We are all aware of the importance of fitness and good health to a walker, jogger, or runner. In this page I point out tips about fitness and health that aren't obvious but are helpful as you train to run without injury.
Sleep is for more than Dreaming
Runners need plenty of sleep. Fatigue tends to accumulate quickly if you don't sleep enough, leaving you listless, unenthusiastic and susceptible to colds. Sometimes, job and family responsibilities, late-night television and a daily running regimen make it hard to find time for enough sleep. If you can bring yourself to do it, turning the set [and the computer] off a half-hour earlier works wonders. -- The Complete Book of Running, Random House, New York: 1977, p. 180
Slow Down Heart, Slow Down!
When I ran marathons in the early 1980s, my wake-up pulse rate was 44. A friend at work said that was so slow that I had time to go out for a hamburger between beats. One morning I measured my pulse rate at 40. I thought that was a fluke, but it stayed at 40 during the remainder of my marathon training. Now, I'm older and my wake-up pulse rate is 50 and I can still get a hamburger between beats if I hurry :)
As I've monitored my wake-up pulse rate over the years, I've discovered that a night or two of significantly insufficient sleep will raise the rate by 10-20%, and it will probably take a week of proper sleep to bring it down! I've learned that when I run with an elevated pulse rate, I don't have my normal endurance during long runs. I get colds more often. I do dumb things like driving through stop signs. Yes, my wake-up pulse rate is a great indicator of my body-condition.
When I measure my wake-up pulse rate, I walk slowly to the bathroom so I can turn on the light without disturbing my wife. I measure my pulse for 60 seconds, using my watch as a timer. My initial PR is usually 2 or three beats high, due to the walk to the bathroom, but it comes down as I sit quietly in the bathroom. I measure my PR several times until it has stabilized. I use my fingers to feel the pulse at the pressure point next to my left ear (don't use your thumb because it has its own pulse). Some people will measure their pulse for 15 seconds and then multiply it by 4. That method, however, is inaccurate because a one-beat error in the 15 seconds translates to a 4 beat error in 60 seconds, and for long distance runners that 4 beats is close to 10%.
Colds, Colds, what is a Cold?
I can't claim that you'll have perfect fitness and won't get colds, but running should help your immune system to be stronger, and your body should have a greater chance of resisting the "cold bug". You should have better health and should enjoy life more.
To read about the stress caused by running, click the link in the navigational bar. In addition, here is an article by Jeff Galloway on getting sufficient rest.
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The information in this site and in my podcasts is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.
© Copyright Allen W. Leigh 2003, 2007