Answering Your Questions

Running Life 12/03/09 “Answering your Questions”

We get quite a few e-mails from interested readers with questions about running – and of course, we’re always happy to answer. Here are some frequently asked questions:

I’d like to run, but won’t it just damage my knees?
This is a common misconception. Numerous studies have shown that runners and non-runners develop arthritis with the same frequency. What’s more, running actually improves bone density, flexibility, and strength, which can decrease your chance of injury as you age.

Are there any books you recommend for new runners? Jeff Galloway’s “Book on Running,” published originally in 1984, is still a must-read for all beginners. Also, if you want to be encouraged and inspired, read George Sheehan’s “Running and Being” from 1978.

My friend ran the Big Sur Half Marathon without paying and seems to be proud of it. Isn’t that wrong?
Your friend has violated the honor code of ethical behavior. “Banditing” a race is wrong on many levels; not only is it morally reprehensible, but it’s also considered fraud and theft. Races are very expensive to put on, and race fees support local charities and youth groups. Aid station goods are provided for paid participants, and course support (including medical personnel) that is intended for legitimate entrants could be diverted if something goes wrong. Your friend needs a “Come to Jesus” talk. Friends don't let friends run as bandits.

What’s the best running shoe? The answer varies for everybody. Each runner is an experiment of one. Comfort and fit are the most important aspects; don’t go simply for style, and don’t go cheap – plan on paying at least $75 for a good pair of running shoes. Stick with one of the major brands, and go to a specialty running store (Fleet Feet in Monterey or The Treadmill in Carmel) to address your individual needs.

How do I get my kid to get off the couch and start exercising? First, be an example. Many young kids respond positively to just being at a track while one of their parents run. Kids like to run around or just play in the long jump pit for a bit, but eventually they’ll start walking or running around the track. Older kids probably need some positive encouragement to start, and may be motivated by a parent challenging them. Tell your child to set a goal – either for a mile, or a lap around the track - and bet him (or her) them on how quickly he can reach it. Be persistent, and keep it positive.

Is it better to run in the morning, at lunch, or after work? Short answer: YES! Any time that you can fit running in is the right time. Schedule your run like you would any other appointment you must keep. We both find it easier to wake up early and get in our runs before work - typically there aren’t many work meetings or other distractions before 6AM. If you schedule later in the day, things tend to come up or interfere. On the other hand, many working moms may find it easier to run after dropping off the kids at school, or to do laps around the field during soccer practice. Run whenever it works for you, but make it a priority. If you’re not successful at one time of day, switch things up and try another. Above all else, don’t make excuses for denying yourself the gift of running.

Feel free to continue sending your questions, and we’ll respond directly or print them here.

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