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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nike: Starting a Running Regimen

originally posted September 04, 2009 by Coach Jay

Coach Jay, I have a question about starting a running regimen. I've never been in very good aerobic shape, but due to my line of work, I have a fairly high level of general strength. A lot of the programs I've seen aimed at starting people on the road to running regularly begin with walking half of the days for several weeks. I understand that several people don't get out on their feet for very long each day, but when I am working I am on my feet for 8 hours, constantly moving. My situation makes the 15 min. walks seem like a waste of time since I am doing monumentally more any time I work. I know you say that structural changes take time, but I feel like my structure is set to start further along than these programs expect. Is there an "accelerated" workout plan you can recommend? Also, regarding your GS videos, would it be ideal to do every exercise you list in all the routines every day? And should I be doing any sort of warm-up before I head out each day?

Thanks, Dan. Dan, Wow, you've definitely read these Q&As for a while to ask such a specific question. I love it and I hope my answer is at the same level as your question.

My first thought is this: walking and working on your feet have no doubt given you a base of structural preparation a person working at a desk is lacking. That said, the first thing you need to be mindful of regarding the walk-run method (and why it's successful) is the simple difference in physics between the two activities. Humans must put more force in the ground to propel themselves when running vs. walking; walking is an inherently safer activity for the human foot and lower leg because the magnitude of the forces involved is less. What is my point? The bigger the human the greater the chance of foot and lower leg injuries in running IF they are structurally unprepared for the stresses associated with running. If you're 5'11 and 150 lbs then you probably can run 5 days this week; if you're 6'2" and 200+ lbs then you might need to walk/run for a few weeks to ensure that the small bones of the foot, as well as the small muscles of the lower leg, are ready for running.

But please know that I agree with you; you're one of the few people reading this blog that can likely handle more running in your first year due to the physicality of your work day and the basic structural training stimulus that has given you.

In regards to the GS videos, you should start with just 1 or 2 following your easy days; you can do 2-3 of them following your hard days. Myrtl is a great cool down, but can also be used as a warm-up routine (I assign it at least two or three sessions a week with the athletes I work with). However, the lunge warm-up is the key warm-up routine and can be done before every run.

I wish you the best and I appreciate your question.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. And don't forget, if you have training question for Coach Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.

Interested in Coach Jay's General Strength videos? Click here to check them out.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nike: Getting in Shape

originally posted March 20, 2009 by Coach Jay

Dear Coach Jay, I am an overweight teenager who is looking to lose some serious weight and I've always loved running (even though I was never any good). Is there a course of action or a plan you can give me so that I can lose weight and get in shape without hating or dreading the run? Thank you. Sincerely, Will

Will - I really appreciate your candid email and I hope that what I share will be helpful.

The biggest thing you need to remember is a term that most humans hate - patience. I'm in my 30's and I'm horribly impatient so I'm going to assume that as a teenager it's not your strong suite either. However, what I'm going to suggest takes time and the time it takes to see the results is part of the challenge in front of you, especially since we live in such an instant society.

Over the first 8 weeks the goal is to work out 5-6 days a week, but to keep the running minimal, though you can walk briskly up to 75 or 90 minutes. You'll need to incorporate the General Strength (GS) routines from the videos on video wall. The progression of easy-to-hard exercises are:

You should do two routines from the Myrtl/Back/Lunge group each day for the first two weeks; in weeks three and four you can do all three of those. During the fifth week you should do the Myrtl and the Lunge WU, then go for your run/walk, and then end with 10-15 min of GS after your workout. But again, if you're overweight you need to look at this long term so that you don't sustain a running related injury by running too much, too soon.

Here is a progression of how GS and running work together:

  1. Strengthen the body
  2. Work the body with GS and non-impact or low-impact aerobic work (i.e. walking and biking before brisk running)
  3. Add running, but don't be afraid to lengthen runs with walking during parts of the run
  4. 4-6 days a week of running with GS as part of your daily routine following those runs.

Finally, the idea of "muscle confusion" is actually true in sports science. You need to embrace the idea that if you want to lose weight, then you're going to need to do other activities in addition to running to really change your body. I ran a ton in college, to the point that my "easy day" was 10 miles, yet I was too tired to join in the twice-weekly informal pull-up contest with my teammates. They ended up running faster than me in all distances, including the 10,000m races. My point is that you want to become stronger - even in your upper body - while you become aerobically fit.

I wish you the best, Will and it's great you’re asking these questions now, since you’ll have the spring and summer months to get into a daily exercise habit. Good luck!

*Coach Jay’s advice is provided as general training information. Use at your own risk. Always consult with your own heath care provider for questions relating to your specific training and nutrition.

Coach Jay coaches athletes at RunnersCoach.com and blogs at CoachJayJohnson.com. If you have a question for Jay, email him here: coachjay@nike.com.