Tag Archives: marathon training

5 Keys to Marathon Recovery

Figuring out the best path to a complete marathon recovery is challenging.  Your body is torn up.  Your mind is fried.  Getting up and moving, let alone taking a lap around the track, is the last thing you’re looking forward to. but how you recover can have a huge impact on when marathon recoveryyou’re ready to start training again.  Here are five ways to make sure your marathon recovery helps you get back to business as soon as you want.

Keep moving.  One of the most important aspects of marathon recovery is movement.  This doesn’t mean a tough track workout two days later or taking off for another race.  Giving muscles some easy work to do the day after beating then up has been shown to help speed recovery but it has to be just that, easy.  A very slow jog, air squats, a few push-ups, sit-ups and 30 minutes of yoga works wonders.

Mobilize.  Just getting out there are easy jogging a mile or two won’t get the job done.  You need to work tired and abused joints through a full range of motion to keep fluids moving around.  This is how you make sure muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones get the blood, oxygen and nutrients they need to repair while clearing out the debris from when they got damaged.  Foam rollers, bands, softballs and a lacrosse ball are all part of a well built marathon recovery kit.

Eat up.  You definitely burned a ton of calories covering all of those miles.  Replacing them and giving your body the nutrients it needs to repair damaged muscles is paramount.  Replenish fluids with sports drinks or salted water as soon as you cross the finish line.  When your tummy is ready, chow down on calorie loaded like bananas and yogurt.  Put your feet up and rest a bit until you’ve processed those and can head for pizza and ice cream.marathon recovery

Sleep.  Getting an adequate amount of sleep will help you recover faster than just about anything else.  It can be tough to shut down after a big race so try taking a warm bath, meditating and turning off all electronic devices.  Here’s a great piece on how a solid night’s shut eye can make a big difference in your marathon recovery.

Go easy on the celebration.  Yes, those free beers taste delicious but they’re just going to cause more trouble for your already hostile body.  Dehydrated muscles aren’t aching to lose more water.  Even though there are carbs in there, make sure you mix in plenty of other fluids with those post race party beers.  A long walk or standing around for a little bit won’t do any harm but you do want to get off your feet for a few hours as soon as you can to start the healing process.

If there are other marathon recovery traditions you swear by, like ice baths and massages, stick with them.  Just make sure you don’t neglect these key elements of getting your body ready to go back to work.

Coach Meredith

Easy Running for Fast Running

Easy running might seem pointless.  How can you get faster if you don’t actually run faster?  The truth is you can’t.  To improve speed, running economy and endurance you do have to run faster than you are comfortable.  But you don’t have to do it all the time, nor do you want to.  A balance between hard and easy workouts is the best way to build fitness without risking injury or burnout.  The purpose of easy running is to build a foundation.  Building this foundation is easy runninghow your body adjusts to the stresses of road running over time and will ultimately lead to improved race times and a lower risk of injury.

Easy running will help you earn stronger bones, tougher joints, improved running economy, develop slow twitch, fat burning muscles and increased aerobic capacity without beating yourself up.  You need fast days to work on turnover and VO2max but easy running days are not necessarily ‘junk miles’ because you’re still working towards a goal.  As long as each run has a purpose your time and effort is never wasted.

That’s because going as fast as you can all the time is asking for trouble.  Your body has to take care of itself after hard workouts.  It has to repair damaged muscle, expand blood vessels and learn to process more oxygen.  An easy workout helps clear out waste from muscles, improve circulation and might actually help speed muscle recovery.  If you push all the time, those processes never get to finish their jobs and you’re inviting overtraining and burnout.  Alternating hard and easy running workouts gives your body a chance to make all of the positive performance enhancing adaptations it can.

Make sure your easy running is just that.  Easy.  Aim to be at least one minute slower than your goal race pace for the duration of an easy workout.  As your fitness level increases it can become hard to slow the pace down.  It’s important to remember what the goal of each workout is when you’re out there feeling like you’re not accomplishing anything.  Your body has to have time to adapt to training stimuli so you can ultimately increase your performance level.

Coach Meredith

4 Keys to Running Faster

Ultimately the goal of any runner who wants to hit a competitive goal, from breaking a 2 hour half marathon to nailing a sub-15 minute 5k, will have to work on having quicker feet.  Running faster is hard work and can sometimes become frustrating.  Here are four key elements to becoming a speedier runner and hitting your next racing goal.running faster

Form.  Running faster than you currently do is hard work.  It’s even harder if your elbows are swinging way out, you’re heel striking or breaking at the hip.  Developing proper posture, a mid-foot landing and solid turnover can be the first step in running faster.  Having good form should be the base of any quality program and since we all move a little bit differently, it’s a good idea to get together with a coach for a gait analysis before making any drastic changes.

Turnover.  Moving your feet faster, increasing cadence and stopping overstriding will help two things.  First it can decrease your risk of injury.  Increased turnover can help stop heel striking, meaning your foot spends less time on the ground, and it’s hard to get injured in the air.  Second, it can make you faster and more efficient.  Elite distance runners have an average cadence or step rate of 180 steps per minute reaching upwards to 220spm in elite sprint races while less experienced runners can hover around 165.  Getting out there with a metronome to help you find your current beat then trying to stay on it as you increase the speed for several 100M striders is a great way to start upping your turnover and get used to running faster.

Power.  The more power you put into the ground with each step, the more will be returned to your legs for the next one.  Strength training is the best way to build power.  Exercises like box jumps and jump rope mimic the muscle needs you have when running.  Sit-ups and push-ups are great for posture and mid-line stability.  Sprinting up hills and squatting under loads (with supervision) will build legs that are ready to race.

Practice.  To run fast, you have to run faster.  If you want to run a 2 hour half marathon, 9:09/mile pace, you’ll need to spend some time training faster.  Building VO2Max, improving form and increasing turnover all come from getting out there and pushing yourself hard.  Interval and tempo sessions are the best way to work on these things and need to be included in each week’s training plan.

Find a coach to help you get started and you’ll be running faster by the end of this training cycle.

Coach Meredith