Running is the most natural activity for the entire animal kingdom. But while the rest of them do it for survival, humans do it to stay fit. FHM ask Daniel Vaz, head coach, Nike + Run Club, everything that you need to know about running.
1- IS IT OKAY FOR A NEWBIE TO RUN EVERY DAY?
It is recommended that one not run every day. Take at least one-two days off as it helps in reducing the frequency of overuse injuries. By taking adequate rest, you give your body a chance to recover and repair itself. Additionally, the individual would feel better and stronger during their run. Taking a break also helps the individual relax mentally and physically. Beginners should run on alternate days and average running three to four times a week.
2- HOW MUCH SHOULD ONE RUN TO START WITH ?
A beginner can start by running two to four times a week for about 20 to 30 minutes per run. It’s best to start slow and go easy on the run. Starting off with a jog is what is generally recommended.
Gradually, in order to avoid injuries, individuals can increase their run time over the weeks. However if the individual is a true beginner and can’t run even for ten minutes then it is best to start off with a walk/run plan.
3- DO WE NEED TO HAVE A CERTAIN BODY TYPE TO RUN?
All body types can take up running. However, if your body mass index is over 25 then you need to be extra careful by using proper cushioning for your shoes and avoid concrete surfaces for running.
4- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RUNNING ON A TREADMILL AND RUNNING OUTDOORS?
A treadmill requires less effort when running at the same speed as doing it outside. This is because the belt moves below your feet and reduces the effort in your stride. Periodically running outdoors is essential if you are going to take part in races because the road makes your calves and ankles work harder. The advantage of a treadmill though, is that you get to control various speeds and inclinations thus allowing you to challenge your workout in a closed setting. Also, on days when the weather outside is not conducive to running (rain, extreme cold, too warm, etc), you can do your workout comfortably on a treadmill.
5- HOW DOES RUNNING HELP BUILDING OF MUSCLES?
Yes, it is possible to build your leg muscles by running. However, running alone won’t help you build overall musculature. Finding a balance between running, weight training and nutrition is the key to build muscles and the right balance is also dependent on one’s specific goals.
6- IS IT OKAY TO RUN BAREFOOT?
In order to run barefoot it is better to first make a transition by using ‘minimalistic shoes’. Also, if your body mass index is higher than 25 then barefoot or even minimalistic shoe running is not advisable due to higher load on the knees and hips.
7- A LOT OF PEOPLE PREFER JOGGING OVER RUNNING. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT?
There is no difference between jogging and running and it is just terminology used to classify the everyday runner who runs purely to keep fit. As Dr George Sheehan says, “The difference between a jogger and a runner is a race bib.”
8- THERE IS A COMMON BELIEF THAT RUNNING IS BAD FOR YOUR KNEES. IS IT TRUE?
Most common running injuries generally hit the knees, however this isn’t solely because of running. In fact running helps in strengthening the knee, as it thickens the cartilage in the knees. As you start running, your body gradually adapts to it and since running doesn’t involve bending the knee too much, twisting or turning, it is a safe form of exercise for the knee.
One of the ways to reduce the chance of a knee injury, while running, is to strength train and change your shoes periodically.
9- WHAT ARE THE NUTRITION REQUIREMENTS FOR A RUNNER?
There are no specific nutritional requirements for a recreational runner doing up to 21K races, except that your carbohydrate intake after every run should be adequate to fuel your body for the loss of glycogen. However, for runners doing a full or ultra marathon the carbohydrate requirement can be in the region of 10-14 gms/kg of body weight. In addition, your protein intake should generally be 1.2-1.4 gms/kg of body weight.
10- IS IT OKAY TO EAT BEFORE RUNNING?
Eating just before the run is generally not advised as it leads to cramps or side stitches. However, running on empty stomach is also not advisable as it can leave the individual fatigued. Having a light meal, which is high on carbohydrates and low on fats, an hour before the run is ideal. The idea is to make sure that blood glucose levels are stable while running..”
11- RUNNING LOOKS PRETTY EASY. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE A RUNNING COACH?
The need for a coach is absolutely essential if one is training for races that have distances equal to or more than a half marathon. This is because the running mileage, if not tailored to suit the individual, can lead to over- training and/or injuries. Also, the progressions of running distance and speed can only be recommended if you have a coach. It is seldom possible to take a training schedule off the Internet and hope that it fits.
12- WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO GO FOR A RUN?
There is no best time for a run, as such. It is based on individual time constraints and preferences. However, doing your training first thing in the morning allows you to finish it and get on with the rest of the day without any pressure.
13- WHAT KIND OF SHOES DO YOU SUGGEST FOR NEW RUNNERS OR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO RUN ON A DAILY BASIS?
The kind of shoe an individual opts for, again, may vary from person to person. There are several parameters based on which, one can decide what kind of shoe would suit them the best. Body frame, amount of cushioning required and the way your foot pronates (how your foot reacts to pressure) are few crucial factors to be considered before deciding on the right shoe. Running biomechanics is a crucial parameter to be considered when opting for the right kind of shoe.