My Running Questions: Introduction

After more than 11 years of running, I am glad to finally be grateful for how running makes me feel and for what the body can be trained to do. I’ve learned a lot from this marathon training but also from reading articles, blogs, forums, and checking in with my training partner and running friends on a regular basis. Perhaps the thing I’ve learned the most is how much I still have to learn. It goes without saying that you never stop learning, and almost every run presents me with a new question about the sport or training and I definitely enjoy discovering the answers to my questions.

question_markOne of the things that stumped during my first long runs was how tired I became soon after the run was over. I consulted a runner friend who is also in trainer training and she immediately identified for me that I was not fueling up on runs longer than an hour. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t hungry or thirsty during those runs; my body needed energy to keep going. I was sapping all my energy while running so I had nothing left to power me through the rest of the day. Her advice matches everything I’ve read since which is that on runs longer than an hour you should have water and/or gels to fuel you up. Now I know. I carry a fuel belt with me for those long runs and while a little cat nap afterward is still rewarding, I can make it through the rest of the day without needing to crawl back into bed.

The question of becoming tired is just one of many that I have come up with and only the beginning of the list. I will be using the blog to pose and answer a number of my other running questions. I will do my homework, research, consult with trainers and other runners, and try to put together the best possible answers to my questions. I have to imagine I’m not alone and I’m new enough at this that I don’t feel too embarrassed to ask the questions. “There are no stupid questions,” right? So here are just a few of the questions I will be seeking answers for:

Why do I feel pressure/pain in my ankles toward the end of long runs and how do I prevent that from happening?

Is there any way to stretch the knees?

What is the best recipe for fueling up before long runs—how much liquid and how much time before taking off?

There are more, but this is enough to get us started. Feel free to add your questions to the list and I will tackle finding the answers.

Let the knowledge seeking begin!

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8 thoughts on “My Running Questions: Introduction

  1. crossn81

    Good questions! I don’t know all the answers either but I’m glad my blog is helping you.

    Are you experiencing knee pain? Inner or Outer?

    Before my weekend long runs I usually eat a bowl of oatmeal at least 30min before the run. Depending on the run I might not do anything special. For any planned run over 90 minutes I might carry some Clif Shot Bloks. I almost never carry water but our group runs this summer had it available about every 3-6 miles.

    Reply
  2. Christine

    There is a machine in the Pilates world known as the Reformer. It is basically a long mat like slab attached to springs on one end. It is hard to explain, so here is a visual : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qtk6RZZSpCQ
    Anyway, there is a series of exercises literally called “knee stretches”. Check out your local Pilates studio and see what they have to offer.

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  3. natalie

    @crossn81, the knee thing is usually after a long run, like going up and down stairs is not all that enjoyable. The oatmeal sounds like a good idea. I learned that regular cereal w/ milk is not ideal.

    Christine, Thanks for the Reformer link, all the more reason I need to learn pilates from you!

    Reply
  4. Joe Ely

    natalie, thanks for your comment on my blog! Enjoyed finding yours.

    My ankle pain was a new thing…I did three marathons last fall and had NOTHING in my ankles until after the last one on Dec 6 And that pain hung on till a couple weeks ago.

    It was a sharp pain on the insides of both ankles just above the row of eyelets on my shoes on the inside. I’ve never had this before and it did go away.

    On reflection, I think it may have flowed from the severe camber (side slope) of the marathon course in Memphis. The route had more of this camber than any of my regular running routes here at home or in the other marathons I ran. Did the constant “tilt” of the road contribute?? I think that’s a real possibility. But, I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV.

    So, that’s all I know. Maybe it helps a bit.

    Hope you are enjoying your marathon training. And, yes, do remember to drink on runs > 60 minutes…makes a huge difference!!!

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  5. natalie

    Joe,
    Thanks for the info! After my long run yesterday (21.5) I had your response in mind and paid attention to the camber of the streets I was on. I definitely notice a little pain when there is more of a slope to the road but I also started wondering if my shoes are just tied to tight. Lots of research to do to get this question figured out! Happy running!

    Reply
  6. robin

    Hi Natalie! I had really bad knee pain last fall and couldn’t figure out which muscle/tendon/ligament was the culprit. It got to the point where I couldn’t run. After some researching, I found out it was my IT band. Since it’s kinda hard to stretch, I got a foam roller. It works great! After about a week of using the foam roller (religiously, every day!) on the outsides of my thighs, I noticed a significant reduction in knee pain. It’s been about 4 months since, and the knee pain is completely gone (and hasn’t come back). I continue using the foam roller at least 4x/week. If you don’t already have one, http://www.zombierunner.com has them for under $10. 😉

    Reply
  7. Natalie Post author

    Hi Robin,
    Thanks for the link! I’ve read a couple other success stories about the foam rollers and it sounds like something I definitely need to add to my gear. My problem turned out to be my IT band also and with some stretching and taking some time off running, the pain has definitely reduced. Thanks again for you comment and the roller link!

    Reply

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