Can you feel that? It’s hope layered with optimism. New Year resolution fever is fresh and spreading. While most the population is looking for a disconnect between their backside and the sofa, runners are devising a plan that lands them to a PR-ville. But what if I told you that most runners lack the same follow through as most “resolutioners?”
Most runners throw around loose plans of “smarter training” and “showing more focus on strength training” or “stretching” to avoid injury. Sound familiar? Unfortunately, most runners tackle their resolutions like dad putting together a Christmas toy… without any directions.
Resolutions without direction are designed to crash and burn. Follow through on change takes more than updating a status with the “feeling determined” emotion and a quirky hash tag.
If you’re like one of the many who answered this post on our Facebook page, you’re looking to do one of two things in 2017: run faster and/or avoid injury. But truth be told, you can’t have one without the other. Getting faster will always take the back seat to avoiding injury.
Without consistent running you’ll be lucky to maintain your fitness, let alone improve it. Who wants to maintain their fitness AND run less? Not I and I’m guessing not you. Instead of recycling your 2017 resolution for “smarter training” to next year, let’s build better habits now. Habits that, if executed, will launch you down the finishing shoot and leaving you to proudly update your status with infinite hashtags of success.
Ready to navigate to PR-ville in 2017? Here’s what needs to happen:
1. Front Load Your Strength Training
There’s no time like the present. For any runner eyeing a spring goal race the next six to eight weeks could shape your success. Most runners are at the beginning stages of training and to me that means less mileage and more opportunity for strength work.
Front loading your training plan with strength training (as little as 30 minutes twice a week) can pay huge dividends when your mileage begins to creep up. Think of this as fortifying your body for more abuse that accompanies more running.
The Key: Two 30-minute sessions a week can pay off huge in your training. For the next eight weeks fit in two separate strength sessions. To maximize the carry over to the road, focus on movements that mimic the running motion. Runner-specific strength exercises are those that teach your brain and muscles to fire in patters that mimic the running motion.
2. Key Areas of Focus
Ideally, a strength program provides head-to-toe training. In life, time can be the limiting factor and instead of risking complete abonnement, narrow your focus to these two key items:
Your Hips / Butt / Glutes:
Steer your strength training to exercises that target your butt (glute) muscles. Runners are largely quadriceps (front of the thigh) dominant that sit on their biggest ass(et) – see what I did there?
Stronger hip muscles can help prevent an array of overuse injuries, from sore knees to ligament and tendon injuries as far away as the foot and ankle.
“My balance isn’t that great.” — Words that echo my treatment chambers daily. Poor balance is often a multi-factor issue. Without getting lost in the weeds of how your brain and muscle communicate and learn, let’s just leave it at… strength and balance training will teach your body to be more stable.
Superficially, it makes sense to have good balance, right? But looking at running, a sport where we literally balance on one foot and then the other, better balance can be the difference between toeing the start line or sulking from home on race day.
The Key: Luckily, with the correct runner-specific exercise you can improve your balance while training crucial muscles for running. (Here’s an example of one such exercise).
Again, the key is to act – particularly when the New Year fever has consumed us all. Get off your ass (using machines) at the gym, and focus on building strength that works for you in training. Strength exercises that, come spring time, will leave you hash tagging your way through your celebration (#CrushedIt #PR).
For the past few years I’ve helped thousands of runners with their strength training. From the novice to experienced, to the bruised and battered to the injury worrier, I have one program that I (and my runners) consistently refer their running friends to: BaseSix Bootcamp.
If you’re unsure on how or where to get started jump over to this link. With our $1, two-week trail you can instantly access the program that has helped shape countless PR’s.
Now… lean in to 2017 and let’s show this year who is king and queen of PR-ville.