BEGINNER TO ADDICTIVE RUNNER
Written by Luan Nelson
Two years ago I was introduced to running by a colleague. It was a slow start but soon I started progressing from a 5km into a 10km then a 15km then 21km.
On 4 November I did my first 42km marathon – the Kaapsehoop Marathon after my friend entered me. I had no choice and knew 3 months ago that I would need to start training seriously and more structurally, and that I couldn’t just rely on doing random running every day to prepare.
That was when I was introduced to Magda Nieuwoudt at Trivium Triathlon. During my first consultation Magda asked what my exact objectives were, and she also explained the technicalities of running, how to get fit and why we need to do what we do. I realized that I knew nothing about running and fitness and that running isn’t just about running. I finally and seriously fallen in love with the sport. Running is technical and that was a big part of why I’m enjoying it more and more.
We started a 3 month program straight away with gym work/strength training and a running schedule. At the gym, I could barely do all the moves on the stability ball and felt very embarrassed but was quickly comforted by Magda that ‘everyone struggles at first’. The gym work involved core training, foot work, stability work, leg work, foam rolling and general fitness. In addition I could ask any questions around problems I faced on a specific day, and ask questions on nutrition etc. The actual program involved speed work, interval running, aerobic running, recovery runs, long runs, stretching. All of this really made the sport interesting to me. Even the nutrition advice, what shoes to run with and recovery methods made it all interesting me.
My schedule was updated and adjusted weekly through the Training Peaks application on my phone according to my progress and work schedule. This was very convenient and I could comment after every session and ask questions as we go.
On marathon day I was obviously nervous but was well prepared in terms of what to wear, what nutrition to take along, how to run the first 21 km and then how to adjust the second 21 km in terms of pace. Also what nutrition to take at what stage of the race, and if I were to run into any issues what I should do. I could not have done this without the help and guidance from Magda.
Whilst running my 42 km I realized why we did all the different training routines and work, as I could just kept going without having to walk and most importantly without struggling and feel that I wanted to die. The last 4 km was the toughest as it was a steep uphill but I just managed to keep going and had enough stamina to finish. I knew then where all of this comes from.
I was so thankful and pleased that I’ve done the training and that I stuck to the program as it really helped. And most importantly I really enjoyed the program.
WHY DOES MY HEART RATE SPIKE AT THE START OF A RUN / TRAINING?
A lot of athletes see their heart rate spike at the start of a run of training session and then subsides after 5 min. I have noticed that most of these spikes is during early morning training sessions, especially running workouts. This type of spike can be because you did not warm-up properly or long enough.
Before starting exercise your body’s internal machinery works at very low rate. Your metabolism is slow and blood only moves to organs and back to lungs and heart. Muscles are fed with blood by tiny blood vessels existing in the muscle to make sure muscle get supplied by blood. During rest the majority of capillaries and vessels are constricted, so little blood goes to the muscle. Because of this the cardiac output gets reduced. The heart does not need to pump very hard to maintain blood pressure and this gives you a low heart rate.
During exercise the muscle demand a high volume of blood flow. This means that the capillaries should dilate to expand so blood can rush to the muscle. But our bodies is not designed so capillaries dilate before exercise, it expand due to exercise itself. Asking the body to exert from a cold start can be a major stressor to the body, as it needs to drain blood from major organs to the working muscle.
This is why proper warm-up or longer warm-up is important. As if the capillaries have not diluted properly the blood flow to the muscle is weak, which means no oxygen to the muscle and then your body needs to function anaerobically for a few minutes. This is why you sometimes feel very uncomfortable at the beginning, but not really out of breath yet. The heart rate goes down after a few minutes which then means the aerobic system is fully in function.
My suggestions would be to start by first walking a minute and then go into a very slow jog and pick it up from there on wards to make sure you give body the chance to activate fully aerobically. Also do longer warm-ups of 5 – 10 min. If you start your session very early, give your body a chance to wake up. Remember the body also needs to be activated by nervous system firing. Thus proper warm-up is very important.
This blog is written by the coach and athletes associated with Trivium.