How does stopping mid-run impact your training?

Start… Stop… Start… Stop. Something that I discuss with runners often is making runs continuous for the physiological & mental benefits. When reviewing running logs, we often see runners have breaks in longer runs lasting several minutes. Obviously traffic lights and the occasional bathroom break cannot always be avoided. However, when there are multiple stops prolonged stops during a run, it can cause a decrease benefit.

From a coaches perspective, taking breaks during a run is a part of the mental component of training. If you allow yourself to stop every time you are uncomfortable, then you are training your body to stop. Allowing the body to adapt both physically and mentally is an important part of a training plan. This is not something that is always easy to learn. Many runners don’t always talk about this openly! Just like learning anything new- We must teach the body to continue through & stop less.

This is especially important during long runs and workouts. Remember- the clock does not stop on race day. If you allow yourself to stop in a workout when it is tough, then you are making a mental pattern. In the future you are likely to repeat this pattern in times of distress. Our bodies learn patterns and have incredible muscle memory.

Even from a physiological stand point your body is missing key stress adaptations that are necessary during training for long races. A better alternative to prolonged breaks and stops during a long run or workout is to add walking segments as needed. There is an entire training program based on the run/walk method. It has been highly successful for many people and helped them to reach their goals. Jeff Galloway is a main proponent of this method. It can allow runners to run at a faster pace during the running segment and take walk breaks to bring the HR back down.

When training, the idea is to get your heart rate elevated to a sustained level for a select duration of time. This causes adaptations in the body including but not limited to:

1) increased heart size (the heart is a muscle)
2) increased blood volume (more plasma)
3) greater force of contraction (heart is more efficient)
4) more efficient oxygen transportation

Therefore, if you are not getting your HR into the optimal zone for an extended period of time during training, then you are missing the physiological benefits of training.

A great alternative to stopping is to set a goal time or distance that you will run and even if you slow down with your running pace, continue running until you reach that target, then take a short walking break. With this method you challenge your mental toughness, are able to get a very short break that will not lower your HR back down to resting, yet your body is still able to physiologically and mentally adapt for improved performance.

The key is to keep moving and give yourself opportunities to face mental challenges that you work through to build your mental toughness. Walking during a designated segment it will bring your HR down, but not as as rapidly as a standing rest break, and will lead to greater physiological benefits.. Walk for 30-60 seconds after hitting your target running segment. Then being to run again.

With all this being said, when running you have to make sure to take care of your health. If you feel woozy or lightheaded you should take a break. If you are running through an injury to finish the run, be sure to evaluate the cost and benefits of finishing verses stopping early to prevent additional injury.

If running were easy, everyone would do it…. right? Remember that taking rest breaks may hinder the physiological benefits of the run and may impact your performance on race day. Be smart about breaks during your run. It’s okay if you have to slow down, your body is still adapting and you are sharpening your mental toughness. There is a purpose with every run.

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Preparing for Success- Distance Running

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin

This quote is certainly relevant when it comes to running. A key to success in a long run or big workout is mental and physical preparation. You should approach each workout and long run for what is is; an important step toward your ultimate goal. Would you eat a chili cheese dog the day of a race or stay up to 2am drinking and expect success? I don’t think so. So why would your 20 mile long run be any less important. Or your marathon pace tempo run?

Each element of training is designed to help you toward your goal and to be come a stronger more confident runner. You have to approach each day with success in mind. That means remembering the importance and preparing. These should be guidelines for your entire training cycle.

Steps to physical preparation:

1) Sleeping – make sure to get a good nights sleep. Get into a regular sleeping pattern. Everyone is different but if you need 8 hours try to get into a regular pattern of going to bed at 10pm and waking at 6am.

2) Eating – Get to know your body. Fuel for success. The body is a machine. It runs better on vegetables and fruits than Twinkies and deep fried food. Find what works best for you. What do you need before a morning run? What should you eat at lunch for a evening workout? What sits best for long runs and race days? Are there things that you can avoid that cause GI issues?

3) Supplemental – Do the little things. They take time. But if you just do 10 minutes a day it can save you a lot of discomfort. Get a stretch, roll out, ice if you need to. Take care of your body!

Steps to mental preparation:

1) . Get yourself ready!! If you have a hard Tuesday workout talk yourself into it. Walk through the steps of preparation. Tell yourself why you are doing the things you do on Monday because of the workout on Tuesday. What are you trying to accomplish? Why is the workout important?

2) Hold yourself accountable. You are the one who is out doing the work. If you fail to prepare be honest and assess yourself. There may be outside factors such as the weather that influence a bad workout. But focus on what you can control. What can you do better?

3) Give yourself a break. One bad day isn’t indicative of your training. Don’t throw in the towel. Sometimes bad days happen. You have to get back out there. Those bad days lucky make the victory sweeter. Go through your check list.

4) Enjoy the process!! Have fun. This is huge. That is why you got into it. Not many people start running because they think they can be in the Olympics!! Never forget the many reasons why you run.

5) Believe in yourself! This is huge. As runners we are our own harshest critics. The natural thing to say is, “I suck”. “I can’t do this”. But you can’t get in your own head.

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.” -Henry Ford

So get out there and run!!

Finding your Running Mileage ‘Sweet Spot’

When starting a training plan it is important to determine the correct workload and intensity. Every athlete is different and develops at a different rate. It is important to take into account two things: age vs. training age.

Age is your biological age and developmental status. Everyone develops differently, but it can be assumes that someone who is 12 should not be doing the same workload as someone that is 25. Just like the workload you can handle at 25 will be different from what your body can handle at 65.

The second factor is training age. “Training age” refers to the amount of time you have been running. If you have been running 10 years, then your plan will be different than someone that is just starting or even someone that has been running for 1-2 years.

When creating a training plan, it is important to assess a runner’s training age. Some of the key questions to ask: How long have they been running?  How many days per week? How many miles a week?  Have they taken any prolonged breaks in training?

It is important to your mileage volume at no more than 10% than what you have done in the prior 2-4 weeks. In training, the rule of thumb for increasing weekly mileage is no more than a 10% increase per week. We can’t always increase- cutback weeks are very important in any training block. Cutback or “deloading” should be assigned every 3-6 weeks with a 25-30% reduction in mileage. These weeks help the legs recover from the mileage build.

Mileage Sweet Spot

Everyone has a mileage sweet spot. It is important to find your individual sweet spot. This is your optimal training area. Where you excel without breaking. I like to think of it as walking a tight rope. If you a lean one way you will not be training hard enough and the other way you are overtraining. Either way you are not getting your optimal training for success. It sometimes takes runners 5-7 years to find that sweet spot. If you can run well and see improvements at 30-40 miles a week that is great. Some athletes will need more mileage as they progress in their running career. Elite distance runners run up to 140 miles a week!

Law of diminishing returns: This is the level that work invested is greater than the gains. If you are pushing your body too hard and your muscles never recover fully, your runs will suffer. This can turn into a downward spiral. Signs to watch for: similar pace runs every day, unable to hit workout paces for weeks at a time, nagging fatigue, insomnia, etc.  When athletes get trapped in this cycle of, they are not reaching their full potential.

Many times people have the misconception that more is better. More miles is not always better. Mileage is so individual to each athlete. I have had college runners that could run a 15:00 5k on 30 miles a week with speed session. While others needed to run 90 miles a week to run the same time. The human body is full of variability.

It is important to remember not to measure yourself against anyone else. Just because someone on Instagram can run 80 miles a week does not mean that if YOU do, you will run just like they do. They have a different body, different genetics, different training age. They have put in tons of work.

No one starts out running 50 miles a week and just immediately starts running fast races. It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours to achieve mastery in something. Running is a life long sport. Be patient and slowly build that mileage and find a sweet spot.

Pregnancy Running Weeks 12-15

You can check out running through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy here. 

Week 12:  61.2 miles  

[+6 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

Still battling fatigue and nausea this week. I was surprised to find that I still had some speed. I ran a very short workout 1 mile @ old half marathon pace + .5 mile @ old 10k pace + 2 x .25 mi @ old 5k pace. It felt great to run fast again even though my paces have slowed a lot!

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Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon- 1:38

  • 10 min off my PR (PR- 1:28:10)
  • Moderate effort but conversational/not racing

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Week 13-   58.8 miles

[+6 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

The nausea has been going away, but I am still battling a lot of fatigue. Lots of 8pm bed times and an occasional nap. Still finding the energy for running, but I am finding it is taking my body 3x longer to recover than pre-pregnancy. The longer recovery process has me thinking of reducing my mileage and walking more.

TC 1 Mile- 5:59

-30 seconds off my PR

-85-90% effort- felt okay pushing a little bit for a shorter race

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Week 14- 53.9 miles

[+7 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

Huge increase an energy this week, but the recovery time between runs is getting harder on my body. Instead of pushing body to work harder than before, I am lowering my mileage slightly to allow my body to have enough recovery time. I have been adding in more walking and lifting this week.

Motivation is getting difficult. I am brining my dog on more runs. She helps me stay motivated. It is hard to run alone all the time.

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Fast & Furry 5k- 19:40

  • 75 seconds off my PR
  • My dog pulling me helped increase my pace (only this would have been closer to 21 min)
  • Tempo Effort (75%) 

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Week 15-    51.4 miles

[+7 pounds pre-pregnancy weight]

Another week of high energy, but a bit of a cut back in mileage again for the half on Saturday. Runs were getting harder this week (again). Seems things are feeling less smooth. Pace is dropping significantly. My only goal for the half was to not push myself and to listen to my body.

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-Stillwater Half Marathon- 1:43:55

-16 min slower than half PR (1:28:10)

-Easy effort first 7 miles (8:35-8:10) & progression the last 6 (7:50-7:25)

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Running Form Drills

These drills are designed to train your body to improve running form by breaking down a running stride into smaller parts and focusing on correct form. As the length of the race increases your muscles become tired and your form is more likely to break down. This can lead to injury and decreased performance.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when completing the drills. Try to push off the ground with your toe. Drive your knee up when appropriate. Try to be powerful on these. Keep good body control and envision yourself running. Do each drill for 10-15 yards.

A-Skip :

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Standard skip like grade school. Be powerful. Swing your arms in stride. Start slow and get the motion. Bring your thigh up so that it is parallel to the ground. Get good push off from your toes.

Butt Kicks:

IMG_0870.JPGBring your heel to your back side. Imagine you are running and still drive the knee up in front as you bring your heel toward your behind.

B-Skip:

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Same motion as the A-Skip. But after you bring the knee up, kick your knee straight in front of you. Land back on ball of foot and repeat. Go slow to get the correct motion and form.

Straight Leg Shuffle:

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Fast Claw:

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This is a quick motion where you pop your knee up parallel with your hip. Imagine your foot is clawing at the ground on the way down. Jog for thirty feet every third step quickly drive your leg through a running stride. Take a few jog strides and switch legs.

Carioca with high knee:

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Standing sideways. Bring your trail leg up and over in front of your lead leg. Cross in back and repeat. Keep shoulders facing side. Don’t swing your shoulder or hips back and forth. Keep shoulder fixed. Motion should be from the trail leg hip. Up and over.

High Knees:

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Drive your knee up so that your thigh is parallel to the ground. Quick knee drive.

Running First Trimester

I am officially 12 weeks and 1 day pregnant! I am due on 11/14/2017. My only goal is to stay active during my pregnancy. I used to be inactive, and I was extremely unhealthy. I want to be healthy and have a healthy pregnancy.

Taking things day by day. If tomorrow, I wake up and running doesn’t feel right anymore, I will shut it down and move to biking or walking. One thing I know for sure, I will not be one of those people running a marathon while pregnant. LOL. It’s actually really nice to have no goals or pressure on my running.

PRs before Pregnancy-

5k- 18:36, 10k- 40:02, 1/2- 1:28, full- 3:14

Mileage before Pregnancy- 70 MPW

One of the last workouts I remember doing was 6 x 1 mile hilly repeats. I got faster every mile. I ended with a 6:20 and 6:18. I was in the best shape of my life. I could easily run 6:45-6:55 pace for 6-8 miles during a tempo run. Almost every ‘workout’ I did averaged in the 7:10-ish range for 8-11 miles. I was ready to crush some PRs in the spring… Little did I know…

Week 4- Clueless Bliss

It is very common for me to have a later period when stress hits. In the past, I have been up to 8 days late.  So when Tuesday, March 7th rolled around, and I didn’t get my period, I didn’t even bat an eye. Then March 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th. 4-6 days late was still no biggie. I rationalized that I could not be pregnant because I was running so much. HA!

In fact, on Saturday March 11th, I raced a 19:18 5k unkowningly 4 weeks and 4 days pregnant.

However, as I look back.. I can see something was ‘off’ this week. I was slightly disappointed with my 5k time. I felt that I was in better shape than 19:18. I also felt that I was running with the ‘parking break on’ during the race. I chalked it up to an ‘off day’.

I also did a workout on the treadmill this week. It felt 100x harder than it should have. I hit all my paces, but I just felt very off. Like, I was racing not doing intervals. I had been running all of my workouts outside, so I chalked it up to ‘i’m not used to the hot gym’.

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During all of week 4, I had no idea I was pregnant. I waited over 7 days before I took a pregnancy test. I had never been so shocked in my life when I saw a ‘positive’ result.

Week 5- Complete Shock

The off runs from week 4 was all making sense now. There was this ‘easily winded’ feeling I got just when running at an easy pace.

I spent this week really trying to listen to my body. I completely cut out doing all workouts. I just did not feel comfortable pushing my body ‘that hard’. When I run workouts, I push my body HARD. If you are competitive runner, you know what I mean. I was worried about pushing too hard- it just didn’t feel natural or right at the time. I decided to do 100% of my running was just going off feel every day.

Most days were ‘easy’. Some days I did a progression or slightly harder effort. My old ‘harder effort’ runs were easily 6:55-7:10 pace. Now, they were almost 1 min per mile slower.

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Week 6- “Hey this isn’t so bad” LOL

I was starting to feel back to my old self after the initial shock of finding out.

My running days were mostly easy miles again. No structured workouts of goal paces. Just listening to how my body felt, and I felt surprisingly good this week.

I started inching into pushing the pace just a little to get the blood pumping. To my surprise, my legs still had speed, and it actually felt really good to run fast and give a hard effort sometimes! Things were very different from what I used to do.. No more 6:10 intervals for .5 miles, but I felt good ending a progression run with a 7:00 mile! My breathing was easy, and I felt ‘comfortably hard’.

I also experimented with going ‘further’ this week. I did an 11 mile long run. Stopped at my car for some water. I was more thirsty than normal. Just taking my time.

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Week 7- Legs feeling heavier & fatigue sets in

This week I still was not suffering much fatigue or nausea. One thing I started to notice was the amount of time it took me to ‘warm up’ or get out of the super easy pace range. Some runs I felt like my legs were literally bricks.

My turnover was gone. It took me over 45 min of running to even get down to what used to be my easy pace LOL. It didn’t feel aerobically difficult at all. My legs just felt like the parking break was on. It was a weird sensation that I still have.

Even if I wanted to run fast, I just didn’t have that next gear. I felt my body almost put up a protection mechanism to prevent me from overworking. It felt very natural to slow down the paces. Sometimes it was almost funny.

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Week 8- Nausea & Sleep Spells

The real fun began at the end of week 8. I suddenly could not stand the thought of certain foods. I would eat insanely large quantities of food throughout the day, but I would still get so hungry it made my nauseated. I could no longer even go to the grocery store. I didn’t know what would ‘set me off’ and make me feel sick.

I also would get insane hunger pains after I ran. I made at least 4 stops at McDonalds for some breakfast this week after a run haha #dontjudge I usually eat very well, but this week I had demands to go to Taco Bell or DQ like every day. It was bad.

In addition to my great diet, I also spent a good chunk of time on the couch. I am a very energetic person by nature, so this was very strange for me

I haven’t taken a nap since I was a child, but this week I took 2 naps!! It was the strangest experience.

I felt like my body had been taken over/hijacked!! And it has 😉

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Week 9- Shifting Mindsets

This week was really hard. I felt terrible pretty much every day. Exhausted, lazy, hungry, nauseated. Constantly craving fast food and bagels and donuts. Basically in tears because the thought of my usual favorites like salads and fruits made me want to gag. What was happening to me? I gave in to every craving this week.

My only goal with running was just to be active. If I had to stop and walk or call a run short, I would. I kept the pace really easy for most of my runs. I started to really embrace the whole ‘slowing down’ thing.

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Week 10- LOL this is starting to get obvious

Not only did I feel huge, but it was also starting to become extremely obvious my paces were way off.

This week I started the new approach:

1- stop as often as you want for pictures, porto-potties, trips back to the car for water, walk up a hill, checking your phone. I literally didn’t care at all about anything related to pace or miles or training. My mindset is now just on ‘being active’. This might seem like a super easy shift, but for someone who used to take their running pretty seriously, it’s a big mind shift. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

2- Playing the ‘how slow can I run game’ became a new favorite. The miles sure started to tick by slower, but it was fun to really slow the pace and have literally no pressure. I was able to take in a lot more of my surroundings. I am running the same routes as before, but it feels totally different.

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Week 11- Slowing down but feeling better

It was almost getting to the point where it was comical to be posting my runs. The nausea and fatigue started to go away. The biggest struggle now was lugging around extra weight and fitness not being the same. I started getting asked, “what races are you doing this spring?” all the time. It was hard to not blab!

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Week 12- Finally Telling!

I am signed up for a few fun races which will be nice to run with others and be apart of my traditional summer races in a new way 🙂 Looking forward to no pressure and the changes to come

 

Pace wisely in a long distance races

Pacing is crucial for running long distance races especially racing a half marathon and longer. You must fight the temptation to get caught up in the crowd and get out too fast. Everyone has been there thinking, “I should slow down… but I feel good!”. If you have had a good training cycle you should feel good the first half of a race. Like it is a breeze. Like you could run faster. And you most likely could for a few miles… But for how long?

In a marathon the dreaded ‘wall’ is said to be 20 miles. It has been said that the marathon is two races: a 20 mile race and a 10k race. If you can conserve your energy for the first 20 miles and feel good it can help you really race the last 10k well. If you go out to fast the last 10k can be more of a death march. A point where your legs are not responding and hope that it still looks like you are running or at least shuffling to the finish.

 

Coach Ben Jacobs- 1:08 Half PR

At my best, I ran a smart race starting off around 5:20 pace per mile. I had run one half marathon before as a workout but this was my first race. I ran with only a timex watch and split my own miles. It was a huge field with many talented runners. About half a mile in I was off the pack and on my own. Since I had never run a half I talked myself into running slower and just letting the other pack of runners go ahead of me. It was hard. To be in a race 1 mile and already say “well I am not racing with those people today”. But I told myself this race is for me. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing.

I ran the first five miles averaging low 5:20 pace. I could see people falling off that pack ahead of me, but still I remained within myself. I began to increase the pace slightly as I could see one of my teammates ahead in a small pack. For the next 5 miles or so I ran just under 5:20 pace per mile. I was slowly gaining on that pack but was still a little ways off.

At the 10 mile mark, I was feeling good and increased the pace slightly again. I believed that I could finish stronger than I had ran the first 10 miles. I was able to run my last two miles in near 5:05 pace per mile. It felt great to finish stronger. That is still my half marathon PR.

Like all runners, I have also done races in the opposite way. Hoping for a PR, I have allowed myself to run someone else’s race. I have known that my training was good and went out and ran with the pack hitting the first mile in 5:05. Then maintaining 5:10 pace for the middle miles and running much slower at the end. It is much better to negative split a race and to run your own race without getting caught up in the crowd

Advice for Pacing

I would advise to start out 10-15 second slower than your A goal pace for the marathon. Break it into parts and focus on how your feel. It is far better to feel strong the last few miles and think “man I started to slow” than to crawl the last few miles saying “why did I get so carried away”.

A half marathon or marathon are never easy. If you are a new runner running to finish strong and feeling good is a great goal. If you are trying to improve your time keep in mind it is never easy to run far distances. A lot will depend on the day. But if you have been training smart and run a smart paced race you will have more fun and have a chance to run that PR!!

Pacing Plan Examples:

Half Marathon
Miles 1-4 Marathon goal pace or 10-15 seconds slower than half marathon goal pace
Miles 5-10 Half marathon pace
Miles 11-13.1 See what you have left. Increase pace slowly and smart.

Marathon

Miles 1-5 . Slightly slower than goal pace. 10-15 seconds
Miles 6-10 . Inch pace slightly. 5-10 seconds slower that goal pace
Miles 10-20 Goal pace
Miles 20-23 Maintain pace. Remain calm.
Miles 24-26.1 See what you have. Increase pace slow and smart.
Mile 26.2 . FINISH

Obviously terrain and temperature will play into this.

How to Safely Build Your Mileage

In order to be a better runner The most important thing you must do is RUN!

There are many philosophies out there about how much, how far and how fast you should run in order to improve. Everyone is so different and has different ability levels. Some people will respond better to mileage build while some will respond better to incorporating speed workouts.

Many times people want to get right into training and jump their mileage up thinking that is the way to improve. This can lead to setbacks that can compromise your training in the long run. If you are unable to run for several weeks you will be further behind where you could have been given smart progression.

Progression is key

One variable at a time-  Your body will need time to adapt and you must allow it to recover. When changing a variable in your training it is important to only change one variable at a time. Do not increase mileage, run faster on easy runs and run harder workouts. These are all variables that should be considered independently in order to improve.

The ‘10% rule’ Many times people discuss the 10% rule. People get the idea that it is okay to increase the mileage by up to 10% each week. This is not the intend of that method. The intend is to say do not increase by more than 10%. Any actual increase in mileage should be within the plan and have a point. All training should allow for a cut back week or ‘down week’ every 3-5 weeks to allow the body to recover from the increases.

Consistency is key-  If you have been consistent at 15 miles per week and have been having good workouts it would be a good idea to add a few miles per week. Then you will be taking your training to a new level and your body will have to adapt to that level of training before you can take the next step. Like climbing the stairs. You could skip a step or two. But if may be unwise. And if you skip more than that you are setting yourself up to crash and burn.

If you are a new runner consistency should be your main goal. Start running a few days a week for a few miles a day. After you have mastered that you can add a mile. Keep building slowly.

Don’t Rush the Process Many times runners sign up for a marathon and read that they should be running 20 mile long runs. Your long run should be no more than 30% of your weekly mileage. It takes time to build your mileage to that level. If you do too much too fast it could set you back physically and mentally if you are unable to finish.

Finding a sweet spot If you are an experienced runner you should evaluate your training over the course of several years. Look carefully at when you ran successfully. If you had injuries were you running more mileage at that time? Evaluating several years of training can help you to identify the amount of mileage that you are successful running.

Everyone has their sweet spot for mileage. If you run less you will not maximize your training ability and if you run more you are likely to set yourself up for injury or under performance. It is important to find what works for each individual in order to find optimal training. Many very successful runners need to run lower mileage to stay healthy. When training your ultimate goals should be to stay healthy and make it to the finish line fit and ready to perform your best!

How is your cadence effecting your running efficiency?

Have you heard about Cadence? Cadence has become big talk in the running community with the new technology that has come out in recent years. Many Garmin watches can give you a cadence calculation.

What is Cadence?

Cadence is the amount of steps that you take in a a min. Cadence is typically measured in steps per minute. Cadence and stride length determine how fast a runner is traveling. Stride length is more dependent on your height and body structure. Jack Daniels (famous running coach) made famous the theory that elite runners take 180 steps or more per minute. What often gets forgot is that he said “or more” meaning that there is variability among every person for what the perfect cadence number is.

Why is Cadence Important?

Cadence can give you a general idea of how efficient you are as a runner. If you are closer to 180 it is more likely that you are running optimally whereas if you are closer to 130 it could indicate that you are wasting some energy and could be slowing yourself down.

Low cadence numbers could indicate that you are over striding. Over striding is inefficient. It happens when your leg is landing too far out in front of your body (center of mass) and primarily on your heel. If your foot is way out in front of you you have no choice but to land on your heel. 

If your leg is straight and extended out in front of you when you land it will cause your knee to lock. Think if you were to stand and jump forward as far as you can. Would it be more comfortable to land with your legs straight on the ground or to bend your knees slightly to cushion the blow? This is the same principle with running. If your leg is too far out you can not safely cushion your landing.

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How you can change your Cadence:

Your body learns things through repetition. If you have been running a certain way for years it will not automatically change after a few weeks. You have to train patterns. It takes a constant and thoughtful process to modify the way you run and when your body gets tired form breaks down and runners revert to learned patterns.

If you feel that your cadence is low or needs improving there are several steps that you can perform:

1) General speed work and strides. Doing strides (short quick bursts of running) one to two times a week can help improve your cadence. These will train your body to run faster and more efficiently. When you run faster your body has to pick up the cadence.

2) Bounding: Bounding is a drill that can help improve lower leg strength and stability. It also helps to mimic the running form. You want to drive off of your right leg forward and bring your left knee up to a 90 degree angle. Try to hang in the air for close to 1 second. Then land on the ball of your left foot with your knee bent to cushion the landing. Push off your left foot and repeat. Make sure to bring the knee to 90 degrees each time.

3) Mirror Running: You can also work on cadence visually by running in place in front of a mirror for a minute. Count each step on one leg. Try to land with knee bent. Since you are not moving you won’t be over striding and can focus on landing softly.

4) Mirror Plyometrics: In front of a mirror you can do double and single leg line jumps. Work on landing softly with knee slightly bent to cushion the blow . It should not be jarring your whole body. Very soft. This is for learning landing technique not building power.

5) Ladder or fast feet drills: Not only for sprinter these can help you to get mentally and physically training to get your foot back to the ground quicker. As a runner you want less hang time and more ground time. If you don’t have a ladder you can just to short quick feet strides or over and back line drills to get the motion down.

Monitoring Cadence in the future for success:

After doing some of these drills you can try to monitor your cadence on an easy run. If you have a metronome that can be set to 90 beats per minute you can do a portion of your run trying to make ground contact on each beep. If not just pick 1 minute segments and count your right leg every stride. See how close you are to 90 steps. Run a few more minutes and repeat. Make sure not to do it for an entire run to avoid overuse.

As with so many things Cadence could be a useful data in running. Make sure not to get carried away with worrying about your cadence. Don’t stress over being at a perfect 180. Everyone is different and different factors will contribute to cadence and running economy. As with anything make sure that you ease into trying something new. Changing your stride even a little will work different muscle fibers and can cause stress to the body. Don’t try to change al at once. Gradual progression is the best way to avoid injury. If you are a person that has had lower leg injuries you should consult with your physical therapist or specialist to determine if cadence monitoring is right for you.

Core Work For Runners

Your core is one of the most important things you can strengthen as a runner. It helps with stability, posture and balance.

Your core is what keeps you upright when you are running. Towards the end of a run, when you are extremely fatigued, your form begins to suffer.

Poor form not only slows you down, it also opens you up to potential injuries.

And we don’t want that to happen

Do core work 3-5 times per week to develop a strong core. We will share with you some of our most effective core work in this video