Archive for January, 2018

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Posted: January 3, 2018 in Uncategorized

practice makes perfect

I have never heard a runner mention they were going to practice.  But practicing proper running technique will improve your running economy and minimize the risk of injury.

Perfect practice literally begins with the first step.  The first mile should be at least 60 seconds slower than you expect to average for the remaining miles.  This accomplishes two important things, it allows your body to gradually warm up and helps to establish a rhythm of efficiency.

This is the checklist for proper and efficient running:

  • Keep your chin up and your head balanced over your shoulders
  • Shoulders should be relaxed, down and back
  • Hands should be relaxed (imagine holding fluttering butterflies) and kept close to your torso without crossing your midline
  • Land with a slight bend in your knees to help distribute force
  • Focus on running with the highest possible cadence with short strides and quick landings (imagine running through puddles and keeping the splash to a minimum)
  • Establish a pattern of rhythmic and relaxed breathing
  • Lean slightly forward from your ankles
  • Maintain a positive attitude throughout and manage the ‘demons of doubt’

Taking a brief (30-60 second) walk break at the conclusion of each mile allows you to sustain perfect form throughout each run.  I never complete a run without taking regular walk breaks.  I manage my runs in 1 mile segments.  Rather than completing a 10 mile run, I run ten 1 mile segments.  This is mentally and physically beneficial.  When you run a sustained effort it’s very likely that your form will diminish considerably, placing you at greater risk of injury.

Aside from focusing on improving your running form and efficiency, you should also try to improve your mobility, balance and core strength.  The latter miles of the marathon will be far more manageable when your form is perfect; having a strong chassis will be central to this effort.

The sooner you establish a habit of ‘perfect practice’ and focus on running in the moment (abiding by the aforementioned proper and efficient running checklist), the quicker your running will improve and realize your running potential!

New Beginnings

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

New Beginnings

The first day of each new year provides the promise of a new beginning.  It’s an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and improve the areas where you may have come up short and to set new goals.

With respect to fitness goals, consistency and moderation reign supreme.  This isn’t a challenge for those who has been living an active and healthy lifestyle.  But gyms throughout the world are filled with people who are ‘finally’ going to make major changes after years of neglect.  This group will likely be back to their bad habits within 30 days because they have done far too much too soon and have become sore, discouraged or injured.

Listening closely to how your body responds to any new activity is extremely important.  An effective guideline is to not have two consecutive high intensity days.  HIIT (high intensity interval training) has gained popularity recently but it should be tempered with low intensity or active recovery workouts.  Developing a habit of taking your resting heart rate each morning provides the best feedback to how you are responding to your workout regiment.  It typically takes 7-10 days to determine your average resting heart rate that will serve as your baseline for determining the most effective approach to your training.  A well-timed and much-needed rest day is as important as a great workout!

The areas offering the greatest opportunity for improvement are nutrition, hydration, running form and efficiency, post-workout recovery, sleep and stress management.  I recommend rating on a scale of 1-10 (10 being perfect) each of these areas to effectively manage your time.  Most runners focus on the act of running at the neglect of the other areas and their performance ultimately suffers the possibility of burnout or injury increases.

Take your time and establish a solid foundation of health, wellness and fitness by being consistent and moderate in your approach. Setting realistic goals and recovering quickly from setbacks are important to staying motivated and progessing to your ultimate goal.

I hope your New Year is filled with great health, adventure and inspiration!