Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Some Tips on Running!

The sun has been shining and the weather has warmed up in Yerevan. My dad let me know in Canada it was still -20 and that there was snow and my sister confirmed this by showing me through the power of skype. How to celebrate? A run in the sun!

Mona the German was the one who introduced me to the wonders of running back in 2011. She changed her entire running schedule to accommodate my work schedule and we began meeting in the mornings. My first try must have been the most frustrating thing ever for her as I had to stop constantly while she was already a pro. But instead of running ahead and just assuming I would catch up, she would run a bit, come back to meet me and run in circles around me while encouraging me to continue. A blonde little inspirational bumble bee buzzing around me. It was adorable and it worked. I continued after she left and even ran on the icy streets of Yerevan during the first freezing winter I was here for. I fell and hurt my knee twice but NO REGRETS!

I tried different times, different routes and different ways to stay hydrated before and finally found the way that worked best for me: in the morning after just drinking lots of water. Evening runs can be great in terms of endurance as there would be a lot of energy from the meals eaten, but I found that it is too easy to get caught up in plans and continuously postpone running. I like doing it the first thing in the morning as it gives me lots of energy throughout the day, I feel great generally as a result of it, and I sleep much better. When you sleep, your brain still uses up the glucose in your body (nonsensical dreams apparently take up a lot of mental energy) and will then use the glucose stored in your liver (glycogen), so those levels would be lowest right when you wake up. This can be why it is wise to eat something before running so you have better energy and therefore endurance, but besides a couple of times when I was feeling particularly groggy in the mornings, I tend to be okay with just some water.

The streets in Yerevan are also not very pedestrian-friendly, so I prefer going in the mornings as well since it tends to be a little calmer. There are some good routes in the center, but for the special days when there is a group of people interested, Hrazdan is my favourite choice. The view is fantastic and the route is long enough to consider it a power run. There are less cars and the dogs seem to be just curious enough to pay attention but lazy enough to stay in sleep-mode. The last time I went, as I attempted to tell Mona through the power of sign language that there was a dog and her puppy nearby so we should slow down, I apparently forgot how to multi-task and fell forward in the most awkward way possible, and layed there for a few minutes in confusion while the mother dog began her bark-fest at me. I deserved it and I continued running with two bloody knees and a taxi driver did the "eya" sign to me. Stiff upper lip.
Pre-fall happiness
After running, it is best to eat something carbohydrate-centered because even though you may have enjoyed your run, it does put your body in a state of stress, and your cortisol levels rise as a result. Insulin keeps our cortisol levels in check, so when you eat carbohydrates after your run, you are allowing this process to occur and you won't feel stressed out for much longer!

I have taken a non-intentional break from running but will continue soon. Bloody knees, here I come!

Some facebook running groups in Yerevan here and here for those interested!
(Photo by the German Mona Hinrichs)

1 comment:

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