Training Tips

Injury Prevention

Know your limits

This usually means doing too much too fast. Progress your distance and speed according to your training plan. You know your body best. Slow down and take breaks if you feel tightness or pain

Listen to your coaches

They’re your coaches for a reason.Trust that they always have your best interests in mind.

Proper footwear

Proper footwear can help to correct any bio-mechanical dysfunction like over pronation or flat feet. Stores like A Runner’s Circle can assess your feet and your gait to recommended the best shoes for you. Your shoes have a lifespan and should be replaced every 300-500 miles.

Dynamic Warm-Up

Warm up before any endurance event or exercise is key in preventing injuries. We’ve all been taught to stretch statically; whis means putting the muscle in a lengthened position and holding for 20-30 seconds. Static stretching has been proven to weaken muscles and reduce performance before running. Static stretching activates a protective meuromuscular reflex that tries to prevent muscles from being over stretched. Dynamic warm-up routines, however have been found to increase performance. These are controlled, smooth rhythmic movements that help to lengthen the muscle.

Recovery

Static stretching
Foam rolling/self-myofascial release
Massage
RICE:
Rest
Ice (no more than 10-15 minutes at a time)
Compression
Elevation

Strength Train

Building strength helps to decrease risk of injury. Key areas are core strength and gluteal strength. Planks and side bridges for core. Squats and deadlifts for glutes. Gluteus medius in particular is the likely culprit in many overuse injuries of the knee and hip. Abduction exercises such as clamshells and mini-band exercises are useful.

The Psychology of Running

Running is 90% Mental, 10% Physical

Mental preparation is just as important, if not more important than the physical. Your mental state has a huge impact on just how well you do during your training and each run.

Mental health benefits of running

Running aids the production and release of your body’s natural pain and stress-fighting chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins are responsible for that sense of “runner’s high” we sometimes feel. Running also produces neurotransmitters. Two important neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. Serotonin and dopamine are known to combat depression and anxiety and help improve your mood. As we run we increase our intake of oxygen making us more energetic, focused and alert. Research has also suggested that running has cognitive benefits, especially in terms of memory.

Training your mind as well as your body

You control your mind, your mind does not control you. Think positive thoughts. This may be challenging at first. Negative self-talk has been known to creep in to all runners. “It’s too early,” I’m too tired,” “I don’t have the time,” “I’m not a fast as them”, etc. Avoid thoughts about work or any stressors. This is a good time to call on your mantra and other positive self talk. Use upbeat mood music to get you going. Start the play-list as early as getting up out of bed and lacing up your shoes! Visualize yourself succeeding. What is your goal? Finishing a race? Losing weight? Improving your personal record? What will that look like, feel like? Imagine yourself already there!

Set yourself up for success!:

This is a step above motivation. Here you are setting yourself up to succeed. Plan your workouts around your realistic schedule. Getting up a half hour early before work may not be enough. Take into account travel time to the park or gym, stretching to avoid injury and proper nutrition. This will maximize your overall performance and recovery. You may be better off running on the treadmill during and hour lunch break or a run in the park after work. Keeping it structured and repetitive will turn it into a habit. Hold yourself accountable – keep a journal of your runs and/or a food log. Make good decisions that will help you achieve your goals and increase your self confidence.

Get in the zone!

Also known to sports psychologist as the “state of flow”. Runners tend to do their best while in the “zone”. A good way to get in the zone is by placing yourself in a challenging yet do-able run. With each training run give yourself a goal that you know you can accomplished. Add in the “yes, I can” attitude for an extra boost of self-confidence. This way you will continually prove to yourself and provide yourself with successful runs. Relax your body with good breathing techniques, add some music and go! Being in the zone has been described as a loss of self-consciousness. Once in the zone, running appears to be much more effortless, sense of time is lost, fatigue and pains become less apparent. You’ll walk away feeling so much better had you not ran at all.

Common Injuries

Runner’s Knee (Patello-femoral pain syndrome)

This can present pain on the inside or outside of the knee immediately upon walking. The does not necessarily go away as the day progresses. Rest. Foam roll the quads and IT band. Strengthen gluteus maximus and medius. Stretch quads and hamstrings.

Achilles Tendonitis

You will feel pain behind the ankle or the back of the heel. Rest. Foam roll and stretch calves.

Plantar Fascitis

Pain on the bottom of the foot. The pain is usually worst in the morning when stepping out of bed and seems to decrease as the foot warms up. Rest. Foam roll calves, roll feet on a ball, stretch calves and the big toe.

Shin Splints

Pain along the shin bone or tibia. Rest. Ice. Anti-inflammatories. Calf stretches.

IT Band Syndrome (illio-tibial band syndrome)

Pain on the lateral aspect or outside of the knee. Tightness down the side of the leg. Rest. Foam roll the IT band! Strengthen gluteus medius.

A Comfortable Run is a Good, Fun Run. The key to running comfortably in So. California is based on a few simple rules.

What to Wear

Wick it Away

Wet clothing and socks can conduct heat away from the body and cause chaffing or blisters. Stay away from cotton and wear clothing made from wicking materials that will keep you dry. You can find moisture wicking clothing in all price ranges from Target to Old Navy to lululemon to A Runner’s Circle.

Glide On

If you’re prone to chaffing (under arms, inner thighs) or blisters (feet, upper heel) Body Glide or Chafe-Free products will make your runs and post run experience much more pleasurable.

Protect Yourself from the Summer Sun!

Do not be fooled by the off shore fog or cool air, the sun is extremely strong here and you will need sunscreen (sports sunscreen is even better) even in the winter months. It is very exposed and there are few trees and less shade, especially on some of the trails. Add additional protection with a hat, visor, or UPF+ clothing.

Scantily Clad

Dress like it is 15 – 20 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. You may feel chilly while standing around in the morning or evening, but you will start warming up as you begin to run.

Layer Up!

The more adaptable the clothing is the better. Layers of clothing trap and warm the air between them acting as insulation. Wear simple articles that you can take off while you run, like a vest, or arm sleeves that are easy to carry if you need to take them off.

Wear Bright Clothing, Be on Alert, and Follow the Rules of Road

If you plan to run on the street, get ready for people who drive very fast, are distracted, and often times don’t see you. Also, there are a huge number of bikes on the road, be mindful and move to the side for them.

Light It Up!

When running in the dark, wear reflective gear and/or a head lamp.

Keep the Girls Happy!

Ladies, get properly fitted for your sports bra. You should only need to wear one. A proper fitting sports bra will help protect the girls and Cooper’s ligament. Also, your sports bra should not have a birthday. Sports bras breakdown from our skin’s oil and washing.

Guard Your Nips

Guys (and ladies not wearing a sports bra) – when on a long run (10+ish miles), be mindful of the nipples. Wearing nipple guards will protect them from chaffing and bleeding.

Running belt/hydration pack

If you’re going to be running for a long distance or time consider wearing a belt or pack to carry fluids and nutrition with you.