Posts Tagged ‘half’

Run The Rock: Eating For Efficiency

As long as I have been running I have known better than to eat a meal within an hour or two of start time. This was especially difficult in high school, when practice began at 5:45 AM. Since before I can remember I have eaten a large breakfast first thing in the morning. Early on I continued to eat in the morning, just as I always had, with the assumption that my body would adapt, but the result was always the same. I would start my run feeling sluggish and bloated, which soon became a feeling of sickness. From here I had a choice, I could slow to a walk for a while or surrender my breakfast to the grass. (Which surprisingly made me feel more energetic.)

It goes without saying that I couldn’t continue to eat a large breakfast. On the other hand if I ate nothing, or not enough, I dreaded running and I was unable to stay awake through much of the day. After a bit of trial and error I found that a granola bar or two provided enough energy for a good run, without filling me up too much.

Now that I am running again I still eat a small snack before setting off, only now they call them energy bars. Unfortunately, with the new name comes a higher price so the other day I decided to make my own. My first attempt was less than promising, when the cooking was done I was left with a dry, flavorless, cake-like sponge. This time around  I am aiming for something more like the Nature Valley Granola Bars.

In The Energy to Run you can find instructions to make these high-carb energy bars.

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Run The Rock: Better Breathing

High school cross country practice was almost exclusively running with a small amount of weight training. Distance days we learned the layout of the city, running the streets around town to put in mileage. Speed work was always done on the track, mostly in the form of 800 or 400 repeats. If you want to build speed an endurance then you should work on running fast and far right? After six years of cross country I certainly didn’t know any better, but as it turns out running isn’t the only way to a faster race time.

One thing that was never taken into account when I was trained to run was technique, specifically when it comes to breathing. What is the most energy efficient way to breathe while running? What should I be doing to provide my body with the most fresh oxygen in every breath? These are the questions that occurred to me the other day, and I found the answer… one answer any way. HowToRunAMarathon.net provided me with an article called ‘Belly Breathing‘ that I decided to put to the test.

Wednesday evening I set out on a short run to train for a half marathon and practice this new breathing strategy. Half of a mile into my run, I had just broken a sweat and settled into a comfortable pace, I turned my attention to my breathing. Shallow and harsh,¬†in and out through my gaping mouth. I don’t know how I was getting enough oxygen to stay conscious much less active.

Taking advice from the article I began forcing air out of my lungs by tightening my stomach muscles as I exhaled. This required constant focus specifically on breathing. Gasping for air when my lungs were at capacity I would realize that I had quit belly breathing and would again have to focus. As the next few miles passed beneath my feet it took less concentration, and even became comfortable. The same pace seemed much less demanding and I was able to breath strictly through my nose for the first time. With only one run of practice belly breathing is a method that I intend to adopt permanently. In addition to the increased endurance that I am sure will result, the effectiveness of this technique has inspired me to work on my form in the near future.

Do any runners know where I could find running technique suggestions?

Run The Rock: Time to Train

When my friend Charlie asked me if I would like to run the Dallas White Rock Half Marathon in December I couldn’t imagine saying no. I have always enjoyed running, even the days that I barely forced myself to put running shoes on I took them off feeling invigorated. A half marathon would be a great reason to start training again, and with fourteen weeks to train I would have plenty of time for a good program. So I had him sign me up and began searching the internet for a suitable training schedule.

After just two weeks of procrastination, as I began to fear that I might not finish the race and receive my 13.1 sticker, I began training on September 12th. Having spent hours over two weeks trying to decide on the best way to train and how to schedule my runs, two minutes is all that it took to find a basic training program online. Continue reading