Friday, June 8, 2007

Run, run, run - Journal Pioneer

June 8th, 2007

Run, run, run
With proper planning and pacing, running has its rewards

The Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE —When Scott Clark first tried running, he made it about 300 feet. “Whew, this isn’t easy,” he thought. Now he’s literally a front-runner at 10Ks and marathons alike.

“I just got bitten by the bug,” he says.

Clark started training a decade ago, when he decided to run the new 13-kilometre Confederation Bridge. Though he dropped running for a few years, he started again in 2001 to lose weight.

The 43-year-old shed 35 pounds and has been pounding the pavement since.

“I still enjoy beating some of the young fellas,” he quipped.

Running is arguably one of the cheapest and easiest exercise programs.

But where do you start?

Melanie Ramsay, manager of Summerside Wellness Centre gym, said the first step is to look at your fitness level.

“For a lot of people, running a minute is a big deal,” she said.

If you don’t even run across the street, you should likely start walking first. You can build fitness with 30 minutes, three times a week. It’s a good rule of thumb to increase mileage by no more than 10 per cent each week.

When you’re comfortable walking 30 minutes briskly, try incorporating a walk-run progression. That means running for a minute, then walking for two. Each week extend the running time (following the 10 per cent rule) until you can run the whole distance. Thirty minutes would include a five-minute walk, 20 minutes of running-walking and five-minute cool down.

As with any exercise program, check with a doctor first. Ramsay recommended running three to four times a week and cross-training – weight training, swimming or biking – other days to build different muscles and prevent injury.

Trying a program is the best way to find out if it’s for you.

“Give yourself a good week or two,” Ramsay said.

Participating in one of the many runs on P.E.I. may help boost motivation.

“It’s a very supportive sport,” said Clark.

He suggested 10K as a good distance to start, adding it would take five to six weeks of training.

“Work on your endurance, and then think about speed later,” he advised.

Clark also recommended using the 10 per cent rule for distance. Then, to get faster, add speed training once a week.

For example, run two or three kilometres at an easy pace, then run bursts of 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy. Do this 10 to 12 times followed by another two or three kilometres of easy running to cool down.

Clark said running is all about fitness and fun: as the saying goes, you’ll enjoy the race no matter what your pace.

“There is no better feeling than seeing the finish line and realizing that all your efforts paid off.”


Proper footwear essential for running
The Journal Pioneer

SUMMERSIDE —If you don’t have proper running shoes, expect more than sore feet. Aching knees, hips and back can signal it’s time to get new footwear, said Dwayne McNeill, owner of Source for Sports in Summerside.

What’s the most common mistake when buying new running shoes?

Going too small, he said.

“When you run, the front part of your foot swells,” McNeill explained.

When you try a running shoe, make sure there’s a thumb-width of space at the front. McNeill recommended buying the shoe even a half-size larger than normal. But the heel should fit snug and shouldn’t slip.

You should also try to determine your foot type and if you under- or over-pronate. Pronation refers to the natural rolling of the foot from heel to toe. In a neutral running stride, the outside of your heel strikes first and then your foot rolls inward so the impact gets evenly carried across the front of the foot.

Over-pronation means your foot rolls too far from outside to inside and there’s too much stress on the inside of the foot. Underpronation means not enough rolling and too much stress on the outside.

One way to determine that is by looking at your arch. Wet the bottoms of your feet and stand on a paper bag. After a minute, step off and look at the imprint.

Low arch: Not much curve on the inside of the imprint. The imprint will show almost your whole foot. People with low arches typically over-pronate. The majority of people over-pronate.

High arch: Very sharp curve on the inside of the imprint. Imprint shows only a thin band between heel and toe. People with high arches tend to under-pronate.

Normal arch: Distinct curve on the inside of the foot. Imprint has a band of a little less than half your foot width between heel and front of foot.

This information will help you pick shoes designed for your feet. Shoes for over-pronators offer more rigidity and support. Those with under-pronation tend to do best with more cushioning. An educated staff person can help pick the best for you.

McNeill also recommended checking store policies on trying shoes. Some will let you try them on a treadmill or other clean surface.

A proper running shoe will likely cost over $100, unless there’s a huge sale. You’ll typically need a new pair every six to eight months.

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