180520 Are You Ready to Run?
By Danny M. O’Dell, M.A.CSCS
Spring seems like it’s just around the corner and with that comes, for some, the urge to get outside and run. But are you ready to hit the street? Have you built up a training foundation?
Once you are running, focus either on what you are doing or anything else except what you are doing. These two strategies, associative and dissociative are distinctively different and are used as the need arises. Most elite runners use the associative method as it allows them to keep track of the feedback from their bodies. New runners generally will do better if they use dissociation because as they begin thinking about the run and how their bodies are hurting they are less likely to continue.
Beginners can employ coping skills during the run. Positive self talk, encouraging inner thoughts, taking in the scenery and simply being happy they are out there doing it will carry the day.
After you have decided to actually get going decide if you should talk to your doctor before heading out the door. If you are middle aged, set up an appointment and get a checkup. It takes but a few minutes to find out if you are up to doing what you want to do. Meanwhile, this quick self administered quiz may alert you to some danger signs.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY READINESS QUESTIONNAIRE-(PAR-Q) (Courtesy of the University of Minnesota @ Duluth web site and Supertraining by Mel C. Siff).
1. Yes No Has your doctor ever said you have heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?
2. Yes No Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?
3. Yes No In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
4. Yes No Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?
5. Yes No Has a doctor ever said your blood pressure was too high?
6. Yes No Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (for example water pills) for your blood pressure
7. Yes No Has your doctor ever told you that you have a bone or joint problem such as arthritis that has been aggravated by exercise, or that might be made worse with exercise?
8. Yes No Is there a good physical reason not mentioned here why you should not follow an activity program even if you wanted to?
9. Yes No Are you over age 65 and not accustomed to vigorous exercises?
If you answered YES to one or more questions: Before increasing your physical activity and/or taking a fitness test consult with your personal physician by telephone or in person. Speak to your doctor about the PAR-Q, and discuss the questions answered YES. Talk with your doctor about the kinds of activities you wish to participate in and follows his or her advice.
You may be able to do any activity you want as long as you start slowly and build up gradually. On the other hand, you may need to restrict your activities to those, which are safe for you.
If you answered No to all questions: you have a reasonable assurance of your present suitability for an exercise regimen. Success often results through the correct application of scientific exercise principles and dedication, such as those that follow.
Take part in a fitness appraisal, this is an excellent way to determine your basic fitness so that you can plan the best way for you to live actively.
Start by becoming more physically active.
Begin slowly and build up gradually.
Delay becoming much more active if you are not feeling well because of temporary illness such as a cold or a fever. It is best to wait until you feel better. If you are, or think you may be pregnant; talk to your doctor before becoming more physically active.
If your health changes so that you answer YES to any of the above questions, notify your fitness advisor and be certain to tell your doctor/health care provider. You may need to change your physical activity plan.
If in doubt after completing the questionnaire, consult with your doctor or health care provider prior to beginning any new physical activity.
After talking it over with your doctor and getting their ok then it’s up to you to dress appropriately. Get good shoes, spend some money and get good shoes! There are too many guidelines to be discussed here so I won’t. Choose your clothing wisely. Dress lightly.
If you are a woman wear a specially designed sports bra to minimize breast injury or soreness during the run. At a minimum these should have firm, non slip, non stretch straps and connected directly to a non elastic cup. It should have no irritating seams or fasteners that are directly on the skin. Finally the bra should hold the breasts in a rounded shape close to the body.
The general laws of running state gradually start out by training gently, train frequently all year round. Go for distance then speed. Don’t set your schedule in concrete, be flexible and alternate hard runs with easy ones. Try to get as much out of the minimum of training as possible, don’t be in a hurry to push onto the next level and don’t race when training or run at a race pace at distances above 16 km. Don’t overtrain, seek out a competent coach and stay mentally tough. Sleep well before a big race and keep a daily diary of your accomplishments.