Back on track..?

After two years essentially sitting on my ass, I’ve started doing some physical activity again. Boy-oh-boy if it hurts!

As usual, I’m also following it up with theory – by reading the interesting Essentials of Exercise Physiology undergraduate book.

Essentials of Exercise Physiology

Some take-home messages from the first few chapters:

  • follow a proper diet and you’ll probably never need supplementation, even when training intensively
  • keep hydrated: not only water – add about 0.4% salt and about 8% glucose. Especially important for 1H+ workouts
  • keep the blood glucose steady: eat low-glycemic foods within 30 minutes before and after long workouts. Add more glucose to the re-hydration solution for longer/more intense exercise (3 g per kg per hour for highest intensity, longest workouts)
  • don’t eat lipids/proteins just before aerobic workouts, as they slow gastric emptying: this makes exercise uncomfortable, and reduces the absorption of well-needed carbs

Can’t wait to put this in practice – after a few months of muscle-rebuilding boring exercises and knee-sparing soft jogging, of course.


Update and misc

Added a few things in the About page. I’ve a job in UK, I’m working with Erlang, an amazing language designed and tweaked to deal with extremely concurrent, distributed systems. I love the actor model built in Erlang, and I’m getting used to functional programming (pattern matching is just about the best tool I’ve ever used).

Added some more information about my projects, just explore the menu up there. Nothing too impressive but you may be curious, who knows.

If you want to learn Erlang, start with the book Erlang/OTP in Action. It has a pragmatic approach and helps you write a decent OTP application quickly. If you want to start from the fundamentals, OReilly’s Erlang Programming is very thorough and is also nice to read. I recommend Geany as an editor, if you are GUI-inclined but like simple and efficient stuff (I’ve done a pull request for a few more Erlang-oriented configurations, if they don’t accept it you’ll find info in my own github account).

Intellij-Idea or SublimeText (which sadly is shareware) are more appropriate if you are into fancy GUIs in addition to functionality. There’s also a plugin for Eclipse called Erlide.

For the old and pure, instead, there are good plugins for Emacs and VIM. For the latter, search on github for “vimerl“, that’s the best.

Running shoes and (almost) ready to go

First time of my life in a specialized running shoes shop, SweatShop. Amazing! I had a static and dynamic analysis of feet and motion, for free.

First of all, they have done a static analysis on a glass surface, where my footprint has been recorded and declared “Low Arch”. This confirmed my previous research on internet to understand why I’ve got injured in less than 2 months.

Secondly, I’ve started trying a few models, each of them on a treadmill with a camera recording the rear of my feet. The video analysis showed (quite clearly, I could tell the “lateral bending” of both ankles, sadly) that I’m a pronator.

The next models have all been with support for pronators, all models I had already explored on internet before. At the end, the most comfortable pair has been the most expensive one, Asics GT-2170.

My advice to any wanna-be-runner: go to a running shop and have your gait analyzed! The shoes I had been running that month and a half were for “underpronators”, they have the opposite problem of “overpronators”. So I was definetely doing something wrong.

Run, run, run!

So..I fell in love with running. And I’ve already got injured. But let’s start from the beginning.

Less than two months ago I decided I’d start running, because I was living too much just for studying. I used to go to the university by foot, half hour quick walk to go and another to come back, which is not bad..but too many hours sit on a chair are very harmful for your body.

I’m not overweight, thanks to my italian heritage I eat healty. But still, after 5-6 years without a physically intesive activity, I was feeling weak and I started with the cheapest sport: jogging.

From jogging to running the step is short: after a week you feel you can do a lot more, your muscles rise again, your breathe become more steady and you don’t feel like you want to die after a 2-3 kilometers run.

From running to i-want-to-do-that-race-next-year the step has been even shorter. So I started training a lot, running every day for 4-5 kilometers, then the last week always over 5 km..until I tried what is often called the “dying man test”: running 10km in less than 1 hour.

Brighton is a hilly and windy little city. Those 10km were far more difficult and intensive for your heart and joints than “plain” 10km. Still, I managed to run in 1 hour and 2 minutes, and I felt extremely excited..I felt I could give some more, too. I was already planning to attend a little race of 5km that is disputed every saturday in Brighton.

I felt, while running, some “funny” pain in the knee. It wasn’t really pain, just a strange feeling that stopped when I moved on a flattest part of the road (I ran the last 5km on the seashore, with a pendence toward the sea).

Later, in the afternoon, I started feeling a real pain in the left knee. Since then, exactly one week from now, I’ve had to stay home and use ice twice per day.

That’s been a big lesson for me. It’s better to follow the advice of older runners, and do the first 3-4 months of boring, plain runs without looking at the performance, than to be obliged not to run for weeks.

Now the pain is fading a little away, and in a few days I’ll go to the SweatShop to get a free gait analysis and buy an expensive, cool pair of running shoes with the right characteristics to reduce the chance to get injured again.

Then I’ll timidly start running again, following a boring table for 3 months. From October, I should be able to train with the Lousberlauf in mind.