THE BEST WAYS TO GET UP AND RUNNING
TODAY, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD HAVE FALLEN HEAD OVER
HEELS FOR RUNNING, WITH MANY FEELING UNABLE TO FUNCTION UNLESS THEY’VE HAD THEIR DAILY FIX. BUT IS IT BETTER TO HIT THE TARMAC FIRST THING IN THE MORNING OR TO HEAD OUT LATER IN THE DAY? WHAT KIND OF DIET SHOULD YOU BE FOLLOWING? HOW CAN THE INTERNET HELP YOU TRAIN? WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT A PHENOMENON THAT IS A LONG WAY FROM RUNNING OUT OF STEAM.
What is it, exactly, that inspires amateur runners and professional athletes alike to lace up, head out and crunch some miles at all times and in all weathers? Laurent, 40, is the regional director of a telecommunications firm. He first took up running just over a decade ago for purely practical reasons: it came with no time constraints, unlike going to the gym, and there was no need to invest in huge amounts of equipment. But it didn’t take him long to become a self-proclaimed running addict, with what initially started out as one 45-minute session twice a week soon turning into 3 to 4 sessions lasting 1 to 2 hours, not to mention taking part in a variety of races and trails, having even joined a local running club. "My job is highly demanding and pretty stressful. There’s a huge amount of travelling and a lot at stake...", he explains. “Running is my “me time”, when I can focus on myself. It gives me the opportunity to let off steam, think things through and basically clear my head. It makes me feel stronger and gives me the motivation to work harder.
I set myself challenges and it helps me build up more endurance than your average person, which is extremely useful in my work!”
According to Dr Benjamin Laffourcade, a specialist at Parisian sports clinic l'Institut Coeur Effort Santé, the sense of well-being that running seems to bring is far from being just an illusion. “As with all physical activities that are approached in an intelligent fashion, running stimulates the secretion and diffusion of hormones. As the weeks go by, these feel-good hormones start having a mechanical effect on the body, reducing nervous tension and boosting physical well-being”. What’s more, "for those with no underlying joint issues, running improves the quality of not only the cartilage but of the bones, muscles and tendons, too. Above and beyond these mechanical benefits, there are also cardiovascular benefits: improved cardio-vascular and respiratory function. Furthermore, numerous studies have shown that regular physical activity can help protect against a certain number of cancers, notably those that are hormone-induced, and certain neurodegenerative illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s.” Certain rules of hygiene, nutrition and hydration must nonetheless be followed in order to enjoy a healthy and effective run. Dr Laffourcade advises against running after 7pm, for example, as it may be counterproductive to sleep. He also explains that early-morning exercisers should take care when running on an empty stomach, as there is a risk of hypoglycaemia. According to sports nutrition dietitian Nicolas Aubineau, hydration is just as important as diet as far as runners are concerned: "Runners generally need a normal intake of lipids and proteins, and a higher intake of carbohydrates to support the demands of physical activity. But a range of different diets are perfectly suited to runners, bearing in mind that each individual is unique.” he explains. “In terms of hydration, good hydration levels should be maintained throughout the day. An intake of 1.5 litres per day should generally be considered the minimum, to be increased in the event of prolonged or intense physical activity or if the weather is particularly hot. As a general rule, whilst running, you should be aiming for an intake of 100 to 150ml (approximately 1 to 2 sips) every 10 minutes.” Well prepared, well equipped and well hydrated, the runner is now in the starting blocks, all geared up to get the most out of his run, just like our running addict Laurent. In 2015, he has already clocked up over 870 miles on his pedometer! That comes as no great surprise, as Laurent never stops running: after work, during business trips and even whilst on holiday “I simply have to go for a run, no matter where I am! When I’m going away, I even pick my hotel according to potential running routes, or at worst, in the middle of winter, I look for places with a gym and treadmill!” Filipe Vasconcelos, manager of the Spa and Fitness Centre at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper, sees people like Laurent coming through the door all year round. "Barcelona is a city that is overflowing with running enthusiasts, so our guests really feel at home! We generally offer them a choice of four different routes ranging from 1.2 to 2.2 miles long, giving them the opportunity to take in the coastline and even the historic city centre as they run”, he explains. If the running bug hasn’t bitten you hard enough (yet) to make you want to run all year round, there is still one crucial element on which you need to work: motivation. Some spur themselves on by sharing their sporting achievements via apps such as Sport Trackers or Strava Running, which use social networking sites to share and compare your endurance with other runners. Put off by the idea of running alone? Thanks to the Internet, you can now hook up with fellow runners all around the world via websites such as jog.in or socialruns.com. Last but not least, others have had the bountiful idea of getting you to run for charity, such as the Blisport or Charity Miles apps, which will turn every mile you cover into a donation for the association of your choice!
Barcelona is a city that is overflowing with running enthusiasts, so our guests really feel at home!
It’s out with Sunday jogging and the lonely jog – now people prefer to talk about ‘running’. The principle is the same: run and be physically active. What has changed is that the discipline of running has become part of a wider trend, which is to take...