T Nation

Learning How to Run

Does anybody have any tips for somebody who is running distance for virtually the first time in years? I’m looking into joining the military and I need to become a solid runner in 5-6 months time.

As a bodybuilder I never jogged/ran, all my conditioning was done on the Stairmaster or Elliptical.

I’m finding that I can barely make it a 1/4 mile before my calves and shin muscles are so pumped that I can barely walk, let alone continue the run. My wind is great and I feel like I could go much further if my legs would cooperate. My strategy so far has been to run 2-3 minutes, then walk 2-3, and repeat for about an hour.

Is there a way I can help expedite this process? Stretches, icing, additional exercises, etc? I am wary of pushing it too hard because I don’t want to develop shin splints, but I need to be making solid progress week to week.

Thanks for any advice.

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[quote]overstand wrote:
Does anybody have any tips for somebody who is running distance for virtually the first time in years? I’m looking into joining the military and I need to become a solid runner in 5-6 months time.

As a bodybuilder I never jogged/ran, all my conditioning was done on the Stairmaster or Elliptical.

I’m finding that I can barely make it a 1/4 mile before my calves and shin muscles are so pumped that I can barely walk, let alone continue the run. My wind is great and I feel like I could go much further if my legs would cooperate. My strategy so far has been to run 2-3 minutes, then walk 2-3, and repeat for about an hour.

Is there a way I can help expedite this process? Stretches, icing, additional exercises, etc? I am wary of pushing it too hard because I don’t want to develop shin splints, but I need to be making solid progress week to week.

Thanks for any advice.[/quote]

I am no expert at running, but im a heavy guy and i got into it last year before summer. I had the same problem you describe I corrected the painful pump in my shins and calves by walking the distance i was planning on running and then stretching my lower legs out like crazy. If you want to know how to run look at barefoot runners on youtube. I actually bought a book called “Born to Run” and it was my entrance into the world of running. most helpful tip i can give you is always have your knees bent when you run and never strike on the heel or you will be in a world of hurt. If you have a tendency to heel strike shorten your stride so your feet land more directly underneath your hips while you run.

Also I started only being able to cover the distance you said about 1/4 of a mile and it was hard to do, I worked up to running 1.5 miles with no breaks at a weight near to 300 pounds.

Good running shoes!!!
Get some properly fitted shoes, go to a specialist shop and get a gait analysis (usually free) then they will recommend correct footwear. This will make a huge difference.

If you’re currently doing 2-3 mins before cramping, then an hour at a stretch is probably overkill. Try 30 mins and increase the running times/decrease the walking time till you can run it in one stretch.

Stretching and foam rolling the calves and soles will help so do it when possible. I have to disagree with the poster above about trying to alter your natural stride, especially as a relative beginner to running, this will only cause more issues.

Finally, if you can, try running on grass to start as the softer ground will reduce impact while your feet acclimatize.

take shorter strides in the beginning, if you want endurance. Not choppy just a little shorter, where you don’t have to extend your calves so much. That way don’t want get as tired.

It’s easy when you start off to try to extend your stride to run, but that really tires the legs out. The best way to run is to try to have the work for the push forward done by time your leg is under you. The less your leg is “working” behind you the better. Imagine picking your straight up to your butt instead of it kicking back.

Run a lot and walk fast even more.

Your body will adapt pretty quickly! Quicker than lifting weights anyways.

[quote]WW3General wrote:

[quote]overstand wrote:
Does anybody have any tips for somebody who is running distance for virtually the first time in years? I’m looking into joining the military and I need to become a solid runner in 5-6 months time.

As a bodybuilder I never jogged/ran, all my conditioning was done on the Stairmaster or Elliptical.

I’m finding that I can barely make it a 1/4 mile before my calves and shin muscles are so pumped that I can barely walk, let alone continue the run. My wind is great and I feel like I could go much further if my legs would cooperate. My strategy so far has been to run 2-3 minutes, then walk 2-3, and repeat for about an hour.

Is there a way I can help expedite this process? Stretches, icing, additional exercises, etc? I am wary of pushing it too hard because I don’t want to develop shin splints, but I need to be making solid progress week to week.

Thanks for any advice.[/quote]

I am no expert at running, but im a heavy guy and i got into it last year before summer. I had the same problem you describe I corrected the painful pump in my shins and calves by walking the distance i was planning on running and then stretching my lower legs out like crazy. If you want to know how to run look at barefoot runners on youtube. I actually bought a book called “Born to Run” and it was my entrance into the world of running. most helpful tip i can give you is always have your knees bent when you run and never strike on the heel or you will be in a world of hurt. If you have a tendency to heel strike shorten your stride so your feet land more directly underneath your hips while you run.[/quote]

I also found Born to Run to be helpful. However “Chi Running” by Dreyer(?) was even more helpful IMO (but nowhere near as entertaining). It is strictly an instructional work with a series of drills geared toward developing the type of stride described in “Born”. It’s a little new-agey in places but I still found that it vastly improved my enjoyment of running.

I understand that “Pose Running” by Romanov(?) approaches the same thing from a more sports science angle without the more mystical element. I haven’t read it myself but I hear it’s
good.

Foot-strike really does make a huge difference.

Hey guys, appreciate all the insight. I found some good videos on youtube and I’m going to try to film my self running and see if I can fix my stride a little bit.

I ran track in high school and could run a sub 12 second 100m. The problem is I’ve gained almost 100 lbs since then and my calves/shin muscles (what are these called?) can’t handle the load. I also think I’m still trying to run like a sprinter (landing on my toes) which is putting unnecessary stress on my lower legs.

I’ve got some Adidas “Kanadia” running shoes which are decent I guess. I don’t want to go out and buy an expensive pair of shoes because I’m going to be running in combat boots in the military.

I’m also going to try running on grass and see if I can’t up the intensity without injuring myself.

WW3General, what was your strategy in building up your endurance?

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This is going to be a tough transition. Most runners I know are very, very lean. And I’m getting that way as I prepare for a week long hike this year that will take me up to 13k feet altitude. Going light also means I don’t want to carry excess body weight up passes.

You can’t be big and effectively run well. Check out the body shape of the guys that won that Boston Marathon today.

As for your legs, they sound like you don’t have a solid stretching program, and it sounds like your heart rate is getting way too high when you run. A lot of marathon runners base their pace off their heart rate. I know that my calves start to tighten when I push my heart rate beyond 150ish. Get a heart rate monitor and use it.

You’re going to have to learn what works for your body.

As for running form, you might want to ask someone to check out your form at a running store. Also, I suggest the book: Born to Run. It will give you some insights.

As for shoes, I pretty much love running in my Nike Frees. The trend now is toward more neutral shoes with little padding that closely replicates barefoot walking. I hike in Innov-8 Rocklite 295s and love them. Of course, you’ll be in boots in the military. Maybe try out trail running since uneven ground is a lot different from running on pavement.

Go to a running shoe store (not Big 5 or Dick’s) and get “fitted” for the correct shoe. They shoe take a look at your stride/foot strike. It maybe a few more bucks but it will be worth it. As for developing a running program, take a look at the workouts on the Cool Running website.

A nice starting point for a non-runner would be the ‘couch-to-5K’ program. It starts off with walking and running then builds from there. It may seem ‘easy’ but the progression keeps the chance of injury low. If you’re already beyond that program, pick another.

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I work for the Mammoth Track Club and my advice would be to start slow, be consistent and foam roll DAILY.

Also as mixicus had said coolrunning is a very good website. Get in contact with a good coach such as

Andrew Kastor (yes, Deena Kastors husband) or Mike McKeeman on east coast. I have and do work with both

and they do not pay lip service to the life, they LIVE the life. Mike has a 2:15 Marathon best and Andrew still runs sub 4:30 miles at 35 years young.

Also, DO have your gate checked out so that the proper shoe can be fit.

Good luck and much success…

Get some real shoes from a real running store.

I have a “learn to run” template somewhere if you want.

Just PM

As 270lb guy who just ran my second half marathon I would suggest the run walk method by Jeff Galloway. Run for 4-5 mins then walk a min and repeat. The min walk gives you a little recovery time. I just used these principles finish my second half marathon in 1hr and 57mins. Also go to a really running store and get fitted for shoes.

Start small on the mileage too. Start with a mile a couple times a week, the following week increase 1 day by a mile. Short strides and higher knee drive will save your knees and help you run faster.

Read “Born to Run” if for nothing more that it makes you want to become a runner.
“Couch To 5K” is a good structured, progressive program. It will build you up slowly and that’s what your ankles and calves need. Your lower body needs to adapt to a 300 lbr runner.
Best of luck…which branch?

[quote]overstand wrote:
Hey guys, appreciate all the insight. I found some good videos on youtube and I’m going to try to film my self running and see if I can fix my stride a little bit.

I ran track in high school and could run a sub 12 second 100m. The problem is I’ve gained almost 100 lbs since then and my calves/shin muscles (what are these called?) can’t handle the load. I also think I’m still trying to run like a sprinter (landing on my toes) which is putting unnecessary stress on my lower legs.

I’ve got some Adidas “Kanadia” running shoes which are decent I guess. I don’t want to go out and buy an expensive pair of shoes because I’m going to be running in combat boots in the military.

I’m also going to try running on grass and see if I can’t up the intensity without injuring myself.

WW3General, what was your strategy in building up your endurance?[/quote]

:slight_smile:

[quote]overstand wrote:
Hey guys, appreciate all the insight. I found some good videos on youtube and I’m going to try to film my self running and see if I can fix my stride a little bit.

I ran track in high school and could run a sub 12 second 100m. The problem is I’ve gained almost 100 lbs since then and my calves/shin muscles (what are these called?) can’t handle the load. I also think I’m still trying to run like a sprinter (landing on my toes) which is putting unnecessary stress on my lower legs.

I’ve got some Adidas “Kanadia” running shoes which are decent I guess. I don’t want to go out and buy an expensive pair of shoes because I’m going to be running in combat boots in the military.

I’m also going to try running on grass and see if I can’t up the intensity without injuring myself.

WW3General, what was your strategy in building up your endurance?[/quote]

I ran as long as I could then walked till I could run some more. In the begining I started with a half mile to cover each time. I could run from the stop sign to the stop ahead sign and that was it, I walked the rest of the way. I then got to where I could run a third of it walk a third of it then run the last third. Then I ran the whole thing. Then I upped the distance to a mile, and repeated the process, I got up to 1.5 miles at around 300 pounds and could run it consistently non stop, with no injuries of anykind. The only thing that stopped me was going to college.

Overstand, first off, thank you for making the choice to join the military. Maybe I’ll be your commanding officer if you decide to go Army haha! Anyways, I’m in the same boat as you. I’m thinking about running Couch to 5k. I have a PFT for ROTC and West Point scholarships, so it’ll be interesting to see how we both do. Best of luck and thanks.

CS

[quote]Trocchi wrote:
Run a lot and walk fast even more.

Your body will adapt pretty quickly! Quicker than lifting weights anyways. [/quote]

This is your answer. Now go run.

2 months ago I started running (1/2mile first day) and completed a 12 mine tough mudder this morning and feel fine.

overstand - run a search for Erick Minor and Lee Boyce’s articles on sprinting here. Those are some great resources of info.