Sunday, April 13, 2008

Maggot Tricks

Now that spring is here, the running paths are getting pretty crowded. I don’t mind; I love seeing you maggots finally getting out there. You’re looking good, you really are. A couple of you still need a little more support up top, and a few of you are still trying to go too fast, but I’m proud of you all.

Some of you may be wondering, after you’ve gotten comfortable with slow and steady, what’s next? Well, here are a few tricks to try:
  • Focus on form. Put your shoulders back, tuck your butt under, and pull your gut in. This will feel better, look better, and build up those core muscles in the proper position.

  • Relax. As you run, think about letting your hands relax, then your feet. Hard to describe, but you’ll see what I mean if you try it.

  • Add time. At the end of your run, if you’ve still got jump, do an extra little loop around the block, the park, the penitentiary, whatever.

  • Add speed. I know, this violates my second rule of running, but if you’ve mastered the slow, you’re allowed to try a little bit of the fast—but only at the end of your run, in a tiny little burst.

  • Listen. This sounds a little groovy, but a neat thing to do every now and then is to try to focus on each and every sound you come across as you run. (Yes, this necessitates shutting off the ipod, but it’s good for you once in awhile.)

  • Smile. Smile in encouragement at all the other maggots you see, and smile at the non-maggots, so as to prevent them from saying to each other, “Did you see the rictus of pain across that runner’s face? That’s why I never run.”
Any questions (that haven’t already been answered)?


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the running advice. I started running about 6 months ago as a result of your blog entries about running. I always envied people who ran, but never thought I would enjoy it. I took your advice and run slow and steady. I have been able to pick up the speed a little, but I'm still pretty slow and steady.

I've recruited by brother, husband AND mother (who started running at age 58!)

I can not believe how much I enjoy running. I'm a burnt-out lawyer and a mother of a 2 year old. Running REALLY helps relieve stress and keeps my energy level up. Thank you for giving me the inspiration to try something that I've always wanted to do.

I started off running with an ipod, listening to NPR podcasts. However, these days I like to listen to my breathing while I run.

Anonymous said...

Love the advice, and the motivation!! Thank you!! But I do have a question...

Do you have any advice for running in the morning? I am a morning person, but when I'm up I can do things like study or work...but aerobic activity seems 3x more difficult than it does in the afternoon. So any suggestions re: how much time to take waking up, whether I should have some coffee or eat before running, or anything else?

Thanks again!

Vic said...

I was once told that on endurance runs if you can talk comfortably, you're at the right speed. For this reason I like dragging along people with interesting or dangerous professions like docs.

Anonymous said...

Your instructions brought flashbacks of my friends describing dance rehearsal (I never wanted to do that, I wanted to be a jock):

Focus on form ladies, form! Suck you gut in! Tuck your but under! Elongate! Relax your hands, they look tense! OK ladies, now extend that position and hold it for a longer period of time! Longer! OK, now you need to speed up! Are you listening to the music? Don't forget your tempo! It's ONE two three four ONE two three four step step. And for goodness sake, smile! You look miserable!

While I make fun of trying to achieve this seemingly idiosynchratic list of instructions, it is actually possible. Back when I ran, I was able to be in good form, relaxed yet speedy, relaxed yet in tune with my environment and working hard but smiling.

culiex said...

I've run off and on since college when I joined the cross country team on a whim (they weren't very good, so any warm body they were happy to have). One thing I've always struggled with is cramping - mainly in my stomach. Any tips to help avoid this? It's usually on one side or the other and honestly, sometimes it gets so bad that I can't finish the run and even sometimes run for a few days after that. It's really the only thing that keeps me from being consistent - I absolutely love to run when it goes well, but that is so much up in the air that I have been avoiding it for a long time and would like to get back into it. Help!

Blue said...

okay, since you asked. i got inspired by you, went to a running store where they video taped me running on a treadmill so as to put in me in shoes best suited for my particular predilections and also upgraded the inserts (they cost $35 and i'm still trying to get used to them...she said i will with time). then i hit the road. it's only been 5 sessions so far, and i'm still procrastinating today's run. but i can do the whole dang half hour by going so slow my walking friend is embarassed by my "running" next to her. but at least i'm not getting side aches (always have in the past) and my knees only have dull, generalized pain. i'm hoping that they'll increase in strength as i stick to this, so that eventually they can support a running habit. in the past i think i made Mistake #1 and went as fast as i could...always ending in some kind of injury or pain that made me limp and give up.

i'm glad you gave advice on where to take it from here in this post. i had no idea if i was just supposed to be an embarrassment to runners everywhere for the rest of my life, or if at some point i was supposed to start going faster, longer etc.

do you have any idea how long developing that strong base of support in my knees could take? i'm 39 and people look at me and think i must be in good shape but they would be wrong.

till i can run 30 without these knees "feeling it", should i just stick with the faux running that i'm doing?

i'm invested in this adventure to the tune of $185 now, (only because i couldn't afford the delux "strap those puppies down" bra...i wear 2 sport bras that are tight to compensate) so i'm committed to success if there is any way.

and i owe it all to you. even if i haven't learned to enjoy it yet. i'm getting through it. i hope i start liking it. either way i know it's good for thank you for getting me to do this maria. you're the best!

Anonymous said...

Any comments on treadmill vs. road running? As an outdoor runner, I tend to regard treadmill running as inferior to "real running," but, as with many of my prejudices, there is probably no basis for it.

culiex said...

imo, treadmill running is easier because the belt does some of the work for you in forward motion. However, if you put the incline up slightly you get more simulated road conditions. Treadmills are great for interval work/hill work. But to me treadmill workouts always felt different than road workouts.

Anonymous said...

hi! just wanted to say that i went for a light walk/run and thought about your blog! i was like "hey, i'm kind of running! i bet doctormama would be proud."

Anonymous said...

I've been running since December as a result of your blog. I'm getting ready to graduate, apply to medical school, and move across the country (in that order) and running has been the only thing that has kept me sane. From someone who could barely run a mile last year, I'm now running an hour three times a week. THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

I forgot to say I'd like to know about knees, too.
I'm not overweight by any stretch of the imagination, but severe ra runs in our family.
I stopped running in part because my knees would hurt and swell.
Any opinions on the running is bad for your knees if you have bad knees theory?
Any remedies?

Anonymous said...

I started training again in earnest a few weeks ago, but I have a new job and with the kids, the commute, blah blah blah it is SO hard to find the time. I'm contenting myself with 2 short runs during the week, perhaps on the treadmill, and 1 long run on the weekend.

Two questions:
-How do you deal w/ the GUILT? (I'm running, therefore I'm not at the work or with the kids.)
-Any advice for running with a training group? I have started a little group on the weekends to do those long runs. I used to hate running with people but now thanks to the "go slow" advice it's sort of fun.

AmyinMotown said...

I'm a fellow infertile blogger and blog fan, and caught wind of this whole Maggots business somewhere. As someone who used to run avidly, became a lardass, and now am trying to get back up to speed, I'm inspired (and buying a decent sports bra posthaste).

Anyhoo, I write for strollerderby and am mentioning you in my weekly Playdate feature. Hopefully it brings you many new fans (other than me!).

~Denise~ said...

Thanks for the tips. I'm going to make a run at running here myself. And I'll take whatever advice I can get.

Blue said...

okay an odd thing happened on my run day before yesterday.

i finished my 30 minutes, and actually kind of felt like going more. so i did. and since i had a friend with me, it was actually not boring, and for the first time EVER EVER EVER i didn't just feel grumpy that exercise is something important (like washing dishes) that you just have to make yourself do your whole life. in fact, i felt like i sort of wanted to go out more...but didn't because i'm trying to follow your plan and go easy on the knees. so i thought maybe i should do some other kind of fitness, but i didn't know what.

then today i went to meet the same friend for our 2nd run together, but when i got there she wasn't home. so i ended up going alone. with no ipod or anything to "entertain" myself with.

and i went 43 minutes and didn't hate it. again.

i don't know how this is happening, but can i just say how glad i am? i've needed a drill sergeant in my life all these years. i'm grateful to have found one in you maria! thanks!

Romance said...

OK, I drank the koolaid and now I run six days a week. I started with run-walk intervals, borderline hypertension and an additional seventy pounds.

Now, I have a healthy BMI, great lipid/cardio workups and run half marathons with two kids under 20-months (adopted).

I am hooked on gnarly hills - run up to trailheads and then run the trails. Here is my question- I run about 30 miles a week (give or take whether there is a race on my horizon)- and I burn through shoes about every ten weeks. Any work around to needing new shoes? It seems like I can tolerate longer distances and rougher terrains with regular shoe replacements. The last week or two of shoe-life my ankle acts up (pain).

I am I just buying the hype from the shoe companies OR is there a real benefit to replacing my shoes?


PS. Thanks your site helped inspire me

Victoria said...

I was told by several orthopedists some years ago, and recently, that I could never run again because of my premature arthritis. But I've been running (very, very slowly, and only for one half hour at a time, and no more than every other day) and not only have I had no "injuries" but MY CHRONIC ARTHRITIS PAIN HAS IMPROVED!!!! I have LESS pain now than before I started exercising regularly. WTF??????? Doctor Mama, you didn't predict THIS outcome. But I am very grateful for your website. You, along with my PCP, encouraged me to exercise despite the joint soreness and stiffness that made me want to lie still.

Feral Mom said...

Someone needs to design an "Another Doctor Mama Maggot" running t-shirt. They would sell like hotcakes!

Brooke (CrazyRN) said...

I'm looking forward to putting your tips to work. I've been frustrated with my level of physical activity the past 2 years and I'm desperate to get back into it. With my arthritis I get frustrated easily b/c of the pain I feel in my joints, but then again, I think I push myself too hard, too fast.

Anonymous said...

Fun (if potentially dangerous) maggot trick: Mini-Parkour. Incorporate the terrain into your run. When I was back in the 'burbs, I'd run through a local cemetery and do little flying jumps over the headstones. In Tha City, curbs and stoops and benches and such add some interesting challenges. Haven't busted my ass yet ('though I did go ass-over-tincup after hitting a patch of black ice last winter).

Erika said...

I posted this on the original "listen up" post, but then realized you had a new running post so thought I'd put it here (in case you don't see new comments on old posts).

I've been thinking about your original harangue for two years (TWO YEARS!), as I've turned into a bigger (literally) sloth. I've always hated running (probably b/c I tried to do it too fast, but also b/c of lack of natural talent, large chest, etc.), but used to do lots of yoga--but don't even do that anymore. In the past 6 months, I've gotten increasingly frustrated shopping, b/c the usual clothes that I look good in DON'T WORK anymore b/c I've gotten too bulgy. So I started going to the gym and walking/biking. But 2 days ago I was frustrated b/c when I walk fast enough to get my heart rate up, my shins start to ache. So I decided to try running, to see what would happen.

And oddly, my shins don't ache when running.

Also oddly (I thought), I felt great after it! Except hungry. Also my back hurt that night. I'm hoping a better bra (and good back stretches) will help.

I remembered your "go slow" advice, and then came back and looked up the post to make sure I wasn't missing anything.

I'm heading back today. For some reason, the treadmill works for me in a way that being outside doesn't. But I'm hoping that in a month or so (I think when I trust myself more) I'll be able to break myself of it.


KC said...

Hi -
I'd like to send you an email about a project I'm working on but can't find your email address (possibly to avoid strange people like me emailing you). Anyway, if you decide I'm not a crazy psychopath, my email is wheresmycape(at)gmail(dot)com.


Anonymous said...

I'm starting to train for a triathlon (yes, to get in better shape) and I have read your blog on and off. I noticed that no one ever talks about really overweight people running. And people have told me it's supposed to be really good if you have a lot of weight to lose.

What are the pros/cons of starting to run if you have say, 130 lbs to get to your ideal weight? The program I am doing that I found on a triathlon site is very slow and concentrates on minutes, not distance. And you don't start even attempting to jog until the 9th day you go out. Even then, it's 5.5 minutes walking, .5 minute jogging, repeat. Eventually you keep increasing the jog tim until you can jog 45 minutes.

Your opinion on this method and any tips for the very overweight person are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

DoctorMama, I can't remember if I have commenetd on this before, but I just wanted to add to the chorus of inspired new runners. I took it up last year, then quit during a heat wave. Started up again this year in a new runners program sponsored by a local track club. Ran my first 5K recently. Now I run 3 miles 3 times a week and hope to increase the frequency. I'm still not in great shape but this feels like something I can stick with. Thanks for the encouragement.

PS Running in the heat? A shaded trail makes ALL the difference. Find one, and take a partner if it's *too* shady...

Dragonfly said...

Thanks for those....I reckon I have to retry running again some time.