Monday, May 17, 2010

Jogging 101

Hi guys, firstly, let me apologize for not having a post last week. I was caught up with some things last week and didn’t get a chance to sit down and write anything. But I am back, and I intend to stick with to our weekly posts routine.

OK, now that the apologies are out of the way, let’s get down to business. This week I want to talk about jogging and a few discoveries that I made. For the record, I really hate running, jogging and other endurance related activities, which is probably the reason why I was never into sports when I was in school. Since I hate it so much, I have not done much to become better at these activities. I just do the bare minimum to achieve my goals and that’s about it. The rest of my time is spent on strength training.

However, off late, I have been trying hard to reduce my body fat %, so I changed my workout routine around and also started doing a lot more cardio than my usual. I do the treadmill during my normal gym days, but once a week, I head out to the park in Bukit Jalil with wifey and we both spend a good 40 minutes on cardio. We usually do the stairs for about 20 minutes and then do some jogging.

But when I first started, I could barely jog for 3 minutes before I ran out of breath and had to stop. It was pathetic and embarassing. So I would jog for 3 minutes, run out of breath and then walk for 3 to 5 minutes and then jog again. I would repeat this routine of jogging and walking until my full 20 or 30 minutes was up. After doing this for awhile, I realized I was not getting any better at all. I mean 4 weeks and I still can’t jog for more than 3 minutes.

So then I asked myself if maybe my technique of jogging was wrong. Of course when I first started jogging, I never thought about technique. After all its just jogging right– one foot in front of the other and repeat. How hard could that be? Then I noticed what all the other joggers in the park were doing and then I realized that there is a technique to jogging. So I adopted it and now I can jog non stop for about 30 minutes and the improvement was almost immediate. From 3 minutes to 30 minutes – big difference right?

So what is this technique? Well here it is.

Keep your feet light
Originally when I jogged, you could hear me a mile away. My feet were heavy and I would slam it into the ground really hard. Then I realized, other people jogging, and you could barely hear their footsteps. So think light and only lift your leg up slightly and put it down slowly. You don’t have to thump your feet into the pavement with every step. Think light all the way and your feet will follow as well.

Take small steps
The other mistake I made was, taking huge strides. When you take huge strides, your legs tend to move faster which makes you go faster and faster until its in between a slow jog and a sprint. No wonder I couldn’t jog for more than 3 minutes… its almost like I was running and not jogging. So make your steps small and that will automatically slow down your speed as well. If you keep your steps small, you will almost automatically keep your feet light as well. So it’s a 2 in 1 deal.

Breathing properly is extremely important during your jog. As I was constantly running out of breath all the time, I asked for advice from many people who jog regularly and they all had different answers to give me. Some say take 2 breaths in, and 1 breath out. Others say breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth. Tried it all, but for me personally, the one that works the best is slow and heavy breaths. So I would take a slow but deep breath and then exhale slowly as well. Problem is, this breathing technique causes you to feel the stitch in your abdomen area. I don’t feel it while running, but if I stop jogging for awhile and then start jogging again, the stitch comes on almost immediately. So I am still trying to figure that part out.

So yeah, here are some tips I picked up to take you from a pathetic 3 minutes of jogging to a fantastic 30 minutes. Pretty impressive right? Honestly, I am more than happy with my 30 minute record although to my friends in endurance racing, 30 minutes jogging is peanuts. But yeah, I hope these tips helps everyone especially beginners or others who are just as pathetic as I “used” to be. Also, please note that running 30 minutes on the treadmill doesn’t mean you can do 30 minutes on the road as easily as well. It’s a world of difference – trust me. Anyway, as usual, look forward to hearing your comments on this.


Syahzilla said...

Thanks Rajan for a great post. I especially like the part of you telling how you learnt the technique as a lay person and now you are sharing with everyone and not boasting to be Superman from day 1. Very refreshing.

Rajan said...

Syahzilla: Thanks for your vote of confidence. Hope the info here helps

ian yusof said...

next step - find running buddies.

In a running group, your workouts may be more intense but feel like they take a lot less effort. I blogged about other benefits of group running here;

bro, I can see us running together in races one fine day .. hehhe... great work!

Rajan said...

Ian: Running races together - mmm.... if i become good enough, i actually wouldn't mind bro. Now 30 minutes is about my max... not sure about distance i am covering though. Is there a way to measure?

Lexis Excellence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rajan said...

Lexis: Great idea. But i usually run in a park, and no cars allowed in the park... so that makes it a challenge to measure distance. If only the park management would label some of the routes to show the distance.

For now i am just going on time... ie see how long i can jog for before i feel my heart in my mouth. Currently its about 30 minutes. have no idea what the distance is.

Maybe i will jog around my house for 30 minutes, then drive the same route with my car to measure the distance.

Thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful tips. Thanks for sharing

JulesInHerWorld said...

Hi Rajan,

I found your article very useful. I could relate to your predicament as 1. I used to HATE running 2. I would run a few metres, catch my breath, walk and continue again. I have tried to work on my breathing technique by observing how the others do it and that really helped.

It would be great if parks in Malaysia do have a measure on the path ways for joggers. What I used to do is use google maps to measure the distance. Hehehe.. it works as well. i.e. If i am preparing for a 10km run, I look up areas I am familiar with, for example from my house to the Shell station and that gives me a basic idea on the length i need to run.

arvin said...

Not all can run 30 minutes in the treadmill or eat just vegetables for months. So in very person different programs should be followed with the help of experts and nutritionist.Look fitness forum

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