Learning How to Run Longer Distances - Physical Fitness

This is a discussion on Learning How to Run Longer Distances - Physical Fitness within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; 2 things: If you ain't pukin', you ain't running and No pain, no gain. Seriously, breathing hard is not a reason to slow down, neither ...

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Thread: Learning How to Run Longer Distances - Physical Fitness

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array nedrgr21's Avatar
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    2 things: If you ain't pukin', you ain't running and No pain, no gain.

    Seriously, breathing hard is not a reason to slow down, neither is an accelerated heart rate - it's gonna happen. When you go on a run, keep running until you physically can't keep running, not when it becomes uncomfortable and then walk for a bit. When you catch your breath, start running again. Repeat for a mile. Continue until you can run a continuous mile. Repeat for 2 miles, then three, ... Run 2 or 3 days in a row, then rest for a day to recover. Repeat.

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  3. #17
    Member Array OldLincoln's Avatar
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    What he said ^^^

    My son took up road biking and as usual he went at it. When he started he chose a route with a gradual uphill slope and he'd puke a couple times each trip. Then it was one time per, and finally no puke, then it was faster, etc. It really is difficult but if you are determined to get to a certain point, go at it with determination and push through the pain (if your heart is good). Obviously your heart and lungs will get stronger as you progress.

  4. #18
    Senior Member Array DaveJay's Avatar
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    After years of running for PT tests and soccer refereeing...you young guys can have it...

    I've got two bad knees...my cardio exercise now is walking on the local middle school track...nice and flat...

    But everything others have said about building up endurance is true...you gotta run to get better...
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  5. #19
    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tally XD View Post
    My run is what is hindering me the most. Never been a runner, never put much into it either.

    When I break into a shuffle/run and reach a point where my breathing becomes very heavy, much more rapid, and I start to feel that chest burn is usually the point at which I go back to a rapid deliberate fast walk until I get my wind back.

    If you haven't done so already, have your doctor (or a decent sports-medicine oriented doc) give you a full physical, along with various cardio/heart/aerobic tests (including eval. for oxygen-carrying capacity), to evaluate your fitness for pumping up the volume at this point in your life and given your physical condition. Hard to say what you are medically capable of withstanding, without knowing much more. Your doctor is the place to start. That said ...

    Let's assume you're a decent "weekend" runner who is simply a couple years out of shape and needing to get back into it. Here are some thoughts from that perspective, which should also apply to a reasonably medically capable person wanting to start running for fitness.

    1. Note that running performance and running healthy are two aspects that are dramatically affected by (a) aerobic capacity, (b) strength, and (c) flexibility. It's hard to improve any one of these things for running while leaving out the others, and still maintain the thought that you'll get markedly better as a runner. These THREE things must all improve in order for your running performance to improve. Nicely, as all three do improve, your ability to avoid injury increases as well. Downside is, it hurts, at this point. Until you're fairly strong, flexible and fit, running hurts. Get used to it. The other, mixed training will help it hurt less.

    2. Ideally, have access to a heated tub of some sort, one with stout jets that you can focus on your sore muscles. Not just a "hot tub," but a tub of hot water with powerful jets. In a perfect world, you'd get frequent deep massages to help work out the kinks, but a tub with great jets can be a reasonable alternative. This can feel amazingly good, speed recover, and avoid injury. Great, if you can do it. At worst, hop in the tub regularly, and start exchanging massages with your significant other.

    3. Get a great pair of cross-training (running oriented) shoes. It can help. It can also help avoid injury.

    4. Start slowly, then work your way up. That C25K.com method looks decent, for some guidance and structure. I found that I preferred a bit less structure and more "free" sessions with my running, though many 10K runs (for fun) and other structured training programs were a part of it. My favorite always was cross-country running off the pavement. Give me a logging trail or hiking trail, and I'd be gone for a couple hours. Heaven.

    5. Start with stretches, mild calisthenics, mild weight training (ie, 5 lb, 7lb, 10lb hand weights, simple squats). Focus on these, adding running sessions to them. At some point, as your fitness improves, you'll find yourself being able to keep running well beyond the time you could just weeks/months earlier. But, let it come as it comes. Rushing it can get you injured. Caution.

    Ensure your "core" (abdominal, mid-section) muscles are part of the focus. Arms and legs will be a part of many of these exercises, but many folks try to avoid the "core" muscles. Don't. It's important for running. It can help you withstand things once you start running faster, harder, up hills.

    6. Consider cross-training with several different physical activities. Swimming, cycling, Frisbee catch, racquetball. This can help bring various muscles into play that you simply don't exercise sufficiently well during running. Doing so can help improve your running, help avoid injury, and add some spice/fun to your workout sessions so that you won't find plain running so boring.

    7. Run with a friend or two, if possible. This helps take the mind off things. If they're a bit more fit than you, you'll find they'll pull you along and you will improve much faster, this way.

    8. Find a hill. Any hill. Find a dozen ways up it. Do it more often, harder, faster, as the weeks go on. At some point, you'll find yourself able to run for portions of the trip up the hill. At some point, you'll be running the whole thing. Do it twice, then three times. Run up, then down. Do it with hand weights. Adding a hill can add flavor and spice, but it can also help train your muscles to do things they simply aren't asked to do on the flats. Consider it cross-training. Sand dunes can be excellent for this.

    9. Consider swimming, which itself is an exceptionally tough aerobic activity. If you're a decent swimmer, hard swimming can be a great component of an aerobic fitness schedule of activities.

    10. If you're going to run on man-made surfaces, try to avoid concrete and asphalt as much as possible. A dirt trail or a "spongy" sort of track facility might be tougher to find, but they can be much easier on the knees, feet.

    Can I safely push myself farther without injury or possibly death?
    Your doctor can help you determine whether you're "clear" for unleashing the runner within.

    When running for distance and I reach that point of hard rapid breathing will this actually go away if I keep going?
    At certain levels of fitness, yes. But that takes a fair amount of running, before you'll be able to "tune" your workout to allow for these occasional bouts with pain, breathing problems, etc.

    Simplest is to find a breathing rhythm and then adjust your running to that rhythm. Your breathing will dictate how hard, fast, focused your running will be. In other words, with running you can only run as quickly as your breathing will allow. Simple fact of life.

    Is my lack of running stamina due to cardio overload or lack of lung function?
    Yes. Though, strength, flexibility and cardio go hand in hand, with running. At the core of it all, though, when you find yourself wheezing and hacking ... you'll find aerobic capacity being the limiting factor.

    What is the best way to improve this or are there ways to improve other than running more?
    See above. Get a "base" of mileage; get stronger; get more flexible; engage in cross-training activities.

    What happens if I push myself, or try too, beyond this breathing obstacle?
    Your body will stop you. If you push *too* hard, you'll not have to worry about it (speak with your doctor). If your breathing simply can't keep up, you'll "hit the wall" or "run out of gas" and won't be able to maintain that speed.

    One type of running training that might be worth adding into the mix: Fartlek "speed" training. Of course, it's tougher and something that many experienced athletes take advantage of, but you can certainly add this into the mix once you're able to run a couple miles without stopping.

    As a rough gauge, IMO, a person who can run ought to be able to do a few miles without stopping, with each mile in the 8:00 to 9:00 mins/mile range (or faster), without being sore the next day, at a rate of 15-20mi per week. Once you get to this point, you ought to be able to vary your type of running and mix of cross-training activities to really begin pumping up the volume. As well, at the 8 mins/mile speed, you can consider doing the occasional 5K or 10K "race," which for many folks is really just a get-together with other like-minded people who enjoy the outdoors and a crowd. Many people don't even "run" at such things, opting instead to dress up and simply have fun. It's a great way to meet other people, take the pain out of the run, and to have 3mi (or 6mi) fly by faster than you ever thought possible.


    How can I assess my running style and make improvements to my style (pronation?)
    Run with one or two other runners, folks who have been running for many years and can watch you while running. In a single run of a couple miles, they'll be able to make a reasonable assessment. Probably the simplest and quickest way to get some good tips on what's occurring with your "style" and how to improve some of the worst behaviors.

    Once you've worn the tread down on your first pair of running shoes, a doctor who can correct "gait" issues (pronation, supination, toe-in or -out) can help with orthotics or your movements. The worn tread can tell quite a bit. Even experienced runners might have some decent suggestions, simply by looking at your worn shoes.

    Once I am walking at that fast, arm swinging "geriatric mall walkers" pace for about an eighth mile, I will break into an airborne shuffle of sorts. I will keep up this shuffle/jog for as long as I can (go back to the hard breathing part).
    Interestingly, a slower "shuffling" gait can end up taking quite a bit of energy. A smoother running style with a longer, simpler stride might well be harder to achieve aerobically, but it can be easier on the body to perform. In other words, a decent running form is more efficient and a bit easier to achieve than a gait that is a shambles. But that can take awhile to learn. It'll come.

    Once I start this hard breathing I will visually pick a point up ahead of me, along my route, and attempt to force myself to make it to that mark. At that point I will usually feel as if I must stop running and will go back to the geriatric walk. I start the process all over again until I have reached my two mile measure. I will sometimes try to sprint, or at least fast jog, the last 40 or 50 yards just to make myself feel better (or sick).
    By the way you describe things, it sounds like you simply don't quite have either the aerobic or strength capacity to withstand the sort of stress that running places on your body. I would look to some of the tips above and focus on those. Find a hill, and use it a handful of times per week for your workouts. Start slow. Add some cross-training exercises. Focus on stretches, strength and walking hard/briskly, until the running becomes easier. As it does, you'll find yourself naturally adding more and more time to your running segments. Don't push these too hard, else you might get injured. Nicely, focusing early on with the stretching and strength and cross-training, you can help yourself to avoid injuries too. It makes the running easier to swallow once you do start pumping up the volume.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; August 5th, 2010 at 11:51 PM.
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  6. #20
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Your heart is a muscle...... your lungs function due to a muscle. You have to buld them up as well as any other muscle in your body. Check with a Doctor as to your specific condition , limitations, age, abilities, etc. They can tell you better than anyone.

    As far as running...... I used to run long distance. Thus, I'm a terrible patient when a Doctor is trying to do a treadmill on me. As he has me run longer and faster, my heart rate will go down and so will my blood pressure. It comes from training ..... long strides, breathing in thru your nose and out your mouth while running and .... not short pumpy breaths..... slow, longer in and out breaths, and mental.... 'relax'. Then you'll learn about the 'pain threshold', etc as well... and how to block it out. Once you do it, it will affect your heart, etc. for the rest of your life. As on the treadmill, it will not react "normal" ... as you have trained it and yourself. Most doctors, but not all I've found, know how to spot an old long distance runner when they are on a treadmill. To keep mine happy, I just start running shorter steps, breath cruddy, and then it will drive my blood pressure and heart rate up where he wants it. He loves to tell me, "now, go back to your normal"..... and he loves to watch the heart rate and blood pressure fall as I return to my 'running ' mode .... although the treadmill ils still on high. Sometimes, he gets over zealous and says, I want to watch you do that again, will you ?

    but, all of your muscles have to build up to it before you "go for it".... and that the Doctor thinks your heart, etc. is in condition for it. Build up to it.

    Some people run long distances, and other do long distance running. There is a BIG BIG difference.
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