1. Maintain your flexibility with daily stretching
  • Daily stretching is essential to improve flexibility, which in turn will help improve performance and prevent injuries.
  • Stretching should be done after you warm up your muscles; usually about 10 minutes of warm up should be enough.
  • Stretching should never be done in a hurry and should include all joints and extremities. Each stretch should be held in place for 15-20 seconds without bouncing.
  • It is helpful to include sports-specific dynamic exercises like high knee drills, skipping, bounding, arm circles, and cross-body arm swings.
  1. Include strength training in your exercise program
  • Strength training improves a runner’s body strength and overall athleticism. This in turn reduces muscular fatigue which leads to poor performance and injuries. Runners will benefit from a program of 2-3 strength training sessions per week.
  • Strength training exercises should focus on all muscle groups, including the trunk and upper and lower body.
  • Weight lifting, plyometrics, and hill running are all effective methods of increasing strength.
  • Focus on improving strength in the off-season and pre-season and maintaining strength while in season.
  1. Stay hydrated and eat a well balanced diet
  • Avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration by pre-hydrating two hours prior to practice or competition with 16-20 ounces of fluids and another 8-10 ounces after warm-up.
  • Take in 6-8 ounces of fluids every 15-20 minutes of exercise.
  • Within two hours after exercise, re-hydrate with a pint (20-24 ounces) of fluid for every pound of weight lost during exercise.
  • The best fluids to take before, during, and after exercise are a cooled 4-8% carbohydrate solution.
  1. Warm up and cool down before and after all runs and races
  • Before practices and competitions, it is important to gradually warm up. The faster the workout or race, the longer the warm up needed.
  • Warm-up might include some gentle bicycling, light jogging, or low-stress calisthenics.
  • A warm up of 5-10 minutes helps to flush out lactic acid build-up in muscles and prevents delayed muscle soreness.
  1. Gradually increase your mileage and periodize your training schedule
  • Good aerobic activity is the foundation of your running performance. The principles of progression and periodization gradually prepare the body to handle workout stress by slowly increasing the amount and intensity of your training.
  • Periodization is a method of training that progressively increases the training stress from cycle to cycle. Progression should not be a steady increase in volume and intensity, but instead should be a staircase-like progression with periods of reduced volume and intensity at certain times during a training period, season, or year. Training volume, duration, and intensity should be increased gradually, no more than 5-10% per week.
  1. Cross-train and include rest days in your training schedule
  • Cross-training helps to maintain your aerobic fitness while avoiding excessive forces and overuse injuries from too much running.
  • Including rest days in your training schedule allows your body to recover and adapt to a running workout.
  1. Talk with a running expert or coach to analyze your training program
  • Ineffective training programs can result in overtraining, running injuries, and poor performance.
  • A good running coach can help you develop an appropriate training schedule to meet your running goals and prevent injury.
  1. Wear the correct type of running shoes for your foot type and running style
  • Not all running shoes are made alike. The type of shoe you need varies depending upon your foot type and style of running. A sports store that specializes in athletic footwear can help you determine what style is best for you.
  • Foot type is based upon the structure of your foot and the degree of pronation. Pronation is the normal inward rolling of your foot in running as your foot strikes the ground and transitions into pushing off. Abnormal pronation can lead to injuries.
  1. Have a formal gait analysis performed and use orthotics if recommended
  • Poor foot biomechanics, such as heel strike, excessive pronation, or a very rigid or very flexible foot arch, can lead to inefficiency and injuries.
  • Most runners can control these problems by carefully selecting the right shoe type or by seeing an expert that can analyze your running gait and make orthotic inserts specific to your foot structure.
  1. Have your running form evaluated by a running expert
  • Better running economy and body awareness are achieved through developing an efficient and smooth running form. A smooth running form requires less energy and delays muscle fatigue.
  • A person trained in running biomechanics can help detect flaws in your running form and show you how to correct them.


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