The Basics of Jogging

Dr. George Sheehan
Copyright The George Sheehan Trust
Permission to post has been requested




Dr. Joan Ullyot and boys sample the joys of a jog.
Joan graduated from jogging to marathoning.


Our fancy often turns to dreams of past glories, to those years when our bodies did our will. The morning air, the bright sun, the green trees recall days when only darkness could end our play. We were giants -- if not in strength at least in endurance. We knew what it was like to be a good animal. And we wonder if we could ever be that way again.
The answer, of course, is yes. We can walk or jog or run our way back to those days, those joys, that level of fitness we used to know. To do this we have to know the fitness equation, the answers to the questions, How fast? How far? How often?

HOW FAST?

Few people know how fast to train. Most assume they must punish themselves to become fit. They think that becoming an athlete is hard work. That just is not so. Fitness must be fun. The rule is "train, don't strain." So the race for fitness should be comfortable and enjoyable. Effort should be the measure, not speed, and your body should tell you your proper pace, not the stopwatch.

I use the word "pace" deliberately. It is a better word than speed. Speed has to do with numbers, statistics, minutes-per-mile. Pace has to do with feelings and is not a matter of precise mathematics. It has to do with adjectives like "easy" and "rash" and "breathless" and headlong." But the adjective we are looking for is "comfortable," and we find it by asking our bodies.

This seemingly unscientific idea has a solid scientific basis in the theory of perceived exertion. Proposed by Gunnar Borg in 1960, it states that the effort perceived by the body is almost identical to that recorded by a machine. Borg discovered that body perception is, in fact, superior to any single physiological determination.


The Borg Scale ("Perceived Exertion")
Rating
Pulse
6-7 very, very light 60-70
8-9 very light 80-90
10-11 fairly light 100-110
12-13 somewhat hard 120-130
14-15 hard 140-150
16-17 very hard 160-170
18-20 very, very hard 180-200

The Borg scale starts at six (very, very light) and ends at 20 (very, very hard). Adding a zero to the rating gives the usual pulse rate at that level of activity. The walker, jogger or runner therefore aims at the mid-range between light and hard, the area we perceive as comfortable. This is a pace at which we could hold a conversation with a companion -- Bill Bowerman's "talk test." Now, you might say that you couldn't run across the room without being short of breath. Then don't. Begin by walking and then work up to scout pace (alternating 50 steps walking and 50 running). Finally, you will be able to jog continually, in comfort. You will be able to put yourself on "automatic pilot" and enjoy your thoughts and the countryside.

Listen to your body. Do not be a blind and deaf tenant. Hear what your muscles and heart and lungs are telling you. Above all, get in union with your body. Ride yourself as a jockey does a horse, finally becoming one with it. There will come times when the sheer joy of this mysterious fusion, this wholeness will drive you to see just what you can do. But this is unnecessary, for you now have the pace. Do not push. You have found the groove. Stay in it.

Even when you have become proficient and the comfortable pace becomes faster and faster, you must still do the first 6 -10 minutes very slowly. You must allow the juices to flow, the temperature to rise, the circulation to adapt. You must give the body time to make all those marvelous, intricate adjustments that happen when you finally set yourself in motion. When you do, you will experience that warm sweat that goes with the onset of the second wind and get the feeling that you just might spend the rest of the day running. Find a comfortable pace and enjoy it. Fitness is bound to follow.

When I get into that second wind, I settle down to my comfortable pace and let the body do the thinking. My ground speed varies with the time of day (early morning runs take one minute a mile longer) or with heat and humidity, but effort will not. The identical thing happens when I run against a head wind or up hills, or on those days when I am upset psychologically. But whether the stopwatch says eight minutes a mile or 10, the pace is the same. It is comfortable, and because my perceived exertion is always the same, the effort is identical and the physiological benefits are identical as well.

Once you have begun this way, success is assured. There is no need to rush, no need to hurry. ("Only the sick and the ambitious," said Ortega, "are in a hurry.") Nor is there any need to worry. When you run at a comfortable pace, you are well within your physical limits. ("I have never been harmed," said Montaigne, "by anything that was a real pleasure.") Find the comfortable pace and enjoy it. Fitness is bound to follow.

HOW FAR?

Again, we must consult the body. The jogger-runner, be it his first day or the 20th year, is concerned with minutes, not miles, time not distance. The goal is to work up to 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. The rule is to run at that comfortable pace to a point this side of fatigue. Do not bother with distance. It is effort and time that do those good things to our bodies. This equation frees us from the tyranny of speed and distance. There is no need then, to count laps or measure miles; no need for the stopwatch and the agonized groans that go with it. Simply dial the body to comfortable and go on automatic pilot. Then continue to fatigue or 30 minutes, whichever comes first. It is even better not to reach fatigue, but instead to come to the kitchen door or the gym still eager to do more, ready to resume on that note the next time out.

Our aim, I said, is 30 minutes. In the beginning, five minutes may be all you can handle. But quite soon - sooner, in fact, than you expect - you will be able to run continuously for 30 minutes. I have seen a 30-year-old housewife get up to 30-minute runs with one month of training and run a five-mile race within 10 weeks of buying her running shoes. That 30 minutes is as far as we need go. It is the endpoint for fitness. That 30 minutes will get us fit and put us in the 95 percentile for cardiopulmonary endurance. At 12 calories per minute, it will eventually bring our weight down to desired levels. It also will slow the pulse and drop the blood pressure. It will make us good animals.

That first 30 minutes is for my body. During that half-hour, I take joy in my physical ability, the endurance and power of my running. I find it a time when I feel myself competent and in control of my body, when I can think about my problems and plan my day-to-day world. . In many ways, those 30 minutes is all egos, all the self. It has to do with me, the individual. What lies beyond this fitness or muscle? I can only answer for myself. The next 30 minutes is for my soul. If I come upon the third wind, which is psychological (unlike the second wind which is physiological). And then see myself not as an individual but a part of the universe. In it, I can happen upon anything I ever read or saw or experienced. Every fact and instinct and emotion is unlocked and made available to me through some mysterious operation in my brain.

Recently, I came upon that feeling about 35 minutes out. I had just attacked a long hill on the river road and had been reduced to a slow trot. Then it happened. The feeling of wholeness and peace and contentment came over me. I loved myself and the world and everyone in it. I had no longer to will what I was doing. The road seemed to be running me. I was in a place and time I never wanted to leave.

To achieve fitness, there is no need to do more than 30 minutes at a comfortable pace. Past that, you must proceed with caution. Fitness can change your body. But the third wind can change your life.

HOW OFTEN?

How often must we run this minutes at a comfortable pace? To answer the exercise physiologists give is four times a week, a figure they arrived at by testing innumerable individuals of both sexes at all ages. A four times a week schedule, they assure us, will make us fit and keep us that way.

Looked at another way, this is just two hours of exercise a week. Need it be done not more than one day apart, as it is usually prescribed? Could we do all our exercise on one day and then rest the other six? Or would it be OK to run an hour every third day and thereby satisfy the requirement?



The experts, as expected, are divided on this division. They have not adequately explored the subject of de-training. They do not know how soon we lose the benefits of a prolonged bout of exertion. There is some reason to suspect that weekend running may be enough. I have a colleague who for personal reasons has limited his running to two hours or more on Saturday and a race on Sunday. On this unscientific regimen, he has broken three hours in the marathon and more often than not beats me at lesser distances.

His is just one other way to train. Training is after all simply a matter of applying stress, allowing the body to recover, and then applying stress again. For each of us, the appropriate stress and the appropriate time to recover is different.

This is not a real problem in the minimum program for fitness. Almost everyone can handle an easy 30 minutes four times a week, or one hour twice a week, or even two hours once a week. But we are not minimizers, we are maximizers, and our difficulties are with doing too much rather than too little. The runner frequently gets caught up. He finds that running must be done daily, and longer and longer. The question then becomes not how much is enough but how much is too much. The problem becomes not fitness but exhaustion.

All this occurs, it seems to me, because we seek not only physical fitness but psychological fitness as well. I need the minimum program for fitness because, like 95% of Americans, I have an occupation that isn't physical enough to make me fit. The 30 minutes four times a week is enough positive input to balance my negative physical output. It is not enough, however, to counteract the minuses in my day-to-day psychological life. To achieve a psychological balance, I need much more.

How many minutes of running do I need, then, to keep in a happy frame of mind? How many times a week must I run to have a capacity for work and the ability to enjoy life?

All to often, there comes days when I don't feel like running. Then I am not sure whether I am tired or just lazy, whether I am physically exhausted or merely bored and lacking the will-power to do what I should do.

On those days when I lack zest and enthusiasm, I use the second wind to tell me whether what I'm experiencing is physical or psychological. When the second wind comes, as it does for me at the six-minute mark, I know. If the usual good feelings are there, the warm sweat and that feeling of strength and energy, I know my aversion was largely mental. I need a new route or pace or companion on the run. If, however, I feel a cold, clammy sweat and weakness, I pack it in and go home. I have even at such times had to walk or accept a ride home having gone less than a mile, even though a few weeks before I may have run a very good marathon. Such physical exhaustion, however, is usually preceded by an elevated pulse in the morning. When mine is 10 beats above my usual basal pulse of 48, I know that I have once more over trained. I need a nap instead of a workout.

So you see, it is your body that is the ultimate arbiter in your fitness program. The body tells you how fast. Dial to "comfortable" and run at a pace which would permit you to talk to a companion. The body tells you how long. Run just this side of fatigue. And the body tells you how often. Feel zest. Respond to the second wind. Note any changes in your morning pulse.

Follow these rules. Then somewhere between the minimum suggested and the maximum you can handle, you will find the fitness beyond muscle we all need to live the good life.

61 comments:

Föx said...

Thank you very much, I have just started running myself and I'm finding twice a week for 15 minutes is enough.

I wouldn't say I was jogging however, as I run at quite a pace, the day I can run for 30 minutes at my pace will be a fantastic day indeed :)

Perhaps when the summer comes around I'll slow things down and take a step back, running slower for longer, but as it is winter finding the motivation to run is hard, so when I do, I bloody well go for it haha!

Again, a wonderful article,

Föx, 20, Milton Keynes

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this article. I'm training for a military application and ran a good 2.5 miles well off pace on ice this morning.

This is exactly what I needed to read to know that I can go back out and do better. The fact that I finished well was encouraging.

An excellent article

Anonymous said...

Really good artical. I can relate to a lot of the things you mention.

I am new to running and have entered into a 5k to give me a goal. I started off worrying about my speed, but now I've found a steady pace I've found I can go for much longer and I notice a big difference on every outing!

Great reading and thanks for the great advice.

Nicole the Lady Buddha said...

i'm 35 and a new and (previously reluctant) jogger. two weeks ago i decided to try it yet again (after swearing off it several months earlier). i found a good pace (rather by accident) and shocked myself by jogging a total of 3 miles (about 45 minutes) before stopping.

i have been doing it ever since approximately 3 times a week. this article is perfect. it confirms what i've started to learn about myself and gives me confidence to keep it up.

Dana said...

For the last month I have added a slow jog to my walk. About 5-6 days a week, I walk a mile, then jog a mile; once I even jogged two miles, and sometimes I'll walk 1/2 mile, jog 1/2, etc. How come sometimes it seems like it's getting easier and some days I feel like I can barely jog 1/2 mile? Also, will my lower calves EVER stop hurting? I feel like I run out of leg energy before I run out of wind (probably because I run like a turtle...LOL). Are there any leg strenghtening exercises you can recommend?

Thank you for any advice,
Dana Gentry

Allen said...

Hi Dana, here are some general comments that might be helpful to you. Be sure you follow the 10% rule in increasing your distance/speed and you schedule heavy/light in your running. My page called "Coaching Running on the Internet" explains these "rules".

Your painful calves means you either have an injury or you're doing more than your body can handle at this time. If your pain goes away during your walking and returns during your running, you're probably doing too much for your current body condition. Try cutting your distance back to one mile. Increase your walking to 3/4 mile and decrease your running to 1/4 mile. If you can do that with no pain, then do it for a couple of weeks. Then increase your running and decrease your walking in small increments (10% rule), not more than one increase per week. Stay at each new level as long as it takes for your body to adjust to the new distance or speed.

Pain is not a normal condition for your body, so consider pain as a sign from your body that you're doing too much.

On days that you feel like you can barely jog half a mile, then don't. Abort your workout and go home. Give yourself a day or two of rest. Feeling that way is a sign from your body that it needs rest not exercise, and that implies that you've probably been doing too much in your workouts.

Anonymous said...

Howdy,
I enjoy the website. I jogged long distance slowly. Last month I ran fifty miles. I ran hills every other day at six miles. I felt lower back pain. So far in October, I have ran two days at a daily averager of 6.8 miles. One run was over hills and the other was over flat land with no lower back pain. My only problem is the time. It takes me two hours to run long slow distance. Is this good or bad pace??? Also, I ran fifty miles the past two months. I want to get to the level where I am running ten miles every other day. What do you think??

Rickey

Allen said...

Hi Rickey,

I'm sorry that you're having lower back pain. Here are the stretches I do before and after I run. A lot of runners have lower back pain, and it's usually because they have weak muscles. Stretches will help to strengthen their muscles. Situps are important for lower back pain. They actually strengthen your stomach, and your stomach is opposite your back and is thus important for a healthy back. However, don't do situps the "army" way.

You're running 50-mile weeks. Unless you're training for a marathon, that is a lot of miles. Be sure you run heavy/light. If you run 10 miles one day (heavy stress) then only run 5 miles the next day (light stress). If you run a 6 day week, you'd have 3 10 milers and 3 5 milers for 45 miles. You will likely need the 7th day off from running to give your body some extra rest. The reason for heavy/light is to give you 48 hours between heavy-stress runs, which sports doctors say we need.

Here is another approach you might consider. Run one long run per seek, e.g. 10 miles. Run one medium run per week, e.g. 7 miles. Run the rest as rest runs, e.g. 5 miles each. That would give you 37 miles per week, which is fine if you're not in marathon training.

Keep this in mind, Rickey. Running damages your body cells. Running does not make you stronger. During the rest runs, your body repairs the damage from running and makes you stronger. So, you need sufficient rest between each heavy run so your body can recover. Instead of four rest runs, you might consider some cross training, such as light swimming or cycling or walking.

Speed. Don't do speed workouts more often than once a week. They put a lot of stress on your body. Speed does not build endurance. Endurance comes from doing Long Slow Distance, where you run at a comfortable pace that would allow you to talk to a running friend.

Hills. Consider hills as speed workouts. You're not only working to move your body along the ground, you're working to move your body against gravity. So, don't do hills more than once a week, and don't do them in the weeks you do speed workouts.

Back pain. Consider your back pain as a message from your body that it can't handle the stress you're giving it. Do strengthening exercises for your back. Be sure you have good shoes and the right kind (there are three kinds of shoes) Take two or three days off to give your body a rest. Then map out a schedule that will give you sufficient rest at night and during rest runs or cross training.

All of the things I've mentioned are in my site, so continue browsing my site to pick up details.

Thanks for visiting my site and asking questions, Rickey!

rickey said...

Hi Allen,
I am most greatful for your comments. They have given me a good course of action I didn't know about or was using. Great insight and thus excellent coaching.
I truly love running and do for a very few reasons: (1) I was weighting 198lbs and had a beer belly when I started. I've since lost 12lbs and 90% of the beer belly is gone; (2) I've taken to running on my doctor's advice. he told me I could lower my blood pressure by running. He never told me it would be fun; (3) In the end, I love, enjoy, and want, to run. Sometimes, i think I am over excited about it.
I am no marathon runner. Right now, I've been jogging every other day for the past 120 days at about 50 miles per month and 18 miles per week. I like your "another approach" and it seems to suggest that I now run 6 days a week instead of the three I am nowing. Am I right? I'll have no problem making the adjustment. Will it make me loss the remaining 10% of my beer belly and any other fat?????

Thanks Again

Rickey

Allen said...

Hi Rickey,

50 miles per month. Oh, I misread it as 50 miles per week. So, ignore my comments about you doing a lot of miles unless you were training for a marathon.

You're running 3 days per week. Under the alternative plan, you would do one long run and two rest runs, say a long run of 10 miles and two rest runs of 5 miles. The two rest runs plus the remaining days of no running should give you plenty of rest. You could do light swimming or cycling or light weights on your day offs.

Concerning the rest of your beer belly. Running may or may not do it. Depends on your intake of calories. Each mile of running consumes about 100 calories, and it takes about 3500 calories to lose a pound. It is actually more complicated than that, due to your metabolism and gender, but those are ballpark figures. Aim for a diet of veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, and a little red meat. Stay away from sugar and refined flour. How is your intake of calories now compared to when you decided to run? Stay away from extreme diets. Aim for a daily reduction of 300-500 calories. Just cutting down on beer and sweets will do that much. Walking on your rest days will help, too. Running and walking consume close to the same number of calories but with much less stress on your joints, muscles, etc.

Onnoval said...

Hi Ricky,
i am a fresher at jogging. I read all your comments & find them very helpful!!!
Can you suggest me how to start about as iam new to this & i get exhausted very soon is it advisable to jog at the beginning or to walk for few weeks??

Allen said...

Onnoval, here is a page that will help you get started. After you've read the page a couple of times, take a look at the Beginners Plan that is linked at the bottom of the page.

V Raju said...

Wonderfyl article indeed ! Thank you for posting this article.

Allen said...

Yes, Doc George Sheehan really had a lot of common sense about running. Following his advice has kept me almost injury-free for over 38 years. I've had one injury in running, and that resulted from not enough rest between runs, which was a result of my getting older and needing more rest than I used to need.

Wild runner said...

Start easily, breath through nostrils and try barefoot running every now and then. And try to eat vegetables and greens as much as possible.

Ray Gill said...

I started reading about ChiRunning and ChiWalking this year and I must say that it works really great for me. Just my litle grain of salt :)

dom said...

That was awesome. Thank you.
I hit the third wind tonight after running for nearly two weeks straight.
It was so pertinent saying that the time was the relevant factor. I love walking so knowing I could take a break was great. Also I stayed at a pace where I could talk and was surprised at how far and fast I could run and still breathe.
Then, near around 35 minutes I hit what I would guess was a runner's high.
I have felt it before but not running; as though nothing I did was wrong or right just was, total peace and satisfaction and I could run forever.
I can't wait till tomorrow now. Thank you thank you thank you.

Gary said...

I enjoyed the article and comments. When starting out running, listen to your body. Take the time to stretch and condition yourself. There's no rush if you want to continue running. I have been doing it over 40 years. Whenever I have pain from running, I always check my shoes for age, fit, cushioning, and stability.

Mr. Jogging said...

I've been running continuously for about 6 months, and I am a sophomore in high school. I ran alot during the summer and kept running into the school year.

I took about 1 week off for a hip injury, and since I started running again this week I have been exhausted from easy practices and jogs which were much slower paced than what I normally do.

My hip doesn't hurt anymore, but running exhausts me alot faster now. I struggled running nine 9-minute miles yesterday, and a week ago I could run nine 7-minute miles and not feel as bad as I did running those slow miles.

The terrain was the same, why am I feeling so bad?

Btw, GREAT ARTICLE!

Allen said...

Taking a week off from running shouldn't have the effects you've described. Your level of running should go down a little bit in a week but very little.

I had similar effects (low energy level, tired, unable to run the same distances I had been doing), and my cause was poor blood circulation due to blood clots. Blood carries oxygen to various parts of our bodies, and I wasn't getting sufficient oxygen.

All I can think of is to go to your family doctor and get a good check up. There is something going on that isn't obvious to us.

Let us know what you find out; I'm curious about your problem.

Marion Hauser - Caring Medical Prolotherapy said...

This is a very good article! So often we see patients who have developed running injuries because they've pushed themselves too hard, too fast or haven't learned to listen to their bodies to find an appropriate activity level. If more people were proactive on the front end, we'd need to do less intervention post-injury.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, your article it is a wonderful insight into our mind and body- and the intricate way it works, its fascinating.

i started jogging 2 weeks back, at first it was the 5 minute-round the block and i was out-bushed for the count!

But 2 weeks on i have stuck with it.....now, i jog 4 miles everyday, and almost everyday- when that 2nd wind hits-its auto pilot mode, and i can jog for the whole day if need be!

I never thought i would be so keen on getting fit.

I use to a drug addict, smoke 20 cigarettes a day, severely overweight, but everyhtings changed.....and now, lastly im fine-tuning my body, and im enjoying it.
Im beginning to tone up, and when people see me and say 'You've lost weight, you look so good' that's the best feeling in the world!

Marley.

Anonymous said...

With reference to Marley mentioned in his post. It really does go to show that being consistent is the key to getting results.

Like he, I also started jogging about a year back. I was overweight and my breathing was all over the place.

Now I can jog for a couple of hours no problem! I plan to do the marathon next year.

Thanks for the informative post.

Author of bowflex series 7

JAD said...

Thanks for the advise. I have to laugh, because when I started running I got tired fast. After a couple of months I could run a good 10 km race. Since then I have stopped running. However, I think it's time to restart.

Wex said...

any tips on breathing? I did some research and the advices were pretty differing so I'm not sure what is the right way to breathe while jogging.

Allen said...

The purpose of breathing to to get oxygen into your body. So, breath in any way you want as long as it gives you sufficient oxygen. Most runners I know breath through their mouth. Some, though, breath through their nose, and some breath through both.

You've brought up a good topic, and I'll add a page about breathing to this site.

Caitlin @ Buy Backlinks said...

Wonderful read! I've just given birth two months ago and I'm scared that I would strain myself if I would run. My only work out before I got pregnant was belly dancing. I want to start running because I can take my baby with me if I do. Do you have any advice on how I should start? Thanks!

Allen said...

Hi Caitlin,

Start shopping around for a baby stroller that you can push while you walk/run. Get big bike tires on it. Running strollers are becoming popular.

And, start walking. Follow the 10% or less rule and the heavy/light rule as you increase your distance. See Coaching Running on the Internet for explanations of these rules. See my Beginners page and my Beginner Training plan for details about getting started. Links to these pages are in the right side-bar.

Congratulations on your new baby, and welcome to the wonderful world of running.

By the way, if you do comment again, please do so without the link to your commercial site. You can post a link to your commercial site in my List Your Site page.

Laura Ramsay - Glasgow Personal Trainer said...

I love this post.
It harks back to a time when we weren't overwhelmed by sports science and interval training etc
I have a running club as part of my health & fitness business in glasgow, and I think this would be good advice to pass on to the newbies in the group. People are put off by information overload anyway. Watch their eyes glaze over when you mention aerobic threshold.
One thing I would say though, is that running injuries can just as easily come from biomechanical imbalances. I myself have collapsed arches which need orthotic inserts to correct, and even then I stay away from concrete pavements and roads when I run.
A far better surface is a track off-road, or on grass. The uneven surface will help to strengthen the ankles too.
I like this so much I think Im going to bookmark it :)

Laura x

Health and Fitness Tips said...

I've been doing a lot more jogging lately, so I truly appreciated reading this. I picked up some nice tips to work with.

One thing I noticed is an ache in my my knee, even after stretching, jogging slow, and taking a supplement for the joints. Is this common for people starting out with jogging?

Allen said...

Congratulations on starting a running program. As a suggestion, don't jog until you can walk for half an hour with no problems. Then mix in small amounts of jogging, no more than 10% of your total time or distance per week. See my Beginners page and my Beginners Plan for more details. Also see my Stretching for Runners page. Most people starting to run do too much too soon. As my friend, Bruce, says: baby steps, baby steps.

Forearm Exercises said...

Good guidelines for starting running. The Borg scale corresponds to my experience, and your guideline of 10 beats over resting pulse is the same I use to determine overtraining. As you relate, optimal frequency and intensity are difficult to determine.

Mike said...

George Sheehan was my hero when I started running many years ago. This article is just as true today as when it was written years ago.

As runners we are our own worst enemies - the fitter and stronger we get, the harder we push. And then we end up injured. A wise friend of mine once observed "only too much is enough!"

I have just written an article on this on my marathon training site at:

www.marathon.ipcor.com/marathon-training-recovery.htm

rigs said...

Awesome post. I started doing some sprints with my young kids. It feels great. I had a problem with plantar fasciitis though. I went to a podiatrist and she told me to do a series of exercises. I discovered some of my own that worked as well. If you have this condition and would like to see the exercises, go to www.curingheelpain.com. It's all in pictures. Plantar fasciitis won't go away quickly but the exercises helped minimize the pain and makes it more bearable.
Happy Running!

Lee1222 said...

Hi Allen! This is my first time to browse for running blogs, and I'm really glad to come across yours. Very insightful and practical tips!

I started running about 2 years ago. I did 30 minutes running thrice weekly. Physical fitness was my simple goal. However, I stopped about 6 months ago when I worked the night shift. I'm now back to my regular day shift and intend to resume running this weekend, this time with the half-marathon as a target.

I've got 2 questions: (1) I used to run continuously for 30 minutes. Although I wanted to walk at some point to rest, I can't quite get myself to resume running after the walk. Is this normal? (2) For night shift workers ("vampires", haha), would you recommend early evening (pre-shift) or early morning (post-shift) running?

Thanks and keep up the great writing! Happy Thanksgiving!

Allen said...

Hi Lee, it's normal when walking to hesitate resuming running. Muscles tend to tighten up while walking, and that makes it more difficult to resume running. Usually, though, a couple of minutes of running will cause the muscles to become loose again.

Jeff Galloway, one of the gurus of running recommends alternating running and walking, right from the beginning. Try running for a couple of minutes and then walking for 30 seconds. That brief amount of walking shouldn't affect your muscles. You can experiment with the amount of running and walking to see what works best for you.

Concerning pre or post work running, it depends on you. We're all different. Try both to see what works for you.

David said...

Interesting Running Article! Good information

Allen said...

I can't say much about bone fractures, because I haven't had experience with them. However, as a general comment, walking puts less impact ones legs and knees.

Bryan said...

I am a personal trainer, and here's what I suggest to my clients when they ask me how to jog properly:
1.Warm up before and cool down after.
2.Jog on soft surfaces like grass or dirt. The impact is gentler on legs and joints.
3.Take care on hills. Keep your body at the same angle on a hill as you do on a flat surface.
4.Breathe through your mouth and nose in a relaxed fashion.
5.Keep your feet and knees facing forward rather than out to the sides.
6.Jog with your shoulders back. Keep your arms and hands relaxed with elbows bent at your waist and hands loosely cupped.
http://www.pecworkouts.com/

Jeff said...

I've been jogging twice a week and every time after the jog it really feels so refresh. Sweating yourself out your stress. Jogging for me is one way to stay healthy and fit. This is wonderful, Thanks Allen

Marcy said...

Wow! Amazing article. I was just about in tears when I read about the 3rd wind. I have experienced this peace/strength/oneness with the universe, but never had any other words to describe it other then runners high. I'm glad there are others out there that understand and feel as I do. Some people do Yoga or Meditation. I've heard non-runners say that when they see a person running with a smile on their face then they will start running. Well, no-body smiles when they exercise and no-body smiles when then meditate or do Yoga which is supposed to give one inner peace. There have been times when I reach the top of that big hill and look out over the land that I smile! That smile comes from deep within the soul.I love this article!

Chad said...

Love Sheehan's wisdom! There is much physiology interwoven here as well. Another author to look at truly is enjoyable to read, yet a bit more scientific is Timothy Noakes- The Lore of Running is the title. A gem for any runner, any ability.

Allen said...

Since I'm not a doctor or a trainer I can only speak in general terms. Be sure you have a good diet with lots of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eat low glycemic foods. Get sufficient sleep at night, usually 7-8 hours per night. If you're running or walking, follow the 10% and heavy/light principles. Possibly stop running and do more walking. See a doctor.

latte machine said...

Jogging is good physical activity. I prefer walking but my daughter likes jogging. However now I have doubts about these running things. There was Marathon several weeks ago in my neighborhood. After running half of the marathon man of middle-age overheats and after that more than a week was in coma because of inside damages. Besides, temperature was not very high. Now he has to undergo treatment cure. That is embarrassing! He was (before running) normal, healthy man. How can I feel that it is enough this time to run, for example? I don’t feel so healthy but I want some physical activities. Most likely this man just carries too far.

Allen said...

Since I don't know anything about that man and his training, I can't comment on his particular conditions. I can, though, comment in general about running and running marathons.

Running puts a lot of stress on ones body, much more than walking, and running marathons really puts stress on ones body. I have a page in this site about the stress of a marathon. Marathons are so stressful because the distance is long enough that the energy stored in body cells is all used, and our bodies begin burning fat for energy. Many people run marathons before their body is really ready for that distance. I recommend that people not even begin marathon training until they can comfortably run at least 24 miles per week with the longest run being at least 6 miles. I also recommend that people not begin marathon training until they have been running at least a year. Running half-marathons are much safer for persons who want to do distance running but avoid injury.

Running is a complicated way to get exercise. Proper running involves many attributes, such as pace, water, rest, length of a step, number of days per week of running, running hills, diet, weather, age, likelihood of injury, warm up and cool down, the 10% rule, running heavy/light and so on. These are all covered in detail in this blog.

My plan for beginning running tells the person to do no jogging, just do walking, until they can walk comfortably for 30 minutes. Then, if they want, they can begin doing a small amount of jogging in the middle of the walking. Walking is a much safer form of exercise, and if one enjoys walking, there is no need for the person to start jogging unless he/she really wants to jog. The only people who should run are those who really enjoy it and who can handle the stress of running.

Latte Machine said...

Thank you Allen for your answer regarding possibility to overheat while running marathon. I thought too about this incident. I have to admit that this man is politic and most likely he don’t want to give up as well as he cared too much about his political reputation instead of listening of his body’s signs that it would be better to stop and quit. By the way, this man is OK now.
I decided for myself that I really will better walk. Besides I have a Newfoundland dog and we both like long walks in early mornings and evenings and both times we walk for an hour except hot summer days. As well long walks are good for both of us.
Thank you Allen again!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for this informational post! I love jogging and before i was doubtful about it. Though I really got good results from it when done regularly. It can cause you boredom in the long haul. It's always better to have alternatives and some new "techniques" added in the mix. Overall good review!

Lee said...

Great post. Loved the down to earth and common sense that's weaved into the tips. Sounds so logical and simple and yet people ignore the signs. Ran my 1st marathon a few months back and reflecting on your article, I don't think I trained sufficiently. Going for my second one in a month's time and I hope to be better prepared!

Personal Fitness said...

Thanks so much for a great post. There are so many things you can do wrong with the best intention but without the necessary knowledge.
You have given some great tips on running here.

Essential Oils For Life said...

For lower back pain, I suggest to have a massage and use any of this two essential oils that I highly recommend to have on hand are Basil (aka Sweet Basil) and Bergamot. Both these oils are good are relaxing muscle spasms and cramps, as well as helping with stress, tension or anxiety.

Btw, I have bookmarked your content.

pc speed doctor said...

I've been told by a couple of friends who used to jog regularly that it can be harmful to your knees. Any insight would be helpful.

Allen said...

People who have weak knees, quads, and hips likely will have problems with their knees. People who regularly stretch to strengthen their hips, knees, and quads have no problems. I've been running for 39 years with no problems. Of course, strengthening your quads means you also need to strengthen your hams. Strengthening your lower back means you need to strengthen your stomach. In other words, your whole body needs attention. Here are pictures of the exercises I do.

Knee problems are common with runners who don't do proper stretches. Lower back problems are common. Various problems with your legs, such as shin splints or ITB, are common in people who don't stretch properly. People who don't stretch or who do too much too soon have these problems.

Stretches don't do much for ones upper body, so cross training is recommended. Light weight lifting, cycling, swimming, walking, etc.

Speaking of walking, the only people who should run are those who really enjoy it. The rest of humanity should stick with walking and cross training.

To avoid doing too much too soon requires common sense. Pain is not normal. Pain is a sign from your body that you're doing too much too soon. My view is that people should run pain free and injury free.

carly@ home workouts reviews said...

Wow, what a great post. I'm sure many people doesn't really care or even bother to know the limits or the right speed to jog. And this is the only post I've encountered dealing with this matter and I thank you for this. This helps me understand more.

Planet of the Apps said...

Another basic has to be Custom Orthotics if you ask me.

cessionedelquinto said...

running is good, I run three times a week and now my life is great .. I'm fine, I feel full of energy and life is going very well

Back Pain Relief said...

Loved the article and the blog in general. I've been running on and off for two decades but still enjoy a good run. I currently run about 10 miles a week but would like to increase it to 20 with the idea of running a marathon in a couple of years. Wish me luck!

calorieshiftingdiet said...

Thank you so much, finding this article very informative. Majority of us love to run. And by this article it gives the right information what is the proper way of jogging to a better burning of calories.

d hilling said...

Finally came across your article and really enjoyed it. I am 59 and have been running for 16 months. Started out run/walking a distance of 1 1/2 miles per day and as of jan 1 2012 I am running a full 5 miles per day albeit at a fairly slow pace of 11 1/2 minutes (around 5 mph) Any time I get cocky and try to up my pace I get some kind of temporary injury that I suffer/run through. Anyway thanks for the further inspiration (and affirmation)

Allen said...

Hi d hilling,

Thanks for letting us know of your success in running, and congratulations on the progress you've made. Running 5 miles after 16 months of running is good progress!

Unless you're really into racing, don't get too concerned about running faster. Just run and enjoy it! My page on speed will give you some ideas about running faster, if you do want to pursue that. As your body gets stronger, you will automatically run faster. Galloway's Cadence Drills are a good way to increase your speed a bit without much increase in stress. Just do two or three of the drills in the middle of your run.

Here are a couple of other ideas for your consideration. Follow the 10% rule in increasing distance or speed, and the heavy/light rule. Both of those are explained in detail in my site. As you've already learned, speed work is a fast track to injury if you aren't careful. Also read my page on hills so the hills become your friend.

Leon Boone said...

This was a very informative article. I do think that we do often want to maximize our training. We don't give ourselves enough time to recover from our workouts. I know I do this more often than not. I just love running and want to do it as much as possible. I know I should scale back a little but I'll do that when I get older, I guess. If you want to improve your running form check out my site,

Brett Mcgregor said...

That Borg Scale I think is too ideal. We have to remember that every body has a limitation of its own. What works for one may not exactly work for the other. But then again, following that standard is a good start to make your own measurements for your own good. I will try and follow that as to how to get ripped fast better.