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.
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.
Getting out the door can be the hardest part of running or walking. Coach Mwangi put together 10 awesome ways to motivate yourself to get moving this Spring. Check them out!
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
This week I wanted to take a few minutes to get a little personal with you.
Winter training isn’t only about preparing for a spring marathon. These tips can be applied to any training that you’re doing right now.
Yoga can be highly transformative and can challenge you in new and unexpected ways. As runners, we sometimes need to break out of our one-dimensional routines in order to gain an edge, and the practice of yoga can be just what we need to give us that edge.
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.
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!
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.
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.
It’s one of those all-too important ingredients in the science of running training. No matter which day of the week you do it, the long run should be an essential part of your weekly training plan.
Running is a science, it really is, and every run has a purpose. The way your body responds to a run is directly proportional to the pace and effort of that run.
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.
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE TREADMILL AND USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
It’s not always fun to use, but a treadmill could very well keep you on track this winter. There’s a reason treadmill classes like Mile High and Heartbreak Studio are so popular. A treadmill not only gives you a chance to run when the weather is bad, it also allows you to hit your workout paces and times precisely. As much as we may dislike them, treadmills (or "dreadmills" as they’re sometimes affectionately known) take all the guesswork and uncertainty out of the equation when it comes to training.
You may have already found yourself on one of them this year. Or perhaps you’re getting ready to do your first run on one, or even your first workout. In addition to their convenience and precision, there are many ways to use treadmills in your everyday running training; easy runs, tempo runs, interval workouts, even long runs can all be done on a treadmill. Just ask our store manager Pat Moulton!
When running on a treadmill, there are a few important things to consider. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your treadmill running experience:
Set the right incline.
If the treadmill is set at a 0% incline, running on it becomes less of an effort than running on a flat road at the same pace. Essentially meaning that the treadmill is helping you along and while that seems like a good thing, it’s really not. I recommend running on at least a 1% incline no matter what type of run it is. There are various ways to adjust the incline and speed of a treadmill in order to mimic the effort required to run a certain pace outdoors on a level surface. This handy chart illustrates that very well.
Learn the controls.
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the various controls in front of you, before you start your run. Although treadmills pretty much look the same, they vary by manufacturer and some have more options or “bells and whistles” than others. Learn which controls you need, and how to use them BEFORE you get on, and eliminate this from becoming a distraction during your run.
Be aware of time limits.
Some treadmills automatically stop after a certain time has elapsed, for example 60 minutes in. This is meant to encourage you to get off so that someone else can get on, but it can also break your rhythm and interfere with your run. Be aware of it, or ask a staff member what to expect before you start.
Plan your workout ahead of time.
There are a variety of workouts you can do on a treadmill, and some machines even allow you to input your entire workout before you begin. This can be very convenient, but at the very least, write down your workout and bring it with you. It’s also a good idea to keep a stopwatch handy in case you need to measure any rest time in between intervals.
Be aware of people waiting to use it.
This goes a long way toward proper gym etiquette. Look for posted signs limiting the time on each machine, or look around to see if anyone is waiting. Or better yet, choose a time when the gym is relatively empty and go for as long as you like.
It’s true, we all hate the treadmill, but if for whatever reason (time of day, weather etc.) it’s the only option, then it’s the way to go. Make friends with the treadmill this winter. It could be your best training partner yet!
Run better. Run smarter. Run for life.
How often have you said to yourself, “If only I knew how to train properly!”
How often have you wondered just how good you can be at running, or whether you could be any good at all?
Working with a running coach is often the link between casual enjoyment of the sport and being able to perform at a higher level, while overcoming those obstacles that have been holding you back!
As our season of racing begins to wind down, you may find yourself looking back at the year and evaluating how you did with your running. You may even find yourself setting some new goals, and thinking about all of the tools available to you and how they can help you get to the next level. One of the best tools you have could very well be the one strapped around your wrist.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT RUNNING
(As seen through the eyes of a 9 year-old)
This is a transcription of a book about running, written by 9 year-old Margo D’Arcy. Yes, Margo is one of Mary’s two daughters and someone whom, much like her mom, was born with a gift for running! For this Coach’s Corner I wanted to share this book with you all because Margo is also a true ambassador for the sport. Take a look at how a 9 year-old views this great sport of ours and how she breaks it all down for us.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT…RUNNING!
By Margo D’Arcy
Have you been dying to learn about running? If you have, this is the book for you. This book includes: details, info and facts. This book is for anyone who wants to learn about running. Running is a fun way to exercise. I bet you’ll learn a lot. So get reading!
CHAPTER 1: EQUIPMENT
When you start running you are going to need gear. Here are some types of gear. Water bottle belts are useful. Water bottle belts are running belts that have pockets with little water bottles that fit inside.
When you buy running shoes (hence running shoes!) you want running shoes, not cleats nor basketball shoes, you want running sneakers. You don’t want basketball shoes because you will roll your ankle. Same with cleats.
Instead of wearing tight fitting clothes you should wear stretchy clothes not stiff. You should wear stretchy clothes because you won’t be able to run in stiff tight clothes.
If you have long hair you will need to use hair ties. You’ll need hair ties because if your hair flops in your eyes you won’t be able to see where you’re running.
You probably are thinking, “Where do I get all this stuff?” I have the answer. Sport stores! I will list some stores: Sports Authority (she wrote this before they went broke), Runner’s World (it would be a cool name for a running store!) and Dick’s Sporting Goods. You can also get these things at Rhode Runner!!! (I swear I didn’t ask her to write that). That is all the equipment you need. Run Free!
CHAPTER 2: GETTING READY FOR A RACE
If you’ve been waiting to learn about what you do when getting ready for a race this is the chapter for you. Let’s get down to business! What do I eat before a race? Have you ever heard of carbo loading? If not I’ll tell you! Carbo loading means eating nutritiouse [sic] foods before a race, because if you eat and drink sugar foods you will get hyper. You don’t want to get hyper because you will have a sugar crash. A sugar crash is when you feel energetic but you are wasting energy. After a teensy bit you feel tired, weighed down and you won’t meet your goal.
Here are some nutritiouse [sic] foods you could eat: oatmeal, spagettie [sic], rice, whole grains, fruit and veggies. Did I mention that you eat all of this a day before your race? Don’t eat it right before your race or you will get a cramp. If you stretch before your race your legs won’t be stiff.
CHAPTER 3: HOW RUNNING BENEFITS YOU
Running is a great skill. Running is just like any other exercise. Runners build strong leg muscles by running hard and exercising. Did you know that running is an Olympic sport? It is! Running can benefit you in different ways. At most races you get a medal if you finish or win. Running is hard but once you get the hang of it it’s easy.
CHAPTER 4: RACING HARD
When you’re running hard you’re probably trying to beat someone. Someone you’re trying to beat is called a competitor. To beat your competitor you’ll need these tips:
Start off slow if you’re running a long distance because soon your competitor will get tired and slow down. This is your chance to get ahead of your competitor, strive to meet your goal and finish.
You run ahead of your competitor. He/she charges to get in front of you but fails. You look back, your competitor’s face is beet red. You turn the corner...surprise! You see the finish line. You run your heart out. Yay! You’ve won!
Thank you for reading this book. I hope your next race is successful!
Nutrisouse [sic]: Nutritious food are good for your health.
- Competitor: Someone you’re competing against.
As you can see, the questions we have about running and the way we look at our wonderful sport is not all that different from the way a 9 yr. old would look at it. It can be a complicated sport, but at the very root of it, our sport is simple. As Margo says, "running is hard but once you get the hang of it it’s easy.”
Well done, Margo, well done!!!
About the Author:
THE IMPORTANCE OF SETTING MULTIPLE GOALS FOR YOUR RACE
Yesterday I had a chance to race in another local 5K. This was my 3rd 5K of the year but also my most uncertain one given my preparation (or lack thereof) and it got me thinking more about the importance of having multiple race goals.
You may remember that a little while ago, I wrote about the importance of setting SMART running goals and while setting these longer-term goals, asking yourself how your running has been going lately (point #1 in the article) and being brutally honest with yourself. The same can be said for the weeks and even days leading up to a race. We sometimes get so fixated on a particular goal that we ignore any signs to the contrary. I believe in psychologists call this confirmation bias. The tendency to look for information that supports a belief (or goal) and to ignore or reject any information that opposes it. If you ask yourself how your running has been going lately, you can usually zero in on a few key indicators, then adjust your race goal based on this information. Some of these indicators may be:
How your speed workouts have gone
Have you been able to hit your workout targets consistently and have they felt appropriately hard/comfortable? Workouts (speed work, tempo runs, progression runs, fartleks, etc) are usually the best indicators of your fitness level, although they alone don’t tell the full story. It also depends on the quality of your recovery and the overall volume of running, that is, your weekly mileage.
How well you’ve been able to recover
How much recovery time have you had in between workouts and has it been quality recovery? There are a few ways to determine if you’re getting the recovery you need - the way your body feels when you foam roll, the way the next successive workout feels, the amount of sleep you get per night - these can all be indicators of the quality of your recovery.
How much mental fatigue you’ve had
Believe it or not, mental stress can be just as draining as physical stress but it may not be as easy to identify. Take stock of how much mental fatigue you may be going through, and how it’s affecting your energy level and your running.
Whether you’re dealing with any injuries
As runners we’re always dealing with a nagging little injury but the real concern should be if anything is serious enough to require backing off of your training. This can (and should) influence the ultimate race goal.
What your legs feel like the day before the race
Are your legs fatigued or do they develop fatigue quickly when you walk up a flight of stairs? This “stair test” is usually one of my favorite indicators of the condition of my legs before a race. You can also tell by foam rolling your muscles. Do they feel sore when you foam roll them the day before the race? This can be a very telling sign.
Some of the other factors that can be identified early on and alter your race goals are the weather forecast, the time of day the race starts (evening races may present a different challenge than morning races) and even the level of competition you may be facing (will there be people to push/pull you to a fast time?).
So what exactly does it mean to set multiple race goals and what should they be?
Your A Goal
This should be aggressive but measured. It should be the goal you’ve been targeting in all of your workouts. You can look at it as “aiming for the moon”.
Your B Goal
This should be a few seconds slower per mile than your A goal. It’s usually a cautious and very realistic goal (translating into a higher chance of success) but it should also be satisfactory to you. You can look at it as “missing the moon but landing among the stars”. Still a good outcome!
Your C goal:
This should be even slower than your B goal and it usually has the highest chance of success. Your C goal time is more of a benchmark time, to build on, rather than a breakout race time.
Setting multiple race goals is important and every race should be approached this way. Your running training should be fluid and should be able to accommodate a few different outcomes.
Train better. Train smarter. Train for life.