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Any Tips For A Brand New Runner?
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I'm looking to you all you very knowledgeable folks on this forum once again. Soon after being diagnosed with celiac I found out I have osteoporosis (am now 36) and want to get on a regimen to build up bone density. I understand I have to do weight-bearing exercise and since I live next door to a park, thought running would be the best way to go. I have never been physically very active (save for a lot of city walking and some yoga) - fatigue has been a tormenter for years - and so I am very out of shape. I am now taking a lot of supplements and my energy levels are a tad better (I've got thyroid issues as well, which have not yet been completely worked out).

I would love to hear any suggestions about how to start out running and build up stamina and distance while being gentle on my bones, initially. I think I've got the props - I went on a search for the right shoes and came up with Asics with a Polysorb insert for maximum shock absorption - I'm worried about stressing my bones in the wrong way. So far what I've been doing is fast walking for 3 minutes, jogging for 2 minutes for a total of 15-20 minutes.

Any tips are very welcome on running, other ways of addressing osteoporosis, and stamping out fatigue. Thanks in advance.

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I'm not sure that running could be considered a "weight bearing exercise." I thought that was more weight training (running is aerobic), but I could be wrong. Running can certainly be good for you anyway! :) Has your doctor okayed starting a running regime?

Two mistakes many people make when first starting a running program is running too fast and adding miles too quickly. Let your heart rate be your guide not your pace. If you are doing the walk/run because that 's what you want, fine. But if the walk/run is because you can't maintain the pace, you are probably running too fast. Add mileage slowly. The general rule of thumb is to not increase mileage by more than 10% per week. Of course you do need to start somewhere and it sounds like your 20 minutes is a good start. Perhaps do that 3 times per week. After a few weeks starting inching one or two of the days up to 30 minutes.

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Running is definitely weight bearing - you're bearing all your weight! Yoga can help too, particularly if you get to the point where you're doing inversions - it's one of the few places where you'll fairly quickly get to the point of bearing your full body weight with your upper body safely. Anyway... back to the running.

First, on the shoes - shoes are the most important thing you'll have in running, period.

  • Plunking down $100 for a good pair of shoes every 300-500 miles shouldn't cause you to bat an eye, but if the $60 shoes are better for your feet, do not buy the fancier, higher-tech $100 ones.
  • You can't entirely do chair-research for the right shoe for you, unless you've already done some work with other people. That may be a good shoe, but is it the right shoe FOR YOU. You didn't state which Asics model you went with, but the questions you have to look at are how flexible the sole is (some people do want flexible soles, some don't - depends on your arch), the side to side stability (some need more, some need less, depending on the ankle), and the angle on the heel for padding (some need it one way, some neutral, some the other, depending on pronation tendencies). This is why it's important for you to find someone experienced at examining gait at have them evaluate you - while walking barefoot - to determine what your needs are. What may be a fabulous shoe for one person may be a dangerous shoe for another. You only have to do this once, but failing to do this usually causes runners to find an orthopaedist within a year or two, with some joint wear problem.
  • Inserts follow off of the shoe; you need to proper insert for your foot type. Shock absorption is not the end-all-be-all. It is important, but your whole body is built for it, and correcting the mechanical motion problems that most of us have is more important. Inserts are first and foremost for proper arch support. If I remember correctly (and I may not, as I have low arches, not high arches), people with high arches was to shy away from additional arch support, but those with low arches want additional arch support, because their foot bones are already too flexible. (Hence this is why those with lower arches need a shoe with less sole flexibilty but those with high arches need a shoe with more sole flexibility.) If you have bunions, this is triply important. Shock absorption comes after that, but is primarily handled by the shoe.
  • Replace shoes early and often. Since shock absorption primarily comes from the shoes, replace them every 300-500 miles. Do not wear them out thoroughly. You wouldn't run your car long past its oil change due date, don't do that to your feet and knees. Unfortunately, shoes go out of production often too, so if you find a model that's just right for you, consider buying two, three, or four pairs, or you'll just be disapointed when you try to find them again. (Well, that's happened to both my husband, myself, and a friend of ours who runs every few years.)

After that, you've got the training. My husband did track and cross country in high school and help me train from the "I can't run more than 100yards, and at the end of that I'm dead" to "I can jog five miles non-stop at 5.5mph", and that included working around my asthma. The interval training that you're doing was his first and foremost recommendation, and it worked well for me. Sprinters use it a lot too, to build speed. You need to figure out if you're a speed runner or an endurance runner. I'm an endurance runner (long and slow is how I run - a 10 minute mile is my comfortable limit without significant training), but some people prefer short, fast runs. For me, an endurance runner, I would increase the length of time you are running total, but keep your intervals the same. Try bumping up your jog time by a minute each week, or knock down the walk time by a minute (but don't do both at the same time). Or add 10 minutes to your total length of time each week (but, again, not on a week you make either of the other two changes).

Three days a week is a good start. In fact, I would highly encourage cross training. Ideally, I'd say something like three days a week running and three days a week yoga, that's a lot of exercise if you're fighting off fatigue.

If you're worried about joint damage, I wouldn't do more than 3 days a week, and never on consecutive days. I would also suggest asphalt over concrete (it's 'softer'), though a trail (dirt) would be softer. Your absolute best bet, however, would be to find a high school or local community college that has a composite artificial track. It will be a resiliant, firm material that is its own shock absorber and you will find it more comfortable and much safer to run on. It will be worth a 10 or 20 minute drive to get there if this is a concern. If you have trails available to you, however, after you've trained for a few months, you may find that trail running is enjoyable, and it's an entertaining exercise, and fabulous for building strength. I wouldn't do that, however, without talking to your doctor first, as it can be more dangerous, particularly if you're worried about breaking a bone.

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thanks for the replies. mark, what tiffany said is right. running is weight-bearing - as is any exercise that involves having to bear the entire weight of the body (unlike cycling, swimming, etc.).

my doctor did not explicity approve a running regimen, but did give me the green light to exercise (previous appt. in which she diagnosed the osteo, she had told me to hold off, on account of the fatigue). this time, when i asked her if i could get back on it, her snarky response was, "are you a 90 year old woman?" very helpful. i asked if there were exercises, yoga poses i should be avoiding given my particular bone density loss pattern. she responded with some more sarcastic comments which i took to mean that according to her i can do pretty much whatever i want physically (i'm on my own to figure this out) and that MDs are some of the most arrogant people to walk this earth. anyway, that is a different story.

with that said, i am a little wary about taxing my back and hip, since those have been found to be the weakest. I'm doing the walk/run (or what tiffany is calling interval training) not only because i understand that that is best way to introduce running to your body, but because that is what i can handle. i am huffing, quite pathetically, after less than a minute of running. it makes sense to me in more ways than one. three times a week sounds ideal, as does the idea of incrementing by 10%.

tiffany, as usual, your reply is so very patient, reasoned, extremely well-informed, and thoughtful. sorry for waxing lyrical but i've been lurking around here for a while and this board is very lucky to have you. i've learnt a lot from your posts and i had to take this opportunity to say so.

about cross-training yoga - that sounds excellent and would be ideal. i think some of the surya namaskar variations are also great weight-bearing poses. my only concern with yoga, which i have to fully bear out, is that frontal flexion poses should be avoided with osteo, according to a couple of sources. i'm going to have to spend some time to figure out a practice that eliminates those. sarvangasan had become difficult for me lately but i'm looking forward to finding the flexibility for them again - it would also be great for my thyroid issues.

as for shoes, i bought more than i could actually afford but which i was assured provided the most shock absorption - asics gel-kayano xii. i was told that these were the pair that joggers consistently prefer. how do i find someone to evaluate my gait? i believe that my arches are on the higher side. so far, having run in the asics 3-4 times, they have felt very comfortable. support also "feels" adequate. but then i don't have much to compare with and i'm running very lightly. replace about every 400 miles? i'll have to remember that. and buy a pedometer.

how long (in time and distance run) did it take you to go from the 1st category runner to the second? right now i'm huffin' and puffin', as i mentioned, in under a minute. i have a feeling that i may eventually be more an endurance rather than speed runner. today, i increased my run time by a minute. and also inadvertently, my total time by about 5 minutes (went further from home than i thought). your tips though about increasing one factor while keeping the others steady are very well taken. right now it is also about keeping up the motivation to do this at all. this morning i was in my gear for about an hour before i dragged myself out of the door. once i was out, it was great, but getting there and fighting the fatigue is still a constant battle.

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my only concern with yoga, which i have to fully bear out, is that frontal flexion poses should be avoided with osteo, according to a couple of sources..

as for shoes, i bought more than i could actually afford but which i was assured provided the most shock absorption - asics gel-kayano xii. i was told that these were the pair that joggers consistently prefer. how do i find someone to evaluate my gait? i believe that my arches are on the higher side. so far, having run in the asics 3-4 times, they have felt very comfortable. support also "feels" adequate. but then i don't have much to compare with and i'm running very lightly. replace about every 400 miles? i'll have to remember that. and buy a pedometer.

how long (in time and distance run) did it take you to go from the 1st category runner to the second? right now i'm huffin' and puffin', as i mentioned, in under a minute. i have a feeling that i may eventually be more an endurance rather than speed runner. today, i increased my run time by a minute. and also inadvertently, my total time by about 5 minutes (went further from home than i thought). your tips though about increasing one factor while keeping the others steady are very well taken. right now it is also about keeping up the motivation to do this at all. this morning i was in my gear for about an hour before i dragged myself out of the door. once i was out, it was great, but getting there and fighting the fatigue is still a constant battle.

kudos to you for taking time to research this! I wish more people did! I was *very* fortunate to have a husband who had run track and x-country for four years before I met him, so I had someone who knew that I needed to be trained. I'm *very* happy you're doing the 'leg work' (pun intended). :-)

as for the yoga, with the osteo restriction, I would very, very strongly encourage you to find a teacher who has worked with people with osteo in the past and can work with you. don't do it on your own, and don't find a teacher who says "I think I could probably do that". I'm getting into teaching, and if you came to me, I would pass you to a more experienced teacher, first thing. probably, an Iyengar-style teacher, with plenty of training is the way to go. (if you remind me where you live, I can try to look some up for you.) the classes may be a bit of a different style, but is your best bet, style wise, of being safe and being able to be properly adjusted for you.

as for the shoes... I kinda wonder who told you that those shoes are "the ones joggers perfer"... I only ask because not all joggers have the same foot type. it's kinda like saying that cinnamon raisin bagels are the food that everyone prefers for breakfast; that's great and all, but for us, it's right out! eh... it all comes back to figuring out what type of foot/gait you've got...

the best place to go to get all that evaluated is a podiatrist (NOT a regular doctor... no no no no no :-P ). if you've got fab insurance, and can self-refer, it's worth going and saying "I'm getting started running, I've got osteo, and I want to make sure my feet are well taken care of. can we check out my gait, my leg length, my arches, my feet, all the rest of that so that I don't hurt myself running?" the second choice would be a physical therapist, and you might be able to get an appointment at a place without a doctors note for such a thing if you call and ask nicely, but I don't know how much it would be. the third choice would be a running store - not the running shoe section of a sporting good store, but a store that specializes in nothing but running. a store that specializes in orthotics and shoe customization would be even better, but those places are much rarer than running shoe stores.

don't worry about huffing and puffing. I started there too - but it took much less than a minute to get me there. (I started with 30 second intervals. ;-) ) for me, the first improvements went fairly quickly. at five times a week, I was jogging 10 minute stretches (slowly, however) within two months. I could have pushed harder if I wanted, but it gets hot in Southern California summers. in another six months or so, I could jog around 5.5mph continuously (for up to 6 miles - then I had to go to class). again, I could have pushed harder, but didn't want to.

the motivation is tricky. if you can find someone to train with, that can help. if you can set up a reward system, that can help too. or just set goals to reach towards - like finding a 5k to try to do sometime in a reasonable time-table. :-)

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You give excellent advice tarnalberry, makes me want to train to run :lol::lol:

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sorry for the delay in responding. tiffany, i feel like i've got no choice but to take the time to research all this - osteoporosis is scary. and though i had plenty of time to prepare for the diagnosis which i had anticipated a year before i got the scan - it was still a big shock (no pun intended). i feel like i've got to do whatever it takes to take care of my bones - there's something about knowing that your very frame and core is affected, that i guess can lead one to feel that way.

i've got lousy insurance and have been paying for my gazillion lab tests and doctor's visits partially out of pocket, which also i can't afford as a student. am looking at having to take out more loans. but it looks like i may have to find a way to see a podiatrist/physical therapist. in the meantime, i think i am going to check out one of these running stores which i found on google. http://www.shopsatcolumbuscircle.com/scs/u...nantID=TN-00040

http://www.runningnetwork.com/stores/newyork.html

my friend (who lives next to central park) has offered to run with me (patiently). so here i come.

as for yoga - i've been thinking of making the switch to iyengar. but whatever i do, i guess i should get a personal session with a teacher experienced with working with osteo. i took a slightly more advanced hatha class yesterday which i thorougly enjoyed except for the worry at the back of my mind about the spinal twists, side bending and front bending poses. would like to check out this book - when i've got the time!

http://www.amazon .com/gp/product/193141205...ce&n=283155

thanks again tiffany for the very useful info and the suggestions. i'm keeping in mind the pace you went at and how much your running has progressed - that will serve as some encouragement!

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it's hard to prepare for something like that! it's scary! I hope it gets easier as you adjust.

with the monetary restrictions, check out those places for a gait-check first. maybe you'll be an easy read, and you don't have to worry about spending money to find out what foot-fall type and gait you've got. (I'll keep my fingers crossed for that one. ;-) )

for the yoga - you can try just talking to the teacher ahead of class, and going to a smaller class. they can usually adjust on the fly for individuals in classes of 8 or less or so. but do talk to the teacher ahead of time to find out if they've dealt with this sort of thing before.

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Since you are the researching type you might consider adding some Dumbell work as part of your training. You can pick up a few rubber coated DB's for a few dollars. There are many rescources on how to use them effectively in a strength and conditioning program:

http://www.performancemenu.com/shorties/in...amp;shortyID=17

Also ook into acid base balance:

http://www.thepaleodiet.com/nutritional_tools/acid.shtml

Bone mineral density has a few different factors: 1-weight bearing exercise, vitamin D metabolism and acid base balance. This may be a good wake-up-call for you but I would not stress over it. This is completely controllable if you use smart nutrition, training and lifestyle.

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One word from a former jogger, BE CAREFUL!!!! Running is one of the hardest forms of exercise on your body but it is one of the best for cardio but the worst for the body. This past winter I so wanted to lose the last of my weight I started running more on a treadmill. I was about 185 pounds. Then at night, my hips would hurt so bad that I could not sleep. I finally went to my doctor and she said that I had severe brusitis (sp?) in both hips and I was to stop running immediatly and to stop doing all cardio until they got better. I also found out at that time that I have some arthritis in both hips as well. As of now I walk and ride bike for cardio and some days my hips are so sore that I can hardly walk and some days they feel great. I never know what will trigger them and have to be careful. I am only 33 but some days I feel like 83. I also gain 13 pounds when I has to stop working out. For weight bearing exercises, lift weights. They do not have to be heavy and you will start to feel stronger.

Just be careful and talk to your doctor about running. Take it very easy at first. Running release endorphines and I think they will hide any pain that you could feel (it did for me).

Good luck

Nicole

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