Will you run in the UAP Ndakaini Half Marathon? Read on to know why you should…
Running has been defined as going faster than a walk; specifically: going steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant.” The key is that both feet are in the air at the same time. By comparison, one foot is always in contact with the ground when you walk. Running is less efficient than walking, as mentioned earlier, precisely because you must propel your body weight through the air.
Jogging vs. Running? The movement is similar; running is just faster.
History of Running.
Scholars’ conventional thinking is that early man (hunter-gatherers) ran in short sprints as a matter of survival to catch prey and escape danger. Man has been shown to have 26 traits that contribute to running skill, and in particular, long-distance running.
Among the 26 traits are:
- A ligament that connects the back of the skull to the vertebrae in the spine that acts like a shock absorber,
- Our shoulders, which are separated from the head and neck (unlike apes) that allows our body to rotate while our head and eyes remain forward,
- A taller body than apes, with a narrow trunk and waist, that allows for a more efficient running gait,
- Independent body movement between the hips, legs, and torso that counteract the twisting forces between the upper and lower body while running,
- Tendons and ligaments in the feet and legs that act like springs, and,
- a strong prominent buttocks that propel and stabilize the body during running.
Scholars claim that running has substantially shaped human evolution; made us human in an anatomical sense. Moving forward through the millennia to the ancient Olympic Games (776 B.C.) in Olympia, Greece, are the first documented competitive running event. Koroibos, a cook in the city of Elis, won a 600-foot-long road race in those Olympics. The ancient Greek messenger Pheidippides set the stage for running in the modern era. He ran 26 miles from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia in the Battle of Marathon. It was this event that inspired the running of the marathon (26.2 miles) in the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, in 1896.
In the 20th century, the scope of organized and recreational running widened. The first NCAA national championships were held for men in 1921, and women’s track and field became a part of the Olympic Games in 1928. Today, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) governs the sport internationally and includes more than 200 member nations.
Benefits of Jogging and Running.
Jogging and running are aerobic exercises (activities that elevate your heart rate for sustained periods of time), and so that means they have lots of health benefits. Research proves that jogging and running can:
- decrease your risk of heart disease,
- decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes,
- help control blood pressure,
- strengthen your bones,
- strengthen your muscles,
- increase your stamina,
- improve your mood,
- decrease symptoms of depression,
- decrease your risk of certain cancers (breast and colon), and,
- reduce the risk of dementia.
Running uses the muscles in the thighs (quadriceps), the backs of the legs (hamstrings), calves, hips, low back, and buttocks, and the upper body cannot be ignored since you use your torso (back and abdominal muscles) as well as your arms and shoulders to help you stabilize, balance, and move forward. To achieve running-based muscle building:
1. Run up and down hills to focus on tightening and toning your thighs and buttocks.
2. Doing speed work or intervals (where you sprint for a few minutes at high speeds and then recover at a slower pace) is comparable to leg exercises in the gym (leg press, leg extension, etc.), so you can skip your leg work on the days that you do these workouts.
3. Run backward if you want to work your ankles, lower back, and thighs (hamstrings and quadriceps) and improve your balance.
Risks of Running
The risk of running is primarily to the joints because you hit the ground with two to three times your body weight. Be cautious if:
• You have joint pain, arthritis (particularly in the knees), or other conditions that might be worsened by pounding (disc problems in the lower back, sciatica). Speak with your doctor before you start running if you have any of these conditions.
• You are overweight. There is no guideline for when to start running if you are overweight, and so you should use common sense and listen to your body. If running feels hard on your joints, particularly on your knees, then you should consider losing some weight before you start.
• Research suggests that running more than 40 miles per week is a risk factor for injury in both genders, particularly in the knee. The is higher for men.
• To reduce ground-impact forces, avoid concrete and run instead on soft, flat ground like a cinder track, boardwalk, grass (watch for holes), or a dirt path. Treadmills are softer than the road.
Proper Running Form
• Relax your upper body and allow your arms to swing naturally.
• Keep your torso and shoulders relaxed.
• Keep you torso upright and hips slightly forward.
• Keep your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
• Keep your hands relaxed; they should almost flop at the wrist.
• Keep your jaw and face relaxed.
• Breathe naturally in and out through your nose and mouth
Running shoes are designed to match your foot type and your foot strike (how your foot hits the ground). There are three foot types.
• Pronation. You pronate if you have flat feet or your arch collapses when you run and your ankle turns in. Pronation can lead to ankle sprains, stress fractures, and shin splints. The inner edge of your shoe is worn down. Pronators should wear shoes with firm mid-soles to support the arch and provide motion control
• Supination. You supinate if you have stiff, high arches that don’t flatten. Supinators absorb less shock on foot strike, which can lead to plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, ankle sprains, and iliotibial band syndrome. You supinate if the outer edge of your shoe is worn down. Supinators should wear shoes with lots of cushion to help absorb the shock.
• Neutral position. This means that you have a neutral foot strike and your foot doesn’t roll one way or the other very much. Your shoe will wear down in the middle of the back of the heel;neutral foot strikers can any shoe that feels comfortable.
Full-length insole should replace the paper-thin insoles that come with most running shoes. These add cushion and support without changing your natural running style).
Clothing for Running
It is recommend that one should wear clothing made of synthetic fabrics that wick away moisture and keep you dry. Cotton gets wet and stays wet, which makes it clammy in cold weather and sticky when it’s warm.
Shirt: Any old T-shirt will do when you’re getting started. As you get more serious, start with polypro fabrics and singlets (the sleeveless tops that many runners wear).
Shorts: Running shorts are typically made of synthetic material and come in different lengths. Bike shorts are comfortable for some, and they eliminate chafing in the thighs for runners whose thighs rub together.
Leggings: When its cold leggings come in handy; these should fit comfortably.
For the rain or particularly cold weather, wear an outer she made of nylon that will keep you warm and dry.
Socks: Running or hiking socks are recommended. They have reinforced and padded heels, and they are synthetic, which means they dry quickly and slide easily over your skin when wet (which reduces the risk of friction blisters). Cotton socks don’t dry quickly and get abrasive when they get wet, which increases the risk of blisters.
Hat: Any type of polypro hat is recommended it should not be too thick and should wick the sweat away from you.
See you at Ndakaini!