Sunday, July 8, 2012

What is running, what is jogging? And why are the Marathon runners so SLOW !!

I am yet to run a Mara, that is full distance running. I jogged one and I blew up in the other, walking half the distance. This leaves me with unfinished business of course.

I personally think that there is a big difference between 'Jogging'  and running. When I watched the Gold Coast Marathon and HM finishers, I was struck by the huge numbers of people finishing while walking or jogging. And at the start and mid way section where I caught site of the mid and tail enders, they were for the most part jogging and not running.

Now, I have some clear and strong thoughts about running and running WELL as well as TRAINING well. For me jogging long distances for a long time causes me pain. Its more uncomfortable in a way to running a long distance and simply exhausting myself. I think the difference in form between running and jogging is significant or me. I use different muscles. Longer stride and greater air time in running compared to jogging. Muscles stretch out more etc. I don't think I am unique in this. I think at some point, as far as training and potential improvement of pace, a jogger has to start RUNNING to get faster. That seems very obvious to me.

I have more potentially controversial and even politically incorrect things to say. By my observation of the huge numbers of relatively young, healthy and reasonably slim participants in the Gold Coast Marathon and HM, I think a great proportion of them entered the race under prepared, under trained, and ended up having an UN-necessarily painful and slow race as a result. And I suspect they experienced this simply because they jogged and did not run :)  I mean right from the beginning when they began preparing, doing lots of long slow 'runs'  that really should be called jogging. By un-necessarily painful and slow, I mean that it is without doubt much more pleasant to finish a mara in 3hr45 or less than it is to finish it in 4hrs or more. By my observation those finishing at 3hr40 or better were in fact running and not jogging. Hence if you have a simple aim of 3hrs40 and are relatively young and slim, training that incorporates really RUNNING  will get you there. I just get the impression people are settling for less and are failing to reach their obvious potential.. Some may have been misguided by the long slow distance mantra that is being spread about as a training methodology... 

I know its harder to run than to jog overall. You use less energy doing the awkward and restrictive posture and form that is a 'jog', and your heart rate and breathing does not get elevated so much as it does in running  for an untrained runner. But this is the point - Unless you actually run you won't effectively train to run.

One thing that I fell into the trap of when I trained for my first Mara and more so in my second - When it came to the long runs, I simply did not have the fitness to RUN them. SO I ended up jogging and jogging badly. I would have been better off forgetting about my Marathon goals, and sticking with shorter distances, getting faster and building up my fitness gradually so that good RUNNING marathon training was possible. My first two maras may well have been far more pleasant, but delayed one or two years. In fact I would probably be at the same point I am now, except I'd have had several years of good base building before I began massacring myself with long runs..

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