It is a book to open people to the ‘how to run” aspect – or “how to become a runner“ and yes, definitely those who haven’t run much and are interested to follow a path of least resistance
But – it also has a philosophical aspect that means that people who have run for years can get something from it – some deeper insight or connection to themselves through the art of running.
Julia has been running all of her life, it has informed how she has chosen to live from a very young age and has been the bedrock of her ‘practice’ both physical and spiritual – in fact it has become her spiritual practice through the mirror of seeing herself reflected back in her running endeavours.
Julia achieved her first international vest at the age of 19 and went on to run at international level for the next 13 years.
Her most notable achievements were winning the Dublin City Marathon, being placed 7th woman in the London Marathon (3rd British) in a time of 2.36.31 and competing in the Commonwealth Games Marathon in 1986.
Chapter 19: Practical Applications
It is vital to keep hydrated for life – and as running asks so much more of the body, dehydration means not only a drop in performance, but of course could ultimately lead to death!
If you are dehydrated then your total blood volume drops and this means that the muscles are less efficient.
Carbohydrate, the main fuel for the muscles, need 4 parts water to one part carbohydrate to absorb – so water is of the essence.
The answer to this is to drink regularly throughout the day.
The electrolyte balance is also key and there are many products on the market now that offer hydration with electrolyte.
Getting used to running with a camelback, drinking from it means that you will recover far more quickly from your training efforts.
Where to run:
The wonderful thing about running is that if you have a pair of shoes and some kit you can run anywhere you like!
Off road is better for the body, less impact in the joints and it improves core stability by asking that you are always re aligning with each step, strengthening ankles and tendons too.
If ‘off road’ is impossible, then make sure that you work on your core stability, so that you are lighter on your feet and have shoes that support you well.
Concentrate on being light of foot
In the book born to run – the mantra that resonated for me was ‘easy light smooth fast’ – by running this way, the speed emerges and the running is better for the body.
If you are in an area you don’t know then go onto joggingbuddy.com and you can find a friend to run with – or get a map – or if you are me, go on an adventure and hope you will find your way home!!
You are responsible for you; your safety is your concern. Be conscious at all times of the choices you make. If you choose to run alone, make sure that you are aware of the area and of whom, you might meet.
If you are running in the dark, where reflective clothing at all times
Safety in numbers means joining a running group or club – or running with a friend or friends keeps you safer
But is lone is your way, then take a phone and let others know where you’re going if possible.
You and traffic:
Always face oncoming traffic, be aware of overtaking cars too, so keep in to the side at all times, avoid main roads, wear reflective clothing, don’t assume the car will give you a wide berth, and so be prepared to leap onto the verge.
Run off road if at all possible
Runners by nature can be solitary types, I am one of those.
I used to run alone in the 70’s and 80’ with no phone ( of course) and for miles and miles with no one knowing where I was going and I encountered a few strange folk who flashed their penis’s at me, or followed me on their bike or in their car – or blocked my path as I ran.
I have survived – but of course now that we have phones, it is best to take a phone, and maybe to learn some self-defense, just in case, but mainly to pick an area to run where there is no danger – in the form of random people; the elements is another matter; be aware of weather change and carry a rain top and always take enough fuel with you to avoid collapse!
Be conscious – be aware and take responsibility.
We are all adults and we make our own choices, so be conscious of your choices and decisions and think wisely and carefully at all times.
Joining a club:
This can be a source of great joy; a band of like minded people, all of you bonded by a common love. The singlet and shorts – or the leggings and running top equalize us all and it is a level playing field. Everyone can learn from one another, the human spirit ignited on the run.
If you are a beginner then you will want a club that accommodates beginners; if you are competitive then you will want a club that competes and has various standards and teams so that you will be part of the esprit de corp.
Most clubs will have a coaching structure and people aiming for various events so you will find some training buddies and make new friends if you want – romance may even blossom on the run! It did for me way back in 1979…!
Get out of that door and enjoy being part of the elements. Get really good kit; a Gortex rain suit is a wonderful piece of kit for winter time, some trail shoes for muddy running, some good gloves; I prefer two pairs of mittens – waterproof is good! A woolly hat to keep the ears warm, a balaclava in really cold conditions and you are ready to run.
If you can’t bear it – or it is icy and slippy underfoot, then go to the gym ( if you can get there )
Either X train – or run on the treadmill, X training allows the joints to have a rest from the impact – and a session watching television can simply be a different experience to the winter weather.
One day last year as I was running along the seafront into a head wind, in the rain, with the waves crashing beside me, I found myself thinking ‘I love winter’ and I realised I had trained myself to see and appreciate the beauty of nature having her say all the year round !
And it is ‘training’ we must not allow our minds to rule us or run away with us – we are the master and we can change our experience by changing what we think – by changing our attitude!
On the Treadmill:
In my early running days, it was out in all weathers; whatever the elements were doing there was never an option!
I remember first becoming conscious of the possibility of treadmill running when I heard that Grete Waitz and Ingrid Kristiansen were using the treadmill because the snow was too deep to run in.
Around this time, I had just acquired my own treadmill as I owned a health and fitness club with my husband – we started to very occasionally use the treadmill in the bad weather, one of us running a repetition while the other jumped off and rested and then swapping over…
As the years have gone by I have really seen the value of treadmill running to gain confidence and build up fitness before heading out on the road, of a place to recover from injury and build back your fitness, a smooth surface to practice fast running and a controlled surface and pace to interval train, especially in bad weather!
I do most of my winter interval training on a treadmill and now that they are fully kitted with the possibility of music and TV there is no excuse for boredom either!
About the Author: Julia Chi Taylor
In the late 70’s all through the 80’s and into the early 90’s she competed regularly for England and GB at distances from 5k to Marathon. Some of her best performances include winning the 1985 Dublin Marathon and finishing 7th woman (3rd British woman) in the 1986 London Marathon in a time of 2.36.31 where she was selected to run in the Commonwealth Games.
She still competes now as a master over 55, regularly winning her age group in races around the world. She’s was also part of the winning team for the national master X country championships in March this year, 2016.
Julia has coached and mentored others to achieve their dreams in sport and life for the past forty years!