Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Revisiting Jogging... Asking the Right Questions

I went back and read my post about jogging. Though I still have the same opinions I realized that article was more just a unorganized rant and my writing was all over the place. Since writing that article I have learned a lot about energy systems development (conditioning) and the bio mechanics of jogging (technique). I've also realized that pushing my thoughts in a sarcastic way also doesn't help people change. I'm learning rather than giving the right answers to ask the right questions. I wanted to ask two questions for coaches, runners, athletes, and anyone else who's interested.

First questions is.... Why do you jog?

Really think this answer through. I tried looking up the top reasons people go jogging and found nothing so I'm going to think of the top 4 reasons and then lets see if jogging is a good answer.

1. "To get in shape" i.e. Fat Loss and Feel better. Look at the research that proves nutrition, strength training and metabolic circuits have a much greater impact than aerobic work. Also look at a sprinter/anaerobic sport compared to a marathon runner and let me know whats a more appealing body.

2. Relieves Stress/Mentally Soothing: If jogging gives you this effect than by all means continue the cheap therapy (unless your getting injured). I actually think the people who get this euphoric feeling are very good at focusing on their breathing. Similar to meditation, it will clear your mind of the rambling self talk.

3. Build endurance for a upcoming season: I have changed my opinion on this slightly. I think there is a time for some aerobic work for field/court sport athletes but its for about 3-4 weeks of a year or long term training program. There's also other ways to get this similar affect without the pounding of joints on the pavement. A suggestion is to by a heart rate monitor and for a 3 week period do 30-60 minutes to where your HR stays between 120-150. Read Joel Jameison's book Ultimate MMA Conditioning for more info on efficient conditioning.

4. To compete in Running events: If this is what you love to do than you definitely will need to have a good amount of jogging in your training program. Staying healthy is key so time for the next question.

Second question... Do you run with correct technique?

So for those in categories 2 and 4 here is some info that can help you run better and without injury. Running with poor technique is the reason so many people (80% of runners per year) become injured. Another major reason I rarely program lost distance work. How can one have poor technique? It has to do with how your foot hits the ground and the type of shoes you wear. Sorry to say that the $120 special running shoes do more damage than good. Go to this website that breaks down running mechanics and technique.

Here's two videos from the site that show the difference.


One thing I don't suggest is to immediately go barefoot/vibram running. Again ask a question.. "Am I ready for this?" Probably not. My suggestion is to first switch to a shoe like the Nike Free and if you want to try barefoot/vibram running than go to a grass field and start shorten your stride. It will literally feel like a whole new way of moving, so give it time. See if there are running coaches in your area who teach this type of running. If so it would be a wise investment that will save you from physical therapy in the long run (no pun intended).

1 comment:

  1. I agree that proper technique is important.That said, everyone has their own style, just like with other sports. Unless its something that will cause you injury, thats the way their body moves. I will not go with the barefoot running craze. Been there as a young teen, not worth the risk of infections, etc. you pick up on some terrain. Really best to use it as a training tool, I'm thinking, on a grassy field, etc.Just had a running class on this very subject last week, in prep. for the up coming marathon. Thanks for the info., Casey! Love your insight!