At this stage of our training I’ve identified some of the most frequently asked questions from runners I coach:
1. Is it beneficial to stretch prior to running? I have always preferred to run the first mile of every run at least 2 minutes per mile slower than I expect to average for the balance of the run. I don’t think stretching a cold muscle is beneficial so, unless you have time to walk or ride a stationary bike prior to running to warm your muscles, I recommend running slower the first few miles. However, dynamic stretching is a viable compromise. This series of stretches uses controlled movements to gradually loosen up the muscles and elevate your heart rate. I recommend targeting the muscles that are most utilized during running (e.g., hamstrings, calves, glutes, and abs).
2. How do I maximize my training time? Having a focus for every run will ensure you maximize your training effort. The majority of miles for most runners fall into the category of junk miles. Too many runners subscribe to the philosophy that more is better so they become obsessed with the number of total miles run rather than the effort invested in each mile. Variety with respect to distance, pace and terrain are also important factors in maximizing training time. Runners would benefit far more from an extra day of rest following a more challenging run than simply running the same pace and distance most of the time. You have to test your body to improve your conditioning.
3. What should I eat prior to and after a run? I prefer to eat a small meal comprised of simple and complex carbohydrates (300-500 calories) approximately an hour before my long run. Some of my preferences include oatmeal with raisins and skim milk, bagel with peanut butter and a banana. Surprisingly, I wouldn’t hesitate to have the same foods after a run but I try to achieve a ratio of 1 gram of protein to 3 grams of carbohydrates in my post-run meal. I would add chocolate milk because it’s the best post-run drink followed closely by pickle juice…it’s true. I also like to have a smoothie after a long run. Lori makes the best Bananarama which includes yogurt, ice, peanut butter and bananas…perfect!
More to come…