Long distance running is a very inclusive activity. It doesn’t requires participants to possess some talent or anatomical advantage to be good at one. Anyone from 5 year olds to 80 year olds can run long distance given enough training. A bit of perspective: Pamela Anderson ran the New York marathon. The oldest runner in the Toronto marathon is around 90 ish of age. Bottom line is:
Anybody can do it.
I wrote about running before, in fact i’ve drawn some analogies about writing with running:
Potentially hate able,often lengthy,but flows surprisingly easy. She writes grudgingly in prelude,but the great contention in epilogue is all worth detesting for.
When i was in school, i keep winning these long distance run competitions not because i was good at it, but most kids my age gave up easily. In running, you get tired easily, very fast.
Luckily, I figured out quite early how to manage stamina without training by applying some science principles to breathing techniques which worked well. (deep, long breaths for more oxygen to slow down that lactic acid buildup) .
Plus, running is more of a mental thing than physiological.
Endurance is the ultimate mental test. How are you going to end this thing? Will you give up midway? What will you say to yourself when you feel you do not want to continue? All these demons, they will rear their ugly heads, and you will need a strategy to slay each one of them. I worked on some strategies. Some worked ,some didn’t , depending on the heat that day. It was good mental training which was perhaps the foundation to my resilience (or stubbornness, depending on how you look at it). Wallahua’lam.
School runs are ridiculous in my opinion. They heed no advice on well being, injury and hydration. Runs will start when the sun is at its peak at 10 AM with no water breaks for the rest of the 8km. Good thing that school-going kids are hardy people so dehydration problem doesn’t really fester (and most will just walk the whole way anyway, which was probably for the best)
I got back into running because i don’t walk so much anymore in Malaysia (too much heat) and there was no other way to keep me fit. It was for pure,desperate, very vain reasons about my worryingly escalating weight lol.
What i learnt
- Carbo-loading is a real thing. You really can last longer if you eat well, preferably lots of carbs A WEEK to 4 hours before a >15 KM run. There is no need for carbo loading for 10-15KMs, just a good meal. I made the mistake of not eating for my half-M last night, which was disastrous because you can really feel your legs screaming for calories to burn which had ran out. It was very very painful.
-Core exercises done well and slow is the ultimate solution to back pains and slouching during long runs. It will make sure you can run upright and last longer during the whole course. It looks unnecessary, and easy to belittle but the effects is what i call magical. Sometimes, if i don’t the have time to train and need to run long distance in the last minute, i just make sure i did some core exercises. When i first discovered this, it was a huge revelation to me because the problem for me was not the stamina, it was how do i get my upper body to not get fatigued faster (back, shoulders, neck) and keep up with my legs. You don’t need much, the results will be quick and fast for the 15 minute exercises done twice a week.
How to build stamina?
You start at 1 KM. Juste run 1KM.
Then you build that up by 2 or 3 KM the next week. The first time will always be the most painful but just bear with it (this is the mental part ), and by the time you know it, 10 KM for you will be a nice, flow-y run.
If you can run 10 KM without stopping and water breaks, you definitely have the stamina to run 21 KM. The body then just needs to get used to running longer than 10 KM but the point will be the stamina is already there.
Drink before you get thirsty. Thirsty means too late and already hydrated. Hydration prevents injury and you want that knees to last long. I wear knee guards because long distance running is punishing to your knees. If you are very fancy, buy a rolling ball to roll the tight muscles under your knees after a run.
What about Full M?
I am working towards that inshaAllah. Full M is a whole new monster altogether. The training is way different than a half -M because you run till you have zero calories left to burn. Training takes time, proper post-run care, and correct nutrition on how to sustain calories midway in the run (when to eat during the run, what to eat). One needs to prep body for that kind of punishing abuse . And one needs some kind of sport therapist advice to teach you how to recuperate and prevent injury. Preventing injury is the top on my head right now.
I’m so happy everyone is taking up running. Fit sisters is for life. Happy running!