JOGGING FOR EXERCISE

Donald Daniel, Feb 2010, revised Oct 2019

If the lines of text are too long you can fix the problem with these instructions.

I knew a man who ran the fastest mile he could every day. When it hurt, he pushed through the pain. After several years, his knees were damaged, and he could never run again. I saw a documentary about anthropologists studying some of the few hunter-gatherers still left on the planet. They chased a deer for 4 hours until the deer was stopped by heat stroke. The deer was wearing a fur coat, and could not run a long time. This suggests to me that your body was not designed to run a faster pace than you could maintain for four hours. That is probably the only safe way to run.

When I was young I got in shape and out of shape about three times. When I ran a mile every day, it took a year to get in shape. When I ran three miles every day, it only took four months to get in shape. When I pushed myself too hard getting in shape my knees got loose enough to bend slightly the wrong way. This resulted in a painful injury. Do not push yourself hard when getting in shape. When I was middle aged I was out of shape.

At age 68, 20 pounds overweight, I found myself loosing strength and stamina at an alarming rate as a result of the aging process. I decided to start jogging to get in shape. I was already doing a leisurely one mile walk every day. I had run for exercise when I was young, but it had been decades since then. The running gave me more physical stamina, which I expected. More importantly, it gave me more mental energy, which was a big surprise.

I tried to jog the same mile that I had already been walking every day. I could only jog 50 yards, then was so out of breath that I needed to walk 100 yards to catch my breath enough to jog another 50 yards. I kept this up for the whole mile. After about a month of this jogging/walking routine I could do a very slow jog for the whole mile without any walking. After about six months I could jog a 10.4 minute mile on a good day. Quite a contrast to the seven minute miles I could do when I was young. But I felt better, slept better and had more stamina. I did not loose any weight, though.

I did not get running shoes until about the third month. I should have got them first. They are especially useful on hard surfaces.

After I got in shape, I burned enough energy that I needed less clothing to run. I increased my distance to about 1.5 miles. In warm weather it is essential to get up early and run at the coolest time of day, preferably before the sun comes up. In warm weather tennis shorts and no shirt are enough. The best way to get suitable shorts is to take pants to an alterations shop and have them cut and hemmed to a 4in/10cm inseam or longer if necessary to cover the pockets hanging down from the inside. A light weight long sleeve dress shirt makes it feel hotter by an increment of 20F/11C. In warm weather ladies should run in shorts and a halter top. When it gets as cool as 50F/10.0C it will be comfortable with shorts, a long sleeve cotton dress shirt and no undershirt. The ideal temperature to run dressed this way is 38F/3.3C, but at this temperature and below gloves should be worn. Colder still, add wool cap that pulls over the ears. When the temperature is 32 degrees F, 0 degrees C, I sometimes wear pants, cotton/polyester long sleeved shirt with no undershirt, a windbreaker jacket with no insulation, a wool cap that I can pull over my ears, and leather driving gloves. It is almost too hot to run dressed this way at 32F/0C with no wind, but very approriate if there is a stiff wind. The ideal temperature to run dressed this way with no wind and the sun shining is 18F/-7.7C. The main problem with running in freezing weather is dangerously slippery surfaces. You do not want to risk a fall by running across a patch of ice. If you come to a patch of ice, quit jogging and carefully walk across it.

The previous paragraph specified cold weather clothing for a 1.5 mile run. But if you only run 0.5 miles, warmer clothing will be appropriate. In 40F weather you would run in pants, shirt and windbreaker jacket.

I took glucosamine sulfate every day with my vitamins to keep my knee cartilage in good shape. Even so, after two years of running one knee got painful "runners knee". It was so painful I wondered if I needed a knee replacement operation. I quit running. After a couple of months the symptoms were gone, the knee completely healed and I started running again with no ill effects. After another year the same thing happended with the other knee. Presumably the men in primitive hunter gatherer tribes hobbled along on one foot with the women and childeren when this happened to them. After two months of no exercise my 10 minute mile started out a 12 minute mile.

If you get blisters or if the balls of your feet get sore from running, you may need to wear two socks on each foot. When one sock slips on the other sock, it prevents stress on your flesh. You can also purchase "blister proof" two layer socks.

My jogging ended just before I turned 77 because of a reckless mistake. My muscles were sore because of recent extra exercise. My muscles did not want to run, but I ran anyway. I tore a muscle in my leg because of it. A pulled muscle will heal after about a month, but a torn one will not. That was the end of my jogging. Don't you make the same mistake.

up one level

back to homepage