5 Running Tips to Get You Race Ready for Spring

Running Tip 4: The Pre-Hab Habit

Hold your hand up if you get injured. OK. It seems like every runner does, but there's a way to injury-proof yourself. I call it your pre-hab routine. You need to develop an individualized pre-hab routine so you don't have to do a rehab routine.

Talk to a personal trainer or search for routines on the Web, but come up with a routine that takes 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The routine should include exercises to improve:

1. Core stability. Planks are an easy one to include

More: Basic Core Exercises for Runners

2. Balance. Standing on one leg for 15 to 30 seconds while moving your arms in the running motion works well
3. Mobility. I prefer Active Isolated Flexibility as a way to keep muscles and joints supple and moving freely

More: What Is Active Isolated Flexibility?

4. Overall muscular strength. You don't have to be a body builder but you should complete some exercises to maintain fitness in all of your major muscle groups.

More: 10 Exercises to Build Strength 

It doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, make it easy to complete because then you're more likely to keep doing it. The key here isn't exactly what you do but more that you simply come up with a pre-hab habit so that when spring arrives and training (and life) picks up speed, you'll have your routine dialed in.

At minimum, you must perform your pre-hab routine once each week, but I find that 2 to 3 times per week is much better for creating the habit and building an injury-resistant body.

More: 3 Simple Injury Prevention Tips for Time-Strapped Runners

Running Tip 5: Pace Practice

Another issue with early season racing is proper pacing. We always seem to go out too fast the first mile during races, or at least I do. The remedy: Include a few pace practice workouts throughout the winter. As with the leg turnover workouts, these are not difficult workouts to complete. They are simply a way to stay in touch with race pace so that when the gun goes off, you don't find yourself out in front of the lead runners.

Race Pace Practice Workouts

*For 5K racers: 10 x 400m at 5K race pace with 200-meter jog between

More: How Do I Run a Faster 5K?

*For 10K racers: 5 x 800m at 10K race pace with 400m jog between

*For half marathoners: 3 miles at half marathon race pace

*For marathoners: 6 miles at marathon race pace

More: 2 Workouts to Make Marathon Race Pace Feel Easier

Include pace practice workouts every 2 to 4 weeks because they add some variety to your training, and keep you connected with your race goals even when the weather is dreary and spring seems so far away.

Winter training can be tough but it doesn't mean that significant improvements in your running can't be made. Incorporate these five tips over the next few weeks, and get ready for a spring filled with warm sunshine and sparkling new PRs.

More: How to Train for a PR

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