Tag Archives: jogging

How to get started in Jogging

Getting Started

Looking back on my own life I have jogged much more than I remembered. I have jogged on and off since my early 20’s. I never found it easy. I struggled to find rhythm, my legs always felt uncoordinated and I never got over the hurdle to run long distances. I did however get fitter. Since January 2014 where I made a solid effort to start running decent kilometres, I did make in roads. I bought a new pair of shoes, my breathing became notably easier, I got a running app to track my progress and my legs and body recovered quicker from my standard 6 K run.

I highly recommend running as it’s an easy (yes easy) way to get started with fitness given you can build your length, speed and how hard you run. And its addictive!

As I improved, it no longer felt like I was being dragged behind a car. I felt the various “gear shifts” in my body as my various energy systems switched from one to another. I felt improvements as various parts of my body improved (legs, lungs and other things that can hurt). I knew I was improving when my body outlasted the K’s I was running and I started getting bored.

It never even occurred to me, that I could get comfortable with running a long distance,  that I got bored with it. Up around the 40-60 minute mark your brain finishes digesting your day, you’ve silently giggled at that joke that you heard last week, the album you listened to has finished, you remember to grab that extra thing for the weekend, you relive a moment from work… Luckily for me over the last two years I have been studying heavily and started a business, so I have appreciated the “me time” for my brain to just think.

When you start running, assuming you are relatively sedantary now (but don’t smoke) , your body quickly undergoes a number of adaptations. I’ll come to them shortly but I first like to describe the reasons that are likely to cause you to stop running and start walking.

First it will be your cardio vascular capacity. Put simply your lungs and heart will not be able to get enough oxygen to the muscles you are using. So your lungs will burn, your heart will race above your target rate of 65-75% of your heart rate and you will literally feel like you are drowning or dying. So your brain tells you to stop. This is most likely to occur if you attempt to run to fast too soon. To help ease this for someone who has just started I recommend you to start at a nice slow pace. A “7 minute kilometre” (that is it took 7 minutes to travel 1 kilometre) is a reasonably slow amble that should be maintainable for 5-10 minutes. Something interesting happens at the 5-10 minute mark that is quite remarkable. I’ll get back to this.

Lets assume you jogged for 5 minutes at 7 minutes a kilometre and continued walking for 5 minutes while you recovered, then jogged for another 4 minutes, before slowing and then walking home for another 5 minutes. You might infact travel up to 1.5 – 2 kilometres. Not bad effort for a first day.

If you jog/walked for 15-20 minutes a day, 2 – 3 times a week you will notice definite improvement in under 2 weeks. Your body will adapt at this level very quickly. Your lungs become much more efficient at exchanges gases with the blood, getting Oxygen in and Carbon Dioxide out. Your muscles will be sore after each jog, but will improve. As you get over this hurdle you next barrier will be your legs. If you travel further or travel at a higher intensity (faster jog) your legs will tire as they wont be efficient at getting oxygen in, it will deplete energy stores and may even get sore from lactid acid build up. (Lactic Acid is a bi-product of the work muscles do). Thats because the muscles need to be trained to operate more efficiently. This will take a little longer. Possible an additional 2 to 4 weeks or (4 – 6 weeks after you started running.) At the 6 week mark however, your heart lungs will work incredibly well and will be able to sustain you for 20-30 minutes of continuous running putting you in the 5 K zone. Thats not bad! Training for run 5 K in one month is definitely doable!!

Second Wind

You may have heard of the expression “Second Wind”. In the right context, it refers to the change over in energy systems within the body. Your has three 3 energy systems. I want to discuss the two that are relevant here. The Oxidative (Oxygen) System and Anaerobic (Lactic) System. When you start running your body quickly start breathing more heavily dependant on the load  required by your muscles. When it exceeds what you can supply, you get exhausted very quickly. (Think running flat out for 30 seconds). When you sustain activity at 65-75% of your max heart rate or “the fat burning zone”, for 5-10 minutes the Anaerobic system will kick in it and will convert energy from your fat stores and doesn’t require oxygen to do so. Your body still needs oxygen for other operations but energy to jog will start coming from the Lactid Acid system system. This is 18 times more efficient than the Oxidative system and your breathing may almost return to normal. You will barely be aware of the change over but after 10 minutes you will notice your breathing is shallower and less frequent.

Heart Rate

Your heart rate is the best tool to monitor your fitness. Conduct this test to determine a base line (starting point). You can accurately measure your heart rate by counting the beats of your heart for 15 seconds and the multiply by 4.

  1. Measure your resting sitting heart rate
  2. Walk for 5 minutes and measure your heart rate
  3. Jog for 5 minutes and measure your heart rate
  4. Rest for 5 minutes and measure your heart rate
  5. Time how long it takes to return to your resting sitting heart rate

These key performance indicators will be your dash panel to your fitness.mOther indicators like, How far can I run in 5 minutes, how long can I run continuously, how many minutes can I run 2 kilometres etc are all relevent and can be used to track your perforance. Yo can use a smart phone app.

I spoke earlier of the “fat burning zone”. This is the zone of heart rate at which your fat is burned from your body. (Not necessarily the best over time but one of the best to get started with). The equation looks like this.

TO DETERMINE THE LOWER TRAINING LIMIT

Fat Burning zone = (Max HR – Age) x .65 (lower training limit)

Fat Burning zone = (220 – 42) x .65

Fat Burning zone = 178 x .65

Fat Burning zone = 116 (lower training limit)

TO DETERMINE THE UPPER TRAINING LIMIT

Fat Burning zone = 178 x .75(upper training limit)

Fat Burning zone = 134

 

So the fat burning heart rate range for a 42 year old is 116-134 beats per limit. Under that limit and he’s not working hard enough, above that limit and his body will switch bad to oxidative system and wont be using fat stores as efficiently. Itrs worth mentioning that High Intensity Training (HIIT) over a longer period of time will burn more fat for less time expended but you must work your body at extremely high heart rates. That’s up to 90% of you max heart rate for short intervals and then resting until the Heart Rate falls to 160 then raising it back up to the HIIT zone. So for me thats per the below.

 

HIIT zone = 178 x .90

HIIT zone = 160K

Here are are some other tips from around the web for getting started.

  • Get the right shoes
  • Learn correct form
  • Start slow
  • Schedule the time
  • Get some tech
  • Do the walk/jog/walk thing until you can do the jog thing
  • Allow rest days
  • Allow for cool down to flush muscles of toxins
  • Do stretch properly after each walk
  • Keep properly hydrated
  • See a doctor first
  • Run earl morning or late afternoon. The heat form the day makes jogging much harder when its hot
  • Avoid hills until you are ready for another challenge
  • Learn some running form
  • Find a running buddy

 

I could have gone on a length with this article. So if you feel I missed anything out, I probably did and would appreciate your feedback.

 

New to exercise? Read my journey…

New to exercise? Read my journey…

I wasn’t always a fit guy. I started my focus on improving my lifestyle about 10 years ago, to support my wife at the time (who also decided to lose weight). I was too comfortable in my government job and in my marriage. The 30’s spread had hit and I bloated out to over 115kg’s. I decided for my kid’s sake I would focus on healthy eating and get more exercise to keep up with my kids. I’m not going to tout this as a weight loss regime but I did nothing more than enjoy a coffee for breakfast, a simple Subway for morning tea, lots of water, and then a calorie controlled dinner. I didn’t feel like I was missing out and I still to this day only feel like a coffee for breakfast, subway mid morning and some fruit to fill the day till dinner.  I do enjoy a beer or wine in the evening but usually after I’ve been for a jog or finished Kung Fu training. That’s been my life for the last 7 years.

 

I can tell my metabolism has slowed as I’ve aged because this hasn’t been enough to lose weight any more but its just enough to maintain my 85ish KG that I carry these days. Incidentally although that I am told I look fine and I don’t need to lose any more weight, that weight for my height and age (1.85m and 42) puts me at the very top end of the healthy weight range. Although the BMI is only a guideline it will give you an indication of where your weight should be at. According to the BMI 75kg is closer to the middle of my healthy weight range.

 

As humans we are prone to excess. As we grow up, we fly free from the control of our parents and eat and drink a little too much “just because”. At this stage of our life we are at pre-contemplation. We don’t think there is anything wrong and because weigh gain is a slow creeping occurrence, years can slip by with tens of KG’s added before we decide there is need for action.  Its only when those lifestyle choices takes its toll in one of various forms that we may take action. This can be bullying or a snide comment about our appearance, a single life event as a result of our lifestyle choices, heart attack or medical emergency or some other reason that makes us look at ourselves with fresh eyes and wish for a better body.

 

As we start to think about change we move into contemplation mode. This is a powerful time but the hard work hasn’t even begun. We need to arm ourselves with information. Talking to people about their success and failures and challenges, making a pro’s/con’s list can assist to motivate ourselves to move through this stage to action. I don’t really remember what spurred me to action and how long I was in the contemplation phase but I have always carried a back injury from my days as a tradesman and the pain gradually got worse as I carried more weight. So I think I just went from precontemplation to action in quick succession (although it’s more likely I was in contemplation for a while until my then wife  also decided to make a change). It was made easier that I was leaving for work at 6 in the morning to start at 7. I just didn’t have time to eat breakfast. From memory I was up early enough to make a coffee, stoke the fire to warm the house for the kids and wifey and then I was off to work. By mid morning I was hungry so I would eat. I think I staved off hunger the rest of the day by drinking water but I don’t recommend this. Its not particularly healthy and may cause failure. If you think of eating something unhealthy or at the wrong time as like having a cigarette (when you are quitting) then it helps to put the quest for health into perspective. A healthier alternative would be to eat small portions of food every few hours to keep the metabolism up and reduce the urge to eat a larger meal. Also if you are trying to quit smoking, eating small portions of fruit or drinking water when you have the urge to quit can help. If you are smoke and are at precontemplation then you will have no idea what I am talking about.

 

I buy lots of fruit and veges to keep my kids belly full with healthy food. They don’t eat it all, so I keep the remainder handy and in the fridge as a cool healthy snack to stave of hunger pains where I am likely to eat a larger meal.

 

New Years 2014 I did the NY resolution thing and decided to start jogging. This was for a few reasons. I always struggled with jogging. Plus I had a Martial Arts grading looming and I was worried about my fitness level. So I thought two 5K jogs a week would help. It did and it turned into three 6km jogs and one 10km+ jog a week. So I support the decision to start jogging by throwing out my crusty old shoes and spending what I considered an absorbent amount of money on new joggers. Turns out it wasn’t but it was still money well spent. I’ve since found out you should replace shoes every six month if you are jogging socially (twice a week) and more frequently Every few months) if you are training seriously!

 

As my exercise levels ramped up so did my thirst for more exercise. AT one point just this year I would wake up, pull on shoes and hit the road even before I knew what I was doing. At that point I was running two 10KM plus jogs and two 6K jogs all around the 6 mins/km mark. Not too fast not to slow. The highlight was a single 17KM facebook solo event I took part in to commemorate the death of an ordinary woman who was killed one morning while she was out jogging. Sad. I wanted to do 20 and I would have been able to if it wasn’t for the pain I felt in my knees. I felt at about the 10K mark I could run forever. Neither my lungs nor my legs would tire at that pace. I felt like 20 K’s was definitely achievable. At about 12 K’s my knees started hurting, at 15 I was worried I was doing damage and I stopped knowing I still had to walk 2 K’s home. But it was the highlight in my jogging career. The glow in my muscles felt fantastic and although I hadn’t completed 20 I had done a solid 15 K’s and had jogged/walked 17k all under 2 hours. Not long after this I changed my goals and I became focused on weight loss and upper muscle strength through resistance training. I came across a simple but comprehensive starters training workout from the one of the good folk from Fitnance, Paul Rackermann. I undertook a 8 week training regime to gain muscular strength. I lasted 3 weeks and I injured my tendons in the upper forearm. More commonly know as Tennis elbow. In short I trained at too high an intensity and injured my under prepared muscles. I will restart that regime, modify the exercise to ease the load on my forearms and start all over again. So that’s where I am now, in recovery mode, with a taped elbow biding time till I heal properly.

 

Its since been healing well and it’s given me moe time to put focus back on jogging. I bought new shoes again from Rebel Sports Maroochydore the other day and the sales man Neil invited me to jog that Wed night. SO I did and have met more like minded people. Its funny where this journey has taken me. Oh and I ran a PB for 10K too. All with my new shoes, spurred on with some friendly competition.