Tag Archives: running

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Is Running Necessary for Weight Loss?

Find out if running is right for you, whether your Personal Trainer is Telling you to or not!

We’ve all heard it….”no pain, no gain”.  Running has therefore got to be better than walking because you sweat more, you breathe faster and therefore burn more energy!

Really??

I suppose you can use the same argument of “which is heavier, a 1kg of feathers or a 1kg of brick” – they are both the same!  Therefore because the distance is the same, the energy used must be the same!

OK, that’s not strictly true, so here’s the science bit…

 

Walking Vs Running

Take on average someone who weights 70kg:

– Walking about 3.1 miles per hour, they use 50 units of energy per km.

– Running at 6.2 miles per hour, they use 78units of energy per km.

So…it seems running is better!

HOWEVER, at the start of the run, you are metabolising carbohydrates (before you start to burn fat). To optimally burn fat (over carbiohydrates) you need to work at 60% of your maximum aerobic capacity (reached at around 75% of maximum heart rate –which is generally ariound 220 minus your age). Therefore low to moderate exercise is a better way to burn energy/fat and on the plus side it can be easier on your joints!  OK, so you do burn SLIGHTLY more energy when you run, but it’s not a huge significant amount.

By running you can do more work in less time, but if you think you’ll need to exercise for half the time if you run, you’re sadly incorrect! On the flip side, however, thinking that an amble round the park for three miles is equivalent to a three mile run isn’t quite right either!

 

Outdoor Vs Indoor Running?

I suppose the next question is comparing running on a treadmill to running outdoors.  Outside you’ve got the pounding of the pavement on your knees and legs, but running outdoors does burn slightly more energy than running indoors on a treadmill (mostly because of the air resistance). However, running indoors can be safer and some ‘tricks of the trade’ show that setting the treadmill to an incline of 1% evens this out the difference in kcals burned between indoor and outdoor running!

Perhaps when choosing whether to run indoors or outdoors it’s most important to remember that the many scientific papers on movement and exercise do not take into account the impact of our mind and how we feel on the rest of the body – the psychological impact is yet to be truly explored, and ultimately we might be better of basing our decision on which we enjoy most.

 

Output and Input

Ultimately, even if you are running every single day, you won’t lose any weight if you are putting more energy into your body than you need.

 

 

Do what makes you feel good…

So what is the truth about what is right for you?

We are all different and as such we need to do what is right for our own body, mind and goals – If you don’t like or can’t run then walking is definitely the best thing for you and will make a significant difference to you health and wellbeing. If however, you are training for a marathon walking is not going to get you there (unless you are walking the 23 miles). I believe the outside is better for health as you get fresh air and can take in nature but if you get hay fever then the gym might be the place for you.

The only thing science ever shows us is the average info for the average Joe Bloggs. You are not average (in fact the ‘average’ person doesn’t really exist!).

Do what is right for your body.

Do what makes you feel amazing.

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Seasonal Birds: running, weight-loss and the advent of winter.

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A few years ago I was out doing a long run in preparation for the London marathon. It was in the second week of January, a Sunday morning if I remember correctly. All of a sudden I was running alongside a man wearing brand new trainers, track-suit etc.

I started a conversation with the guy and I asked him if he was on a new year’s resolution. He told me that it was not the case. His wife had bought him the gear for Christmas and as soon as the celebration had ended she was on his case. He said the first two times that he had gone out, instead of doing his runs he had pulled over at the pub. His wife was not very pleased when he got home and all the gear was still unused.

To cut a long story short he said to me that he had been fast asleep on this Sunday morning and his wife had woken him shouting “ You lazy bastard, wake up and go for a run” and there he was huffing and puffing.

I never saw him out again.

 

This man belong to a category of exercises that I like to call ‘Seasonal Birds’…

They come out in January every year wearing new trainers and gear, such as heart rate monitors, I pods and brand new gloves. You spot them along roads, in parks and in the forest.

A couple of weeks later they disappear to reappear briefly in April, around the time of London Marathon.

They were out again over the summer, inspired by the Olympics, the Paralympics, and the milder weather.

And now that it’s getting colder and darker they are once again disappearing from the streets, leaving the canal paths, tarmac and cycle paths free again.

 

Now, it is a general belief that people have that running is the best way to lose weight. I don’t blame people for believing that – Just look at the world’s fastest long distance runners. They don’t carry any excess do they?

Unfortunately a lot of it is down to genetics. To get to that level you need to have the right genetic makeup, a body which is lean and which has the right kind of muscle fibre to endure hours and hours of running. Perhaps you need to come from East Africa too.

The average person is not going to get that sort of body if they take up running. What is most likely to happen is that your appetite will increase when you take up running and your body shape will more or less stay the same. Although your body shape will not transform, you will get’ fitter’, and your heart and lungs will get stronger. Also, if you do enjoy running by all means, carry on doing it – it certainly gives you a buzz!

However, if you’re a after a leaner physique, a better way of transforming your body is most likely to be a healthy combination of improved diet, moderate cardio and resistance training. This kind of approach is the one most likely to give you the results you’re after and hence is the one you’re most likely to stick with – unlike the seasonal birds who always disappear (along with their fancy equipment) when their efforts have failed to give them the body of their dreams and the cold nights and dark mornings override any motivation to hit the streets.

PT London

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Should we be running to a prescription?

Athletics coaching is a tough call: we may have a dozen or so teenagers and young people all itching to run the track, and we have to produce useful sprint drills, organise some useful and productive challenges, and learn about our athletes’ abilitie

s and weaknesses. We can hope to see some flourish and progress onto competition and achievement, and others will fall by the wayside through lack of persistence or motivation. Realistically, some will fail due to our own failings as a coach.

Here is a list of expectations of an athlete at a UKA affiliated athletics club:

Eyes focused at the end of the lane – tunnel vision
Head in line with the spine – held high and square
Face relaxed – jelly jaw – no tension – mouth relaxed
Chin down, not out
Shoulders down (long neck) relaxed and square in the lane at all times
Back straight (not hunched)
Abdominals braced (not tummy pulled in)
Smooth forward backward action of the arms – not across the body – drive back with elbows – brush vest with elbows – hands move from shoulder height to hips for men and from bust height to hips for the ladies
Elbows held at 90 degrees at all times (angle between upper arm and lower arm)
Hands relaxed – fingers loosely curled – thumb uppermost
Hips remain stable during execution of drills”

This list seems to push out fun in favour of elbow angles. While I am looking for efficient movement patterns, I am also keen to introduce games and challenges that will keep the club members coming back every week. Hip stability can best be achieved through training, and building the movements the body is lacking, rather than encouraging a self consciousness over body movement. The best moves are achieved subconsciously.
I don’t like to see this level of prescription in training teenagers. Running should be largely instinctive in my view, and I’d rather assist correction via training in movement, when it is necessary. Running is a freedom, a joy, but when an athlete chooses to train to compete he will need some guidance. Guidance, a few coaching points where there is risk of serious underachievement, and a reinforcement of the athlete’s strengths. Not a long list of postural corrections he has to remember as he reaches the starting block.

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