With running season upon us, I thought I'd offer some tips and tricks I've learned from my 15+ years experience of hitting the pavement. Enjoy!
1. Train on anything but cement as often as possible: running is naturally tough on the body. It’s a high impact sport which means that it's not exactly easy on the joints (ground reaction forces of 2-5x bodyweight with each stride). As often as possible, try to find some turf, grass, trail or something other than cement to train on. You will notice the cushion, and in turn your muscles and joints will thank you later on.
2. Vary your running program! Don’t do sprints? Guess what you should incorporate? Sprints are great for two reasons: improved stride power as well as fat loss. A leaner runner is usually a faster runner =).
3. 10% Rule: Need to get your mileage up? Stick with the 5% rule. Every week, you shouldn’t be increasing your mileage more than 10% at a time. It’s a safe and effective way to increase mileage without putting the body at excessive risk, and increasing the chance the body can get used to the stress of running.
4. Learn to Foam Roll! I can’t stress it enough: foam rolling is an absolute life saver, especially with running. Muscles and tendons become excessively tight, but that's just from sitting! Add in constant pounding on hard surfaces, sometimes for hours at a time, and foam rolling becomes even more important. When should I foam roll? You should be foam rolling as often as you’re going out for your runs. The rule of thumb is to stick to a single muscle group for 1-2 minutes, or 10 rolls per muscle. If the muscle is tender, stay on it longer. You can find more instructional how-to videos on foam rolling specifically here: www.howcast.com/videos/513858-How-to-Foam-Roll-with-Amanda-Edell-Foam-Rolling
5. STRENGTH TRAIN! Runners become a lot more efficient when they get into the gym and start building strength. In addition, most runners are 'quad dominant' and and worse, some have a “bass”, a back that bypasses the ass. So not hot! If you're only training for aesthetic reasons, you will reap major benefits from strength training. But if you want to out run the competition and turn your weaknesses into your strength, then get into the gym and start lifting weights. By becoming stronger, your core strength improves, your gait and stride are stronger, and eventually this affects your running form, gait, and alignment.
6. Take a day off of running. I don’t know why, but sometimes runners are so damn hardcore! Guess what: your body NEEDS that one, two sometimes three days of recovery. Especially when you are running 30-60 miles a week. Never been a fan of taking a day off completely? Get in the pool and do something with no impact. Again, this one is something your body and joints will thank you for.
7. DO YOGA! The perfect compliment to running - Yoga! Runners are often super tight in almost every part of their bodies, and especially need a lot of stretching and breathing exercises. Yoga is great to counter balance all the heavy pounding done on a consistent basis but also forces you to focus on an individual breath...something also foreign to most runners.
8. Find a running partner. To be the best you have to train with the best. Don’t be shy! If you want to step up your running game, you have to train with FASTER people. Having a running partner will make you less likely to skip out on those days you are not feeling quite up to par and help give you motivation and reach your goals. Look into local clubs in your neighborhoods, ask friends, and use social media. Often, some groups meet twice a week and have running programs already tailored for them, so your program can get a shock once or twice a week.
9. Eat more PROTEIN! Many runners I have had the experience training eat a ton of carbs and simply not enough high quality food. In other words, they especially lack a diet in protein, quality carbs and vegetables. Just because you ran 10 miles this morning doesn’t mean you can have pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner! (Oh and ice cream for dessert.) You need high quality, nutrient dense food even more so than the couch potato. Oh, and potatoes are good too. Plan ahead and try to cook as often as possible. Meal prepping takes 3-4 hours a week. Lastly, try to base your meals around protein and good fats. Not sure how you’re doing? What gets measured gets managed: start counting calories and tracking- an easy and fun to use app is www.myfitnesspal.com
I'm out of numbers for now. But rest assured, I'll be back.