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There is much more to your long distance training than throwing on a pair of shoes and hitting the pavement in full force. Taking a look at your training run from start to finish, you should see at least 3 levels of exertion: the warm up, the run and the cool down.
Maximize your performance by taking care of your muscles during your training. Learn from our expert, Joe Vennare – co-founder of The Hybrid Athlete, why it is important to include all three steps in your training program and what to incorporate into each level.
Prepare for and Recover from your Run
It is important to remember that how you prepare for and recover from a run can have a huge impact on your performance and results. Use this plan to maximize performance and minimize muscle soreness, while reduce the likelihood of injury and prepare your body for long distance training.
Warm – ups should be dynamic in nature. Instead of standing still and trying to touch your toes you should actively prepare your muscles for your run by transitioning from a resting to working heart rate. Think of a dynamic warm-up as stretching through movement.
Try this: Begin by performing jumping jacks or jumping rope. Next, try some body weight exercises like squats, push-ups, or lunges. All told your warm-up should last at least 8-10 minutes and cause you to break a sweat.
If you walk away from a run without cooling down, you will experience muscle soreness and swelling. To cool-down, allow yourself to return to a normal heart rate and breathing rate. Walking and static stretching will help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.
Try this: During the cool down you will want to implement the reach and hold method of stretching. Be sure to target major muscle groups like the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and low back. Hold each stretch for two seconds, relax and repeat 10 times.
Bonus! Foam Roll and Self-Massage:
Purchase a foam roller so you can enjoy the benefits of a sports massage without the hefty price tag. A type of myofascial release, foam rolling allows you to target specific body parts, knots, and trigger points to breakup scar tissue and fascia that has compromised muscular function. This technique can be employed before and or after a run and will help prevent injury while enabling you to address chronic tightness in your muscles.
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