Welcome to the new running thread for resetERA! Over the next few days and weeks this thread will encapsulate discussion about the running community here on the forum. I plan to take input from various members and flesh out this OT over time. Please send me content over PM and we will work to get it integrated.
STRAVA CLUB LINK
TRAINING FAQ/COMMON QUESTIONS
Why run (what our members say)?
Running and cooking is probably what lead our ancestors to differentiate themselves from the other proto hominoid primates of the time. Evolution being what it is, the body of the Homo sapiens is still a machine optimized for running even even it is hasn't been a selective trait for way before recorded history started.
Running is the most time efficient way to maintain basic fitness and produce amazing endorphins. It's a very popular competitive sport with a rich history. Everyone without a handicap can run. Recent research shows it's even good for mental health, being more effective at increasing neurogenesis than common antidepressants.
This thread is for everything related to running.
How running happens
Running is nothing more than a series of connected hops. A certain amount of energy needs to be transferred to the ground to motion the runner forward. The amount of energy depends on the pace at which the series of hops is ongoing. The energy comes from two different mechanisms. The active mechanism is what recruits muscles that generate force via contraction. Passive mechanics are the result of everything that are affected passively by running: the tendons and ligaments acting like spring while temporarily storing the resulting energy from the collision to the ground.
In other words, a runner can keep going forever as long as he can produce the necessary energy to power the movement, whether it comes from passive or active mechanisms. So in order to be better a running, we need to be better at producing the energy to keep running at a particular pace.
The actual process of activating a muscle occurs because of communication between the brain and the muscles. Electrical charges go down a chain of Sodium-Potassium pumps through our neural network to the desired muscle.
Then, the electrical charge hits a motor neuron, a neuron connected to a muscle fiber. This motor neuron uses a molecule called ATP to produce a chemical reaction that makes it physically contract, producing movement.
Running is about replenishing that ATP as fast as possible for the muscle to continue contraction. The faster you provide ATP, the faster you can contract muscles. This is done via the blood. Which is why the body starts pumping blood faster when it detects it’s in need of ATP.
We have several energy systems that all use a series of chemical reactions to produce ATP. Each energy system differs in complexity in terms of how many reactions are needed. Obviously, more steps means slower. Also, the supply of the products used in the system matters.
The first system is the immediate energy system. It consists of the stored ATP in muscle. The amount stored is very low, good for about 2 seconds. Then we have the Phosphagen and myokinase systems, 1 and 2 steps reactions that together provides in total to the immediate system about 5-15 seconds of energy muscle. Far too short for endurance events. This system also takes several minutes to recover.
The anaerobic system is next. It breaks down glucose without oxygen. What decides if glucose break down goes anaerobic or aerobic route is if there is sufficient mitochondrial activity to handle the reaction. Not enough mitochondria and you cannot use oxygen. The major drawback of this is that it creates byproduct that can interfere with the system (not lactate, as previously thought). It’s mostly used in middle distance, where you can avoid its detrimental buildup of byproducts.
The last system is the aerobic system. It uses the Krebs cycle to break down glucose among other things. Very high energy output, very low byproducts but much slower to produce energy. Fat and protein can also be broken down into the Krebs cycle but it takes even more steps, so it’s even slower. They are only used for extreme endurance events at low pace. When you bonk in a marathon it means you cannot use glucose for the main part of your energy production anymore so you switch to fat.
The systems are not mutually exclusive but interacts with each other. You are never 100% only running on one ATP source. You do not become more anaerobic in a race but actually rely increasingly more on the aerobic route, which is slower to produce ATP. That’s why you slow down, because the other systems become much less effective. Fatigue is a result of all the byproducts accumulation of the energy systems.
Not all muscle fibers are equal. They exist on continuum between slow-twitch and fast-twitch. What differentiate them is the type of myosin (the folding protein that physically contracts) on them. Slow-twitch myosins are better at continuous energy output and fires more slowly. Fast-twitch are better at short bursts. Training shifts muscle fibers to either side of the spectrum. For distance running, this is slow-twitch fibers.
In brief, here are all the components used in running:
- Neural network (muscle fibers recruitment)
- Blood network (capillaries, the blood highway)
- Immediate energy system
- Aerobic system
- Anaerobic system
- Muscle fibers
- Passive mechanic (tendons, ligaments)
Depending on the pace or terrain you run at, each of these components is used at a different level. Training goals should aim at improving these components.
The body reacts to stress
There are two types of reactions to the stress of exercise. The first is acute: your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure rise, you feel some fatigue. The second type of reaction is the training effect, which occur
Specificity of training
The system you stress is the only one that adapts itself to the specific stress received. The adaptations in your quadricep muscles from long distance running is orthogonal to doing leg presses.
Rates of achievements
There is a diminishing return of adaptations for the same stress over time. Without an increased stress, adaptations reach a plateau.
There is a limit to how much our body can adapt. Part of it is genetic, epigenetic, sex and age.
Ease of maintenance
The stimuli required to keep adaptations is much less than the one to gain them. This means it's easier to keep a fitness level once attained.
The reason to be extra careful with mileage increase is because musculoskeletal adaptations take more time than cardio vascular adaptations. Bones and tendons have very low blood supply, meaning slower recovery and growth after stress. The good thing is these changes also are longer to go away after inactivity because training actually makes your body more efficient and stronger at every level, including genes activation. That's why it's much easier to reach a previously attained level of fitness than reaching it the first time.
The only real rule is to listen to your body. But it does not really help much. So here are two popular rules of thumb for safely increasing mileage.
The Jack Daniels way
Run your weekly mileage at least 3 weeks until you feel comfortable (no minor pain or soreness). Increase weekly mileage up to 1 mile per number of runs you do per week. Run new mileage at least 3 weeks until you are comfortable again. Repeat.
The 10% rule
Increase mileage up to 10% each week. Take a down week (30-40% less) every 3-4 weeks. Repeat until you reach desired mileage.
I am not a very big fan of this one. For people starting (<10 miles a week) increases will take forever. It's a decent rule for micro cycles in a training plan, using overload and rest. It's also good when you want to return to a previous high after a small break. It's less effective as a way to build life long mileage.
Tools to evaluate fitness
There are a lot of fancy calculator out there to evaluate your fitness. Most of time take your best time at a distance and estimate how you would fare at another.
The most popular ones are based on VDOT. It's a hybrid of VO2max and running economy. VO2max alone is very bad at estimating running performance, it's only one of the many components of running (see How running happens), we need to pair it with others. Your VDOT level is kind of your level in an RPG.
Starting out from nothing
Couch to 5K is a popular program for beginners. Check it out.
We define easy running by running at a pace where you feel you could go forever. It is not taxing at all. You could hold a conversation if you wanted. The majority of a runner's schedule should consist of easy runs. They are not taxing unless they are of long duration. Therefore, they are not considered workouts, for this definition.
Workouts are runs meant to tax a particular running component. Following the training principles, it will enhance that component after recovery. Here the most common workout types extremely simplified.
How much workouts per week?
To improve, you need to recover. A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 principle. 80% of your mileage should be easy, 20% workouts. But keep in mind every workouts are not equal in intensity and you should not always stress only one system. As always, listen to your body.
The bread and butter of workouts. It's a running pace that feels comfortably hard. This means a pace you have to put effort to maintain but not too much. You cannot hold a conversation at that pace but you can blurt out small sentences.
3 miles warm up + 3-6 miles tempo + 2-3 miles cooldown.
Strides are short sprints of 100m. You run them at a relaxed form. You should do a complete recovery between each because the goal is to improve form and muscle recruitment when running fast, not getting better at sprinting (we don’t care about the immediate system). You'll never run at that pace in a long distance race but you want to be able to recruit the fibers optimized for sprinting when your other fibers are tired.
You can do strides after a run or incorporate them in an easy run. Just make sure to run them fully recovered. You can also do them on a hill, to stress different fibers.
Intervals are pure hard running. At this pace you breath fast and cannot blurt out words. The idea is to spent a good bit of time at 95-100% VO2max. Your body takes about 2 minutes to reach the point of maximum oxygen consumption. So if you’re running intervals shorter than that you need a smaller recovery window so you can hit your target. But you don’t want to run too long at that pace either because after 5 minutes byproducts accumulation will have you slow down and you won’t work the same systems.
- 3 to 5 minutes is an ideal single interval duration.
- Stick to hard pace.
- Recovery periods should be 50-100% of the interval duration.
- It’s very hard to recover properly if intervals are more than 10k or 8% of your weekly mileage.
Typically part of a marathon program. Should be run at an easy pace. It’s meant to stress the aerobic system, your bottleneck at keeping up the pace in that race. I don’t recommend the long run being more than 25% of your weekly mileage. Otherwise recovery takes too long and your only workouts are only long slower runs.
Even if you are not preparing for a marathon it’s good to have a longer outing in your week for generic endurance purpose. You can run progressively faster or finish the last part near race pace to prepare for race conditions. Care must be taken to recover properly of these variations.
What is the difference between running outside versus the treadmill? Is there really a difference?
From personal and many people's experience  running on the treadmill is considered lower effort than equivalent running on the road. Even if you do most of your training on the road you should at least increase the "grade" setting on your treadmill to 1 and also try to make it out on the road 1-2 times a week. This will make sure your body can take the impact of pavement running.
What clothing recommendation are there?
Generally you want lightweight clothing that wicks moisture well. Make sure to lube surfaces that rub together (thighs, chest, etc) with products such as vasoline or body glide.
What wearable(s) should I use (optional but useful)?
Watch(es) - In the era of IoT (internet of things) there are many choices for tracking mileage. Here are popular features to look for:
- Optical Heart Rate
- Smart Phone Connectivity
Heart Rate Straps - A heart rate strap is a useful tool that records your heart rate and transmits it for instantaneous viewing (via watch or phone) or analysis post run.
Foot pod - A foot pod is more or less an accelerometer that attaches to your shoestrings on your shoe. A footpod is useful for two reasons. It provides more instantaneous pace updates to your watch/phone versus calculating time versus your GPS location. This is especially helpful when you are running in between tall building or through tunnels. I personally have one on my shoes and most foot pod batteries will last at least one year
What running shoes should I wear? Is there a brand preference I should care about?
Running shoe selection is VERY subjective and depends on the runner. It is strongly recommended to try a range of shoes depending on your running style (and gait). The general recommendation is to find a local running specialty store (not a big chain like Academy or Dick's) and have someone evaluate your stride and needs. Once you know what you need you can buy from popular websites at a lower cost.
The 4 Rules of the Running Shoes
Run into something comfortable to you.
Run in whatever stride is natural/comfortable to you.
You can get use to anything over time.
The lighter the shoes, the faster you run (up to a point).
What about stability? Vibram 5 fingers? Those fancy shoes they used for the Breaking2 project?
Recent research has shown that stability shoes may have been more promise that actual benefit.
What are good online stores to buy running shoes?
It is unavoidable: at some point during your training you may incur an injury that may interfere with your training. In all likelihood it is going to be associated with the anatomy at, or below the knee and be a result of trying to do too much too soon. You may think you can run through it, but most often than not this results in a worsening of the condition.
As such your training regimen should be modified until the issues have mended - the sooner you treat these injuries, the sooner they will be repaired. And remember if the pain is severe ALWAYS consult a medical doctor.
We will divide injuries into two groups: acute injuries and overuse injuries:
- Acute injuries: Strains, partial tears of muscle or ligaments and sprains are classified as acute injuries and are normally the result of a fall, twisting movement or a forceful one (such as jumping or sprinting). Rest, ice, compression and elevation (the famous RICE) will help in reducing the inflammation of the affected area. Once the swelling is greatly reduced or absent begin a return to activity by strengthening the injured area, followed by a gradual return to full activity.
- Overuse injuries: These type of injuries are a result of repetitive strain on a body part. Since running contributes to repetitive stress to the body's structures (muscles, bones, ligaments) without proper recovery overuse injuries may develop. In order to avoid these type of injuries one has to give the tissues the necessary time to adapt, compensate and strengthen. How fast the adaptation occurs varies from person to person and depends on age, overall condition and the gradual progression of increased training.
This section aims to collect some of the most common running injuries, their symptoms and forms of treatment.
This refers to several conditions associated with pain in front of the knee, often due to an irritation in the underside of the kneecap.
- Signs and symptoms: Mild irritation at the joint will occur, with the possibility of localized swelling and redness. If untreated, the inflammation may become painful to the point that any running or walking downhill or climbing stairs results in severe pain in the joint.
- Treatment: Since this is an overuse injury, the first step should be a reduction in the current training regimen (elimination of hill running for example). Low impact activities such as elliptical training, pool running or swimming may be substituted. Strengthening the quadriceps should be an important goal, combined with stretches of the hamstrings and calves.
ILLIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME
Or ITBS for short. The most common cause for lateral knee pain, may take weeks or months to reach a level that impacts training.
- Signs and symptoms: Sharp pain on the lateral aspect of the knee. Typically pain begins after running a certain distance and worsens as the run continues. This pain may disappear after the run only to return next training day. As this condition worsens the pain may be present during walking and climbing stairs.
- Treatment: Rest and ice, mostly. After the pain subsides, stretch the IT band and strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings and hip muscles.
Inflammation of the connective tissue of the lower leg due to inadequate recovery after stress. Likely to affect beginning runners. Factors that affect this: hard surfaces, worn out shoes, excessive hill running, uneven surfaces.
- Signs and symptoms: Pain in the lower third of the tibia where muscles attach to the bone. This pain usually arises at the same distance every run and will disappear after. Left untreated, the pain will worsen over time. If it is triggered by touch, it may be a stress fracture instead.
- Treatment: As most overuse injuries: RICE. NSAIDs may be used to treat some of the symptoms but should be relied upon as something to allow running.
Forces from running may cause microscopic injuries to the bone that do not have time to heal. Eventually the bone may begin to fail and cracks may be seen through diagnostic imaging. Sudden increases in mileage can bring about bone damage that the body can't repair quickly enough: as the muscles get tired they absorb shock more poorly, requiring the bone to bear more of the impact.
- Signs and symptoms: Pain similar to shin splints, but more localized. Also probably triggered by touch.
- Treatment: Rest, rest, rest. You need to give time for the bone to heal, so assume weeks without running will be necessary.
Inflammation of the Achilles tendon due to overuse, exacerbated by anatomical or biomechanical problems
- Signs and symptoms: Acute tendinitis is characterized by the sudden onset of sharp or burning pain, which may be triggered by squeezing the tendon. As the tissue warms up the pain may subside a bit. Rubbing the tendon with your finger and feeling a gritty sensation is a sign of inflammation.
- Treatment: Reduce training volume and do some conservative stretching. Look at your shoes and see if they are too worn out. Running through the pain may cause the tendon to degrade further and break.
Inflammation of the bundle of tissue that connects the sole of the foot to the heel bone. Repeated stresses during footstrike cause strain to the plantar fascia, which may be exaggerated by running fast or up hills.
- Signs and symptoms: [/B]Sharp pain in the heel and arch during the first steps of the day. This is due to the fascia stretching after the contraction that happens during the night. Sitting during long periods may cause the same type of pain.
- Treatment: Stop me if you heard this before: Rest, icing and stretching using a foam roll or ball.
Tears in the calf muscles result into knots, which in turn develop into scar tissue.
- Signs and symptoms: Viselike pressure in the calf
- Treatment: Massage to the knots in order to stretch the damaged fibers and relieve pressure. Stretch both the soleus and the gastrocnemius regularly.
https://www.dcrainmaker.com/ The_Inquisitor's personal favorite site for gear reviews
I want to improve. What should I do?
If you want us to help you, you need to provide at least the following information:
- What is your weekly mileage?
- How long have you been running for?
- What are your latest PBs?
- What is your goal? (a specific distance and/or time)
- Provide a sample week if possible.
Credits (members contributing to the OP)
slow-twitch (pretty much half the OP)
Duebrithil ( most of the other half)