Relax and win

Staying relaxed late in a race helps you finish faster

What do you do late in a race? When you need to go a little faster, how do you respond?

If you’re like most runners, you dig deep. You push yourself and strain for that last possible bit of effort. It makes sense. Run faster by exerting more effort.

Is this the best way to run faster, though?

When we start to dig, we strain. We tense up and fight against ourselves. Our muscles tighten up and work against each other instead of working in coordination with each other, one muscle relaxing as the opposing muscle tenses.

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There is room in the middle

This month, I’m going to bring up a couple topics and expand on them a little more than normal for a recap post. Then I’ll throw a bonus link or two at the end. Fewer links, a little more in depth this time.

To start, we all are familiar with hard/easy training. I’ve even written about it here. But isn’t there a value to the middle ground? Isn’t there sometimes a reason to venture off the ends of the spectrum?

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Don’t borrow from someone else’s puzzle

Don’t steal those puzzle pieces!

These days, you can see a lot of workouts on social media, not to mention websites like Strava and Garmin Connect. Some of these workouts are impressive, maybe look interesting, or just look like something fun to try.

Have you ever thought of “borrowing” a workout you’ve seen online? While I won’t say never do so, I would like to urge you to use extreme caution if you do so.

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Facing the reality of this fall racing season

With the news yesterday that the New York City Marathon has been canceled, we’ve now seen Boston, Berlin and New York taken off the 2020 calendar. Chicago and London (currently rescheduled from spring) are still scheduled to go but don’t be surprised if they also cancel. During a pandemic, it would be irresponsible to bring tens of thousands of runners from around the world together, along with workers, volunteers and spectators.

Given what the experts are saying about a likely rebound of the pandemic in the fall, it’s likely that most large events and probably many, if not most, smaller events will not be happening this year.

I don’t say this to be a downer. I say it as a reminder of the reality this year is throwing at us. Keep this in mind as you’re training and adjust your training accordingly.

Now, on to some hopefully less depressing things I’ve been reading this month…

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Engine and chassis: a quick runner’s primer

This article was originally posted by Ryan at the original HillRunner.com Blogs.

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Engine? Chassis? Are we talking about cars or runners?

A lot of coaches and experienced runners say things like the engine adapts faster than the chassis, make sure your engine doesn’t break down your chassis.

Obviously, this is an analogy to cars but what does it mean to the runner?

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Dealing with all that is going on

A lot of us are feeling stressed right now. Don’t beat yourself up over it.

I have to admit, I’m having a hard time writing blog posts right now. I’m distracted by what feels like a news cycle that is changing by the minute. I’m concerned about both the present and the future. This is a very difficult time.

Fortunately for me, running is my fallback, my stress reliever. My training is going pretty well because I need my time out on the road and I live in an area where running in solitude is the norm.

I know my circumstances are not what all of you are facing, though.

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Ask me anything

It’s that time again! Your opportunity to ask me anything you would like. As I’ve mentioned before, this is always one of my favorite things to do.

Almost nothing is off limits. Feel free to ask me about training, racing, my thoughts on running during these wild times we’re facing, what’s going on at HillRunner.com. This is my invitation to you to ask whatever you would like.

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You can build muscle and strength

You’ve probably heard the idea that endurance training blocks or greatly reduces the ability to muscle mass and strength through strength training. It’s been “common knowledge” for decades.

However, there is some evidence that’s not totally accurate.

More important for those of us who are focusing on maximizing our running performance: what does this do for the runner? It appears the greatest benefit comes from fatigue resistance. So, along with already documented injury prevention benefits, strength train to improve your performance late in races when you are exhausted but looking for that extra gear to chase down the competition or your goal time.

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Spotlight workout: Hill repeats

You can do hill repeats anywhere you have a hill available

Hill repeats are always good workouts. Combining an interval workout with strength training. Reducing impact forces and lowering injury risk for other more technical reasons. There are all kinds of benefits to hitting the hill for your next interval workout.

During this time when many of us still can’t get into gyms and even tracks may be either off limits or not wise to go to for some, hill repeats can be even more powerful. Sure, you can get in a good strength workout in your living room and, with GPS watches, you can do almost any kind of interval workout you want anywhere. However, hill repeats can combine all of these things in one workout.

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Summer running

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Summer will soon be here! It may not seem like it right now here in Wisconsin but summer weather is just around the corner.

In this crazy year, there’s no telling right now when racing will again be happening but most of us are still training through as we hope our fall racing plans will not be postponed.

We all think of winter as the challenging and dangerous season for runners but there are challenges and safety considerations we need to keep in mind during the summer also. As well as the adjustments that we need to make not for our safety but to ensure we’re getting the most out of our summer time training.

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