Training for Running

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The effects of running differ from those of walking somewhat in kind, but even more in degree. In running at any ordinary rate of speed, the up-and-down motion of the body is greater than in walking; thus, the effect upon the abdominal organs and the energy expended is greater, and the effect upon the general system is more marked.

Training for running should be undertaken a considerable time before the competitive trial is to take place. The three weeks usually prescribed may be sufficient for one engaged in sports and out-of-door employment; but for one engaged at a sedentary employment, five weeks will not be too long. If not accustomed to much walking, or to quick walking, the first week ought to be spent in walking at least ten miles a day, increasing the pace until four miles an hour is attained.

The points to attend to at the outset of training for running are the management of the breathing, the holding the upper extremities, and the method of moving the lower extremities, the fit of the shoes, the tightness and character of the clothing, the time of the day best suited for running, and the diet required.

To those training for running, the following are important points to attend to:

1. If possible, practice at the same time of the day at which you know the race is to be run.

2. Ascertain the nature of the ground on which the race is to take place, whether soft, or covered with small pebbles, etc. The shoes must be adapted accordingly.

3. Measure out on the practice ground the exact length of the race to be run.

4. Always have a friend with you, if you have not a professional trainer, to watch the time, and tell you how you hold yourself.

5. Begin to practice running slowly at first and then increasing the pace day by day to increase stamina for running.

6. If not accustomed to run against time, vary the step a little on successive days, and ascertain with which step most speed is attained. As a general rule, however, the step one naturally falls into is the best.

7. As to running clothing, wear flannels; have nothing tight about the chest, abdomen, or extremities. Leave the lower extremities bare from a little above the knee downwards; leave the upper extremities bare from half way down the arm. See that the flannels do not pinch about the armpits.

8. The clothing should be fastened by a belt round the pelvis (haunch bone). The belt should be narrow as it passes along the side, but might with advantage widen out behind and in front, supporting thereby the lowest part of the abdomen and the back. The belt must pass below the level of the crest of the haunch bone, and above the external prominence (the trochanter) of the thighbone. One can feel these two points on the sides of the haunch bone; but if the trainer is in doubt as to where the point indicated is, ask a doctor, as the question is of primary importance.

9. Learn to breathe regularly and freely; if the breath be held for a time, let it be only during a spurt at the end. Commence deep and free breathing from the first, and do not wait until breathlessness comes on.

10. The running shoes must have very low heels, or be without heels altogether. The « upper » may be of canvas, the « sole » of thin well-tanned leather. No lace should be used; it is always liable to break or get loose; in place of the lace a piece of broad elastic sewn firmly in, where the shoe is cleft for the lace, is by far the safest and most comfortable means of fixing the shoe.