What are some mistakes that you make as a runner?
The first one that comes to mind is ignoring tightness. I am actually dealing with this right now. When the intensity of training and racing increases, my hips, back, hamstrings, and calves tighten up. Usually easy runs loosen everything up, but sometimes that is not enough. Being tight prevents me from running correctly. To fix this, I use my foam roller more, and I add 3-4 stretches to my daily routine. The extreme tightness could be prevented by being more diligent with stretching and rolling out.
Stretches that relieve tightness from running
This opens up the hips.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Try to keep your butt on the ground.
Another mistake that I used to make all of the time was running my easy runs too fast. I thought that every run should be run fast, and if it wasn’t then I was getting slower. My training partner introduced me the concept that easy runs should be easy, and hard runs should be hard. This has taken awhile for me to accept, but there are many benefits to this. Easy run days allow my body to recover from the hard runs or races, and as I mentioned before, easy runs usually loosen me up and prepare my body for the next hard run or race.
Another mistake that I have made in the past is not warming up properly, and by this I mean both warming up too much and not warming up enough. I ran a 5k last August in Texas, and before the race started the heat index was already 90 degrees. I spent a little too much time on my warm up jog, and I was dripping in sweat before the race started. By the end of the race I had a headache, and I was overheating.
I have also gone into races feeling tight, because I did not spend enough time warming up. I used to think that getting out of breath before a race was going to negatively affect my performance. However, getting out of breath opens up the lungs which helps race performance, especially for those with asthma.
Some tips for a proper warm up for a race
- If you have a warm up that you do before a hard run, then use that same warm up for the race.
- Getting slightly out of breath and beginning to sweat are two signs of being warmed up.
- Begin your warm up 45 minutes- 1 hour before the race.
- If it is “Summer in Texas” hot, spend less time on the warm up jog, but still do your strides and drills.
- My typical warm up for a race is a 2 mile warm up jog, drills, and 4 strides.
- If you deal with asthma, make sure you get slightly out of breath before the race.
What is your favorite run?
It is a toss up between a hard track workout and a hard long run day, because those are the workouts that I know I have to fight to finish. I have to put in that “I won’t stop, because it is not an option,” effort.
An example of a favorite track workout…2 mile warm up, 16 x 400 meters at 5k pace with 1-2 minutes rest, 2 mile cool down.
An example of a favorite hard long run…16 miles with the last 3 miles at marathon to half marathon pace.
What is your least favorite run that you do because it makes you faster?
I have a love/hate relationship with hills. I get that ‘nervous about how bad this is going to hurt’ feeling before starting, but then once I’ve run that first hill, I don’t mind them. The pre-hill jitters are worth it, because in order to run hills well in a race you have to run hills in training.