Training Tips for Runners

Train for your activity so that you train the muscles you will actually use. Also simulate the environment and train with the actual equipment you will use.

To train for running, be sure to do your training runs on terrain similar to what will be on the race or, if possible, go to the course itself. In selecting the terrain for your training runs, consider if the race course will have/be on:

  • Roads or trails
  • Good traction or rocky
  • Flat, uphill, or downhill

You should also do your training run in places that have similar elevation gain to the race you are preparing for, so consider if the race course will have:

  • Steep uphills or gradual hills
  • Lots of gain, and loss, or very little

Be sure to do lots of climbing/uphill work if the course will include a lot of hills. If you don’t have actual hills that you can run up, there are other options, such as:

  • Treadmill, use the incline
  • Pull a tire (more on this next week!)

If you will be doing a long race (a marathon, 50K, or beyond) you will have to have some long training days. These long training days will train your body to burn fat and also trains slow twitch muscles. Use the following guidelines for your long training days:

  • Go out for 3 to 6 hours
  • 1 time a week
  • 60 to 80 percent max heart rate
  • Allow your body to recover
  • Remember to hydrate and replace electrolytes

You should also have short training days. These short training days will train slow twitch muscles. Use the following guidelines for your short training days:

  • Go out for 1 hour
  • 3 to 4 times a week
  • Go faster!
  • Reach max heart rate
  • Remember to hydrate and replace electrolytes

Also be sure to train with the equipment, hydration, and food you will actually use during the race. You never want to try something new on race day. So, be sure to train with all of the types of things you plan to use on race day, including:

  • Shoes
  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Top
  • Jacket
  • Water bottles or hydration pack
  • Fanny pack or waist belt
  • Water and electrolyte replacement drinks
  • Food
  • Pain relievers, if needed
  • Salt and electrolyte tablets, if needed

Do your training in 3-week cycles, where you train hard for 2 weeks, then back down for 1 week. Your training should always be a combination of activity along with rest and recovery. Have at least one 1 day every week with NO exercise, and avoid over training.

In addition to running, you need to do cross training, especially focused on strengthening your core. More on that to come!

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1 Response to Training Tips for Runners

  1. clynton says:

    Thanks Marshall, this is helpful. I am excited that I my surgeon cleared me for and I have started physical therapy. Further fueling my momentum is that my physical therapist said I might be able to run a 10k trail run I have my eyes on in Dec. To make that, I am going to have to get a long ways as my muscles have atrophied and become extremely tight during the 5 months since my back herniation. My plan is going to have to include a couple of weeks just walking. But it's a plan!

    A question for you: it seems many ultrarunners advocate for doing back-to-back long days. What are your thoughts on this? Is one day enough a week, as long as it's part of an overall plan like the one you outlined above?

    Thanks again,

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