Running Strategies for Success
Apr 01, 2019
"A great afternoon run in Lakes Park, Fort Myers, Florida..."
Fabulous temperatures, coupled with New Year’s Resolutions, inspire many an athlete to take their running to task and try a 5K, a new distance or set a new personal record.
Whatever your goal, heed a few top tips and running strategies to ensure your running success:
- Start with a dynamic warm-up and save the stretches for the end. Runners often experience tightness in certain muscles like the gluteus maximus that can lead to inefficient movement patterns and decreased performance. Begin all runs with a dynamic warm up simulating the movements/range of motion your muscles will go through during your run. Not only will this promote flexibility but also it will help reduce the risk of injury. Save the deep static stretches until after your run when your muscles are most pliable and always hold stretches for at least 30 seconds.
- Maintain good cadence. Running with shorter, quicker strides will mean that your body spends less time in the air, which in turn leads to less impact when you land. In a 5km event, you could expect that you will be hitting the ground approximately 5,000 times, so lessening the impact is important.
- Be informed about any upcoming races. This may seem obvious but is not always the case. Know where it starts and finishes, how many aid stations are on the course and what beverages they are serving, and how long it will take you to get there on the morning of. Whether you’re racing or simply using a course as a training day, plan to arrive an hour before the start to give yourself time to get used to the surroundings, warm-up and a quick port-o-potty trip if necessary.
- Have a hydration plan at all times. Are you going to run with a bottle or will you stash drinks along the route to pick up later? If you’re at a race, will you drink at the aid stations throughout the course?
- Know your run plan. A run plan is an important tool to help control your speed, so decide what this will be prior to starting out and stick to it. Too often, runners get caught up with the other runners they see and start their training sessions too quickly. They end up spent half way through the workout and fall short of ever achieving their goals.
- Divide the course and conquer. For longer runs, it can be useful to divide the course into sections, e.g. divide a 10K route into 2 - 5km segments or identify landmarks along the way and focus on running to those points. This works exceptionally well when building mileage.
- Most importantly and by far the most valuable training tip for any day; have fun and enjoy yourself.
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