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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rules of Thumb

As in everything in life, there are rules of thumb for running. Here are some of the more common ones and what I think of them.

1. The 10% rule. Increase mileage by no more than 10% per week. Okay this is probably the most well known rule among runners and also probably the least observed. Let say a new runner starts at 2km. Assuming he follows the rules religiously, he will be doing 2.2km the next week, 2.4 for the following and he will hit 5km in about 11 weeks. Did I interpret this correctly? Does anybody actually follows such a schedule? But that is not to say that this rule of thumb is bad or flawed. In fact, I personally think it is very sensible advice if taken with a pinch of salt and some common sense. 

2. For every km that you raced, you  should rest 1 day. Nowadays, it is common to hear of people doing back to back marathons over the same weekend or running marathons week after week. The generally consensus is that marathon running should be restricted to 2 a year but of course I don't think anymore stick to that. But again this is good advice. The body can only take so much punishment and there should be time for it to recover from racing. This does not mean no running. Just take it easy for a while!

3. Wait for about 2 hours after a meal before running. Again sensible but impractical especially in our climate. With races or even weekend running starting at 6 - 7 am, following this rule means waking up 2 hours before the run to eat! With not enough sleep, how to run? A more practical approach is to eat something light like a sandwich and a energy drink before the run regardless of time. This is to fuel the body and provide enough energy for the run.

4. You should be able to talk while running. Yes if you are just jogging with friends or maybe doing a long slow distance run. Not true if you are training for a race, doing a fartlek or interval. Better to concentrate on the run rather than waste energy yakking!

5. You need to carbo before a race. Maybe for those who don't eat a lot of carbohydrates in their diets but certainly not applicable for Asians where the staples are rice, bread and noodles. All the extra carbo is going to turn to sugar if not burn off on a daily basis. Better to stick to the energy bars and gels on race day for the energy than to rely on store up carbo.

Don't agree with the above? Let me hear your views then. 

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