Ruby Leslie and other expats share their running experiences:
Running was never a sport I enjoyed. It felt like a chore. I would only run if I had no other option and would compare it with dramatic flair to the agony of seeing the dentist or the highly dreaded family reunion.
This changed in the summer of 2014 when I decided to run a 5km in London’s Hyde Park in support of and as a way to give back to my charity partners and friends – Change For Animals Foundation (www.changeforanimals.org) I had a month and a bit of training in Chengdu before I ran in London and have been running since.
We asked 3 varied runners the below 5 questions and here are their stories of running in the ‘Du:
1.How much do you normally run?
2.Have you ever run a 5km, 10km, half or full marathon?
3.What training tips for running would you suggest to others?
4.What running tips would you advise people NOT to do?
5.What is your favourite running experience in the ‘Du and/or China?
Dan More. American.
“I run for fun!”
1. 5k four times a week
2. I have run 10k on several occasions. I run for for fun!
3. Dont skip training sessions for minor illness, weather or hangovers. Keep up the initiative and it will become a joyful habit that you will not want to miss.
4. Dont always run the same direction, path or road. Treadmills should not be the norm. Half the reason for running is for your mind.
5. I live in rural Pixian and my habit is night running with a headlamp in farm country. I have been lost on several occasions. But the best was when I had to ask a friend to real-time locate me on wechat to reel me in. Rather enjoyed the challenge and found i pulled a 10k in the process.
Daisy Velven. British.
“Keep going….Everyone has 10 minutes”
1. On average, I’ll aim to run every other day. That normally works out around three times a week. I tend to like running 5ks, long enough to get a good cardio working but short enough to squeeze in to a busy evening or before work.
2. Yes! I started doing athletics at a very beginner level in high school, then ran my first 5km race in the ‘London Mini Marathon’ representing my borough back in 2009. If you’re under 18, you shouldn’t attempt to run a marathon; your bone structure isn’t fully developed enough, and you run the risk (lol) of serious injury, perhaps not noticeable until much later down the line.
I ran a few 5k fun runs, then did my first 10k two years ago in Greenwich Park which was beautiful but very hilly! My time was around 56 minutes, definitely not the fastest. I was more motivated by the charity element, running on behalf of the Born Wild Foundation.
3. Keep going! Even if you only have 10 minutes to spare. Realistically everyone has at least 10 mins to spare – even if you just do 10 minutes of quick sprinting along the street outside your home. Maybe you’ll look a bit like a crazy foreigner, but maybe you’ll inspire some people to get fit themselves. And that’s another thing, find other like-minded people or drag others along with you. Even if I’m running alone, I do the dorky thing of nodding or saying hello to other runners along the route. If they’re really going for it I’ll give them a high five 😉 motivated each other.
4. Probably the opposite of ‘keep going’ – DON’T STOP! If you feel an injury coming on, go visit a physio. If you feel tired, take a few days out. But if not, don’t stop. Lack of time is never an excuse!
5. I enjoy running mostly at night here, maybe because if feels like if I can’t see the pollution, then there is no pollution… Nighttime running along one of the rivers is lovely. In China as a whole, I stayed for a month in Yuxi (Yunnan) and ran round the beautiful lake there every day. There was only one grey day out of the whole four weeks – it was gorgeous. There are plenty of scenic places to run within China, both in countryside and city centres.
Richard Elkins. American.
“I kept running and it became a big part of my life”
1. Usually about 50-75 KM per week if not suffering any foot injuries. I have plantar fasciitis in one foot which is caused by too much mileage combined. I lower my mileage if any injuries
2. I have been running more than 25 years. I started running due to training for Boxing competition but had a rotator cuff injury due to Boxing. I kept running and it became a big part of my life since that time. I feel much better physically when keeping up high mileage and it is very beneficial for keep a good sleep pattern. I have run more than 500 races shorter than Marathon. I have completed 18 marathons which includes 4 in Asia which includes once in HK and 3 times in Shanghai.
3. The best training advice is to start slow. If you are a beginning runner only add 5-10% mileage per week. If you are getting very sore then slow down and take a rest day between runs.
Stretch if beneficial to you. I never stretch unless injury needs work. I have friends which stretch often but coaches will tell you that it is mainly needed for speed work or very short fast pace runs. In distances more than 5k it is not needed. If you need to walk then it is a good substitute on sore days but no backwards walking.
Run morning or nights but don’t alternate. I run at night since I enjoy it more and it helps me sleep. Use good running shoes. Running shoes quality has a direct relation to money spent. If you are a heavier runner then use shoes with more support and cushioning such as Airmax etc. If you have more than one pair then alternate wearing them to help prevent injuries since every brand impacts differently with the pavement.
Treadmills are good in winter time but only do in flat mode with no incline. It is not the same workout as an outside run. You may need to run 30% more to have same workout as outside due to no wind and surface is not changing.
Fully hydrate yourself before a long run but stop 40 min before the run. You are fully hydrated when your urine is clear. If you keep drinking within 40 min of the run then you will need to go during the run. This will kill your time in the race. I always get up a minimum of 2 hours before a race.
4. Wearing too much clothes during a long run. It will only be cold for the first mile. The pro runners put a garbage bag on at start of the race to block the wind. You should only wear tank top and shorts if above 10C.
Do not walk backwards as exercise. It provides no benefit
Cold weather does not cause flu so don’t worry this in a cold run.
Do not skip water stops. Alternate with water and gatorade if provided. If you wait till you are thirsty then it is too late. Learn to run and drink. It is not easy but possible with some practice.
Age is not an excuse not to run. I am 48 and currently run faster races than in my 30s. The most competitive age class in the USA is 40-44 age group. It is a great way to keep in shape for men and women.
Cross training with a bike is great. Running and biking work different muscles in the leg but both exercises will improve your running. Biking is a non impact exercise so is a good substitute if you are sore from running.
5. I was once training on the Emea Shan trail and half way up I was stopped by a Monk. We took a picture and chatted for a few minutes. He was the highest ranking Monk on Emea Shan temple. Enjoy your time on the roads
Every year marathons and fun runs (5-10km) are increasing in Chengdu and across China. As I consider doing another fun run I wanted to learn from other runners in Chengdu how to or not to train.
by Ruby LeslieTags: Chengdu Fun running runs sport