FOUR TIPS FROM THE RHODE ON RUNNING ON THE ROAD

5 Comments

FOUR TIPS FROM THE RHODE ON RUNNING ON THE ROAD

FOUR TIPS FROM THE RHODE ON RUNNING ON THE ROAD

You see what I did there?

Actually, staying safe while out on the roads is nothing to joke about. Running on the road can be one of the best ways to train yourself to manage your own pace (versus running on a treadmill), deal with the elements and handle a variety of undulation, but it can also be tricky because you're essentially sharing the roads with cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikers, other runners, you name it! Here are four tips to help you get the most out of your road running experience while staying safe and out of trouble.

1. Stay On The Left

This may seem like an obvious rule of thumb but I still see people running along the right side of the road, with traffic. While on a training run (as opposed to a race), always stay on the left! It will help you see and gauge any oncoming traffic and even more importantly it will help them see you. It’s also a good idea to hug the left curb whenever possible. Stay as close as you can to it, especially when there is a narrow shoulder to run on. While doing this, also be careful of storm drains, potholes and uneven road and hop onto the sidewalk when the situation calls for it.

2. Make Eye Contact

A good exercise while crossing a street, an intersection or in front of a vehicle is to confirm that the driver yielding to you has actually seen you instead of just assuming s(he) has. In many cases a driver may be looking in your direction but that driver is actually paying attention to the traffic and not necessarily to you! As runners we can be difficult to spot unless we’re running in large groups so make sure that you have been seen first before crossing in front of that car or other vehicle. Waving to the driver is a good way of confirming this, as you will most likely get a wave back if the driver sees you.

3. Be Situationally Aware...Always!

Make sure that you are paying attention to what’s coming toward you from the front, but also glance back every once a while to know what’s approaching you from behind. If you listen to music while you run, listen to it in low to moderate volume so you can hear the ambient noise around you, both the cars as well as other people (and in some cases animals like dogs that decide to suddenly chase you...not exactly a fun experience). Vehicles like electric or hybrid cars are exceptionally silent so it's even more important to be aware of them. Some headphones like Yurbuds are designed to allow you to hear both the music and ambient noise, simultaneously, so they can be a worthwhile investment. Also wear some type of reflective gear when running either early in the morning or late in the evening. Most running clothes are designed with some sort of reflectivity but in the summer we don’t wear much when we run so make sure you are still being seen by wearing something that reflects light and shines.

4. Yield When You Have To

I don’t know any runner who has ever won a game of chicken with an 18-wheeler (or any vehicle for that matter) so if, from a distance, it looks like the vehicle is not about to yield or go wide to avoid you, yield to it and even hop off the road for a second if you have to. In many cases large vehicles may also be carrying a draft behind them and this draft can knock you off balance. The larger and more obstructive the vehicle, the more turbulent the air flow behind it, so be aware of this and brace yourself, hold your breath, or whatever you have to do in that moment. It may also be necessary to yield to a cyclist who doesn’t seem to notice you. Cyclists can be quite focused and in a zone.

As you can see, the name of the game when running on the road is to be alert and to be aware, and these four simple rules will help keep you safe out there.

As always, feel free to pull me aside for more tips like these on how to run smarter out on the roads.

Run Better. Run Smarter. Run for Life.


Coach Mwangi

5 Comments

CORE STRENGTH FOR RUNNERS - PART 2

4 Comments

CORE STRENGTH FOR RUNNERS - PART 2

CORE STRENGTH FOR RUNNERS: PART 2

Last week we provided an introduction to plank exercises because I believe that planks are one of the best ways to build your core strength and make you a better runner.

I admittedly had to be sold on the idea of planks over some of the other more traditional core exercises but now I use them almost exclusively to develop and maintain my own core strength and the strength of my runners. Some of the many benefits of plank exercises include:

  • Supporting your lower back and hips while running and reducing your chances of injury
  • Improving your posture while running

  • Improving your running economy and efficiency

  • Improving your overall strength and ability to maintain your form in the latter stages of a run or a race

  • Improving mental focus especially under physical fatigue

Planks also target a number of different muscle groups simultaneously, they don’t strain your lower back (as crunches sometimes do) and they don’t take very much time. With planks (and one of the reasons I like them so much) you’re essentially getting a lot of “bang for your buck”.

I’d like to take this time to highlight some of the ways you can modify the traditional plank exercise and make it an even more effective part of your workout routine. If you're just getting started with planks, I suggest attempting the first one or two types of straight-arm planks and doing 10 reps per leg. Then as your strength improves, you can try the rest of the series.

STRAIGHT-ARM PLANK SERIES

This series of planks are a little easier to execute over forearm planks, and they offer a variety of ways to activate your core and supporting muscles.

Forward Plank with Leg Lift

Forward Plank with Alternating Toe Taps

Forward Plank with Knee-to-Elbow

Two-Point Forward Plank

Forward Plank Hip Dips

Side Plank with Leg Lift (or Star Plank if your arm is raised)

Side Plank Thread-The-Needle

Side Plank with Knee Tuck

Reverse Plank with Leg Raise

Reverse Plank with Alternating Toe Taps

FOREARM PLANK SERIES

This series of planks are a little bit tougher to execute because they recruit your muscles faster, but they share a lot of the same movements as the straight-arm planks. See if you can challenge yourself!

Forearm Plank with Leg Lift

Forearm Plank with Alternating Toe Taps

Forearm Plank with Hip Dips

Forearm Plank with Knee-to-Elbow

Forearm Side Plank with Leg Lift

Forearm Side Plank with Knee Tuck

Forearm Reverse Plank with Leg Lift

Forearm Reverse Plank with Toe Taps

For a demonstration of all of these movements, check out my plank series videos on YouTube:

Straight-Arm Planks demo video

Forearm Planks demo video

Coach Mwangi is a USATF-Certified running coach and competitive runner. He is the former head coach at Rhode Runner and he has coached a wide range of athletes from milers to marathoners. He has has also written about a wide range of topics related to running training. He can be reached at coachmwangi@gmail.com.

Run Better. Run Smarter. Run For Life.

Coach Mwangi

 

4 Comments

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER A RUN...AND WHAT CAN YOU DO LATER ON?

4 Comments

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER A RUN...AND WHAT CAN YOU DO LATER ON?

I don’t know why I don’t get this question more often. I do think that a lot of runners ask themselves the question, then probably try to answer it for themselves. Or perhaps they just do what their fellow runners are doing. Nothing wrong with that, if all the little but important things are being done. If there is any guesswork, however, I’d like to take the some of it out of it by covering what you should do right away, and what can wait a little while.

4 Comments

A NUTRITION GUIDE FOR RUNNING TRAINING

7 Comments

A NUTRITION GUIDE FOR RUNNING TRAINING

A NUTRITION GUIDE FOR RUNNING TRAINING


The proper running nutrition should not start on race day. Nor should it start the day of your practice. In order to get the most out of your training, you should approach your nutrition plan with the same attention and care you pay to your running. After all, muscles are torn during practice and fed in the kitchen (thank you Jen Anderson!)

Back in August I wrote this handy guide on what to eat before a run. In the guide I talked about the basic guidelines to keep in mind when planning (and shopping) for your next meal. I wanted to take this conversation one step further and provide some examples of actual meal plans, ripped straight from the Coach’s own food menu. Please keep in mind any pre-existing allergies you may have. Also, these are meant to be mere suggestions; everyone is unique, and different bodies respond to different foods in their own ways.

TRAINING DAY EXAMPLE #1:

Breakfast
- Oatmeal w/fresh fruit, dried fruit or peanut butter mixed in
- Fruit juice
- Banana or watermelon
- Iron supplement

Lunch
- Potatoes or pasta with chicken, beef or fish
- Veggies on the side (avoid ones with a lot of fiber!)
- Dairy or almond milk
- Cookie or brownie (go ahead, treat yourself but don’t go crazy)

Post-run
Energy bar, banana, dried apricots (good source of potassium & iron) and/or a smoothie

Dinner
- A small serving of brown rice, quinoa or couscous
- Beans, chickpeas or lentils
- Side of vegetables (carrots, peas, lettuce, kale)
- Banana, watermelon or yogurt (no simple sugars)

TRAINING DAY EXAMPLE #2:

Breakfast
- Omelette or hard-boiled eggs
- Whole-wheat toast
- Orange juice

Lunch
- Brown rice with beans, corn, lettuce and tomatoes (no meat)
- Fruit juice (orange, grapefruit or apple)

Post-run
Protein smoothie or energy bar with a good amount of protein

Dinner
- Whole wheat pasta or potatoes
- Chicken or fish
- Tomatoes or tomato sauce (with the pasta)
- Broccoli/carrots/leafy greens with the meal or a salad

RACE DAY:

Morning
- Whole wheat toast with fruit spread or PB&J sandwich
- Banana
- Drink water

Post-race
Make sure you have plenty of protein and carbs within 1-2 hours after the race! This is your optimal window for nutrient absorption.

Remember, water is your friend. Keep drinking it and always stay hydrated!!

Run Better. Run Smarter. Run For Life.

Coach Mwangi

Coach Mwangi is a USATF-Certified running coach and competitive runner. He is the former head coach at Rhode Runner and he has coached a wide range of athletes from milers to marathoners. He has has also written about a wide range of topics related to running training. He can be reached at coachmwangi@gmail.com.

7 Comments

STATIC STRETCHES FOR AFTER YOUR RUN

Comment

STATIC STRETCHES FOR AFTER YOUR RUN

Now that we’re all pros at doing dynamic warm-up stretches before we go out for our runs, I wanted to take some time to explain how to perform static stretches after your runs. You'll recognize some of these because we do them every week. Doing these stretches can ensure that you not only stay flexible, it can also help you lengthen some of those troublesome tendons (like the Achilles tendon) and connective tissue (like the IT band) to prevent those nagging injuries that are all too common in running.

Comment

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO (AGAIN) IMMEDIATELY BEFORE A RUN?

2 Comments

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO (AGAIN) IMMEDIATELY BEFORE A RUN?

What a great question!


Now more than ever I want to stress a few things that you should all be keeping in mind while you are on this running journey toward your first 5K. Things that have worked well for me as well as for my athletes. I make it a point to only prescribe things that I have personally tried, whether it’s training methods or nutrition, or even footwear and apparel, so rest assured that whatever I recommend has been tried and tested.
 

2 Comments

Tart Cherry Juice?

2 Comments

Tart Cherry Juice?

RHODE RUNNER

Quick Tips - Tart Cherry Juice

1. Recover Quicker - "Dr Glyn Howatson, exercise physiologist and Laboratory Director in the School of Psychology and Sports Sciences at Northumbria University, examined the properties of Montmorency cherries in a study that found that athletes who drank the juice recovered faster after Marathon running than a placebo controlled group." -Sciencedaily.com

2. Joint Pain - “Some scientific evidence does suggest that drinking cherry juice or eating tart (pie) cherries in season can help relieve muscle pain, arthritis pain and the pain of gout as well as - or better than - aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs. The anthocyanins that give tart cherries their color are likely responsible for their anti-inflammatory, pain-killing effect” - dr.weil.com

3. Sleep Better - "Researchers from Louisiana State University had seven older adults with insomnia drink eight ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks, followed by two weeks of no juice, and then two more weeks of drinking a placebo beverage. Compared to the placebo, drinking the cherry juice resulted in an average of 84 more minutes of sleep time each night." - Prevention.com

2 Comments

STRENGTH-TRAINING FOR RUNNERS 101

Comment

STRENGTH-TRAINING FOR RUNNERS 101

Running is a sport that gives back exactly what you put into it, and that’s what makes it such a fair sport. The more you run, the better a runner you become, it’s that equitable. Every step that you take is a step toward building you into a stronger and more resilient runner, but your progress doesn’t have to be limited to what you do out on the roads. A lot of your running strength can be developed in the gym or by engaging in various forms of strength training designed to improve your running mechanics and those muscles and joints that support you.

Comment

RULES OF THE RHODE FOR RUNNERS

2 Comments

RULES OF THE RHODE FOR RUNNERS

I’ve been on a George Sheehan binge lately, but how could you not be? He was an accomplished athlete, a best-selling author and an inspiration to an entire generation of runners! If you haven’t heard of him, then please look him up! He wrote eight best-selling books and hundreds of magazine columns, revealing his unique ways of thinking about running and his passion for the sport.


For this week’s Corner, I decided to pay tribute to the man and to honor some of his amazing work. He once wrote about the ‘Tried and True Rules’ of the road for runners, a guide for all of us on maintaining good running habits as we go about our lives. It’s like you’re listening to your very wise running grandfather, imparting his wisdom to you. Read on and enjoy!

2 Comments

HOW TO COPE MENTALLY WITH AN INJURY

6 Comments

HOW TO COPE MENTALLY WITH AN INJURY

As runners there are three words we never want to hear, “No more running.” It’s tough news to digest and especially if you are just starting to find your stride or you have a racing coming up. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the sport and they happen to many of us but as you go through your own abbreviated version of the Kübler-Ross stages of grief - denial, anger and acceptance - here are a few things to keep in mind and help you cope mentally with being injured.

6 Comments

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR INJURY PREVENTION

2 Comments

ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR INJURY PREVENTION

Nobody likes to be injured. It stinks! It takes time away from your running, it’s full of uncertainty, and it can be discouraging. Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to limit your risk of getting injured.

2 Comments

BE SAFE AND BE SEEN: ESSENTIAL GEAR FOR RUNNING AT NIGHT

Comment

BE SAFE AND BE SEEN: ESSENTIAL GEAR FOR RUNNING AT NIGHT

Why do we run at night? Well, for one we love Rhode Runner group runs. We also sometimes have no other option because of work commitments, or it may be the only time when our friends are available. Running at night can also be calming and meditative, and perhaps we run at night because we just can’t stand the treadmill.

Comment