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Lighter, Further, Faster (a.k.a. Trail Running)
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Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Lighter, Further, Faster (a.k.a. Trail Running) on 01/28/2011 03:39:30 MST Print View

I'm going to try leaving this pretty brief and see where it goes because I'd love to glean some advice from you guys who do this stuff seriously. I mean, I'm not sure if I'm even asking the right questions.

About me: I've always been interested in running but have never been very serious about it for one reason - asthma. It sucks having the leg strength to do something but not the lung strength. Enter running. I can currently jog about 1 mile tops on a good day but, on the other hand, I can walk about as fast as some shorter legged people jog for quite a while. Basically I just don't get tired until I'm getting both feet off the ground at the same time. When I do get both feet off the ground my lungs just can't keep up.

Given my position what training regiment would you guys recommend starting with?

Breath exercises? Have you found these to be beneficial or are they just hype?

Are there forums for this that are worth anything?

I think my shoes are sorted out already from backpacking - La Sportiva Crosslites. I can do 10+ miles a day and no blisters with these when hiking.

Anyway, I'm going to go for a run now.

Edited by veriest1 on 01/28/2011 03:40:19 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Lighter, Further, Faster (a.k.a. Trail Running) on 01/28/2011 09:07:32 MST Print View


Good for you. As a kid I had serious asthma. To the point that a doctor highly recommended that my parents send me to live in a different climate at a special facility, which they could not afford.

There was the hope that I would out-grow it, as many kids do. When I entered high school, I joined the cross country team in the hope that running would help. Each year it got better and I had my last attack in my senior year. Never had one since and have led an active life. Can't say if it was out growing it, running, or a combination of both. If you start running, don't know if the breathing exercises will be beneficial, as you will get plenty of breathing exercises just by running. Just start slow and build up your mileage slowly.

Let us know how it goes.

Scott Lehr
(lehrscott4) - F

Locale: Louisville - KY
slow and steady on 01/28/2011 10:14:49 MST Print View

I just started running 3 weeks ago with hopes of running the half-marathon this year, and im in a similar boat. I dont have asthma, but i can easily hike 15-18 miles at a brisk pace, but i struggle to run 2 miles at a 10 minute mile pace. I just try to run (jog) slow enough where i dont have to stop and walk, but fast enough to be a challenge. It is getting easier, but very slowly, and its not the least bit enjoyable. Maybe it will be eventually.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: slow and steady on 01/28/2011 10:37:26 MST Print View

if you are new to running don't forget to warm up "at a slow pace".
I run pretty long distances, it takes me at least 2 miles just to warm up.
My body really enjoys the 2nd and 3rd hour of a multi hour run if I warm up slowly in the beginning.

If you don't warm up properly, the entire run is a struggle to get your body to that "groove" where things feel effortless.

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Lighter, Further, Faster (a.k.a. Trail Running) on 01/28/2011 14:43:32 MST Print View

" Basically I just don't get tired until I'm getting both feet off the ground at the same time"

being of similar construction, what i do is to (serious UL'ers do not read further) is to go up to Auburn and load my pack with several choice rocks. then i walk, slowly to be sure, but breathing hard all the way, up to this EXtrememly tall bridge they have there (750' of gain), and then out to the middle where the suicide phone is...
from there it's an easy trick to drop the rocks back down into the american river, where they make a rewarding KA-POW like a shotgun blast. then i drop back down to the car and have a glass of wine.

this has proven, along with toting similar loads of rocks 1/2 way up mt diablo to eagle peak, to be the fastest, least destructive, most rewarding manner of staying in respectable condition.

stupid people keep throwing my cairn over the edge of eagle peak, but i have enough stones up there now to make a pretty decent one if i fetch them out of the bushes and stack 'em high.
the key pieces of this method are UP, and HEAVY. up is always good, and heavy is an acquired taste involving an old mchale pack padded to reduce the pain the rocks cause.
i read somewhere that some adventure racers are into similar dogma.

peter v.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
So far so good on 01/28/2011 16:34:23 MST Print View

Thanks for the tips and encouragement. I wish I had more elevation to train with but it's pretty flat here.

So far I've learned that my technique was pretty flawed. I'm bad about keeping my hands to high and tensing up. I need to work on that. Also I don't bounce to much but could use some improvement there because it's easy for me to get careless.

I think I'm going to try grinding through the slow and steady routine of walking 6 minutes and running 1 (x3) and slowly decreasing walking and increasing running each week by 1 minute. Are these types of plans effective?

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: So far so good on 01/28/2011 23:20:42 MST Print View


You are just starting out. Don't worry a lot about technique, time, etc. I would start out with a certain distance. Lets say 2 or 3 miles, a loop back to your house or starting point. Flat terrain is best for now. Do it several times a week. Run at an easy pace until you need to stop and walk. Walk until you get your breath back. Then start running until out of breath. Keep cycling until you finish your distance. When you can run the entire distance without stopping, then you can start some other types of training.

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
I miss it on 01/29/2011 01:00:49 MST Print View

been doing some jogging this year--started in July then injured a hamstring playing softball in November. Started up again mid-December and was starting to make some progress, but in the last week or so first the left toes and now the right are going numb, along with some mild return of the dreaded plantar fasciaitis.


I ran the Boston Marathon and a trail 50K in 2001, the US X-Country Championships in 2002 before all kinds of injuries and other health woes.

The numb stuff is really weird--never had anything like this before. It's not the pins and needles gone to sleep kind of numb, but a sort of dull achey numbness. Mostly I can walk or even run with it (though I've taken a few days off running now), but the lack of procioception has caused me to almost trip and fall a few times.

Larry Dyer
(veriest1) - F

Locale: Texas
Re: Re: So far so good on 01/29/2011 01:11:14 MST Print View

"I would start out with a certain distance. Lets say 2 or 3 miles, a loop back to your house or starting point. Flat terrain is best for now. Do it several times a week. Run at an easy pace until you need to stop and walk. Walk until you get your breath back. Then start running until out of breath. Keep cycling until you finish your distance. When you can run the entire distance without stopping, then you can start some other types of training."

I like the sound of this training much better since it seems like it's easier to tailor to the individual than some prearranged time system that tries to fit everyone who reads it on

I'm not overly worried about technique since I obviously can't run long enough at this point for it to make an impact. It is nice to know why my shoulders start to hurt after a while but by that time I need to walk again (if you read between the lines there it means I'm really tensing up). Furthermore I find that it's just more comfortable to run without bobbing up and down so I'll probably keep working on that some since I noticed it before doing much research on the whole topic.

Thanks again!

Ike Mouser
(isaac.mouser) - F
get checked out first on 02/22/2011 21:01:40 MST Print View

trail running is strenuous. i used to be an avid runner, but alwAys had back/neck pain. Found out i had spondy, my doc and pt said that running compresses the spine with every step. So i stopped and did my pt exercises, i got better-but it aint gone. Make sure your body can handle it first is my advice. i swim and cycle now since they are not spine smashing exercises.

Edited by isaac.mouser on 02/23/2011 04:55:04 MST.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Environmental factors? on 02/23/2011 07:02:06 MST Print View

I too had asthma as a kid and had to use some dumb inhaler thing before gym class... until I started riding my bike everywhere, which eventually bloomed into some real cycling. Before terribly long, it was gone. So I imagine you can probably do the same.

Hard walks with a heavy pack are a great idea. I've been slacking on my running for months, getting uncomfortable even with a normal mile run... until the last couple weeks where I've been walking around with a loaded pack all day. On one of those days I took a run to the coffeeshop, about a mile and a half... effortless. I swear I was even going faster than usual. So I think intense (especially loaded) walking is definitely beneficial for running.

Last thing, when I moved into a new house this summer and started sleeping in the basement, my asthma came back with a vengeance. I could barely run at all and my cycling became pretty unpleasant. Turned out there was a lot of black mold in the basement. I started sleeping outside, and it fixed itself. Once the snow started, I started sleeping inside again, upstairs, and everything seemed fine, but as soon as it got really cold and the heat came on, it was back, thanks to the moldy hot air getting pumped up from the basement. So be sure to check if there might be anything in the air you regularly breathe that could be making things worse.

I'm actually moving out today to live out of that pack full-time, so hopefully this'll be the last of my asthma.

T kawa
(kitsune) - F
technique on 02/23/2011 09:30:41 MST Print View

larry, you should definitely think about technique. "bad" running form can greatly affect your efficiency, that is, you could be using more energy than neccessary to run, tiring you out more rapidly. in general, you want to land with your feet almost directly below your hips (not reaching out with your feet) and bounce as little as possible. Bouncing puts a lot of your momentum in a downward vector instead of forward.
also, my GF couldn't run more than 5 minutes, so we started on a half marathon training schedule found on the web that started out 5 mintues walking 5 running and gradually increased. We ran a half 3 months later (I have asthma, she doesn't).
So, my advice is get on a training schedual for beginners to ease into it, and defintely look at all the differnt advice you can find on running technique and think about it then apply it.

edit for clarity
have fun, trail running is great.

Edited by kitsune on 02/24/2011 10:46:47 MST.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: technique on 02/23/2011 16:46:59 MST Print View

I have to second Russ's post, as running was awful for me until I started consciously working to improve my technique, but I would recommend short, quick strokes rather than broad ones (everything else in agreement). So I guess what you should do is try both and see which works for you, as we all clearly have different bodies that prefer different things! I'd also recommend trying out forefoot-strike running (even without minimalist shoes); that made a huge difference for me, eliminating my chronic shinsplints.

T kawa
(kitsune) - F
oops on 02/24/2011 10:48:53 MST Print View

changed my other post to take out the "broad strokes" I meant in general, that's how it said you should run... have to work on my english.
anyhow, running this way has allowed me to exercise even with a torn meniscus, no surgury, just less impact on my joints when I run.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Asthma. on 02/24/2011 11:32:02 MST Print View

Larry, Are you having asthma attacks while running? You should be seeing a respiratory physician regularly. Perhaps you should be on daily asthma meds. If you don't have a peak flow meter to measure your breathing, get one.
Measure peak flow before exercise at a time when your lungs feel good, then measure during and after exercise. Any drop indicates an asthma problem.

Exercise induced asthma is common for people with asthma, i.e., running could be triggering your asthma. Pretreating with albuterol 15 minutes before exercise helps. Warming up and starting out gradually helps. Some medications help. The same is true of cold induced asthma.

Parts of Texas are very very polluted and that could trigger asthma. Running at times of day when pollution is lowest can help. Avoid exercise when pollution levels are high (this applies to everyone, not just those with asthma).

It's not always the case that asthma and aerobic capacity are linked. I'm not in the greatest shape, but when I'm not exposed to my asthma triggers, my lung capacity and function are off the charts (much better than average). However, there have been periods when I've been exposed to my asthma triggers daily which limited my ability to exercise. After a year of that my exercise capacity was a lot less because I wasn't getting the exercise needed to stay in shape.

Erik, Mold can be a huge problem. It can cause asthma and allergies in people who have never had it, worsen existing asthma and trigger existing asthma. The safest thing is not to live in a place that has mold.

Erik Danielsen
(er1kksen) - F

Locale: The Western Door
Re: Asthma. on 02/24/2011 17:45:58 MST Print View

Amen to that. I have finally escaped the mold!

Steve S
(idahosteve) - F

Locale: Idaho
Re: Lighter, Further, Faster (a.k.a. Trail Running) on 02/25/2011 08:10:34 MST Print View


I read this thread with interest because I have just begun to start running again after a long hiatus. I used to run regularly, ran cross country in school, and usually did 6 mile runs 3-5 times a week. But as age crept in, I didn't enjoy the aches and pains, and the nagging injuries. A couple of months ago at a family dinner, a cousin told me he had started running again after reading "Born to Run" by Chris McDougal. He said it transformed his life. I bought the book and have to admit, its astounding in its scope and in its statements. The book chronicles running technique and why it hurts to run. It offers some very well thought out ideas on how to run, and why we run. I followed it up with a purchase of a running dvd from a coach who teaches these techniques. If you google "Evolution Running" you will get some hits and some videos of what they are talking about. The bottom line is that there seems to be a bona fide technique that will allow us humans to run, run often, run long distances, and NOT become injured or beat up! As an aside, the book is wicked funny, and a superb read! Go for it!