Tips to Run Better
You are looking at the mirror and you dont like what you see? You need to lose the beer belly. Cut down on the food? But I love my steaks! Now you could give up beer, but that would be foolish. Why not try to join a gym? Nah, too expensive and full of posers. Play some five a side? Yes, but I dont want to completely kill myself, and I dont have the silky skills I once had which is so demoralizing. So there is nothing for it but to try a bit of jogging/running.
Doesn’t cost much to go running, a pair of old trainers and some shorts and that ACDC t shirt, if it still fits, and voila you are a mean running machine! You can also go running pretty much anywhere, within reason, and within your own set time. Also not only is running excellent for your health, it can also be quite meditative. Many a time after a hard day and feeling down that a good hard run has lifted the spirits. I run through a forested area at night, so I guess I am down and at one with nature, and all the teens smoking dope, it feels real good when its finished. A real high, a legal one.
So here are a few things that I do when I go for a training run or race.
Get yourself a comfortable pair of runners/trainers. Now I got an expensive pair and a cheap pair, and actually the cheap pair works best for me. It’s not flashy or has padded insoles but I feel comfortable in them and that’s what is important. Remember you will be pounding on these trainers day in day out hour after hour, so you really need a good pair, so no fucking around on the running shoes. But the experts will tell you this and that, but just go with what you feel is good for you……..
Now I Know for lazy feckers, you perhaps might skip this, shure isn’t the race/run enough itself, but really a warm up works wonders for loosening the muscles pre run. A little stretch here and there and a warm jog just to make sure your muscles wont snap when you start, and that you have pre heated the engine.
I would definitely recommend not using music to help you go for a run. Yes its cool to listen to your fav bands as you do your job but you are not listening to your breathing, which will help you with your pace and technique and helps you to find your breathing rhythm, which over time can help you with pacing yourself and also in relaxation.
Breathing is important, and that’s why you have to listen to it. Breathing too much, spluttering and catching the breaths, then slow it down, relax, try to slow it down a little, and you would be surprised at the results. over time you can learn to handle it. Listening to your body is the only thing you should be hearing!
Drink lots of the the stuff! It helps you to re-hydrate! Drink water before, during (if you can) and after all runs. Try running dehydrated, its hard!
But its not just water, it is also good to drink isotonic sports and energy drinks…….like Lucozade or Gatorade for example. They have all the ingredients needed to give you that extra kick and help replenish any important minerals you might have lost.
Try to lead forward with your chest and keep the upper body straight, which will ease the tension on your shoulders and neck and help you feel a little relaxed when running. Also try to pump up your arms forward and back, it usually works for me and helps to get me into some sort of rhythm.
On thing I like to do at times when I run is to set targets on the course, or time targets, and try my damnest to make them. if I am slow then I press ahead as fast as I can, and that can mean sometimes sprinting like mad to make the next target. This fast, slow, fast running is good for getting you slowly used to quick paces. The more you do the more you can increase the targets, the more you get used to running at a faster pace at a longer time. Also it breaks up the sometime monotony of running, which lets face it can get boring after a while.
As you get older I find it takes a good while for the body to warm up as you set out on your run. I am like an old car that starts its journey, spluttering and creaking, but what I find funny is that after about 5 or 6 minutes the body suddenly goes into autopilot and then I am completely fine. I can run for an hour after that without too much complication, as long as it is a steady pace. But apparently there is some science to this, as it takes six to 10 minutes and one degree in body temperature to push all the blood to the working muscles. Once that happens you will experience a light warm sweat and then the pace sets itself to autopilot. So the thing is wait at least ten minutes before you decide to think “fuck this shit, I’m off to the pub!”, keep with it and low and behold you will get that steady run you set out to achieve from the beginning.
Also worth to note and kind of obvious, but dont go like the clappers at the start. Go slow, pace yourself, be relaxed, note your distance, and try to enjoy the race if you can.
The fast finish!
Don’t go mad at the start, or perhaps the middle, but always keep something in the tank for the end. This takes practice over time. on any run you do, try and leave something in the legs just to finish the last few stretches fast. Try running quickly over the last 5 minutes flat out of you can, to build up your technique. Pushing yourself like this will show what you can and cant do on a finishing strait, and you might be surprised that runners generally always have something left, even if they aware not aware of it.
Track and record your running
I use Noom Coach to keep abreast of my daily calorie count, and it also records any running you do, which frees of some space for more food! Freeletics is good too, for tracking some exercise and also for runs, and it is great for breaking down your run in terms of speed, pace and average times. Of course they are many more specific apps, more particular for actual running, like RunKeeper or MapMyRun. Its good to keep track of your progress,or lack of it.
Running with a hangover
I might have been still a little drink when I started the race, but trust me I was all sober when I finished!
So as Basel had won the championship the night before I went out to celebrate. And celebrate I did, 6 beers and two shots later I think I got home around 3 or 4.
Amazingly I managed to get up early for the train to Zug, which was leaving at about 6.30…….so safe to say I was in not the best state of mind for a mountain run. I was simply dying on the train, sweating buckets and so, so tired…..and the head……oh dear.
So what does a hangover do to your body and what affects would it have on your morning run/jog or in my case slow walk and crawl (up that “Cunt of a mountain!”).
Well for a start you will be severely dehydrated, have low blood sugar and low energy levels……your performance will be affected that’s for sure, the alcohol, that is more than likely still in your system, will slow you down big time. But there is no need to kill yourself, the fact you are running so soon after a great night out is an accomplishment enough, no need to try and break any records or get a high pacing. I walked 4 out of the 6K, ran the first and last 1k, happy in the knowledge that I was the fastest drunk on the course, for sure!
So what can you do to limit the pain……well as I have mentioned a few times already…..drink lots of water, try to drink a bucket load of water as soon as you get up…..or even before you go to bed, (but that’s not going to happen, eh!). Remember it takes a lot of water to purge all that lovely alcohol you had the night before.
Also try and get some grub inside you, might hold some of the beer together that’s sloshing round your stomach. Normally an Irish/British style breakfast would do just the business in a situation like this, but remember you also have to shit that out…….so something small but useful…..an omelette is good as eggs are excellent for refueling. Also a smoothie with some bananas should be efficient enough.
I mentioned shitting, disgusting I know, but it has to be done before the race no matter what, because believe me you dont want to be half way round the course holding your arse cheeks together, lol.
Are there any positives about running with a hangover? Yes there are…..for one it should sweat out all the beer you had the night before…..It also has the effect that by the end of the run or race you should have completely sobered up, or at least feel less shitty. The endorphins and the fresh healthy air, and the sense of accomplishment makes you feel like a champ. To celebrate I’d recommend having a few beers to let it all sink in, but perhaps not repeat it again the next morning so soon!
But be aware doing too much of this can be very harmful to your health. As alcohol is a strong diuretic, depleting your water volume, it means that your heart has to beat faster and harder to get the blood pumping round your body. Anything that puts a serious strain on your heart is best avoided to be honest.
Running when drunk
But what about running while actually drunk, never mind about the sleeping bit or the inbetween bit, but just drink up and run? Running while pished as a fart. Is it possible to do?
I have often done it myself while going home. The trams are stopped at about 3 or 4, and any extra change I have had after the night of boozing went on the kebab and not on a taxi, so its a long walk, but fuck that….I have often just did a jog with some short sprints here and there to make that long walk a little shorter.
Of course it does depend on how drunk you are. If you are pretty legless I dont think running will be good for you, as you might just run straight into a ditch or a road sign and end up doing some damage to yourself and your ego.
I also have to mention that there are a few races where drinking is acceptable. We have the hash runs that are popular in cities around the world, and where the running is not competitive and drinking is encouraged after the event, or at times during the run!
There is also the Beer Mile, where each competitor drinks four cans of beer (minimum 5%) and runs four laps on a track. Yeah, 4 beers, fuck off. Could you be bothered for fucks sake. More like ten beers a few shots of the spirit of your choice, and a kebab and then a mountain run, now that is a fucking race. Amateurs!!
Of course I prefer the more traditional beer crawl, where competitors run, walk, or crawl from pub to pub. I am pretty good at this one and it requires no running gear, race times, or training per say!
The actual damn race (The Zugerberg Classic)
Zug, in the canton of Zug, central Switzerland, is a very beautiful town with its amazing views of the lake, lake Zug that is!
The town is quite wealthy with its population of about 30,000 people enjoying its nice low tax policy and the offer of plenty of work in the towns many multi national high end industries.
It has a very lovely old town, and the view of the lake and the nearby mountain ranges on the promenade is pretty cool. All in all its a bloody nice town.
This is all fine, as long as we dont mention that massacre that happened back in 2001, where some nutjob shot and killed 15 people including himself in the cantonal parliament of Zug. And they say the Swiss are responsible with their guns……
Getting to the city is easy enough, its near Zurich via both rail network and motorway, about 30 minutes journey for both.
So in any case, I was there for the race, the The Zugerberg Classic, a race that takes place every year, usually sometime at the start of May, for runners and mountain bikers from the old city of Zug right upto the top of a small mountain! The running distance is six kilometers (6.2 km to be exact) with a height difference of 540 m and the mountain biker for a distance of 25 km with an altitude of 1000 m. The race is open to clubs, children and teenagers, men and women, right up to old folks who are on their last legs.
For more information, see zugerberg-classic.ch
So to the actual race then.
Well there are two races to report. The one where I had the hangover, as mentioned, and where I came near the end……..
And the race the year after, where I didn’t have a hangover, albeit was tired after a Gaelic football blitz the day before, but ran in a much quicker fashion, that it to say there were enough people behind me to save embarrassment.
Race one/Severe Hungover 2016
As I mentioned I had a lot to drink the night before (6 beers, two shots), only a few hours sleep and was sweating buckets and dehydrated. But I didn’t want to disappoint a friend who was waiting for me at the station, as we were doing the race together. he wasn’t out the night before though.
Didn’t know what to expect really, as it was my first race in years and with the hangover my mind wasn’t straight. But start we did, near the end mind, and after about 500 metres I was beginning to notice that this seems to be a bit hilly!!! Told my running mate to go and run his own race as I didn’t want to drag him down to my level, and off he went in the distance. There was no let up in the height, up and up it went, so after the first 1K decided to speed walk it, thinking I could run any flat bits in between. Thing was there were no flats bits not until the last 1K, so I basically walked most of it. Children past me by, old people with walking sticks smiling and waving out walking me, one guy with a plastic leg fucking passed me, then a Japanese lady who had a trainer caught me……..Jesus I looked around and there was only me and this old fella with his shorts pulled right up his arse, fuck……but I beat him in the last straight, but it was close! I wasn’t going to come last. I later found out that there were a few Indians (not the native kind), about 5 or 6 who also walked it and were even slower than me…….jesus, they must have had a dodgy curry the night before! Anyway I did it and it took me a while to recover from it. My time was a very unimpressive 56.10 (5 people behind me!)
Race two/Not hungover but tired 2017
On Sunday May the 7th Sunday, 2017, I had paid my CHF 25.- entry fee online, registered and got my starting number good and early, I was on a mission to beat my previous time. Got there early enough, unlike the previous year. Registered early for the 9.20 start time.
This time I did a warm up, a good warm up and I have to say it made a good difference as it got the air pumping into my lungs and around the body, so much so that the start of the race wasn’t as frightful as the previous year.
Also I had the advantage of actually knowing the course, or at least having an idea of how painful it was, so I knew there was a killer in the middle and that near the end there was a few high hills to get over, but also that the last 1K was flattish and down, or at least not up! Funnily enough I wasn’t as fast as I expected on the last 1k, I had really nothing to give, everything was gone in the engine.
I tell you how high we were up in that all entrants have a free pass on the mountain funicular (cable railway) train back down to the edge of the town, which is great cause I didn’t fancy walking back down.
After the race all the competitors and organizers get together in the big hall to wind down, eat some food freshly cooked on the BBQ, have a chat, and relax.
So I hung around eagerly awaiting the results, very curious to know how much I had knocked off my previous time. I came in at 49.31, bettering my PB by about 6 and a half minutes which was ok I guess, and this time a good amount of slow bastards behind me, about 24. Suckers!!!
I have to say all in all the race is a well organised event, and I will be back again in 2018 to further eat away at my PB! If you want to see how fit and healthy you are then there is no doubt this is the race to do! Definitely! Roll on Zugerberg Death Run 2018