*Update – Some stuff I’ve learned and didn’t like about this post. Changed*
I have had several people ask me to give them advice about getting started with running and what they could do to make it easier. There really is no magic bullet. Determination and dedication are really the things you need the most. In addition, you need to avoid injury at all cost. Injuries suck and many times discourage people from running at all. You also need to start eating better (this might make some of you runners mad). So, how did I get to where I am now without hurting myself, without giving up, without getting scared of insanely long races? What advice do I have for any new runners out there or people who are thinking about running? Ideally, you should go join my gym and just do what they tell you to do. However, I realize that this isn’t going to work for everyone. So, I shall attempt to answer all of these questions for you.
The POSE method
I started running with the Couch to 5k program. This is a great program, but once I got through my first 5k and kept trying to run I started having different pains and problems. My heels would hurt badly and I would get shin splints. Running started to suck and I certainly wasn’t getting any faster or running any further. The POSE running method changed all of this for me. I thought it was really weird at first, but after a few days of doing drills I started to enjoy it and understand its purpose. The general idea is to get you to stop with the heel striking. The heel strike is hurting you. Watch this video to get a better idea about what this POSE thing is all about (small language warning):
Once I started hitting the POSE drills really hard and training myself to not heel strike all of these pains that I had and problems I had with running went away. Running became 10 times more enjoyable. I was no longer trying to push myself through pain during runs. I don’t necessarily follow this method 100% but I think I have fully trained myself to avoid any heel striking. I believe it has made me a better runner and has reduced pain and injury.
Leading up to my first marathon, I had not fully embraced the Crossfit mantra of “Stop running so many miles!” I was still running about 20 to 30 miles a week in addition to my Crossfit workouts. However, as I moved on to longer races, I started buying in to that way of thinking a lot more. I started hitting the track and/or doing shorter, higher intensity running workouts at home. This includes lots of 800, 600, 400, and 200 meter runs. The idea is to run shorter distances as fast as you can, rest some, and then do it again. In the time between my first Marathon (December 2010) and my first 50k (February 2010) just about all of my runs were short, high intensity workouts. I feel like these short intense workouts really have increased my speed as well as endurance. Now I am completely bought in to this training strategy, and I am at the track about 3 times a week hitting it very hard. Over the last few months I’ve seen my speed increase quite a bit.
Stop Eating Crap!
“I run so that I can eat whatever I want.” No offense, but when I hear people say this I start day dreaming about my next training session at the gym. I pay no attention to anything else they say because they can’t possibly help me. It’s ridiculous to me. Are you serious about this or not? If not, then go have a cheeseburger. I’m confused about why you have even read this far. If you are serious about getting faster, running further or even running your first 5K then you have to stop eating junk! Your diet can work wonders for your performance. I’m sure there are all kinds of scientific reasons behind this, but I’m not a scientist so I don’t care. I can tell you from experience that this is true. I recover better, I’m more positive, I have more energy, I sleep better, I run better, I lift better…the list goes on and on. I’m not saying you have to be a fuddy duddy. Knock back some beers and eat a pizza on a Friday and Saturday night, but eat well the rest of the time. As one of my coaches tells me, follow the 10% rule. Eat well 90% of the time and you’re good. Need to know what to eat? Here are some tips. Gobble down fish oil pills every day; lots of them. Another thing you will hear from Crossfitters constantly is “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar.” Also, get you a shaker bottle and make a whey protein/Gatorade shake to consume during/after your workouts. I can’t tell you the energy I get from those workout shakes. They are amazing!
These are just a couple of things that have helped me get to where I am now. I still have a LONG way to go and I plan on sharing everything that helps me with all of you.
-Lift Heavy Run Long