, never experienced this before. My brother complains of hot feet. He found a pair of well ventilated running shoes (Asics 2100 series) and seems to be happy with them. Outside of consulting a running specialty store for the best pair of socks and shoes, I don’t have any other advice other than checking your feet for a thermostat.
Since I am a beginning runner, I have a question. Everyone says you shouldn’t run every day when you start out. So how long / far do you have to be able to run before you can start running every day?
This is a tough one because every runner I know has a different running schedule. Some run every day, some 4-5 days a week, some – like me – only 3 days a week. Most professional running coach plans I have seen rarely recommend running every day though. Usually there is at least 1 – often 2 – cross training days recommended in place of a running day. Cross training is usually described as “non impact” (think knees, joints and the impact they take when running) activities like swimming or biking or rowing or yoga or something that doesn’t involve pounding on the knees and other leg joints.
I guess the answer depends on why you are running. Are you training for races? Are you just looking to get outside and enjoy a day? Are you running the same pace every day? Why do you WANT to run every day? There are many training plans out there designed by professionals to help the beginner but they usually involve some sort of race distance goal at the end of the plan. You might look into one of these plans if that is your goal. You can usually reap maximum benefits20from running just 3-5 days a week anyhow depending on how you structure your work outs. If you want to run every day just for fun with no particular goal in mind, then, by all means, I say “Enjoy!”. Just beware that you’ll want to take it easy and recognize that you might run yourself right into injury if you don’t give the body a break every now and then.
For me, I run three days a week. That’s partly due to my work and family obligations though. I’d love to be out there five days a week but it’s just not possible. So, I tend to put in three intense runs a week at various distances/goals and then reward myself with a rest day. You have to design your run schedule based on your lifestyle and goals. I would be wary though of planning to run every single day. That’s admirable dedication but usually not recommended How about substituting a few of those runs with a bike ride instead?
Thanks so much, Nitmos.
We’d already established (given my breathlessness in that video clip) I was highly UNqualified to answer any of the queries and appreciate you stepping in!