#AskAnExpert – Running Tips, pt. 2
Thank you for tuning into #AskAnExpert with Ryne Melcher and Dr. Michael Ryan! This is the second part to our running themed episode, and we have answers to all your questions about running. If you missed the previous episode, click here to read all the show notes.
To see the answer to each question, simply use the times we’ve listed as a guide and click to that point in the video.
Q: Do you have any tips on the best way to use a journal or app to track my progress as a runner? (1:21)
Journaling your run is a great way to track your progress and reflect on how far you’ve come. It is also a great, accessible way to record details – such as what shoes you wore, what you ate, how much water you drank – and be able to recall them later.
This comes in handy when you want to show someone else, including a specialist, what your runs involve. Recording your progress also creates a sense of accountability, and drives you to complete your workout schedule, knowing that others can see how much you’ve completed.
Some of our favourite apps for tracking running progress include Strava and the Nike Running App.
Q: What is your stance on using technology like heart rate monitors and GPS watches to improve training vs. just hitting the road? (3:35)
These devices will help you stay at the right pace for your workout. If you are a casual runner, using a GPS watch makes it really easy to upload your data to journals and keep a record of your mileage. If you are training for a big race, using this technology can benefit you greatly.
Heart rate monitors make sure you are going at the right pace for your slow-pace runs, and you’re working hard enough through your interval work.
Seeing a physician and undergoing a series of exercises and tests will help you understand precisely where one zone ends, and another begins.
Q: What are your suggestions on modifying or adapting your training in the cold weather we’ve had lately in the Lower Mainland? (8:20)
Indeed, winter is not over just yet. Running on snow is difficult, but not impossible and there are many different ways you can navigate completing a run while the ground is icy.
If the ice becomes too much of a risk for falling, take your run indoors and try out the treadmill, or find an indoor running track at a nearby Rec Centre.
When you’re ready to venture outside and try out running in the snow, make the best of it, but proceed with caution. You may have to adjust your usual pace to accommodate the slippery ice and snow.
If you are a road runner, use trail shoes. They are meant to grip into mud, and will grip to slush and snow. If you don’t have trail shoes, you can wear YakTrax or crampons.
Q: Thoughts on adding shims to shoes to compensate for leg-length discrepancy and change in shoe drop profile? (10:40)
A discrepancy could be caused by hip/bone alignment, rather than a physical difference in the length of the bones. Leg length differences can cause hip and back pain. At Kintec, we use heel lifts in the clinic here when people come in for leg length differences and typically don’t use shims for this.
A physiotherapist can assess your leg length difference, and make recommendations for how to resolve it.
Q: I’m thinking of getting into running, but I have some instability in my left ankle. It’s been like that for a few years now at least, possibly from a previous injury… But I just don’t feel very confident on it at times. Any suggestions for improving that before I get into training? Or do I need to? (13:14)
Running on the road will be easier on your foot than running on trails. If you have pain in the ankle joint during your runs, and if it’s worse after you are finishing running, we recommend visiting a pedorthist or physiotherapist and having them take a closer look at it.
Q: Our Pedorthist has a patient with restricted ROM/pain in 1st MTP joint and is wondering the best option of running shoes? Are there better orthotic accommodations to consider? (16:12)
An MTP joint is the name for the joint that helps you raise your big toe, and pain here is caused by arthritis is structural changes that don’t allow it to bend upwards. Forefoot rockers are the best kind of show for this type of condition, because they don’t require your foot to bend to bounce off the ground. We recommend shoes such as the Hoka One One Men’s Stinson 3 ATR, and even the Nike Pegasus, though it has a much more subtle forefoot rocker. The higher the rocker, the less strain there will be on that joint.
Q: I’m new at running and would like to get faster. Should I be more concerned about improving my distance or my speed first? (20:15)
Work on improving your distance first. If you don’t have a strong foundation of those long, slow miles, every layer you put on top will come crumbling down. The first three to four months of running should be focused on running at a slow pace. Once you are more comfortable, you can focus on improving speed and getting into adding more layers to your workout.
Q: I’ve tried getting into running a few times before, but it seems like each time I start I end my routine either because I got sick, injured, or something else got in the way. How do you suggest getting back into training when you fall off the wagon? (23:02)
Running is best when you can be consistent – do a little bit, but do it consistently. Your muscles will develop that memory, and your whole body will develop that adaptation to running. Always start slow and don’t be afraid of not doing enough. You should end your workout wanting to do more.
Adding a social aspect to your running routine, such as joining a run clinic, can also help you stay on track with your schedule.
Q: What are your favourite trails to run in BC? (27:11)
Around Metro Vancouver, Ryne’s favourite trails include Dreamweaver trail on Grouse Mountain and a nearby unmarked trail called Jet Boy Trail. We don’t recommend this trail unless you are with someone who knows where this trail is for sure. In the rest of BC, his other favourites include trails at Manning Park, such as Skyline and Heather Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Michael’s favourite local trails include the hike up to Coliseum Mountain in North Vancouver and the Howe Sound Crest Trails. In the rest of BC, he likes the hikes around Mount Garibaldi near Whistler, and the hike from Garibaldi Lake to Cheakamus Lake.
Q: At what point should I consider a hydration pack vs. a water bottle? (35:50)
Bringing a water bottle with you is always a good idea, even if you think you don’t need one. If holding a water bottle is comfortable for you, feel free to carry on doing that, but hydration packs can be more comfortable and allow you to use your hands.
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