Have you joined our “You, but Faster” Challenge on Strava? If you answered no, then we think you should! 😉If you said yes, then chances are you really want to PB so you have the opportunity to win the Endorphin Collection. Hitting a personal best isn’t always easy, so we called on Coach Broe for his tips and tricks to help us get there.
Good Content from: Tim Broe, Saucony’s Freedom Track Club Head Coach
Running fast is easy. Preparing to run fast is the hard part. Here are a few things that every runner should plug into their early season prep routine that will not only make them faster, but also help improve running economy and efficiency, which leads to reduction in stress and injuries. Try these few simple steps in preparation for your season!
Proper warm up
A proper warm up is essential in preparing your body for the stress of a workout. Raising body temp helps “lubricate” your system for the effort ahead. A consistent warm up routine also helps prepare your mind for the battles ahead. There are three simple tools I like to use before I head out the door for my warm up run: foam rolling, active stretching, and hip mobility. Running is a hard activity on the best of days. It beats up joints, ligaments and muscles. Be mindful that poor preparation leads to underperformance and injury, so be kind to your body and give it a little TLC before you beat yourself up!
Foam Rolling – I like to start every run with 5-10’ of foam rolling. Foam rolling creates heat and friction, which in turn helps your body’s connective tissue, or fascia, move better. At $15, it is also the cheapest massage you’ll ever get! Work thru all the major muscle groups with long sweeping motions from one joint to the next. Place emphasis on trigger points, or painful/uncomfortable spots within the muscle. It may be uncomfortable at first, but your body will appreciate the TLC.
Active Stretching – I tend to shy away from a lot of static stretching, or holding a muscle on stretch for prolonged periods of time. Active stretching refers to holding a muscle on stretch for approximately three seconds, backing off the stretch for brief moment, then easing back a little bit deeper. Repeat that process 10x then shift the stretch to the opposite leg. Special note! There are two primarily muscle groups that deserve attention more than others: hip flexors and piriformis. These two muscle groups restrict range of motion more than any other and will make a world of difference in your posture and stride length. A majority of our days are spend sitting, which turns off the hip flexors and puts them in a shortened position. Any underused muscle put into a shortened position becomes tight and weak, the literal opposite of what we want as a runner! Deep in the back of your hip sits the piriformis, who’s primary function is hip abduction and external rotation. Like the hip flexors, your stride length will be severely hampered by tight hip flexors. Make sure you spend 2-5’ stretching both muscles before you get out of bed and rush out the door.
Hip Mobility – The last part of a basic proper warm up is hip mobility drills. These dynamic exercises help improve range of motion of your joints and muscles. Press each exercises to a comfortable limit then back off, repeating 10-15 repetitions. Don’t force it! Harder is not better here. Let your body warm up with the drill. Most athletes are not perfectly balanced so be aware of your restrictions, placing emphasis on exercises which will help loosen up the restricted areas.
- Leg swings (forward and lateral)
- Quadriped knee circles (or standing while holding onto something)
- Handwalks (or inchworms)