Evaluate your running regularly

By Fred Deckert


Some of us single-track runners forget that others consider running as a bridge to other sports. I don’t mean triathlons or biathlons in which running is still an integral part of the event, but what we normally consider as “unrelated’ sports. In this group we’d fit tennis, soccer, football, baseball, basketball etc. Many folks whose primary focus is on one of these or another sport find running to be a useful adjunct to either get them in shape or keep them that way between seasons. I had a friend who hated running but would start to run every fall in order to get in shape for skiing season, which he dearly loved. A “cold” start in his skiing would find him woefully unconditioned to ski at the level he enjoyed. No doubt there are other examples, but the fact is that whether or not the “bridge” runners enjoy the sport they do realize it’s value for conditioning.

Naturally this works both ways, a runner temporarily sidelined by injury can find other ways to keep in shape so that his conditioning isn’t lost. Chief among these is swimming and biking. Both will keep that aerobic threshold up until the running can be resumed.

Runners should evaluate their running programs occasionally to see if they still fit their needs. On the top of the list is the basic reason you run, sport, fitness, weight control? If you are the sport type, do you enjoy short or long distances? Track, trail or roads? All these will factor into your training program. You will want to spend a considerable amount of your time training in the locations and for the distances of your choice. Mileage will also be important. Generally speaking, serious competitors seldom do less than 30 miles a week of training and much of that will be at a fast pace. Fitness runners may do less than 10 miles a week, or time wise less than 20 minutes daily, four or more times weekly. Longer mileage may make you more race fit, but more likely to suffer injury or fatigue. If you only want to pare off the pounds, you may need more than 10 miles a week, but it can be at low intensity since the length of time you exercise those large leg muscles determines the calories expended. Roughly speaking you can figure about 100 calories per mile at reasonably brisk pace. You should remember that if your goal is to lose weight, overdressing to perspire is counterproductive. The liquid you lose is not rendered fat, it’s water and minerals! And it must be replaced quickly or your health is jeopardized.