It’s not unusual for coaches of beginner runners to disregard form in lieu of total emphasis on building endurance. I believe the opposite is the far better, more effective route. [Read more…]
You need a plan.
You wouldn’t set out on a road trip without a map because the chances of arriving at your destination, assuming you hadn’t been there before, would be zero. There are far too many possibilities and far too many possible directions. [Read more…]
No matter who you are or what your situation, there will be times when, try as you might, the end of the day rolls around, and it starts to look like you won’t have time to get in your workout. Has that happened to you?
It’s a sad feeling, not terrible, but it’s not the way you want to end your day. It’s just one reason why running early in the morning makes sense, if you can swing it, because then, if something interferes, you still have options. Maybe it means you go out and run on your lunch hour or maybe on your afternoon coffee break or, hopefully, you have some flexibility in your afternoon time, but all that is really beside the point of this podcast. This episode provides you with a safety net for those days when, no matter what, no matter the reason, you just weren’t able to get out and run.
In such cases, BAT workouts provide mental reasurance because you know a BAT workout will prevent any loss in fitness. BAT workouts are your running training safety net.
Now, what does this have to do with Halloween? Nothing, except that when I was about to record this episode, I got to thinking that bats and Halloween go together; I’ve always called them BAT workouts, which stands for best alternative training, but it was just a coincidence that I recorded this episode the week before Halloween.
By alternative training I mean alternative to actually going outside to do your planned workout. This BAT workout will keep your fitness from sliding backwards. Even if your schedule – and your daily life – results in you only having time to run on two weekdays, if you do this workout on the other days, you’ll be fine. You can still continue to improve your running fitness with just those two running workouts and your two weekend workouts. So, these BAT workouts can be critical.
Two great things about this workout:
- It’s completely customizable. Once you understand the structure, you can swap out exercises or change the time frames.
- It can be a complement to your running. Feel free to add in one or two BAT workouts per week. BAT workouts don’t have to be just alternatives for days when you don’t have time to run.
If you’re running a 5k on up to a half marathon, hydration matters, but it’s not terribly tricky. The focus should be on making sure you consume enough fluids to prevent dehydration,but if you’re out there for several hours – or a lot more – you need to be even more concerned about avoiding over hydration, also known as hyponatremia. Hence the Goldilocks Principle. [Read more…]
Of all the great pleasures of running, time spent with other runners is one of the greatest. You can’t have too many running friends, and running with them makes every mile a whole new and different experience. You’ll make friends for life, and during all those miles, you’ll discuss every comceivable topic, solve the world’s probems and each others. You’ll run more because you want to hang out with your friends, and a bad run will always become a much better run when you have friends by your side.
While belonging to a running group is helpful to eperienced runners, it’ exponentially more beneficial to new runners, beginner runners who need motivation and support, but beginner runners often feel intimidated, worrying that they won’t be welcome, won’t be able to keep up, or won’t be able to run far enough, all valid concerns.
In this podcast, I address questions submitted by the beginner runners in my Mojo for Running Coaching Program regarding those exact concerns and many more. I hope that after giving this podcast a listen, you’ll feel like you’re ready to find a club and become involved.Stitcher Radio
This is the fourth in a series of podcasts about cross-training. If you haven’t already done so, please check out MFR 108, Cross-Training Basics, MFR 109, Swimming as Cross-Training for Runners and MFR 110, Cycling as Cross-Training for Running.
You may count your steps every day if you have a fitness tracker, but have you ever counted how many times you stepped up? You get extra credit from me for every ascending and descending step because it does your body good, a lot of good.
This, the fourth and final podcast in the cross-training series focuses on stair-climbing. You probably think there’s not much to this topic, but you’ll be surprised. Stair-climbing is excellent cross-training for runners. Whether you do it to replace a running workout or as a supplemental one, you’ll soon be running faster and stronger. Your muscles will be stronger, you’ll have a higher lactate threshhold, and a better VO2 max, but that is just the start.
Stair-climbing offers many benefits, and I explain them all. Now, listen to this episode and then go climb some stairs.
Watch your step, but if you do fall, do so, fabulously.
Every journey begins with a single step.
Life is too short to climb stairs one at a time.
Never look backwards or you’ll fall down the stairs.
Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
You can’t climb to the top if you don’t start at the bottom.
There is no elevator to success; you have to take the stairs.
Which step have you reached today? I won’t do it. I can’t do it. I want to do it. How do I do it? I’ll try to do it. I can do it. I will do it. Yes, I did it!
Hard work is like stairs and luck is like a lift; sometimes the lift may fail
but stairs will always take you to the top – Titu Ghatourey
“Why Stair-Climbing is Good for Runners” by Matthew Solan, 1/22/14
“Benefits of Taking the Stairs,” Duke Human ResourcesStitcher Radio
Everybody knows it’s important to warmup before any exercise, right? But the question is: “Do you? Do you warmup before your races?” I have a whole podcast that goes into the details; it’s Mojo for Running Podcast Episode #94, Warming Up Before Your Race. You really need to warmup before any run unless you plan to just do the first couple of miles at warmup pace, which is okay when you’re headed out for an easy run, but if you want to race, I mean really race, seriously, like I mean for a PR, then you must do a thorough warmup ahead of time. Below, I’ve llisted the five main benefits of warming up appropriately on race day.
Reasons Runners Should Warmup
- You’ll feel more comfortable during the first miles of the race.
- Warming up is the ideal opportunity for mental preparation for the race.
- You can start out faster because you won’t need to warmup during the race.
- A good warmup will go a long way toward avoiding injury.
- You’ll be much less likely to get a side stitch. (cramp in your diaphragm area)
Make this part of your pre-race ritual. It’s that important. Heck, it may just be the most important thing you do on race morning besides pinning on that bib. They say it takes 21 successive times performing the same act to make it a habit. So, starting with your next race, do a great warmup, and then do it for the next 20 races. By then, I guarantee, you’ll not only have created a habit, but you’ll also have realized the value because you will have notched quite a few more PR’s along the way.
Let’s assume you regularly do the 5-Point Running Form Check explained in that blog post. That’s great, but if you discover that your form isn’t perfect – and whose form is perfect – then you may be wondering if there is a way to target different elements of your form to improve because, of course, the goal is to run with good form all the time, even when you’re not concentrating on it.
Well, that’s the whole idea of running drills. As a rule, they exaggerate some movement. I encourage you to check out Mojo for Running Podcast Episode #90: Running Drills.
Benefits of Running Form Drills
- It strengthens the necessary muscles to make that movement easier and more natural.
- It trains the body in that motion/movement.
- It gives you a chance to mentally focus on that movement pattern.
A quick YouTube search will reveal, easily, 30 different running drills. So, any time you want to add to your repertoire, that’s a good place to go. Sometimes different coaches will have different names for the same drill, but you’ll get the idea. I have my favorites, and I’ve made up a few of my own that have really been successful with my runners over the years.
Running Form Drills
- Streetlight form check drill: Find a street with street lights, and use them to determine running segments. For the first mile of your run, stop at every street light and do a head to toe form check. Then run in place for ten steps, focusing on perfect form, before resuming running.
- Airborne drill: We’ve all played with helium-filled balloons. Run as if your body is a small helium balloon, and you want to keep your weight to ever come to rest on a foot when it’s on the ground. You only touch the ground briefly, just to keep your bodyweight in the air. Concentrate on avoiding sinking into your steps. This visualization will help you to be light on your feet.
- Beauty and the beast drill: Run five steps, heavily, loudly. Then run ten steps soundlessly. Repeat several times.
- Isolated arm drill: Without moving your legs, pump your arms as if running. Do this to a 180 beat per minute cadence. Pull your arms back from the elbow. So, you’re only pumping them back and letting each arm swing naturally, forward, as the opposite arm pumps back. Your legs will do what your arms do when you run, but it’s difficult to focus on your arms and legs at the same time. This drill allows you to focus on your arms.
Give those a try and when you get tired of those, just go to YouTube and you’ll find an endless supply to always keep your running form training fresh and fun.
How often do you think about your form when you’re running? How often do you do a running form check?
Well, I understand that. Running becomes so comfortable, that we just do it. It becomes as natural as walking, and how often to we think about our running form? Running form has major consequences, though; so, we should do our best to focus on it for at least a few moments every time we run and maybe even to devote a whole workout to it every week or so. It’s a particularly good focus for a recovery run.
Here is a handy checklist. It breaks down form into just five points, making it quick to do a self check.
5-Point Head to Toe Running Form Checklist:
- Hold your head high as if there was a string attached to the top, keep chin back, and look ahead.
- Relax your shoulders, keeping them low and back, opening up your chest, with arms swinging freely.
- Hold arms in a 90-degree angle, pulling back from the elbow, then allowing them to swing forward, making sure arms swing only backwards and forwards, not sideways, never letting them cross the midline of chest.
- Hands should be in loose, relaxed fits with thumb on top.
- Lean forward very slightly from the ankles but not bending at the waist.
That’s it! Simple and quick, but oh so important! Check out Mojo for Running Podcast Episode #26, Running Form.