How to Not Suck at Running

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that a huge majority of the running population kinda sucks at running.

When most people start running, they have zero training, zero strategy, have never put any thought into their technique or method, and just kind of “go for it.”  Now, although I’m a big fan of getting started (do something. do anything), I think it’s incredibly important to be smart about HOW you get started when it comes to running.  I’ve already provided a “beginner’s guide to running,” but I wanted to also hook you up with an interview I did with my buddy/running guru Jason Fitzgerald of StrengthRunning.com.

Jason and I share very similar views on training, performance, diet, and more, with just a different focus (mine on weight and strength training, his on running), so when I got a chance to meet up with him at a Nerd Fitness meetup in Washington, DC in July, I knew we needed to work together.

Last week I sat down with Jason and picked his brain about running.  Okay we didn’t actually “sit down,” as he’s in D.C., and I’m currently in Barcelona; though I imagine both of us were sitting when we did the interview (or were we?).  Here’s how to not suck…or at least suck less 🙂

Steve: Alright man, every super hero has an origin story.  What’s yours? 

Jason: I started running cross country in the fall of my freshman year of high school. I actually went out for the team because I thought it was like Track and I could do the high jump. There’s clearly no high jump in cross country and at the time, I wasn’t really into running. But the guys on the team were fun so I stuck with it and ended up running cross, indoor and outdoor track in high school and college.

Running became a consistent part of my life and I’ve never voluntarily taken a significant amount of time off (except due to injury – but I haven’t been hurt in 2 1/2 years!). It’s been a little over 13 years of being a big running nerd! I wouldn’t trade it for anything and actually, it’s what has led to some of my best friendships and even meeting my wife.

Steve:  Yeah, congrats on the recent marriage!  You do realize that because of what you just said, you’re going to pull a hamstring running to catch a taxi or something, right?  As long as you’re aware.  Moving on, give us a quick run down (zing!) of your running philosophy.

Jason: The abridged version of my running philosophy:

  • Runners need to be good athletes, not just good runners. That means a lot of strength work, flexibility, and training variety.
  • If you want to run fast, you have to run a lot. You get good at what you practice often.
  • Barefoot running can help with a lot of things, but it shouldn’t be your primary focus if you want to be a better runner. Use it sparingly.
  • Run a lot of hills, but not a lot of track workouts.
  • Distance runners need to sprint!

I tell the runners that I coach that the magic happens when you pay attention to the “little things” – your warm-up, strength routines, and recovery. Those things dictate how well you’ll run in your workouts.

Steve: “Variety is the spice of life,” as they say.  I’m not quite sure who “they are” in this instance, just roll with it.  Interesting point about the barefoot running stuff – I think a huge issue with barefoot running is that people try to do too much too fast and end up hurting themselves. Speaking of hurting oneself, what’s a mistake that every beginning runner makes?

Jason: Not having a plan! Running doesn’t need to be very structured, but you should lay out why you’re running and what you want to accomplish. When you know those things, you can run much more effectively and be successful.

There are also a ton of little mistakes that new runners make, like stretching before they run, wearing huge bulky shoes and aggressively heel-striking, going crazy with carbs for short runs…. the list goes on. I want to scream at runners to read my blog, but instead I do interviews 🙂

Steve: Haha, I know the feeling. I once considered making business cards that just said “psst, you’re doing it wrong – nerdfitness.com” and handing them out to people at the gym, but I figured that would get me punched in the face. So there are quite a few beginner running programs out there, most famously the Couch to 5k program. What are your thoughts on it?

Jason: There’s nothing inherently wrong with Couch to 5k, but it fails to include “the little things” I mentioned before that help runners get better and STAY HEALTHY. C25k also is just a running plan – 3 weekly workouts for 9 weeks. That’s it. So if you want the bare minimum (like Jennifer Anniston in Office Space) it’s a very simplistic option for you.

My biggest criticism is that it really lacks variety. You either walk or run easy for 9 weeks – there’s no other types of workouts or different paces to keep things interesting. I would find it so boring. There’s also no strength workouts, flexibility exercises, core work, or any other “extras” that keep you healthy and injury free.

Steve: I can’t believe you just referenced Office Space, you win. That is a great point about Couch to 5k though – I think its a great starting place as it’s incredibly easy to grasp and begin, but oversimplifies at the expense of building a solid foundation of win. 

Let’s move on to diet: what’s the best way to eat to become a better runner? Do you need mountains of spaghetti and carbs like I see every runner eating?

Jason: That’s one of the big mistakes that I see a lot of runners making – piling their plates high with bad carbohydrates every meal because they think that’s what runners do. If you’re running every day (or if you’re crazy and run twice a day) and training for a marathon then of course you’re going to need more carbs to fuel your workouts. But for most runners, a modest bump in carb intake is all you need.

Timing is really important in your carb intake if you still want to eat more paleo and start a 5k training program. You can still run a killer 5k with eating Paleo 80% of the time! Stick to lots of vegetables, fruit, good cuts of meat, and high-quality carbs like sweet potatoes, yams, quinoa, oatmeal, or Oreos and Twinkies (kidding!). If you’re doing a hard workout or a long run, you should eat some simple carbs right before, during the run itself if your stomach can handle it, and immediately after. Then go back to your usual Paleo diet for the rest of your daily meals.

Steve: Makes sense to me: use the carbs to fuel your body before a workout, and then quickly help rebuild your body after a strenuous workout.  So, this is something we touched on early – injury.  It seems like every runner deals with injuries all of the time, some of which are far more intense than others.  What are your thoughts on running if you think you’re injured?

Jason: I consider “injury” as a spectrum. Most runners have some aches and pains – you can run through those if they’re just dull or achy. Just be smart and run slower and shorter. If the pain is sharp or intense, then don’t run at all. Instead, you should focus on recovery by doing some self-massage (like with a foam roller), icing the affected area frequently, and doing some type of other exercise that doesn’t hurt. I recommend cycling, pool running, or something else with no impact.

Remember, consistency is king, so you’d be better off missing a few days over a few weeks. Patience pays off.

Steve: On a similar topic, what about being sick?  Too worn down from work, push ourselves too hard, run too much, and get a cold or the flu – how to you get back on track when you’ve been sick and haven’t had time to put in the miles?

Jason: A good rule of thumb is that if your sickness is above the neck, like a headache or sinus infection, then you’re cleared to continue running. But if you have chest congestion or a fever, it’s best to wait a few days to resume running. It all depends on how you feel, but play it safe at first!

When you come back to training normally, you should skip your fast workouts and run easy for a few days. Your body is still recovering so don’t make it work extra hard.

Steve: How do you feel about traditional running shoes (with a thick padded heel) vs minimalist shoes like New Balance Minimus or Vibrams?

Jason: Like injuries, minimalism is a spectrum, too. I don’t think there’s a need to be on either end of the spectrum exclusively. In an ideal world, I think 95% of people should fall somewhere in the middle for most of their running. A small amount can be barefoot or in Vibrams (like 5-20 minutes a week, spread out over a few days). You get most of the benefits of barefoot and minimalist training with just few short workouts.

Take me for example – I run in 3 different types of shoes. Two of them are my trainers that I wear for 95% of my running. They’re neutral shoes that don’t have a medial post (a roll bar, or that piece of dark foam in the sole that’s supposed to control over-pronation) and they weigh in at about 9 ounces. Not too minimalist, but not very bulky either. My third pair are racing shoes and have a tiny heel and are super light. I only wear them about once a week, but they give me all the strength and efficiency benefits I’m looking for.

Steve: Again – variety.  What are your thoughts on interval training over the long slog marathon style training?

Jason: A lot of runners want to get fast so they get on the track and run intervals until they get hurt. The reality is that the majority of runners will get 90% of their speed through easy running because they lack the ability to HOLD a fast pace – not the ability to RUN a fast pace. Interval workouts are the icing on the cake.

Steve: Psssh, “icing on the cake?”  This is Nerd Fitness, you can do better.  The “bacon on top of the steak”?  Eh, we can work on it.  Here’s a question from a member of the NF rebellion.  After your first 5k, what are your thoughts on speed training (running a faster 5k time) vs. endurance training (10k/half marathon), and how do you mix the two?

Jason: If you’re trying to run a certain time, there should be a lot of variety in your training – from all out sprinting to half-marathon pace and easy jogging. Most runners should keep hard running to about 20% or less of their weekly running or else they could get hurt or just burn out (booo burn out). My favorite workouts combine different paces so you get exposure to endurance training and much faster paced running at the same time.

We’ve included plans for faster 5k’s in the Rebel Running Guide in case you want to stay at that distance and just run faster.  We’ve also created an advanced plan for those who want to move beyond a 5k and train for a 10k (for the deluxe version).

Steve: Okay enough running talk; let’s crank out a few nerdy questions:  What’s your favorite video game?

Jason: I’m going to name two: Street Fighter EX Plus Alpha and Resident Evil, both for Playstation. The Street Fighter game is the first one to have semi-3D graphics, so it’s awesome. If you have it, please invite me over and I’ll humiliate you handily.

Resident Evil needs no explanation – I started playing in 8th grade and it scared the hell out of me. The graphics were top notch, it was violent and gory, and I got to shoot huge guns – wins all around!

Steve: Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?

Jason: Star Wars all the way. While Lord of the Rings has its moments, it just can’t compare with Chewie, Darth Vader, and Han Solo kicking ass across the galaxy.

Steve: Words to live by?

Jason: There are two quotes that come to mind, both about hard work and consistency:

  • “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier
  • “What am I on? I’m on my bike busting my ass for 6 hours a day! What are you on?” – Lance Armstrong

Steve: Thanks Jason!  Hope all is well in DC.

So there you have it!  Jason and I are adding in last minute content to the Rebel Running Guide which will be out on September 26th, barring any last-minute unexpected changes.  I gotta say, I absolutely love Jason’s writing style, and he’s done a freaking incredible job with his sections on this guide – I’m honored to have helped put it together with him.  My dear Rebel friend, know that you and your feet are in good hands (not literally) with this guy.

Do you have any questions for Jason? Leave a comment and he’ll be glad to answer them!

-Steve

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Webster/507401999 Tim Webster

    Well this is a timely article. About 36 days ago I began my first 28-day challenge to run 7 miles in 60 minutes or less. I got up to 5.1 miles in 45 minutes at my peak (prior to the challenge I hadn’t run more than 2 miles.. ever). I’m continuing my efforts, though, until I hit my goal.

    I picked up a pair of Vibram’s a few weeks ago, and once I got past the intense hurtin’ they put on my calves (which were apparently hilariously under-developed), I started to love running in them. All of my runs are in these things now, so it’s interesting to note that this isn’t necessary (although they do feel better to me)

    Much of what I focus to break through is the mental aspect of running. Beating down the voice in your head that chants ‘Just quit now!’ over and over. This was the most difficult part to me. No real injuries or other issues – just letting myself give up =( Of course, with that said, I should note that after 3 years of kung fu I do stretch properly after every workout and warm up prior to activity.

    Thanks for the post!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Webster/507401999 Tim Webster

    Well this is a timely article. About 36 days ago I began my first 28-day challenge to run 7 miles in 60 minutes or less. I got up to 5.1 miles in 45 minutes at my peak (prior to the challenge I hadn’t run more than 2 miles.. ever). I’m continuing my efforts, though, until I hit my goal.

    I picked up a pair of Vibram’s a few weeks ago, and once I got past the intense hurtin’ they put on my calves (which were apparently hilariously under-developed), I started to love running in them. All of my runs are in these things now, so it’s interesting to note that this isn’t necessary (although they do feel better to me)

    Much of what I focus to break through is the mental aspect of running. Beating down the voice in your head that chants ‘Just quit now!’ over and over. This was the most difficult part to me. No real injuries or other issues – just letting myself give up =( Of course, with that said, I should note that after 3 years of kung fu I do stretch properly after every workout and warm up prior to activity.

    Thanks for the post!

  • Katie A.

    I just tried starting the first day of C25k yesterday… and sucked at it. This post could not have come at a better time. I’m excited to check out the Rebel Running Guide when it’s released! YAY!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1551476133 Patrick Ward

    So I want to run a faster 5k. (18-19min) My fastest time is around 22-23 mins but I have trouble with keeping up that fast a pace for the whole distance. I’ve heard that intervals are the best way to improve on this but if I am correct in reading this, I should be doing a variety of workouts? What would you recommend?

  • Ryan Wachter

    Love the post. I especially liked the quotes Jason chose, particularly the Lance Armstrong one since it is hanging on my wall right behind my laptop.

  • Chris W.

    Excellent post….I only started training in June and I’m running my first half marathon this weekend! (Philly Rock N Roll) My goal is sub 2:00….I recently ran 13.1 in 2:11. I recommend using an app on your phone to track your progress. I’m using RunKeeper (www.runkeeper.com), it’s FREE (always best price) and it gives me updated every half mile so I know if I’m staying on track.

    Best of luck to all and remember running is just putting one foot in front of the other, rinse and repeat.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jjaszemski Jason Jaszemski

    Steve! this was excellent timing for me as well. I’ve been running since the beginning of the summer, but just started Mark Sisson’s 30 day Paleo challenge.  He doesn’t seem to be a big proponent of long endurance cardio stuff, so I’ve wondered if running and paleo were compatible.  Also great tips on how to keep paleo before and after runs.  You rock!

  • http://www.spoilersguide.com/ Matej (SpoilersGuide.com)

    I’m trying to get better at 5k, currently I can’t go below 22 minutes (22:07 max) no matter how hard I try, so I’m doing these interval trainings now (Insanity workout) per recommendation, to build up my strength, body core…as it says in the interview, good runner should be a good athlete too. Makes sense.

    Looking forward to check out the e-book, as well as Jason’s blog, to learn more on how to improve my running. Thanks guys!

    And yeah, LOTR all the way!

  • Noah

    Alright, but how do I ENJOY running? As it is right now, I can’t stand it. I love biking and do it often, but I hate everything about running. The endorphins are nice, but my joints don’t like it at all, and I’ve been advised not to run (or at least not to run barefoot) because I still have about 10 pounds of fat to lose.

    I hear everyone talk about how awesome it is, but I just….can’t like it.

    Any tips?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=682554520 Fred Herm

    I like running, but I have limited it to 4 days a week and around 3 1/2 miles per day. A couple of months ago I developed some serious knee pain and went to my doctor who then referred me to a surgeon (my doctor saw something in the xray he didn’t like). During this time I was reading Born to Run (great book) and stumbled into the Pose method. I’ve been working on the Pose method and it’s actually helped relieve me of the knee pain. I believe it’s helped me eliminate heel striking and taken me back to a more natural style.

    P.S. I’ve been labeled a “toe runner” at the running shoe store.

    So this is for Jason, what’s your take on the different forms of running like the Pose method?

  • http://www.strengthrunning.com Jason Fitzgerald

    I hear you Tim! The brain-body relationship in running is HUGE and is something that every runner can relate to – especially in a race situation. Good luck hitting your goal!

  • http://www.strengthrunning.com Jason Fitzgerald

    Variety is the spice of life…and the spice of running. You shouldn’t focus on one thing in your training (like intervals), but instead have a bunch of things you’re working on at the same time – strength, speed, endurance, etc.

  • http://www.strengthrunning.com Jason Fitzgerald

    YES!!!! I love that quote. So bad ass.

  • http://www.strengthrunning.com Jason Fitzgerald

    Hey Jason – awesome name you have there. You should check out “The Paleo Diet for Athletes” book by Lorene Cordain and Joel Friel. Awesome read for being an 80% paleo eater as an endurance athlete.

  • http://www.strengthrunning.com Jason Fitzgerald

    Hey Noah – honestly, if you don’t like running then it may not be for you. But if you actually WANT to get into it, then I’d suggest running trails instead of roads. They’re a lot more fun and they’re easier on your joints. You can also mix in some easy fartlek workouts (random surges where you speed up and then slow down) to keep things interesting. Just have fun with it!

  • http://www.strengthrunning.com Jason Fitzgerald

    Pose method works! So does Chi and the other “natural” forms of running. They all promote pretty much the same thing – good running form! What I like about them is that they recommend a midfoot strike (not a really aggressive heel strike) and a relaxed form. Steve and I talk a lot about good form in the guide so stay tuned.

  • Xadus06

    What I do to “break through that voice in my head” is just tell myself “I’m already tired…my legs already hurt. I can’t breathe…Might as well keep going it’s not going to get easier. But hey…it won’t get much worse” That’s how I got my first sub-9 minute mile weighing 285lbs.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Webster/507401999 Tim Webster

    Hell yes, that’s awesome dude. I tend to be a bit more vulgar when I try to get myself to keep running hahaha 

    One of my favorite quotes is, ‘You can always quit, so why quit now?’

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tim-Webster/507401999 Tim Webster

    Hell yes, that’s awesome dude. I tend to be a bit more vulgar when I try to get myself to keep running hahaha 

    One of my favorite quotes is, ‘You can always quit, so why quit now?’

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625279802 Nicole Miesnik Harris

    To suggest that anyone who is doing C25K to start out their running do anything more than those types of workouts is a bit irresponsible.   That is injury waiting to happen.   Someone going from couch potato status to running 30 minutes straight does not need to be doing intervals or any types of drills or speedwork.   Perhaps AFTER the complete C25K if they are sticking with a running plan and need to know “what’s next”.   Now adding in cross training, that is fine.   But telling someone who is just starting out their running to do Yasso 800s would be criminal!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=625279802 Nicole Miesnik Harris

    To suggest that anyone who is doing C25K to start out their running do anything more than those types of workouts is a bit irresponsible.   That is injury waiting to happen.   Someone going from couch potato status to running 30 minutes straight does not need to be doing intervals or any types of drills or speedwork.   Perhaps AFTER the complete C25K if they are sticking with a running plan and need to know “what’s next”.   Now adding in cross training, that is fine.   But telling someone who is just starting out their running to do Yasso 800s would be criminal!

  • http://www.castigatimp.ro Vaida Bogdan

    Can you expand on that “no stretching before running is necessary” part? I’ve read some articles pro and against and I’d like to know if you have proof in one direction or the other.

  • Jackgomad

    “A good rule of thumb is that if your sickness is above the neck, like a headache or sinus infection, then you’re cleared to continue running. But if you have chest congestion or a fever, it’s best to wait a few days to resume running.” 

    Heard this as solid advice for singing too. Makes a lot of sense. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/bkostevski Bojan Kostevski

    From my apartment I can see one of the most popular places in south Sweden where everybody comes to run. And it takes about 3 seconds to see who is really “running” and who is just trying to get fit. Often makes me laugh my ass of from my living room. Just came to think about it when I saw the picture at the top of your post. 🙂

    Bojan Kostevski
    http://www.lift-heavy.com 

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  • http://twitter.com/ninjafitness Be Ninja

    Good post. I like how he says runners need to do sprints, workouts, and diet well to run better.

  • Anonymous

    Hi!Your fitness audience is also my audience, and I’ve created an iPhone application that I think you and your viewers would dig.  The app is called Pay Up.  I originally tailored it towards dudes., but have found a lot of women have been enjoying it.  It’s all about tracking fun bets with your friends.  Any kind of bet.  My friends and I bet on EVERYTHING.  It’s simple and serves its purpose quite well.  Of course it’s not a “weight tracking” app, but there are plenty of those already!  Why exactly would weight loss/fitness people be interested in it?  Because, as Tim Ferriss says in ‘The Four Hour Body (pg. 59-63), making weight-loss or weight-gain work, you have to failure proof the process.  And in specific, making it a game and making it competitive.  That is exactly what Pay Up does.  It allows users to track bets, joke around with their opponents, and pay up when they lose and get paid when they win!”Bet, track, chirp, and get what’s yours.”Please take a peak at these links to see specific fitness bets within the app:http://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Headquarters.pnghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/First-to-Fit-Chirp.jpghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/First-to-fit-fantasy-my-bets.jpghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/First-to-fit-rundown.jpghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/pay-up-button.pngYou can find it on iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id460371571?mt=8That's the skinny.  I was hoping to somehow showcase it to your audience because I believe they would dig it.  They are who it was made for.  If you don’t already have one, it’s super quick and easy to get an Apple Affiliate account, which you could use in this review post and you can make 5% of all sales in iTunes for the first 72 hours your viewers click the link from your site!Please let me know if there is anything we can work together on here.  A review would be awesome!  And I’d be happy to give you all the media, as well as provide some promo codes for a contest or give-away.  As well as one for yourself to have personally.  Please let me know of any options!Thanks for your time.Dane HomenickFounder, The Berzapp Fiendsdrghomenick@gmail.com

  • Anonymous

    Hi!Your fitness audience is also my audience, and I’ve created an iPhone application that I think you and your viewers would dig.  The app is called Pay Up.  I originally tailored it towards dudes., but have found a lot of women have been enjoying it.  It’s all about tracking fun bets with your friends.  Any kind of bet.  My friends and I bet on EVERYTHING.  It’s simple and serves its purpose quite well.  Of course it’s not a “weight tracking” app, but there are plenty of those already!  Why exactly would weight loss/fitness people be interested in it?  Because, as Tim Ferriss says in ‘The Four Hour Body (pg. 59-63), making weight-loss or weight-gain work, you have to failure proof the process.  And in specific, making it a game and making it competitive.  That is exactly what Pay Up does.  It allows users to track bets, joke around with their opponents, and pay up when they lose and get paid when they win!”Bet, track, chirp, and get what’s yours.”Please take a peak at these links to see specific fitness bets within the app:http://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Headquarters.pnghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/First-to-Fit-Chirp.jpghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/First-to-fit-fantasy-my-bets.jpghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/First-to-fit-rundown.jpghttp://www.berzapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/pay-up-button.pngYou can find it on iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id460371571?mt=8That's the skinny.  I was hoping to somehow showcase it to your audience because I believe they would dig it.  They are who it was made for.  If you don’t already have one, it’s super quick and easy to get an Apple Affiliate account, which you could use in this review post and you can make 5% of all sales in iTunes for the first 72 hours your viewers click the link from your site!Please let me know if there is anything we can work together on here.  A review would be awesome!  And I’d be happy to give you all the media, as well as provide some promo codes for a contest or give-away.  As well as one for yourself to have personally.  Please let me know of any options!Thanks for your time.Dane HomenickFounder, The Berzapp Fiendsdrghomenick@gmail.com

  • http://www.ombailamos.com chacha1

    I trust Men’s Health for fitness reporting.  Here’s a recent take on stretching.  http://blogs.menshealth.com/health-headlines/new-fitness-study-to-stretch-or-not-to-stretch/2011/02/18
    Basically, if you are running without injury, keep doing what you’re doing.  If you are getting injured, change what you’re doing!  🙂

  • http://buyarizer.com Arizer Solo

    Sounds better to me, stretching only cuts into my running time. 🙂

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  • pleasantevening

    Nice views !!
    As of my routine i suggest running for 20mins with High speed sprintings in short bursts in between the steady running that will surely burn the maximum number of calories and hike ur metabolism rate for the entire day!!
    http://www.howtohaveasixpack.com/index.php

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  • Tony

    Great post. I hated running because of the lack of endurance. I was not completely out of shape, but running was something I would definitely avoid doing. That was not until I’ve started taking military nutraceuticals. I was
    pleasantly surprised at how well these products helped me to increase my
    stamina. Their pre-workouts deliver lots of energy, so I am feeling toned and
    motivated. Now I can easily run up to 20km.

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  • Dave

    This article is useless, it is just a long interview on some random runner. If you want useful information do NOT use this site.

  • Flaxairn Lowe

    Ive always wanted to run, but it hurt and I hated it growing up. PE just sucked for me. I have flat feet and wear perscription lifts and everyone always told me to ALWAYS wear them. At 23 I took a Tae Kwon Do class for an hour 2 times a week barefoot. I began to notice my arches held up better when I was at home without my shoes. So i tested it and ran several blocks on sidewalk barefoot, without pain for the first time in my life. I run now in maccasins for 10 min before some of my workouts. Turns out holding the martial art forms (strengthened everything) and running on the pads of the foot, toes wide was what it took to take running from intense pain to fun for me. Try it!

  • Pebbles

    Hey there! Wonderful article! Just a question about someone with a very modest (read: close to couch potato) fitness level. Normal weight, female, 20’s, geek, new to running. I’ve started with short runs (3 lengths of running with some walking time in between, and then a long walk to finish it off and get my breath back) and have been experiencing the same problem each time during the post-run walk. I’d walk, get my breath back (while trying not to slow the breathing down artificially, actually keep breathing hard as long as I feel like I need it), start to feel better (able to easily carry on a conversation), and then suddenly feel quite dizy. Am I stopping to breathe hard too early, or over-ventilating? Or is it something else?

  • Romey B

    A very good addition to the “Beginner’s Guide to Running”. It helps to hear from an expert! Thanks again Steve!

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