Monday, February 8, 2016

Ramp up your Run for 2016!

I love to run and running is what brought me to endurance sports and triathlon.  Years ago I started doing triathlons because I loved a challenge. I was never a runner who got hurt and then turned to triathlon. I was a college volleyball player who loved to run.  For a long time I did way more triathlons, than running events.  For a while I was strongest at running, then for some time strongest at biking, and for a while I was a true triathlete.  I was never the strongest at swimming, but did have a few years when I was working hard at swimming I could hang in the in the middle of the main pack. I haven't stared at the black line in 2 years!

Don't get me wrong I still love to ride my bike, and push the pedals hard. More often than not these days, I love riding off road and on CX courses way more than in aero.
riding outside in Jan !

 But I have always loved to run. I love going to the track, the trails, the hills.   Lately I've loved running more than ever.  It fits into my life right now the best. A pair of good shoes, the right layer workout clothes,  a good workout, and a little time is all you need.  Often I run with music, sometimes in pure silence.  I love to push and challenge myself by going fast, or long or over a challenging course. I love being outside and exploring new trails. I love being healthy, sweating on the treadmill sucking air with my heart pounding, and I love just cruising with Zoey through the forest preserves.

 Running helps keep me sane during the most insane and crazy days. I love to run and feeling younger than my age. I love to run because I can. 
My favorite 2015 run/ ColoradoRun!

Ownder and founder of Betty Designs Kristin Mayer shares why she loves to run in this Kristin 's badass video

Why do you run?
Run Free
Do you have some 2016 running goals?….
to be faster, more efficient, less painful, free of injury,
to qualify, PR or beat your friend in a race?
I work every day helping people return to daily life following injury, athletes return to sport, and helping runners make to to the starting line stronger, efficient, and injury free. I could give a 3 day seminar on running mechanics, strength, flexibility and all that goes into smart running. I teach and preach these all the time to my patients, athletes and clients I work with. Here are just a few of my running essentials for 2016

1. A plan/goal: a goal with a proper plan to get there is crucial to smart running. Random acts of intense training, rapid build ups, jumping into to friends/ group workouts can lead to overtraining, injury, and poor performance. Having a goal motivates me to work harder, stay focused and get out the door when its nasty. Find a training plan tailored to your needs, a coach, or mentor that can help guide you safely to a successful finish. 

2. Strength: I'm amazed to find how weak runners can be in their core. (I confess, its even been me at times and I know better) Weakness in the trunk, core and glutes can and will most likely lead to injury at some point and put a halt to training and forward progress towards your ultimate goal. The hips and trunk need to stabilize 3x or more of your body weight landing on 1 leg every step you take while running. Thats a lot of steps in even a 5k, but think about 13.1 or 26.2  A few sides steps with a band and a few side planks and bridges most likely won't get the job done for someone training for half marathons, marathons or triathletes creating huge muscle imbalances. Run specific strength and core exercises are essential to successful running plans. 
One of about 100 or  my favorite strength exercises for running:
side plank with forward/back tap
don't drop the hip or flex the trunk
3 Flexibilty: most runners don't like to stretch, and is mostly the component that gets neglected the most due to time, impatience or just being too tired. Repetitive use of muscles shortens them, creates tension in them can inhibit proper firing. Runners don't need to be able to do the splits,  but should have enough flexibility to not place strain on joints, tendons, or interfere with proper mechanics. Foam rolling takes only a few minutes, and 2 of my favorite stretches for runners is 90% passive meaning you don't have to do a thing, and can still look at the tv or your phone
lazy stretch for posterior chain
tight hip flexors/ root of all evil

4. Form: proper running mechanics can make a huge difference how fast you get to the finish line and weather you make it to the starting line in the first place. Efficient form and proper mechanics can reduce the risk of injury, lower the impact and time spent on the ground or moving sideways instead of forward, therefore ultimately getting you to the starting line faster. When we were little we could run fast without thinking, then we grew up and got jobs, our muscles got tighter, weaker and we got sloppier. Having a running evaluation to assess your strengths weaknesses and form can make a dramatic difference in your running performances. I love to help athletes every day with their running strengths and weaknesses. If you are interested in a gait evaluation you can contact me at
fine tune your form

5. Recovery: resting and allowing your body, and muscles adapt to the stresses you've put on it is essential to healthy running, staying injury free and not becoming stagnant. Backing down the mileage through periodization, cross training and even doing nothing helps let all systems in the body recover adapt and become stronger. After a little rest you'll be surprised how amazing your next few runs can be.  
Feet up to recover

6. Favorite Treadmill W/O : the treadmill serves it purpose. I don't love it, but do when its -20 outside, or I'm short on time.  My favorite treadmill run comes from a former coach of mine from many years ago who is from Austraila and happened to finish 10th in the Olympics one time. I never forget this workout and resort to it when I'm bored or in a pinch because it a great way to focus on form, technique and turnover!
After a good warm up increasing the speed gradually by 2 mph for 10-15 min at 2% grade. then decrease the incline to 0% MS is: 3x
  :30 sec race pace :30 "float" 
  :45 sec race pace :45 sec "float"
  :1:00 min race pace 1:00 "float"
  :1:15 race pace/ 1:15 float
then 1:00/1:00
:30 /30
Race pace is 10-15 sec faster than goal pace, float is 10-15 sec slower than goal race pace, but not full recovery.
On recovery days or days feeling tired, float can be easy recovery pace.

7. Favorite Outside Run: too many to pick from! but I'd have to say over past year its been long runs over crazy hilly trails in the mountains to build endurance, strength and stability. But when I can't do that I love race specific tempo efforts over long course similar to:

30 min warm up
2 x 2 miles at goal pace, 5 min easy recovery
3 x 1 mile descending splits,  3 min recovery
easy c/d

8. Team/support: having a support crew, training partner, coach, team or someone to lean on run to with those amazing workouts, the epic fails, the days its hard to bundle up and face the wind and the days you cross the finish line with a smile makes the journey more successful.  

TeamBetty2016 is one badass team of amazing athletes and support with incredible sponsors to help make 2016 beyond amazing!

Of course there are more essentials such as nutrition, shoes and mental preparation, but I'll leave that for the professionals in those fields to write about.

Thank you to Stephanie who let me use some of her pictures from a recent gait evaluation and Pound4Pound Fitness and their awesome gym!

Happy Running

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