How to be a Stronger Runner

A proper warm-up is perhaps the most important aspect of your entire workout. Most of us spend a great majority of our day sitting in a chair. As a result, our body gets tight, particularly our hips, back, legs and feet. Warming up properly will help ensure a safe transition from a sedentary position to running.

Here are some suggestions for a proper warm-up:

  • Start with some light calisthenics to dynamically open your hips and low back. Hip circles, fire hydrants, split squats and leg swings work great.
  • Try toe-walking and heel-walking to warm up your feet, Achilles and calves.
  • Progress into walking lunges, hopping and skipping, or your choice of light to moderate plyometric exercises.
  • Do at least 10 minutes of easy running, starting with a walk before integrating some faster strides to raise
  • your body temperature and heart rate.

Here is a workout for intermediate runners who run about 20 miles per week utilizing the 5 Percent Rule.

Find a hill that is about 200-400 meters long and not too steep (3-7 percent grade on average). Start with warm-up exercises and progress into a 15-minute progressive running warm-up moving from an easy zone 1 to aerobic zone 2 intensity. Then complete a set of 5 x 30 second strides on the ? ats, with 30 seconds of easy running recovery between each. Build to about 5k-race intensity. Run at an easy pace for 3 to 5 minutes before starting the main set.

Begin by surging up the hill at about 5k-race intensity. Recover from each effort by running down the hill easily (with good form) and then repeat. Repeat three more times for a total of four repetitions. (You may choose to use a different intensity if you are preparing for a different distance race, such as the 10k or half marathon). When you're finished with the last rep, return to an easy running pace to cool down for about 10 minutes.

Spend at least 10 minutes stretching lightly.

Al Lyman is the founder and owner of Pursuit Fitness, LLC, a coaching company for endurance athletes of all abilities and backgrounds.

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