Training – Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com Your Online Source for Running Tue, 12 Dec 2017 21:49:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.2 http://running.competitor.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/06/cropped-android-chrome-512x512-32x32.png Training – Competitor.com http://running.competitor.com 32 32 A First Look At The New TRX Home2 System With Strength Exercises For Runners http://running.competitor.com/2017/11/shoes-and-gear/trx-home2-system-strength-exercises_168734 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 15:00:24 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168734 We review the new TRX Home2 suspension system, TRX's updated app and the 4 best TRX strength exercises for runners.

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Photo: Courtesy of TRX

The TRX suspension system—which enables you to train functional movement patterns using your own body weight—is a complete home gym in a 1-pound box. It’s managed to pierce a lot of runners’ inner shields exactly because it builds light, lean muscle; can go anywhere your sneakers do; and brings total-body benefits—without the bulk.

What exercises best complement your running regimen is up for debate: “Do I do body-weight, HIIT, yoga, weights, TRX, or what?! True: There are almost too many choices. But TRX simplifies that—with a free 1-year subscription to their updated fitness app. Here is a first look at the new TRX Home2 System ($199.95, trxtraining.com) available for purchase today, the updated TRX app, plus the 4 Best TRX strength exercises for runners.

What’s New

Lighter than ever, the TRX Home2 weighs only a pound and packs really small, so you can take it anywhere. Out of the box, you can easily anchor this total-body training tool to sturdy tree limbs, roofing joists, pullup bars, ceiling anchors, or over doors. What stands out is the continued simplicity of the device and its attachments despite its wide range of uses.

Adjustable Foot Cradles: This new feature accommodates a greater range of foot sizes. Whether you wear a women’s size 5 or men’s size 14, you can adjust the Velcro foot cradle to fit, so your foot doesn’t slip. Yet, it’s still easy to get your foot out too. That quick change comes in handy when going from exercises like TRX Lunges (with a secure toe cradling) to a TRX Hip Bridge (with a stable heel platform).

Padded Straps System: The strap area just above the handle gets a lot of wear and tear, but with the added padding of the TRX Home2 System, your hands and wrists don’t. This makes for a more pleasant hand-feel as you’re pressing and pulling your body weight with each repetition. The foot cradles are padded as well.

Loop Stop Up Top: Depending on what suspension system you’ve tried, you may have encountered the dreaded not-quite-even straps. So you find yourself fiddling to get the handles even when you should be training. The TRX Home2 System attaches the straps to a shorter loop near the top that doesn’t allow as much play on each side. So even though you can adjust the strap length easily and quickly, the anchoring point has a smaller radius that keeps the straps in just about the same position, allowing you to get to work faster.

RELATED: How To Integrate Cross-Training Into Your Running

TRX App Updates

The TRX app has also been updated to provide new workouts for the TRX Home2 buyers, who get a free 1-year subscription to the app (normally $4 per month for more than 80 workouts in running, cycling, yoga and HIIT).

Throughout the training, you can view integrated video demos of the moves, making it easy to glance at your phone, tablet or computer and then follow along. The coaches give encouraging cues and really helpful form tips so you know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And if you’re wearing a heart rate monitor, the coaches prompt you with “custom” in-ear heart-rate-based pacing tips so you get the most out of your workout, as if you were working with a real trainer.

Only got 10 minutes? Or want to train slow and strong today? Want a running/cycling sprinting interval, or a TRX/strength combo workout that kicks your bum? The TRX app lets you scroll through workouts based on the time you have and the type of workout you want to do. You can also schedule workouts with reminders, record your own moves, and grow as an athlete with in-app progression algorithms to help you track your stats and exceed your fitness goals.

4 Best TRX Strength Exercises For Runners

TRXPhoto: Courtesy of TRX

These 4 TRX strength training exercises for runners will help power up your core, train under-exercised muscles, and strengthen your lower body all over so you’re running lighter (and longer) than ever before.

Side Lateral Lunge to Hip Hinge

  • Adjust the TRX strap to mid-height. Stand facing the anchor point with feet wider than shoulder width, about 4 feet apart, lightly holding a handle of the TRX in each hand, arms slightly bent. Step back so straps are about 45 degrees to floor.
  • Push your hips back and down and lower hips into a side lunge until your right thigh is about parallel to the floor, keeping your right knee tracking over your right toes as you lower; and keep your chest up throughout. The left leg should stay straight the entire time as the right leg bends.
  • Keep feet planted but press up to center until both legs are straight and your arms are straightened and lowered in front of you to about hip level.
  • Hinge forward at the waist, pushing your hips back and keeping your core tight, as you lower your chest until your torso and arms are parallel to the floor. Use your glutes and core to return to center.
  • Grip handles and return to a right lateral lunge. Do all reps on one side and then repeat on opposite side.

 

TRX Lunge

  • Stand facing away from a low anchored TRX strap, about 1 foot away from it, with the top of your right foot secured into the adjustable foot cradle. Place hands lightly behind head.
  • Lower your right knee back and down toward the floor until your left thigh is parallel to the floor, making sure your knees track over your toes and don’t go past your toes.
  • Fire through your left glutes to press back up to standing. Repeat.

 

Forward Lunge with Y Flye

  • Stand beneath a TRX with the straps adjusted to their shortest point. Face away from the anchor point, with your arms straight in front of you parallel to floor, lightly gripping the handles. Straps will be at about 45 degrees to floor and feet should be hip-distance apart.
  • Lunge forward with your right foot until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee nearly touches the floor. As you lower, lift your arms out into a Y position to activate your back.
  • Press through the heel of your front foot to return to standing.

 

2-Arm Row

  • Stand facing the anchor point with the straps adjusted to short- or mid-length. Step away from the anchor point so that the straps are at a diagonal to the floor. And lean back so that your body forms a diagonal line to the floor, with arms straight, as you lean back holding the straps in front of you. Toes up. To make it harder, lower the straps and lean back farther.
  • Row both of your arms in to your sides, tucking elbows into sides and pulling your torso up, keep toes up still. Keep body strong and activated throughout.
  • Lower under control to start, with body at a diagonal to the floor.

 

RELATED: Strength Training Is Good For You, Runners—Here’s Proof

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4 Pilates Moves For Runners That You Can Do Anywhere http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/training/pilates-moves-anywhere_168918 Wed, 11 Oct 2017 23:04:17 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168918 You don’t have to be an exercise-class nut to reap the benefits of this practice—and these modified pilates moves are perfect for

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Part stretch, part strength, with a focus on alignment, Pilates is a great workout. But Jae Gruenke, founder of The Balanced Runner, explains that with a few tweaks, you can tailor the for-everybody exercise into something that benefits runners specifically.

Do the following four moves—with Gruenke’s tweaks—prior to a run, and they can help you unkink yourself from the position your desk chair or laptop put you in all day (flexed hips, hunched shoulders). Alternatively, save them for after a run (or a long day at work) and let them help imprint what good movement patterns feel like in your body even when you’re tired.

RELATED: Cross-Training Classes That Are Great For Runners

Shoulder Bridge with Single-Leg Extension Single-Leg Stretch Swimming Standing Single-Leg Balance

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Overcoming the Obstacle of Injury And How To Stay Sane During Recovery http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/injury-prevention/overcoming-obstacle-injury_168968 Tue, 10 Oct 2017 18:19:05 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168968 Professional runner Neely Spence Gracey shares how to stay sane during a tough injury and tips for easing back into training.

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I’ve been trying to think of how to spin the process of overcoming injury in a positive way. Yay for late nights, no early morning sessions in the dark, extra round of drinks on Friday night; but the façade only carries me so far. Injuries suck. I don’t want to tell you otherwise, but I do want to show you how injuries can be a part of success. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or fun, but here are some tips on how to stay mentally strong throughout your healing time based off of my personal experience. And lastly, I share the difficult, yet so important, necessity of slow progression back to training. Since we can’t get running, let’s get reading.

Part of Success

While it is hard to believe, injuries are part of the pathway to success. Each injury provides an opportunity for growth as a person and athlete. An injury means I pushed the body too hard, the miles were too long, the life stress was too much, or there was too little rest. Often it’s a combination of multiple factors that have created this perfect storm. What it comes down to is that I pushed my body to the point where it wasn’t able to keep up with recovery to match the training load.

The way we all get better in many aspects of life is by pushing the limits to see what we are truly capable of. Even though injuries suck, it shows that we are working hard towards a goal, and that with smarter training, and recognizing which factors we need to be more cautious with in the future, we can heal and get back to training with an even better plan towards success.

RELATED: 5 Things The Most Successful Runners Do Every Day

Mental Aspect

Being committed to a goal means that you don’t just sort of do something, you do it with mind, soul, and body fully invested. I’ve had my fair share of great performances, devastating injuries, solid training blocks, season ending illnesses, and incredible moments of seeing commitment and perseverance through it all pay off two fold.

The emotional and psychological part of being a runner with an injury is that running isn’t just something that’s done occasionally. Runners are a community and running is a lifestyle. We prioritize our training, we structure life around getting in our miles, we absorb what we do and it becomes part of who we are. Injuries derail us from running, and then we feel lost, out of sorts, and on the brink of an identity crisis. Who am I if I’m not a runner?  Everyone handles their time away from the sport differently. A few key things that help me while I’m injured:

 1. Stay busy. Use the time you would otherwise be running to catch up with friends, deep clean, travel, focus on your other hobbies, and emphasize resetting the body while keeping life moving forward. Often with injuries, it’s just a waiting game. Time has to pass for you to heal. And time flies when you’re busy!

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 2. Stay Sane. Sometimes I just need to sweat. Of course your options are varied based on the nature and location of your injury, but I utilize the pool, elliptical/elliptiGO, spin bike, hiking, lifting, core workouts, rock climbing, TRX, HIIT classes, bar classes, pilates, and yoga. When I had knee surgery, I even used the rower and arm bike. If I can get 30-60 minutes of exercise in the morning, I feel so much more positive for the rest of my day.

3. Stay Supported. The most crucial part of dealing with an injury is understanding what is wrong so you know how to heal it. Get the answers, then get a plan. I work closely with my support system of trusted physical therapists, chiropractors, doctors, coaches and mentors to develop a progression back to chasing my goals. Having those who you can lean on helps us not feel so alone in the process of recovery.

RELATED: The Mental Side of Recovery

The Slow Come Back

We take all this time off, and all we think about is running again. But when we finally get the go-ahead, it is essential to not rush fitness. I usually take a week to run lightly every other day. Only 20-30 minutes at a time. Coming back after surgery in 2014, my first run in 4 months was 2x5min jog with 5min walk in between. It was the best/worst run of my life. I was so elated to finally run again. And I was so devastated that it was so short. It made me feel like my goals were impossible. How could I ever run PRs and train 100 miles per week when I could only run 5 minutes at a time? (Just so you know, I was fine. Within the next year I ran a PR in every distance and qualified for the Olympic Trials.)

Taking your time, easing back to training, and listening to the body is how you will have a steady progression back to fitness. If you rush it, you risk having to start the healing process all over again. I hate this part, but having my husband being firm about my low mileage is something I so appreciate (even though we fight about it). I need him there to not let my crazies get me overzealous. Find someone who can help keep you accountable too!

I have good days during injury where I am positive and motivated. I do everything I am supposed to and I’m upbeat about getting through and coming out better on the other side. And then I have bad days where I am depressed about not running and unmotivated to cross train. I give up on my body because I don’t think it’s healing quick enough, and I’m not a fun person to be around. I’ve learned this is normal. But striving for more good days than bad is essential. Remember, you’re not alone, because within this awesome community of runners, mostly all of us can relate to being derailed at some point with injury. It is part of the process as we strive for success.

Until next time, stay mentally strong, ease back to training slowly, and I will see you out on the trails and roads again soon. Let’s get (back to) running!

RELATED: Here’s Exactly How To Crush Your Next Half Marathon

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About the Author

Neely lives in Boulder, Colo., with her husband Dillon and their Vizsla, Strider. She enjoys the daily grind of training and competing as one of America’s top female distance runners. She has personal best times of 15:25 for 5K, 32:16 for 10K, 1:09 for the half marathon, and 2:34 for the marathon. In her free time, she enjoys helping others pursue their goals through her Get Running coaching business. Follow her on instagram or twitter @neelysgracey and learn more about Neely on her website www.neelyruns.com.

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The Love Letter Every Runner Wants To Receive http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/training/love-letter-runner_3871 Tue, 10 Oct 2017 16:00:42 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=3871 How many of these statement would you like to see in a love note?

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Photo: Shutterstock

Runners are not a typical breed. So you wouldn’t expect their love letters to be a typical outpouring of affection either. For runners, it is crucial to have a partner who understands and supports their goals.

This love letter was written to professional runner Neely Spence Gracey by her loving husband, Dillon. In it, he offers great suggestions for not only Gracey, but for all runners. Who else would swoon at the suggestion to get lots of sleep other than a long distance runner.

“I received a note today with 10 reminders from my husband,” said Gracey. “Do your love letters look like this? As a running nerd, my heart melts.”

  1. Get lots of sleep.
  2. Eat well after hard workouts and long runs.
  3. Work into your runs.
  4. Stay on pace.
  5. Listen to your body (a day off is better than a season off).
  6. Swim, bike, Elliptigo is great cross training when fatigued.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Be selfish and make sure getting your needs met is priority.
  9. Take a nap if you are tired.
  10. Don’t stop loving me.

 

RELATED: 7 Ways To Support A Significant Other Who Runs

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Which Training Plan Is The Right One For You? http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/training/training-plan-running_161461 Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:00:30 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=11613 We break down five popular training programs to find out what may work for you.

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It can be intimidating to start running, especially if you’re not sure which training program to choose. These five plans offer something different to each runner. Here’s what you need to know.

Couch to 5K

This beginner program promises to take the non-runner from 0 to 3.1 miles in just nine weeks. The program calls for three workouts per week for about 20-30 minutes each.

By starting slow and not building too fast, this training program tries to strike the right balance between motivation and progress. It cautions against skipping ahead if you feel the workouts are too easy. You can also choose to measure your workouts by either time or distance.

The first workout calls for repeats of 60 seconds of jogging, followed by 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes, not including a warmup walk. By the end of week five, you’re running for 2 miles or 20 minutes without walking.

An accompanying mobile app ($3 on iTunes and Google Play) keeps track of your workouts using your phone’s GPS and includes voice commands to tell you when to walk or run.

RELATED: Couch-To-5K Apps To Get You Up And Running

Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk

This program flips the switch on the idea that runners are only meant to run. Instead it provides a walk break ratio for all runners—from beginners to advanced. The idea is taking strategic walk breaks provides quicker recovery, better control over fatigue, reduced injury risk and improved finish times.

Galloway’s website says shifting from non-stop running to strategic walk breaks results in an average of a 7-minute faster half marathon and 13-minute faster marathon. The site includes training programs for every race from a 5K to a full marathon, with lots of tips along the way.

A calculator on the site helps you figure out your own personal walk-break ratio. It also helps define where your training and race paces would be based on a one-mile trial run.

There are a number of training apps under Galloway’s name for various distances run. They cost anywhere from $4 to $20 in the App Store. Galloway also offers individual training programs for all distances at a cost of $397 for new registrants or $277 for alumni of the training program.

RELATED: Jeff Galloway’s Race Recovery Tips

McMillan Training

Enter a recent time of a race or even just a fast mile and McMillan’s calculator will spit out predictions for other distances, as well as training paces for everything from easy runs to long runs and tempos to intervals. It also provides heart rate targets if that’s something you keep track of.

That’s all free. For an additional fee starting at $80, you can purchase a customized program for various race distances. The site also offers personal coaching for the cost of $199 per month for 12 months.

80/20 Rule

Based on accompanying book by Matt Fitzgerald, the idea of this training plan is that most runners do too many workouts in the moderate-to-intense range without even realizing it.

Instead, 80/20 calls for you to slow down so about 80 percent of your runs are at an easy pace. Meanwhile 20 percent of runs are faster, moderate-to-high intensity rate. Using evidence from studies and elite runners, Fitzgerald says running 80 percent of your runs at a slower pace will make you faster come race day.

So how do you determine what pace you should run with this program? You have to go based on heart rate or perceived exertion, which you can figure out based on your breathing.

The program calls for up to six or even seven runs a week. Moderate or high-intensity runs never falling on back to back days.

Hansons Marathon Method

Hansons Marathon Method does not believe in long runs over 20 miles or high-mileage weekends. Instead, they encourage runners to gradually build up to the moderate-high mileage required for marathon success, spreading those miles more sensibly throughout the week. Easy days are mixed with speed, strength, and tempo workouts.

Whether you’re training for your first or 50th marathon, this book has a training plan for every runner. The new edition features a “Just Finish” training plan for those who want to complete 26.2 but don’t have a strict time goal. There are also detailed training schedules for experienced and advanced marathoners.

RELATED: Are You Making These Marathon Training Mistakes

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Where To Run While Visiting New Orleans http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/training/run-new-orleans_161375 Wed, 04 Oct 2017 17:21:48 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=8002 The Big Easy is also big on running! There are so many great places to get in your miles.

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Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

If you’re heading to New Orleans, it’s probably to have fun. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect your training while visiting the city. The best way to get to know New Orleans is by running through it. There are a variety of places to run, both in the city and in the surrounding area.

Running in the Center of the City

Here are some suggestions on where to go for a run if you want to embrace everything that New Orleans has to offer.

The French Quarter: While possibly the most scenic route, don’t expect major mileage and plan to dodge people and cars.

The median on St. Charles Avenue: The median, a sandy grassy strip between streetcar tracks, was not designed as an official place to run, but it is an extremely popular option for runners and walkers alike. This route runs for several miles while passing some of the area’s most notable mansions. Just keep your eyes open for the streetcars!

Photo: Shutterstock

Away from the crowds

Want to get away from the hustle and bustle? Try these running routes.

City Park: This park has so many options for runners. Want to do a track workout? The City Park Track, which was built for the 1992 Olympic Trials, is a 400-meter polyurethane track open to both walkers and runners. The one-mile Festival Grounds path and the three-quarter mile path around Big Lake path are easily accessible and provide great scenery on the run. Additionally, Couturie Forest offers lots of trail options in a quiet forest.

The Lakefront: Lakeshore Drive runs along Lake Pontchartrain. It offers runners views of the lake as they run. The path follows a series of small parks and beaches along the shore of the lake.

Photo: St. Tammany Parish FacebookPhoto: St. Tammy Parish Facebook

Where to Go for Major Mileage

Levee Path: Also known as the Mississippi River Trail, this 22-mile paved path on top of the levee allows runners to avoid traffic and intersections. The path starts at The Fly and winds through Kenner and the River Parishes.

Tammany Trace: This 27-mile “rails to trails” offers a flat, paved surface with a good bit of shade. There are five different entrances with different amenities available at each, including Abita Brew Pub at the Abita Springs trailhead, so plan accordingly!

New Orleans is an amazing city to visit. The food is unique, the alcohol flows freely, and the culture is wonderful to see. Now when you go for that visit, you don’t have to take a break from your training plan!

RELATED: 5 Tips For Getting In A Run While Away From Home

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Here’s Exactly How To Crush Your Next Half Marathon http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/training/crush-next-half-marathon_168722 Mon, 02 Oct 2017 21:37:41 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168722 Whether you want to PR or simply finish, these pacing tips straight from a professional runner will carry you through 13.1 miles.

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Without a doubt, the half marathon is my favorite distance—but I can certainly empathize with runners who can’t imagine running for 13.1 miles without stopping! In fact, in middle school my favorite race was the 400 meters. In high school? It was the mile. And in college, I was all about the 6K in cross country.

RELATED: Division II Champ Neely Spence Turns Pro

Even my first three years as a professional runner, I never ran a race longer than 10 miles. Finally in 2015, after almost two years of frustrating injuries, illnesses and setbacks, I was losing my love for the sport. I kept comparing my current self to my former self. I needed a change, something different than I had ever done before so I would have nothing to compare it to. I decided to try the half marathon (a daunting distance for the uninitiated) and I loved it. Whether you are contemplating your first half, wanting to improve a past performance or simply crush an upcoming race, here are my tips on how to conquer 13.1.

Level 1: I Wanna Finish!

Are you new to the half-marathon distance and feel a little daunted by the challenge of such a long race? Using a walk/run method will help you pace yourself from start to finish. Plan to run 9 minutes and then walk 1 minute. By breaking the run up into 10-minute segments, you will stay more engaged in the moment—this helps you feel less overwhelmed by the length.

Level 2: I Wanna Run!

Are you ready to push yourself in a half but don’t know how to approach the distance? The key is to set yourself up for a negative-split race (finishing faster than you start). Begin at your normal training pace and hold steady for the first 6 miles. At that mark, slowly pick it up so your last mile is your fastest. Using the progression technique, you will not expend too much energy early on so instead of bonking in the second half, you will pass other runners while feeling strong.

RELATED: 13.1 Things To Know About Running A Half Marathon

Level 3: I Wanna Race!

Are you comfortable with the half-marathon distance and ready to achieve a PR? I suggest breaking the distance into four parts.

  1. First 3 miles: Ease into your pace, trying to dial in goal effort by the third mile.
  2. Middle 4 miles: Focus on form, staying calm and relaxed, in tune with your body and breathing.
  3. Miles 7–10: This is where things start to get tough. Talk yourself through this part. Think about the work you have put in, and then keep your eyes up and your mind on the finish line.
  4. Once you hit the final 5K (aka the 10-mile mark), it’s game on. Time to race and kick it in to victory.

BONUS: Drink Up, Fuel Right

Covering 13.1 miles at your best requires consumption of fluids and fuel on the course. Be sure to practice with gels before your race to determine what sits well in your stomach. I recommend taking a gel 15–30 minutes before the start, sipping water or electrolyte drinks at the provided stops and then downing another gel at mile 6. This system will help you run strong all the way to the finish line!

RELATED: 4 Breathing Exercises For Every Level Of Runner

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This Rule Of Road Running Can Help Save Your Life http://running.competitor.com/2017/10/news/road-running-rule-save-life_168718 Mon, 02 Oct 2017 21:08:02 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168718 A recent study found that you have a 77 percent lower risk of being struck by a vehicle when following this rule of road running.

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A new study out of Finland shows that one common mistake puts you at a very high risk of danger when running on the roads. It all has to do with which way you are facing when you run.

The Washington Post shared the study, which revealed that runners—and pedestrians—have a 77 percent lower risk of being struck and injured by a car when running or walking facing traffic.

“Although no federal laws mandate which side you should be on, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Transportation Department recommend running against traffic,” adds The Washington Post.

RELATED: Street Smarts—Safety Tips For Runners

If there is a sidewalk that is, of course, the safest place to be, but should you be running on the shoulder, this is an important reminder (or first time lesson) that you should always run against traffic. Additionally, running in a single-file when with a group—or no more than two abreast—can also keep you out of harm’s way.

“Not only is it safer to run against traffic, but it is also the law in certain states—like Texas—when there is no sidewalk present,” shares Chris McClung, coach, co-owner of Rogue Running and co-host of its Running Rogue podcast. “You need to be able to see oncoming traffic and then be proactive to avoid danger on your own when the car passes.”

McClung adds that if you are running on the sidewalk you can run on either side of the road, however, he still prefers to run against traffic while on the sidewalk so you still have a view of cars should one lose control and jump the curb.

RELATED: Running Gear—6 Bright Lights To Take Back The Night

If you are running in the early morning or late at night—or even during weather when visibility is low—you want to take extra safety precautions when running on the roads.

“For visibility, the best thing you can do is wear a light, ideally a flashing one on your body on both sides,” urges McClung. “There are a variety of clip on lights or headlamps available to give you maximum visibility. You can also wear reflective shoes and clothing, but a light provides significantly more visibility allowing cars to see you two to five times sooner than reflective strips.”

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Train For Two Races In One Weekend With This Plan http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/train-two-races-one-weekend-plan_168643 Thu, 28 Sep 2017 17:18:31 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168643 Now you can do a double! We have your training plan to get you to the start of a 5K one day and a half marathon the next.

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couple running

Whether you’re training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, a Disney race weekend or any other half marathon that offers extra mileage with added races, here’s a plan that will help you prepare for all of the fun. Although the primary goal is the half marathon, there’s a fair amount of shorter work—both to prepare you for the remix 5K (or you could even do up to a 10K) and to help improve running economy/efficiency and overall muscular development. Don’t feel guilty for seeking out a minimal training approach with maximum gains. Dedicate yourself to this 12-week plan and you’ll get there.

Keep These Tips In Mind

Consistency is key. Don’t worry if some workouts don’t come together. Your primary objective should be staying committed week to week without any big swings with multiple days off consecutively. Before starting this plan, you should be running at least three times per week and able to complete 2–3 miles of continuous running.

One day at a time. Try not to focus on what you have 3 or 4 weeks ahead of you. That can make it feel somewhat overwhelming. The plan builds on itself week after week with the mileage, days per week and long run all included in that equation.

RELATED: Bouncing Back From A Bad Workout

Find the right effort. Different workouts require varying effort levels and intensities. This is one of the keys to making it to the starting line healthy and prepared for the mental and physical challenges that await. Easy runs should feel comfortable and controlled, and you should be able to hold a conversation with a running partner. Note that you may have days where you feel better than others—it is okay for your pace to shift slightly quicker or slower depending on how you are feeling. The pacing listed is based on your fastest effort being a 5K, then 10K, then half marathon (HM), then marathon and finally your easy pace.

Easy does it. The mileage builds gradually and enough to ensure you are gaining the necessary fitness. However, if you are feeling exceedingly motivated, you can always add a bit more mileage on the easy days. Don’t alter the long runs or workouts.

Cross-train with moderate intensity. Choose among cycling or spinning, swimming, water running and the elliptical. They should feel more taxing than an easy run but not so much so that you can’t recover for the following day.

Add strength training 1–2 times per week. This can be in the form of a weight routine at the gym or a 15-minute core session (at a minimum) on one of the easy recovery days or on a day off from running. A gym workout should focus on the upper body and not render you unable to run productively the next day.

Stretching is critical! This should become part of your daily routine. Plan on 8–10 minutes after your run or before bed.

The Plan

Get Part 1—PDF

plan part 1

Get Part 2—PDF

plan part 2

RELATED: Can I Push Hard For Two Races In The Same Week?

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6 Tips For Success From Professional Distance Runner Sara Hall http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/sara-hall-6-tips-success_161585 Wed, 27 Sep 2017 20:40:14 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=5290 Professional runner Sara Hall shares the 6 tips that have helped to make her a success.

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Photo: photorun.net

Below are some tips that Sara Hall has found helpful in achieving success:

1. Commit to The Journey as much as the goal. Maybe even more.

Great results come from repeating the basics well, over and over and over. Enjoying that process keeps you invested and motivated. Set up the journey by choosing a goal to give you vision. Do whatever it takes to keep it fun and fresh.

2. Build your journey from small, achievable steps.

You have your goal. Fantastic. Now you need a plan of attack. Write it down! Early on, check yourself. If the workload is too much, then dial it back. If you have more to give, push it a little bit at a time. Reaching your goal slowly is better than quitting, and overdoing it early is a top cause of giving up.

3.When things are going well, just keep doing what you are doing!

This is the most enjoyable part of the journey. You have momentum and are seeing flashes of progress. Great! Show up tomorrow and keep doing it. Mix in some races to break up your training and see some new scenery. Do not worry about the times. Just focus on finishing strong.

4. Celebrate successes.

Let every bit of forward progress be a point of personal pride, no matter how small. Whether it is a post-workout ice cream cone or massage appointment, we all do well with incentives and milestones. And when you hit a big goal? Celebrate it like the feat that it is! Document it in a training log or journal, and reflect on the things you did well to get to that point.

5. Pick yourself up.

So you melted down in that 10K—ugh right? When we get knocked back, when and how we respond are the most critical parts of staying on track. First thing is to get up and make some forward movement, no matter how small. What has worked for me at every level is to choose a new focus and start taking steps towards it, while celebrating progress along the way. More than my biggest accomplishments, it is these personal growth moments I look back on as the most meaningful times in my career.

6. Always be winning.

Finding the good in every training session is key to becoming a resilient athlete. You’re not going to feel good every day and crush every workout, but being able to identify what you did well and what you are enjoying about each day will bring meaning to each training session. Whether it is taking in the beauty of your surroundings to distract you from the effort or refusing to let your times affect your attitude, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow. Learning to find the good and positive in every moment to keep propelling you forward is the key to longevity in the sport.

RELATED: Patience Pays Off For Sara Hall At Freihofer’s Run For Women

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What It’s Like To Run In A War Zone http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/running/running-war-zone_161464 Thu, 21 Sep 2017 13:21:34 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=4865 Many of us go through obstacles in order to run—but have you trained in a war zone?

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We are all aware of the various conflicts (wars) around the globe. I was present in post-war Kosovo for several years, as well as Afghanistan for a little over a year and a half. I am a long time intermittent runner—as opposed to a long distance runner. In each of these environments, I found down time to sneak in a few runs. However, there are some challenges unique to each location most people wouldn’t know about unless experienced firsthand. Here is what it is like to run in a war zone.

Kosovo

In 2002, Kosovo was making a comeback from the third war fought in the region in a decade. The roads were rough, the electricity intermittent and quality running routes were scarce. A few weeks after arriving, I decided that my physical fitness needed some work. The option of running in Mitrovica, touted as the most dangerous city in the world, was not embraced enthusiastically. A local showed me the football stadium near the Ibar River with a track surrounding the field. This became my haven for the next few months.

I was armed and had to be constantly armed. Originally I tried a fanny pack to carry a pistol but found it slapped against my body while running and constantly wiggled down my waistline. I later acquired a chest harness to carry my weapon, cellphone and a can of pepper spray. I only ever used a cell phone. Thankfully the rest stayed in the pouch, but I never ran without it. Ever.

To make it worse, I found it necessary to carry a hydration system because the climate in Kosovo is mountainous and dry. Three liters in a backpack was enough to stay hydrated during typical 3-mile run. On the upside, it did help to offset the weights of the chest pack for the previously mentioned weapon.

Pristina

Later, I was assigned to the capitol city of Pristina, where I was forced to run on a treadmill due to a dense population, high vehicle traffic, and the absence of a track. While the treadmill kept me off of the rugged terrain and away from the hostiles, entirely safe it was not. A power outage occurred while I was running at an 8-minute mile. I slammed my groin into the control panel which was very painful at that speed. This happened more than once a week. I am a slow learner.

After I run, I like to shower for obvious hygienic purposes. This too proved challenging. The water shut off at night and did not return until the morning. When repairs were made on the plumbing, the water would be off during the entire day, and sometimes for a week or more. Bathing with baby wipes and bottled water was necessary, but not very pleasing.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan also proved challenging. Running off base was impossible, as there was an active shooting war going on. Treadmills and helipads were my only running options. Running on the grocery belt (treadmill) compromised 95 percent of my Afghanistan endurance activity. There was a big screen TV in front of the bank of treadmills for viewing eastern and middle-eastern programming. Some of it was even in English. I preferred to listen to MP3s. Helipads got me outside but were prone to helicopters landing (as designed). This usually means inhaling a pound or two of dust in a given run.

All in all, running abroad has been challenging, enlightening and rewarding. I am a runner, and I am going to find a way to get in my miles, no matter what. I found with a little planning, and a lot of persistence, I can run just about anywhere. In fact, I have.

RELATED: Military Veteran Shares The Significance Of The Marine Corps Marathon

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How To Resume Training After Taking Time Off http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/resume-training-layoff_161526 Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:47:50 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=17498 What's the best way to get back on track following a layoff from running? This guide explains it all.

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Marathon training can be long and tough. Every so often, that scheduled run just does not happen. But what about when you have to take a week—or two or three—off during a training cycle?

Any time that you have a layoff from running of more than two weeks, you’ll begin to lose fitness. This becomes a problem when you are building up for a marathon and need to be gaining fitness, not losing it. Fortunately, you still have plenty of time to get back on track, as long as you keep several principles in mind.

Don’t try to get it all back at once.

It might be tempting to jump up to long miles as soon as possible to catch up to where your training plan says you should be, but you should fight that urge. Rest and recovery time are as important to training as the actual run. If you overload the body with more training than it can adapt to, you may find yourself sidelined with an injury.

The key to getting back on track is to close the gap slowly, week by week, until you are right where you should be. The rule of thumb is to increase the long run and the total weekly mileage by no more than 10 percent week to week. This ensures that your body has only a manageable amount of stress to deal with. During this catch-up phase, you should be able to safely raise that increase by an additional 5 to 10 percent. This game of catch-up could take a month or so, but be patient. It will be worth it in the end.

RELATED: The 10 Percent Rule—Fact Or Fiction?

Cross-train to speed things up.

I like to look at non-impact cross-training as stealing fitness—you can increase your cardiovascular capacity without putting all the stress on your body that you would get from running.

Cycling is a great option because it also works muscles that are not primarily targeted by running, such as the quadriceps muscles of the front of the leg. By strengthening these muscles, you actually reduce the risk of injury even further.

Don’t rush your readiness.

Looking back over the years, I can easily see a pattern to my injuries and failed races. Whenever I focused on my race date to guide my training rather than how my body felt, I ran into problems. The lesson is to keep my race date and training plan in mind. However I began to give more importance to what I am feeling. If my body tells me that it’s not ready, then I need to scale things back. If this puts competing in the race in jeopardy, so be it. No race is worth getting hurt.

RELATED: The Truth Behind 10 Running Myths

Good enough is good enough.

Sometimes we aren’t able to do everything we would have hoped to do in our race preparation. That doesn’t mean that you have to give up on having a good race. Sticking to a training plan will put the odds in your favor that race day goes well for you. The truth is that you can deviate safely from the straight and narrow and still do well. Did you manage to only run 19 instead of 21 for your last long run? Don’t panic; you’ll probably still be fine.

Keep in mind, though, that the more you deviate from your plan, the more the odds start stacking up against you. Again, this doesn’t mean that there is no way that you can do the race. It’s just that you have a greater risk of running into problems. Adjust your race plan and expectations accordingly and do the best that you can.

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How To Train For A Race With Your Partner (Without Killing Each Other) http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/train-race-partner_161524 Mon, 18 Sep 2017 00:20:44 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=17191 It's time to set some ground rules if you want to successfully train with a significant other.

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If you have ever signed up for a race with your significant other, it was likely with the best of intentions. You’ll be toasting great training runs with glasses of chocolate milk and bonding over the tough miles. Running with your partner will make you stronger as a couple—metaphorically and physically! You’ll get matching medals!

Training for a race with your spouse or significant other is a great way to bond and work toward a common goal while keeping healthy. However, there are some downsides—namely that some friendly competition could end up destroying your whole relationship. You know, no big deal.

However, there are a few ways to get through your race with your marriage or relationship still intact. You’ve been warned.

Don’t do every run together

It’s nice to train together. But running is also great for clearing your head and getting some alone time. If you and your partner are always training together, then you’ll always be together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, especially when you both smell like you’ve been running for hours. Because you have been.

Separate amicably

Inevitably one of you is probably going to be faster than the other. If you’re the slower one and try to keep up, you could end up going too fast. This can lead to a DNF or an injury. If you’re the faster one and slow down so your spouse can keep up, then you’re not going to get a great workout. Either way, you’re going to end up pissed off. Agree to separate if necessary, so that you can both run at your own pace.

RELATED: Three Tips For Avoiding A DNF On Race Day

Encourage, but don’t nag

As all people in relationships know, friendly encouragement can easily turn to nagging. If your partner needs to miss a training run once in a while, that’s fine. After all, when you need to miss a training run, you’re not going to want to hear it from him or her.

Take turns doing the laundry

When one person is training for a race, the laundry basket quickly fills with smelly, damp running clothes. Now double that. It gets … pretty disgusting. Make sure the laundry goes right into the hamper and not on the floor. Do it often. And switch off so one person isn’t permanently stuck in the biohazard suit.

Don’t compete with each other

This is supposed to be fun, remember? I mean, unless you’re the faster one. Then go for it.

Related: The Truth Behind 10 Running Myths

 

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3 Key Hill Workouts That Target Speed, Strength and Endurance http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/hill-workouts-speed-strength-endurance_168151 Thu, 14 Sep 2017 21:23:39 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168151 We go over three valuable types of hill workouts that you can plug directly into your training and start seeing improvement in your running.

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Hill workouts are one of the most versatile workout that a distance runner can complete.

They can be run during the base phase of training or just a few days before the final race of a season. They can build endurance, top-end speed, or improve VO2 Max.

Just look at all the benefits:

  • Hills promote more economical form
  • Uphill repetitions are easier on your joints and connective tissues than similar efforts on flat terrain
  • Running hard up steep grades builds more power than running on flat ground
  • Hills are “specific strength work” for runners, using gravity to increase strength

 

In other words, hill workouts improve many aspects of your running so that you ultimately become a better runner. You’ll have more power, resilience to injury, speed, and endurance.

What’s not to love?

Let’s go over three valuable types of hill workouts so you can plug these directly into your training and start seeing improvement.

Long Hill Reps

This workout has you run hill repetitions of 2-4 minutes with a jog back to the bottom of the hill as recovery.

They’re not as intense as the next two workouts because of their duration, so this session is best used during earlier phases of training, like the base phase. They can be plugged into your training for several reasons:

  • To vary a tempo workout (as long as the pace is 10-20 seconds slower per mile than tempo pace)
  • If shorter repetitions were scheduled but an easier day is warranted
  • To build strength in the beginning stages of a training season

 

A similar workout on the track might be longer reps of 1,000m—1 mile at roughly 10K race pace. Both are examples of what I call “high quality endurance”—faster efforts that support tempo pace.

The grade of the hill should not be too aggressive—about 4-5 percent is ideal. Structure this workout as 4-6 repetitions so the total time of uphill running is about 12-16 minutes.

A few examples include:

  • 4 x 4min hills @ 10K pace
  • 6 x 2min hills @ 10K pace (or slightly faster)
  • 5 x 3min hills @ 10K pace

 

RELATED: How To Become A Beast On The Uphills

Short Hill Reps

This type of hill session is most similar to what many runners think of when they imagine a “hill workout”—60-90 seconds in duration with a jog back to the starting point as recovery.

Short reps are intense, just like a VO2 Max workout, so they’re best used during the middle or later phases of training when you’re more focused on speed.

The pace should be about 2 miles to 5K race pace on a hill that’s roughly a 6-8 percent grade. The grade of the hill and the speed at which you’re running make this a fantastic workout for developing power, strength, and your ability to deliver precious oxygen to your muscles.

A few examples include:

  • 8 x 90sec hills @ 5K Pace
  • 10 x 60sec hills @ 2-mile Pace
  • 3x90sec, 3x60sec, 3x45sec that begins at 10K pace and gradually gets faster

 

This type of hill workout has the most flexibility, so feel free to alter the pace, duration of the repetition, and the number of reps to suit your specific needs.

Hill Sprints

Even though I don’t technically consider hill sprints a “workout,” they’re included here because of the immense benefit they provide to runners.

Hill sprints are literally sprints—meaning you run literally as fast as possible. They’re only 8-10 seconds long and unlike the previous types of hill workouts, they’re run after an easy run rather than as a stand-alone session.

Find the steepest hill you can find and run 4-8 repetitions of 8-10 seconds uphill at your top speed. The first rep can be slightly slower to help yourself warm up. The cool down is at least 90 seconds (but preferably two minutes) of walking (not running).

Because of the effort and the grade of the hill, hill sprints recruit an enormous number of muscle fibers.

This gives runners tangible benefits:

  • They increase stride power (just like strength exercises)
  • They improve running economy (i.e., your efficiency)
  • They strengthen muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues

 

If you’re an injury-prone runner, gradually adding hill sprints into your training once or twice per week can result in far fewer running injuries.

Every runner—no matter their experience or ability—stands to benefit from the strength, power, and speed that’s gained from these hill workouts.

If you’re training for a hilly race, hill reps provide the specific type of workout that can help boost your performance on race day.

If you’re injury-prone, hill reps and sprints build strength and, working against gravity, reduces the impact forces on your joints and muscles.

If you’re a beginner, hill reps reinforce good form and build power—two skills that are critical as you become more advanced.

Choose the type of workout that’s most appropriate for your goals… and hit the hills!

RELATED: Do This Sprint Workout To Build Up Your Leg Speed

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The Truth Behind 10 Running Myths http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/10-running-myths_161552 Wed, 13 Sep 2017 22:00:39 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=9539 There are so many facts and myths in running so we are going to break it down. This is the truth behind the top 10 running myths.

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Running is a pretty simple sport. Lace up a pair of running shoes and head out the door. But peel back the layers, and you’ll find many myths and misconceptions about the sport.

What’s true and what’s false? We take a look at 10 common running myths.

Running will ruin your knees.

I’ve heard every iteration of this myth, especially from my mother. After two knee surgeries, I can understand why she might be concerned. But should she be? The short answer is no. Knee pain associated with running is most often caused by muscle imbalance and weakness, not running itself. She should be worried if I don’t perform my physical therapy exercises religiously!

You should stretch before you run.

The old way of thinking was that since runners are notoriously inflexible, they need to stretch and warm up their muscles before running. While scientists have gone back and forth on this issue, the general consensus is that static stretching is not the best way to start your run. Instead, get your blood flowing and warm up your muscles with dynamic stretches. They help to elongate your muscles and increase range of motion through movement. Think high knees, butt kicks and leg swings.

RELATED: Why You Should Stretch After Your Run And Not Before

Runners don’t walk.

Well, actually, they do. In fact, Olympian Jeff Galloway has created a whole training methodology that incorporates walking breaks. He believes that mixing regular walking breaks into your runs, will help reduce the incidence of injury and help you stay active longer.

You’re not a runner unless you run this pace (or distance).

False. If you run, you’re a runner. You don’t need to run a 7-minute mile or a marathon in order to call yourself a runner. Distance or pace doesn’t define who is and who isn’t a runner.

You’re not a runner unless you have this body type.

False again. People of all ages, shapes and sizes are runners. Just go to your next local race. You are guaranteed to see someone who looks just like you.

You’re not a runner unless you race.

If you run, it means that you’re training for a race, right? Why else would you lace up your shoes day in and day out? The truth is that not every runner likes to race. Yes, some enjoy having a goal to work towards—and the bling that comes along with it. But others just enjoy the pure simplicity of the run.

RELATED: In Defense Of Slow Runners…

Runners don’t need to strength train.

If you want to improve your running, you should focus on running, right? Wrong. In fact, strength training is key to boosting performance and preventing injury. Strength training will not only improve the power output of your muscles, giving you a stronger finishing kick, but it will also address muscle imbalances that may lead to injury.

Runners don’t need strong upper bodies.

While we may run with our legs, our upper bodies play an important role too. As you start to tire, the first thing to deteriorate is your form. A strong upper body helps you maintain good running posture and correct arm swing.

Taking a few days off will hurt your fitness.

If you have to take a few days off from training, whether due to illness, injury or other life events, do you immediately think that all the miles you’ve logged have gone to waste? Are you worried that you’ll lose your cardiovascular fitness? Recent studies have shown that there is little decrease in VO2 max over the first 10 days of inactivity in trained athletes. If you need a rest day, take it. Take the time to recover when sick or injured. It’s not the end of the world.

Runners can eat anything they want.

We’ve all heard the advice that you should carbo-load before a race. But just because you’re running a marathon or even a 5K, doesn’t mean that you have a license to eat everything under the sun. You want to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need to nourish your body so that it can perform well.

RELATED: 8 Hacks To Make Your Running More Efficient And Enjoyable

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Do These 5 Moves Weekly To Strengthen Your Feet http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/5-moves-weekly-strengthen-feet_168101 Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:56:31 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168101 To become stronger for running, your feet need their own exercise program.

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Running shoes are the one thing every runner talks about needing, but they probably aren’t helping your foot strength and mobility. With tougher tootsies, you’ll find that you have a more powerful foundation for logging miles. Also trail terrain will seem less unstable and stabby.

RELATED: How To Loosen Your Feet With A Golf Ball

To help improve toe and foot strength and mobility, we turned to Danny Mackey, coach and manager of the Brooks Beasts Track Club. The former elite runner, who has a master’s in exercise physiology and biomechanics, says there are five areas of focus for the middle-distance runners he coaches: strength, speed, stamina, coordination and suppleness (or flexibility).

The following five foot exercises contribute to all of these. Mackey says, “Some of the strength issues athletes have is due to being overly supported in shoes so we want to reverse engineer this issue.”

RELATED: Got Insoles? 15 Products To Protect Your Feet.

Do all of these exercises barefoot, 3–4 days a week before running.

Flexed-Toe Raises Toe Walk Toe Yoga Foot Crunches Toe Drag

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3 Expert Tips To Racewalk Your Way Through Your Next Race http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/expert-tips-racewalk_168021 Tue, 12 Sep 2017 17:44:51 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=168021 Whether you're power walking or racewalking, these expert tips will help you get the most out of your experience.

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When a friend suggested walking a half marathon to Kevin Gonzalez in 2010, he wasn’t sure about the idea. A postal worker by day, Gonzalez had been a good runner in high school but was overweight now. He decided to walk the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half Marathon on a whim and finished in a little more than three hours. Since then, he’s walked more than 100 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series races, lost a lot of weight and aims to racewalk his way through the Marathon Majors. “Over the years, I’ve sort of fine-tuned the craft,” he says.

To get started walking your first race, here are some tips…

Practice your technique

Gonzalez racewalks, which is a specific kind of technique and style—like what you see in the Olympics. While Rock ‘n’ Roll races don’t have official racewalking judges, he still practices his technique, watches tapes to see how he can improve and competes against himself. But even if you just want to power walk, you still need to train and focus on your technique. Walking a race isn’t just a stroll in the park.

Prepare for a long day

Madora Mak, an event manager for Rock ‘n’ Roll, says, “Listen to your body.” That means bringing extra sunscreen, water and fuel to be ready to go the distance. It’s also important to be honest about what race corral you should start in, or you’ll end up blocking or being blocked by other athletes. Often, that means starting at the back so as not to get in the way. Mak notes you should be aware of cutoff times that can vary by course, but the follow vehicle behind the last athlete can move people forward on course if needed.

Do your thing

Have fun! Mak often sees groups of walkers taking advantage of the entertainment stops on course, listening to the bands and participating in activities like Snapchatting their favorite signs or taking selfies. “If you’re going to stop, shift to the side,” says Mak, leaving the middle of the road open for others on the move. Even if you plan to racewalk or walk competitively, the best way to achieve that is still to maintain your own pace and focus on yourself. “Race your race, not someone else’s,” says Gonzalez.

What is proper race etiquette? 

  • Start in the right corral for your pace, which may be the last one.
  • Don’t walk four or five abreast.
  • Be aware of your surrounding and other participants.
  • Yield to those trying to pass you.
  • Don’t stop suddenly, or people may run into you.
  • Signal or call out to others, so they know if you want to pass or if you’re moving aside.

 

RELATED: 4 Breathing Exercises For Every Level Of Runner

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8 Ways To Be Healthier At Work Without Taking A Lunch Run Break http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/healthier-work-lunch-run-break_161577 Fri, 08 Sep 2017 23:13:34 +0000 http://runhaven.lan/?p=15024 No runner should be sitting at their desk for 8 hours. If you can't run on our lunch break, try these ideas to be healthier while at work.

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I don’t do well sitting at my desk for 8 hours at a time. And I think a lot of runners agree with that sentiment. Still, there are several ways to be healthier at work beyond taking a run at lunch or eating a salad, which is not always doable or palatable, respectively.

Here are eight ideas to try around the office to be healthier.

Use a standing desk

There is now such a thing called “sitting disease.” Sitting for long periods of time, as many of us do in the modern work world, has been linked to increasing the likelihood of disability, heart disease and failure and cancer, among others. Experts say transitioning to a standing desk can help decrease the effect of sitting disease, thereby improving your health. Plus, it’s likely to make you move around more often.

Walk the nearest staircase for 5 minutes each hour

Most workers in a typical office use some sort of e-mail/calendar program combination. And most offices have stairways, even if people never use them, thanks to the more convenient elevator. Try setting a calendar reminder once each hour or two to walk the stairways for about 5 minutes. This little activity will give you a break without taking you away from your desk for too long. It will also increase your fitness and health.

Park farther away

Most folks are familiar with this one. Parking your car farther away from the office or subway entrance is a great way to add steps onto your day without really thinking about it. Taking the stairway at work instead of the elevator is another easy way to get moving.

Go on a short 10-15 minute walk

Many folks can’t afford to go on a full length run during their lunch break, but a brisk 10-15 minute walk can be doable in many professions. Take a quick stroll in your office’s neighborhood. If the weather’s bad, just walk around your office building for the same amount of time. Hit up different floors if possible,

Get up and talk to a co-worker every couple hours

Sitting in front of a computer all day is not good for anyone. If you can’t take a quick walk at lunch or climb stairs every hour or two, try at least getting up and walking over to a co-worker’s desk for a quick chat every couple hours. You can replace something you’d normally send in an e-mail with in-person communication. Or just head over to check out how your co-worker’s day is going.

Have a healthy mid-afternoon snack

It’s 3 p.m. and your energy is slumping and your tummy is growling. Instead of heading to the vending machine or reaching for a fat-loaded snack, grab something healthy to munch on. A banana, orange or apple is a great place to start. If you need a bit more, try a granola bar or protein shake.

Get lunch outside the office and walk there

Taking a break for lunch is common in many offices, so why not head outside to a nearby restaurant. Better yet, find one you can walk to. You’ll burn a few calories before and after your meal. Plus you’ll be more likely to feel refreshed afterward.

Avoid the office cookie/candy jar

Work places are notorious for their cookie and candy jars, not to mention the ongoing conveyor belt of birthday cakes that parade through. It’s certainly fine to grab a slice or piece of chocolate every now and then, but avoid making it an everyday or even weekly habit. You likely won’t remember to count those couple Snickers snack bars into your daily calorie count. Those little buggers can pack on the pounds quickly if you’re a frequent snacker.

For more from Katharine Lackey visit Kat Runs D.C.

RELATED: 8 Hacks To Make Your Running More Efficient And Enjoyable

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8 Hacks To Make Your Running More Efficient And Enjoyable http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/hacks-make-running-efficient-enjoyable_167955 Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:35:54 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167955 These life hacks for running will get you out the door faster and make training go much more smoothly.

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Photo: Shutterstock.com

Life hacks have become so ubiquitous that there’s now a blossoming debate about whether they have a place at all in endurance sports, where doing the work and going through the process is probably part of why you started running in the first place.

Running is a journey. It’s not about the destination. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make enjoying that journey a little easier. Think of these as eight tips and tricks for getting out there on your own journey and solving some of the problems along the way.

 Shower in your running clothes

After a run, your clothes can be pretty sweaty and even smelly. Instead of throwing them in the laundry bin, though, try jumping right into the shower still dressed (minus the shoes). Then hang up your clothes to dry and finish your shower. Giving a rinse to quick-drying workout allows you to get three or four uses out of a pair of shorts or a shirt before they need a full laundering.

“It sounds gross, but it actually works very well,” says Matt Frazier, author of No Meat Athlete. It also means you can get by with just one running outfit when you’re traveling.

Sleep in your running clothes

“It seems like such a minor thing,” said Frazier, but when getting out the door is an obstacle, eliminating each little thing—including getting dressed—makes starting your run easier. “It’s one less thing to do, one step closer to getting out the door.”

If that sounds too weird, a simpler step is just to completely lay out your running clothes before you go to bed. Anything that means fewer things to think about makes it just a little easier to get going.

Don’t just wear wicking running shirts on hot days

Generally we just throw on our running clothes and head out the door. But on hot days that can be counter-productive.

Doug Hay, who co-hosts a podcast with Frazier on running hacks, actually suggests wearing a cotton shirt instead on a hot day—if you can’t go shirtless. Wicking material is designed to take sweat away from your body, but a cotton shirt holds the sweat and sticks to your body, which can actually make you feel cooler.

To trick your brain and body, you can also stick a wet shirt in the freezer and grab it before your run. And cooling off your head can make you feel colder, even if it doesn’t do much to actually cool you down. Stick ice in your hat or a cold wet cloth on your head.

RELATED: 6 Time-Saving Tips For Busy Mother Runners

Pantyhose under your socks

If you get bad blisters, some athletes find putting pantyhose feet on under their socks smooths away the irritating points and decreases the odds of blistering.

Tie key into shoe or into ponytail holder

Carrying a key can also be a necessary annoyance. (After all, you do need to get back in your house or car when you’re done running.) While sticking things in your sports bra is a tried-and-true method for female runners, there are plenty of other places to stash that key too.

If you don’t have pockets, tie the key into your shoelace so you don’t lose it or have to carry it. Or, you can even knot it into your ponytail holder, if you have a particularly thick ponytail.

Get creative with your food

Now that you’re dressed and ready to go, you have to navigate one of the more complicated parts of running: nutrition. But don’t let eating and drinking overwhelm you. Don’t even worry about food on runs shorter than an hour, especially if you’re running first thing in the morning.

If you’re doing a long, long run and like to carry whole foods or fruits—like Frazier and Hay do—you can use a standard hydration vest or pack and pull the hydration bladder out. That’ll create plenty of room to stuff your pack with food and you can carry a handheld water bottle or refill it as you go.

Hay also likes to eat dates on runs for their nutritional value, though he also recommends gummies if you like chews or gels but are looking for something easier to swallow. And some people will mix grapes with chews (frozen grapes on hot days).

Dump salt pills into your water bottle

Hay and Frazier are also big believers in breaking open the salt pills or tablets you might take on long runs and dumping the salt into your water bottle. That way your tongue is able to sense how much salt you’re taking in and give feedback in a regulatory loop.

“We shouldn’t bypass our body’s own feedback mechanism,” said Frazier.

Schedule your run into your day

One of the biggest hacks we all need is a surefire way to fit everything into our day efficiently. Often, getting in a run is the first thing to be sacrificed. To avoid that, schedule it in to your calendar, like a meeting, and set calendar alerts for your upcoming run. Make your run fit in however much time you have—even if that’s only 20 minutes.

And you can multi-task with your runs: Try run commuting with a small backpack and a change of clothes. Schedule low-key running meetings if you have co-workers or colleagues who also want to get in some exercise. Or make your runs another kind of family time with your significant other, kids, or dog. Just getting it done, however you can, is the biggest hack of all.

RELATED: 7 Tips For Fitting Fitness Into Your Busy Schedule

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4 Breathing Exercises For Every Level Of Runner http://running.competitor.com/2017/09/training/breathing-exercises-every-level-runner_167857 Wed, 06 Sep 2017 23:31:37 +0000 http://running.competitor.com/?p=167857 Breathing techniques can improve running while putting your body and mind at ease. Here's three ways it helps you as a runner.

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Ready, set, breathe. That is how all of my races begin—and without consciously thinking of breathing, the start of your race is exactly the same. The beginning of a race is buzzing with excitement and nerves. This is where I control my breathing and begin separating myself from my competition.

It’s the consciousness of breath that allows me to maintain better focus, channel anxiety into positive energy and push myself to the next level. The ability to control the mind, breath and stride enhances the synergy within the run that creates the flow of success.

RELATED: How Should I Breathe When I Run?

Here’s how breathing well helps you improve as a runner…

Become More Centered:
Do you get distracted, zoned out or have negative thoughts? If so, you’re not alone. Keeping yourself centered by focusing on your breathing will allow you to maximize your run by staying engaged even through the tough times.

Control Your Effort:
Have you ever gone out too hard and then really suffered at the end? Many runners have done that—and regretted it. By learning to control your breathing, you can regulate pace more evenly to the finish.

Boost Run Efficiency:
As you start to get tired, do you notice how your breathing becomes ragged and your form falls apart? Staying focused on your breathing pattern can help maintain a steady flow of oxygen to the muscles. This will help keep your turnover strong and your body relaxed, allowing you to run with more power and efficiency even as you fatigue.

RELATED: How Fit Are Your Breathing Muscles?

Breathing Exercises for Every Level Runner

Level 1: Belly Breathing
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands on your belly and focus on taking deep breaths into your stomach instead of your chest. Your hands should rise and fall as you breathe. Practice expanding your stomach with each full, oxygen-rich breath. Do 10 breaths for a pre-run warm-up.

Level 2: Combination Breathing
Once you’ve nailed belly breathing, take it a step further by practicing breathing in and out of both your nose and mouth simultaneously throughout the day. This combo breathing is what you should strive for while running. Lips slightly parted, cheeks relaxed, maximizing the efficiency of oxygen intake and outtake.

Level 3: Breathing Patterns
Start with walking and try breathing in for two strides and out for two strides, using belly and combo breathing. This is called a 2:2 breathing pattern. Once you feel comfortable with the pattern while walking, start running. You can do 1–2 minutes of focused effort and then take a break. Slowly increase the amount of time you focus on your breathing patterns, and soon it will become second nature.

Level 4: Progressive Breathing Patterns
The 2:2 breathing pattern is ideal for workouts and shorter races. For training and longer races, you may find it more comfortable to use a 3:3 or 4:4 pattern. Practice these options to find what feels most comfortable based on your goal and effort for that day.

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