Expert Running Tips for Spring

Expert Running Tips for Spring

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“The next time you gear up for a workout, instead of holding each stretch statically for 30-90 seconds, stretch dynamically by physically moving in and out of a stretch for several repetitions.

Although static stretches (such as the runner’s calf stretch) can be very effective when a joint or muscle group is proportionally tighter than the other side, if you only practice this type of stretching, you can inhibit muscle activity and diminish tone rather than enhance it. Try exercises such as leg and arm swings that use constant movement to lengthen your soft tissue and free up your joints. These exercises are great before a workout since they enhance joint mobility, coordination, muscle activation and signaling.”

Bill Fabrocini, physical therapist and contributor to Thinner This Year.

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“Runners, pay attention to your mileage on your footwear. Don’t put more than 300 miles on a pair of shoes—at this point, they’ll start to lose support and your body and muscles could suffer some painful consequences. (Think shin splints and sore calves. Ouch!)”

Stevie Kremer was on the U.S. Mountain Trail Running team this past year and competed in the World Championships in Switzerland. 

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“If you can identify your emotional triggers while running, you can use this to your advantage during a workout or race. Instead of only enjoying running when you achieve your goals, start by adapting your training so you enjoy it more; you’ll be surprised how your results improve.

On the other hand, many competitive runners find that they naturally adopt a sort of 'angry' emotional state when they race. We’re innately competitive creatures and for some athletes, a little well-directed anger facilitates competitive performance. If you’re that type of runner, don’t be ashamed—leverage this emotion by listening to some of your favorite 'angry' music before a race.”

Matt Fitzgerald has published more than 15 books on running, triathlon, and fitness, including RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel.

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“Training for a marathon? It’s better to run more frequently with a lower day-to-day mileage than to only prepare with long, hard runs. When most people start cutting days out of a training cycle, they tend to start with the easy days and leave only the harder workouts and long runs. But if you do this, you’ll miss out on the great benefits of easy runs, such as pacing, strengthening muscles, and building endurance, which directly relate to how well you’ll perform in the marathon.”

Luke Humphrey, professional runner and author of Hanson’s Marathon Method

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“There are many 'secret' or more advanced training strategies that can help boost performance on race day, but one of my favorites is to include some goal pace running at the end of the long run when you're already tired. If you're a marathoner, try running the last 1 to 5 miles at your goal race pace. If you're training for a 10k, do 5 sets of 2 minutes at your goal 10k pace, with 1 to 2 minutes of easy running in between.

Being in a pre-fatigued state furthers the adaptation process, teaches you how to run fast when you're tired, and recruits more fast twitch muscle fibers than if you were fully rested.”

Jason Fitzgerald, 2:39 marathoner, USA Track & Field-certified coach and founder of Strength Running.

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“Commit to your pacing from the beginning, regardless of how good you may feel by the energy surround race day. You may run 15 seconds faster per mile for the first few miles and feel amazing. However, at 18-20 miles, you’ll start losing minutes because of your decision to go out too fast from the start. Recognize what your runs are supposed to be and focus on those paces. Learning that will help you learn control and patience for the race itself.”

Luke Humphrey, professional runner and author of Hanson’s Marathon Method

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“Bikram yoga stretches can be a fantastic cross-training element for any athlete, so before your next long workout, try starting with the Bikram Half Moon sequence. Stand upright with your feet together and arms extended with palms together over your head. Then slowly ease into a side bend to the right, back to center, and then to the left. Focus on deep breathing throughout each pose. Move back to center and lean into a vertical back bend, then a forward bend. Run through this sequence twice to lengthen your entire spine and stretch out your hamstrings to enhance your training.”

Donna Rubin, certified Bikram yoga instructor and co-founder of the first Bikram Yoga studio in NYC.

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“To minimize your risk of twisting an ankle when you're running off-road, one thing to focus on is strengthening your foot and ankle muscles. The simplest way to add brawn to your feet and ankle stabilizers is to do a small amount of barefoot running each week. About 20 minutes of unshod jogging on grass or your home treadmill will do the trick.”

Matt Fitzgerald has published more than 15 books on running, triathlon, and fitness, including RUN: The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel.

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“When introducing speed work into a training program, sprinkle it in small doses into your routine. Running faster will force you to start using your previously hibernating fast-twitch muscle fibers, and doing too much too soon can result in injury.

Adding strides can be a gentle, effective way to speed up. To do this, find a flat stretch of road and accelerate for 15 to 20 seconds. When you are close to top speed, gradually decelerate back down to a jog. Repeat four to six times, taking a minute between repeats to catch your breath. Remember, these aren’t all-out sprints, but short accelerations. Focus on relaxing your form: get on your toes and lift your knees more than you normally would.”

Mario Fraioli, 2:28 marathon runner and coach of Prado Women’s Racing team in San Diego.

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“As you prepare for a long race and start moving from one distance milestone to the next, it’s easy to get caught up in your progress and push yourself harder and longer. But as you continue to advance, don’t forget to focus on the other key component of working out harder: recovery.

In fact, recovery is so vital to training that you should consider it just as important! Without adequate recovery, your body will not properly 'absorb' your workouts, which is what helps you adapt and run faster and longer. Make sure you get enough sleep every night and take 1-2 days of easy running in between each hard workout.”

Jason Fitzgerald, 2:39 marathoner, USA Track & Field-certified coach and founder of Strength Running.

Expert Running Tips for Spring