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SFTC Summer Training Program: Training Tips - Week 2
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Jogging Group Tip of the Week - Running is affordable

Running doesn't require much money.  It's not like biking or golf or skiing which requires a huge investment in equipment.  Look around at the runners and we're not necessarily the best dressed group around.  But you do need a good pair of shoes.  However, you don't have to spend a fortune on shoes.  You can get a good pair for $60 - $75.  If you want to pay more, that's fine.  You may also find some good shoes on sale for much less particularly if you buy last year's model.

When you're looking for shoes, understand that most clerks in the local sports stores know very little about running shoes, although specialty running stores tend to have more knowledgeable staff. Shoes are usually classified as either lightweight, cushioning, or stability. The lightweight shoes are for lightweight runners with normal foot strikes who don't need the extra cushioning or stability. The cushioned shoes offer a little more protection so your body doesn't absorb too much shock. Stability shoes help those runners who have some "motion" in their foot strike, in other words, runners that either pronate or supinate. Many runners will land on one side of the foot and roll over to the other side which can cause injuries somewhere in the ankle, knee, or hip.

Shoes have an outer sole, a mid-sole, and an inner last.  Look at the outer sole to determine how you wear your shoes.  If worn down, like tire treads, then it's probably time for a new pair of shoes.  Likewise, if the mid-sole is compressed then it's not absorbing shock like it should and it's probably time for a new pair.  The last can be slip lasted (sewn in), board lasted ("cardboard" like) or combination lasted.  A slip last is lighter and much more flexible than a board last, but a board offers much more stability. Most shoes are combination, which is a board at the back where you need stability and slip at the front where you need flexibility. It's best to own at least two pairs of running shoes and rotate them around so they will last longer.

Your running socks should preferably not be cotton, which traps moisture against your foot and may cause blisters. Instead, look for a synthetic wicking material. Expect to pay about $2-$3 per pair though like shoes you can buy some high dollar ones too.

Like socks, your running clothes (shirt, shorts) should preferably be made of synthetic wicking materials. DriRelease, Coolmax, and DriFit are just a few names to look for. Not only do these fabrics evaporate well, but they also last a long time. And being drier means that you're cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

Another piece of equipment for a runner is a watch. You can find good watches for under $20 at Walmart or online (check specials at www.CampMor.com and search using "watch" as the keyword). Timex makes several Ironman models that are water-resistant and designed for runners.

Many runners in our area use the September Eastman Road Race "EXPO" to buy a lot of their running shoes and apparel at reduced prices. The Expo includes local and national stores featuring shoes, socks, shorts, tights, tank tops, long sleeves, and tons of other goodies.

Track Group Tip of the Week - Running Form

There are many kinds of running forms.  There is no right way or wrong way.  For example, if there are 12 people working out on the track then more likely than not, there will be 12 different running strides.  However there are some things to think about which can help you go faster.  The track is the best place to work on improving your stride.

Obviously you don't want your foot to be on the ground for a long period of time. You want to hit and get it back up into the next stride as quickly as possible.  But, at the same time, the foot needs to absorb the shock of the landing.  One trick is to pretend like you are running in puddles of water. You don't want your foot to splash hard in the puddle because your shoes gets all wet and heavy. So you land and get out real quick.

It's ok to land on your heel and even to land up on the forefoot (toes). But if you land too far back on your heels, then you are effectively putting on the brakes.  Likewise if you land too far front on the toes, then you are putting lots of pressure on a small part of your foot and it will probably cause problems somewhere in your foot or leg.  A mid-foot landing might be the best compromise.  A good rule of thumb is to land with your foot almost directly below your knee.

Whether you land back or front or mid-foot, the important thing is to get a slight "pushoff" with your forefoot or toes.  If you were jumping in the air you wouldn't jump up flat footed.  You would jump by pushing off with your toes.  Do the same thing when you go from stride to stride.  Give a little pushoff.

This week we're doing three 800's.  Your pace should be a little slower than your 400 pace from last week.  Again, take 1 for 1 rest (for example, 4:00 minutes for 800 then about 4:00 minutes rest).  During the rest, you can jog around a little if you want.  Stay loose during your rest intervals, keep stretching and moving around.