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Holistic Running System offering Methods and Techniques for Optimal Fitness Training


Summary. The Resources for Life Holistic Running System offers a method and approach to running for optimal results while reducing risk of injury or fatigue. Through these simple techniques, optimal fitness training can be achieved.

  • Body Weight. You should limit your running duration, frequency, and intensity, until your body weight is low. Otherwise the impact of additional body weight on your joints may cause serious permanent injury.
  • Breathing. With each pace as you run, try breathing in a quarter breath. So, with each step, after four steps, you will have breathed in a full breath and filled your lungs. Then, follow the same process breathing out. This will help increase your lung capacity. It will also prevent you from over-running or under-running. This technique for most people will keep your pulse in an ideal target zone.
  • Clothing. Stretch clothing (as seen in the photo here), is ideal for running because it is light weight, comfortable, washes easily, dries easily, and helps prevent chafing. In this way, you can wash your running clothes in the shower after your run, and they will be fresh and dry for your next workout.
  • Duration. A running time of 36 minutes may be ideal for most people. It allows for a thorough 12 to 18 minute warm-up which gradually flows into an 18 minute run or jog of moderate intensity. Avoid the temptation to run for an hour or more, since this may cause the body to fatigue and get injured.
  • Frequency. Running every other day will allow micro-injuries to heal. Some micro-injuries will heal in less than 24 hours, but others need 48 hours. If not given a full 48 hours, the body may eventually break down in those areas of repeated micro-injury. Avoid the temptation to run every day. Instead, choose to do an 18 minute elliptical warm-up/workout followed by strength training on non-running days. This will produce the same “high” you are seeking.
  • Intensity. A fast pace run at high intensity increases the risk of fatigue, injury, overexertion, and death. Avoid the temptation to be driven by your ego and machismo when running. The running should be strenuous yet enjoyable. A running routine that is too intense may result in a larger number of micro-injuries or injuries that are more severe and need weeks to recover from.
  • Journal. You can best know your progress and the condition of your body on a given day by closely monitoring your running time and distance. If you push yourself with the same familiar intensity each day, gradually your time should improve and your endurance should allow you to run farther. An excellent way to keep track of your running is with the Nike+ system which offers a way to track your time, distance, and calories burned during a run. This information is automatically synchronized with your computer and then uploaded to a personal website at Nike where you can review your running history.
  • Music. The Apple iPod Nano and Nike+ system provides spoken coaching during your run while you listen to uplifting music or an audio book. The upbeat music and coaching can help give you additional inspiration and energy for your run.
  • Nutrition. To help strengthen and fortify your bones, joints, and connecting tissues, you may want to try taking Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Calcium, Magnesium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin K.
  • Pulse. It is essential to know your pulse while running so as to not overexert yourself and risk a heart attack. Check your pulse every 5 to 10 minutes. Once you are more familiar with your body, and what your pulse rate will likely be at a given intensity, you can check it less. The breathing technique mentioned above should provide an automatic regulator that helps achieve your optimal pulse rate.
  • Shoes. Choose shoes that are very soft and larger than necessary. The New Balance street running series of shoes (currently at model #768) are quiet good. These offer considerable cushioning. When combined with Spenco Polysorb Cross Trainer Insoles (shoe inserts), the cushioning of these shoes is unsurpassed. New Balance is known for offering shoes in extra-wide sizes. By choosing a shoe slightly larger than your foot, there is room for the foot to move slightly, helping the toes not feel so cramped.
  • Socks. Using soft thick socks, such as Smartwool brand, can help provide extra shock absorption. 
  • Surface. Choose to run on an uneven (yet safe) running surface that is soft. Occasionally add in some brief stretches on sidewalk or paved trails / paths. The benefit of running (or walking) on a varied surface is that it helps avoid repetitive stress injuries by introducing random strains and stresses to various bones, joins, muscles, and ligaments. Be careful not to overdo it. Begin with a lightly uneven surface. Eventually, work up to surfaces that place more demand on the ankles, feet, knees, and the rest of your body. This also assists in developing balance. Different surfaces may be grass, sand, rocks, gravel, dirt, deep snow, mud, or several inches of water. Use what’s available to you. Remember to include some inclines. Going down hills can be hard on the knees. Consider (carefully) running backwards downhill to help avoid impact. A problem with “stair climbing” is that it produces precisely the same strain on the knees and joints over and over, repeatedly. It’s likely that such repetitive stress could eventually cause fatigue or injury. It is reported that the steps constructed for Great Wall of China are of significantly differing height from one step to the next. Perhaps this was so that in the dark of night, only those who had memorized the steps carefully could quickly navigate the wall. One benefit of having the steps at differing heights is that a person walking a long distance on the wall would be straining different muscles with each step rather than the same muscles and joints with every step. Some testimonials are found below.
    • “One summer, when I was in college, and at what I believed was my peak of physical fitness, I was playing football (American soccer) at the City Park. I landed while running and twisted my ankle. It was quickly broken from what seemed to be a fairly simple and non-strenuous torquing. It took me months to recover. Since that time, I’ve employed the variable running surface method of the Holistic Running System. I’ve ‘twisted’ my ankle much more severely than that summer, yet it has never been broken or even sore. I’m now 44 and feel that my body is stronger than when I was in my early 20s. Building up my tolerance and resistance has helped my ligaments and connective tissues become stronger.” ~ Gregory Johnson, Iowa City
About. The Resources for Life Holistic Running System has been in development since the mid-1970s. At that time, the breathing technique, inspired from Yoga, was taught to Gregory Johnson by his father Nicholas Johnson. One of the early tests of the Holistic Running System was conducted on the Pacific Coastal shoreline north of Santa Monica California. Later, in the early 1980s, the running system was further developed in Madison, Wisconsin and used for a 33.7 km (21 mile) long distance run. At the time, Gregory had not run farther than about 8 km (5 miles) at one time. Since then, Gregory has participated in many runs and applied the breathing technique to bicycle riding as well. On one ride, he travelled 200 miles in two consecutive days riding from Iowa City to Madison, Wisconsin.

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Categorized as Health

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com